Cranberry Orange Sauce with Ginger

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This year was the first year that I made cranberry sauce from scratch and I was amazed at how easy it was to make with only a few ingredients. To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner but this homemade sauce has completely changed my mind. Why anyone would ever buy store bought again is beyond me… You can add so many different flavors to your homemade cranberry sauce. In this recipe, I added fresh squeezed orange juice and ginger and just enough sugar so that the sauce remains slightly tart. This sauce was perfected through trial and error. The first batch I made came out incredibly bitter and after extensive research I came to realize that I was over cooking the cranberries. They only need to be simmered for about 10 minutes. Do not make the same mistake I did! In addition, cranberries contain high amounts of pectin, which is released when you cook them. This causes the sauce to naturally thicken to the consistency of a jam. This recipe yielded about 2 1/2 cups but I doubled the recipe and decided to freeze some. Who ever said cranberry sauce should be exclusively served at Thanksgiving dinner was crazy. I served this sauce along with Camembert cheese (similar to Brie) and it was a pair made in heaven. Tip: The leftover cranberry sauce is super yummy in Greek yogurt!

Time:15 mins
Yields: 2 1/2 cups
Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

•1 12-16 oz. bag of cranberries
•1 heaping cup of sugar
•1 cup water
•1-2 inch piece of ginger, grated
•1/4 cup fresh orange juice, added last
•Pinch of nutmeg

Throw everything except orange juice into a large pot. Bring to a medium boil and then simmer for ten minutes. Remove from heat and and stir in orange juice. Transfer to a bowl or airtight container and allow to cool completely. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Optional: Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken even more. Enjoy!

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Energy Boosting Green Smoothie

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If you’re anything like me, getting out of bed in the morning is no easy task. While I normally depend upon coffee to wake me up, this energy boosting smoothie is a great way to start the day on a healthy note. My recipe yields about two smoothies but you can refrigerate the extra green goodness in a jar or other airtight container for up to three days! The chia seeds are packed with fiber and the turmeric is great for getting rid of all those nasty toxins in the body. I also like to add spirulina, which is an algae rich in protein and amino acids, among many many other things (it’s crazy good for you!) If you’re not familiar with spirulina, you can read about the health benefits here. It is found at most health food stores though I will warn you that spirulina smells utterly terrible (think fish food). But the flavors in this smoothie will totally mask the yucky algae smell, I promise you. This smoothie is also a great pre-yoga/workout drink!

Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free
Yields: 2 smoothies
Time: 5-10 minutes

•3 cups of spinach
• 2 cups of coconut water (or just water if coco isn’t your thing)
•3/4 cup ice
•1 banana, chopped
•1 apple, chopped
•1 inch piece of ginger, chopped
•1 tablespoon chia seeds
•1/2 teaspoon turmeric
•1/2 teaspoon spirulina

Throw spinach and coconut water into blender, processing until spinach has been completely blended. Then add fruit, turmeric, spirulina and ice and process until everything is blended. Probably about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lastly, add the chia seeds and give your smoothie a quick pulse or two. Enjoy!

White Summertime Sangria

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This summer is just flying by and I haven’t had the chance to post any yummy recipes in weeks. Things have been a little hectic but I finally got to take the edge off with this white sangria – it’s light, citrusy and perfect for summertime! Generally, I am not a huge fan of white wine but the fruit in this sangria adds so much flavor, making it pretty much irresistible. Note: Many people add brandy or even a bit of rum to sangria so if you have any on hand, go to town!

Dietary info: Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Time: 10 minutes + 2 hours of refrigeration
Yields: 4-5 glasses

•1 bottle of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc but you can use a sweeter wine like Rosé or even just a table white)
•1- 1/2 cups seltzer water or club soda
•1 lime, sliced
•1 peach or nectarine, chopped
•1 green apple, chopped
• 1 cup grapes or blueberries
Optional: 1-2 tablespoons of honey

Throw fruit into a large pitcher, followed by wine and seltzer water. Add honey if desired and stir. Refrigerate for at least two hours. When ready to serve, top off sangria with ice. Enjoy!

Chickpea Tikka Masala

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Indian is probably my favorite cuisine. Naan, samosas, pakora – it is all just so good. But until recently I had never really experimented with cooking Indian food at home. When I became a vegetarian three years ago, the hardest thing I had to give up was my favorite Indian dish: chicken tikka masala, a mildly spiced dish made with a tomato cream sauce. Oh, how I have missed that sauce. I got the idea to recreate this dish using chickpeas, instead of chicken – kind of similar to chana masala. I was surprisingly satisfied with how it turned out. This sauce is definitely going to be a staple from this day forward! You can put your own spin on this recipe by doing away with the chickpeas entirely, adding different vegetables, cashews and/or raisins.

Time: 30-40 minutes
Serves: 2-4
Dietary Info: Gluten-free

  • 1 15 oz. can tomato purée
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
    Note: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon for a MILD dish- or- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon for a SPICY dish
  • Pinch of garam masala (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of ghee, butter or oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice

    1. Start by heating ghee, butter or oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, add garlic, salt and spices and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.

    2. Next, add tomato purée and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and cream, simmering for about 10 more minutes or until sauce is thickened. Note: Now is a good time to cook your rice.

    3. Lastly, add chickpeas and cilantro and simmer for 5 more minutes. Serve over rice and garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

    How To: Build Your Own Veggie Burger

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    I absolutely love experimenting with different types veggie burgers. The flavor combinations are endless and homemade burgers are so much better than the frozen store-bought kind. So, I thought I would share MY guidelines to building a veggie burger. These burgers can be made ahead of time and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Who needs meat when you can have veggie burgers like these?! Check out my recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean burgers!

    Get creative and make it your own! Here is how:

    2 cups of cooked legumes:
    •Beans (black, garbanzo, white, kidney)
    •Peas
    •Lentils

    2 cups of starch and/or grains (you can use 2-3 different ones):
    •Sweet potato
    •Quinoa
    •Brown rice
    •Breadcrumbs
    •Ground oats

    2-3 cups of vegetables:
    •Onion
    •Peppers
    •Corn
    •Carrots
    •Mushrooms

    1/3 cup of liquid/thickener (choose 1-2):
    •Tomato paste
    •Tahini
    •Ketchup
    •Sriracha
    •Oils (olive, coconut, grape seed, canola)
    •Vegetable broth
    •1 egg

    1/3 cup of herbs:
    •Cilantro
    •Parsley
    •Basil
    •Rosemary
    •Thyme

    Spices (based on preference):
    •Cumin
    •Chili powder
    •Paprika
    •Cayenne pepper
    •Oregano
    •Curry powder
    •Garam masala

    1-2 tablespoons of seeds (optional):
    •Flax
    •Sesame
    •Chia

    1/2 cup of cheese (optional):
    •Sharp cheddar
    •Cheddar
    •Mozzarella
    •Jack
    •Feta

    Now, for the assembling:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mash legume of choice with a fork or potato masher. Add starch or grain and combine to create a paste (it’s alright if it’s chunky!) I use my hands for this step and it’s really fun.

    2. Add vegetables, then liquid and combine with (clean!) hands. Add herbs, spices, seeds and cheese if you so desire. Combine.

    3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    4. While oven is preheating, form patties with your mixture. This recipe should make about 8-10 medium-sized veggie burgers. Place on a well oiled or parchment lined baking sheet.

    5. Bake burgers for 20 minutes, flipping once halfway through (10 minutes on each side).

    6. Take out of oven and serve on a bun of your choice, topping with: hummus, ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, onion, avocado, tomato, mixed greens, mushrooms – whatever you desire!

    7. You can store your veggie burgers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. These burgers can be grilled or cooked in a stovetop skillet. About 4-5 minutes on each side should do the trick! Enjoy!

    Note: You can also freeze these veggie burgers in an airtight container (I recommend a BPA-free bag) for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to cook them up, allow burgers to thaw for an hour before cooking or grilling.

    Homemade Cilantro Salsa

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    Dietary Info: Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

    Yield: about 2 cups

    Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 red vine tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño, seeded and minced OR 1/2 serrano pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1/8 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 dash of cumin
  • 1 dash of chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until all the ingredients come together. I usually pulse about 10 times in a food processor to get my desired chunkiness. Serve with chips and enjoy!

    Quinoa Tabbouleh

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    Tabbouleh salad is a staple at most every Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern restaurant. My Mom has been making this yummy blend of herbs, grain and veggies ever since I was a little kid. Traditionally, tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat but I used quinoa in this recipe, making it gluten-free (and better in my opinion, as I’m not really a fan of bulgur). Note: This is a healthy side-dish and it also goes great in a wrap with some hummus and greens!

    Dietary Info: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

    Serves: 3-4

    Time: 20 minutes

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely minced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

    1. In a small saucepan, add uncooked quinoa + 3/4 cup water, lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir together. Allow quinoa to boil then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. This will yield about one cup of cooked quinoa.

    2. While quinoa is cooking, chop vegetables and herbs. Note: I find mincing the herbs to be so tedious, so I usually just throw the parsley and mint into a food processor and process for 10 seconds. Scrape the sides, and process for 10 more seconds. Repeat once more so that the herbs become finely minced.

    3. Once quinoa has cooked, allow to cool completely. Throw herbs, tomato, cucumber, scallions and garlic into a mixing bowl. When quinoa has cooled down, add it to the herb mixture and stir with a large spoon until completely combined. Optional: Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving. Personally, I don’t think this is totally necessary. Tabbouleh can be stored in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

    Huevos Rancheros with Pico de Gallo

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    This is the most delicious (and quick!) breakfast ever. Though Huevos Rancheros is traditionally served on top of a corn tortilla, I like mine over a bed of arugula, making it gluten free. I like to give my eggs a little splash of sriracha (while my boyfriend totally douses his) and a large pinch of smoked paprika, which really gives the dish a good flavor! Bonus: the Pico de Gallo is also really yummy served with chips!

    Serves: 2

    Time: 15 minutes

    Dietary Info: Gluten-Free

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup of corn, frozen, canned or cooked
  • 2 cups of greens (mesclun, arugula, etc)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/8 cumin
  • Pinch of cayenne (more if you like it really spicy)
  • Pinch of smoked paprika, for garnish
  • Optional: top with a splash of red chile sauce

    For the Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1/2 small jalapeño, minced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced

    1. Throw all the Pico ingredients together and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a medium skillet and sauté onions and peppers for 3-5 minutes. Add black beans, corn and spices. Cook for 3-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.

    2. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and cook eggs sunny side up for several minutes until done. Remove from heat and serve over a bed of greens. Top with Pico, feta smoked paprika and hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!