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Your Healthy-Dinner Shopping List

A healthy dinner doesn’t have to be a headache. A well-stocked pantry will make it a snap to whip up something tasty and nourishing, even on a hectic weeknight. I recently wrote up a handy shopping list for the Rise blog of healthy-dinner staples.

One of my go-to weeknight meals? Greens & beans with an egg on top. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

beans and greens with egg

What’s one of your go-to easy meals? 

Pumpkin Pie Mini-Muffins

mini pumpkin muffinThese mini muffins are the perfect little dessert for your next fall gathering (Friendsgiving, perhaps?). They’re also great spread with a little nut butter or crumbled over yogurt or cottage cheese for a quick and easy snack.

Packed with fiber and vitamin-rich pumpkin, they also happen to be secretly healthy. I won’t tell if you won’t. What you will want to share, though: these are grain-free and gluten-free, and appropriate for any cave people (aka Paleo eaters) in attendance. pumpkin pie muffins


  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (or 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, cloves, and ginger)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree*
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with mini liners or grease with coconut oil or coconut oil spray.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and mix in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in another mixing bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until well mixed. Spoon into muffin cups.
  5. Bake until set, about 15 minutes.

makes 24 mini-muffins

*if preferred, you can also make these with applesauce instead of pumpkin, but they may take a few minutes longer to cook.

I also made a microwave version with about 1/4 cup of batter in a ramekin I sprayed with coconut oil spray. Microwave in 30-second increments until set in the middle. Of course I had to top it with peanut butter. I think I am going to make that’s going to become a breakfast recipe in the very near future.

Joyous Things: My Favorite Vegan Dessert

Happy Sunday, guys! Did you know that today is World Vegan Day? Instead of the usual Sunday roundup of small, good things, I wanted to show my vegan friends out there some extra love by reposting one of my favorite dessert recipes. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this rich chocolate mousse, but it happens to be free of any milk, cream, butter, or eggs. Enjoy!

chocolate avocado mousse

Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse

Serves 4


  • 2 large ripe avocados, flesh scooped out
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp brewed coffee or espresso
  • 1/2 tbsp sweetener of choice, such as maple syrup, honey, etc
  • 1 bar high-quality dark chocolate melted
  • Fresh berries for garnish
  • Whipped cream (optional)


1. Process avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, coffee, and sweetener in a food processor.

2. Add melted chocolate and process until the mixture resembles mousse.

3. Garnish with fresh berries and whipped cream, if you wish.

What’s your favorite dessert? 


What to Make this Weekend: Alternatives to pie

sliced appleApple pie may sound wholesome, but thanks to that buttery (if delicious) crust and lots of sugar, it’s not exactly health food. Once in a while, no biggie—enjoy a slice and move on with your life—but for a more day-to-day kind of sweet craving, try one of these healthy apple desserts that aren’t pie I recently shared over on YouBeauty.

Not going to be satisfied with anything but real-deal apple pie? My mom’s recipe is pretty darn awesome and happens to use antioxidant-rich maple  syrup instead of sugar. If you want to lighten things up a bit, you can skip the top crust and call it a rustic tart or maybe garnish with a dusting of granola or crumbly topping. A lattice top cuts out a lot of crust calories too and looks pretty. Hats off to you if you have the skills/patience to make that happen. You might just be my new culinary hero.

What’s your favorite fall dessert? 

What to Make this Weekend: Pasta

Happy Friday! Hope you’re looking forward to a great weekend. Any cooking projects on the agenda? I’m working at the hospital, so am planning a lot more (defrosted) soup-and-salad-type meals. That said, I’ve been craving pasta lately. It’s definitely one of those cool-weather comfort foods. Did you know it’s National Pasta Month?

I know pasta gets a bad reputation because we tend to think of more indulgent incarnations, but when you choose a whole grain variety and pair it with lots of veggies and some protein, it can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Here are a few of my favorite pasta-centric meals:

To keep the pasta party going, here’s a cute but informative infographic:
Pasta is Complex

What’s your favorite pasta? 


What I Ate Wednesday #237: Making Strides

Happy What I Ate Wednesday. I can’t believe we’re already to the mid-way point of the week. I’m afraid that if I start talking at all about how busy/overloaded I am, I’ll burst into “how the eff is all this going to get done” tears, so let’s flashback to Sunday, which I spent with my mom.

The past few years, we’ve participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Central Park to honor the memory of my grandmother, who passed away at the age of 61 after a long battle with breast and ovarian cancer. Watching her struggle was a huge part of my deciding to become a dietitian. I always get a little choked up at the starting line, but mostly, I’m just happy to be able to spend it with my mom. We had great weather this year, if a big chilly. Making Strides 2015

Breakfast: My mom was set to come to my apartment at 7:20, so I got up, showered, and ate some leftover pumpkin cranberry oatmeal while doing line edits on a piece until she got there. cran pumpkin oats and line edits

Lunch: We went to The Smith near Lincoln Center. Both of us ordered the lobster avocado salad (with lemon vinaigrette instead of the buttermilk dressing), and we also shared a side of brussels sprouts (pan fried with orange oil) and bacon. I was so hungry, and this totally hit the spot. Lobster salad the smith

Snack: I got crazy-hungry after doing some more writing and cleaning, so midway through the afternoon, I ate some Greek yogurt with coconut flour and cinnamon, topped with PB2 sauce. Of course I forgot to take a picture. That’s how I know I’m really hungry. This is what I usually have on hand. Trader Joe's Greek yogurt

Dinner: I went to a super-relaxing yoga class and came home to a bowl of this slow cooker soup inspired by a chicken and broccoli rabe chili recipe on Half-Baked Harvest. I used a LOT of paprika, which is one of my favorite spices, and this was so good with some shaved parm on top. On the side, the had a whole wheat sandwich thin with more of the miso-tahini pumpkin sauce and roasted eggplant rounds. broccoli chicken chili and toast

Snack: After a few more hours of editing work (I swear I have a life, just not on this particular night), I got hungry again, and the only thing that sounded good was more yogurt. So yeah.

What life events inspired you to take your career path? What was the best thing you ate this past weekend?
To see more WIAW from other bloggers, check out founder Jenn’s blog Peas & Crayons.


Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Lentil Soup

If I had to pick a favorite month, I would choose October. It’s only taken me my entire life to feel comfortable admitting that. Yes, I play favorites, and October is at the top of the list. What do I love about it? The cooler weather, the warmer clothes (and boots!), and of, course, warm drinks and soup.

This soup is great for cold days when you need something bright and nourishing to warm your bones. This is a great vegan option for Meatless Mondays. To up the protein, you can sprinkle on hemp hearts or nutritional yeast, or top with an egg. This is also lovely with sausage mixed in for something a little meatier.

butternut apple lentil soup


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large apple, peeled and cut wedges
  • 2 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 8 cups hot water
  • 2 cups spinach


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss apple and squash in 1 tablespoon olive oil and spread on a roasting sheet. Roast until tender and caramelized around the edges, about 35 – 40 minutes. Shake pan every 10 minutes to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large stock pot, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cook until tender.
  3. Add spices and lentils. Toss well to coat.
  4. Meanwhile, dissolve miso paste in water. When mixed well, add water to pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer for twenty minutes or until lentils are tender and cooked through. Add spinach in the last few minutes of cooking to wilt.

What’s your favorite cold-weather food?

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Happy Sunday. Every week I like to note some of the small, good things from the past week. Here’s today’s little collection:

*Eli is a little blur of happy basically all the time. My mom sent me this the other morning and it made my day:Eli running

Read More »

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites

Though it may be just a tad bit early to be busting out the pumpkin spice recipes, I just can’t help it. I’m all over it. I dig summer, but as someone who loves boots and sweaters and wearing pants, I am so ready for fall and all the flavors it comes with.

These little bites are super-easy to whip up and make a great pre- or post-workout snack. They also make a great desk-lunch dessert when you need just a little something to complete your meal. You can eat them on their own or crumble into your favorite yogurt. This recipe makes 10 little guys, but feel free to form into whatever size you prefer. You can also multiply this recipe easily if prepping snacks for a crowd.pumpkin spice energy bites keeping it real food

Pumpkin Spice Energy Bites


  • ½ cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 5-6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon dried coconut flakes (optional)


  1. Pulse pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie spice, and dates in a food processor until dough forms. Take breaks every few pulses to prevent overheating.
  2. Form into balls/bites. Roll in coconut flakes, if desired.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

What are your favorite snacks? 

A Small Collection of Joyous Things

Sunday again. It’s dreary here in New York with a little high-anxiety energy thrown in around the weather, so all the more reason for my weekly gratitude-list post.

*First off: I want to take a second to wish a Happy Birthday weekend to my sister—yesterday was the big day. I was lucky enough to get to see her and the rest of the fam (fur children included) twice over the past week. I was out there again Thursday, and enjoyed a lovely late breakfast with the birthday girl on Friday morning at an adorable local cafe. It was so nice to start the day with girl talk and a non-desk breakfast for a change! empty omelet plate

(clearly, I hated my florentine omelet)

*Part of the reason for my second trip: I had to go to my eye doctor—I’m in the process of transitioning to a new contact lens brand and Rx, and it’s been a bit of a process. Accepting that my eyes have gotten worse this year after a long time of no changes was tough, but I got new lenses, and I can read signs again! I had no idea how much signage I’d been missing out on.

*Disney Princesses Reimagined as Hot Dogs. Yes, this is a thing, and it is wonderful.

(Lucky Peach)

Which Disney Princess did you identify with, growing up? I think Ariel from the Little Mermaid would have to be my vote—always going off exploring, longing to be part of the big world…collecting random objects was totally something I did when I was little too.

*This post from the Kitchn on their instant oatmeal taste test was awesome. As the weather cools down, I’ve been craving hearty grain-based breakfasts, and I could stand to try some new-to-me brands.

*I know it’s barely October, but I couldn’t resist using a discount code to buy some super-cute wintery leggings from White Plum. I got these.

White Plum

*On my work-from-home days (and nights) I’ve been binge-watching 30 Rock, since I never saw the beginning of the series. By binge “watch” I basically mean having it on in the background. That’s about as close as I’ll probably ever get to being able to watch TV. Still. It’s so good! Not-so-guilty pleasure. Tina Fey is my hero. And Liz Lemon might be my spirit animal?

*It probably says something about me that I routinely burn my mouth on coffee and hot soup, but hey. Pros and cons of being a fire sign. Sagittarius with Sagittarius rising = basically f***ed in the patience/heat-sensitivity department.

*Speaking of soup, I’m looking forward to making some soon. I’m thinking red lentil & apple with caramelized onion and kabocha squash, since I still have a gazillion apples to use up…

Have a great Sunday!

What’s on your list of small, good things this week? 


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