Cauliflower Ceviche

Back in March, I was looking forward to a potluck with all of my coworkers after closing a chapter on a job. We had all signed up for a particular dish to bring and one of my coworkers wrote down “cauliflower ceviche” I was intrigued and I asked her for the recipe. After making it, I became obsessed with it and decided to make a few tweaks to make it my own. It didn’t take much tweaking as it was delicious as is but I generally like my ceviche extra tangy so that is exactly what this recipe entails. For those of you who are skeptical to try this, I promise you will be blown away by the results. This is so delicious it is even well loved by those who are not a fan of seafood or fish. The ingredients are very simple, requires minimal heat, and the results will get you hooked. As always, let’s talk about the nutritional benefits of our star player–cauliflower.

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Easy Roasted Potatoes

One of my favorite foods to have for breakfast is potatoes. I’m not talking about the sweet kind either, I’m talking about the good ol’ golden Yukon potato. For whatever reason, potatoes have gotten a bad reputation over the last decade but I am here to tell you that in this household potatoes are an absolute must and household staple. Russet potatoes, golden Yukon, and red potatoes have just as much nutritional value as sweet potatoes do the only difference being the amount of minerals varies by each variety. Each potato has its appropriate use and for the purpose of roasting at a higher heat, I have found that golden potatoes yield the best results. I am working on a comprehensive blog post to outline each use of different types of potatoes but for now, i’m letting you know that golden yukon and/or red potatoes are the best types for roasting in the oven.

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Spinach & Artichoke Dip

One of my boyfriend’s favorite snacks is spinach and artichoke dip. Anytime it is offered as an appetizer we usually order it. I have to admit, it is also one of my favorite dips as well and I can usually kill half if not all of the dip by myself. A couple months ago, I was playing around with recipes for this to make it healthier since the traditional recipe for spinach and artichoke dip involves using multiple cups of cheese in addition to mayonnaise. I started by swapping the mayonnaise out for a leaner and much lighter Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is high in protein and lower in fat than mayonnaise and also contains probiotics which is beneficial for our digestive health. From there, I decided to also reduce the amount of cheese used by substituting nutritional yeast in for about half of the cheese. Nutritional yeast is rich in B vitamins and is significantly lower in sodium and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol in comparison to traditional cheese. Nutritional yeast still gives a cheesy flavor to any dish so you won’t even notice that this recipe has less cheese than usual. The few times I have made this dip, it has not made it past the 6 hour mark. The entire bowl is always left completely clean and no one even knows that it’s a healthier version of the traditional spinach and artichoke dip. Now that we’ve gotten all the info out of the way, let’s dive into what you need for this recipe.

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Strawberry Banana Smoothie

As the weather warms up, I find myself having less of an appetite for a solid food meal and leaning more towards smoothies and smoothie bowls. However, I am someone who gets bored fairly quickly so I always try to change up the smoothies in my rotation. I was playing around with a classic recipe the other day but I wanted to add something extra to it to make it more nutritious and a little bit more filling. If I didn’t tell you in the recipe here, you would never know that there’s actually cauliflower in this smoothie! That’s right, you heard me right. This smoothie has frozen riced cauliflower in the mix to add some extra fiber and nutrients into the mix such as Vitamin C, K, and folate just to name a few. I also added in some chia seeds for a source of omega-3 fatty acids and some non-dairy cashew yogurt for probiotics (great for digestion). I used non-dairy yogurt because quite frankly I do not like the taste of dairy yogurt in my smoothies. It leaves a tang to my smoothies that I don’t particularly enjoy so instead I used either almondmilk yogurt or in this case, cashew-based yogurt but of course use whatever you have or prefer. This recipe is incredibly easy and makes enough for 3 or 2 very large servings (about 32 oz.). Feel free to freeze any leftovers into ice cube molds to save for another day. Now let’s get into the specifics of the ingredients.

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Mango & Lime Popsicles

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I don’t know about you, but whenever the weather surpasses 90°F I pretty much want to avoid hot/warm foods as much as possible. During the summertime, I tend to like more cold & crisp treats to help cool down as much as possible. With that being said, over the course of the last few weeks, I have been working diligently to perfect these popsicles so it tastes like a summer explosion in your mouth. After lots of trial and error, I finally nailed it. So much so, that I had to make 3 batches several days in a row because Adrian kept eating them even though I told him I needed to do the pictures for them. Mango has always been one of my all-time favorite fruits but I have to admit I don’t always buy them because they can be a pain to cut as they leak their juice all over the place and things can very quickly become messy. I figured these popsicles would be an easy solution to that problem so if you’re like me and don’t like the mess, you can still enjoy the delicious and juicy mangos this season.

Mangos are rich in Vitamins A & C which are powerful antioxidants that help to slow the aging process. They are also a great source of fiber which is important for proper digestion. In addition to the mango, I also added some lime juice which is also rich in Vitamin C but in this case, we just added it for tartness to contrast the sweetness of the mango.

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Depending on how ripe & sweet your mangos are you may not need to do so, but I added in a bit of organic honey to boost the sweetness a bit. Before adding in the honey, I suggest tasting your popsicle mix to see if it needs additional sweetening. If so, add in small amounts and adjust to taste. Ever since I came across this honey at Ralphs, I have been obsessed with the flavor and don’t think I will ever go back to any other brand. I scored this on a special closeout sale which brought the price down to $3.99 which is much better than the regular $10 price tag. If you have a Ralphs near you, I highly recommend you track this honey down to try it for yourself. Anyways, this post is NOT sponsored but I just really really like the flavor of this honey so I figured I would mention it just in case any of you are interested.  Nonetheless, you can use any honey/sweetener you’d like. I will quickly mention that organic raw honey has antimicrobial & anti-inflammatory properties that can be beneficial for those who suffer from seasonal allergies (Adrian has the worst). Although I have previously mentioned I like to utilize maple syrup more because it is minimally processed (if at all), if you can find organic & raw honey then there are also added benefits.

All in all,  these popsicles take about 5 minutes to prep and are as simple as filling in the mold and allowing them to freeze overnight. Prep them in advance and you have a healthy & delicious treat the whole family will love!

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Double Chocolate Muffins

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Almost immediately after I posted the recipe for my orange-chia & chocolate chip muffins I started thinking about trying to make double chocolate muffins. A few days after I posted that recipe I got to work on developing this recipe and very rarely does it happen that after the first batch it’s perfect but this recipe was. The first time that I made it, it was an absolute hit from the get-go. I tried this recipe out on members of my study group for Ochem, my friend’s parents/sibling, and of course my loyal guinea pig Adrian who is the greatest partner a girl could ask for. After so much ranting and raving I decided to make another batch just to be sure of the quality and OH MY GOSH. This recipe is incredibly moist, filling, and decadent. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you would know that there is always a catch with my recipes. I always strive to create healthier versions of classic recipes and this one, in particular, is completely free of refined sugar just as all my recipes on here typically are. As usual, I substituted refined sugar for wholesome and delicious dates. But this recipe is so special because I utilized dates from the community I grew up in. I grew up in a very small agricultural town called Brawley and in making your way to Brawley, there is an even smaller town called Westmorland. It is quite possibly the smallest town in California, but they are well known for their delicious dates. The particular shop I adore is called the Westmorland Date Shake and obviously based on the name, they are known for their amazing date shakes. However, I recently learned that they are now selling their delicious dates online that you can order which is why I am mentioning them for the first time in this blog. Their dates are superior BY FAR to those that can be found in the produce section of the grocery store and can now be conveniently ordered to your home! I mention this because I truly think the quality of their products made all the difference in this recipe. One of the greatest compliments I received for this recipe was “you don’t even need milk” and that is one of the greatest things a baker can be told. So if you’re not already intrigued to try this recipe then let’s discuss the nutritional value of it.

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5 Minute Peanut Butter & Chocolate “Cookie Dough” Bites

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When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle one of the most important factors is preparation. Preparation is key to making sure you set yourself up for success as it can mean the difference between having healthy snacks at your disposal or buying on a whim snacks high in sugar or sodium. By keeping healthy snacks on hand, not only do you manage to save yourself some extra money, but you can also save yourself some extra calories by being sure of what is in your food. The recipe I will be sharing with you today is made up of simple ingredients most of which you probably already have on hand, and when put together yield a nutrient-rich snack that will be sure to hold you over in between meals. These 5-minute “cookie dough” bites are high in fiber, protein, and B vitamins which will help to keep you energized throughout the day.  You can add in nuts, dried fruit or really anything else to change up the flavors and to keep things interesting.  I encourage you to get creative in your combinations so that you don’t get bored and aren’t tempted to spend money on the overly processed choices at the store. Now let’s get into the recipe!

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Flatbread Two Ways

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Superbowl Sunday is fast approaching and if you’re hosting the party, chances are you’re looking for ideas on what to feed your hungry guests. Well in combination with my panko crusted cauliflower wings,  I think these flatbreads will be the perfect appetizers to serve your guests. Not only are they vegetarian-friendly, but they are also packed with flavor so that even your picky eaters will never notice the difference. Flatbread has been a recipe that I have been playing around with for such a long time and after going back and forth between using whole-wheat flour & regular flour, I ultimately decided to stick with all-purpose because nothing else compares.

Now, as much as I talk about making healthy choices and their importance of contributing to a long and healthy life, I also want to be sure to share with you the importance of balance. I’m someone who does not restrict and if I feel like having a piece of cake or a cookie, I let myself have it. Why? Because when you allow yourself to have little indulgences here and there, it helps to prevent you from going overboard. So for that exact reason, I don’t feel bad about sharing with you this delicious recipe for flatbread that is not whole-grain but sure does make you feel good inside.

Just because I decided to stick with traditional white flour for this recipe, that does not mean that this recipe is not healthier than flatbread you would get at a restaurant. Instead of focusing on making a completely nutrient dense crust that would have probably tasted very similar to cardboard, I decided to deduct some extra calories by being more mindful of the amount of cheese and oil I used as well as by using my own marinara sauce. By making your own flatbread at home, you are able to control the amount of cheese and oil you put into it because it is your own version. I am so excited to share these with you as they were definitely a crowd pleaser! Now let’s talk ingredients.

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Sweet & Savory Granola Bars

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Back to school season has officially arrived and I myself am getting ready to go back in the next 2 weeks. As I mentally prepare to take on organic chemistry and microbiology this coming fall, I have also been preparing some new snack and meal ideas that are convenient and delicious to grab and go.  As much as I enjoy cooking, when school time comes around, I find myself being so exhausted that the last thing I want to do is spend any extra time in the kitchen. Between work, school, and just life, in general, I try to make it as easy and painless as possible to create healthy options that can be put together in no time at all.  I find that preparing in advance helps me to prevent from spending more money than I usually would and make healthier choices because let’s be honest, on-campus options are not typically what I would call healthy.

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Dark Chocolate Cups

 

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Part of my creative process in developing recipes is thinking of certain foods that I know people love the taste of and then modifying them to result in an equally delicious but much more nutritious treat than the more traditional version. If you can guess, today’s recipe was inspired by none other than the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Reese’s cups are one of those nostalgic childhood treats because I remember them being one of my favorite candies as a kid. I think most people can agree that peanut butter and chocolate are a match made in heaven which is why this recipe will satisfy that craving because we kept both but just made some small modifications.

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