Cheesy Mexican Squash Casserole

Perfect for summer entertaining, Cheesy Mexican Squash Casserole serves 4-6 as a main course, or 8 as a side dish.  You can make this casserole in advance, then bake in oven right before serving.  The Cheesy Vegan Sauce is scrumptious, and your non-vegetarian friends will never know that there’s no cheese 😉

Serves: 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Vegan Cheese Sauce:

1 yellow onion, quartered

10 mini sweet peppers

¼ cup raw cashews

½ cup nutritional yeast

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

Squash Casserole:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 large yellow squash, sliced into half-moons

2 cups sweet corn

1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked brown rice

Parsley or cilantro for serving

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Make Vegan Cheesy Sauce by adding all ingredients to a high-speed blender.  Blend on high for 60 seconds until smooth.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add shallots and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  add garlic and a pinch of salt, sautéing for 30 seconds.

Add cumin and chili powder to the oil. Hint: This allows the spices to “bloom” and become fragrant.

Add sliced squash and sauté for 5 minutes.  add corn, black beans, pinto beans, stirring for 2 minutes until warmed through.

Add rice and Vegan Cheesy Sauce and stir to combine.

Pour casserole mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Garnish with snipped parsley or cilantro.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy hot! 

Why (the science):  Dairy can be inflammatory in the body, causing bloating, gas, acne, and many other symptoms.  This Vegan Cheesy Sauce incorporates vitamin C rich peppers and anti-inflammatory onion!  The nutritional yeast provides B12 and that signature cheesy flavor. 

Crunchy Curry Salad with Farro

Crunchy Curry Salad with Farro is filling salad, heart enough to be a meal on its own, but light and crunchy and crisp.  Refreshing for a hot, summer day!

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

½ cup farro

¼ teaspoon curry powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon paprika

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 lemon

1 head of kale

5-7 radishes

½ large seedless cucumber

1 orange bell pepper

1 shallot

How (your directions):

Heat 5 cups of water in a large pot with 2 teaspoons salt.  Once boiling, add the farro and cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to a large bowl, add curry powder, cumin, paprika, lime juice, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine.

Finely chop kale and add to the bowl with spices.  Massage 2 minutes to soften kale.

Dice radishes, cucumber, and bell pepper and add to kale. 

Mince 1 shallot and add to kale salad.

Once farro is cooked, drain farro, then add to kale salad.  Mix to combine.

Enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator for the next day’s lunch or dinner!

Why (the science):  Spices have anti-inflammatory powers, so combine spices to flavor your meals in replace of adding salt.  If the salad needs salt, add a pinch, but you won’t need a lot with the flavors of curry and cumin 😊 

Fruit Sushi with Pomegranate "Roe"

How gorgeous are these fruit sushi rolls?  These would be perfect in a child’s lunch box or as a filling snack!  They would even be adorable displayed on a platter for dessert 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 beet whole grain wrap (Angelic Bakehouse)

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 banana

3 tablespoons pomegranate arils

How (your directions):

Spread almond butter onto one side of the wrap.  Place whole banana onto almond butter at the top third of the wrap, then roll wrap until banana is snugly inside the wrap.

Using a sharp serrated knife, cut of the tip ends of the wrap, as they don’t hold together as well.  Then slice the remaining wrap into six even slices.

Top with pomegranate arils.

Enjoy immediately 😊

Why (the science):  Snacks that provide satiety are ones that contain a protein, carb, and healthy fat.  Instead of a boring banana that may not keep you full for long, this snack will keep your energy levels up with the addition of a fiber-rich wrap and protein-rich almond butter! 

Strawberry and Mint Spring Rolls with Lime Peanut Sauce | + Video |

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, spicy- all the perfect notes for a light and refreshing lunch!  Spring rolls are easy to make, and I’ve even created a video to show you how!

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5-10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

3-4 rice paper sheets

Handful of red leaf lettuce

4-5 strawberries, sliced thinly

½ avocado, sliced thinly

6-10 mint leaves

2 tablespoons peanut powder or 1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon sriracha

2-4 tablespoons water

How (your directions):

Dip one rice paper sheet into warm water for about 5-10 seconds.

Lay rice paper sheet on a flat service.  Line a 4-6 strawberry slices onto the top third of the rice paper.

On the bottom third, place a few pieces of lettuce, mint, and avocado.

Roll the bottom edge of the rice paper over the lettuce, mint, and avocado.  Fold the left and right sides toward the center.  Then roll tightly toward the strawberries.  If in doubt, think of rolling the spring roll like you would a burrito.

Continue process to make 3-4 spring rolls.

Make the Lime Peanut Sauce by combine the peanut powder or peanut butter with the lime juice, sriracha, and water.  Mix until smooth.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Red leaf lettuce is considered a calorie-free food, but it provides vitamin A for healthy eyes!

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Blackberry Parfait with Honey Almond Granola

This Honey Almond Granola is slightly sweet and totally crunchy, especially with the slivered almonds!  It makes the perfect breakfast or addition to an afternoon snack.  Wholesome and delicious, Blackberry Parfait with Honey Almond Granola tastes like a treat.

Serves: 6 (Honey Almond Granola)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 egg white

3 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup dried dark sweet cherries

To serve: Yogurt, Blackberries

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, whisk together egg white, honey, and coconut sugar.

Add rolled oats and slivered almonds and stir to combine.  Make sure that the honey mixture coats all of the oats and almonds.

Pour mix onto lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, stirring halfway through the baking time.

Remove granola from oven and stir in dried cherries.

Allow to cool so that granola becomes crunchy.

To serve, dollop 2 spoonsful of your favorite yogurt into a glass with 3 spoonsful of Honey Almond Granola. Repeat process, then top with 6-8 blackberries.

Honey Almond Granola can be stored in an airtight container for 1 week on the countertop.

Why (the science):  Almonds are a prebiotic, which means they feed the healthy bacteria in our gut!

Swiss Bircher Muesli | + Video |

In Switzerland, this breakfast is part of every breakfast buffet, and for good reason- it’s so filling and satisfying! You know, for those long ski days or hiking excursions up the Alps 😉 So easy to make, this recipe is great for beginners in the kitchen.  Swiss Bircher Muesli also lasts in the fridge for 4-5 days, so this recipe can last for a week of ready-made breakfasts.

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes (refrigerate 2 hours or overnight)

What (your ingredients):

1.5 cups muesli

1.5 cups plant milk (I used 1 cup Unsweetened Original Ripple and 1/2 cup oat milk)

1 cup almond yogurt (Kite Hill is excellent)

1 teaspoon orange zest

Juice of 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

2 apples (1 diced, 1 grated) covered with 1 teaspoon lemon juice (prevents browning)

Favorite Toppings: berries, hazelnuts, walnuts

How (your directions):

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.  Refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy with your favorite toppings!

Why (the science):  Oats contain soluble fiber, which helps lower “bad “LDL cholesterol!

Vegan Jalapeño Poppers

Yummy, comforting appetizers can be made healthy and plant-based with just a few tweaks.  Jalapeño poppers are often breaded then deep fried, but these skip the breading and are roasted!  Removing the seeds and with pith remove some of the heat, and roasting the peppers make them soft and smoky.  Replace the cream cheese and cheddar cheese with vegan alternatives, and you have a nutritious appetizer ready in a flash!  These Vegan Jalapeño Poppers are simply awesome 😊

Serves: 4-5

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

5 jalapeño peppers

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used So Delicious vegan cheddar)

1/3 cup cream cheese (Kite Hill makes an awesome vegan almond cream cheese)

Pinch of salt and pepper

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Slice jalapeño peppers in half, then remove the seeds and white pith (very spicy).

Place pepper halves onto a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine shredded cheddar, cream cheese, salt, and pepper.

Using a spoon, spread about 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture into each pepper halve until all cheese mixture has been used. 

Roast peppers for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly, and then serve!

Why (the science):  Jalapeño peppers are rich in capsaicin, which is responsible for that fiery heat.  Capsaicin is a nature pain-reliever!

Kale and Quinoa Salad with Fig and Walnuts

Full disclosure: I’m always intimidated to make salads, because I worry that they won’t be near as good as what I can order from a nice restaurant.  But THIS is the recipe that changes everything! Easy? Check! Café-quality? Check! Elegant but fast to throw together? Check! Kale and Quinoa Salad with Fig and Walnuts will be your go-to “I’ll bring the salad” dish to show off to all your friends 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 bunch kale, torn into pieces

1 tablespoon pomegranate balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons walnut pieces

2 dried figs, cut into small pieces

1 oz. goat cheese

1/3 cup quinoa, cooked

How (your directions):

Place kale pieces into a large bowl.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Massage the kale for 2-3 minutes.  Tip: Massaging kale allows it to become more tender and slightly sweeter!

Transfer salad to a plate, then top with walnuts, figs, crumbled goat cheese, and quinoa.

Enjoy immediately or the next day!

Why (the science):  Quinoa is a complete protein, making it a great replacement for brown rice and other starches!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies | Paleo, GF, Dairy-Free |

Wow, these cookies taste like the real deal- you know, the chocolate chip cookies of your childhood?! Except these have no flour and no refined sugar...Hello, Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Serves: 9

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

4 tablespoons coconut oil, solid

3 tablespoons honey

1 egg

Generous teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 2/3 cup almond meal

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1/3 cup chocolate chips

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Using a hand-mixer, mix together solid oil and honey.  Add egg and mix until combined.

Add vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, almond meal, and coconut flour and mix until combined.

Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips until evenly distributed.

Bake for 15 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on baking rack.

Enjoy immediately or store cooled cookies in an airtight container.

Why (the science):  Almond flour provides protein, heart-healthy omega-3's, and calcium for strong bones!

 

Pink Pancakes! NBC News! | Vegan and Gluten-Free |

These Pink Pancakes are perfect for Valentine’s Day brunch or Christmas morning!  I mean, look at that color 😊  And they couldn’t be easier to make, since they’re made in a blender.  Serve them with butter and maple syrup, and perhaps a dusting of cocoa powder for something sweet and elegant.  Or try my savory version with slices of avocado, wedges of blood orange or grapefruit, and a drizzle of tahini.  You could even pack the savory ones for lunch and eat them at room temperature…yum!

Serves: 2 (2 plate-size pancakes or 9 silver-dollars)

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup plant milk

1 cup roughly cubed beet (raw, not cooked)

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Coconut oil for cooking

Savory toppings: avocado slices, blood orange or grapefruit sections, drizzle of tahini, freshly ground pepper

Sweet toppings: butter, maple syrup, a dusting of cocoa powder

How (your directions):

In a high-speed blender, add oats, plant milk, cubed beet, baking powder, and salt.   Blend until smooth.

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Pour pancake mix into whatever size you prefer.

 

Once the sides are cooked and the tops are bubbling, flip the pancakes.

Allow to cook on the second side for 3 more minutes.

Serve immediately with your favorite sweet or savory toppings!

Why (the science):  Beets contain the pigment betalain, which is considered a potent antioxidant which fights inflammation and oxidative stress.

Flourless Carrot Cake Muffins

This recipe is heavenly.  Almond meal and oats replace white flour, and sweetness comes from the grated carrots, applesauce, and agave.  Tender and moist, these Flourless Carrot Cake Muffins will become your new favorite wholesome breakfast!

Serves: 6

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup almond meal

½ cup rolled oats

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of salt

½ cup applesauce

½ cup cashew butter

2 tablespoons agave

1 cup grated carrots

1 egg

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a muffin tin with 6 liners, then set aside.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients.  Stir until evenly combined.

Using an ice cream scoop, evenly distribute batter among lined muffin tin.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  We often hear how great carrots are for your eyes, but the vitamin A in carrots is also an important immune booster!

 

 

Grilled Pineapple with Yogurt and Walnuts

A high protein breakfast or a satisfying dessert, Grilled Pineapple with Yogurt and Walnuts is hard to beat!  The natural sugar in the pineapple caramelizes into beautiful smoky grill marks, while the walnuts add crunch to the creamy Greek yogurt.  Grill a bunch of pineapple as part of your meal prep for the week and refrigerate.  This special breakfast can then be assembled quickly!

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

½ teaspoon coconut oil

½ cup pineapple (sliced or in chunks)

1 container plain nonfat Greek yogurt (about 17 grams of protein)

2 tablespoons crushed walnuts

Dash of cinnamon

How (your directions):

Grease grill pan with coconut oil, and heat over medium heat.

Layer pineapple slices onto hot grill, and sear for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Plate grilled pineapple, then serve with Greek yogurt.

Sprinkle with walnuts and cinnamon.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that helps us break down and digest protein.  Bromelain is also a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, so it can help with arthritis and indigestion.

 

 

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera is a smart dish to encourage more vegetable intake, without feeling like you’re eating a bunch of vegetables😉 It’s a scrumptious sauce with lots and lots of fresh veggies, and I encourage you to use whatever you may have on hand.  Lentil pasta and cannellini beans up the protein significantly.  I serve this Pasta Primavera over fresh zucchini noodles to add even more vegetables and bulk to my pasta portion.

Serves: 4-6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, finely diced

1 orange bell pepper, diced

1 head broccolette, diced

¼ teaspoon Italian seasoning

Pinch of paprika

Pinch of salt

2 handfuls kale, chopped

1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 jar marinara sauce (I used a rich tomato sauce with Barolo wine)

12 oz. lentil Sedanini pasta (or any short pasta shape)

3 zucchini, spiralized

How (your directions):

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add red onion, bell pepper, broccolette, Italian seasoning, paprika, and salt.  Stir and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add chopped kale and sauté for 2 minutes.

Stir in cannellini beans and marinara sauce.  Heat through while pasta cooks, about 5-6 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to primavera sauce.

In each pasta bowl, place several curls of spiralized zucchini.  Ladle pasta and primavera sauce over fresh zucchini noodles.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Lentil pasta is high in protein (13 grams protein per serving!) which makes it a nutritious way to enjoy pasta and reach satiety sooner than you would with a white pasta.

 

Anti-inflammatory Curry

When I’m feeling the aches of the flu or a bad cold, I crave a meal that can fight the inflammation in my body.  This Anti-Inflammatory Curry is quick and easy enough to make when you’re sick (yes, I know from experience) but is light and easy on the stomach, since it’s not spicy.  So often curries are heavy and fatty, but this curry is more like a broth.  Pairs perfectly with a side of brown rice!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 bell peppers, medium diced

1 block extra-firm tofu, cubed

1 head broccoli, cut into florets

2 large carrots, diced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 15-oz. can coconut milk

Brown rice to serve

How (your directions):

In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat.  Add bell peppers and tofu, then sauté for 5 minutes.

Add broccoli florets, diced carrots, and minced ginger.  Sauté for 5 minutes.

Add red curry paste and coconut milk and stir to combine.  Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

Serve over brown rice, and salt to taste.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Curries make powerful anti-inflammatory meals because they so often include foods to reduce oxidative stress in the body.  Coconut oil, broccoli, turmeric, and ginger are all found in this recipe, which means this curry battles oxidation and inflammation in a variety of ways.

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette

There’s a reason pear and blue cheese salads are a classic- these salads are rich flavor while incredibly easy to make.  In fact, in 5 minutes (or less, if you are a quick pear slicer!), you can create this Pear and Gorgonzola Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette.  This special salad is rich in heart-healthy omega-3’s and antioxidants.  Of course, the recipe can be extended for however many family members or guests you may be entertaining.  An elegant dish that any salad-hater will love 😊

Serves: 1

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Dijon Vinaigrette

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

Pinch of salt and pepper

½ cup olive oil

Pear and Gorgonzola Salad

2 handfuls spinach

½ ounce walnuts

½ pear, sliced paper thin

1-inch cube gorgonzola blue cheese, crumbled

Drizzle of Dijon Vinaigrette

How (your directions):

Prepare the Dijon Vinaigrette by whisking all ingredients together.  Vinaigrette can be stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for future use.

To prepare salad, place a few handfuls of spinach onto a plate.  Then place sliced pears onto spinach a drizzle with Dijon Vinaigrette.

Sprinkle salad with walnut pieces and gorgonzola crumbles.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Pears are rich in flavanols, which have been shown to play an important role in improving insulin sensitivity (which means your insulin is more controlled)!

Acai Bowl with Vanilla Bean Granola |+Video|

Acai bowls can be expensive, unless you make them at home!  This recipe is inspired by one of my favorites in Charlottesville, VA but costs significantly less.  The vanilla bean granola is special- slightly chewy, but rich in flavor from the vanilla bean and cashews.  This recipe makes a lot of granola, which stores beautifully in an airtight container for a week.  What are your favorite acai bowl toppings?

Serves: 1 acai bowl, 10 servings granola

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

What (your ingredients):

Vanilla Bean Granola:

3 cups rolled oats

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup cashews

pinch of pink Himalaya sea salt

½ vanilla bean

Acai Bowl:

Handful of spinach

1 frozen banana

2 handfuls frozen mango

½ cup plant-based milk

2 tablespoons hemp protein powder

1 scoop greens powder with probiotics

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

For the vanilla bean granola, add all ingredients to a large bowl and stir until evenly distributed.

Pour mixture onto lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove granola from oven and allow to cool.

For the acai bowl, place all ingredients in a highspeed blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into bowl and top with favorite toppings (frozen blueberries, coconut flakes, chia seeds) and the vanilla bean granola!

Why (the science):  Acai is a trending “superfood,” but for good reason.  Rich in antioxidants to reduce inflammation, acai also contains heart-healthy fats.

Cauliflower Alfredo with Peas

I served this “alfredo” to my husband without revealing the true ingredients of the sauce and he believed it was real (parmesan and cream laden) alfredo!  No sir, just a humble cauliflower cooked until tender and blended with garlic and onion powder 😊  Husbands and kids will be tricked alike with this wonderfully easy alfredo pasta!  A drizzle of good olive oil gilds the lily.

Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

What (your ingredients):

I head cauliflower, roughly chopped

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

4 oz. capellini pasta

¾ cup frozen peas

How (your directions):

Place cauliflower pieces into a large saucepan or pot and cover with water.  Bring to boil and cook for about 12 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender.  Tip: the cauliflower must be fork tender instead of al dente, so that it turns into a creamy sauce.

Meanwhile, boil salted water for pasta.

Ladle tender cauliflower into a high-speed mixer with about ¾ cup- 1 cup of cooking water.  Add garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and red pepper flakes.  Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.

Add cauliflower alfredo to dried pan and heat on low.

Cook capellini in boiling salted water for 3 minutes.  Strain cooked pasta and add to cauliflower alfredo.  Mix to evenly distribute sauce.

Add frozen peas to pasta, cover with lid, and heat on low for 10-12 minutes.

Serve immediately with a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy!

Why (the science):  Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable, which means it provides powerful anticarcinogenic nutrients for our bodies.  What an incredibly versatile veggie, that it can pass as rice, pizza crust, and now alfredo sauce 😊

 

Pasta with Easy Mushroom Wine Sauce

Pasta with Easy Mushroom Wine Sauce is a dish that takes no more than 15-20 minutes to make!  The sauce is simple, but hearty and comforting.  The hardest part of this weeknight dinner is waiting for the water to boil 😊

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

What (your ingredients):

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 8-oz. package mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon flour or cornstarch

1/3 cup white wine or cava

1/3 cup water

Juice from ½ lemon

4 oz. pasta

Parsley, for garnishing

How (your directions):

Bring large pot of water to a boil with a spoonful of salt.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes.

When water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Once mushrooms begin to brown, add garlic and a pinch of salt.  Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add flour or cornstarch to mushrooms and cook for 1 minute.  Then slowly deglaze pan with wine or cava.  Add water and lemon juice and allow to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Drain pasta and serve with a ladle of mushroom wine sauce.  Garnish with parsley.

Enjoy immediately!

Why (the science):  Mushrooms are a great source of phosphorus, a critical nutrient for bone health and strength!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Sweet and Spicy Nuts

This recipe is inspired by a dear college friend who made this for me in college- a family recipe used for every Thanksgiving celebration.  Festive and comforting, yet delightfully easy, I love to enjoy this Roasted Acorn Squash for a yummy lunch on the weekends!  Use any candied sweet and spicy nut to make this side or entrée extra special, and be sure to dip each spoonful of squash into the melted butter in the center 😊

Serves: 2

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 acorn squash

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons sweet and spicy nuts (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods has a few options)

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

How (your directions):

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Cut acorn squash in half, remove seeds and stringy flesh from center, then roast on lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Once acorn squash has finished roasting, place one half in each bowl.

In the center of each half, add 1 tablespoon butter, 2 tablespoons sweet and spicy nuts (I used pecans), and 1 tablespoon cranberries.

Enjoy hot!

Why (the science):  One serving of acorn squash provides 145% of your daily vitamin A needs, which is critical for helping your eyes absorb light and for supporting cell growth in your heart and lungs!

Lemon Lavender Energy Balls |+ Video|

Many treats with lavender are often in form of shortbread cookies or pound cakes, but these Lemon Lavender Energy Balls have zero added sugar (or butter or flour)!  Bring 2-3 energy balls for an easy on-the-go snack.  Perfect for that afternoon energy slump 😊

Serves: 4-5 (Makes 14 balls)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 0 minutes

What (your ingredients):

1 cup raw cashews

1 cup dates

1 teaspoon culinary lavender

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Coconut oil for hands

Desiccated coconut for rolling

How (your directions):

Blend cashews, dates, lavender, lemon zest, and lemon juice in food processor until it forms a ball.

Rub a small amount of coconut oil between your hands.  Pinch a tablespoon of dough into your hands, and roll into a ball.

Roll the ball into desiccated coconut.  Repeat with rest of dough.

Store in an airtight container for one week!

Why (the science):  Lavender has relaxing properties, found not only in breathing the aroma but also in its edible form!  These Lemon Lavender Energy Balls can help naturally relieve anxiety and stress.