Crudité Vegetable Wreath + Delicious Dip Recipe

Looking to offer more veggies and healthy options at your next party? This Crudité wreath is an excellent way to entice guests to snack on healthier ingredients compared to offering fried foods, chips, or something higher in fat. I made this fun appetizer during the holidays and would definitely make it again! I had so much fun shopping for all of the fresh ingredients.

Crudité Platter + Dip Recipe

Although this particular post is styled in more of a holiday theme, it can definitely be served in any setting, during any season! I was so happy to find all of these fresh ingredients in season during the winter. 

Ingredients (serves 10-15) 

FOR THE CRUDITE:

8 cups broccoli florets

3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed

2 cups green beans, trimmed

1 cup sugar snap peas, strings removed

Greek Yogurt

Cream cheese (8 oz.)

½ bunch curly kale, washed

2 cups cauliflower florets

9 cherry tomatoes

FOR THE DIP:

1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

½ cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot

1/2 C. shredded cheddar cheese, optional

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried

4 teaspoons white-wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To prepare crudité: Put a large pot of water on to boil. Set a large bowl of ice water by the stove. Blanch broccoli for 1 to 2 minutes in the boiling water. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the broccoli to the ice bath to chill. Drain well. Blanch Brussels sprouts, green beans and snap peas in the same way.
  2. To prepare dip: Whisk yogurt, mayonnaise, cream cheese, shallot, dill, vinegar, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Transfer to a serving bowl; set it in the center of a large circular platter or decorative serving board.
  3. Arrange kale around the bowl, with the frilly edges on the outside. Top with the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green beans, snap peas and cauliflower. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and serve. Enjoy!
Crudité Platter + Dip Recipe

Vegan Dairy-Free Yogurt Parfait Cups Recipe - Healthier Snack + Dessert Alternative

This delicious alternative to ice cream or other sweets wound up tasting delicious! Get the recipe for these Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt Parfaits, created in partnership with Ripple Yogurt and Kroger. 

Could you ever imagine eating dairy-free yogurt? That may seem sort of the norm these days, but can you imagine eating yogurt created from peas? I had a great time experimenting with a fun recipe idea that's been on my mind for some time now - frozen yogurt parfait cups with graham cracker + oat crusts! 

Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt Parfaits

INGREDIENTS:

1-3 flavors of Ripple yogurt (I used strawberry, vanilla, and blueberry)

10 Graham Crackers (choose honey free for true vegan), crushed into an even consistency

5 Tbsp melted Vegan Butter, such as Earth Balance Organic 

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

pinch salt

Blackberries, kiwi, and any other fruit for toppings

Other items: silicone muffin cups, muffin tin, spoon for mixing

These Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt Parfaits are inspired by Ripple yogurts, available at Kroger!

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) For the crust: melt butter in a medium bowl, and add crushed graham crackers, oats, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. 

2.) Fill prepared silicone or paper cupcake liners with crust mixture 1/3-1/2 and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350* F.

3.) One cooled, fill cupcake liners the rest of the way with yogurt. Freeze for 30 minutes, and then top with chopped fruits. Freeze at least 1 more hour, until cups are completely frozen. Remove them from the cupcake tin, and remove the wrappers, and reveal your beautiful layers of dairy-free, vegan ingredients!What a tasty snack!


In 2015, Ripple founder set out to separate the fats from peas and create a milk-lie substitute that is great for people who want an alternative to dairy (source: Food&Wine). "Dubbed Ripptein, the additive strips away plant flavors and leaves behind only protein, according to Fast Company. (That's one reason Ripple's pea milk doesn't taste like liquefied legumes.).

Now, I will admit, this yogurt does have less of a smooth texture than I was used to, but once I froze this yogurt into these delicious fro yo cups, everything was divine! Feel free to try this recipe out with any mixture of yogurt, fruit, and other ingredients that you would like!

Ripple Dairy-Free Frozen Yogurt Parfaits

"From a biochemical standpoint, milk is protein, and fat, and sugar," Neil Renninger, Ripple cofounder and co-CEO, told Fast Company. "There are plenty of plant sugars you can use, and plenty of plant fats. There are also plenty of plant proteins you can use, but the problem is that they all taste like the plant they derive from. We had to figure out how to make a plant protein that didn't taste like a plant protein."

The company's new pea half-and-half, which Fast Company says dissolves into coffee "like the real thing, without the calories," launches in July, while customers may have to wait until the end of this year—or possibly early next year—for its yogurt.

Renninger admitted neither the half-and-half nor the yogurt were easy to create. For example, "with half-and-half, the challenge was getting something that worked well in coffee, but also would work well in a culinary situation," he said. "It's a bit of a balance providing that creaminess and a clean taste. Protein is an important part of the creaminess in half-and-half, but if you don't have clean protein, you can't get that creaminess without adding off flavors."

Vegetarian Zucchini "Meatballs" Recipe + My New Oster Spiralizer

I have been wanting to create a recipe like this for a long time now, and I thought that a good way to test out my new Electronic Spiralizer from Oster, would be to make a vegetarian version of one of my favorite foods, meatballs. You won't even miss the meat, promise!

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Caprese Salad Recipe

This is one of my absolute all-time favorite dishes! I love any excuse to eat fresh tomatoes, and when the organic and local ones are heirloom, it's even better! I thought that using a mix of yellow and red tomatoes really gave this plate a more vibrant and special look. I actually created this recipe for the Burnt movie, to help promote their movie. Check out my Burnt project, on Pinterest HERE, entitled Food, Romance, Love.

Caprese Salad

INGREDIENTS (MAKES 2 SERVINGS)

* 10-15 organic yellow and red cherry tomatoes (or other small tomatoes)

* Fresh Organic Basil (I found mine as a plant at the grocery store. Bonus points for ORGANIC!!!

* Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

* Olive Oil

* Balsamic Vinaigrette

* Salt to taste

Caprese Salad

Cut tomatoes into quarters. Slice mozzarella cheese with a knife, or create small pieces of cheese with your hands, and set aside. On a plate, drizzle a small amount of balsamic, like I did in the above images. Place tomatoes and cheese onto plate. Also top the plate with basil leaves, as many as you can handle! Drizzle some olive oil and salt over the top of the plate, and you are all done! I also like to serve this with an extra plate of small French bread slices and salami. 

This would make an incredible snack, appetizer, or even a light meal! It tastes SO incredibly good, I hope you enjoy it! If you are also a Caprese Salad-lover, comment below to let us know. 

{PB + Banana Toast} Summer Snacking with Sahale Snacks

I found a new, favorite snack mix! Actually, I found quite a few new favorites in this amazing package that I received from Sahale Snacks! I wanted to share a fun "recipe" of sorts that will hopefully inspire you to take the time to get some healthy foods together, and have a breakfast picnic!! 

This fun "recipe" basically consists of only four ingredients! Toast, Creamy Peanut Butter, Bananas, and Sahale Snacks Honey Almond Glazed Mix, which also features sea salt and cranberries for a bit of tart and sweet.

I just spread the PB onto the toast, then sliced up my bananas to about 1/4" thick. I placed 6 banana slices on the toast, then added the tasty almonds. They are coated in the most delicious honey crunchy awesome-ness, so I wound up eating a few as I was creating these photos - how could I resist?! 

Summer Snacking + Picnics
Summer Snacking + Picnics

If you are just looking for something to grab on the way out of the door, or if you're looking for snacks for your next road trip, then these Grab & Go Snacks  from Sahale Snacks are perfect!! 

tasty snack idea
yum!

I also fell in love with this S'Well bottle from their Satin Collection - in Moncao Blue. SO many colors to choose from!!! 

water + snacks

I'm sharing #SahaleSnackers in my life as part of a Sahale Snacks® sponsored series for Socialstars™. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep my blog a beautiful space to showcase my work! 

toast

Smoothie Time! Mixed Berry and Banana Smoothie - Negative Calorie Recipe

Smoothies are so refreshing and actually filling! Here is an idea for a quick "power meal in a smoothie"! I always buy organic fruits, vegetables, and produce, and it makes me feel that I'm not getting a bunch of unnecessary chemicals from pesticides. Another great thing, is that (besides the yogurt), every ingredient in this recipe are Negative Calorie Foods! Meaning they take more calories to burn than they contain. So cool. Well, enjoy your smoothies!

Awesome Smoothie Recipe!

INGREDIENTS for about 2 smoothies:

1 Cup Ice - (blend this in the blender before adding fruits and spinach)

1/3 pint blueberries

1/3 C. raspberries

2 bananas - cut into pieces

A small hand full of spinach, chopped or ripped into small pieces

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice (or any juice you have on hand)

1/2 C. - 1 C. Vanilla or Strawberry Yogurt 

Awesome Smoothie Recipe!

INSTRUCTIONS:

Crush ice in blender. Add fruits and spinach, and blend for about 30 seconds, or until completely combined. If you want a thinner smoothie, just add more juice.

Awesome Smoothie Recipe!

This smoothie was very tasty. You get a nice taste of each of the ingredients, without tasting the spinach too much :) I am sure you could use frozen fruit as well. 

I hope you enjoy these, they kept me more full than expected!

Farm To Table // A New Market in Carbondale, IL

Last week, Carbondale saw the start of a new Farmer's Market! It's super close to our house, and it is organized by one of my friends, Courtney Smith. This market is super convenient because it runs from 4-7 pm on Wednesdays, which is right before I would be making dinner. We ate all of the veggies right after I got home from my market visit, and had an amazing vegetarian dinner of mashed potatoes, green beans, and raw carrots for the appetizer! The reason I named this post Farm To Table is because I spoke with a couple, from Homer Grown, who were vending at the market. They grew most of the vegetables pictured below, and they seemed so incredibly passionate about what they do. They knew so much about each and every vegetable and bean picked, and would even grow you something you request! 

Carrots
These organic carrots were so good! 

These organic carrots were so good! 

Fresh Carrots from Farmer's Market
Fresh Green Beans

We chopped off the ends of these green beans, and then fried them in 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil, some chopped red onions, and one piece of bacon we had baked the day before for Bloody Mary's :) I didn't get a great photo of the potatoes, but we chopped up the red potatoes and white potatoes and boiled them with a little bit of salt and onion. After they were soft, I strained them, and added a splash of milk, more salt, and some butter. Just taste as you go, and see what you think tastes best. They were amazing with the beans! Beans (above) and Red Onions (below) from Homer Grown.

Red Onions From The Market
Red Onions

I also found myself some beautiful flowers from Flora Bay Farm. They're also from my friend Courtney, and she is great with floral arrangements. It's so fun to see what she grows each season, and I will definitely be making this new Farmer's Market a weekly thing! 

Bouquet from Flora Bay Farms
Bouquet
Flora Bay Farm Bouquet

And, some super fresh BASIL! What a beautiful smell :)

Fresh Basil
Catnip by Flora Bay Farms

Catnip by Flora Bay Farms

My Free People Reusable Shopping Bag and my market finds

My Free People Reusable Shopping Bag and my market finds

Garlic Scapes by Flora Bay Farm

Garlic Scapes by Flora Bay Farm

Isn't this the cutest Farmer's Market Stand you've ever seen? They built it and are proud that it helps identify the market to people who pass by and hope it makes them want to stop. Homer Grown has some of the best veggies around! 

Homer Grown Farmer's Market Stand

If you're in southern Illinois, please visit the newest Farmer's Market in Carbondale!! 

New Farmer's Market in Town!

Healthy Jar Salad Recipe - Black Beans & Greens With Creamy Chipotle Dressing

I have been helping to promote the Mira Fitness Tracker Bracelet on Pinterest recently, which is a really cool product. It's a more  and I found this awesome recipe on their blog. I decided to create a graphic explaining the tasty recipe, and you can find it on Pinterest here. I love creating graphics for these brands! If you need some cute graphics made, just let me know! 

Below, you can see the Mira Fitness Tracker Bracelet - it's much cuter than the traditional FitBits.