“Spaghetti” & Meatballs {gluten-free}

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

So, we all know by now that I have a slight obsession with spaghetti squash. The truth is, I probably won’t give it up until I have created every noodle-y dish known to man using this fabulous vegetable. And even then, I will probably go back to the beginning and make them all again, because it just never.gets.old.

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

I was raised on Italian food. My dad doesn’t cook and he loves pasta, so it was normal for us to go out to fancy Italian dinners multiple nights per week. Sure, there are some healthy options when you go to an Italian restaurant, but let’s be honest–we really want pasta. All of the pasta. And then more pasta.

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Well, you guys know I AM ALL ABOUT THE SAUCE. Pasta is a vehicle. A mostly tasteless way to get to some alfredo sauce or spicy marinara. Or pesto. Or…MEATBALLS.

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Honestly, when you have huge delicious meatballs, do you even need spaghetti??? Well, I like a side of spaghetti with my meatballs. A nice side of spaghetti squash to hold onto some sauce, give me some texture, and fill out the rest of my bowl because, let’s be honest, I am always looking for the maximum amount of food possible, and veggies are the way to get there. Bonus points for them being better than “real” pasta.

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

OMG and can we talk about these meatballs???? They are ridiculous. I’d actually never made meatballs before, but I went with a combination of spicy turkey sausage and lean ground turkey. I added some chopped garlic, some onions to keep them juicy, and some oats to help keep them together. Fun fact–did you know you can sub oats for breadcrumbs in recipes like meatballs and meatloaf? I always do, and it always comes out great!

"Spaghetti" & Meatballs #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Sometimes using lean turkey can cause dishes to come out dry, but between the turkey sausage and the onions (my friend Kristi gave me the onion tip!), these meatballs were perfectly juicy and tender.

“Spaghetti” & Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

The classic comfort of spaghetti and meatballs with a lightened up, gluten-free and grain-free twist. Served with spicy Italian meatballs and spicy marinara sauce.

Ingredients

    For the spaghetti squash:
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, halved
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (93% or higher)
  • 1 lb spicy turkey sausage
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg. lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup oats (use gluten-free if that's important to you)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings (preferably homemade)
  • small pinch cayenne pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less depending on desired spiciness)
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the spaghetti squash, preheat oven to 400. Scrape the seeds and stringy center from the spaghetti squash. Drizzle each half with 1 tsp olive oil. Use your fingers to rub oil into squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay each half face down in a large baking dish and cook until tender, about an hour.
  2. To make the meatballs, place a wire rack inside a large cookie sheet. Spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. In a large bowl, gently combine all your meatball ingredients.. Do not over mix, just combine. Roll into approx 2" balls (or however large or small you like them). Transfer to prepared wire baking sheet. Bake at 400 (you can throw them in at the same time as your squash!) until cooked throughout, about 25 minutes.
  3. To make the sauce sauté onion and garlic in 1 tbs olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add crushed tomato and remaining spices. When sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. To plate, scrape the insides of the spaghetti squash. The squash when fully cooked will come out easily in spaghetti-like noodles. Top with sauce and add meatballs. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/spaghetti-meatballs-gluten-free/

Looking for more spaghetti squash recipes?

“Spaghetti” & Spicy Meat Sauce

Spaghetti Squash Boats

Skinnified “Fettucine”  Alfredo

Noodleless Chicken “Pad” Thai

Buckeye Brownies

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

My favorite (and best) cooking inspiration has always been making things for the people I love. Especially birthdays. Birthdays are my favorite thing in the world, and nothing brings me more happiness than making the perfect treat to show my love.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

In fact, to date my favorite recipe I’ve ever made was for Steve’s birthday last year. I have to tell you, though–these give them a run for their money!

buckeyebrownies-10Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

When I saw this post on Brown Eyed Baker a couple of months ago, I immediately sent it to Nicole–the idea is genius, the photos are absolutely gorgeous, and I wanted to jump through my screen and lick every crumb.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

So when I was deciding what to make Nicole for her birthday this year, I knew exactly where I wanted to start. Of course, I changed a few things to make these a little less indulgent, but they still tasted rich and decadent. The brownie layer is the fudgiest brownie I have ever tasted, and the peanut butter tastes like the inside of a Reese’s cup, and then that perfectly glossy glaze? I diiiieeee.

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

The good thing about cooking for your BBF (best blog friend–I know, we’re totally, like tweens) is they don’t mind that you cut into their birthday dessert to photograph it, and maybe sneak a tiny bite so that you can make sure it’s perfect before you give it to them. ;) Thanks for taking one for the team blog, Nicole!

Buckeye Brownies via arismenu.com

Buckeye Brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 32

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Buckeye Brownies

Rich and fudgy brownies topped with creamy sweetened peanut butter, followed by a chocolate peanut butter glaze--these brownies are to-die-for!

Ingredients

    For the brownies:
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • dash
  • salt
  • For the peanut butter layer:
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • For the chocolate peanut butter glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter

Instructions

  1. To make the brownies, preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9x13 pan with aluminum foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, espresso powder and water. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until combined. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in vanilla and sugar. Stir in flour and salt until combined. Do not overmix.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared baking dish. Bake set and until a toothpick inserted a couple of inches from the edge comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
  4. To make the peanut butter layer, beat together peanut butter, coconut oil and powdered sugar until smooth. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a smooth, spreadable texture. Spread evenly onto cooled brownies.
  5. To make the glaze, place chocolate and peanut butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring between each, until melted. Spread glaze evenly over peanut butter layer. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baked

http://arismenu.com/buckeye-brownies/

10 Minute Taco Salad

10 Minute Taco Salad via arismenu.com

10 Minute Taco Salad via arismenu.comYou know that go-to outfit that you can always count on when you don’t know what to wear? The one that always looks cute, is super comfortable, and always makes you feel like a million bucks? This salad is like that. Except, I wouldn’t wear it. That would be such a waste of so much deliciousness.

10 Minute Taco Salad via arismenu.com

It doesn’t require much explanation. What I can tell you is I have made this more often than any other meal. Ever. I never thought to photograph and post it because it seems so simple and straight forward, but it’s easy to forget that it is those easy and straight forward recipes that I didn’t have back in the day, and those exact recipes that helped me finally be able to lose weight and kick my Taco Bell habit for good.

10 Minute Taco Salad via arismenu.com

You can add/subtract whatever you want really. You can use a store bought taco seasoning or make your own, and you can include whichever fresh veggies make your heart happy. I always use romain hearts as the base for crunch, and add cucumber and tomatoes. A lot of times I add chopped carrots, and tons of extra cilantro. Some avocado pieces never hurt, either. Really, there’s no wrong way to make this salad.

10 Minute Taco Salad via arismenu.com

Okay, there is ONE wrong way–inside a greasy, deep-fried taco shell. I mean, what is even the point of that thing??? Oh, and also, don’t omit the cinnamon. I know it sounds crazy, but it will take the flavor of your taco salad to the next level. It will become your taco salad secret weapon. Like a ninja. Okay, I’m done.

10 Minute Taco Salad

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

10 Minute Taco Salad

Ridiculously easy, healthy and delicious taco salad. My go-to meal that I continue to make over and over again.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 oz ground turkey breast (or 93% lean ground turkey, or 96% lean ground beef)
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (preferably homemade, or at least reduced sodium variety)
  • pinch cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 cup water
  • 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 romain hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 large or 2 persian cucumbers, sliced
  • Optional Toppings:
  • Reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Sliced avocado
  • Salsa

Instructions

  1. Heat onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook until turkey is fully browned. Add taco seasoning and cinnamon. Slowly add water until the meat has reached your desired level of liquid (some will cook out, so add a little more than you'd think). Increase heat to bring liquid to a light boil, then reduce to simmer.
  2. Meanwhile, heat beans in a small sauce pan over medium heat until fully warmed.
  3. Place chopped romain in large serving bowls. Layer with cooked meat, beans and fresh veggies. Add any desired toppings.
http://arismenu.com/10-minute-taco-salad/

 

Drink & Dish: Chicken Enchilada Dip {with video!}

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

I think the happiest day of my life was the day Chipotle started serving brown rice. Maybe you think that makes me a total freak? But if that’s true, you clearly don’t understand my love for Mexican food. I mean, I live in Phoenix. Mexican food is more common than hamburgers.

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

I’ve always been all about the cheese enchiladas. And quesedillas. Pretty much anything with cheese is sure to be a winner in my book. Did I ever tell you about how when I was younger I would “snack” on blocks of cheddar cheese? In fact, just this morning, I told Steve that cheese was my favorite food group.

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

I’m pretty sure the abundance of cheese is what fuels my love for Mexican food, which is why it’s often difficult for me to find healthy options. No matter what I say, I cannot convince myself that 11 servings of cheese is “healthy”. It’s really sad. If you can help convince me, I would greatly appreciate it. ;)

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Luckily, this dip has the perfect amount of cheesy goodness, but with a lighter touch. Most of the creaminess comes from nonfat plain Greek yogurt and the avocado–the avocado is like my secret weapon. I put it in on a whim, and it ended up totally making the dish! It’s like if you took an enchilada and stuffed it with guacamole–I mean, HOW COULD THAT BE BAD???

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via arismenu.com

This dip is super simple with only a handful of ingredients, and it comes together in minutes. It’s perfect for any party or get together, and the bold flavors and creamy texture are sure to be a hit with whoever you’re serving!

Chicken Enchilada Dip #glutenfree via www.arismenu.com

Do you guys do anything to celebrate Cinco De Mayo? My plan usually includes eating Mexican food, drinking margaritas, and apparently, wearing a mustache. You’ll have to check out the video to understand that one. Nicole and I were in a rare form of ridiculousness this episode.

Make sure to check out Nicole’s perfect margarita recipe too!

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Green chile enchilada dip with creamy avocado, goat cheese and Greek yogurt. Perfectly creamy and cheesy, with a lighter twist.

Ingredients

  • 10-12 oz cooked chicken, shredded (I used the meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 pint enchilada sauce
  • 1 avocado, pitted and skin removed
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for topping*
  • Black olives and green onion for garnish, optional
  • Baked corn chips for serving

Instructions

  1. Combine chicken, goat cheese, yogurt, enchilada sauce and avocado in a medium pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until all ingredients are melted and combined.
  2. Transfer to your serving dish (make sure it's oven safe) and top with cheddar cheese (I used about 1/3 cup). Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly.
  3. Top with olives and onion if desired. Serve with chips or veggies.

Notes

*I usually use a reduced fat cheddar cheese, but it doesn't melt quite the same. For photos, I used full fat. If you're concerned about appearance, I would encourage a full fat cheese, but if you're purely concerned with taste, reduced fat will still taste great!

http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-chicken-enchilada-dip/

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo}

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Today I am going to tell you something so embarrassing. Like, I can’t even believe I’m going to tell you, but it’s just so embarrassingly funny that it would be wrong to not give you the opportunity to laugh at me.

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Okay, first let me tell you that on Sunday morning I woke up and stretched in bed. All of the sudden my neck snapped, and the pain was immediate. I have barely been able to move my head since. I even called in sick to one of my jobs on Monday and I never call in sick. Anyway, I’ve been glued to the couch after making my way through every episode of How I Met Your Mother that Netflix has to offer, I found myself needing something to watch to ease the pain.

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

This is where things get ugly. You see, when I’m sick, I love mindless TV. I love that it keeps going and going. I love that I only have to tune in every now and then to understand what’s going on. And I love that I don’t have to use my brain. So this morning when I was deciding what was next while I waited for my stupid neck to heal (I’ve been blogging from the couch laying on my back with my laptop on me knees when I don’t absolutely have to be at work), I may have chosen the most embarrassing TV show ever.

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Like, ever. So when Steve came home this afternoon from Landis (he just hangs out at the bike shop for no reason….), I quickly tried to turn off the TV so he wouldn’t see just how low I’d stooped. Then I tried to distract him by pretending to be interested in his trip to the bike shop, but it was no use.

Steve: Are you watching Dawson’s Creek???

Me: I don’t wanna talk about it….

Steve: Babe, I know you’ve been having a hard time (as he struggles to speek through his eruptive laughter)…. Well It would be worse if you were watching it on Hulu or something.

Me: I DON’T WANNA TALK ABOUT IT!!!

Steve: Really?? REALLY?????

(He then gets out his laptop and attempts to post on facebook about me. I plead with him not to embarrass me on the internet–clearly, I’m fully capable of doing that myself…)

Me: (finally) I thought I should start at the beginning.

And that my friends is how ridiculously embarrassing I am. That pretty much sums up my life.

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

But you know what? Even when I can’t move, I can still make this ridiculously easy chicken salad. It was the first thing I made in days, and I was so thrilled to actually do something productive. I MADE FOOD!! For, like, the entire week! I don’t suck at life!!

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

One of my best healthy habits (when I actually do it) is making a bulk healthy meal on Sundays that I use for lunch for the entire week. The thing is–you actually have to make it, and you have to REALLY like it if you’re going to eat it all week long (I usually take myself out to Chipotle one of the days, because, I mean, COME ON!). This is what we call lazy woman’s “food prep”.

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo} #glutenfree via arismenu.com

This chicken salad is so simple with only a handful of ingredients, and it comes together in minutes giving you an entire week’s worth of lunch in less time than it takes me to make breakfast in the morning. And, umm, I would TOTALLY eat this every day for the next 10 weeks. It is bold and flavorful with the curry seasoning, and has a spicy kick with sweet grapes and crunchy almonds and celery–it is perfection. You can eat it on lettuce, with a fork, on rice cakes, in a sandwich, in a Dr. Seuss book… It doesn’t matter how you eat it because, trust me, you will love it!

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Curried Chicken Salad {without mayo}

Healthy, bold, flavorful and protein-packed curried chicken salad in minutes with no mayo.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curry seasoning
  • pinch garlic salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 10-12 ounces cooked chicken, shredded (I use the meat from a whole rotisserie)
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. To make the dressing, whisk together Greek yogurt, mustard and seasonings in a large bowl.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and toss until combined. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
http://arismenu.com/curried-chicken-salad/

 

Plain Ol’ Chocolate Chip Cookies {vegan}

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

 

Sometimes you just need plain, simple, classic comfort food. This is one of those times.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Would you believe I didn’t have a chocolate chip cookie recipe on here? I’m actually more intimidated by simple, well-known recipes. I feel like it has to be *perfect* and I don’t want to post it, until I know I’ve gotten it right.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

Chocolate chip cookies with no butter is not an easy feat, my friends. You see, with peanut butter cookies, it’s easy–the fat in the peanut butter works perfectly, and you don’t realize you’re missing the butter, but in a plain ol’ chocolate chip cookie? The flavors I associate are butter, brown sugar and, well, chocolate! But honestly, butter is probably number one.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

The secret? It’s the combination of apple butter, which gives the perfect texture (far superior to applesauce or yogurt in cookies) and the tiniest bit of butter extract. That stuff is magical. Using cornstarch in place of an egg not only makes them vegan, but helps keep them thick and chewy, and the massive amount of chocolate chips is 100% necessary. Also, a tiny sprinkle of salt on your dough just before it goes into the oven will take your cookie flavor to the next level! Not quite salted, but it evens out the sweetness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies #vegan via arismenu.com

The result is healthier chocolate chip cookies that taste like the real deal. Thick, chewy, with a slight crunch on the outside, and that perfect soft, gooey, and extra chocolatey inside. I am finally ready to share my chocolate chip cookies with you, because I finally got it right.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Simple, classic, vegan and whole grain chocolate chip cookies that taste just like the real deal.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp butter flavoring (optional, but recommended)
  • 1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips
  • sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together apple butter and sugars until combined. Beat in almond milk, vanilla and butter flavoring. Slowly add in dry ingredients, beating until just combined. Beat in chocolate chips. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 375. Line a large baking sheet with silpat or parchment paper.Use a small cookie scoop, or roll dough into 1" balls. Add a tiny pinch (or more if you want them to have the "salted" taste) of sea salt to the top of each cookie dough ball.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and just set. Do not over bake. Allow to cool completely on cookie sheet. Store in a loosely covered container for 5-7 days.
http://arismenu.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/

Portobello Breakfast Cups

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com

It seems strange to go “back to normal” today. I was originally going to post these yesterday, but it just didn’t seem right. I had too many things rolling around in my brain, and I needed to use this blog for what I originally started it for–to share my thoughts. I love sharing recipes, but I also always want this blog to be a place I approach with honesty and the truth of my thoughts. So if you took the time out of your day to read those thoughts, I also want to say thank you.

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Okay, let’s attempt to get back to normal, shall we? You know how I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day? Well, I actually usually eat this for lunch. I love sweet breakfast for breakfast and savory breakfast for lunch. I know, I’m kind of a freak. One day, after eating this for about the 6th consecutive day, I thought I’d take a picture of it.

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com

Except when I eat this, I just chop the mushroom up and throw everything together in a big bowl, but that’s not exactly visually appealing, or at all photogenic. So this time I put everything in nice little mushroom cups for you. Then, after I took this picture, I threw everything into a big bowl.

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com

It’s funny, I rarely use eggs when I bake. I’ll use them if I’m using other dairy products, but that’s not very often, so I usually leave them out to keep them friendly for my vegan friends. But on their own? I love eggs. Especially a runny yolk.

Portobello Breakfast Cups #glutenfree via arismenu.com.jpg

 

This meal comes together in less than 20 minutes, and it is packed with healthy veggies–perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Portobello Breakfast Cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2

Serving Size: 2 cups

Portobello Breakfast Cups

A simple, veggie-packed breakfast, lunch or dinner. Grain and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 4 large portobello mushrooms, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, etc.), chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • large handful chopped kale, approx 1 cup loosely packed
  • 1 chicken sausage, sliced
  • 1/4 cup 75% reduced fat cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you want to use, or no cheese if you wish)
  • 4 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chalulah for topping, optional

Instructions

  1. Line a medium-large baking dish with tin foil. Add portobello mushrooms and drizzle lightly with 1 tbsp olive oil. Broil until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Add kale and chicken sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  3. While vegetables finish cooking, fry eggs over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet until bottoms are browned, and eggs are cooked to desired consistency (for me, it's about 5 minutes).
  4. Top cooked portobellos with sauteed vegetables, then cheese. Top with fried egg. Add a few shakes of Chalulah is desired.
http://arismenu.com/portobello-breakfast-cups/

Find Hope

Like many of you, I spent the majority of yesterday glued to the news and social media. I sat stunned, unable to tear myself away from the news that continued to break my heart. I found myself momentarily lose faith. After all, the past several months in our country have been heartbreaking. I never wrote about Sandy Hook because I couldn’t talk about it. I kept imagining if it were my students, and I thought of how much I love them. I couldn’t watch the news, and I couldn’t talk about how I felt.

Then yesterday as I watched and waited for the news on my friends’ finish times, everything changed in one moment, and my heart dropped. This time also felt too close to home, but I couldn’t not watch. I watched helplessly as my heart sank further and further into my chest, with the reality of both tragedies weighing down on it.

But then I saw a photo of the people who rushed in to help. Yes, in these horrible situations there is 1, maybe sometimes a small few, person/people with cruelty and hatred int heir heart, but there are millions with love. There is good, love and kindness all around. If we forget that, we’ve let the hatred win. I refuse to let them win, and while that doesn’t mean I am not still heartbroken, I am equally inspired by the strength of this community.

This morning I am inspired and comforted by the words of my amazing coach.

“The marathon community/running community are shinning examples of GOOD!!! With the support of our running community…dreams are achieved, challenges are overcome,  friendships form, friendships turn into family,  lives change for the positive. Our running community is experiencing a tragedy, but we will find strength in each other and we will continue to shine, support, celebrate and overcome.

 This tragedy darkened everyone’s “Dream Boston Marathon Experience” but we will not let it stop our celebration of the good, the positive and the successes!

 We are a SUPPORTIVE, STRONG, COMMUNITY of runners that will continue forward as shining examples of the GOOD in this world!!”

So let’s be the good in the world. Let’s give to those who are grieving, and do everything in our powers to make this world better. Let’s love unconditionally and preserve our idealism. Let’s not give the monsters behind these attacks any more power. And let’s continue to be that amazing, strong, and inspiring community we are known for being.

**My heart goes out so deeply to those who were effected–directly, or indirectly, and I am filled with gratitude for every single individual who jumped in to help. This world is filled with heroes.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.comDid I ever tell you about the time I gave up red meat? I was actually super strict about it for a couple of years. When I first started losing weight, it was one of those easy swaps that was easy to make, and for the most part, I still stick to lean poultry and fish, but I’m not so sure red meat deserves the bad rep it seems to get.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

I had never even eaten skirt steak (to my knowledge), but we went out a couple of weeks ago for my step-dad’s birthday, and I ordered this salad with skirt steak and avocado. It had other things, but I can’t even tell you what they were. For me, it was all about the skirt steak and avocado.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

It was so bold and flavorful that I immediately became obsessed with the idea of recreating my own at home. I’d also been dying to try a fruit salsa. A lot of people make them with strawberries, but I hate strawberries almost as much as I hate pineapple. I know, I’m so weird about the fruits I hate.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

Anyway, I have a pretty serious blackberry obsession. Specifically blackberry jam on wheat toast with an egg white omelet whenever I go out to breakfast. Something about that perfect combination…I crave it. As soon as I sit down, I check to see if blackberry is in that little stack of jams. I’ve also recently put it in pancakes, muffins, and now….salsa. Weird, right?

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

If by weird you mean DELICIOUS, then yes. It’s totally weird. This is one of those instances where the flavors just magically work together. You can’t really explain it, it just works.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

It was really easy to make. The longest part is marinating the steaks, but you just need to do it. You can totally do it in the morning before work, or even begin the night before, but the steak and the marinade need to become BFFs for at least an hour, preferably more. Give them time to fall deeply in love, which if you saw Les Mis, you will know it can happen unconvincingly after about 90 minutes of far more interesting exposition.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

So, moral of the story: marinate your meat. Longer is better. In the end, the star is going to be the blackberry avocado salsa anyway. It’s sweet, citrusy, spicy and creamy from the avocado. It’s pretty much the thing dreams are made of.

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa via arismenu.com

 

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6

Grilled Skirt Steak with Blackberry Avocado Salsa

Bold marinated and grilled skirt steaks topped with a sweet and spicy blackberry avocado salsa.

Ingredients

    For the steak:
  • 1 1/2 lbs skirt steak, fat trimmed as much as possible
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • heavy pinch each of salt and pepper
  • For the Blackberry Avocado Salsa:
  • 12 oz blackberries, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, cubed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped

Instructions

  1. Begin by making the steak marinade. In a large bowl, whisk together wine, garlic, worcestershire, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Transfer with steaks to an airtight container. Make sure there is enough liquid to cover your steaks. If not, add extra red wine. Refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
  2. To make the salsa, gently toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Do not over mix or you will lose the chunks of avocado. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
  3. Grill meat until desired doneness. I like mine medium and it took about 4 minutes per side. Serve topped with blackberry avocado salsa.

Notes

You may use any cut of steak (or any meat, or non meat) you like. The salsa would be great with a filet, or sea bass, or even over some cooked quinoa if you want to keep it vegetarian!

http://arismenu.com/grilled-skirt-steak-with-blackberry-avocado-salsa/

 

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Soft and tender vegan banana bread swirled with creamy cookie butter and topped with a crumbly cookie butter & oat streusel. 

You know when there is a trendy clothing item that everyone starts wearing? First, you judge it (well…I do). Then, it starts to grow on you, and eventually curiosity gets the best of you, and you find yourself in a fitting room not even 100% sure why you’re trying this on, but then once it’s on your body you fall in so much love, and everything makes sense in the world?

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

That’s how I feel about banana bread. One day, I opened my reader, and almost all of the food blogs I follow posted banana bread. I’ve never been one to think “OMG, I really want to make some banana bread!’, but that day all the cool kids were doing it, and I totally wanted to fit into their crowd.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

PS: I was NOT a cool kid in school. I was that awkward kid that fit into absolutely no social groups, and didn’t really have any friends until high school. Somehow awkward clothing choices, bad jokes, and an obsession for musical theatre don’t equal popularity? It’s a total mystery. But I mean, let’s be honest…those things still pretty much apply…

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Anyway, I was on a mission to make banana bread, but it couldn’t just be regular banana bread. That’s not the way I work. So I filled it with melted cookie butter, and topped it with what might be my favorite thing ever–cookie butter streusel.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

You guys. First of all, I made streusel with no butter. I didn’t think it was possible to achieve the right texture, but I did. Not only that, I made streusel with no flour, and, this streusel is…so….good. I wish I could give you a better description–I mean, it’s crumbly and it tastes buttery (magic), but words can’t describe how amazing it is, so we’ll stick with “….so….good.”

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

And the banana bread? It’s so soft and that m word that I really hate. I really wanted the cookie butter to stand out, so I didn’t want to just mix it into the batter where the flavors get muted–that’s my biggest pet peeve about cookie butter (and Nutella for that matter) in baked goods. I wanted to sink my teeth in and get slapped in the face with cookie butter flavor. Can you think of anything better?

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I don’t think I can. This was one of those recipes that made my dance-around-my-kitchen-giddy, and I had to give it away to my family immediately so that I wouldn’t eat the entire loaf. It was that good.

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 12-16

Serving Size: 1 slice

Cookie Butter Streusel Banana Bread

Soft and tender vegan banana bread swirled with creamy cookie butter and topped with a crumbly cookie butter & oat streusel.

Ingredients

  • For the banana bread:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 extra ripe medium bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cookie butter or Biscoff spread, melted
  • For the cookie butter streusel:
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cookie butter or Biscoff spread

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. Begin with banana bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together almond milk and apple cider vinegar. Let stand.
  3. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat together mashed bananas, applesauce, sugars and vanilla until well combined. Add half the dry ingredients, followed by almond milk mixture, then remaining dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour half the batter into prepared loaf pan. Pour 1 cup melted cookie butter on top in an even layer. Top with remaining batter.
  5. To make the streusel, combine oats, brown sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp cookie butter. Mix by hand until ingredients are combined and form a crumbly texture. Sprinkle evenly over batter.
  6. Bake until golden and set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, about an hour. Cool completely. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
http://arismenu.com/cookie-butter-streusel-banana-bread/

 

Drink & Dish: DIY Funfetti Cake Mix {with video!}

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BEST BLOG FRIEND NICOLE!!!!DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

You guys know how insanely obsessed with birthdays I am, right? I jump on any chance to celebrate, and I consider birthdays the day you celebrate that people you love are in your life. My normal birthday message goes something like “Happy birthday! I’m glad you were born!”

funfetticakemix-660

So okay, it might sounds a little silly and cheesy, but how often to we actually tell people we love that we’re glad they’ve in our lives? It’s nice to have a day where we’re reminded. Or maybe I’m just sentimental…

funfetticakemix-664

The beginning of April is crazy birthday time! Within a week, Steve, Nicole and her husband Lance all have their birthdays. I’m the odd man out, but that’s probably a good thing, because I have a total sharing problem when it comes to my birthday. I reallllllly like attention (in case you haven’t figured that one out yet), and I don’t want to share my thunder with anyone.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Once my dad told me he was dating someone with the same birthday as me. He thought I would think this was “cool”. I told him he should probably break it off. Some people are bad at sharing books and m&ms (I love you Heath), I’m bad at sharing birthdays.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

So I have some pretty serious character flaws. Sharing, over sharing, and obsessive sprinkle photographing. I’m sorry. I took, like, 100 pictures because…sprinkles, they’re sooooo pretty. It was one of those magic days where I loved shooting from every angle, and of course, I wanted to share every single one of them with you because God forbid I leave out the one that looks the same, but it slightly closer up. I don’t know what my problem is.

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

That’s why I made the little collage. I figured it would make this post, maybe not 500 years long. Some people just post, like 2 pictures, say a few words, and then post a recipe, but I have SO MANY things to say and OMG SO MANY things to show you!

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Oh, and I guess I should talk about the cake mix, eh? To put it concisely (because lord knows I’ve talked enough in this post), I can’t believe I ever bought a boxed cake mix! This was so much easier than driving to the store! I know sometimes we like to have a little bit of cake mix on hand for when other recipes call for it–well friends, you just put some together, and have it ready in the pantry. It’s so easy. And when I baked it into cupcakes, all I did was mix everything together in one bowl (all you have to add is applesauce, almond milk and vanilla!), and my cupcakes were done in NO TIME! Not to mention, they domed up so beautifully!

DIY Funfetti Cake Mix #vegan via www.arismenu.com

It was a great excuse to throw some sprinkles around with the birthday girl, and film the latest episode of Drink & Dish! Make sure to check out Nicole’s Boozy Birthday Cake Shake. It is ridiculously, sinfully good.


DIY Funfetti Cake Mix

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving Size: 1/24th mix

Easy, homemade, whole grain, vegan funfetti cake mix in less time than it takes to run to the store to buy a box.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • small pinch salt
  • 1 1/3 cups Jimmies sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Whisk all ingredients in together in a large bowl. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Notes

To bake cupcakes, simply add 2/3 cup applesauce, 2 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, and 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract to mix. Stir until combined. Evenly divide the batter between 2 dozen cupcake tins and bake @ 350 until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. You can also bake into 2 8-9" rounds, or one large sheet cake, just adjust baking times accordingly.

http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-diy-funfetti-cake-mix-with-video/

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com I’m sorry. I know my title is so long. Ridiculously long. I promise I tried to change it, but I just needed to tell you all of those things about these cookies. They are too important to leave out.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

 

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but my best friend from high school is having a baby!! She’s due in less than a month, and it’s so strange. I’ve seen a lot of people have kids, but never someone my age and close to me. It’s like we’re becoming adults, and I can’t even handle it.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I’ve also never been so excited for someone to have a baby. There are no two people in the entire universe that could make more amazing parents than Lisa and Sam. Whenever I need to talk something through, Lisa is one of the first people I call, and she is always so loving, supportive, and filled with amazing, insightful advice. It has been so amazing to watch her meet the perfect man who loves her like crazy, and watch them build their life together.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending her baby shower. I’ve never been so excited for one of those things! I got totally emotional picking out her gifts. I came *this close* to making her black & white cookies, but I ended up deciding to try something new…like always. ;)

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I just lightly adapted one of my favorite cookie recipes which was originally adapted by one of my very favorite bloggers, and I now might have a new favorite cookie. These cookies are not for those who love a mild taste, or feel luke warm about chocolate. Oh no, these are rich, bold, decadent, and insanely dark. They have the kind of intense chocolate flavor that satisfies you with just one cookie.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.comI mean, don’t get me wrong…You will want to eat 3 or 4, but one really does the trick. I always find dark chocolate to be more satisfying than milk chocolate. Sometimes I prefer a milk chocolate taste, but it always leaves me craving more, where as dark chocolate satisfies my sweet tooth. Anyone else? Am I just a total freak?

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

I originally wanted to make my own peanut butter chips. Natural, no sweetener, “healthy”. But then I got impatient, and I didn’t chill the peanut butter nearly long enough, and as I stirred it in, it just started swirling around. I was totally bummed for a hot second, then decided to just go with it. I ended up LOVING the peanut butter swirl! So pretty, so peanut buttery, so right. One of those happy accidents.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies #vegan via www.arismenu.com

Add a little bite with so coarse sea salt on top, and you’ve got the makings of a perfect cookie. All sorts of things happening, but all working perfectly together.

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 dozen

Serving Size: 1 cookie

Salted Triple Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirled Brownie Cookies

Rich, decadent brownie cookies swirled with peanut butter and topped with sea salt. Vegan and whole grain.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter, slightly melted
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • dash salt
  • 4 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tbsp apple butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
  • Sea salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour peanut butter on in a thin layer. Transfer to the freezer to chill for 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, corn starch and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together chocolate, vanilla, apple butter, and sugars until well combined,Add almond milk, then slowly beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
  4. Remove chilled peanut butter from parchment paper (it should be solid, but bendable. Gently, fold peanut butter and chocolate chips into batter. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Use a small cookie scoop to transfer dough to prepared cookie sheets. Add a small pinch of sea salt to each cookie. Press down dough balls to flatten slightly (they don’t spread when they bake, so if you don’t flatten them, you will end up with round cookies).
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set. Do not over bake. They will continue to cook themselves as they sit. Let the cookies stand on the pan until completely cooled. Store in an airtight container for one week (these cookies stay pretty darn soft and gooey for days!).
http://arismenu.com/salted-triple-chocolate-peanut-butter-swirled-brownie-cookies/