Dark Chocolate Almond Spread

Let’s see if I’m totally out of line with this opinion, or if some of you can relate… I like the idea of Nutella, but in practice it’s just too over-the-top unhealthy most of the time. The stuff is overwhelmingly sweet, slick with excess oil, and frankly… not real food. I’m not above a little candy here and there, but the problem is that a nutty chocolate spread doesn’t need to be such a dietary disaster.

I had been wanting to experiment with a superior spread for a while, but I don’t have a food processor and I was wary of grinding up nuts in my blender. Luckily, Jeanine from Love and Lemons is smarter than me and recently shared a spread that circumvents this issue entirely by starting the recipe with almond butter. Duh!! I’m so thankful for the internet.

As a bonus, this is the kind of recipe I can even pass along to friends who aren’t into cooking. It’s extremely simple: Almond butter. Dark chocolate. Coconut oil. I took creative liberty and added an extra tablespoon of high-quality cocoa powder to really push the flavor, and you guys… it’s so much better than Nutella.

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[Instant Pot] Greek Vegetable Soup

A funny thing happened on the way to writing this post. We’re only here talking about this soup today because two months ago on RD Day, I took the opportunity to scope out a list of fellow RD bloggers. On one of the many links I clicked, I came across a giveaway raffle and entered on a whim. And out of the zillion entries, I actually won! That day I gained an awesome new Mediterranean cookbook, and my first glimpse into what has become one of my new favorite RD blogs, Zen and Spice by the talented Emily Hein. This girl inspires me to live right! If you’re like me and love cooking/eating beautiful whole foods, growing some of them yourself, and generally taking a mindful and appreciative approach to it all, you should definitely check it out!

The book that I won in the giveaway is Eating the Greek Way, by Dr. Fedon Alexander Lindberg. Emily mentioned that this is one of her favorite cookbooks, and I can totally see why. The book features gorgeous photos and recipes featuring the kind of simple but perfect food I can imagine being served up in Mediterranean kitchens on real life weeknights. And now in my kitchen too! On my weeknights! Life is grand.

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Vegan Horchata Sorbet

Happy Friday people! I’m a little preoccupied with the prospect of the glorious spring weekend ahead, so today’s post is going to be as fast as today’s recipe (hint: pretty dang fast). As promised, this is an effortless, make-ahead dessert perfect for Cinco de Mayo, or any occasion that calls for creamy, surprisingly vegan deliciousness. Sweet and simple!

If you’re not familiar with horchata, it’s a sweet and creamy rice-based beverage, flavored with cinnamon and served in abundance in any worthwhile taco shop. And now, we can eat a bowl of it frozen for dessert!

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[Instant Pot] Tamale Party!

Cinco de Mayo is coming up – and while I don’t exactly have a vested interest in commemorating the military victories of our neighbors to the south, I will take any excuse to appreciate delicious Mexican food.

A while back, I read about a technique for pressure cooking tamales, and it caught my attention. It seemed like a fun/different way to take advantage of the pressure cooker, and I had been waiting for a reason to try it out.

Basically… excuse to eat Mexican food + excuse to play with Instant Pot = TAMALE PARTY, AMIGOS.

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Fresh Strawberry Frozen Greek Yogurt

So the last time we talked, I promised a culinary celebration of Spring and strawberry season. This dessert? I think it does the job.

Remember that time I made Joe-Joe Fro-Yo? This is a simple variation on that same recipe, but replacing the oreos with fruit. Dietitian Nobel Prize material, right? While not exactly ground-breaking recipe modification, it yields a sweet treat with genuine whole food benefits. Even more justifiable than the original!

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Polenta-Crusted Asparagus and Feta Quiche (Gluten-Free!)

Most of the time when I make a baked egg dish, it’s a frittata. Crustless and effortless! I love them, and they’re such an easy way to pack in protein and veggies… but sometimes I have to break it up with something just a little bit more special. Pinkies up, folks: it’s quiche time!

This recipe was posted and revisited recently on a blog that inspires me CONSTANTLY, Take A Megabite. I couldn’t pull out my grocery list fast enough – I mean, cheesy veggie-filled quiche in a polenta crust? You don’t have to tell me twice. After baking it, the thing was just so gorgeous and unique that I couldn’t help but whip out the camera and wax poetic about it over here. Just too good not to share!

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Super Greens Rice

It’s not every day that I stop to consider whether a side of brown rice should be made even healthier. Tell me, am I crazy? In my defense, my real intention was just to make our grains tastier. But when I decided to give them the pesto treatment, I couldn’t deny that I was upgrading the nutrition too. Instead of just a carby side, I ended up with a well-rounded, nutrient-dense food. A vehicle for healthy fats, leafy greens, and – obviously – more flavor! If it didn’t deliver in the flavor department, I hope you realize by now that I wouldn’t be telling you to make this.

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Banana Jam

You’re looking at a luxurious breakfast, fragrant with flavors of the tropics. If you want to close your eyes and feel transported to a sunny veranda, I recommend this recipe as a starting point. You can almost feel the ocean breeze, and while it’s distinctly tropical, I can’t tell you if you’re in the Caribbean, southeast Asia, or on a Pacific island… that’s up to your imagination, and the flavors you choose to pair with it.

In addition to offering a vacation in a jar, this is also a recipe for those times when your bananas are browning faster than you can handle. I didn’t know that banana jam was even a thing until a friend from my RD program enlightened me, and I am so glad she did. If I end up with overripe bananas, I don’t often muster up the enthusiasm to bake banana bread. I usually just toss the neglected fruits in a freezer bag for smoothies, but I love having this easy option for a little something special.

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Bittersweet Chocolate Almond Pudding

I can understand the argument that Valentine’s Day is arbitrary and consumerized… but seriously, if anything is worthy of celebration, it’s love. We tend to take a pretty low-maintenance approach around here; he plants me flowers, I make him an extra-nice dinner, and then we eat chocolate pudding. It’s silly, but it’s our go-to Valentine’s dessert. It’s super simple, but still feels special enough for a celebration. It’s rich, but not overly heavy after the preceding indulgent meal. And as a bonus, its prepared ahead of time and chilled until you’re ready for it, so it’s accommodating to whatever spontaneity your night offers.

This year, I felt compelled to try something new, maybe add a little sophistication to my old standby recipe. I experimented with an addition of almond flavor and espresso, and I have to say, it felt pretty fancy. It morphed chocolate pudding’s childhood charm into a deeper, more complex, grown-up indulgence. Of course I couldn’t just stop there, and had to further gild the lily by topping the bowl with lightly sweetened whipped cream, dark chocolate and crunchy almonds… I regret nothing.

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