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Sweet + Spicy Brussels Sprouts

I’m an olive oil/salt/pepper savory roasted veggie type of gal, but I wanted to come up with something a little different with some special “treat yo’ self” vibes as the holiday season is approaching. This recipe couldn’t be easier and the combination of salty, sweet and heat with the pecans bringing the texture is amazing. These Brussels sprouts are going to be especially welcome on the Thanksgiving table to bring a pop of green amongst the delicious but bland in color sea of traditional Thanksgiving foods!

Sweet + Spice Brussels Sprouts

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: ~30 Minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients:
~1 Lb Brussels Sprouts
1/4 – 1/2 Cup Pecan Halves
2 Tsp Hot Sauce (I used Syrachacuse Syracuse Style Hot Sauce from our new brick + mortar neighbors, Syrachacuse!)
2.5 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup
3 Tbsp Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Garlic Powder

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425. Wash and trim the ends of Brussels Sprouts, making sure to remove any damaged leaves. Slice in half length wise.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pecans on baking sheet. When the oven is up to temperature, place the baking sheet with the pecans in the oven in a middle rack for 3 minutes.

3. While the pecans cook, make the sauce for the Brussels Sprouts by combining the hot sauce, maple syrup, liquid aminos, olive oil and garlic powder.

4. Pour the sauce over the Brussels Sprouts and stir well.

5. Remove the pecans and set aside.

6. Using the same baking sheet/parchment paper, pour out Brussels Sprouts and all of the sauce onto the baking sheet (it may look like a bit of a runny mess, but that is okay)!

Look at how the sauce is soaked up by the Brussels and caramelizes! YUM.


7. Bake for 30 minutes at 425, stirring once half way through. Remove from the oven and combine with the pecans. I broke my pecans up into smaller pieces. Serve warm or room temperature!

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Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

In our house, Sunday mornings are for slow starts, good coffee and hearty breakfasts. I like to stay in comfy clothes, make something a little more special to eat and plot out the coming week. These Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes are definitely Sunday morning worthy, but they are really simple enough to make any day of the week and you could double or triple this recipe to have leftovers for easy weekday breakfasts. These pancakes are packed with calcium, vitamin A, protein and fiber. Aside from being the perfect addition to these pancakes, Blueberries are also a good source of fiber and micronutrients like vitamins C and K.

Simple + Healthy Blueberry Pancakes – Gluten Free

Serves 2 (3 pancake servings)
Prep Time: 2 Minutes
Cook Time: ~8 Minutes

Ingredients:

½ Cup of Instant Oatmeal (Woodstock Organic is my favorite!)
1 Egg
2 Egg Whites
1 Ripe Banana
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Optional: 1 Tsp Vanilla
1 Cup Blueberries

Instructions:

1. Place all ingredients besides the blueberries in a blender. Blend for roughly 30 seconds or until smooth.

2. Spray or lightly oil a nonstick pan over high heat.

3. Pour the pancake mixture into the pan into three or six equal sized portions. If you can only fit three in your pan, you will need to do a second batch!

4. Cook for four minutes. Using a spatula, lift the edge to check for doneness. If the pancake is cooked through on the bottom, flip the pancake over and continue to cook on the other side for another four minutes.

5. When pancakes are done, top with some real maple syrup, yogurt, honey, more fresh berries, nut butter, or whatever you are in the mood for! These can be made ahead, stored in the fridge and microwaved for a quick weekday breakfast, too.

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Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

It’s officially squash season! Squash is versatile, hearty and is able to be kept for quite a while if stored properly. Additionally, squash is packed with nutrients! A one cup serving of butternut squash contains about 25% RDI of fiber, is absolutely loaded with vitamin a, and also contains plenty of vitamin c, manganese and potassium!

While I eat soup all year long, something about fall makes soup seem like a requirement. I oftentimes make a batch of soup to enjoy during the week as a quick lunch or even as a snack. This butternut squash soup is creamy, dreamy and also happens to be gluten free + vegan and the addition of turmeric enhances the color and flavor of this soup.

Easiest Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 6
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash
2 Tbsp Olive Oil, Divided
1 Sweet Onion, Diced
4 Cloves of Garlic, Minced
1 Tsp Turmeric
1 Can Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk*
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Salt
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

*The Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Coconut Milk is Amazing because it has less fat than regular coconut milk but more fat than “Lite” or light coconut milk which often contains added thickeners!

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Clean the outside of your butternut squash. Dry and slice lengthwise with a sharp knife. Using a spoon, scoop out the stringy parts and seeds from the bottom of the squash. Using 1 tbsp of olive oil, coat each half of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven with the cut side of the squash facing up and bake for ~40 minutes, or until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

2. When the squash has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and leave it to the side to cool. While it cools, sauté the diced onion and minced garlic in a sauce pan in the remaining tbsp of olive oil and a pinch of salt, stirring frequently so the garlic doesn’t burn. Continue to cook until translucent, about 8 minutes.

3. If the squash is able to be handled, use a metal spoon to scoop out the flesh away from the skin of the squash. Place the cooked squash in a bowl.

4. In a blender, add the squash, onion + garlic mixture, turmeric, coconut milk and vegetable broth. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to do this in two batches!

5. Return the blended mixture to the sauce pan and heat through. Add salt and fresh black pepper to taste. Serve topped with fresh herbs, chunks of roasted butternut squash, pepitas or red pepper flakes.

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How To Meal Plan For A Week

If you have worked with me in the past, we have more likely than not come up with a meal plan that suits your individual needs. If you have not yet worked with me, you can adopt some of my tips that I use when I create my own weekly meal plans for myself!

You can make your weekly plan anywhere that works for you – on your phone, on a piece of paper or on your calendar. If you are unsure where to start, take a look below at and download this template I have created!


1. ASSESS

I assess what I have on hand already so that I am not over stuffing my fridge and pantry with items that I already have.

Tip: Do you have a pantry full of shelf stable, canned or frozen items you maybe stocked up on when COVID hit? Is there food in the back of your cupboard or at the bottom of your freezer you need to use? Per the USDA, between 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted.  Plan your meals around these items you’ve been storing to prevent food waste!

2. PLAN OUT MEALS / SNACKS

Making a list once a week of meals and snacks helps me tremendously throughout the week. It helps avoid stress around the question “what’s for dinner” and when I have options ready for meals and snacks, it is one less thing I have to think about. Taking 10-15 minutes to plan this out at the beginning of the week is definitely worth the time and mental space you will save during the week had you not planned ahead!

Tips: Make sure to include protein, fats and complex carbohydrates in your meals.

Plan accordingly for the specific week. Will you be ordering take out for lunch with the office or going to a restaurant for a birthday? Do you have guests coming to see you? Do not forget to account for these things when you are figuring out what you will be eating for the week. 

Some people prefer the ease in prep of eating the same meal or the same two meals all week while there are others who will not eat the same thing twice. Consider your preferences while making your plan!

Once you have your meal and snack options listed, stick to these. While you may flip flop the days of certain meals, try to stick to the meals and snacks you have planned for.

3. WRITE A SHOPPING LIST 

What items do you need to purchase? Resist filling your cart with things that “look good” and simply stick to the list of items you need to complete what you have planned for the week.

Tip: Going to the store with a list helps me stay on my budget and nutrition goals! I also like choosing items that I can use in multiple meals – for example I may purchase Avocado to use in a wrap and on tacos, I may purchase pineapple to grill with shrimp and to also have as a snack. Substitute items in recipes or meals where you can to avoid having to buy something just for one meal. For example, instead of buying lettuce for one salad, I may just use kale that I also planned on buying for use in a soup. Keep things simple!

4. PREP 

You may do the bulk of your prep on one day or prep a little bit each day. I like to make notes about what I am doing on what day. I may do the bulk of the prep one day, but include notes for other days about prep for an upcoming meal. For example, I may make a note in the middle of the week to defrost something from the freezer in anticipation of a meal for the next day or to chop up some vegetables.

Tip: Don’t skip this step! Prepping out full meals, parts of meals and snacks is key to staying on track. When you are tired after a long day or your stomach rumbles mid-afternoon and you need a snack, you may be tempted to swing by a convenience store or drive through to grab something quick. When you are hungry, your cravings will be even stronger and you will be more susceptible to doing this. When you know that you have a snack on hand or you are able to toss a meal together when you get home in no time, you can avoid the quick fixes to your hunger!

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Zucchini Ribbon Salad

Nothing says summer like having copious amounts of Zucchini (and tomatoes and peppers)! To keep from getting sick of having such a bounty, it is important to switch it up and try using this item in new ways. This zucchini ribbon salad utilizes raw green and yellow zucchini, picked while still small and tender and before the seeds get huge and out of control. This is the perfect addition to any meal or also great for lunch!

Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Rest Time: 20 Minutes

Ingredients:
3 Small Zucchini/Squash (I used 2 green and 1 yellow, any combination is fine!)
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Onion Powder
A small dab of honey
Ground Black Pepper
Salt
2-3 Tbsp Chopped Walnuts
1 Oz Goat Cheese, crumbled
Scallions or Chives

Instructions:

1. Wash and dry the zucchini. Chop off both ends. Using a good, sharp vegetable peeler or a mandolin, cut thin ribbons lengthwise down the zucchini, discarding the first piece that is all skin. When you reach the seeds, flip the zucchini over and start the same process on the other side. (I have found that the green variety tend to have fewer seeds). Once the piece of zucchini gets too thin to create ribbons or you have reached seeds, discard or better yet, set aside to use in a different recipe, like this amazing zucchini bread from Cookie + Kate!

2. Place the ribbons in a colander and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Give the zucchini ribbons a stir to distribute the salt. Let sit for 20 minutes to drain out some of the excess water. During this time, you can prep your dressing by combing the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, onion powder and honey. Set aside. You can also toast your walnuts if you’d like. I recommend toasting them as it really brings out the flavor!

3. Using a lint free dish towel (a tea towel) or paper towels, gently pat the zucchini ribbons to remove any excess moisture. Transfer the ribbons to a bowl.

4. Pour the dressing onto the ribbons and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with goat cheese, walnuts and some chopped chives or scallions!