As much as I absolutely love summer, I am enjoying the first bits of crisp air and the fact that the stars seem a little bit brighter this time of year!
As the seasons change, I slowly start changing some of what I am eating to include more warm foods and this time of year is perfect to use up the fresh, local produce in some warm dishes (although you can catch me eating soup any time of year). I am sharing a few ideas with you below!
Use up veggies like fresh zucchini, eggplant, onions and peppers by chopping them up and grilling or roasting them. Simply add olive oil, salt and pepper and cook to the level of doneness you like. Fresh herbs, garlic and balsamic are also welcome additions. Use these throughout the week in a variety of ways:
In the filling of an omelet, on a wrap or sandwich with some hummus or cheese, on top of a scoop of quinoa or brown rice with some greens and a protein, tossed on your favorite pizza crust that’s been topped with a sprinkle of cheese and a handful of spinach or arugula, mixed with your favorite cooked pasta (I love a lentil or quinoa pasta for extra protein!) a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper, in the filling of a crustless quiche or egg cups for a quick, microwave and go breakfast.
Use up extra peppers and even sub canned tomatoes for fresh ones in this amazing shakshuka recipe that is a favorite for brunch but also works a healthy lunch or dinner.
Store bought tomato soup can contain thickeners and added sugar. Skip those and make your own! Chop up 3.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes, 1 large onion and 1 large red bell pepper. Place in a baking dish. Add 3 cloves of peeled garlic, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Roast at 450 for 30-40 minutes until vegetables are soft, stirring halfway through. Let cool for 10-15 minutes and then add to a blender in batches. If the soup is thicker than you’d like, thin it with some chicken or vegetable broth. I find this totally dairy free soup to be so incredibly rich and creamy but if you’d like, you could add a couple tablespoons of cream, yogurt or the milk of your choice.
Use up extra green beans, tomatoes, herbs and zucchini in one of my favorite soup recipes and swap out the frozen veggies for fresh. You could even replace some of the canned tomatoes with fresh ones! This is a super filling lunch and you could always freeze leftovers.
Slice fresh tomatoes and pat off some of the excess moisture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a pinch of shredded or grated Parmesan. Grill or broil until cheese is melted. Add balsamic if you’d like.
Use up basil with this pesto recipe. Grill slices of veggies and top with pesto. Alternatively, cut the veggies in larger strips and serve room temperature with a mixture of Greek yogurt and pesto as a dip for a twist on a veggie tray or as an addition to your charcuterie board.
Pack up raw zucchini cut into sticks with a side of hummus or your favorite dip as a great snack for work or school.
Turn your tomatoes into “sun dried” tomatoes using this recipe. I did this last summer and they were absolutely unreal. I added them to any/everything!
No bake cookies are a favorite of mine because they require so little effort and are ready so quickly! Unlike traditional cookies, these can be made using your stovetop (or heck, even your microwave!) and you don’t have to wait for them to bake. These no bakes contain antioxidant rich cacao powder, fiber packed oats and chia seed as well as antioxidant packed cacao and goji berries. YUM.
Easy Chocolate No Bake Cookies
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook Time: 2 Minutes Makes ~20 Cookies
Ingredients: 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil 1/3 Cup Almond Milk (or milk of your choice) 2 Tbsp Real Maple Syrup (You could use up to 3 depending on how sweet you like things!) 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract 2 Tbsp Cacao Powder (Navitas is my favorite!) Pinch of Salt 1 3/4 Cup Instant Oats 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes 1/4 Cup Dried Goji Berries (If you cant find these, consider subbing something like raisins!)
Instructions: 1. Place coconut oil, milk and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until until coconut oil is melted, about five minutes. 2. Turn off stovetop and stir in vanilla extract, cacao powder and salt to the coconut oil/maple syrup/milk mixture. 3. Add the oats and stir until well combined. Add in chia seeds, coconut flakes and goji berries. 4. Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, place tablespoon sized scoops of the mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave raised or using a piece of parchment and your palm or the back of a spoon, press down on the cookies to flatten. 5. Place in the refrigerator for ten minutes or until the mixture is cool. Transfer the cookies to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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
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!
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