Vegan Chili Cheese Dip

Though I tend to eat pretty differently than the rest of my family (mostly vegetarian/vegan/whole foods), I love getting recipe inspiration from my little siblings. I write down their recipe requests, then try to figure out how to make healthier versions of their favorite dishes.

This recipe is inspired by my brother’s request for a chili cheese dip to serve during the Super Bowl. While I’m not a big football person or chili person, I am most definitely a snack person, so this recipe was the perfect challenge.

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Carrot Chips

As I begin looking at colleges, one of my top priorities is warm weather. I am absolutely miserable in the cold, so the stress of college AND freezing my butt off? No thanks.

Even though California winters are pretty mild, I bundle up in puffy coats and drink tea until spring. This afternoon I was having trouble doing my math homework because I keep stopping to hold my hands up to my heater, so if I were to live anywhere colder than CA, I’m pretty sure my academic performance would suffer.

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Chunky Monkey Mug Cake

I am beyond thrilled to be sharing one of my favorite recipes AND one of my favorite brands with ya today.

Every day this week I was totally HANGRY when I got home from school (like that’s new), and my snack needs were very specific. I wanted something that:

  1. Was warm and cozy
  2. Would keep me full until dinner
  3. I could prepare in less than 5 minutes

It took me a while, but I finally came up with a recipe that checked all the boxes. Even better, this mug cake features my very favorite chocolate: Eating Evolved.

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Apple Quinoa Bowl

I’ve been reading the blog Imma Eat That for about a year now, and I love Kylie’s emphasis on eating satisfying foods. I find many people focus on what they think they should be eating and forget to pay attention to what they want to be eating/what makes their bodies feel good. At least, that’s true for my personal experience. I’m so grateful to Kylie for helping me get back in touch with my body and cravings.

While reading her blog the other day, I realized I’ve been feeling unsatisfied with my lunches recently. Salads, sandwiches, soups… they all leave me wanting something more. So this week, I decided to concoct a little something special. Especially because it’s midterms week, so I absolutely NEED something delicious to look forwards to during my lunch breaks.

I’m absolutely thrilled to report that I’ve finally found a meal that can give me all those happy-glowy-yummy food feels AND keep me full through 3 hours of school + my 2 hour volunteer shift at my local hospital.

This recipe has so many flavors, colors, and textures- from crisp apple spirals to crunchy sunflower seeds to earthy, hearty lentils- it brings a much needed excitement to those grueling lunch periods in the library.

Whether you’re a student in need of some study fuel, someone who wants to be the #desklunchgoals of their office, or you just love easy, healthy meals, this bowl is for you.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Apple Quinoa Bowl
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Serves 2
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup lentils
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 carrot
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • ½ tbsp chia seeds
Instructions
  1. Add lentils, quinoa, and water to a large frying pan/skillet.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. While quinoa and lentils cook, spiralize the apple and chop the carrot. If you don't have a spiralizer, you can dice the apple instead.
  4. Once quinoa and lentils are almost done, add apple, carrot, cinnamon, turmeric, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds to the pan.
  5. Cook for 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally, then serve.

Enchilada Pie

Do you have a go-to meal for when you want to impress people? Something delicious you can make perfectly every time? I’m pretty sure that’s the true sign of having your life together.

The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest, wondering what my go-to meal should be, and I got completely overwhelmed by all the 3 course feast ideas that looked as if they’d take 3 hours to make. Like no, the whole point is that this meal looks (and preferably is) effortless.

And that’s when I remembered this gem of a recipe I’d scribbled down in my notebook a couple weeks ago. Originally, I’d planned to create a recipe for homemade enchilada sauce, but when I first tested this Enchilada pie I was busy and hangry and did NOT have time for something as temperamental as enchilada sauce. So instead I just used the salsa I had in my fridge, which was so delicious and easy I’m never going back. And honestly this was also an excuse to use my mini skillet. Like look at that thing! How cute is that??

This meal seriously takes 15 minutes to make (at most) and is quite possibly my new favorite food. The combination doughy tortillas, gooey cheese, and spicy salsa make for some of the best healthy(ish) comfort food I’ve ever had. Pair this with a simple salad and you’ll wow your guests without breaking a sweat.

Enchilada Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup grated cheddar cheese (Use dairy free cheese, such as Parmela Creamery if vegan)
  • ¾ cup enchilada sauce (or be lazy and use salsa like me)
Instructions
  1. Place a mini skillet over medium heat.
  2. Cover the bottom of the skillet with 2 corn tortillas.
  3. Top tortillas with ½ cup enchilada sauce/salsa.
  4. Sprinkle ¼ cup cheese evenly over skillet.
  5. Layer on remaining tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  6. Remove from heat and broil for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve with avocado.
Notes
If you don't have a skillet, you can also use a small round baking pan and bake the enchilada pie for 10-15 minutes. I kept it basic this time around, but I imagine adding some beans or veggies between the first layer of cheese and second layer of tortillas would be delicious. To make gluten free, simply make sure to use gluten free corn tortillas.

Miso Salad

The other day, my aunt wondered aloud if there were any foods she could eat to improve gut health, and before she new it, I was talking her ear off about prebiotics, probiotics, collagen, kombucha, and everything in between. I absolutely love moments like these, when I’m able to use my nutrition knowledge, which sometimes seems unnecessary, to help the people I love.

After I’d showed her my go-to Instagram accounts for gut health (such as shutthekaleup and, of course, my own) and debated the benefits of komucha vs. apple cider vinegar, I headed to the kitchen to make her a probiotic-rich lunch. My aunt loves salads, and, unlike me, favors salty snacks over sweet, so this salty, crunchy miso bowl was the perfect meal to turn her onto some gut-healthy foods.

Miso and tempeh, both made with fermented soybeans, are great foods to help people ease into a probiotic rich diet. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, I think this salad would be delish topped with some sauerkraut or kimchi and enjoyed with a glass of kombucha.

If you’re interested in more simple lunch ideas, subscribe to my blog and receive a FREE downloadable PDF with 5 healthy, satisfying lunches you can enjoy on the go.
And if you make this salad, be sure to take a picture and share with me on Instagram or comment and tell me how it turned out!
5.0 from 2 reviews
Miso Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 6 cups arugula
  • 12 oz tempeh
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ⅓ cup miso dressing
  • Miso Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp red miso paste
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2-3 tbsp warm water
  • 1 tsp agave (can sub honey or maple syrup
  • ½ inch piece fresh ginger, finely minced or grated (can try to sub with 1 tsp ground, but I can't guarantee results)
Instructions
  1. Cut tempeh into cubes, drizzle with olive oil, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 ºF.
  2. Toast almonds in small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden-brown and fragrant.
  3. Whisk together dressing ingredients. If you find the dressing is too thick, slowly add more warm water.
  4. Toss arugula with dressing, then top with toasted almonds and tempeh.

Tex-Mex Grilled Cheese

You know those rainy afternoons when all you want is to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a grilled cheese sandwich? But you also want to eat healthy and feel lovely and plant powered and glowy? Or perhaps you’re testing out a plant based diet challenge (such as 10 Days to Your Plant Powered Kitchen by Emilie Eats)? Yeah, me too.

And you know what I do on those nights? I make myself this incredible Tex Mex Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Parmela Creamery cheddar cheese shreds!

Parmela Creamery is a total game changer in the world of dairy free cheeses. Their mission is to “accelerate the transition to plant based diets” and create a cheese alternative that is actually GOOD for you.

The cheddar cheese I used in this recipe is GMO free, dairy free, and cholesterol free, AND it is packed full of incredible flavor. There is none of the sliminess or chemically quality I have come to associate with vegan cheeses. The cheddar shreds also melt perfectly, making this vegan cheese grilled cheese sandwich absolutely to die for.

Order your cheese here, and let me know if you try their products or make this sandwich. I’d love to hear your opinion!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Tex Mex Grilled Cheese
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 4 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 oz. Parmela’s Creamery Cheddar Cheese
  • ¼ cup favorite salsa
  • ¼ cup guacamole
  • Guacamole:
  • 1 avocado
  • ¼ cup diced tomato
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • Small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mash avocado in medium mixing bowl, then stir in remaining guacamole ingredients.
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Top one slice of bread with 1 oz. cheddar cheese and place in skillet.
  4. Spread 2 tbsp. guacamole and 2tbsp. salsa on another slice of bread.
  5. Once cheese has melted, place 2nd slice of bread (with guacamole and salsa) on top of 1st slice and flip sandwich with spatula.
  6. Cook until both sides are toasted (about 30 more seconds), then serve!
  7. Repeat with remaining ingredients for second sandwich.
Notes
Guacamole recipe will yield more than needed for this sandwich, so save the extra guac for future snacking!

5.0 from 1 reviews
 

I received complimentary samples of Parmela Creamery cheeses for review, but was not otherwise compensated for this post, and, of course, all opinions are my own.

Matcha Green Smoothie

If you’re like me, then the idea of facing all your responsibilities again after a (hopefully) lovely period of relaxation gets your stomach twisted up in knots. Whether yours are severe, sailor type knots or more like loose bows, your feelings are absolutely valid and deserve to be addressed.

For me, addressing these feelings of anxiety means reminding myself that even as my life gets busier I’m still allowed to practice self care and spend time with people I love. This really should be a given- of course I’m allowed to make some tea, put on a face mask, and call my best friend whenever the heck I want- but I think when I get stressed I begin to see self care as a waste of time.

This is most definitely FALSE because loving and caring for yourself is one of the most important investments you will ever make. At the same time, I completely understand the panic of being pressed for time and feeling like you can’t take a moment to combat the pressure/anxiety/fear you’re feeling.

And that, my friends, is where this smoothie comes in. Breakfast and magic anti-stress elixir all in one! What could be better than that?

Ok, for real though. While I can’t actually promise this will cure your anxiety, it does have some legitimate brain boosting benefits. Spinach is rich in magnesium, which acts as a “natural ‘chill pill'” according to MindBodyGreen. Bananas supply potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, while turmeric contains mood boosting antioxidants. Matcha, however, is really the star of the show. While matcha contains caffeine (meaning this smoothie will help you ditch your coffee addiction), it also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which promotes relaxation. Most matcha can be a little pricey, but you can find my favorite affordable brand here.

When I was growing up, my dad would say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.” So if you’re feeling a little stressed, get going to the kitchen and make this smoothie!

Matcha Green Smoothie
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: Serves 1
 
Ingredients
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen spinach
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • ½ tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ¾ cup brewed matcha tea
Instructions
  1. Peel ginger.
  2. Add all ingredients to blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Drink and feel your stress melt away.

 

All nutrition information comes from this article and this article from MindBodyGreen.