Like any normal person, I decided to make my grocery list by thinking of foods I liked the least. Sweet potatoes and oatmeal, welcome to the party.
I was never into sweet potatoes because the idea of potatoes being sweet was confusing, and brown sugar glazes or marshmallows made the situation even worse. Oatmeal felt like something that was designed to be healthy, but is always served with 30 grams of sugar. Add in my love for protein in the morning and I just didn’t see the point.
However, I thought I must be missing something, especially since both dishes seemed like a very cost effective and filling addition to the day. Here’s how we all found love in a hopeless place:
Baked for Breakfast- Put sweet potatoes in the oven at 425 for 45-60 minutes or until soft to the touch. Cut in half and add protein, hot sauce (if you’re me), and anything else you’d like. Any more potato than that and the ratio isn’t the best for us non-potato enthusiasts. You also just started the meal prep for multiple breakfasts, killin’ it.
Savory and Steel Cut- Every morning, my dad makes “oaties” on the stove for himself and our dog. That’s correct. It always seemed like an oddly long process, but yielding 4-5 servings made it worth it. Bring 3 cups water with 1 cup almond milk to a boil, and stir in 1 cup steel cut oats. Simmer for 20ish minutes on medium-low, stirring regularly, until the mixture becomes thick.
In my book, Sundays were designed for those if only I had time for… wish list items. For me this often means making up new and extensive recipes. However, if the Sunday somehow slipped away, this chia pudding recipe is a quick way to snack plan and make the rest of your week a breeze. What you need:
Protein Powder: Vanilla SFH Pure if you want to get like me, or any will do
8 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup coffee (let it cool)
1-1.5 cup almond milk (I prefer original over unsweetened)
Mix dry ingredients together, mason jars work amazing for this exact step. Then add in 3/4 cup chilled coffee, stir or shake. Fill the remainder of the jar with the 1-1.5 cup almond milk and stir or shake once again. Be sure that there isn’t any chia seeds or powder chunks sticking to the side.
Leave in the fridge overnight and then celebrate come snack time Monday morning! This amount is good for 2-4 servings, depending on how excited you are about chia pudding. So while you’re at it, make enough for the whole week.
Why I love it:
Get a mix of sweet and bitter with the vanilla, cocoa, and almond milk paired with coffee and chia seeds. Tasty enough for dessert but healthy enough for a daily snack. Win-win.
Chia seeds are rich in fiber, omega-3 fats (hard to get outside of fish and nuts), protein, and vitamins. Yes. Please.
It truly is as easy as it sounds to make, and is healthy snack to grab and go. Granola bars and flavored yogurt, we’re onto you.
Thanksgiving is an interesting day for a vegetarian. Yes, the option of having a “bread turkey” has been visited, but I have never been one to get on board for swapping protein for carbs. I’ve had black bean burgers on my plate for many years, and frankly, it’s a little sad. I have friends that opt out and go for Noodles mac&cheese, but to my last points, I am determined this year to be more included in my favorite holiday.
This year, whole foods it is. Regardless of a specialized diet, it’s great to have options that you will be happy with during the feast that won’t leave you in a food coma. I promise these recipes are tried and true, even by coworkers terrified of kale. Let’s get cooking:
-2 honeycrisp apples
-2 cups steamed/sauteed kale (optional)
-1/4 french baguette*
-1/2 chopped red onion
-3/4 cup dried cranberries (note: not craisins but just a health preference)
-3/4 cup chopped walnuts
-cover in balsamic vinegar** and olive oil
*If celiac sensitive: swap for quinoa, or leave out.
**Little known fact that I love to share: balsamic vinegar is amazing to pair with anything starchy (bring some for those mashed potatoes!) because it slows the spike in your blood sugar that comes from digesting carbs. On Thanksgiving, my blood sugar will take any help it can get.
I swap the chicken stock for vegetable broth and butter for coconut oil- highly recommend!
Balsamic Eggplant & Tofu This is like my version of meat and potatoes, the end result is just about as colorful but don’t be fooled, this is filling and nutrient packed.
1 package of extra firm tofu (TJ’s has my favorite)
At least 2 cups balsamic vinegar
Cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, other seasoning as desired
1-2 handfuls raw almonds
Dice eggplant and place large pot with simmered 2 tbsp coconut oil. Pour 3/4 cup water over eggplant and cover
Stir occasionally, around 15 minutes until eggplant will be soft. Drain excess water and pour enough balsamic vinegar to cover top layer, cover again. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until balsamic is absorbed. Add sesame seeds & serve. (4 servings)
Slice tofu into diced quadrants, and soak in bowl of balsamic vinegar for 10 minutes. Add tofu to simmered coconut oil in sauce pan, flip tofu slices once golden brown (about 10 minutes). Expedited route: add balsamic vinegar to tofu after flipping, instead of marinating. Add in almonds while the second side browns, or add at end. (2-4 servings)
My approach to cooking is very much rooted in over-confidence.
That’s why committing to 6 weeks of clean eating (and drinking) for the Alchemy 365 Challenge was the perfect motivator in discovering how many dishes I am capable of making. I have always believed recipes are up for interpretation, and now I have taken this farther and started making them up completely.
That’s why when my boyfriend, Brandon, asked where we could go for a 365-approved birthday dinner, I insisted on a completely homemade meal.
I think it’s a rule of thumb to not serve people something you make for the first time. But if you can’t tell, I really don’t like rules.
Zucchini fries -3 to 4 zucchinis, I used 4 on the small side and that made a full pan of fries
– 1/3 to 1/2 cup flax seed (enough to cover fries)
-Spices or salt & pep
Cut zucchinis the long way and then chop to be the size of fries. Coconut/Olive oil on a cookie sheet and lay down fries. Brush with the beaten egg; sprinkle flax seed and any other desired seasoning. Bake at 375 for 15-20 mins.
Crab cakes -1 pound lump crab, this can be super expensive so if you end up opting for a more imitation crab route, whatever.
-1 sweet potato
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1/4 cup parsley
-1.5 tbsp garlic
-2 tbsp flax seed
-Sea salt and ground pepper as you please
Cook the sweet potato in a pot with water for ~20 mins. In the meantime shred up and chop the crab into thin pieces. Add the eggs, oil, garlic, flax seed, salt, parsley, and any other seasoning you want, and mix. When the sweet potato is done, mash it separately and mix it in to the bowl.
From here, roll them into balls a little bit bit bigger than a golf ball; then flatten into small patties. The cakes can be cooked right away, or saved in the fridge. When ready to cook. use coconut oil (or oil of choice) in a pan, and cook patties until brown on each side, and flipping them like tiny burgers. I served with lemon and it was AMAZING.
This was Brandon’s time to shine. From my understanding, here’s what we had going on.
Cajun salmon filets:
Cooked to PERFECTION in a cast-iron skillet on the stove. We used this amazing Southwest salt mixture from Arizona for seasoning.
Basically any combination of spice and salt will do. Served with lemon.
Spicy green beans:
Steamed in the rice cooker for 15 minutes. Place in pan and stir in olive oil, red pepper flakes, and 1 tbsp of soy sauce.
DESSERT– Aka Why We’re All Here
Paleo pumpkin pie:
-1 can of pumpkin
-Two egg whites
-Can of light coconut milk
-Half cup almond milk
1 Tsp cinnamon
-1/2 Tsp nutmeg
-1/2 Tsp ginger
-2 Tsp vanilla
Mix until it’s all well blended and pour into pie plate then bake for 35 min at 350 degrees. My pan was on the smaller side so it turned out a little odd. It won’t look like a ton of mix, but go for a bigger pan anyway so it cooks all the way through.
1 Ingredient Ice Cream:
-Cinnamon to taste (for me, like 15 shakes)
-3 tbsp peanut butter
Peel and chop 2 ripe bananas and freeze for at least 2 hours, I did overnight. Place bananas in blender and blend for about 2o minutes.
At first, it will seem like the bananas are not making much progress- do not worry. I walked away so that I wouldn’t be tempted to add water.
When it starts to have a creamier consistency, add your flavors (I did PB and cinnamon) and continue blending until it looks like a shake. From there, pour into a tuperware and freeze, again for at least 2 hours.
This is the new cure to my sweet tooth!
There you have it, the absolute tastiest food, all guilt free. I am a big believer in eating what you want and how much you want, but knowing exactly what you are eating. When you start focusing on ingredients and where your food comes from, your taste buds change with your perspective.
In my opinion (and in Brandon’s), this meal wasn’t about restriction, or what wasn’t on the table. While nutritious, it was all filling, delicious, and fun. That’s how food should be-especially a birthday dinner. If healthy food doesn’t taste good, it makes skipping the donuts and pizza an uphill battle.
Can’t wait for you to try these recipes (and make up your own) and hear what you think!