Monthly Archives:

November 2012

Tuscan White Bean Rosemary Soup

Soup season has arrived, meaning you’ll find me happily slurping down recipes like this for the next few months. I love nothing more on cool days than cupping my fingers around a hot bowl of soup, nearby a side of crusty bread waiting to be grasped by those warm hands. If I were still living at my parents’ house, you’d find a lit fireplace in that equation, too.

The heat-emitting comforts of winter can occasionally make me enjoy the season. The majesty of contrast.

This soup finds beauty in its simplicity. Good olive oil, garlic and a tablespoon or two of fresh herbs is really all you need to create a soup that’s tasty and equally as comforting. Spinach gives each bowl its color and a healthy dose of fueling nutrition, without overpowering the blend of delicate flavors.

To live as the Tuscans do, pair with a hearty slice of bread and a quality, full-bodied wine.

Click here for recipe…

Black Beans with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kale

And so it begins. The food coma days move in and I start wishing I was a little Brown Bear so I could go rub my belly and then hibernate for a few.

Since, however, I’m not a bear (surprise, surprise), it’s these next few months where I need energizing, healthy-minded meals the most. To break up the holiday feasts and surrounding food-filled parties, I like to keep my home-cooked dinners on the nutritious side.

However, it is winter after all, so you’ll still find some hearty (but healthy) dishes on here and likely a lot of soups, too, to keep things cozy over the next few months. Exhibit one, this Black Beans with Roasted Sweet Potato and Kale recipe that combines several of my favorite all-star ingredients into one pot. Serve it over quinoa, and boom, I’m not sure you could get a much healthier meal. Though, this would also make a fantastic filling for corn tortillas, topped with a few slices of salted avocado. That definitely qualifies as a smart and revitalizing choice for the time between holidays, too.

For me, a regular running schedule and quality meals like this are key for this time of year. Too much heavy food in between gatherings of getting stuffed on stuffing and gravy, and my holiday cheer starts to go kaput. But with roasted sweet potatoes and kale, (sorry mom, dad, roommates), you can count on me caroling into the new year.

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Tomato Spinach Skillet Eggs

Eat light, eat right. That’s the motto I strive to abide by the week before every holiday feast.

With the presence of more casseroles, desserts and traditions than one girl’s body could ever need, I like to prepare in advance. Unfortunately, this is NOT always an easy task.

My kitchen’s been under a persistent state of production since Monday in preparation for Thanksgiving. And I’m not even hosting the feast. I will, however, be bringing two dishes to the table, a large basket of biscuits included.

It’s these buttery biscuits that are negating my motto. Never in my life have I made biscuits (the horror of this statement!). This, of course, means I must taste each batch as they come out of the oven, hours after dinner’s been served.

Like a cookie, one flaky biscuit leads to two, and before I know it, I’m not doing so hot with the whole eat light goal for the week. Oh well. Biscuits are worth it, especially when sampling two different varieties. Somehow, I’ve convinced myself 6:30 AM runs are worth it, too. No doubt, those will be the life and death of me.

Anyway, when constant cooking and cleaning is going down in the kitchen, simple, one-pot meals like these are essential. This one’s healthy, too, so you can feel good about eating this for any meal during the days leading up to, or following, a hearty holiday meal. Eat light, eat right, eat this. Little mess included.

Click here for recipe…

Flourless Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin dessert on Thanksgiving is a must. Generally, I’d say there has to be pie, however, no one said you shouldn’t have options – or two desserts on your plate. These pumpkin cookies make a rather fine second choice for the table, especially for vegans and gluten-free’s.

I came upon this recipe and the chickpeas immediately caught my eye. A cookie made of beans and pumpkin? That sounds almost too healthy to be true – and tasty – an inclination I generally get when reading dessert recipes (though not entrees). Luckily, curiosity got the best of me and I went for it…chickpeas, chocolate, pumpkin and peanut butter all piled into my food processor.

Following a previous recipe for disaster that called for black beans in brownies, I had my doubts. After those results, I vowed to stick to sinfully indulgent brownie recipes from there on out. However, it’s possible the success of this one may’ve changed my opinion on health-altered desserts.

Unlike black beans, chickpeas are fairly bland, and you’d certainly never pick up on them in this pumpkin recipe. They give these cookies their oomph while keeping them moist, but it’s the maple, spices and chocolate that lend these their flavor. The results – a nutritious, protein-packed cookie, that while addicting, I wouldn’t feel guilty eating for breakfast.

For a holiday packed with more than enough indulgences, these make a great option that likely no one would ever guess is actually even healthy. On the whole, I’m all about making sacrifices in terms of nutrition when it comes to desserts, because if I’m going to indulge, I want it to be amazing. But sometimes you get lucky and find a recipe like this, where those kind of sacrifices truly aren’t needed for pumpkin perfection.

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Red Curry Lentils + GIVEAWAY

When I invite new, non-vegetarian faces over for dinner, I often feel compelled to find or craft the BEST meat-free recipe to date.  Okay, so maybe not the paramount recipe of the world, but one with hearty characteristics that, in a sense, could perhaps be called “meaty”.

I love the majority of the vegan and vegetarian dishes that come out of my kitchen. This goes for the once-a-weekers, the so-called ordinary recipes, the vegetable centered dishes, the 3-ingredient creations, etc. etc.  And it’s not that I don’t think my new meat-accustomed friends wouldn’t like these too. It’s just that I generally want to cook them something that may make them, at least for a moment, think twice about their dependence on meat. To let them know that vegetarian dishes can also be rich, filling and satisfying, even while staying healthy.  If nothing else, maybe they’ll think twice about their options when we’re dining out together at a restaurant – and we can share both entrees. (Hint, hint.)

I should, however, remark that I’ve been pretty lucky to be paired up with so many adventurous eaters in my life. When Nicole from Prevention RD said this was “fan-flipping-tastic” and one of her “favorite vegetarian meals in QUITE some time!”, I jumped on the opportunity to test it out on the new boy in my life.

Though, given the person coming over for dinner, I wouldn’t always say something like a red curry is the safest bet for introducing someone to veg. style of eating. Luckily, I knew my dining date would love it, and love it he did.

This is one of those hearty, full-flavored meals I was talking about that makes the perfect accompaniment to a healthy whole grain. I went with a combination of quinoa and rice, just to spice things up. If you’re looking to make the dish a little richer, add a dab of butter on top as you spoon the hot lentils into your bowl.

Giveaway:

Today I’m also hosting a giveaway of Cascal, a new natural soft drink that tastes great and has no sugars or artificial sweeteners! Plus, each can has just 60-80 calories. Not bad for a carbonated drink.

If you enter, you’ll get a sampler pack, meaning you get to try all 5 flavors like the Fresh Tropical (with mango, jasmine & kaffir lime), the Bright Citrus (with pineapple, lemongrass & tangerine), and the Ripe Rouge (with cherry, rose & chocolate – it’s strange, in a good way, how you can really pick up the cocoa notes in this!).

To enter:

(Leave a separate comment per entry. Each separate comment will give you one entry in the contest.)

This contest closes on **November 20, 2012 at 8:00pm EST**

1) Leave a comment on this post telling me which flavor you’re most curious to sample.
2) Leave a comment telling me what’s your favorite vegetarian meal to impress.
3) Become a fan of F-F-F on Facebook
4) Follow me on Twitter
5) Link this giveaway on one of your blog posts and let me know that you did.
6) Tweet a variation of this on Twitter: @GraceDickinson is hosting an all-natural, low-cal, tasty soda giveaway at FoodFitnessFreshAir.com.

One winner will be chosen at random by random.org.

Click here for recipe…

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