Creamy Dairy-Free Veggie Mac and Cheese + How to Healthily Enjoy the Holidays

Hi Everyone!

While the holiday season can be a fun time filled with friends and family, there is also an abundance of food that is typically out of your normal routine. My family has some delicious foods we make every year to celebrate Christmas, such as Monkey Bread, Twice Baked Potatoes, Snowball Cookies, and the annual Christmas Eve Italian dinner we have at our family friends’ house. It is so much fun to share these dishes with the people we love, and while it is important to enjoy these foods, it is equally as important to have a diet that incorporates what makes you feel your best.

Around the holidays, there is a sense of guilt around enjoying traditional Christmas foods. Instead of just focusing on those around you and indulging in some of your family’s once-in-a-while treats, many people feel the need to impulsively overeat in one day, with the intention of being “good” the next day. Instead of listening to how they are feeling, they choose to ignore this internal cue, resulting in an overbearing feeling of sickness and unhappiness.

If people instead focused on enjoying themselves during the holiday season and eating both healthy foods combined with some of the festive treats, they would feel better about themselves and have a healthier attitude towards food. Worrying about food never helps your health, and certainly doesn’t contribute to a positive relationship with yourself or with food.

If you’re anything like me, then after the holidays you might tend to crave hearty recipes filled with veggies. I typically am a little more sensitive to dairy, meaning that I avoid having excess amounts of it, so after all of the cheese and cracker appetizers of the holidays, I love making recipes such as this dairy-free pasta to refuel.

This pasta uses cashews as the base of the cream sauce to create a rich flavor packed with protein. It also adds in some extra veggies for both taste and nutrition, which you can customize based on your own preferences. This dish is perfect to whip up as an easy dinner or to share with others!

So, enjoy the rest of the holiday season, and eat what makes you feel good!

Dairy-Free Veggie Mac and Cheese

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the cream sauce:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight (for easier blending)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more depending on desired thickness)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • Salt to taste

For the pasta:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

Steps:

To start, add all ingredients for cream sauce to blender and blend until smooth and thick. In a medium skillet, mix pasta with veggies and cream sauce and heat until warm. Serve or keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

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!

The Best Cauliflower Gnocchi

Hey Everyone!

Chances are, if you’re even slightly interested 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!

Easy and Delicious Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Hi Everyone!

Happy February! Isn’t is crazy how far into winter it is already? One thing I’ve been doing this winter is experimenting with remaking my favorite recipes to incorporate more vegetables, because during the season where everyone gets sick that’s always a great idea. Cauliflower has become a big trend in the last year, because it is incredibly versatile and has little flavor to it. It is perfect as a substitute for rice, pizza crust, or thickening smoothies.

This cauliflower crust has been tested by my family and I can safely say that while it is a bit more crispy that normal pizza crust, it is absolutely delicious!

So, without further ado, please enjoy this great alternative to a normal pizza crust and let me know what you think!


Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 bags frozen cauliflower rice (preferably organic)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • any other vegetables or toppings of your choice

Steps:

First, cook the cauliflower rice according to the package and let it cool. In a food processor, blend the rice until fine. Squeeze the rice in a towel to get all of the excess moisture out of it, and then mix the cauliflower with the eggs, half of the mozzarella, and the salt. On a pan lined with parchment paper, spread the dough out into 2 or 3 pizzas and top with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees, and top with sauce, the rest of the cheese, and any other toppings of your choice. Bake again for 5-10 minutes, or until golden and crispy, and enjoy!

Cheddar Avocado-Tomato Toast

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite new recipes for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. Right now, there is all sorts of health food crazes, avocado toast being one of them for the perfect reason. Avocados pack plenty of healthy fats, potassium, and vitamin C, and the smooth texture makes a perfect base. This combination with whole grain toast creates an energy-boosting breakfast, lunch, or dinner- and it is equally as delicious as healthy.

You can experiment with your favorite toppings on avocado toast, but my favorites are tomatoes, grated organic cheddar, and sometimes I also add slices of red onion. For an extra protein boost, try adding a scrambled or fried egg on top as well. I hope you enjoy this nutritious and delectable recipe as much as I do, and please comment your favorite avocado toast combinations! Thank you and as always, please share with friends and family if you like this recipe.

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Cheddar-Tomato Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 piece good-quality whole grain bread
  • 1/3 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 2-3 tbs. grated organic cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sliced red onion (optional)

Steps:

First, start by toasting the bread. Mash the avocado until smooth enough or it has reached your desired consistency. Mix lemon juice and a generous amount of salt and pepper into the avocado, and then spread onto toast. Top with tomatoes, cheddar, and optionally red onion and then enjoy!


 

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinagrette

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m sharing a delicious, healthy, and extremely simple dinner salad with you! Can you remember a really hot day, one where the last thing you wanted to do is cook? I love to cook, but adding even more heat into the mix on a 90 degree day isn’t always the best idea. So, I love to make refreshing salads on these days (the combinations are endless!) to share with my family and friends. In fact, this exact salad is inspired by my cousin, Ava!

While there are tons of great salad ingredients out there, fresh fruit and goat cheese are a very flavorful, unique choice! Sometimes, it is nice to break out of the typical garden salad rut, and using different cheese and fruits/vegetables you can do that.

What’s your favorite salad? Feel free to comment down below or tell me on Instagram! Without further ado, please enjoy this healthy summer salad, and stay cool! 🙂

Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Maple Balsamic Vinagrette (Serves about 2)

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Ingredients:

  • 21/2 cups leafy greens (arugula and spinach are amazing!)
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese, sliced or crumbled
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • Optional slice of red onion, diced
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup

Steps:

First, prepare your dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, oil, and maple syrup. Set aside, and wash the fruit and vegetables. Start with the leafy greens, adding in strawberries and red onion from there. Crumble about 1/4 cup of goat cheese into the salad, and mix with 1 tbs. dressing, adding more to taste. Enjoy!

Back to Lunches- My Favorite School Lunch Containers 2015

Hi Everyone!

Yes, it is the start of going back to school. No more pool games, summer camps, beach days. Instead, those are replaced with swim practice, music lessons, friends, and, of course, packing lunches for school. To give you some tips for packing healthy lunches this year, I’m posting a few different posts, each for going “Back to Lunches” as I’m calling it. 🙂 So, without further ado, here are some reviews of great school lunch supplies!

  1. Yumbox- 

This is one of my absolute favorite containers! I have both the original and panino versions, and they both work great. First of all, they are leakproof, which is great for lunches with yogurt, hummus, juicy watermelon, or applesauce. Second, they fit in most normal sized school lunch bags. and lastly, they are the perfect size for a healthy lunch. The original yumbox (6 compartments) even has labels in each compartment for the food groups, which is great for younger kids, while the yumbox panino has more space for older kids and adults. You can find this lunch box on Amazon or at yumboxlunch.com.

  Yumbox-Weelicious-Giveaway

2. Planetbox-

The Planetbox is another great container. It comes in three styles, and though I do not own all 3, I can review the one I have, which is the Rover. It is stainless steel, making it great to put in the dishwasher and better for the environment. However, I find my Planetbox to be a bit big, it is not leakproof, and it is also the most expensive as you have to buy a special carry case to fit the container. I cannot speak to the other containers offered, the Shuttle and Launch boxes, but I think that I would probably like the shuttle lunch box because of its smaller size. Overall, though, the Planetbox is durable and good someone who needs bigger portions.

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3. Sistema lunch containers-

These lunch boxes are easy to find, but they are plastic and tend to not last as long as the others. You can easily find them at stores like Walmart, Target, or even Old Navy, but they will not last quite as long. However, if you are looking for a container that is inexpensive and easy to find, this is a great container!

Sistema-Klip-it

4. Easy Lunchboxes-

This lunchbox is true to its name, as it is certainly easy! Though they will not last for a long time, it is great for an easy pack and go lunchbox, and you can find it quickly on Amazon. It is similar to the Ziploc containers that I like (which have sadly been discontinued) as it is plastic and very inexpensive, coming in packs of four. It also fits in most normal-sized lunchboxes.

easylunchboxes-containers

5. Bentology/ Laptop Lunches-

Personally, I do not own this lunch container, but I wanted to include them because they have great reviews. These lunchboxes are the perfect size, because they have 4 removable compartments, 2 that come with lids and are leakproof. Plus, the whole thing has one lid that is easy to open. I’m not sure if it fits in normal sized lunchboxes, but I believe it fits in bigger lunchboxes such as Lands End’s soft sided lunch bag. There are lunchbags sized for the containers that you can purchase.

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6. Lunchbots-

Though this another container I have not yet purchased, there are great reviews. It is stainless steel, making it better for the environment, and it fits in normal-sized lunchboxes. They come in 1-5 compartment boxes, and they are also pretty inexpensive. Though it is not leakproof, I believe this is a good lunchbox.

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School Lunch Scrapbook- Part 1

Hi Everyone!

Today I’m posting even more pictures of my lunches I pack for school. Not only are these ideas for lunch healthy, but they also do not take a ton of time to make. Many people have pretty packed schedules, (just like I do) and have a small amount of time to pack their lunch, so these lunches are excellent ideas for those busy nights. The featured containers used are my Yumbox Panino, Planetbox Rover, and my Ziploc Divided Container.

This lunch is served in a pink Yumbox Panino. I have a spinach/plain organic hummus/ cherry tomato/sliced turkey whole-wheat wrap, cucumber slices, plain yogurt mixed with pure maple syrup and pomegranate seeds, and some cashews.

Pictured Lunch: A whole wheat almond butter/banana wrap, plain yogurt with some pomegranate seeds and a little pure maple syrup, cucumber slices, and cashews.

This lunch is again served in a Yumbox Panino. (it's one of my favorite containers!) I have a whole grain pasta sald with mozzarella cheese, carrots, tomatoes, spinach, and a bit of organic

Pictured Lunch: A whole-wheat pasta salad with parmesan cheese, bell peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and some olive oil/salt, blueberries, and “PB &J Yogurt” (a recipe from weelicious)

This lunch is served in a Ziploc Divided Container. (Note: these containers are no longer available for purchase) I packed a caprese' salad made with spinach/tomatoes/mozzarella cheese (with pesto on the side), some plain yogurt mixed with blueberries/pure maple syrup, and a homemade whole-grain pumpkin muffin from 100 Days of Real Food.

Pictured Lunch: A spinach caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach, and pesto (on the side), a whole-grain pumpkin muffin, and plain yogurt mixed with blueberries and maple syrup.

In this lunch (served in a Ziploc container), I have blueberries, a mini salad with olive oil and Parmesan cheese, a green smoothie pop (made with kale, banana, mango, and plain yogurt) organic ham, and

Pictured lunch: a green smoothie pop (made with mango, banana, pineapple, spinach, and water), a sunflower seeds/raisins mix, organic ham slices, blueberries, and a small salad with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

Yum! This lunch, served in a Ziploc container, has blueberries, golden cherry tomatoes, and a whole grain, homemade pumpkin pancake and cream cheese sandwich.

Pictured Lunch: Homemade whole-wheat pumpkin pancake sandwich with cream cheese, golden cherry tomatoes, and blueberries.

This lunch, served in the PlanetBox, has a whole grain peanut butter and honey sandwich, a berry mix, yellow bell pepper slices with organic ranch dip, mozzarella with olive oil and basil, and dark chocolate chips for a treat.

Pictured Lunch: Whole Wheat peanut butter-honey sandwich, strawberries/blueberries, bell peppers and homemade ranch dip, sliced mozzarella cheese with basil, salt, and olive oil.

In this lunch, served in the Ziploc container, I have watermelon, kale chips (recipe coming soon!) and a whole wheat wrap with hummus, sliced turkey, cheddar cheese, and yellow/red tomatoes.

Pictured Lunch: Whole Wheat Wrap with organic turkey, hummus, and cheddar cheese, and cherry tomatoes, watermelon balls, and homemade kale chips.

I hope these lunch ideas helped you! Please comment below what your favorite lunch idea is.