Top 13 Healthy Recipes of 2013

Goodness. This week has been a crazy one! Would you believe that I just started my Christmas shopping?! Yeah… I need to get better about that next year! Anyways, today I thought I would share my favorite recipes from the blog over the last year. Some of these recipes we have made a several times since I’ve posted them! Feel free to try them and add any of these dishes to your regular meal rotation – especially those looking to start off the new year on a healthier note. Since they are all healthy (ie. Dietitian approved) you can’t lose!

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Vegan Lentil Stew with Roasted Squash and Kale

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Dark Chocolate Mint Macaroons

Larabar in Jar

Homemade Larabar in a Jar

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Vegan Sweet and Sour Tempeh Kale Stir-Fry

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Overnight Chia Oats

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Superfood Bowl with Spicy Kale and Tempeh

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Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

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Spicy Tofu Curry

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Vegan Coconut Cream Cups

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Harvest Hot Toddy

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Vegetarian Stuffed Eggplant

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Pomegranate, Walnut, and Squash Salad

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Vegan Apricot Coconut Granola

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons

Will and I just got back from a lovely wedding weekend in Memphis for our friends Alex and Johnathan.  Our flight back to Chicago this morning was early so we had most of the day off today to catch up on grocery shopping, weekend food prep, and of course an annual tradition – watching Elf! I was in the mood to do a little bit of baking so I whipped up a batch of these macaroons. Macaroons are so easy to make and are absolutely delicious. I put a different spin on these by adding some peppermint extract and drizzling in dark chocolate. Macaroons are a great little treat for those working to stay healthy over the holidays. They are a lot lower in calories than other cookies, plus you have the added benefit of some fiber from the flaked coconut. Macaroons are also a great DIY gift for family and friends – even those with food allergies since they are gluten-free!

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Peppermint Macaroons

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Macaroons 

(Makes 12-15; Gluten-Free, Low Fat)

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 1-2 ounces melted dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place egg whites in bowl and whip until they form soft peaks.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients except for chocolate to the whipped eggs. Stir gently until well mixed.
  4. Drop coconut mixture by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until cookies begin to brown around the edges. Set on the counter to cool.
  5. Melt chocolate over the stove. Drizzle onto macaroons. Let cool and serve!

Maple Pumpkin Oats

I’ll confess, I am the kind of person who wakes up excited about breakfast!  These days, I look forward to warming up on chilly mornings with a bowl of hot oatmeal. Since oats can be boring on their own, I am always experimenting with new toppings and mix-ins. This pumpkin version though is one of my absolute favorites. Pomegranate seeds were a new topping addition that paired perfectly with the pumpkin! You’ll definitely start your day off on a healthy note since this bowl is full of soluble fiber, vitamin A, and Omega 3 fatty acids. The recipe below makes enough for one hearty bowl of oatmeal but feel free to double or triple the recipe to feed family or guests.

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Maple Pumpkin Oats

(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
  • Sprinkle of chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix oats and milk in a bowl. Microwave on high for 3-5 minutes or until oats have soaked up most of the milk.
  2. Stir in the pumpkin, syrup, and cinnamon.
  3. Top with walnuts, pomegranate, and chia.

Harvest Hot Toddy

Now that cold weather is here to stay, I wanted to share my version of a classic winter drink with you. The hot toddy is honestly one of the perfect alcoholic drinks for wintry nights and they are super simple to make. I love sipping hot tea in the winter and the addition of a little bit of gin makes it even better! We actually found a locally sourced gin called Death’s Door which blends really well with the spiced tea in these. Hot toddies are a great low calorie, low sugar beverage for holiday parties since there isn’t a lot of fruit juice or sugary syrup. The tea I used for these is one of my new favorites from Trader Joe’s called Harvest Blend Herbal Tea. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, simply pick up an herbal tea with a strong cinnamon note to it.

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Hot Toddy

Harvest Hot Toddy

(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tea bags of harvest blend herbal tea
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 4 oz. gin (we like Death’s Door)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  1. Add tea bags to hot water and let steep for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Pour 1/2 oz. juice and 2 oz. gin into each mug. Add 1 cup of tea.
  3. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and lemon wedges.

Honey Coconut Latte

Throughout college and grad school, one of my absolute favorite places to be was the local coffee shop. It was such a great environment for getting a caffeine fix while studying or chatting with friends. These days, I definitely don’t spend as much time at the local coffee place as I used to, but I still love it just the same. This weekend, Will and I spent the afternoon at Ipsento Coffee, just  a few blocks from our house. I decided to splurge and try their signature latte – it was incredible! The thing that sold me on this drink was the dash of cayenne pepper; I love the hint of spice it gives this latte. The coconut milk also adds a lot of great flavor. Since I don’t want to be spending all of my money at the coffee shop, I decided to recreate it at home and share with you!

Honey Coconut Latte

Honey Coconut Latte

(Makes 1 latte)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk/cream
  • 1-2 shots of espresso or 3 oz. strong coffee
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat milk and coconut cream together until hot. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy!

Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

Happy Tuesday Friends! Today, I wanted to share this scrumptious fall/winter salad with you. This salad could easily be a healthy, colorful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. Who said all Thanksgiving dishes have to be laden in tons of calories?! Do you ever add fruit to your salads? I have made salads in the past with apple, cranberries, and pear; but I’ve been wanting to try pomegranate! Oh. my. goodness. Who knew they were such a delicious addition?! I love the mixture of the tart-sweet pomegranate arils with the buttery squash and tangy vinaigrette.

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Pomegranate Salad

Pomegranate, Squash, and Walnut Salad

(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 cups spring mix
  • 1/2 cubed, roasted butternut squash
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Cheddar cheese – to taste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix vinaigrette ingredients (vinegar to salt/pepper) together.
  2. Toss with the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl until lettuce is coated. Serve!

Recipe Redux: Larabar in a Jar

Anytime I get to someone on my list that I just don’t what to buy for Christmas, gifts from the kitchen are often perfect. The theme for this month’s recipe redux was “adding merriment to mixes” or DIY gifts from the kitchen. As I was thinking about what to do for my gift from the kitchen I was debating about homemade granola or some sort of granola bar recipe. Then I remembered that larabars are often super simple to make with only a few ingredients and super delicious! Instead of “bars” I mixed this batch into small balls just to see how they would turn out. Since homemade larabars can tend to be more on the crumbly side, the ball shape held together much better.

Larabar in Jar

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Larabar in a Jar

(Makes 10-12)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Layer the ingredients into a glass ball jar in the following order: cocoa, coconut, dates, walnuts, chocolate chips.
  2. To prepare larabars/balls, pour the chocolate chip layer into a small bowl. Toss the rest into a food processor and process until it starts to clump together.
  3. Stir in chocolate chips. Shape into bars or balls.

Add a fun ornament and cute tag to the jar to make it look festive for gift giving!

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To see more great recipe redux posts, click on the link below!