14 Romantic Valentine’s Dinners and Desserts

Well the big day’s coming up, and whether you’re in a relationship or not, everyone can appreciate an awesome dinner.  So skip the cheesy, prix fixe menus and cook a delicious, romantic dinner at home!  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Roasted Pork Loin with Apples and Fennel

This Roasted Pork Loin Filet with Apples and Fennel is perfectly seasoned gets a quick pan sear then roasts with smoked bacon crumbles on top and is served with honey roasted apples and fennel. Ready in 30 minutes, too! keviniscooking.com

2. Grilled Steak with Herb Butter

Perfect Grilled Steak with Herb Butter features a homemade dry rub and melty herb butter finish. Absolutely mouthwatering! #glutenfree | iowagirleats.com

3. Port Braised Lamb Shanks

Port Braised Lamb Shanks - easy to make slow cooked lamb shanks in an incredible port wine sauce! www.recipetineats.com

4. Chicken in Champagne Sauce

5. Farro Risotto with Morel Mushrooms and Asparagus

6. Quick Chicken Picatta

35 Minute Chicken Piccata Recipe - made of pounded chicken breast, freshly squeezed lemon juice, garlic, onion, capers and white wine sauce. It's Ridiculously Delicious!!! - http://www.munchkintime.com/

7. Sage Roasted Pork Belly

8. Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto

Brown Butter Scallops with Parmesan Risotto and Garlic Spinach - a cozy, romantic recipe that feels like a fancy restaurant meal at home! | pinchofyum.com

9. Roasted Cod with Olives and Lemon

roasted cod with olives and lemon

10. Strawberry Rhubarb Tart (dairy and grain free)

Strawberry Vanilla Tart

11. Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova

12. Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Tart

13. French Silk Cupcakes

French Silk Cupcakes - these easy chocolate cupcakes are filled with an eggless french silk filling and topped with whipped cream!

14. Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake | giverecipe.com | #cake #chocolate #lavacake #mothersday

Happy Valentine’s Day!

7 Healthy(ish) Super Bowl Snacks

Super Bowl weekend is almost upon us!  And while I may only be tuning in for the halftime show and commercials, I will certainly be partaking in some stellar Super Bowl snacks.  Let’s dig into some delicious healthy(ish) options for game day!

1. Caramelized Onion Potato Skins

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2.Easy Pico de Gallo

Pico De Gallo - Fresh tomato, cilantro, onion, and jalapeno make the best salsa ever. the-girl-who-ate-everything.com

 

3. Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with Vegan Ranch

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites and Ranch Dip | gluten free and vegan

4. Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Mushrooms

No need for crackers or chips with this dip, stuff a mushroom instead! These Spinach and Sun Dried Tomato Dip Stuffed Mushrooms are packed with flavor and perfect for parties.

5. Truly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings

Truly Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Wings - no false promises here, these wings are seriously crispy and unbelievably easy to make. Tossed in a classic Buffalo Sauce and served with blue cheese sauce. Watch the recipe video to HEAR just how crispy these are! www.recipetineats.com

6. Healthy Peanut Butter Blondies

Healthy Peanut Butter Blondies! Using chickpeas makes these bars a dessert you can feel good about eating! They are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar free and vegan friendly!

7. Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Chocolate Zucchini Brownies - 100% whole grain (can also be made with all-purpose flour), dairy-free, and have no added fat other than what is in the chocolate chips! So gooey and chocolatey, nobody will have a clue that these are made healthier

9 Foods to Add to Your Diet Today

Now that it’s the new year, we’re all trying to be a little bit healthier.  Sure we all know that adding more fruits and vegetables is the quickest way to get us there, but you can only eat so many salads!  Fortunately there are tons foods out there that have all kinds of amazing benefits–here are just a few of my favorites!

1.Salmon

Benefits: B vitaminstaurine, phosphorous, and omega-3 fatty acids

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2.Almonds

Benefits:  high in vitamin E, antioxidants, and magnesium

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3.Beans

Benefits:  high in fiber and minerals including iron, folate, and manganese

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4.Spinach

Benefits:  high in vitamins A, B6, C, and K as well as antioxidants and calcium

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5.Berries

Benefits:  lower blood pressure, brain function protection including flavanoids and antioxidants that help prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

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6.Sweet Potatoes

Benefits:  low glycemic index, high in vitamins B, C, and D, high in magnesium

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7.Avocados

Benefits: high in monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, and fiber

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8.Ginger

Benefits:  reduces nausea, relieves muscle and joint pain, protects against Alzheimer’s

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9.Peppers

Benefits:  improved circulation and digestion, cancer prevention

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Allergen-Friendly Road Trip Tips

It’s the most wonderful time of the year when many of us are traveling home.  While I love a good road trip, having food allergies can make the whole process a little more complicated.  I’m sure you know how it feels:  at home you have complete control over everything you cook and eat, but when you’re thrown out in the real world, it can get pretty scary!  Don’t worry, here are a few of my favorite tips for staying healthy, happy, and safe during any of your travels.

 

1. Plan Ahead

Ok, this is probably my favorite tip.  List making is my favorite past-time, and I’m only partially kidding.  But even if you don’t crave bullet points like I do, taking a few minutes to plan out your trip can really make a huge impact.  Think through travel snacks, allergen-friendly restaurants, and hotel accommodations.

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2. Pack Snacks

While making pit stops to stock up on Cheetos and Coke are no longer an option for me, if I’m road tripping, I still have to have some awesome snacks on hand!  Some of my favorites are popcorn, fruit, hummus with veggies, and rice cakes with peanut butter.  I also like to make all kinds of trail mix with whatever I have in my kitchen.  Chex, Cheerios, chocolate chips, dried fruits, toasted nuts–anything goes!

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3. Do Your Research

Before you leave home, think about the places you’ll be traveling through.  If you’ll be at the airport, check out what restaurants are available in the food courts and go through their menus.  For chains, you can usually find these online, and often they even have allergens listed.  If you’re driving, decide where your best stops will be.  Often I find it really helpful to call restaurants ahead of time (preferably when it’s not a busy time for them) to ask what options they will have that you can eat.  If all else fails, have a picnic!  This is by far my favorite option.  And sure you can go off on a little side trip and have a legit picnic complete with a checked blanket and a bottle of rosé, or, more realistically, you can take advantage of public rest stops.

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4. Plan Your Hotels

Honestly these days my husband and I usually stay at extended stay hotels.  Yes, some can be a little sketchy, but there are actually a lot of really good ones out there.  These places are amazing because you typically have a full sized fridge, an oven, a microwave, and basic cooking tools.  It makes it so easy to take leftovers from home or restaurants along with you, and it also gives you the option to cook simple meals for yourself while there.  However, if I’m not staying at an extended stay place, I’ll definitely call the hotel ahead of time and see if they can offer a mini fridge and microwave.

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*See!  Look how much fun this girl is having!*

Happy travels, everyone!

 

 

5 Steps toward a Healthier Life

If you’re anything like me, these tips have been drilled in your brain since you were a kid.  But somehow I still forget to practice them!  Here’s a happy little reminder list of ways to make each day just a little bit healthier.

1. Drink more water

“Always drink a glass of water before eating.” “It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst. Staying hydrated before a meal can prevent you from overeating.” |  Body Hacks To Make Your Life Easier:

 

Wake up with a big glass of water and continue to drink it throughout the day.  I try to keep a large water bottle by my side as a reminder, and sometimes I like to add a squeeze of lemon, sprig of mint, or even a splash of juice to keep things a little more interesting.

2. Get your 5 a day

Carl Troiano | imgfave |:

We all already know this one, but somehow it just doesn’t always happen.  Remember that you teach your body what foods to enjoy–if you load up on fruits and vegetables regularly, you’ll start to crave them more and more.

3. Don’t forget to move

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In the words of our beloved Bob Marley, “get up, stand up.” And what’s more, “go on, put your hands up.”  Ok, I get it, he probably wasn’t singing about the fact that Americans aren’t getting nearly enough exercise, but we aren’t.  So, you know, get up!

4. Get enough sleep

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Sleep deprivation not only leads to workday sluggishness, but it can also cause weight gain, memory loss, poor motor skills, and increased illness.  The general rule is to aim for 7 to 8 hours a night, but just get to know your own body.  You may be running strong on 6 hours or might need more like 9 to really feel your best.  I do know that good sleep doesn’t come easy to all of us no matter how hard we try, so if it’s a problem for you, definitely bring it up with your doctor.

5. Make time to breathe

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For many people, the word “meditation” has them running for the hills faster than you can say “I only drink 100% organic non-gmo raw flaxmilk.”  You don’t have to be granola to get the benefits of taking a few deep breaths.  Calming down your mind for a few minutes can have a huge impact on your mental and physical health.

10 Healthy Fall Salads

I don’t know about you, but I have yet to come down from my sugar high from last night.  Yes, Halloween was as delicious as ever, but personally I’m ready to get back to some healthy eating…if only to prepare myself for Thanksgiving.  Here are a few healthy salads to get you back on track, but don’t worry, they’re full of flavor too.

1. Butternut Apple Chicken Salad

apple-butternut-chicken-salad

 

2. Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Goddess Dressing

 

3. Roasted Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Salad

The best hearty and healthy Thanksgiving salad - mixed greens with roasted sweet potato, seasoned wild rice, cranberries, almonds, avocado, and cheese with a creamy lemon balsamic dressing. Plus some shortcuts to make this salad even quicker and tips to make it ahead of time!

 

4. Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad

Fall Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad is crispy and crunchy, and full of fresh and savory flavors! | iowagirleats.com

 

5. Harvest Cobb Salad

Harvest Cobb Salad - The perfect fall salad with the creamiest poppyseed salad dressing. So good, you'll want to make this all year long!

 

6. Pomegranate Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Feta

Pomegranate, Kale, and Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Feta - a perfect way to freshen up the table this Thanksgiving! | pinchofyum.com

 

7. Apple Chicken Salad

 

8. Roasted Vegetable Salad with Pepitas

Roasted Vegetable Salad | Brooklyn Supper via @withfoodandlove

 

9. Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa Salad

Healthy fall salad with delicious and only clean ingredients | littlebroken.com @littlebroken #quinoa #butternutsquash #salad

 

10. Autumn Crunch Pasta Salad

A delicious Fall pasta spinach salad

 

Healthy Halloween Treats

Halloween is right around the corner, and I could not be more excited!  A holiday based around costumes and candy?  Yes, please!  However, if you have an allergy, trick-or-treating can be a bit of a minefield.  So here are a few healthy-ish treats you can make at home to still get your sugar rush on.

1. Raw Vegan Caramel Apples

Recipe here

 

2. Apple Monsters

Spooky green apple monsters for Halloween party

Recipe here

 

3. Dia de los Muertos Hummus Dip

This healthy appetizer idea of Dia de los Muertos Hummus Dip is dressed to impress your guests for your next Halloween party!

Recipe here

 

4. Monster Halloween Candy Bark

All your favorite vegan candy bars coated with vegan white chocolate to make this EASY Halloween Candy Bark.

Recipe here

 

5.  Frozen Boo-nana Pops

Recipe here

 

6.  Candy Corn Trail Mix

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Recipe here

And in case anyone is craving some real candy this Halloween (pretty sure that includes all of us), then check out this list of allergen-friendly candies or make your own dupes of traditional candy.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

10 Fall Dinner Party Ideas

Yes, I’m one of those girls who gets thrilled at the first sign of 75° weather.  “Basic,” I know, but who cares?!  Fall is a fabulous season, and it always puts me in the mood to celebrate with friends.  Here are a few of my favorite fall recipes for an easy and seriously delicious dinner party.

1. Autumn Cheese Board

Start the evening off with an easy but oh so impressive cheese board.

How to Assemble the Perfect Fall Cheese Board

2. Baked Brie with Figs and Walnuts

Or make your appetizer a little more special by making a warm baked brie.  I think the point here is that cheese is always a crowd pleaser.

baked brie recipe with fig, walnuts, and pistachios

3. Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash

Cold weather food doesn’t have to all be heavy and hot.  Opt for a light arugula starter salad topped with pomegranate seeds and roasted acorn squash.

Autumn Arugula Salad with Caramelized Squash, Spiced Pecans and Pomegranate Ginger Vinaigrette I howsweeteats.com

4. Kale and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

If kale and brussels sprouts don’t immediately turn you on, you might be swayed by the added dried cherries, toasted pecans, and honey dijon vinaigrette.

A light gluten free Autumn Kale & Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad infused with crispy bacon, edamame, and a surprise sweet fruit that compliments the dish perfectly. The ultimate side dish you need on your table this holiday season! |joyfulhealthyeats.com

5. Cranberry Apple Pecan Wild Rice Pilaf

This side is a perfect pairing for any fall feast.

Easy one pot Cranberry Apple Pecan Rice Pilaf simmered in herb seasoned chicken broth and apple juice and riddled with sweet dried cranberries, apples and roasted pecans for an unbelievable savory sweet side dish perfect for the holidays. Everyone always asks for this recipe!

6. Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Spice things up with a warm bowl of Thai curry for a spin on the fall favorite butternut squash soup.

Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup.  I'm obsessed!  So flavorful and satisfying on a cold Fall day.  | hostthetoast.com

7. Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin

The tenderloin is delicious covered in garlic, rosemary, and balsamic, but even better than that are the potatoes that soak of all of that flavor.

Garlic and Rosemary Balsamic Roasted Pork Loin - Easy to make, flavorful, incredibly tender pork loin rubbed with a Garlic and Rosemary Balsamic mixture makes for a crowd pleasing dinner with very little effort.

8. Cider Roasted Chicken with Walnut Goat Cheese and Grapes

If you haven’t tried roasted grapes before get ready to have your mind blown.

Fall Harvest Cider Roasted Chicken with Walnut Goat Cheese + Grapes | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

9. Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

This grown up version of a childhood favorite makes for a fun end to any dinner party.

Spiced Pumpkin Whoopie Pies | The Chunky Chef | Soft and light spiced pumpkin cookies sandwiched together with a decadent, yet easy to make, browned butter maple cinnamon frosting!

10. Apple Galette

Everyone loves a classic.  And the fact that this dessert is delicious served room temp just gives it bonus points.

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10 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Starting your day with a nutritious , filling breakfast can help keep you on track the rest of the day.  Veggies, protein, and healthy carbs for breakfast?  Move over, sugary cereal, we have a real breakfast to eat.

1. Baked Oatmeal

By far my husband’s favorite breakfast.  Change things up by adding any dried fruits and nuts you like and throw a couple in your bag as you’re running out the door in the morning.

2. Quinoa Breakfast Scramble

Quinoa Breakfast Scramble - This super easy breakfast recipe is the perfect way to jump start your day! With quinoa, eggs, avocado and salsa your taste buds will thank you. - WendyPolisi.com

Using leftover quinoa and whatever veggies you have on hand makes this the perfect breakfast for clearing out the fridge.

3. Breakfast Yogurt Popsicles

asy Breakfast Yogurt Popsicles - A delicious, healthy breakfast that is quick and easy to make and will keep you cool all day long.

Dessert for breakfast?  I’m definitely in.

4. Savory Oatmeal with Soft Cooked Eggs

If you haven’t ventured into the world of savory oatmeal, this is the perfect place to start.

5. Kale Berry Smoothie

Kale Berry Smoothie

Don’t let the kale deter you.  The flavor of the blueberries definitely stands out and, come on, there’s no way to be upset when you’re sipping something this pretty.

6. Fried Egg and Avocado Toast

Time to join the rest of us on the avocado toast bandwagon.

7. Three Ingredient Pancakes

3-Ingredient Pancakes recipe

I definitely didn’t believe in these until I tried them myself.  Oh my, I’m definitely a believer now!

8. Sweet Potato, Black Bean, and Avocado Breakfast Burritos

Healthy Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Avocado Breakfast Burritos

Gotta love health food that tastes like junk food.

9. Healthy Zucchini Bread

Healthy Zucchini Bread Recipe - made with half the amount of sugar, whole wheat flour, greek yogurt & coconut oil. A healthier zucchini bread you can enjoy without the guilt!

Packed with zucchini, greek yogurt, and honey, this is the perfect choice for the days when you are craving something a little sweet.

10. Shakshuka

Shakshuka may be at the apex of eggs-for-dinner recipes, though in Israel it is breakfast food, a bright, spicy start to the day with a pile of pita or challah served on the side. (It also makes excellent brunch or lunch food.) It’s a one-skillet recipe of eggs baked in a tomato-red pepper sauce spiced with cumin, paprika and cayenne. (Photo: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times):

Nothing is better for a lazy Sunday brunch than eggs poached in a light, spicy tomato sauce.  Enjoy!

5 Tips for Family Members with Food Allergies

If a member of your family has a food allergy, it can be overwhelming trying to balance their needs with those of the rest of the family, but trust me, it can be done!  Here are a few quick tips to get you sailing smoothly.

1. Clean, clean, clean!  Make sure to avoid cross-contamination by keeping a tidy kitchen.  If certain parts of a meal have to be made allergen friendly, make sure that there is no mixing of ingredients and keep those hands washed.  Depending on the severity of the food allergy, you may even want to consider different cooking equipment for things that will come in contact with the allergen in question.  I, for example, have celiac disease, so my husband has a different cutting board for his glutenous bread and keeps the flour tucked away from our normal pantry items.

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2. Consider a family-wide allergen friendly diet.  This is not for everyone (I would never want to deprive my family from the joys of gluten!), but do consider cutting back on the allergen.  When my husband first found out he has a dairy allergy, I was determined not to give up my ice cream or cheese, but once I started cutting them out of my diet, I realized I have a bit of an intolerance as well, plus it allows us to enjoy more meals together.

3. Compromise.  While some people may choose to have the whole family go allergen free, many more choose to make small compromises in their diets.  Every aspect of every meal doesn’t have to be allergy friendly.  Learn to make small substitutions rather than big ones.  Serve tacos on corn tortillas versus flour or use almond butter instead of peanut butter in recipes.  Everyone will feel included, and you’ll still get to enjoy your favorite meals.

4. Learn to read labels.  When the whole family makes an effort to become nutrition label experts, you reduce the risk of someone serving unsafe foods.  Plus, there are a million other reasons why learning to read labels comes in handy–know what you’re eating!

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5. Teaching to cope.  It can actually be beneficial when a person with an allergy is regularly around unsafe food at home.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but learning to control allergens at home as well as how to handle a reaction can help them gain skills needed to stay safe wherever they are.