Super easy, 4-Ingredient Hummus

Okay, let’s get this straight. You can buy a nice tub of some name brand hummus at the supermarket for $3.99 or you can buy a can of chick peas for $0.59 and make your own hummus with what you almost definitely already have in your pantry… which would you choose?! I will admit I’ve been quite hesitant to take a whirl at whipping up a batch of hummus myself, but I was feeling adventurous and thought I’d give it a go! It took about 5 minutes and the most minimal effort you’ll ever put into anything in the kitchen… seriously, making toast takes more effort than this!!

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BBQ Chickpea Salad & Creamy Avocado Dressing

BBQ Chickpea Salad and Creamy Avocado Dressing

This BBQ Chickpea Salad recipe was inspired by one I found on Pinterest, by The Garden Grazer. I was looking for chickpea recipes, came across this one and had to try it! It’s accompanied by a creamy avocado dressing which was actually refreshing. I adjusted it slightly based on what I had on hand and made enough for about 6 servings!! It’s been my lunch for the past week and quite a few other people have enjoyed it as well! It may be my new favorite way to eat chickpeas…… can’t beat anything drenched in BBQ sauce in the summer now can you?!

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The Lazy Girl’s Shakshuka

 

Shakshuka is basically eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce. YUM. I first discovered it at this vegetarian cafe in my town this one time when I was trying to avoid carbs and was totally hooked at first bite. Shakshuka is a traditional Israeli dish made with a homemade tomato sauce flavored with middle eastern spices, like cumin. To make traditional shakshuka, you saute vegetable like onions, peppers and chiles, add tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, sugar, spices, basically creating a tomato sauce, and let it simmer before poaching the eggs. The whole thing could take 40-60 minutes but who has that time on a weekday morning?! I make it the lazy girl way, with a quality jarred tomato sauce.

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Breakfast Veggie & Egg Stir Fry

 

When “hash” does not involve potatoes, is it still a hash… or is it a stir fry? I call this a “Breakfast Veggie & Egg Stir Fry”! For pretty much all of college the only thing I cooked were stir fry’s and fried rice. It was easy, fast and I could use just about anything I had in my fridge. It was a way to use up all of the vegetables I had that were about to go bad and I could double or even triple the amount I was making if I knew I had a busy week and would need fast, no-nonsense dinners (that were still quite healthy). I was also a vegetarian for all of college which sometimes made eating on the fly a struggle. Knowing I could whip up a quick meal in 15 minutes was all the motivation I needed to head home instead of stopping at a food truck on campus. My love of stir fry’s never died and I still use them as a way to eat up my vegetables as quickly as possible. Sometimes, something especially delicious and blog worthy is the result.

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Buddha Buddha Buddha Bowls

 

In the midst of pinning art projects and cute high-waisted bathing suits, sometimes I come across a delicious looking dish on Pinterest. While I’m constantly impressed by food photography and want to teach myself more than what I already know, I do know that I want everything about this blog to feel like you could easily make it your kitchen at home. Seriously… who cleans their dishes before they eat?! Not I! and I don’t want my pictures to make you think I do… So I made a Buddha Bowl.

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Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Taco Tuesday! A day that comes just once a week… but usually way more often in my kitchen! It’s my very humble opinion that anything can be made into a taco. As long as you have some tortillas you can fill it up and call it a taco. I often take some of my dinner leftovers, add some greens and hot sauce and BAM- tacos for lunch! Today I made these Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos, topping them with my very favorite mango salsa for some extra crunchy sweetness.

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Spring Roll in a Bowl

Things are just better served in a bowl. This includes things that are normally rolled up and deep fried… like a spring roll!!! If you want to enjoy this comfort food but in a lighter, less guilty setting, a spring roll in a bowl is for you! I love taking my favorite foods and turning them into something juuuuuuust a little healthier, like my Sweet and Spicy Cauliflower. This way you can enjoy as much Chinese food as you want and not feel so bad about it.

Some people might say that the crunchy outer shell makes the spring roll, but I say it’s what’s on the inside that counts…right?

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I love Brussel Sprouts!

… and I don’t care who knows it! I have truly disgusting memories of my mom making brussel sprouts. She would always boil them frozen, smother them in butter and top with salt and pepper. She could eat them by the bowl full, but I tasted them once and vowed to never touch them again. Until recently…

Rumor has it our taste buds change every 7 years or so, right? How else could I explain a new love for bananas. I figured if I could find bananas delicious after refusing to eat them for most of my life I could begin to appreciate some other forlorn foods, too. Plus, I was trying to be really healthy and eat more greens, and am slightly obsessed with cabbage, so I bought some brussel sprouts at the farmers market, tossed em with some olive oil, dried chili flakes, salt and pepper and roasted em till they were nice and crispy… and they actually were SO good. I decided to make them again… and again… and again. I was officially a brussel sprout convert.

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Fried Sweet Chili Tofu

I put sweet chili sauce on just about everything… noodles, eggs, pineapple, toast… I just love the combination of sweet and savory and will take it any way I can. It also totally takes me back to Thailand where this sweet and savory combo was everywhere! In Thailand, every evening after dinner we used to stop at the fruit stand and get pineapple. It was the freshest, juiciest, sweetest pineapple I’ve ever had… I have DREAMS about it!!! But my favorite part of the pineapple was the little baggy of chili and sugar that came with it. It totally took the pineapple to a level I’ll never be able to get anywhere else in the world! Like I said… DREAMS. So until I can get back to Thailand I’ll have to get my sugar and chili fix in other ways.
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Sweet Potato Hash

 

This is my favorite weekend-brunch-at-home meal to make! You can use so many different ingredients and make it with anything you have in your kitchen which, if you couldn’t tell, is my favorite aspect of any recipe. When I plan to eat this right away, I fry an egg sunny-side-up to place on top, break the yolk (so satisfying) and mix it all together. Sometimes, though, I make a large amount to save for breakfast throughout the week, and so I scramble in two or three eggs with the potatoes.

Sweet potatoes and Aidell’s Chicken and Apple Sausage are a staple in my kitchen. I then ruffle through my fridge and see what else I can add… sometimes it’s bell peppers, an onion, maybe an apple, carrots or even brussel sprouts. Mix it all up, throw in an egg, top with sriracha and you’ve got yourself a meal.

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Coconut Shrimp with Sesame Ginger Green Beans

Coconut is everywhere in Thailand. There’s coconut milk in almost every dessert, coconut ice cream, coconut in the alcohol and most of all, fresh coconut water that’s served in the coconut itself after you watched an incredibly agile Thai man  shimmy up a tree and chop it down with a machete. Even after the show, I thought my first sip from a coconut was kind of disgusting – along with my second and third… and I never sipped from a coconut again. Sure it was inescapable in desserts, but that was hidden with an insane amount of sugar and sweetness. While I happily sipped a Pina Colada, I passed the coconut shavings off to my friends.

But then I came back to America. I began using coconut oil for cooking after a friend who was trying a “Whole 30” introduced it to me through the dinner she prepared. It didn’t taste so much like the coconut I remembered and so I really enjoyed it! I then tried coconut flakes in a smoothie she made and well, I thought that was good too… so I gave coconut another go. After all, for the first 20 years of my life I refused to touch a banana and now I eat one every morning. Maybe coconut was becoming my new bananas.

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Sesame-Ginger Mini Turkey Meatballs

I was raised on meatballs. As an Italian, every Sunday my whole family would pile into my grandpa’s house and sit around a large table for a dinner that was always the same… macaroni and meatballs. My grandpa would wake up very early Sunday morning, go to church and come home to start cooking. He made his whole family meatballs and sauce from scratch every single Sunday.

His recipe is something that all the aunts, uncles and grand kids now have, but no matter who makes them, they are never as good as grandpas. I’m quite convinced there was a “secret ingredient” he used that he omitted from the recipe he wrote down. Often, he would stuff a few with raisins or pine nuts, but whoever found them would promptly pass it right back to Papa. I loved helping him cook and watch the meatballs come together quickly, brown on the stove and simmer in sauce for hours. They were never dry, never crumbly, never overcooked… always perfect. I hold onto my grandpas love of food and fresh ingredients every time I cook. While he never touched Chinese food, I do think he’d be proud of the way I cook.

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Chicken Fajitas

 

Sometimes you just need something quick, easy, good, natural, whole and good. That’s where Chicken Fajita’s come in! I love me some Asian food, but I also like to cook Mexican… especially when the weather warms up. Call me crazy but there’s just something about a shrimp taco with mango salsa that makes me wish I was on the beach. That recipe is sure to come.

Fajita’s are easy to prepare and cook and are always good! You can pick any protein or sauce… there’s a lot more than just salsa and guacamole to dress em up with. Choose to saute your peppers and onions on the stove top like I did in this recipe or spread them out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven.

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Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

 

I gained inspiration for this dish from a recipe I came across on Pinterest in the midst of pinning Paleo meals like CRAY-ZY. I’ve had it pinned for a while now and since I just bought both spaghetti squash AND cabbage, I knew that this would be the perfect time to try it out. I read over the recipe to get an idea of what to do and used what was in my pantry to make it my own. Investing in liquid aminos and sesame oil, specifically, is one of the best supermarket decisions I’ve ever made. My Asian-inspired foods always felt like they were missing something I just couldn’t put my finger on. Once I started adding sesame oil to my meals, I realized that was it!! My meals were never the same ;)…

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Spaghetti Squash Breakfast Bites

 

Spaghetti Squash is totally the coolest root veggie.

I first discovered this yellow-orange-hued beauty just a few years ago. I mainly used it as a substitute for pasta, covered in sauce and sometimes topped with sausage or meatballs, maybe even pesto. I’ve recently ventured in different ways to use it and I am LOVING all that it can do! It’s versatile (my fave) and delicious (my other fave). While it maintains it’s flavor and bite I really like how it’s easily adaptable to different flavor profiles… Asian, Italian, Mexican…

Since I’m mostly just cooking for myself and my sister these days I was able to use ONE large spaghetti squash TWO WAYS. Let me tell you about this one little recipe I pretty much invented on the spot…

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“I need to eat a skinny person”

It’s been some time since an actual food post, but that’s because it’s been a while since I’ve actually COOKED. At least cooked anything that I deem “blog worthy”… which means not scrambled eggs and sausage and peppers. I’ve been pretty busy the past few weeks applying for jobs, interviewing for jobs and running around that I’ve been dining out or being cooked for a lot more than I’ve made anything myself. But… with all this take-out, Chinese food, carbs and dairy… I’ve been feeling bloated, sluggish and all around not so hot.

I’ve been contemplating going Paleo for some time now… I’ve dabbled in the Whole 30 before (I say dabbled because I never made it the WHOLE 30 days) and really felt the effects. However, my lifestyle just doesn’t allow for complete elimination (Hard cider and sushi keeps me sane) so I’ve adapted the “everything in moderation” mantra. Not only have I resisted ice cream this week, I even bought my first pair of sneakers since I’ve been home from Thailand (uhhhh… that’s 1.5 years)! I’m faaaaaaaar from active and therefore embarrassingly out of shape, so I see this as a positive step towards becoming happier and healthier.

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Being a tourist in my city

 

A really great (but difficult) thing about doing things like going away to college and then spending a year traveling and teaching English abroad is all of the friends you make that live throughout the world! Some of my friends are scattered across the country, some of them still in Thailand and some of them right in my own state. Regardless of where they are, seeing them is always a bittersweet reminder of our time together and all the serious craziness that occurred. Regardless of how long I’ve known them, living with people – especially in a place like Thailand – is a true test of friendship. I’m really lucky that one of my friends from Thailand lives right in NYC and so I get to see her all the time. I was even luckier that our other friend Nancy decided to come for a visit about two weeks ago!

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Making Sushi

 

If you read my bucket list post, you saw that “make my own sushi” was high up on my list. Sushi is one of my favorite foods and trying to make my own is someting I’ve been dying to try. So with my birthday being just around the corner and a sushi-making kit newly acquired I thought it was a great time to do it!

While this process is not that hard to do, it’s definitely not as easy as it looks in the restaurant. It’s kind of like when I wanted to ride a motorbike in Thailand and I thought, “hmmmm that looks so easy! Like riding a bicycle but with a motor” and I was SO WRONG. I even crashed.

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Bucket List

 

I made my first Bucket List a few days after I turned 21. I was living in London and enjoying every single minute, never wanting it to end. I had always had ideas in my mind of “things to do before…..” but never put any of them down on paper. I remember one day I was on the top of a Double-Decker bus looking outside and feeling like I was on top of the world. When I got back to my flat, I sat down on my bed, opened a note on my iPhone and started listing everything I could think of. In just a few minutes of stream of consciousness, I had a list of over 20 things!

 

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Caramelized Onion & Garlic Cream Sauce

I’ve been craving creamy Alfredo lately but I’m not into the over processed, packed with preservatives and unnatural ingredients jar sauce or making the sauce myself.

However, a snow day is a great day to experiment with foods! I didn’t have any pasta on hand, but I had a sweet potato, which I happily pair with anything! So I made baked sweet potato topped with a creamy sauce.

After searching on Pinterest for quite some time, I came across this recipe for Butter Garlic Cream Sauce and decided to try it myself but with the ingredients that I had on hand. My sister looked at me with disgust as I piled the sauce onto her potato half (I’ll admit it isn’t that pretty) but she has learned to trust what I cook because I hardly let her down, except for the time I ordered vegetable dumplings at a Chinese restaurant. She’s definitely my harshest most honest critic and she finished the whole thing!

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Sweet & Spicy Cauliflower

Two things have been happening lately involving food.

  1. I have been trying so hard to “diet”… and by diet I mean limit my daily portions and carb/sugar intake and eat lots of fruits and veggies. I was totally inspired by the 21 Day Fix, but found it to be a bit TOO restrictive for my lifestyle (which right now involves spending 2/3 of my day at work with just a fridge and microwave… and endless take-out options).
  2. My Chinese food craving has been through the roof

So I decided to give in… kind of. I took 1/3 of my day and used it quite productively instead of binge watching Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. I created a new recipe, inspired by my love of sesame chicken, using everything Asian-inspired I found in my cupboard. I subbed Cauliflower for chicken and felt so much lighter. I plan on creating some serious cauliflower “wings” this way too! Who knew a head of cauliflower came with so many possibilities?!

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Avocado Toast

 

I LOVE AVOCADOS. So much so that I have tried, repeatedly, to convince my best friend Danielle to get matching avocado tattoos. (Spoiler: she says no every single time). However, she knows I’ll never give up! In fact for her birthday, I found avocado temporary tattoos. Cue the ridiculousness.

Avocados are not only pretty damn good for you, but are a pretty damn good match to almost every meal as well. Guacamole, deviled eggs, baked eggs, smoothies, muffins, pasta sauce, salads, Trader Joe’s Guacamole Hummus… the list can go on forever. But I’d have to say my personal favorite is Avocado Toast. Who doesn’t love Avocado Toast? It’s a balanced, versatile, heathy and easy breakfast or snack (lets be honest, or lunch or dinner). Bread and avocado… those are the essentials. It’s up to you to add toppings and seasonings and accompaniments.

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Quiche Combinations

I can’t get enough of eggs. or pie crust. So a quiche is like, my perfect dish. The flavor combinations are endless… it’s so versatile! You can have it for dinner, pack a leftover slice for lunch or bring it to a fancy party as an appetizer.

The most important part of quiche is the cheese. I’m not a big fan of mixing cheeses, so I keep mine pure. However I encourage you to mix and match to your heart (and stomach)’s content!

I’ll be adding to this list as I make them! These are all personally flavor-tested by yours truly!

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Asparagus, Tomato & Goat Cheese Quiche

I’m sitting in front of my window as I type this watching the snow fly around outside. Long Island is in a “state of emergency” while the first real snowfall we’ve had all season piles on the inches. The roads aren’t plowed, businesses are closed and supermarket shelves have been practically empty all week! It’s always amusing to see how others react to this kind of weather – scared of all they’ll be without, yet most of it is probably something they don’t usually have anyways. I personally didn’t run to the store to buy up all the bread, though I did leave with extra milk and eggs. However, that wasn’t to stockpile in case of hibernation but so I could spend my snowed in morning making a quiche.

In the past few months quiche has become one of my favorite foods. It is so delicious and so simple to make. Yet, it looks (and sounds) fancy PLUS you can totally customize it to your palate. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner! I’ve tried so many different flavor combinations and have found a few to be exceptionally successful. Since it is a custard base, however, there are many mistakes to be made – and I’ve probably made them all in my quest to bake the perfect quiche. I’ve added way too much milk, I didn’t whisk my eggs enough, I overcooked it, I under-cooked it and, today, I used raw tomatoes.

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