Summer Zucchini Minestrone


This easy soup recipe is the perfect way to incorporate fresh local veggies during the summer season.
IMG_0131

Ingredients:

  • 28 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
  • 4-5 small zucchinis, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 large vidalia onion
  • Splash of olive oil
  • 3 fresh cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups of organic spinach
  • 1.5 teaspoons of organic chicken soup base
  • 3-4 cups of filtered water
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans of organic cannellini beans

IMG_0128

Steps:

  1. Start by taking a medium sized sauce pan and coat the bottom with olive oil, turn heat on medium and add the onions, basil and parsley stirring frequently for about 5 minutes and then add the garlic stirring for another 2 minutes. Add the zucchini and reduce heat to medium-low and let cook for about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the tomatoes (if they are whole cut them into bite sized pieces first), beans, water, salt and pepper and the soup base.
  3. Cover the pan and let simmer over medium to low heat for 30-35 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Sprinkle with parmesan and red chili flakes.

IMG_0121

Veggie Garden Salad


On Saturday I went to a local farmer’s market to get my weekly produce. Farmer’s markets are just starting to come back  after taking a break during the hot summer months in Florida. I absolutely love starting my Saturday with a coffee in my hand and the sun shining while looking at beautiful food.  There are so many beneficial reasons to go to your local farmers markets; support your local farmers, know where your food comes from, connect with your community, save $$ (my total bill was $29 for A LOT of fresh fruit and veggies) and to protect the environment (just to name a few.) If you live in a colder climate most states have indoor farmer’s markets, you just have to do your research! Stocking up on local produce help make weeknight dinners easier. I never really plan my meals out ahead of time, but I always have certain ingredients in my kitchen so that I can whip together a yummy recipe. Besides having fresh produce in my home at all times I always make sure to have organic brown rice, organic quinoa, protein plus pasta and tons of beans and lentils.  I also love fresh herbs, but they go bad so easily so I keep these pastes in my fridge. This salad was refreshing and yummy, and remember to really scrub your fruits and veggies before eating!5 4 6 7 8

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium cucumbers diced- I like to keep the skin on
  • 2 red peppers diced
  • 5 radishes diced
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes (about 15 small tomatoes)
  • 1 can of rinsed organic great northern beans
  • 1/2 white diced onion
  • 2 heaping tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • 2 heaping tablespoons white balsamic vinaigrette (I like to use both but you could do 1/4 cup of either)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4  cup Parmesan cheese (if you aren’t going to eat in one sitting then sprinkle cheese on each individual bowl)
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon squeezed
  • 3 celery stalks

Steps:

  1. Dice all the vegetables up and place into a large bowl.
  2. Take the balsamic vinaigrette, cheese, salt and pepper, garlic powder, lemon and olive oil and whisk in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour over the vegetables and mix well. Place in refrigerator and let chill for 30 minutes or so. 23

Curried Ginger Red Lentil and Quinoa Soup


I started a ten day Kundalini yoga workshop on Tuesday night. It begins at 4:30 am in Buffalo so I have been setting my alarm at 3:15 am. It’s only been three days, but so far I am seeing incredible changes in my body and mental state. I have not had the desire to eat meat and have been eating vegan the past few days and feel seriously incredible. I highly recommend this soup for anyone, the smell filled up my whole house and was truly divine. The lentils, quinoa and chickpeas jam pack this soup with protein. I had it  again for lunch today and feel so full but in a good way, not the I need to go nap way. I hope you enjoy, happy hump day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 large organic carrots, peeled and diced
  • 5 stalks organic celery, chopped
  • 3 organic cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 lb red lentils
  • 3 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 1 (28oz) can organic diced tomatoes
  •  2 bay leaves
  • 1 (15oz) can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked organic quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup of tabouleh (Optional: I went to Pita Gourmet for lunch and had a side of it, so I threw it in)

Steps:

  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add onions, carrot and celery, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, and curry powder, sauté for about a minute or until fragrant.
  3. Add lentils, broth, tomatoes, tabouleh  and bay leaves.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer until lentils are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5.  Add chickpeas and quinoa, heat through.  Season with salt and pepper, and red chili flakes (if you like spice) to taste and adjust seasoning as needed. unnamed (1)

The Famous Maving’s Cheese Ball


When I first started dating my fiance I quickly learned of the cheese ball tradition. His family gets together a lot, and for every occasion there must ALWAYS be a cheese ball. I knew I would fit in immediately after I tasted this cheese ball. Three simple ingredients of glorious-ness. I won’t lie to you kids this is in no way healthy, and I know I like to say everything in moderation, but that goes out the window when it comes to the cheese ball. It’s fregan addicting and its so hard to walk away. God’s speed!

Ingredients:

  • 3 packets of cream cheese
  • 1 2.5 oz jar of dried beef
  • 1 bunch of scallions -choppedunnamed

Steps:

  1. Start by dicing the scallions.
  2. Cut the beef into tiny little squares (see pic)
  3. Take out the cream cheese and roll the ingredients into the cheese ball making sure its well mixed
  4. Reserve some of the dried beef and scallions for the very end so you can roll the outer layer in that as well.
  5. Serve with crackers, my favorite are Triscuits with sea salt or Wheat Thins. fs

Fruit Bruschetta with Goat Cheese


Today was the Grand Opening for Pure Barre Buffalo!! I thought this appetizer would be a fun way to celebrate! I only used a tiny smear of goat cheese, and a little bread in moderation is alright by me. I was actually surprised to learn that goat cheese is one of the healthier cheeses out there. I always thought it was one of the worst! This article talks about the health benefits of goat cheese in comparison to others. Such a sweet and savory appetizer!

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango’s, finely diced
  • 8 strawberries, hulled and finely diced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 pineapple ring slices, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons red onion, finely diced
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 oz. goat cheese, softened
  • olive oil for drizzle
  • 1 10 oz. bag of chopped baguette (try to find whole grain if you can)photo-18

Steps:

  1. Start by finely chopping the mango’s (peel first), strawberries, tomatoes (quartered), chopped basil, red onion and place into a bowl.
  2. Add the garlic powder and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place the baguette pieces onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, place under the broiler until slightly browned (2-3 minutes).
  4. Evenly spread the softened goat cheese over the toasted baguette.
  5. Top each baguette with a the fruit mixture.blog2

Tortellini Soup with spinach and beans


After having a lazy Sunday I was craving something comforting for dinner. I came up with this recipe by just adding all of my favorite ingredients into one pot. It turned out delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes -halved
  • 6 cups of fresh spinach
  • 9 oz package or tortellini (I used these)
  • 1/2 white onion diced
  • 4 stalks celery diced (keep the leaves)
  • 2 large carrots diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans (I used these)
  • 2 -32oz. boxes of chicken broth  (I usually like to make my own stock, but this works instead if you’re in rush)
  • 3 tablespoon fresh dill chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons e.v.o.o
  • 3 cubes vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to taste

Steps:

1.) Start by adding the olive oil to a large pot and heat on medium high for about a minute, then add the onions. Let the onions sweat for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the celery, carrots, onions, oregano, dill and tomatoes. Turn heat down to medium and let cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.  photo

2.) Turn heat to medium low, add the chicken broth, bouillon and beans, cover and let cook for 30 minutes .

3.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the tortellini- cook by bringing the heat back up to medium high for about 3 minutes, and the tortellini will be cooked. Add the spinach at the very end.

4.) I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese and crushed reds into my bowl. Enjoy! photo (1)

Loaded Potato Bites


This was another appetizer that I brought to the 60th anniversary party. I never get a chance to cook unhealthy things, so I figured I was going to go all out and not care about calories/fat content for once. I definitely would not recommend sitting down and eat more than 3 of these, but its great for a party for everyone to have one or two, as I always say everything in moderation. I hope you enjoy these tasty little suckers!

Ingredients:

  • 4 red potatoes peeled and cut into 1″ chunks. boiled until tender and drained of water
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. bacon fat
  • 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. bacon
  • 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese

Steps:

1.) While potatoes are boiling, fry up the bacon in a skillet. Cook the bacon well,  after it cools it should crispy!

2.)  Chop the bacon into small pieces and set aside.

3.) When the potatoes are cooked, drain all the water out. Begin mashing with a hand masher and add the sour cream, ricotta cheese, butter, salt, pepper and bacon fat. Let cool for 15 minutes, and then add the cheese and fold it in with a spatula.814

4.) Using a spoon or a small ice cream scoop, scoop the mashed potato mixture into balls and roll in the crumbled bacon. Place on a cookie sheet and Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, serve immediately. photo-2-1-300x225

Ricotta Stuffed Meatballs


It was my fiances grandparent’s 60th anniversary party last weekend, and we all brought appetizers. Mitch and I go to this local restaurant a lot called Rocco’s and they have the BEST meatballs! One of our favorite thing about them is the generous dollop of ricotta cheese that they put on the side. Mitch came up with the idea to put the ricotta cheese in the actual meatball. So after some Google searching I came up with this recipe. It was AMAZING, and a big hit at the party!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef, veal, pork mixture
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
2 cloves finely diced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil

Sauce: I made homemade sauce-will post that recipe on a later date!

Steps:

1. Start by adding the basil to the ricotta cheese. Then take the ricotta cheese and form little balls and place on a greased baking pan. Make about 20 and place in the freezer to chill for about an hour or so.photo

2.  In the meantime combine the meat, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, salt, oregano, garlic, parsley and pepper into a bowl and mix together with your hands.

3. Once the ricotta cheese has formed into a ball and is frozen, simply take the meat mixture and form the meatball around the cheese. Make sure the meatballs are all a consistent size.

photo (7)

4. Place the meatballs into the oven at 425 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.photo (8)

5. Serve with sauce, parmesan cheese and red hot chili pepper flakes!!

opened

Crab Cakes


I went to the Buffalo Chophouse this past weekend and somehow ended up with everyones leftovers so I decided to make crab cakes. They turned out super delish!

  • 1 pound lump crab meat
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 tsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp siracha sauce
  • Fresh lemon wedges
  • 2 tbs whole grain mustard

Steps:

  1. Carefully check the crab meat for any cartilage. Put meat in a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Combine the breadcrumbs, crab, eggs, mayo, mustard, salt, old bay and worcestershire. . Shape into 6 crab cakes, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan. Sauté until golden brown on each side. This will only take about 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. For the sauce I just added the siracha, lemon and whole grain mustard!