Mediterranean-Inspired Shepherd’s Pie

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I got the idea to create a shepherd’s pie with a Mediterranean influence by brainstorming about some of the ingredients that traditionally comprise the dish and wondering what I had in my pantry that I could swap for them. “Well, lentils are sort of round, and I have those,” I mused, thinking about what could be a legitimate substitute for corn and peas, two typical components. Not that similarity in shape is necessarily any indication of a sound substitution!

Protein-Packed Peanut-Butter Granola

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Peanut butter – how I missed thee! I was without it for about the past week, until my planned trip to the grocery store last night, and it would not be exaggerating to say that my life felt a little emptier during that time. My workday was not the same without my mid-morning snack of apple slices and peanut butter, and while tahini paste makes an excellent ingredient in hummus and dressings, it was not the greatest substitute for my favorite nut butter in my oatmeal. Now I’m three-cans flush with the stuff, so life is good. And in homage to one of my favorite foods ever being back in my life, I’ve created this granola.

Pine Nut and Parsley Pesto with Grape Tomatoes and Italian Farro

 

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Pesto! I love its rich, pungent flavor. This was my first time creating my own pesto recipe, and I have to say, I was very pleased with the outcome. This pesto sauce is very rich and flavorful without being too strong-tasting.

Spring-Clean my Pantry #2! Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

 

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It was Easter Sunday, a mild, early-spring evening – not exactly the setting that inspires the creation of a traditionally cold-weather recipe. But I really wanted to put the butternut squash languishing in my refrigerator and my last three sweet potatoes to use. So this butternut squash and sweet potato soup was born.

Raw Cacao Bacon Fudge Bars

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Chocolate and bacon – two of my favorite things ever. And they aren’t as distinct from each other as one might initially think (those people who dip bacon strips in chocolate really aren’t crazy!). 

Spring-Clean my Pantry! Polenta with Sweet-Potato White-Bean Bacon Ragout

 

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Spring has sprung, allegedly. I woke up to the shock of several inches of out-of-the-blue snowfall yesterday. But that’s spring in Michigan! All in all, the daily temperatures are on the general upswing, and it’s time to start eating lighter (green peas and asparagus and mint and fresh greens, yum . . .).

Crispy Chili-Lime Chickpeas

 

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I’ve been wanting to try making crispy oven-roasted chickpeas for a while now. It was just a matter of dreaming up the perfect flavor to try. Chili-lime was the idea that stuck with me, and I have to say, it turned out to be a pretty delish one! The rich savoriness of the chili and garlic powders, the vibrant tang of the lime juice, and the slight heat of the cayenne pepper meld into an addictive explosion of flavor.

Moroccan-Inspired Spicy Bell Pepper Bulgur Bowl

 

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I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I often like to eat that way. If you do, too, then you’re gonna love this spicy bell pepper bulgur bowl, which becomes vegan when vegetable stock is used in place of chicken stock.

Post-Workout-Worthy Chocolate Coconut Chia Snack Bars

 

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With spring finally here and the snow hopefully melted where you are, it’s time again for running/outdoor exercise season. You need snacks that are portable, tasty, and provide some serious fuel – which means energy bars for most people. Those are healthy, right?

Springtime Ricotta Quinoa Bowl

 

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I decided to do another ricotta quinoa bowl because I loved the Crispy Pancetta Quinoa Bowl that I made last week. And, frankly, I still had some ricotta cheese left. And some mint and some peas I’d been dying to use, and an excitement for the spring equinox this weekend.