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!

lime

avocado

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!

mash sweet

final food

 🍴

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)

Slow Cooker Red Lentil & Sweet Potato Stew


Hello all- it’s Tess, Taylor’s sister here, guest blogging today! My baby sis definitely has the magic touch in the kitchen, but I am trying to keep up with her! As mentioned in her previous posts, I am currently participating in the Healthy Bitch Daily Get Healthy Challenge, which has had me experimenting more in the kitchen. Yesterday I made a yummy red lentil and sweet potato stew- check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups split red lentils
  • 1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ box of organic baby kale

Steps: 

  1. Combine all ingredients except the kale in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. (I cooked mine for 9 hours, but it’s really a personal preference.)
  2. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, add the kale to slow cooker.
  3. Turn the slow cooker off.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I topped my stew off with vegan white cheddar kale chips for a little crunch! Some fresh cilantro would also go nice.

Note: next time around I would add some celery to the stew and maybe a little less sweet potatoes. Some people may also prefer less garlic than I added, but I love it. Either way- it was delicious!

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Red Cabbage Slaw


I served this with BBQ pork tacos, but it would be great alone as a snacky. Vegan and super delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 1 red cabbage or a bag of 10 oz bag of shredded red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup e.v.o.o
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 green onions diced (or however many you prefer)
  • 1 can of organic black beans, drained and rinsed

Steps:

1.) Combine all of the ingredients and SHAKE!

2.) The longer you let it sit the better it will be, store in glass! photo 1-1

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

Buttnernut Squash


I stole this recipe from Wegman’s. It was so delicious and healthy, a perfect side for Thanksgiving!

Ingredients:

  • 2 pkgs (20 oz each)
  • 2 large red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 Tbsp basting oil
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) spinach
  • 3/4 cup  sweetened dried cranberries

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Toss squash and onions with basting oil in large bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper
  2. Arrange in single layer on large baking sheet. Roast 25- 30 min, until tender and brown. Remove from oven.
  3. Toss squash, spinach, and dried cranberries in large shallow serving dish. unnamed