the last twelve months.

I’ve now had a blog for one. whole. year. It seems kind of crazy to think about last year when I decided to start a blog – I had no idea what I was getting myself into and absolutely no clue how I would feel about this new-found community. I certainly did not expect to be going on internet dates all over the country ;)

When I started my blog, I didn’t even read any “health or food” blogs, which looking back, was a good thing. I wanted to write about new foods that I find, health & wellness topics, and healthy recipes. I think for the most part this is what I have done. I may have gone a little over-board on recipes and I really can’t claim that they are all healthy but that is the direction it has kind of gone in and I’m ok with that.

I love all of the time, pictures, typing and thinking it takes to prepare a post but there are certainly days when I wonder what I’m doing and why I even bother. Throughout all of that, you are the reason that I blog and I want to thank you so much for reading and eating along with me!

Here are some of my favorite meals, foods and posts from the last 12 months:

One of my favorite veggies: artichokes

Is anyone perfect?

Coconut Ice Cream

Adventures in Spring Rolls

The Perfect Snack

Mastering the Art of: Eggs

Restaurant: NOLA

Apple Bread Pudding with Brandy Sauce

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Parmesan

Haiti: The People

Thai Coconut Lime Soup with Chicken

Zucchini & Corn Quesadilla

Soba Noodles with Shrimp & Cilantro

falafel

Home-made falafel has been on my list of things to make for quite some time. In fact, as I was cleaning out my cupboards, I tossed out a boxed mix that had been expired for, oh, a year or so. It is so easy that I’m really not sure why it had taken so long – essentially it is a ball of hummus and considering that I make hummus on a regular basis I really have no excuse.

There is no better accompaniment to falafel then some tzatziki and a greek salad. The Greek way – no lettuce, just cucumbers, tomato, red onion, kalamata olives, feta, olive oil and salt & pepper. Simple and a salad stand-by in my house.

Falafel - makes about 3-4 servings

  • 2 cups garbanzo beans (I cooked my own, reserving some of the cooking liquid)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • herbamare, coriander, cumin, parsley, salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Process beans, onions, garlic and spices until smooth and incorporated together. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in large pan. Roll falafel into 2 inch patties and place in hot oil. Lightly flatten with spatula and cook for a few minutes, until light brown. Flip over and cook other side for 2-3 more minutes.

Confession: This did not work. As I sampled a bite after my photo shoot (normal), the taste was off, not to mention it was a bit mushy and not really sticking together. Then I realized that I forgot to add the salt and we decided we needed some binding power with an egg.

So an egg, salt and more seasonings later we re-fried the falafel – this time resulting in a much tastier little round. Not all kitchen experiments turn out as well as you hope ;)

Vegan PB Blondies

I was lucky enough to receive a sampling of stevia products from NuNaturals. I have been a fan of stevia for quite some time, but I have never baked with it before. (Considering that I just started baking last month, could be part of the reason) While I was paging through all of the recipes that they sent along, one recipe in particular stood out. Vegan Peanut Butter Blondies. I’ve seen Mama Pea’s baking skills time and time again, and although I don’t have two cute helpers, I knew I was going to have to try this recipe, even if I was all on my own.

I love the idea of a whole-grain, low-sugar treat that I can feel good about eating. And I love that you can replace some of the sugar with stevia. NuNaturals baking blend is such a genius idea! I would try adding a little less stevia next time, because there was a hint of that stevia flavor that I don’t particularly care for – definitely not enough for me to not eat the remaining bars however! I can’t wait to try some more recipes with stevia and I’m also looking for some samplers, my freezer can’t handle anymore frozen cookies, bars and desserts!

Have you baked with stevia before? What have you made?

spring vegetable pasta

Pasta is one of those foods that much like bread, you can add almost anything to it and it will end up tasting good. The combinations of veggies, cheese and maybe a sprinkling of meat or seafood are endless and ensure that you can have a pasta night, every week. It also comes together quickly, in fact, mac & cheese may even take a little longer to make…

This dish came to be from a fridge drawer with some veggies that needed to be used and a pantry full of half-full boxes of pasta. (Spring cleaning is in full effect in my household!) It was a perfect way to get in some vegetables and whole grains, all while enjoying a satisfying meal.

Spring Vegetable Pasta

  • 2 cups whole-grain pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt, pepper & red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ long pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups arugula
  • parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed, set aside. Heat olive oil in large pan and add onions, peppers and asparagus. Cook for about 4 minutes. Add garlic, pasta and arugula, seasoning with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese shavings if desired.