What’s your favorite appetizer to snack on at parties? One of my go-to choices is a hummus! It’s a humble yet nutritious food, packed with plant based protein and healthy fats. You can use veggie sticks, better-for-you crackers or whole wheat pita for dipping to up the nutrition factor. Pulses, which include beans, lentils, peas (and the chickpeas found in hummus) are substantial sources of important minerals like iron, magnesium and potassium, and they are also rich in fiber. Many of the world’s longest living populations eat diets rich in pulses!
Recently, someone asked me to bring an appetizer to a holiday party. When bringing a dish to a gathering, I like to choose something nutritious to balance out some of the heavier foods that will be served. Naturally, I thought of hummus! Store bought hummus usually gets the job done, but homemade is ALWAYS better. If you haven’t made your own before, you are missing out! Think about how creamy, smooth and fresh the hummus is at your favorite Mediterranean restaurant. You can have that at home in about 5 minutes with this recipe! To up the “wow” factor, I added some delicious toppings to this hummus, so it was a really beautiful presentation to show off. Your guests will never know this took you less than 20 minutes to make 🙂 This recipe makes A LOT of hummus, so make sure you have a hungry crowd ready to dig in.
1 28 oz can low sodium chickpeas, drained and liquid reserved
Happy Holidays, friends! I absolutely love the holiday season – especially Christmas! I’m looking forward to cooking family recipes with my mom and spending time with my sisters who live in different cities.
I put together a little gift guide this year to share some of my favorite products with you guys! While it looks like my life revolves around food on Instagram (and let’s be honest, it pretty much does), I also enjoy other things, like finding new beauty products and interior decorating! I’ve been trying to live an uncluttered lifestyle since moving to Boston, so items I don’t use frequently get the boot. You can be sure I regularly use and love the items on this list, save for a few goodies that I don’t own, but have been coveting 🙂 I also included a wide price range, so many of these gifts are quite affordable!
What are you guys looking forward to most this holiday season?
I was given this as a birthday gift, and pretty much haven’t stopped wearing it since! It is THE most comfortable bra I own. I actually have not worked out in it – I wear it under regular clothes! It is definitely better suited for smaller chests and low impact workouts like yoga. I went to order more, but they were sold out in my size!
I also received this bag as a gift! I absolutely love it. It is the perfect size to hold all your skincare and makeup essentials for traveling. I love the smaller pouch it comes with – I’ve been using it to organize my purse!
Those closest to me know that I’m always cold, which makes winters in the Northeast quite the challenge. I love layering this scarf under my jacket. It is super warm, covers your face, and can be used as a shawl or blanket if your destination is chilly. I use to bring this to the NYU library to study when I was a student there!
This is one of my recent beauty finds! I’ve been dealing with perioral dermatitis and very sensitive skin for the last 6 months or so. My usual cream moisturizer was no longer working for me, as it left my skin feeling stingy. My sister happened to have this product, and it’s been a total game changer. It’s pure rosehip seed oil, and is incredibly moisturizing. I use 5-6 drops on my face once or twice a day, and after every shower. It really sinks into my skin, so it doesn’t look or feel greasy, and I can easily layer my powder mineral foundation over it.
This is another gift I recently received, and I’m already in love! This Himalayan pink salt lamp is a gorgeous addition to our apartment – it looks like a giant crystal! I love that this lamp has a dimmer, so we can lower the lighting for movie night.
Resistance bands are one of my essentials for at-home or hotel room workouts. I bring these with me when I go visit my family on Martha’s Vineyard and work out in our yard. They take up no space in your suitcase, you can do so many moves with them and they can make your workout more challenging than using just your body weight.
I’ve become such a plant mom since moving to Boston. We already have 11 pants at our place, and that number will be growing! A plant lover will always find room in their home for more plants – so a few pretty succulents would be a welcome gift. I follow Fairy Blooms on Instagram, and they have the most beautiful, unique succulents! You can also find them at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or local plant stores.
This is one of my new favorite kitchen tools. This blender connects to a smartphone app using Bluetooth. The base acts as a scale to measure the ingredients as you add them in real time, and calculates nutrition information of your blend. I think this is such an innovative learning tool for those people in your life who are looking to make some healthy lifestyle changes! PLUS, my friends at NutriBullet were so kind to offer you all a discount code. Get 20% off your order until December 19 using the code 'ALEX'.
Because who doesn’t love getting pretty jewelry as a gift!? These hoop earrings are the perfect size – not too big, not too small, and super lightweight. I have sensitive ears – these are 14k gold-filled and don’t bother me!
I seriously use Primal Palate organic spice blends every day! Some of my favorites include adobo seasoning, seafood seasoning, and apple pie spice. They now have a Spice of the Month Club, which ships 3 spice blends quarterly. The perfect gift for the healthy chef in your life!
I LOVE my weighted blanket. They were developed to help with anxiety, stress and even Autism Spectrum Disorder. The weight mimics deep pressure touch, and is similar to a strong hug. As someone who struggles with anxiety, this tool was a welcome addition to my home, and it really helps me feel calm and grounded when I use it.
I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but these are two products I use regularly. I use Boy Brow every day to shape and add fullness to my brows, and use Haloscope to add a little bit of shimmer and dewy-ness when my complexion is looking a little “blah”. I have Boy Brow in brown and Haloscope in Quartz.
This post contains affiliate links, which helps keep Daisybeet running. I own and love each of the products with these links!
The holiday season is in full force! Hanukkah began Sunday evening, and Christmas is just a few weeks away. I feel extremely grateful this year to be in Boston, so I don’t have to miss out on spending time with family. Both my parents and Ben’s live in the area, so we’re able to celebrate with everyone.
One thing I’m looking most forward to is helping my mom prepare everything for Christmas Eve and Christmas. I already spent a weekend helping her make homemade raviolis and decorating the house. She also follows a pescatarian diet, and we have a few other vegetarians coming to celebrate, so I wanted to create a quick and delicious meat-free entrée. I think being vegetarian for so many years, I am extra in-tune with dietary restrictions of others. I always appreciate when others go out of their way to make sure there are veggie friendly options for me, so I try to do the same!
These sweet potatoes are a perfectly balanced meal in themselves: they have filling fiber (sweet potatoes) and protein (chickpeas) paired with healthy fat (avocado) and a pile of greens for a little extra nutritious kick. The chickpea avocado filling takes 5 minutes to prepare, and you can prep the sweet potatoes the night before and just reheat. They’re also meat-eating boyfriend approved, so everyone at your table is sure to enjoy these.
Are you guys preparing food for people with dietary restrictions this year? I would love to hear what you are making!
What do you guys include in your weekly meal prep sessions? A couple protein sources, roasted veggies, and a big batch of grains are key. But how do you make your meals super flavorful and eliminate boredom as the week progresses? Sauces and dressings! I love to include one or two different sauces in my weekly recipe round up. It may seem intimidating, but you really can make your favorite peanut sauce at home in less than 10 minutes. I sometimes even wait until the night I cook a meal to whip up a sauce to go with it.
Why make your own sauces, instead of buying them pre-made? Making your own sauces/dressings at home is empowering from a nutrition standpoint, as it allows you to control exactly what ingredients you’re adding. You can eliminate pro-inflammatory oils, excess added sugars and preservatives.
I currently have a batch of mustardy champagne vinaigrette and this delicious Green Goddess Tahini Sauce in my fridge. This is the first time I’ve made this sauce, and Ben and I can’t get enough! It’s wonderful used as a dressing for kale salads and drizzled over roasted veggies. It would also be a great dipping sauce for homemade falafel or sweet potato fries. There are only a few simple ingredients, and all you do is add them to a blender! I created the recipe in my NutriBullet Balance blender and smartphone app, which calculated the nutrition information in real time! So, so easy.
1/3 cup olive oil
½ cup smooth tahini
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 small cloves garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Drizzle over just about anything!
This recipe will keep in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. If you make it, tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see you creations! 🙂
Daylight savings time is when the changing seasons really hits me. The days are getting shorter as the temperature drops. I actually like the first few weeks after we change the clocks, because I enjoy waking up when the sun is rising. But I know in about a month, I’ll be wondering daily why I live on the East Coast (anyone in California looking for a winter roommate)?
My body starts craving warming flavors and hot foods around this time, too. Some of my favorite spices to cook with in the fall and winter are ginger, curry, and cinnamon (and this soup uses all of these)! This recipe is super simple but filling, thanks to the addition of lentils. Lentils are a legume, and come in many different varieties. They are such a wonderful ingredient, and I find they don’t always get the attention they deserve! They are a great source of plant based protein, and are rich in nutrients like folate and manganese. Plus, they are extremely inexpensive. I’m often asked how I can spend so little on groceries each week and still eat well. A plant based diet actually lends itself perfectly to eating on a budget, because vegetarian protein sources are generally less expensive than animal proteins. Some of my other favorite affordable vegetarian proteins are chickpeas, black beans, tofu and eggs.
I used red lentils in this recipe because the cook quickly. They also soften quite a bit when cooked, which helps to thicken the soup’s consistency. If you’d like to keep a thicker broth, I’d recommend not substituting another lentil variety in this recipe. From start to finish, this soup only took about 30 minutes to make! If you’re looking for the coziest soup to warm up to after work, this recipe also is excellent to meal prep!
Cauliflower has definitely become the most loved vegetable of our generation. We’re adding it to smoothies and turning it into rice and pizza crust. I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have 8 bags of Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi stashed away in my freezer. As a dietitian, this hardcore vegetable love makes me VERY happy! You guys know I’m a huge proponent of a plant-based diet, so the more veggies, the better!
Cauliflower is part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Other members of this squad include broccoli, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Cruciferous veggies are loaded with nutrients including vitamin C, folate and vitamin K. In fact, one cup of cauliflower has the same amount of vitamin C as an orange! Folate is an especially important nutrient for prenatal and pregnancy nutrition, as adequate amounts are protective against neural tube defects in babies.
While I absolutely love all the creative ways cauliflower is finding its way onto our plates, I also love cooking it straight up and letting it shine just as nature intended! I often include a big pan of simply seasoned roasted cauliflower for meal prep. I recently was asked to bring some vegetables as a side dish to a holiday party, and I wanted to bring a dish that was a little more “dressed up”. I had just gotten some great curry powder, so decided to use that for flavor inspiration. I landed on this curry turmeric cauliflower and added in golden raisins and parsley to round out the dish. I think it’s a great dish for fall and winter, because it’s full of warming spices. It would be perfect for Thanksgiving!
1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets
1 tbsp avocado oil
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated on microplane
1 clove garlic, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup golden raisins (optional: soak raisins in hot water while cauliflower cooks to make them more plump and softer)
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place cauliflower florets on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss with ginger, garlic, lemon zest, curry powder, turmeric, salt and pepper.
Roast for 25-35 minutes until fork tender and nicely browned.
In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with raisins and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I hope you guys give this recipe a try! Tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂
Thank you So Delicious for sponsoring this post! I’m grateful to partner with brands I love to cook with, and all opinions are my own.
Happy Tuesday! I’m proposing we include #QuesadillaTuesday to be bundled with #TacoTuesday from here on out. Quesadillas are so simple, and often overlooked, but are equally as delicious. I believe that Mexican food in any form is always a good idea! I love this cuisine not only for the flavorful dishes, but also because there is an abundance of plant-based ingredients. Mexican cuisine incorporates some of the most nutritious foods on the planet, including fresh vegetables, avocados and beans. It is easy to please people with a variety of dietary needs with Mexican food, from paleo to gluten-free to vegan.
To further celebrate the beauty of a plant-based diet, I used So Delicious dairy free shreds in this recipe. The cheddar jack flavor added the perfect kick of heat to these quesadillas. These shreds look and feel like the real thing, and melt beautifully! This dairy-free cheese is an amazing alternative for those who can’t, or choose not to consume dairy products – or for anyone looking for a delicious product. I also love that these shreds are lower in saturated fat than their dairy-containing counterparts.
Following a plant-based doesn’t mean you have to eat salads for every meal. There are so many delicious alternatives out there so you can include your favorite foods. These quesadillas contain just a few simple ingredients, and you can whip up this recipe in just 10 minutes. The recipe is below, if you’d like to try!
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
¼ cup So Delicious Dairy Free Cheddar Jack Shreds
1/3 cup vegetarian refried pinto beans
½ an avocado, peeled and sliced
Handful of baby spinach
Avocado oil spray
Preheat a skillet on medium heat.
Sprinkle cheese shreds on one half of each quesadilla. Add layers of spinach and avocado slices.
Spread refried beans onto the other half of the quesadilla, and fold each in half.
Spray skillet with avocado oil spray. Add quesadillas to skillet, cooking for about 3 minutes until tortilla is browned and crispy. Flip and cook other side until browned.
Serve immediately with hot sauce, salsa, extra avocado, etc.
What’s on your Fall To-Do List? Things I want to accomplish this season include apple picking, drinking tea, lots of baking, reducing clutter in my home and making warming breakfasts on chilly mornings. You guys know I usually love to have a hot bowl of oatmeal, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had French toast. It seems to be a bit overshadowed by pancakes and waffles these days! I wanted to give this old-school recipe a grown up, healthy makeover. My only stipulation was that the toast slices had to be THICK.
I used my favorite whole wheat sourdough for the bread in this recipe. I love this bread because 1) it contains whole wheat flour, which is rich in nutrients like magnesium, zinc, B-vitamins and fiber, and 2) the sourdough fermentation process reduces phytic acid levels, which therefore allows these important nutrients to be more easily absorbed. I also replaced regular dairy milk with Elmhurst's newUnsweetened Milked Walnuts™. Elmhurst® has become my favorite milk alternative to use for all my recipes. Their unsweetened varieties have just 2 ingredients – nuts and water! This is hard to find, as a majority of milk alternatives on the shelves these days contain added gums and stabilizers. Elmhurst’s unsweetened varieties are the closest thing to homemade, and I feel good about putting them in my body. If you’d like to try Elmhurst, you can find many of their products at Whole Foods, andhere is their store locator. You can also have any of their varieties delivered right to your door when you order off theirwebsite!
This French toast was a rich, decadent treat on a chilly fall morning, but I felt good about eating it because of the ingredients I chose! The sautéed cinnamon apples really took this stack to the next level - don’t leave them out!
5 slices of whole wheat sourdough bread, sliced about 1 inch thick
2-3 tbsp butter, ghee or cooking oil of choice
Heat butter or oil for apples over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Add apples and cinnamon, stirring occasionally until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a separate large skillet on medium heat with 1 tbsp butter or oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together Milked Walnuts, egg, cinnamon, maple syrup and salt. Transfer to a shallow dish.
Working in batches as not to crowd the skillet, soak both sides of bread slices. Cook each side for 3-5 minutes until nicely browned and tender. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Add more butter/oil as needed between batches.
Serve stack of French toast topped with cinnamon apples, a drizzle of maple syrup and nut butter (optional, but extra delicious).
This recipe serves 2-3 depending on how big the slices of toast are. It kept me full for hours! If you guys try this recipe, tag@Elmhurst1925 and@daisybeet on Instagram 🙂
Hands up if you’re and peanut butter and jelly fan! I’ve always loved this classic combination. It’s the ideal two minute meal for beach days, hikes and quick breakfasts. It’s the perfect play on that salty/sweet flavor combo paired with a creamy and jammy texture. Let’s be real, though…pretty much anything tastes amazing when paired with peanut butter!
Conventional jams and jellies you find on the shelves have added sugars. This is partially necessary to increase shelf life, as sugar acts as a preservative and inhibits bacterial growth. And while all fruits/fruit products inherently have sugar in them, the naturally occurring sugar in fruit is nothing to shy away from. Fruit is full of nutritional benefits, including important vitamins and fiber. The fiber in fruit slows down the digestion and eventual release of its sugars into the bloodstream, so it won’t cause a speedy spike in blood glucose the way refined sugars do. If you’re trying to limit added sugars in your diet, preparing this homemade jam is an easy place to start!
This jam takes about 10 minutes to make, and will last in the fridge for about a week. You can customize the size of the recipe, too. If you don’t think you’ll use a whole jar in one week, cut the recipe in half! It’s so versatile – I use it on toast, in my oatmeal, and even as a compote on pancakes. Heating up the berries really coaxes out the natural sweetness of the fruit, so you’ll find you won’t even miss the added sugars. You can use any kind of frozen berries in this recipe – I’ve used blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries.
Heat a large shallow pan over medium heat. Add frozen berries and chia seeds, and stir to combine.
Stir occasionally until berries are broken down and mixture begins to thicken, about 5-10 minutes. You may need to break up larger pieces of fruit with your mixing spoon as they soften for a more even texture.
Note: If using only frozen blueberries, you will need to add about ¼ cup of water to the recipe, as blueberries do not break down and release their liquid as much as other berries.
Have you guys made chia jam before? What is your favorite berry combination? If you try this recipe, make sure to tag @daisybeet on Instagram so I can see your creations 🙂
Oh, Costco. How many ways do I love you? The endless rows of giant versions of favorite foods, surprisingly great socks and sports bras, and of course, ALL the samples! I’ve always enjoyed going to Costco with my Mom as long as I can remember. Shopping + food sampling all in one? That’s definitely my idea of an afternoon well spent.
Some of my favorite Costco finds from growing up were the salty, M&M riddled trail mix, Nature Valley granola bars, and Cup-a-Noodles. Times have changed a little since I started paying attention to what I put in my body. Gone are the days of loading up the cart with sodium-laden, sugary foods. This past weekend, I was at my parent’s house helping my mom pack up for their upcoming move. We took a lunch break and went to Costco per my request. Buying in bulk/shopping wholesale can be difficult when shopping for a small household, but knowing your eating habits and purchasing longer lasting, not fresh items can be a really smart financial move. These items here fit seamlessly into mine and Ben’s eating habits, so I wanted to share some of the best deals I found with you guys! I’ve also noted a range of ways to use each item so you’re able to have some variety in your meals, and make sure nothing goes to waste.
Organic Frozen Berries: 3 pound bag for $8.89
This purchase was such a no brainer! Ben and I use frozen fruit regularly, plus frozen foods lasts a long time. I would have spent almost 20 dollars on 3 pounds of organic frozen berries at Whole Foods! I don’t always buy organic produce because of the cost, but strawberries are on the “Dirty Dozen” list, so I try to buy organic berries whenever possible.
Ways to use frozen berries: smoothies, berry-chia jam, as a topping for oatmeal or pancakes
Fresh Produce: 1 pound clamshell of organic mixed greens for $3.69, 2 pounds of organic strawberries for $4.99, 6 avocados for $5.69
Purchasing produce at Costco can be tricky if you have a small household. This is where knowing your eating habits is essential! For me, I know that I eat a lot of greens each week, as I make big salads for lunch, and often like a bed of greens with my dinner. I also love fresh berries with my breakfast. Once the berries are on their last legs, I’ll make a batch of chia jam, or Ben will throw them into his morning smoothie. We also both love avocado, and will each easily eat half an avocado in a day.
Ways to use greens: salads, stir fries, green smoothies, add a few handfuls to homemade pesto, in omelets
Ways to use strawberries: smoothies, top oatmeal or yogurt bowls, sliced in pancakes, add to salads, mash onto toast in place of jam, berry-chia jam, muddle or puree and add to a cocktail (or mocktail)!
Ways to use avocados: sliced in salads or for sandwiches, avocado toast (duh), avocado egg salad, chocolate avocado mousse, guacamole, creamy garlic avocado pasta sauce, smoothies, a green goddess salad dressing
RX Bars: 12 bars for $16.99 ($1.41 per bar)
These are one of my favorite on-the-go snacks to have on hand! I love how simple the ingredient list is, and these bars actually tide my hunger over, as they are a good source of both fiber and protein. Costco only sells a box with their Chocolate Sea Salt and Peanut Butter Chocolate, but those happen to be two of my favorite flavors. Also, this box of 12 is almost 10 dollars less expensive than a box of 12 on RX Bar’s website!
Nuts: Various prices, didn’t see anything over $30 dollars for up to 48 oz
Nuts are one of the healthiest, nutrient-dense foods to include in your diet. Costco has a huge variety of different nuts and nut mixes. I usually opt for unsalted varieties to limit sodium consumption. While these bags and containers of nuts aren’t cheap, if you consume them regularly they are a good price compared to typical grocery store prices.
Ways to use nuts: on their own as a snack, make your own trail mix, in place of granola on a yogurt bowl, in pesto, blend your own nut butter, crunchy topping for salads and grain bowls, roasted with different spices, added to homemade granola
Almond Flour: $11.99 for 3 pounds
This was such an exciting find for me! While I do not follow a gluten free diet, I like to use almond flour in healthier baked goods, because of all the beneficial nutrients it has compared to enriched wheat flour. Almonds and almond flour are high in protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, magnesium and iron. I had just purchased a 1 pound bag of almond flour at Trader Joe’s for $7.99 the week before, so getting 2 pounds MORE for only 4 extra dollars was a steal!
FrozenWild Sockeye Salmon Filets: $32.99 for 3 pounds
Last but not least, I found this large bag of wild frozen salmon! I love that the pieces are already pre-portioned and individually vacuum packed. I always choose wild salmon over farmed when it’s affordable, but buying it fresh can be SO expensive. Buying frozen seafood in general is a great way to save money. A 2 pound bag of wild frozen salmon at my Whole Foods was $24.99 for 2 pounds. That’s $12.50 a pound vs. 11 dollars a pound at Costco…great savings!
Ways to use frozen salmon: baked or pan fried with lemon juice and herbs, salmon tacos, salmon burgers, salmon egg sandwich, in place of tuna in tuna salad
Buying in bulk is certainly not for everyone, but I love it when I have the option! It definitely takes a little creativity and planning, but can save you money in the long run. I started Daisybeet to show you guys that healthy eating really can be affordable and attainable for all, and I hope I was able to help a little with this guide! I would love to hear your tips and tricks for wholesale shopping for small households, as well as your favorite Costco finds 🙂