All Posts By:

Grace Dickinson

Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

 

When it’s hot, I love fresh meals like Gazpacho.

An even added bonus with this cool soup is that.

What is needed? A bunch of ripe tomatoes and whatever else your farmer’s market or garden offers up.

Summer Gazpacho

After a nice walk through the woods, a good girlfriend of mine and I refueled with a large bowl of this, utilizing some heirlooms from her garden.

It came together in no time, thanks to the help of a food processor (you could certainly use a blender) and the natural beauty of this type of soup.

Gazpacho is all about the freshness of its ingredients. It’s simple. And absolutely divine on a steamy summer day.

Summer Gazpacho

Keep the soup as chunky as you desire, or pulse it for a little extra time if you want something creamier than what’s pictured above.

Either way, I recommend serving it with a nice slice of crusty bread to sop up some of its flavorful juices and add an element of crunch.

Summer Gazpacho

And definitely don’t skip out on the avocado topping. This provides the richness that this light soup needs to complete it. In fact, you could even drizzle a little olive oil on top once served up for an added element of richness.

Summer Gazpacho

What are you making to tide you over during these early August days? Would love to hear your favorite recipes of the season!

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Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

This has been the summer of grilling for me.

Crispy broccoli. Caramelized onions. Charred corn. Homemade bean burgers. You name it, and likely I’ve been grilling it with friends and favorites in my life.

And as of last week, we can add pizza to that list, a collab between Emily from Nourishing Matters and I. Dare I say, Emily’s pizza dough recipe may have produced the best whole wheat crust I’ve ever tasted. Add grill marks to it, and it easily surpasses any standard, junkie-white-flour alternative. I could’ve eaten it on its own, sans all the other pizza ingredients, minus perhaps a little smear of her herbed pesto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Inspired by the latest bounties displayed at the farmer’s market, Emily and I brainstormed different topping options and settled upon this super summery-themed pizza. Fresh corn, grated zucchini and garden herb pesto…does the season get any better than that?

We added a goat feta on top to lend a punch of saltiness and flavor that wouldn’t take too much away from the sweetness of the fresh ingredients at hand. Perfecto.

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

While this might come across as a lot of work to make when giving a quick glance to the recipe below, rest assured this pizza can be fairly effortless.

Emily recommends making the dough the night before, which she ensures takes no time at all. How could that be? A food processor does all of the labor for you. Score.

You could make the pesto ahead of time, too, which again calls in a food processor to do all the work. (Food processors, always for the win.)

Summer Grilled Whole Wheat Pizza with Cilantro Jalapeno Pesto

Once those steps are squared way, the pizza becomes as simple as a roughly five-minute stint on the grill. Although, be sure to pay attention at this step! Divert your eyes for too long, and your dough can quickly get charred far past that perfect crispness we’re seeking here with grilling the crust.

Don’t worry though. Grilled pizza isn’t too hard. You just need some quick hands and pair of tongs and an attention span longer than a Pokemon-goer, and the dough will come out fabulous every time.

As noted in the recipe, be sure to have all of the toppings nearby so that you can quickly throw them on top after flipping the crust. This will enable the zucchini to get a nice wilt from the heat of the grill.

Serve with a side of tomatoes and basil drizzled with a little olive oil, balsamic and pinch of salt, and voila.¬†Summer meals don’t get much better than that.

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Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

We’ve been sweating through a major heat wave here in Philadelphia, and with 97-degree temps set for well into next week, it doesn’t look like the ice cream weather is stopping anytime soon.

That’s alright with me. As just mentioned, it’s perfect ice cream weather. Or should I say, Nice Cream weather.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

I’ve been watching the “Nice Cream” trend spread over the past few weeks, keeping it on my to-make list for some time now. I love ice cream. I love niceness. I knew I’d probably love nice cream, too.

A no-added-sugar, vegan, cool summer treat? Count me in.

And so, on a temps-nearing-90-before-8AM morning, I set off in the kitchen to make my own version.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

 

What was awesome about this ice cream is that it came together with a quick 2-minute assembly and a spin in the blender. From there, all the work was left up to the freezer. No ice cream machine needed, no fancy ingredients. Nor too many ingredients that’ll weigh you down on a hot day.

Dates and bananas add the sweetness. This did provide a noticeable, but not overbearing banana taste. If you’re opposed to that, you can play around with cutting down on the banana and maybe even adding additional dates.

It gets its creaminess from coconut milk, also lending an element of richness you want in an ice cream, dairy-free or not.

Enjoy after three hours in the freezer for a soft-serve-like consistency. If you leave it in there much longer, then you’ll want to sit it out for a few minutes before serving and dip your ice cream scooper in hot water. And be sure to finish it with whatever crunchy, salty and fresh toppings your heart desires!

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Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

Stuffed Eggplant

As discussed in my last post, I was recently asked if I’d like to review two of Urban Outfitters’ cookbooks,?Power Snacks and the one from which today’s recipes came,?The Clean-Eating Kitchen.

Stuffed Eggplant

Even more so than?Power Snacks, this particular cookbook takes an easy-to-make, weekday-kind-of-meals approach. Most of its recipes, like the Squash, Kale and Farro Stew or the Roasted Beet and Barley Salad or this recipe, the Stuffed Eggplant, are conscious of both time and ingredient list length.

Use fresh, quality ingredients, and you don’t need a recipe that spans across three pages. This cookbook gets that.

Stuffed Eggplant

From breakfast (think Raw Buckwheat & Almond Porridge) all the way to dessert (Mango Fruity Crush Ice Pops),?The Clean-Eating Kitchen offers pages of healthy eats to fill all meals of the day.

The recipes are considerably light and wholesome, and rather fitting for the summer season we’ve just begun. (Happy first day of summer!)

I decided to kick things off with a lunch/dinner option that would utilize fresh mint from my garden and two creamy roasted eggplants.

While stuffed eggplant can sound a tad daunting, this one was super quick to make. And tasty, too.

Stuffed Eggplant

Topped with toasted almonds for some crunch and a salty touch of feta, the eggplant here gets filled with a hearty quinoa and classic onion-garlic saute. Mint freshens it all up and adds a punch of flavor that completes the entire dish.

Feel free to add a spoonful of chickpeas to this Mediterranean-inspired meal for a little extra protein, and definitely consider serving it alongside a side salad. While this will get you’re oven going, I consider the light and freshness of this meal perfect for a hot summer’s day and a great compliment to some sweet, sliced tomatoes picked straight from the garden or snagged at your local farmer’s market.

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Rainbow Nori Rolls

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I was recently asked to review two of Urban Outfitter’s cookbooks, both centered around clean and wholesome eating. First up,?Power Snacks, chock full of 50 pages of healthy snacks abundant in energy-boosting nutrients.

Broken down into several categories, the cookbook offers up classic “On the Go” snacks like Squash & Pumpkin Seed Muffins, “High Energy” bites like rainbow chard roll-ups, “Sweet Indulgences” including Chocolate Avocado Pudding, and more. Yummmmm-y!

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Full of color, I was instantly drawn to the Rainbow Nori Roll recipe, featured in the “Take to Work” section of the book. Laying out all of its ingredient on the table, it was hard not to be excited about all of the beauty going into this particular power snack. I mean, just look at that vibrant photo above. Pure awesomeness.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I love snacks that are able to pack in a bunch of vegetables. So often, when we need a mid-afternoon refueling, we reach for something sweet, and often that means something that’s not too entirely healthy. With options like this – that feel entirely like a treat, but a savory one at that – it’s easy to keep snack-time the healthy pick-me-up that it’s meant to be. In other words, this recipe is far from the nap-inducing snack that too often steals away our second half of the day.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Another pro, these nori rolls really pack in the flavor, especially for an all-vegan sushi option. The sauteed asparagus and ginger give them an extra boost, and the beets really add something here, too.

That being said, if you have avocado on-hand, definitely add it. You can rarely go wrong with avocado in vegetarian sushi.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Likewise, there’s tons of room to play around with other ingredients in this recipe. You could add baked tofu for a little extra protein, or cucumbers, or other veggies of your choice. You could play with the grain, for instance, like I did, and try swapping the risotto rice for brown rice. I used a short grain brown rice, cooked it with a little extra water (1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water) and for a little extra time until it achieved the sushi-ready stickiness that it needed.

You could add wasabi to the roll or to the dipping sauce. You could add herbs. Or mango. Or whatever your heart may desire.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Keep in mind, this isn’t a whip-up-in-5-minutes kind of snack. While the veggie prep is simple, there are a lot of ingredients to chop here, and the assemblage is a process, particularly if you’re new to sushi-making. That being said, sushi is easier to roll than you might think, so don’t let intimidation get in your way.

To save time, buy beets (unseasoned) that are already cooked. You can usually find them in cans in the veggie/bean section of the grocery store. You could also make the rice the night before, or prep some of the ingredients ahead of time.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

While these are best eaten the day-of, they’ll definitely last if you make them a day-in-advance. In fact, I’ll be enjoying some leftovers for lunch today.

Prep them on a Sunday and when the Monday stomach rumbles roll around, you’ll have a beautifully fresh snack waiting for you full of that extra zest you need to get the week going.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

 

You can check out the cookbook for other fun snack ideas. And stay tuned for a preview of Urban Outfitter’s other book,?The Clean Eating Kitchen,¬†in the days to follow! Continue Reading…

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