Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

All the flavor and comfort of hearty lasagna in a healthy, gluten-free spaghetti squash dish that will have everyone asking for seconds! Looking for more spaghetti squash recipes? I have lots!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

Today Mean Green and I had our first fight. We’ll call it the new stop sign’s fault, but Steve stopped short, I ran into his bike and flew off mine. Luckily I didn’t slide so I just walked away with some bruises, and Mean Green is a tough cookie–she barely got scraped! It was scary, but it had to happen sometime, and I’m glad it happened when the street wasn’t busy (ummm I ended up in the middle of it laying on the ground–traffic could have been a very bad thing), and when my husband was there to pick me back up.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

In other exciting and much happier news, I attended and spoke at Blended Conference this weekend! It was a total blast, and I learned a TON! Maureen gave a great presentation on the business of blogging. Christine gave an incredible presentation (literally so.much.information) on Pinterest. Kimberley gave an awesome presentation on building an Instagram community. Nicole and I spoke again on video blogging (to a truly incredible response!), then there were break out discussions, and the day ended with a panel led by Wendy, Nicole, Christine and me on food photography/how to get exposure on sights such as Foodgawker and Tastespotting. I also finally got to meet Stephanie who I’ve known through our blogs and her gooooorgeous food for quite a while now. It was a whirlwind, but I had a really amazing time! Wendy & Wendy did an incredible job putting everything together!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

So that was my eventful weekend. After all of that, I just kind of feel like doing absolutely nothing except for lounging on the couch watching Orange is the New Black (just started it, and I, like, REALLY love it!), and eating comfort food. Fall and winter are all about comfort foods for me, and comfort food always includes cheese. Duh.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

I always thought lasagna was super intimidating, but my bestie and college roommate Heather taught me how to make it, and I used a lightened up version of her recipe for years. It’s simple, easy, great to freeze in bulk and always a hit. I wanted to change it up a little bit, and I was looking for a new way to use my beloved spaghetti squash, so I stuffed it with lasagna filling. Seriously people, I don’t know why I ever bothered with real noodles.

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash #glutenfree

Between the spicy turkey sausage, the bold meat sauce, creamy ricotta cheese, and brown and bubbly (yes, it went back in the oven for extra love half way through the shoot) mozzarella cheese, I promise you don’t miss the noodles at all. In fact, I prefer the spaghetti squash texture, and I love getting a huge serving of veggies without having to cook them up as a side dish. You guys will love this new twist on lasagna–all the bold flavors you love while eating comfort food you can feel good about eating!

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 squash half

Lasagna Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Hearty, comforting lasagna in a light, satisfying and veggie-packed dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 20 oz 99% lean ground turkey breast (you can also use the 93-94% or 96% lean ground beef)
  • 1/4 lb chicken or turkey sausage, sliced
  • 1 lb can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 2 teaspoons dried or finely chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Slice spaghetti squash length wise and scrape out the seeds. Rub 1/4 tbsp olive oil into each squash half and season with salt and pepper. Place each spaghetti squash half face down in a large baking dish and bake for 40-60 min. When squash is done, middle will be tender and pull apart easily.
  2. In a large pan, sautee onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add ground turkey. Season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until browned. Add sausage, crushed tomato and 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. When sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to a simmer until thickened (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. Meanwhile, combine ricotta and cottage cheese in a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. Add a pinch each of salt and pepper. Lightly mix until combined.
  4. When spaghetti squash is fully cooked, flip in the baking dish so that it is now skin side down. Evenly divide ricotta mixture between each squash half. Repeat with meat sauce. Top each half with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  5. Turn oven to broil, and cook for an other 2 minutes, until cheese is browned and bubbling. This happens very quickly–make sure to watch closely, otherwise it can burn easily. Serve immediately. Leftovers may be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

The sauce is very forgiving. Add/subtract whatever spices you like to get your desired flavor. I used a spicy (pre-cooked) chicken sausage, but you can use whatever flavor you like.

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Pumpkin Pecan Granola

Pumpkin Pecan Granola #vegan #glutenfree

Pumpkin Pecan Granola #vegan #glutenfree

This morning I went out for a run, and my first thought when I stepped outside was “It feels chilly out”!!!! I practically jumped for joy. There is a warmth in my heart that can only be described as fall, and I don’t intend to stop sharing my love about it any time soon. Forgive me?

Pumpkin Pecan Granola #vegan #glutenfree

Of course I needed a special fall granola. Okay, that’s a lie. I made this in, like, April and thought I should probably wait until fall to post it. I do promise not to post exclusively pumpkin recipes for the next 3 months, but I can’t promise that there won’t be a whole lot of ‘em. ;)

Pumpkin Pecan Granola #vegan #glutenfree

This granola just has a *hint* of pumpkin, so if you’re not as obsessed with the flavor as I am (ummm, WHY NOT), I think there’s a good chance you’ll still enjoy it! Lots of crunchy pecans, a hint of spice, big granola clusters, and soft, sweet dried cranberries. This granola just screams fall, and the flavors complement each other perfectly.

Pumpkin Pecan Granola

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: approx 12 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Pumpkin Pecan Granola

Warm and cozy pumpkin spice granola with pecans and dried cranberries is the perfect way to add some fall flavor to your breakfast every morning!

Ingredients

  • 5 cups rolled oats (use gluten-free if applicable)
  • 3 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cups almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup milled flax seed
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • heavy pinch sea salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl, mix together the oats, nuts, flax seed, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until well combined, whisking constantly.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients and toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly between your 2 prepared baking sheets.
  5. Bake until browned and crispy, about 1 hour. Lightly toss granola half way through.
  6. Cool completely. Add cranberries and gently toss to combine. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The granola will stay fresh for at least one month. I’ve never made a batch last any longer than that, but it’s still great a month in!
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Drink & Dish: Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I would like to propose that the United States of America switch to 3 days weekends. Or, at least that my schedule could switch to 3 day weekends. I feel like one day I spend riding my bike all day (not at all an exaggeration! 2-5 hours is seriously allllll day), and the next day is filled with meal prep, grocery shopping, laundry (ew), and various other errands. Cleaning should probably be in there somewhere, but we all know I don’t actually do that.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

Today my husband ran his first 5k!! It didn’t go quite like he would have hoped, but I’m still beyond proud of him for getting out there and making it happen! I also convinced a few work friends to tag along, and two of them did their very first race as well! It was fun to get out there, but it turns out not doing any speed training for almost 9 months is not the way to run at your PR pace. Who knew? Anyway, that was my weekend. 56 mile bike ride Friday (okay so that wasn’t even the weekend yet…), 36 mile bike ride Saturday (my first group ride, I didn’t get dropped, and Strava told me I rode one of the miles @ 23mph!!!), and then a 5k on Sunday. I need a weekend from my weekend.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

The good news is the first day of fall is finally here, and I’m *finally* feeling a hint of it in the air. I couldn’t be happier. It’s no longer hot at 5am. In fact, there is a nice breeze, and the temperature feels perfect. I don’t see any triple digits on the horizon, and pumpkin spice syrup is sneaking its way back into my iced coffee every now and then. And also, my cheesecake.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

I know everyone says it, but I really do love this time of year. There is something so cozy about the fall, and knowing that the holidays are coming (<3 all things holiday spirit!). It just makes my heart happy. Not to mention the flavors. I’ve always been obsessed with the pumpkin spice latte. The last couple of years, I’ve made pumpkin spice latte cupcakes, but I wanted to share something a little different with you guys that still showcases the amazing flavor combination. Every year, I make pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving, and decided to do a little twist on that. The result? Like cheesecake and a pumpkin spice latte had a love child, and it only got the best genes from each parent. They are ridiculously good, and even include a gingersnap crust with a hint of coffee flavor to bring everything together.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups #glutenfree

To pair with my cheesecake cups, Nicole made a spiced pear martini that is bursting with fall flavors. I’m not normally someone who jumps at pear flavored things, but the spices round it out perfectly to create a not-too-sweet, cozy pear drink that is a must try! And of course make sure you check out the latest episode of D&D and please subscribe on YouTube!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 5 hours

Yield: 12 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake Cups {gluten-free}

All the flavors of the fall favorite pumpkin spice latte in individual cheesecake cups with a gluten-free gingersnap crust.

Ingredients

    For the gingersnap crust:
  • 1 cup crushed gingersnap crumbs (I used gluten-free)
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 1/2-2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (start with 1 1/2, and add a little extra if it needs it--it depends on the brand of gingersnap and how much oil is already in the cookie)
  • For the cheesecake:
  • 1 lb reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp espresso powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For garnish:
  • Whipped cream
  • Freshly ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. Set. Aside.
  2. To make the crust, combine gingersnap crumbs, 1/2 tsp espresso powder and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Place approx 1 tablespoon of crust into each muffin tin. Press down with your fingers, the back of your spoon, or a shot glass. Bake until set, about 7-10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.
  3. To make the cheesecake, beat cream cheese, pumpkin puree and brown sugar together in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until combined. Beat in vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 tsp espresso powder.
  4. Evenly divide the cheesecake batter between your 12 muffin tins.
  5. Bake until lightly browned and just set, about 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and crack the door. Allow cheesecakes to sit in opened oven for an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack, then refrigerate until fully chilled, about 3-4 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and freshly ground nutmeg (if desired) to serve. Store covered in refrigerator for up to one week.
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Mexican Slaw

Mexican Slaw #vegan #glutenfree

Mexican Slaw #vegan #glutenfree

You guys, life has been so busy lately. I don’t know how some people take all of these trips and still manage to get things done in life. I’ve been coming and going since June, and I’m just kind of ready to stay put for a little while. I mean, I wouldn’t trade any of my recent trips for the world, but I am tiiiiired. And I haven’t cooked real food in, like, 2 weeks.

Mexican Slaw #vegan #glutenfree

I mean, I have 5 zillion recipes that literally only take a matter of minutes to prepare, but I just cannot get on the ball. I know that once I just force myself to make it happen, I will remember that I actually like cooking. Not to mention, I have soooo many fall recipes floating around in my head.

Mexican Slaw #vegan #glutenfree

Until then, coleslaw counts as dinner, right? Okay, maybe not, but it certainly does count for an insanely easy side dish packed full of veggies and nutrients. I don’t think I really like the word nutrients. It sounds ugly to me. Is that weird? Have I ever told you about my friend who doesn’t like the word cube (miss you, John!)?

Mexican Slaw #vegan #glutenfree

Anyway, this slaw…it is the easiest thing you will ever make, and it is insanely delicious. Bold and spicy Mexican flavors with some honey (or agave) for a touch of sweetness, and I am a firm believer that cumin and cilantro make everything better. You could top some delicious homemade tacos with this, add some grilled chicken or black beans to make it a full meal, or even just simply eat it as a snack or side dish.

Mexican Slaw

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: approx 10 servings

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Mexican Slaw

Simple., easy, spicy and bold Mexican coleslaw--the perfect side dish for some fajitas or great for topping your homemade tacos!

Ingredients

  • 12 oz slaw mix
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (remove ribs for less spice)
  • Handful fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp honey (or agave)
  • pinch cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Add slaw mix, onion, jalapeno and cilantro to a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice and honey. Add to your slaw mix and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Toss until fully coated. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an air tight container for 3-5 days.

Notes

Feel free to add in chopped red pepper, or any extra veggies you'd like.

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Cornbread Waffle Tacos {gluten-free}

Cornbread Waffle Tacos #glutenfree

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

Yes. The waffle is the shell, get it? Then there’s guac, taco meat, goat cheese, pretty much heaven.

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

Some of my favorite recipes on this blog weren’t even my idea in the first place. It was Nicole that suggested I make a chicken enchilada dip. And the jalapeno popper hot dogs were way more Heather’s idea than mine. And this taco? It’s a spin off what I remember Heather telling me about something she ordered at a food truck. It’s wayyyy too cool for me to actually come up with the idea on my own.

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree2

But, I do have to say I feel pretty awesome for making something that sounded ridiculously indulgent at least masquerade as a healthy meal. Oh, and for making literally this bomb gluten-free waffle. I’m still figuring out gluten-free things in the kitchen (the husband found out he was intolerant a few months ago), but these babies were a total win on the first try!

Cornbread Waffle Taco #glutenfree

As we were eating, Steve looked at me and admitted that he real skeptical when I told him what we were having for dinner, but had his mind changed 100%. It’s one of those things that some people hear and think “that sounds weird”, but I hear and think”THAT SOUNDS DELICIOUS!” There are several components, but honestly it’s really easy to make, and I think the entire thing took me about half an hour. I probably spent longer photographing it than I did eating it (#foodbloggerproblems). You can make the guacamole ahead of time (I just make it right at the beginning), prepare it while your meat cooks, or just buy some if that’s easier. You start the meat while the waffle batter rests (so important!!), and then cook the waffles as your meat soaks up the seasoning, and voila! Everything comes together around the same time. I love it when that happens!

Cornbread Waffle Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Cornbread Waffle Tacos

These cornbread waffle tacos are a unique and delicious play on sweet, savory and spicy flavors all coming together.

Ingredients

    For the guacamole:
  • 2 extra large avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • small handful fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove stems and heat for less heat)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • For the waffles:
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1/4 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • For the taco meat:
  • 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
  • For serving:
  • Freshly crumbled goat cheese (or any cheese you'd like)
  • Chopped green onions
  • Hot sauce (optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the guacamole, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Blend using an immersion blender until smooth. I prefer a smooth guacamole for this recipe, but you may use a fork/spoon and mix together a chunkier one.
  2. To make the waffles, whisk together corn flour, cornmeal, almond meal and baking soda in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk, coconut oil and honey. Very gently, fold wet ingredients into dry until just combined. A few small lumps may remain. Do not over mix. Let rest for 10 minutes.
  3. While your waffle batter rests, 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.
  4. While meat simmers, cook your waffles by adding approx 1/4 cup batter to your waffle maker at a time (more if you have a large waffle maker--eyeball it). Cook until waffles are golden and cooked throughout, about 5 minutes (mine has a light that goes on when they're finished).
  5. Spread cooked waffles with guacamole, then add taco meat and additional toppings. Serve immediately. Leftover waffles, taco meat and guacamole should be stored separately and refrigerated in an airtight container. Guacamole will last about 3 days. Waffles and taco meat will last 5-7 days.

Notes

There are a million things you could also add on top such as plain Greek yogurt, salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, corn, beans, etc.

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HLS13 Recap

hls13-1-2

Hi friends! I’ve just returned from one of the greatest weekends of my life, and I honestly have no idea where to even begin, or how the heck I’m going to fit this all into one post, but I’m not really a multiple post kind of girl (I get bored, and never finish what I actually wanted to talk about), so here we go…

Thursday:

Nicole and I got into Minneapolis around noon, headed to the hotel to check in, and then grabbed lunch at The Local.

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After lunch we met up with Kristi and went to a fro-yo mini mingle, followed by probably my favorite meal of the trip at Chino Latino. All of their food is served family style, so Nicole, Alex, Steph and I ordered a few dishes to share.

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Nicole & Alex putting the enormous spoons to use

After dinner, we headed up to drinks on a rooftop bar. I don’t really remember where, but as we walked back up to our room that night, Nicole and I began our gushing session about how much we already loved the summit, the mini mingles, and basically every single person we had met.

Friday:

The next morning we started off with a tour with Wild Harvest. The highlights were definitely learning about product sampling (such a big process!) and my favorite (obviously), the recipe development. There was tons of food to taste, and it was all great. The turkey burger sliders were my favorite.

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After the tour, we headed back to the hotel and met our 4th roommate. We had found Katie on the HLS facebook page and we literally had no idea how it would go when we met her. Well, after 5 minutes, we were all in friendship love. Seriously, this girl is amazing, and I feel like I am leaving the summit with a new life-long friend.

My roommates, Emily Relishments and I all walked down  to Fulton Brewery for some beer tasting.

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Katie & Nicole. And beer.

Most of the breweries around there don’t serve food, but they do have food trucks hanging around! We ordered some nachos to split.

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The highlight was definitely the beer + ginger ale combo. I would highly recommend trying it next time you’re at a place that has both!

That evening, I went to a mini mingle at Hell’s Kitchen for dinner. It was kind of love at first site when I checked out the drink menu and saw that they infused their own liquors including a blackberry whiskey and a vanilla-cinnamon whiskey. Talk about the way to my heart. ;)

After dinner, we all headed over to the cocktail party. One of my favorite parts (aside from the photo booth which was obviously my very  favorite part) was that when we walked in, we were given a note card with part of a famous duo or trio, and we were supposed to find out counter part and take a picture in the photo booth together. I was really nervous about going up and talking to new people, but this made it so much easier! Not to mention, I got jelly and spent the first few minutes looking for my peanut almond butter. How perfect for me, right?

photo courtesy of Amanda

Amanda was the AB to my J, and she is awesome!

Once all of my roommates had found their counter part, we spent the rest of the evening taking as many photo booth pictures as possible.

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photo courtesy of Katie

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#2208!!! Yes, we did create a hashtag for our room number.

The view from The Guthrie was absolutely gorgeous.

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On the way back, it was beautiful and foggy–we never see things like this in Arizona!

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Saturday:

Saturday was a total blur. I know we woke up, and went to other presentations, and spoke, and then went to more presentations, but I was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t focus on much other than making it through our presentation.

Ready????

Ready????

Luckily, I felt like it did go pretty well, and by the time it was over, I actually wanted to do it again! I love working with Nicole because working with a good friend eases the nerves, and helps me to be myself. We balance each other out, and it makes almost everything in life better. PS, if you missed our session, check out Kristin’s live blog recap!

After the sessions, I went out with my roomies and new BFF Kammie to find dinner. We had a hard time deciding, and it was raining, so we ended up going back to The Local because it was so close, and the food was realllly good. Then we went back to Hell’s Kitchen for drinks because I couldn’t live without trying the cinnamon-vanilla whiskey. It.was.awesome.

Sunday:

Nicole, Katie and I got up to meet most of the girls for the 5k fun run. The weather was gorgeous–cloudy, drizzly, crisp and cool. We ran down to a local park and I spent most of the time chatting with Nicole, Katie, Heather and Steph. It was so beautiful out, and I was beyond thrilled to be running with such a great group! We stopped at the park for some pictures.

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Jumping picture? I failed.

Jumping picture? I failed.

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After we said goodbye to all of our new friends (umm, this was SO SAD!), Nicole and I headed off to find lunch, and then ended the trip on a super high note: the cronut.

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Have you heard of these yet?? It’s a croissant donut, and I’ve been wanting to try one for months! I was sure there was no way it could be as good as I imagined, but it was BETTER! Not dry at all like some donuts can be. It really was the best of both worlds.

Final thoughts:

Honestly, it was absolutely incredibly what Heather, Julie and the rest of the planning committee created. Everything was so well organized, and I was the most impressed with what a comfortable and open environment they created. Meeting new people is scary, but the second I met Heather and Julie, I instantly felt at ease, and like I belonged, and isn’t that why we all go to these things? To feel like we’re a part of something, and feel included? I am beyond grateful to these ladies for all of their hard work, and I can’t wait to be a part of this again next year in Madison!

 

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

You know that feeling when you’re super excited for a long weekend, but getting ready for it is so stressful that by the time you’re done getting ready for said long weekend, you feel like you need a second long weekend just to recover from it? Yeah…I’m there.

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

Tomorrow morning (at some hour that shouldn’t even be legal), Nicole and I fly to Minneapolis for the Healthy Living Summit. It seems like we’ve been anticipating this day foreeevvvverrrr, and I can’t believe it’s finally here! This week has been spent getting things taken care of at work, and putting the final touches on our presentation. I’m totally nervous, but mostly excited for the next 4 days!

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

So in my absence, I leave you  this salad. I wasn’t sure if it was a salad or a salsa. I mean, it’s actually nothing like salsa, except it kind of reminds me of a salsa? Kinda like this one. Anyway, I first made this salad when I was staying with my friend Karisa this summer, and one bite in I knew I needed to make it again so I could share it with you guys. It is hands down one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten. The sweetness from the sweet potatoes against the spicy jalapenos and creamy avocado…ugggghhh, it just all…fits. Like a glove.

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad #vegan #glutenfree

This recipe is so simple, and aside from the time spent roasting the potatoes, it all comes together really quickly. Just a few fresh ingredients, and totally fool proof–the perfect side for some grilled chicken or steak for a nice, easy, and healthy weeknight dinner!

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Approx 6 servings

Sweet Potato Avocado Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large avocados, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey or agave

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Line sweet potatoes out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil and season with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Roast until tender, but not mushy, about 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, add cooked sweet potato, remaining tablespoon olive oil, avocado, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and honey/agave. Toss together lightly to coat. Serve immediately. May be served warm or cold. Keep leftovers refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

I know, I know….It’s September and we’re supposed to be talking about crockpots, pumpkin, and cinnamon. And this weekend, I can’t even complain about the temperatures here. We’ve had highs in the 90s, and yesterday we even got rain! I mean,  being rained on for a good 3 hours of my bike ride was not ideal, but I will never complain about rain in this city!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

And honestly, I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees or 50, I still always want ice cream. My friends think I’m crazy when I crave fro-yo in the winter, but it just is, and always will be, my favorite dessert. Cookies are a close second.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

The other day, my little sister (in-law–ps I hate the term “in-law”) was over after just having her braces tightened and was having trouble chewing on any solid food. I am of strong belief that any mouth or throat pain means ice cream is a necessity. If you’re going to be miserable, there should at least be ice cream.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

I decided to use up the last of my chocolate fro-yo, throw in a banana, and of course I had to add in peanut butter. I tasted a sip, and it was dangerously good. I knew I wanted to remake it at least a tiny bit healthier for myself, so I put some extra ripe bananas in the freezer for a day when I would need a little pick-me-up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake #vegan #glutenfree

I love milkshakes because they literally require 3 minutes of your time (and then an other 30 as you stress out trying to photograph them before they turn into a melty puddle of mess), and they are a total comfort dessert for me! I ended up using a combination of chocolate peanut butter and chocolate chips to get the chocolate flavor in there, and the blended up chips added just the right amount of texture.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Shake

This chocolate peanut butter banana milkshake is ridiculously simple and comes together in minutes.

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, sliced and frozen
  • 2 tbsp chocolate peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • whipped cream or whipped coconut cream and sprinkles for serving, optional

Instructions

  1. Combine bananas, peanut butter, chocolate chips, vanilla and 1/2 cup of your almond milk in a high-quality blender. Blend until smooth (you will likely need to stop and stir--it will be very thick). Slowly, add more milk until milkshake has reached your desired consistency. Serve immediately. Top with whipped cream/whipped coconut cream and sprinkles if desired.
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Pumpkin Pecan Scones {vegan + gluten-free}

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

I promised myself I was going to wait until the first day of fall to post my first pumpkin recipe of the year, but I just can’t do it anymore. Heck, it was hard enough to wait until after the first day of September!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

Like many of you, I make pumpkin recipes year round. Pecans though? I feel like they are the forgotten stepchild of fall amazingness. Pumpkin, apples and cranberries take the spotlight while sweet and crunchy pecans are often forgotten, left on the sidelines.

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

Well not here, my friends. These scones may be loaded with pumpkin spice, but the real star is the ultra-soft pecan flour. The texture of these scones is like no other. The outside is just like a regular scone, but the inside is melt-in-your-mouth smooth. Not at all dry and crumbly like some scones can be.

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

Pecan flour isn’t exactly a common ingredient. At least, I’ve never seen it in the store, and until after making my own was a slightly annoying (but still totally worth it) task, I didn’t even know you could buy it. King Arthur sells it, and you can also look on Amazon. I made my own by grinding the pecans in my food processor, then lofts of sift, grind, repeat. I can’t say it was a quick process, but the result was so incredible that I would do it again in a heart beat!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

Other than if you make your own pecan flour, they are ridiculously quick and easy to make. 1 bowl–no mixer–quick bake time–practically fool proof!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones #vegan #glutenfree

I dusted mine with a pumpkin spiced powdered sugar topping, but they are equally great without, or with some fresh whipped cream or whipped coconut cream for an extra treat. They also stay super soft for a few days, so you can make them ahead of time for company, or throw them together at the last minute. Either way, once you make them, they won’t last long!

Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 scones

Serving Size: 1 scone

Pumpkin Pecan Scones

Ultra-soft pumpkin spiced pecan flour scones are sure to be your new go-to fall treat! Vegan & gluten-free.

Ingredients

    For the scones:
  • 2 1/2 cups pecan flour
  • dash salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • For the powdered sugar topping:
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions

  1. To make the scones, preheat oven to 350. Line a medium baking sheet with Silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together pecan flour, salt, baking soda, corn starch, and pumpkin pie spice. Add maple syrup and pumpkin puree. Mix until combined. Mixture will be slightly wet and sticky. If it is unmanageable, add more pecan flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Roll dough into a large ball and press down into a 1-1 1/2? thick disk. Cut into 8 equal pieces. Do not separate. Bake as if for 9-11 minutes until golden and set. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar topping. Lightly dust onto scones just before serving. Scones can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

Hi friends! Did you guys have a good 3 day weekend? I had to work a little bit this evening, but I had most of the day off, and we had a great time on Sunday having friends and family over, grilling, eating tons of food, and later on playing Cards Against Humanity. It was my first time ever playing, and now I’m pretty much in love with the game. Everyone had a great time, and I got lots of compliments on the 5 new recipes I created for our get together.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

But now I have to go back to real life, and it’s almost Tuesday, and Tuesday after a 3 day weekend is even worse than a regular Monday. But at least it’s a short week. And I do actually really enjoy my job, but I also really enjoy lounging around the house getting caught up on How I Met Your Mother.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

So, let’s talk about this salad. Whenever people ask me what my tips are for staying healthy, one thing I always say is to make lunch over the weekend that you can take to work 4 out of the 5 days of your work week. Pick a day and go out to lunch because it’s fun, and it will help you from getting sick of eating the same thing, but I find that just making a lunch for the week keeps me on track–I know exactly what I’m going to eat, and I create something healthy and delicious that I’m excited to eat multiple days in a row.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

That could not be more true about this salad. Sweet and spicy slow-cooked bbq chicken with plenty of veggies, creamy Greek yogurt, and bold cilantro make this salad absolutely irresistible. In fact, I found myself trying to eat it for lunch, dinner, and once even breakfast! It’s got tons of lean protein and healthy, whole grain carbs, with a good amount of veggies thrown in there too (and you can always add even more veggies!). You won’t even want to go rogue and hit up Subway if you have this stuff around!

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

    For the bbq chicken:
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb low sugar bbq sauce
  • For the salad:
  • 2 cups dry whole grain penne (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, etc.)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Place chicken and bbq sauce in a slow cooker. Cook over low heat for 5 hours.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker and use to forks to shred. It will come apart very easily.
  4. Place shredded chicken, cooked pasta and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If desired, spoon in a little extra bbq sauce from your slow cooker. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

You may use rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken breast and approx 1/3 cup bbq sauce if you don't want to use a slow cooker.

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