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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One Pot Veggie Penne Pasta


I have seen these one pot veggie pasta dishes on Pinterest for a while now and have been dying to try it out.  Most of them are inspired by Martha Stewart’s One Pot Meals cookbook. I was a little skeptical at first because I love sautéing my veggies, but I figured I would give this method a try. I just used the vegetables I had in my fridge. This recipe turned out delicious, my husband said it taste like a vodka penne which is good considering I didn’t use any cream- just cheese. I prefer my normal method of making veggie pasta, but this one pot pasta dish is tasty and easy so I would still recommend it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 cup fresh peas
  • 1 organic zucchini -quartered
  • 12 oz grape tomatoes -quartered
  • 4 large basil leaves torn
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon -squeezed
  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I was out so I used a few cubes of this)
  • 12 oz of whole wheat penne
  • 4 cups of veggie broth (I had to drain a little out at the end)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red chili flakes to taste (if desired)

Steps:

1.) Add the penne, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, Parmesan cheese, veggie broth, onion, salt and pepper, chili flakes, garlic and lemon.

2.) Bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat stirring frequently. Let cook for 10-12 minutes or until the pasta is tender. If all of the broth hasn’t evaporated then strain out the remainder.

3.) Add the mozzarella cheese and stir until melted, serve and enjoy! image

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Eggplant Parmesan


Eggplant Parmesan is hands down my favorite meal of all time. I love everything about it. I’m always hesitant to order it at a restaurant because it takes a lot of time and effort and you can definitely tell when people take shortcuts. For me it’s all about consistency. This recipe is a lot of work, about two hours in the kitchen, but the result is mouthwatering and totally worth it. I’ve seen recipes where people just bake it and skip the frying part, but I promise you it’s worth it to take the extra time to make this dish the right way. Eggplant is a very watery vegetable so it’s essential to get some of the water out, otherwise you end up with a yucky texture. I cut the eggplant and then dust it with ground sea salt, as you’ll see in the picture below the salt sucks the water out of the eggplant. imageAnother way to make your life easier while making this recipe is to set up a nice prep station. Get all of your ingredients out and ready to go and make sure you clean up after yourself as you go, otherwise it can be overwhelming. You will be multitasking, so establishing a clean functional prep space is clutch. I was thoroughly ecstatic about the way that this eggplant parm turned out and if you’re in the mood to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty (with breadcrumbs) I promise you it will be so worth it!

Ingredients:

Steps:

1.) Start by cutting the eggplant, lay the pieces out on and dust with sea salt- let them sit for at least 30 minutes or until you see the water come out.image2.) If you’re going to make homemade marinara follow this step, if not please skip to step 3. Drizzle some olive oil on a large skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the halved onion, celery, bay leaves and garlic, fresh basil and parsley, dried Italian herbs and let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomatoes and simmer for at least an hour and half. When pouring the sauce on the eggplant just use the red sauce, avoid the onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves.image3.) Once the eggplant has been sitting for at least 30 minutes pat eggplant with paper towels to absorb the water. Set yourself up with a nice work area, take 5-6 eggs and whisk in a bowl. Take the Italian breadcrumbs, Italian panko breadcrumbs and flour all equal parts and mix together (you can use just breadcrumbs- I just find this mixture to result in the perfect consistency.) image4.) Dip the eggplant in the eggs and then coat in breadcrumbs (*Tip- after a while the breadcrumbs can get clumpy- I dump them out and make a new mixture about halfway through to ensure a nice even coat. It’s also helpful to do this right near the sink so you can rinse your hands off when you need to.) Spray the breaded eggplant with a light coat of olive oil spray on both sides.

5.) Get two skillets out and coat with vegetable over medium to high heat. Once the oil is warm add the eggplant. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the eggplant is golden brown and then flip and cook on the other side. Set the fried eggplant off to the side and repeat this step until all the eggplant has been fried. (*Tip- you will have to reuse the skillets since there will be a lot of eggplant. Run some water in on the skillet in between rounds and add new oil to keep the oil fresh.)imageimage6.) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take your favorite pan and spray with olive oil, take the fried eggplant and put on the bottom of the pan. Add sauce (just enough on each layer to cover the eggplant,)  cheese (desired amount,) fresh basil and repeat until you get to the top of the pan! I had about 4-5 extra fried eggplants that I just set aside. imageimage7.) Cover the eggplant with aluminum foil and place in the lower rack and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Uncover let rest for about 5 minutes and ENJOY the fruits of your labor.image image

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

Easy Sweet Potato Dinner


After a gorgeous run on the beach and a quick dip in the water I was  famished. During the week I typically  don’t like my dinner to take more than 20-25 minutes to prepare. This meal has become a go to for my hubby and I. It’s so filling and nutritious, but you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself…which I am big on (otherwise I’ve been known to go off the deep end  and eat a large pizza to my face, but that’s another story.) The avocados are so delicious right now in Florida so I have been taking advantage of that! I took some shortcuts as you will notice below, in the interest of saving time. I also think this meal looks kind of festive for Halloween!0520

  • Four small ripe avocados
  • Four small sweet potatoes or two large (I made more for leftovers)
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt-and-pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro paste (you can use fresh if you’d like)
  • 1 small lime
  • About a cup of light Mexican blend cheese
  • One can of organic black beans (rinsed)
  • One and a half cup fresh pico de gallo (fresh store bought or you can make your own)

Step one: Place the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 7 to 9 minutes depending on size (you can also cook them in the oven at 425 degrees until fork tender.)

Step two : Cut the avocado in half (dicing it makes it easier if it’s not completely ripe…see picture below), spoon into a bowl and mash, add the olive oil, cilantro paste, garlic powder, pepper  salt and lime juice. Mix well!

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Step three: Take the rinsed black beans and pico de gallo and place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes.

Step four: Turn your oven on broil. Take the sweet potatoes out of the microwave and cut them in half (see picture below) drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle cheese and place in the oven on broil until the cheese has melted.

sweet potatoStep five: Take the potatoes out of the oven and mash a little with spoon. Add beans and guacamole and enjoy!

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 🍴

xo,

               Taylor

P.S. -pictures from my run tonight!

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Pumpkin Ginger Carrot Soup


Yesterday I went to Niagara Produce and stocked up on vegetables. I realized as I was leaving that I may have been a tad overzealous when it came to the amount of carrots I bought, so I was on a mission to make an entree out of them.  I received a Vitamix for our wedding and thought what a perfect time of year to make a carrot pureed soup in that.  I added the pumpkin since it’s Fall and this soup was delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger- peeled and minced (you can add more if you like a bite) 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 in. chunks
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • pinch of curry powder
  • pinch of cumin
  • 2 bay leafs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sugar in the raw (sprinkle on top to serve)
  • nutmeg (grate on top to serve)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot  over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; saute for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, water, carrots, cumin, curry powder, bay leafs and pumpkin to the pot and heat until boiling.
  4. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered until the carrots are very tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor (I had to do mine in two batches)
  6. Season  salt and pepper, nutmeg and sugar  to taste.   SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Zucchini Bites


I have always shied away from picking the larger zucchini out of my dad’s garden. I prefer the smaller to medium sized ones. However my dad convinced me that the large ones were just as good as long as you prepare it correctly. So he cut them into large slices and seasoned them and put them on the grill. He was right they were totally awesome. Last night after a weekend of eating lots of carbs and dairy my husband and I were in need of a lighter meal. These could be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. We had about 3 each and we were stuffed! The dish was bursting with delicious flavors and only took about 25 minutes to make! veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium red onion (large dices)
  • 1 box of 13.4 oz cannellini beans (I highly recommend these!)
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic (I love garlic- you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1 large zucchini (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • Italian seasonings (as needed)
  • Garlic powder (as needed)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Balsamic vinegar (as needed)
  • Olive oil (as needed)
  • 1 large tomato thinly sliced
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (to taste)
  • 8 cups loosely packed spinach
  • Red chili pepper flakes (to taste)
  • ¼ cup of filtered waterspinach

Steps:

  • Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees.
  • In the meantime- take 3 teaspoons of olive oil and heat in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they start to caramelize, add the garlic and cook for a few minutes. Set aside.
  • Take a deeper pan and put ¼ cups of water in it add the spinach and cover over low heat until spinach has wilted and immediately remove from heat.
  • Add the beans, onion and garlic to the spinach and mix- add salt, pepper, garlic powder and Italian seasonings to taste. Cover to keep warm.
  • When the oven has heated up to 400 take the sliced zucchini and lightly baste in olive oil (Wegman’s basting oil would be really good!), drizzle balsamic vinegar, sprinkle garlic powder, and Italian seasonings. Do this to both sides of the zucchini.
  • Place in oven for 10 minutes or until it’s fork tender, take out and add the tomatoes. Turn oven on a low broil and put back in for 5-7 minutes or until zucchini has started to brown and the tomatoes have started to roast.
  • Take the spinach bean mixture and add to the to top of the zucchini, sprinkle parmesan cheese and red chili flakes!final image

Lentil Quinoa Salad


When I was visiting my sister in NYC last month we had lunch at this cute restaurant. My sister Tess ordered the lentil salad and I immediately wished that I had ordered it as well. The arugula paired perfectly with the lentils and fresh squeezed lemon- such refreshing flavors! After eating poorly this past weekend I wanted something light for dinner and this salad seemed like the perfect option. This salad would also be amazing with sliced avocados. Lentils and Quinoa are full of fiber, whole grains, and protein! Quinoa is a fiber-rich whole grain as well as a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. As far as the quantity of each ingredients it’s a salad so its really just personal preference of how much you would like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Inca red organic quinoa (cooked according to package directions; there will be leftovers)
  • 1 cup dried green lentils (cook according to package directions; there will be leftovers)
  • Organic grape tomatoes (cut into fours)
  • Red onion (chopped to your preference)
  • 1 large spear of organic asparagus (cut off the ends and wash)
  • Lemons
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Organic arugula (the store didn’t have just arugula so I used a blend of arugula, spinach and radicchio)
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Steps:

  1. Start by cooking the quinoa and lentils according to package directions, Strain the lentils when they’re cooked and let cool. Pour the e.v.o.o on the cooked quinoa and let cool as well.
  2. Turn your grill on medium to high heat and spray with olive oil, spray the asparagus and place on grill, cover grill, let cook for five minutes and turn over and cook for five minutes and remove.
  3. Take the desired amount of arugula onto your plate, add the desired amount of quinoa, lentils, onion, tomatoes and asparagus onto your plate as well. Grate lemon zest over your plate, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper and squeeze lemon juice all over. Image

Interesting article

Loaded Vegan Sweet Potato


I was feeling very inspired yesterday and wanted to make something with really pure ingredients. I absolutely love mushrooms, but unfortunately my main squeeze does not. I decided last night that I wanted to get back together with mushrooms and I did just that. They were so good. This dish was seriously satisfying, I feel very lucky that my fiancé not only eats meals like this but actually embraces and enjoys them. I love to cook for him because he has such a great appetite for healthy food, and how awesome is that? Happy Friday!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic broccoli- rinsed and diced
  • 1 cup organic baby bella mushrooms-rinsed and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 5-6 leaves of organic kales- rinsed and chopped
  • 1 15 oz can organic BPA free can of black beans- rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 organic avocado -diced
  • olive oil as needed
  • 4 organic sweet potatoes – washed and poke holes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves organic fresh garlic-diced
  • 1 tablespoon of an all spice herb (I used 21 spice by Trader Joe’s)

Steps:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 425 degrees, bake the sweet potatoes for about 45 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium to high heat, add the garlic, stirring frequently for about 2-3 minutes, add the scallions and let cook for another 3-5 minutes, continue stirring.
  3. Add the kale and turn the heat down to medium, stirring occasionally, cook for about 5 minutes or until kale begins to wilt.
  4. Add the beans, mushrooms (I had mine in a separate pot because of my fiancé), salt, pepper and spice blend.
  5. When the sweet potatoes are ready, cut open with a knife and place the veggie mixture on top! Add the avocado, and some feta cheese if you eat cheese 🙂

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)