Three Bean Salad


A few weeks ago I went to this vegan food rally at a brewery and had the most amazing bean salad served over warm brown rice and quinoa mixture. My husband and I loved it so much that I got the ingredients the next day and attempted to make it at home. To my surprise I nailed the exact same flavors! I have made this weekly since then. I am seriously obsessed with it.

This bean salad is delicious served alone or as a snack with chips. However if you want to make it more of a meal then see step five for how to make a quick rice and quinoa mixture to serve it over. I love the way the cold bean salad taste over the warm rice.

This makes a decent amount, but it only seems to last a few days at the most in my household because it’s so addicting!

Ingredients:

  • Two 15.5 ounce cans of organic black beans
  • One 15.5 ounce can of organic pinto beans
  • One 15.5 ounce can of organic kidney beans
  • One cup of red wine vinegar
  • Two tablespoons of chile lime seasoning blend
  • One tablespoon garlic powder
  • One lime- squeeze the juice
  • One tablespoon adobo seasoning
  • One tablespoon onion salt
  • One organic green pepper finely diced
  • One organic yellow pepper finely diced
  • One organic red pepper finely diced
  • One sweet onion
  • 2 cups frozen roasted corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Steps:

  1. Start by opening the cans of beans and rinsing in a strainer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Finely dice the peppers and onion and add to the beans.
  3. Add the onion salt, adobo, garlic powder, chili lime, vinegar, lime and cilantro.
  4. Spray a medium sized skillet with some olive oil and heat up the corn. Pour into the bean mixture. Try to find roasted corn if you can I think it really pumps up the flavor!
  5. Mix everything together very well! Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. If you want to serve the bean salad over a grain I take a bag of frozen brown rice and frozen quinoa (most stores have frozen brown rice. I get frozen brown quinoa from Trader Joe’s but you can skip it if you don’t live near one and/or don’t feel like making quinoa on the stove) and heat it up in the microwave. Then pour the rice and quinoa mixture over a skillet and pour a couple teaspoons of grape-seed oil (olive or avocado oil work too.) Add some fresh pico de gallo and some Cojita or feta cheese. Let cook for a few minutes.

Pesto Veggie Farro


I am a big fan of salty items. I’ve  never met an olive I didn’t like. I was aimlessly roaming the aisles of Trader Joe’s today trying to figure out what to make for dinner, and came up with this meal. I have been cooking with the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s for a while now and I really love it. Its a nice alternative to brown rice and has 10 grams of protein per serving. It makes a great base for any meal. If you want to make this meal vegan simply don’t add the feta and romano and if you wanted to add fish or meat to this meal I would recommend salmon, shrimp or steak and chicken. It stands all on it’s own as a vegetarian meal and is extremely hearty, between the farro and the butternut squash you will be stuffed!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 1/2 cup of farro (or one bag of Trader Joe’s farro– if you can get it)
  • 1 large red onion chopped
  • 2.5 cups of butternut squash cubed. (I buy these pre-cut 12 oz bags)
  • 2 cups of quartered Brussel sprouts
  • 2 cups diced orange peppers
  • 1 box  of mushrooms (around 1 cup)
  • Chives (to taste)
  • 1 cup of pitted marinated Kalmata olives
  • 1/2 cup of marinated artichoke hearts -chopped
  • Feta (to taste)
  • Grapeseed oil (drizzle)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 5-6 cloves fresh garlic pressed (if you don’t have fresh garlic about 1 tablespoon minced garlic)

For the Pesto: ( I used about 3 heaping tablespoons – you will have extra)

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  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 3 cups packed basil
  • 1/2 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/2 of lemon squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons of pecorino romano cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of filtered water

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take a large baking sheet and line with foil. Add the brussel sprouts, peppers, onion, olives, artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, squash, peppers and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper. Place in oven for about 20 minutes. (I have to cook my mushrooms separate because my hubby doesn’t care for them)While the veggies cook cook the farro according to package directions. I like to cook mine in veggie broth for added flavor, but water is just fine too. Drain and set asideIMG_1673IMG_1680
  2. If you decide to make the pesto (store bought pesto works just as well if your’e not feeling up for it!) start by adding the basil in a food processor or blender, then add the grape seed oil (olive oil is fine too), lemon, pine nuts and avocado. Blend and add the water in slowly until you reach a nice creamy consistency. Pour into a bowl and sprinkle with pepper and lemon zest.
  3. Take 3 heaping tablespoons of the pesto and mix with the cooked farro. Add chives and feta (the amount is up to you!)
  4. When the squash and veggies are fork tender I like to put the oven on a high broil for a few minutes to give everything a nice golden crisp.
  5. Mix the veggie squash mixture with the farro and ENJOY!
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*This dish is also really great to bring to a party and can be served cold.

Summer Zucchini Minestrone


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

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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