Who knew muffins could include such random but delicious ingredients? Why not put something better in there besides some super solid mystery fat and other big words we probably can’t pronounce? Bananas, cranberries, oatmeal, and carrots make a surprisingly fantastic muffin. So I cheated and bought the bag of shredded carrots and this suited my needs just fine. If you are looking for more of a carrot cake consistency (hidden carrots) then you’ll need to shred them with the box grater yourself. These taste just delightful toasted and with a little butter or jam on it. Perfect for breakfast or snack! NOM.
Breakfast Cranberry Carrot Muffins
Makes: 12 Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup 1% milk (or milk of choice)
- 2 cups shredded carrots (chop a little extra with a knife if using bagged carrots)
- 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
- Preheat the oven to 400 and spray or line a 12 tin muffin pan.
- n a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Sift well or mix with a fork until combined.
- Next add the oats, cranberries, olive oil, egg, milk, carrots, and mashed banana. Stir well until all ingredients are blended.
- Divide the batter evenly in the muffin tin and bake for 15-18 minutes until cooked through.
Full steam ahead! I’m back in my 7th out of 10th class in grad school (yes this is taking forever…), working full time at Pure Barre and as a Coach for All Access Internships. Woah buddy. All great things – but sometimes it just doesn’t allow for making healthy bachelorette meals. (Though did you hear the news?! Bachelorette only for a little while longer!)
Meal planning really helps during these busy weeks, and be sure to check out our healthy meal planning tools. These are the kind of weeks when you revert back to college and instead of doing laundry – you just buy more underwear. Yeah that happened.
Check out my weeknight power bowl! The majority of this recipe is prep, especially if you use chicken that you already cooked earlier in the week. It is a yummy, healthy and fresh meal for one that you can save for the next night, or even bring for lunch the next day. It provides lots of color from the vegetables that serve as your base, and you top it all off and make it more than your typical boring salad by adding hummus, avocado and a fun lemon cilantro vinaigrette. Did you know that the Vitamin E in olive oil helps you absorb the nutrients in your vegetables? See, salad dressing isn’t always a bad thing! Enjoy and happy cooking 🙂
Weeknight Power Bowl
Serves: 1 and 1 leftover
- 6 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 of a hot house cucumber, washed and sliced into half moons
- 8 campari tomatoes, washed and quartered
- 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
- 1/2 avocado, sliced into 6 pieces
- 6oz grilled chicken, cubed
- 4 Tablespoons pine nut hummus
- 4 Tablespoons cilantro
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided (I used dill infused for more flavor)
- Pepper to taste
- Set out a large salad bowl and a tupperware bowl.
- Add 3 cups of the baby spinach to each bowl, and top with 1/2 of the cucumber slices, 4 tomatoes, 1/8 cup red onion, 3 avocado slices and 3oz of the grilled chicken.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the pine nut hummus to the center of the bowls.
- Top each bowl with cilantro, squeeze one half of the lemon onto the salad and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.
- Top with fresh ground pepper, and serve!
Lunch ready for tomorrow! And check out this fancy planner that I got to design with Erin Condren for Pure Barre. It also has a meal planning dashboard – pretty awesome!
It’s the season of red Starbucks cups and butternut squash! Butternut squash is one of those super delicious foods, but sometimes it’s really annoying to peel… and why the heck does it have to be so heavy?! If you can find the peeled and diced packaged versions, go crazy! For the rest of you, invest in a good peeler and sharp chef’s knife. This soup made a ton but it just get’s better as the flavors meld together over a couple of days. This is a great winter comfort dish without all the extra kcals, so enjoy!
Serves: 2 (+4 lunches- wahoo!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- juice of 1 lemon
- 32 oz Vegetable stock
- 1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1/4 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat a soup pot on medium and add the olive oil
- Add the onions and garlic, saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the carrots, butternut squash, oregano, and lemon. Stir frequently for 1 minute.
- Add the vegetable stock and allow the soup to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to let it simmer for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork. If the liquid evaporates too much, add an additional cup of water.
- Use an immersion blender and blend the soup until the desired consistency is reached. I did mine about 3/4 of the way, meaning there were still some pieces of butternut squash left in it. You can obviously blend it all the way too… and in a blender if you want!
- Lastly, add the beans, kale, milk, and dill. Stir for 2-3 minutes until kale becomes soft and wilted, then serve!
Giant pot of soup. My pot, by the way, is from World Market… and it’s amazing ($13). It’s made of enamel (think camping bowls/mugs etc.). Super easy to clean and store and its so pretty.
It’s fully fall here in New England… how do I know this? I leave my house at 7am in a wool coat and come home at 5pm sweating and holding my wool coat. New England temperature fluctuations never cease to amaze me, just be incredibly inconvenient. But it’s all good, ya know? Especially when I have delicious food to make at home. So, I haven’t been apple picking yet, which means I let some nice person from Whole Foods pick them for me (wink wink). Please enjoy this quinoa salad however you wish! I served mine with oven baked spicy panko encrusted chicken, however, this would be awesome with fish or even just beans. Luckily, kale is such a hearty beast that this salad will still taste good for lunch the next day. Our homemade dressing is as simple as it gets with just four ingredients – don’t worry all of the names are easy to pronounce!
Apple Quinoa Kale Salad with Honey Lemon Vinaigrette
Serves: 2 with leftovers
- 5 of your leafiest Kale leaves
- 1 large apple, chopped (use your favorite kind or whatever is seasonally available to you!)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- Pepper to taste
For the dressing:
- juice of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.
- While the quinoa cooks, tear the leaves off in small pieces from the kale stems, wash thoroughly, drain, and place in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the chopped apples, feta cheese, sliced green onions, and avocado.
- Add the cooked quinoa to the bowl once cooked and toss well. The heat from the quinoa will help soften the kale leaves.
- For the dressing: squeeze the lemon and lime juice into a medium bowl and add the honey. Whisk well until combined. While briskly whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully combined.
- Pour dressing over salad and serve!
Place all ingredients in the bowl together.
Honey, lemon, and lime juice mixed together.
Whisking in the olive oil.
Season with a pinch of salt and pepper!
Sometimes, mornings are hard. I recently had an unfortunate morning that involved my phone alarm not going off, spilling a bag of coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor, and worst of all – forgetting my well packed bag of food for the day!! I’m sure you’ve been there and its not fun!! These types of days usually result in a medley of unorganized eating patterns because a rough morning really screws with my whole day. These 5 Ingredient no-bake bars are a great staple to keep in your freezer to grab when you’re simply on the go, in need of a snack, or having a disastrous morning! Not too mention, the Trader Joe’s Coco Chips I used as a topping are AHHmazing.
Peanut Butter Banana Coconut Breakfast Bars
Makes 4 Bars!
- 1 1/2 cups Whole Rolled Oats
- 1/4 cup natural peanut butter of your choice
- 1 medium mashed banana
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp honey
- Handful of Trader Joe’s Coco Chips on top (Can also use 2 tbsp regular shredded coconut)
- Optional extras: cranberries, chocolate chips, slivered or whole almonds/pecans, chia seeds, flaxseeds
1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, peanut butter, mashed banana, and cinnamon. It works well to microwave the peanut butter for 15 seconds to soften it slightly, prior to mixing. Mix well until thick mixture is well combined.
2. Place a large piece of plastic wrap in a loaf pan, this will allow you to easily remove the bars when finished. Press the, oatmeal mixture into the bottom and evenly flatten. Top the mixture with the honey and coco chips. Wrap up with the extra plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour. Slice and serve, keep in the fridge for 5 days or freeze individually wrapped!
Individually wrapped and ready to go!
Beets are the type of food that when consumed, I can almost feel my body saying, “thanks, I needed that”! Nutrient dense with powerful antioxidants and a unique flavor that is easily enhanced, beets are the ultimate vegetable. I roasted mine with an easy lemon herbal pesto-like mix and finished it off with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and avocado – delish! Goes well as a side with fish, chicken, meat etc!
Roasted Beets with Fresh Herbs & Goat Cheese
Serves: 2 (with leftovers)
- 1lb yellow or red beets, diced (save the leaves!)
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 cup chopped beet leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped dill
- 1 green onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons goat cheese
- 1/4 avocado, diced
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash beets, cut off the leaves and put to the side for later. Carefully peel the beets using a peeler. Dice into bite size pieces.
3. Place the diced beets on a baking sheet, toss in olive oil and fresh pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until beets are fork tender.
4. While the beets cook, combine beet leaves, parsley, dill, garlic, green onion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and lemon juice.
5. When beets are cooked, add into herb mixture and toss lightly. Lastly, add in sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and avocado. Enjoy!
Hey winter – enough is enough!
If you saw our Facebook post on Friday, the weather in Greenville, SC vs. Boston, MA is very different right now. Ranging 30-50 degrees! For those of you in the Northeast .. I am so sorry. You have put up with enough snow, ice and cold.. you all deserve spring!! I grew up in upstate NY and went to ‘Cuse, so I totally get it. March weather is seriously the worst.
Today I thought I would bring a little hope for spring through food. Check out my springy tasting avocado strawberry salad with goat cheese and walnuts. This salad is a great meal for one, whether it be for lunch or dinner. You can add some lean protein to it too to make it heartier (think grilled chicken, shrimp or salmon). The strawberry brings a refreshing sweetness, while the goat cheese and avocado give a welcomed creaminess to the salad and the walnuts give the perfect amount of crunch. The avocado also gives some “meat” to the salad, as it is full of healthy good fats, and also keeps you fuller longer. Remeber: don’t be afraid of fats!! While I totally and completely love everything about the 90s, I do hate how fat phobic it made everyone. Incorporating good fats in your diet (like nuts and avocados here) will help reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Bonus: They have a much better full factor than carbs, which make you crave more and more.
Enjoy, and don’t worry, spring is coming!!
Avocado & Strawberry Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts
- 2-3 cups arugula
- 1/4 medium size avocado, sliced
- 3-4 medium sized strawberries sliced
- 1 oz goat cheese
- 1 Tablespoon chopped walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper and dried herbs to taste
- Add the arugula to a large bowl.
- Top with the sliced avocado, sliced strawberries, crumbled goat cheese and chopped walnuts.
- Dress the salad with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and fresh ground pepper and a small amount of fresh dried herbs (such as basil, if desired).
- Toss and eat!
What are your favorite spring foods?