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baked

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

I’m not much of a snacker these days, largely because I just stopped buying snack food. I used to mindless munch away all afternoon, which never made me feel amazing nor enjoy dinner as greatly. And then I realized, snacks are rarely as tasty as dinner. Or as healthy. So I stopped.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

That’s not saying snacks don’t have their place. Sometimes a little mid-day recharging is a necessity. And if I were to ever cut bananas and peanut butter out of my diet, my refresher of choice, my life would not be the same. Please don’t do that to me.

These days when I do have a snack, I’m limited to the fruit and nuts I keep on hand. Lately, these lentils too. They’re my newest favorite salad-topper, and mid-day crunch.

Crunchy Garlic Lentil Snack

When New Years resolutions pour in along the lines of healthy eating, it can be helpful to have pre-made healthy options already laying around. Cut the snack-buying and begin the snack-making, and that way you can watch every single ingredient that’s going into your food. And then you can nosh on handfuls of things you feel good about, too.

These are simple and protein-packed, perfect for when your roommate’s/husband’s/whoever’s Oreos are calling your name. Cookies won’t beat lentils when it comes to how you feel, so no need to feel like you’re missing out on something there. Plus, cookies were so last month.

Feel free to play around with herbs and season these as you please!

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Easy Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Who doesn’t love eating out of mason jars? Or drinking for that matter.

I bought a simple glass water jug with a swing-top, and find myself drinking so much more water throughout the day as a result. There’s something majestic about glass.

Spooning fruit crisp out of it feels divine.

Fruit Crisp in a Jar

Apples are quickly beginning to take over farmer’s markets, with wooden boxes that leave little room for other fruit. This past weekend, however, I managed to snag a few of the lone cartons of raspberries sitting on the table. From my freezer I grabbed some late August peaches, and went to work making this crisp.

I wanted one last taste of summer, baked to perfection.

Crisps are so simple to make, and baking them straight in a jar makes for an equally easy presentation. I love how healthy crisps feel, and how few of the ingredients really need to be measured. This compared to much of the rest of the baking world. A spoonful of cinnamon here, a dash of ginger there. It’s really up to you.

If you can’t find berries (and didn’t save any summer peaches), I’m sure apples would work well here too. Given the jar method, choose a softer apple and slice thinly. This way you ensure you’ll end up with a soft, perfect-for-ice-cream dessert. Adorable, right?

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Arugula, Apple and Tempeh Bacon Sandwich with Caramelized Onions

Arugula, Apple and Tempeh Bacon Sandwich

Most times of the year, when I go to the grocery store, 75% of my basket is filled with fruit and vedge. However, lately I’ve been swimming in honeycrisps and butternuts and greens from the farmer’s market where I work. My grocery trips have been minimized, and my produce budget even more so.

Now when I go to the store, I end up with a basket that looks nothing like myself.

tempeh_apple (3 of 3)

I am a people-watcher. I love the art of observing others. So when going stir-crazy in the Whole Foods check-out line, I’m watching. I’m analyzing what the people in front of me plan to make for dinner. I’m picking out recipes for them in my mind, and I’m judging — er, I mean guessing — their lifestyle and personality traits. All from the items cruising their way to the cash register.

I, of course, am also seeking out my future husband. I’m scanning the lines in search of the handsome guy who’s buying figs and sweet potatoes, brazil nuts and oatmeal, and ingredients you can actually cook with. If you need to find me, I’ll be in that line. And hopefully exiting it with dinner plans. Just kidding.

Lately, however, trips to the grocery store have been scarce, and the farmer’s market is my new best friend. From it, I was able to pick up the fresh fall arugula and apples that compose this meal. Complimented by the rich flavors of caramelized onion, curry and parsley, this creates a surprising and satisfying sandwich. I love adding a sweet crunch in unexpected places, and here the apples carry this out beautifully. Choose your favorite eating variety, and make sure to thinly slice.

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Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

I’ve happily walked into the life of someone who owns a grill. And a pool. Seeing as though I live in a small, city apartment with not even an inch of backyard space, this new addition to my life overcomes me with joy. I’m not talking about the new friend. Just the swimming and the grilling. (Kidding, of course).

While as a kid I had more than enough yard for forts and capture the flag, I didn’t grow up with a grill. Or a pool. But I begged my parents for both. I can see why they didn’t want to take on the latter, but the absence of a grill is still something I’ve never quite figured out. When veggies are in season, I find it to be one of the easiest ways to create a healthy plate full of flavor.

As of lately, I’ve been using my friend’s grill to feast on a ton of portobello mushrooms. It’s as simple as whisking up a 3-ingredient marinade of garlic, olive oil and splash of balsamic. From there, just throw those saucy rounds to the flame. Easy. Add some melted cheese, toast up a bun, and you’ve got summer’s easiest vegetarian burger.

Eggplant

Before I discovered my new friend had grill access, I invited him over for post-yoga dinner of Eggplant Rollatini. If I would’ve known about his backyard status, I would’ve saved this one for a later date. There are only so many eggplant slices you can fit on a countertop George Foreman. Chilling outside while waiting for food to char is one thing. Chilling inside, impatiently counting the minutes till the next batch, is another. Times that by four batches, and you get the true 2-br Philly apartment grilling experience.

Vegan Eggplant Rollatini

If you have a backyard grill, by all means, use it for this recipe. If you don’t, but have a grill pan or other smaller device, I assure you, the slight impatience you may suffer through will be worth the results. Take the time to slice and cook through several batches. Grilling the eggplant first ensures you won’t end up with a chewy, undercooked rollatini. If there’s anything that can easily ruin an eggplant parm or rollatini, it’s an undercooked base. Don’t let that happen.

Here, I’ve created a vegan version of the Italian classic by using a ricotta-like crumbled tofu and then adding bulgur wheat for a little extra texture. Herbs and nutritional yeast make sure this is by no means a flavorless vegan dish, and marinara seals the deal to compliment all the flavors. If you’re lucky, eat this pool-side or deck-side. If you’re not, don’t sweat it. Literally. Grab a beer, open the window and enjoy.

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Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

Word is that rosemary can boost your memory, according to a recent study presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society in Harrogate. It’s being speculated that the eucalyptol compound within the herb has an affect on the brain and our memory systems. I’ll take it. A little freshening up never hurt my brain, especially when it results in a bonus for my tastebuds too.

Regardless of its potential magical powers, I’ve always loved the natural fragrance of rosemary. In honesty, I don’t utilize it enough. I think this is largely because rosemary’s most often paired with meats. But of course it goes well with vegetarian cuisine too, crispy potatoes especially.

I absolutely adore this simple combination, and as mentioned in previous posts, can never get enough of roasted garlic. I contributed this dish for a family dinner the other week. As straightforward as it is, it surprisingly got a round of comments from the table. I was worried it’d be masked by all the other seemingly elaborate dishes on the table. There’s something about potatoes, however, that nearly always bring high fives.

Healthier, and much more elegant, than a deep-fried french fry, this is a classic side suited for numerous occasions. I always opt for a red-skinned potato for the touch of color they add to the bowl, but feel free to experiment with other varieties.