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  • Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins

    I was really happy with this recipe. It’s whole wheat but doesn’t taste cardboard-y like some muffins out there. It’s very fluffy too. I added a few chocolate chips which balanced it just right.

    Sprinkle some turbinado or coconut sugar on top to get a crispy top.

    Hope you enjoy!

    Adapted from Cookie and Kate

    Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 23 mins Total Time: 33 minutes Yield: 12 muffins 

    INGREDIENTS

    • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil*
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
    • 2 eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 cup pumpkin purée
    • 1/4 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
    • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon ground allspice or cloves)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 3/4* cups whole wheat flour
    • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
    • ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips, or dried fruit (optional)

    Optional: 2 teaspoons turbinado (raw) sugar for a sweet crunch

    * It works with gluten-free flour or regular flour too!

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius). If necessary, grease all 12 cups of your muffin tin with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
    2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and maple syrup or honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs, and beat well. Add the pumpkin purée, milk, pumpkin spice blend, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt.
    3. Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined (a few lumps are ok). If you’d like to add any additional mix-ins like nuts, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now. I added ⅓ cup mini chocolate chips.
    4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with about a tablespoon of oats, followed by a light sprinkle of raw sugar and/or pumpkin spice blend if you’d like. Bake muffins for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

    • Storage: They’ll keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).
  • Lemon Chicken Dinner for Date Night

    I made this dish to teach someone how to make a basic pan sauce.

    If you know one pan sauce, I would learn this one. You can use it for date night or to impress a friend. It comes together in 30 minutes or less.

    It’s a classic french technique that makes French food so amazing. I added some Orzo and Roasted Asparagus on the side. But, feel free to do roasted potatoes, rice or sautéed spinach instead.

    Enjoy!

    Pan-Seared Lemon Chicken

    Ingredients (for 2-3):

    • 1 lb. Chicken breast, about 2 breasts
    • 1 Tbsp. Grape seed or vegetable oil 
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1/2 lemon
    • 1 cup chicken broth
    • 1 ½ Tbsp. flour
    • 2 Tbsp. Butter
    • 1-2 Tbsp. Parsley for garnish 

    Directions: 

    1. Butterfly or filet the chicken. Or use mallet to pound.
    2. Preheat oven to 425 F
    3. Start in a saute pan on high heat. Add oil only once pan is hot.
    4. Place chicken in hot pan. Brown both sides. Use tongs to turn.
    5. Remove chicken once brown and place on a plate. Reserve pan off the heat to make the sauce. 
    6. Making the sauce: Once chicken is removed from the pan, add butter and flour and whisk. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until you smell a slight nutty smell. Add the chicken broth and ½ lemon, juiced and continue whisking. Scrape bits with wooden spoon or spatula. Turn heat up and boil until reduced by half and it coats the back of a spoon. Taste for salt and pepper. Add chicken back to the pan with any juices it has accumulated. 
    7. To test the chicken doneness, insert a thermometer in the thickest part of the breast to check. The temperature should reach 165 F.
    8. Take out chicken, let rest 10 minutes before cutting.
    9. Cut against the grain. Spoon sauce over chicken. Finish with herbs.

    Orzo with Parmesan and Basil

    Ingredients (serves 4):

    • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
    • 2 cups chicken broth 
    • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil

    Directions: 

    1. In a small to medium saucepan, bring the orzo and chicken broth to a boil. Then, reduce to a simmer. Simmer and stir regularly until all the chicken broth is absorbed, about 12 minutes. 
    1. Mix in Parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup chopped basil. Taste, season with salt and pepper if desired.

    Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes

    Ingredients (for 2-3): 

    • 1 lb. asparagus
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, grapeseed or avocado oil
    • Pinch of salt and pepper

    Directions: 

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. 
    2. Trim the woody ends off the asparagus. 
    3. Place trimmed asparagus and cherry tomatoes on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Massage onto veggies. 
    4. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until asparagus turns a brighter green and is tender. Better to undercook them a bit then to overcook them. 
  • How to Make Perfect Roast Potatoes

    Are you a huge breakfast potato critic like me?

    True or false: Potatoes should always have a crisp to them and when they don’t it’s just really sad.

    Okay, so we agree.

    After too many un-crispy potatoes, I had to find out how to make my own epic potatoes.

    So, what’s the secret to perfectly crisp potatoes?

    The secret is….

    Boil potatoes in water first, until they’re fork tender.

    Thennnn roast them.

    Yes, it’s another step to boil them and then put them in the oven. . . but they come out really crispy and it’s just worth it.

    Boiling them first helps them absorb some more of the oil or butter and crisp up so nice.

    Once you get it, I’m sure you’ll feel like you can open your own breakfast spot too.

    Here’s my simple recipe. It’s less about the recipe and more about the boiling technique. So, remember BOIL YOUR POTATOES FIRST!

    …and salt. Most people don’t salt their potatoes enough.

    Perfect Roasted Potatoes

    Ingredients (for 3-4):

    • 1 lb. small potatoes, any kind you like
    • 2-3 Tbsp. oil or butter, or combo
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Place WHOLE potatoes in a pot and cover them with just enough water to submerge them. Bring it to the boil. Add a generous amount of salt like 2 Tbsp. Keep at a medium boil for 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. Don’t overdo it or they fall apart.
    2. Preheat the oven to 425.
    3. When they are fork tender drain the water and let them air dry a couple minutes. (they should be soft enough to eat at this point. You can even do this step the night before and they will get even crispier from drying in the fridge.) When they are cool enough to touch, halve or quarter them. This is a crucial step. The more edges they have the crispier they get.
    4. Toss the cut potatoes on a baking sheet with oil or butter and salt and pepper to taste. Add some garlic powder if you want to get crazy. (Potatoes tend to need a good amount of salt so taste them to be sure.) Make sure the potatoes are not too crowded and are spread on a single layer so they don’t steam.
    5. Bake them in the oven for 30-40 minutes (longer is usually better), tossing them halfway through. They are done when they are golden and crispy.

  • Roasted Lemon-Honey Brussels Sprouts

    Ingredients (Serves 2-3):

    • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • ½ tsp. salt
    • fresh cracked pepper
    • 1 lemon, zested and juiced plus more for decoration
    • 1-2 tbsp. honey

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 425 F. 
    2. In a large bowl, mix the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest and juice, and honey. Whisk up well or shake in a jar. 
    3. Trim and halve Brussels sprouts. Toss Brussels with the dressing. 
    4. Place Brussels sprouts on a roasting tray, trying to get them on a single layer so they roast and get crispy. I use parchment paper for easier cleanup. 
    5. Roast for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice throughout cooking. They are done when they get a deep golden color and some leaves crisp up. 
    6. When they are done, taste. If they need more flavor,add a little salt and drizzle of honey or squeeze of lemon. (I always do this right before serving so they remain crispy)

    Notes: 

    • This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. Just make sure to roast on two or three pans and keep them on a single layer. 
    • Decorate with lemon wedges.
  • Chicken Pesto Sandwich

    This is a quick one that uses some store-bought items but its so worth it!

    Sandwich for 2:

    • ¾ lb. to 1 lb. chicken breast
    • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
    • About 10-15 sun-dried tomatoes
    • 2-3 Tbsp. prepared pesto
    • 4 Large slices of bread

    Directions:

    1. In a large saute pan, heat some oil and pan-fry the chicken until cooked through. Then, set the chicken aside on a plate. Clean out the pan with tongs and a paper towel briefly. Place the pan off heat while you assemble the sandwich.
    2. When the chicken is cool enough to cut, slice the chicken. Build each sandwich by placing chicken on first, then pesto, then sun-dried tomatoes. Close sandwich. Drizzle olive oil in the pan and a little on the bread.
    3. Then, place the sandwiches in the pan on a low heat. Press down with another pan or lid to make it Panini style. Cook until golden brown on each side.
    4. Cut the sandwiches on the diagonal and enjoy!

  • 30-Minute Minestrone

    I added some turkey meatballs and garlic croutons to serve and it was amazing 🙂

    Minestrone is one of my favorite soups, but many recipes take too long to make. Soaking and cooking the beans from scratch can take hours. But, this recipe is made in just 30 minutes. The trick is using canned beans. Rinse them well before using them.

    30- Minute Minestrone Soup

    Ingredients (serves 4-6):

    • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 large vidalia or yellow onion
    • 1 small zucchini
    • 1 medium carrot
    • 1 stalk celery
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 4 cups (32 oz.) vegetable broth
    • ¾ cup small macaroni or small shell pasta
    • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomato (no salt added)
    • 1 15-oz. can red kidney beans
    • 1 15-oz. Can northern white bean or cannellini beans
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tsp. Dried basil
    • ½ tsp each dried thyme, dried oregano, and black pepper
    • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
    • ½-1 tsp. Salt
    • Grated parmesan cheese (optional)

    Equipment: 

    • Large Dutch oven or stockpot

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. To a large Dutch oven or stockpot, add the oil and heat over medium-high heat to warm.
    2. Add diced onion, zucchini, carrots, celery, and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir intermittently.
    3. Add the garlic, minced and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
    4. Add the vegetable broth, macaroni, tomatoes and juice, kidney beans, white beans, bay leaf, basil, thyme, oregano, pepper, and bring to a boil.
    5. Boil gently for about 15 minutes or until macaroni is cooked through. At any time while making the soup, if the overall liquid level is lower than you like and you prefer more broth, adding a cup or two of water or additional vegetable broth is okay. At the end you will adjust the salt level.
    6. Taste soup and add salt to taste. I added 1 tsp. Salt. Optionally garnish with parmesan, and serve immediately.

    NOTES

    Soup will keep airtight in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

  • Arabic Chopped Salad

    I grew up eating a salad similar to this at one of my favorite Lebanese restaurants. I’m so happy I finally learned how to make it!

    The trick is using great tomatoes and Persian cucumbers.

    And add enough salt for the flavors to pop. The rest is simple.

    Arabic Chopped Salad

    Ingredients (serves 3-4):

    • 4 Persian cucumbers, chopped small
    • 1 container (around 10 oz.) cherry tomatoes, sliced in quarters
    • 1 small handful parsley, chopped fine
    • 1-2 Tbsp. Fresh mint, chopped small
    • ½ lemon, juiced
    • 1-2 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper to taste (a few pinches)

    Directions:

    Add all chopped ingredients into a mixing bowl. Then add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix and taste. Add more salt if you think it’s lacking flavor. The flavors get even better after it sits 30 minutes or so.

    Serve with hummus, grilled vegetables or shish kebab meats.

  • Peach Raspberry Lattice Pie (Less Sweet)

    Summer is almost over there no better way to close it out with a peach raspberry pie. You could make this with frozen peaches and raspberries during the year but fresh peaches are the best.

    This pie is not as sweet as most American desserts but I like it that way. I only added 3-4 Tbsp. sugars to the filling and it was good but I think I would have liked it a tad more sweet.

    Next time I’d use up to 1/2 cup sugar and maybe use coconut sugar. The good thing is that in pies, the amount of sugar won’t change the final texture too much, as opposed to cake or cookies. So I like taking the liberty to add less sugar in pies and let the fruit naturally sweeten it.

    Double Crust (makes 2 crusts)

    • 400 g all-purpose flour
    • 2 pinches salt
    • 40 g sugar
    • 200 g unsalted butter
    • 2 eggs

    Filling

    • 6-8 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced
    • ⅓ cup raspberries or mixed berries (can use frozen)
    • 30g buter (2 Tbsp.)
    • 45g sugar (3 Tbsp), up to 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
    • Dash of cinnamon

    Instructions:

    Pastry dough- 

    1. To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Mix well with your hands. Then, add the cut up butter pieces (must be cold). Rub butter and flour between your hands to get a crumbly or sandy texture. Don’t overmix. It should be crumbly.

    2. Then, add the eggs and mix together until it comes together to a ball. Split into half and wrap each other separately.

    3. Cover the balls of dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for a couple minutes (at least) to firm up a little and make it easier to work with. You can make the dough up to a day or two in advance with good results. Take it out of the fridge 30 minutes to 1 hour before working with it. 

    Filling-

    1. Peel the peaches. You an do this by placing them in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then an ice bath. This helps the skins slip off easily. Then, slice them. Place in a medium bowl.
    2. Add berries, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, cornstarch and lemon juice if using. Mix and set aside. Let sit for 20 minutes. Taste and add more sugar if needed. To let juices settle to the bottom.(I did this the night before and placed it in the fridge).

    Assembly-

    1. Roll out one ball of dough in between two large sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll it out a little larger than your pie plate. Then, place into the pie plate, pressing firmly.
    2. Add filling into the rolled out dough.
    3. Then, Place in the fridge while you roll out the second piece of dough. Roll out the same way as the first one. Then, use a pizza cutter or large knife to cut strips. (IF you don’t want to bother making a lattice pie, just top the pie with the second piece of dough and cut a hole in the middle for steam to escape.
    4. Brush the pie with some cream or egg wash. Then, sprinkle some sugar and cinnamon all over the top.
    5. Place in the oven at 350 F for 1 hour, then turn up to 375 F and bake another 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool completely before cutting.
  • Grilled Peach with Raspberry Sorbet | Dairy-free and Gluten-free desserts

    I made this for my dairy-free friends when I was serving tiramisu. It went over well! It’s super simple to make. Hope you enjoy.

    You can use a outdoor grill or use a grill pan like I did indoors. You might not get the same grill marks but it works.

    INGREDIENTS (for 1)

    • 1 peach, preferably freestone
    • Olive oil or melted butter
    • 1 scoop raspberry sorbet

    EQUIPMENT

    • Gas or charcoal grill
    • Tongs
    • Sharp knife

    INSTRUCTIONS

    1. Prepare the grill. Light a gas grill to medium heat. If you’re cooking over charcoal, grill the peaches after everything else has been grilled (but clean grill well)
    2. Halve and pit the peaches. Run a sharp knife along each peach’s seam to halve them. Remove the pit and brush each cut side with olive oil or melted butter.
    3. Grill cut-side down, over medium heat, for 4 to 5 minutes. Place the peaches cut-side down on the grill and cook undisturbed until grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes. The key is a patient, medium heat.
    4. Flip the peaches and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the peaches and grill until the skins are charred and the peaches are soft, 4 to 5 minutes more.
    5. Plate the peach. Remove from the grill. Place peach cut side up on dish. Put a scoop of raspberry sorbet on top of the peach and serve immediately since it starts to melt.
  • Mixed Berry Crisp Pie

    I can’t think of a better way to eat berries. This crisp pie is topped with a oatmeal crumble that makes it irresistible.

    Ingredients (for a 9” pie)

    • 6 cups frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)
    • 1 cup sugar
    • ¼ cup cornstarch
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 9 in deep dish pie crust

    Oatmeal Crumble Topping

    • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
    • ¾ cup brown sugar
    • ½ cup all purpose flour
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 9 tbsp salted butter

    Instructions

    Create the Oatmeal Crumble Topping

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
    2. Cut 9 tbsp of salted butter into slices.
    3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine 1 cup old-fashioned oats, ¾ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ cup all purpose flour, and butter slices. Mix with a pastry blender until pea sized clumps form. Set aside and work on filling. 

    Filling

    1. Completely thaw 6 cups of frozen mixed berries. Drain any excess liquid.
    2. .In a large mixing bowl, mix berries, 1 cup sugar, ¼ cup cornstarch, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla. Toss until evenly coated. 
    3. Pour berry filling into a 9 inch pie crust. Pour berry mixture into a 9 inch deep dish pie crust.

    Assembly and Bake

    1. Sprinkle oatmeal crumble topping evenly over the mixed berries until completely covered.
    2. Bake for 30 minutes.
    3. Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
    4. Cool for 2 hours at room temperature before serving. 

    Notes

    *It is important to drain any excess liquid from the frozen berries.

    **Resist the temptation to cut into this pie immediately. It is important not to skip cooling for 2 hours. Cooling it allows the filling to thicken.