Healthy Cauliflower Fried Rice

Hi Everyone,

As winter approaches, it is a great time to test new recipes and experiment with adding your favorite ingredients to create your own healthy, unique dish. Lately, I have been on a cauliflower kick, and have loved using cauliflower in place of traditional starches I would use in recipes such as pizza, pasta, and rice. Not only is cauliflower almost identical in taste, but it also packs an extra nutrient punch into all sorts of recipes. It’s versatility makes it easy to cook with, and you can easily switch things up by adding new sauces, veggies, and/or proteins.

The other day when we were off of school, I wanted to make some kind of stir fry, but realized we were out of the typical ingredients I would use. So, I decided to make a homemade fried rice with similar flavors, and ended up coming up with this recipe.

This cauliflower fried rice tastes just like traditional fried rice, and can easily be customized with your favorite add-ins. So, please enjoy, and let me know what you think! 

Healthy Cauliflower Fried Rice

serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 package frozen cauliflower rice (unflavored)
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 2 tbs. grass fed butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar snap peas
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce (or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
  • 1/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 tbs. chopped onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs. chopped green onion
  • salt, to taste

Steps:

In a medium skillet over medium high heat, add cauliflower rice and water. Once defrosted, add butter, soy sauce, and garlic powder. Add in chopped sugar snap peas, carrots, and onions, and crack both eggs into skillet. Continue to mix until evenly distributed throughout rice, and serve with green onion on top, Enjoy!

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The Best Cauliflower Gnocchi

Hey Everyone!

Chances are, if you’re even slightly involved in the health food world, then you’ve heard about (or tried) the increasingly famous cauliflower gnocchi. This pasta-like phenomenon is definitely as good as the reviews say, and I have easily jumped onto this bandwagon.

One of the main reasons why this dish is so popular, in my opinion, it’s it’s versatility. You can cook up this gnocchi with some pesto, tomato, mozzarella, and drizzle of balsamic vinegar for a caprese version, mix it with some tomato sauce and basil for a true italian taste, or make it my favorite way, which I’m showing you here. After trying to find the absolute best version of this gnocchi that brings out all the best flavors, I found that this recipe I came up with was always ranked first.

While many might like this cauliflower gnocchi (I find it at Trader Joe’s) because it is gluten free and a lighter alternative to the traditional potato and ricotta gnocchi, I like the taste and simplicity it. This is the perfect side to whip up in a flash, or you can easily add in a variety of vegetables, chicken, or your favorite add-ins for a warm and filling meal.

They key to my recipe is actually not cooking the gnocchi like the package tells you! The first time I made this and was experimenting with a recipe, I cooked the gnocchi according to the directions and found myself with a soup-like, squishy consistency. If you try it this way, however, you’ll find yourself with gnocchi that has a golden crisp on the outside and a soft, doughy pasta inside.

So, let me know if you like this gnocchi as much as I do, and don’t forget to share with others! Happy November 🙂

The Best Cauliflower Gnocchi 

(serves 1-2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 package Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
  • 1 cup organic baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 1 tbs. organic olive oil
  • 2 tbs. nutritional yeast (optional- dairy free cheese seasoning)
  • 2 tbs. fresh cheddar cheese 
  • Sprinkle of Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (optional)

Steps:

In a medium skillet pan, add gnocchi, water, and olive oil. On medium high heat, cook the gnocchi until defrosted and slightly golden, about 8 minutes. Add in nutritional yeast, spinach, and tomatoes, and cook on a medium low heat for another 5 minutes, until slightly crispy and spinach and tomatoes are cooked. Sprinkle in cheddar cheese and mix until melted. After plating, sprinkle with Everything but the Bagel seasoning, if you’d like. Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Bites

Hi Everyone!

It’s officially that time of year… pumpkin everything season! Every year around September, brands of all types began selling their version of a pumpkin spice product, some good and some definitely not. While I definitely have my favorites (pumpkin pie Perfect Bars YUM), it’s important to watch out for what’s actually pumpkin spice and what’s hiding behind a name.

Not only has Starbucks hopped on the train of pumpkin spice flavoring, but so has everything from crackers to almond milk to goat cheese. However, many of these brands use artificial pumpkin flavoring, and have no actual trace of real pumpkin in them. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have real pumpkin, not only because it tastes better but also because it’s better for you!

Fall is the perfect time to make simple and delicious snacks and treats to share with others, and these energy bites are the perfect choice. They are a great addition to your morning yogurt bowl or with some fruit on the side for breakfast, or you can grab a couple in between activities for a quick pick-me-up. Yum!

These can also be made with or without chocolate chips, and the addition of collagen peptides make these bites a great source of protein and boost for your hair and skin. 

So, without further ado, please enjoy making this delicious snack and happy fall! 🙂


Spiced Pumpkin Chip Energy Bites

Makes 10-12 Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup organic canned (or fresh mashed) pumpkin 
  • 3 tbs. powdered peanut butter (preferably unsweetened- I like Crazy Richard’s)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2/3 cup whole grain oats
  • 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 scoops collagen peptides (optional)
  • 2 tbs. softened coconut oil
  • drizzle pure maple syrup (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)

Steps:

In a food processor, combine all ingredients and chop until smooth. Roll into bites or other desired shape and refrigerate for up to one week. Enjoy!

My Review of 100 Days of Real Food On a Budget + Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites!

Hi Everyone!

Today I am so happy to share with you that one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Lisa Leake, has come out with her newest cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget. Lisa is such an inspiration to me and so many others, and as I have shared before, she is the perfect role model for the real food community and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to be one of her cookbook ambassadors! She is so passionate about spreading her love of real food and showing others how easy and delicious it can be, which is amazing. Congratulations, Lisa!


This is her third cookbook and I love it just as much as her other two, if not even more! If you haven’t checked the other books out, her first cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food, perfectly describes her family’s journey towards cutting out processed food and has several delicious recipes and kitchen staples, and her second book, 100 Days of Real Food Fast and Fabulous has all of kinds of recipes and tips to make eating and cooking real food fun and easy. Her newest cookbook, 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget, focuses on budget-friendly ways to cook real food dishes, which is so helpful and perfect for anyone looking to make eating whole foods easy and less expensive. Sign me up! 🙂

Real food can seem expensive, but with Lisa’s new book, you can easily navigate any grocery store to choose the best options for you without breaking the bank. Each recipe in her book is just $15 or less to make and there are $100 weekly dinner meal plans for each season included as well. Not to mention, there are helpful resources in her book such as a supermarket price comparison chart, packed lunch ideas for both kids and adults (my personal favorite), and general tips for buying real food on a budget. Her recipes are made up of blog favorites and new additions that you will love making, many of which can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian, and/or nut-free. There’s truly something for everyone in this incredibly creative and practical cookbook and guide to real food!

100 Days of Real Food on a Budget is available to order today, August 14th, so go pick up your copy and get cooking! In the meantime, I am going to share with you one of my favorite recipes in Lisa’s new book, the Oatmeal Cookie Energy Bites. You all know that I’m a huge fan of fast, easy, delicious snacks on the go and these bites are perfect for the end of summer and back to school! So, enjoy this recipe and the many others you will receive if (when!) you order Lisa’s newest book, and please don’t forget to share your glowing reviews of 100 Days of Real Food on a Budget with others. 🙂 Thanks foodies, stay tuned for more great recipes and tips coming soon!

Refreshing Mint Cacao Smoothie

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all having a great summer and have been able to escape the heat. This summer I’ve been working outside as a lifeguard and it can get pretty warm out, but I’ve been loving ice cold smoothies to cool down! It’s no secret that I am already a smoothie lover (who isn’t?) but summertime smoothies are by far the best. After all, you can’t beat a nutrient packed drink full of all the vitamins you need for the day that also tastes great!

Mint and chocolate are both a classic and decadent combination that is perfect for warm weather. When you combine the cool zing of the mint flavor with the rich dark cocoa, you are left with a delicious treat. So, I decided to make a healthy version of the original mint chip milkshake that still taste out-of-this-world (you can even add less liquid to make your own mint chocolate ice cream!)


In addition, this particular smoothie has frozen cauliflower as a great addition! While this may sound strange, it has no taste in the smoothie and gives it a thicker, more milkshake like texture. It also can easily be dairy free for those with allergies!

So, please enjoy this recipe, and let me know what you think! I hope you all have a healthy and fun summer, stay tuned for lots of new content coming soon. 🙂

Refreshing Mint Cacao Smoothie

———————————————————-

Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana (preferably organic) 
  • 1/2 cup frozen cauliflower (riced is easiest)
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (or other yogurt of your choice)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Leaves of 1 1/2 bunches of mint
  • 1 tsp. cacao powder 
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

Steps:

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend on high until you reach a thick and milkshake-like consistency. Enjoy!


Morning Matcha Smoothie 

Hi Everyone!

Today I am excited to share a recipe for an energizing and refreshing smoothie with you- my morning matcha smoothie. 🙂 This drink uses matcha, a type of green tea, as its key ingredient, to add a boost of caffeine that won’t make you crash and a nice flavor. Matcha, which has become increasingly more popular in the health food industry in the past few years, is a great substitute for coffee as it is high in antioxidants and promotes relaxation. While I have been enjoying matcha tea lattes (recipe coming soon!) the warmer weather has been great for these smoothies.

Now, you all know how much I love to blend up smoothies for a quick breakfast with a nutrient punch, and as summer gets closer and spring schedules become busier, this is the obvious choice for a healthy breakfast or meal on the go. While I love my Raspberry Almond Breakfast Smoothie (recipe on the blog!) and other favorites, this matcha smoothie is a great way to switch things up. The addition of a frozen banana adds creaminess and natural sweetness, and the cinnamon adds a nice flavor boost to balance out your blood sugar.

So, without further ado, please enjoy this morning matcha green smoothie and stay tuned for more refreshing summer recipes coming soon!


Morning Matcha Smoothie
Ingredients:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt 
  • 1-2 tsp. matcha green tea (I find mine in packets at trader joe’s) 
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp. honey (optional)
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

Directions:

To make, simply add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy! 

Cracking the Cooking Code: Low-Fat and Fat Free

Hi Foodies!

To finally continue this series, “Cracking the Cooking Code,” I thought I’d explain reduced fat foods and why I don’t believe foods that are fat free or low fat are the healthiest choice. There are a ton of misconceptions that marketers would like shoppers to believe, and often most diet recommendations even suggest low-fat and/or fat free dairy products and other packaged foods. So, why wouldn’t foods with less fat (with the exception of meat) be better for you?

The explanation is actually more simple than one would think- taking naturally occurring fat out of food is a form of processing it, and when the fat is taken out, the flavor tastes much different. This causes manufacturers to then add excess sugar and salt to compensate for the decrease in flavor, which drastically lowers the nutritional value of the food. The extra sugar and salt is the real cause of health problems such as obesity, not the natural fat in food.

In fact, healthy fats are a necessary energy source with lots of health benefits, such as stabilizing blood sugar. When people purchase reduced fat foods, they are actually harming themselves more than helping. If you think back to years ago when low fat foods were not as readily available, health issues, such as high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, were not as common. The presence of these illnesses is directly related to the processed food we consume today. 

So, next time you are grocery shopping, remember that you can benefit from eating food like it was naturally created. Whether it is labeled as low fat, fat free, or reduced fat, unprocessed foods are always the healthier option. 

Thank you, and please feel free to share with others! 🙂