Valentine’s Layered Smoothie

Valentine's Layered Smoothie

Nothing says love like a smoothie, right? 🙂

I love love love Valentine’s day, but not in the fancy-dinner-prix-fixe dinner sort of way. I love it for of all of the cute things that remind me of being a little kid… tiny paper cards, homemade cupcakes with pink frosting, heart shaped candies… so in the spirit of being crafty, I made these 3-layer smoothies!

Valentine's Layered Smoothie

I always see the layered smoothies on Instagram and think “who the heck has time to make three separate smoothies?” – but here I am doing it. It actually was pretty simple and while I won’t be doing this every single morning, I think it’s fun as a special occasion smoothie.

The bottom layer is made with almond butter, cocoa powder, and dates. The middle layer is made with banana, vanilla and (more) dates. The top layer is a mix of frozen strawberries and raspberries. Each one is blended with generous amounts of Almond Breeze almondmilk, which is a staple ingredient in my fridge.

Valentine's Layered Smoothie

The only fussy part here is that you have to freeze each layer – just enough for it to set a little bit – before adding the next.

Valentine's Layered Smoothie

These are not only so cute, but they’re a yummy three-flavors-in-one treat as well.

Valentine's Layered Smoothie

Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce

One of the best things about starting our blog are the friends that we’ve made along the way… the kindred spirits who share the same passion for cooking and posting fresh, healthy food as we do. They’re the types of friends that, while in town visiting, don’t mind being asked to hold up a light diffuser for the perfect shot and will gladly accept their roles as hand models for your sponsored picnic.

Today is a special day for our friends Sonja and Alex of the blog (and podcast) A Couple Cooks – their book Pretty Simple Cooking is out! To celebrate, we made these Falafel Burgers which were absolutely delicious and really pretty simple to make.

Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce

What I like about this recipe (and really all of the recipes in this book) is that the ingredients are so easy to find. Usually falafel recipes call for chickpea flour, but it’s not necessary in these falafel burgers which are made with canned chickpeas, whole wheat flour, carrots, onions, sesame seeds, cilantro, and a slew of spices. The mixture gets pulsed together in a food processor, the burgers get a quick sear and then they finish baking in the oven. I’m finishing the last burger for lunch as I type this – this is a great recipe if you want leftovers! Oh, and don’t skip the yogurt dill sauce, it’s so delicious!

Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce

These days, “simple” cooking often means “fast! easy!” or “10 minutes or less!” Pretty Simple Cooking instead says that simple cooking should be about thoughtfulness and love for food, the process of cooking it, and the people around you. This book is for anyone who feels intimidated to step into the kitchen, because Sonja has such encouraging lessons about life, love, and food. It’s also for food lovers of any level looking for creative recipes to up their veggie game.

The next recipes on my list to try are their Eggplant Parmesan Casserole, Red & Green Enchiladas, and Veggie Supreme Paella!

We’re also giving away a copy of the book! To enter:
Leave a comment telling me about a pretty simple recipe that you love to make! The giveaway will end Monday Feb 12th at midnight CDT. The winner must have a U.S. or Canadian address.

Falafel Burgers with Yogurt Dill Sauce

Vegan Seven Layer Dip

Vegan Seven Layer Dip

I have a huge weakness for seven layer dip. Growing up, my mom made it for SO many holidays and gatherings. I’d be sure to grab a seat at the table right next to it so that I could gobble it up, chip after chip after chip after chip. In my family, this was (and still is) called Tex Mex dip. When Jack and I were first dating, he thought this was hilarious and once I moved down to Texas with him I learned why – this dip is neither Tex nor Mex. In the intervening years, I also learned that I don’t like anyone else’s version except my mom’s. Hers may not be Tex Mex, but I love it, and it doesn’t have weird things like olives.

So I decided to use my mom’s version as a starting point and actually made a fresh vegan version that taste’s pretty close to the original. The only visual difference is the lack of orange cheese, but all of the classic (to me) flavors really come through, especially with the refried beans and tangy guacamole. Instead of sour cream I used cashew cream and I added chili spiced quinoa to make it heartier. This should serve 4 to 6 as a normal appetizer, but  of course Jack and I sat down and devoured (most of it) for dinner.

Vegan Seven Layer Dip

Kale Guacamole

Kale Guacamole

This recipe was inspired by a kale guacamole that started showing up at Whole Foods last summer :). Yes, that’s right, I don’t always make my own guacamole. If I’m heading to someone’s house, sometimes it’s just easier to pick it up on the way. That delicious kale guacamole inspired me to make my own version at home. Not only is it healthy, adding in the kale bulks it up a bit without taking away any of the flavor. Plus, I somehow found a way to make guacamole *more* green, which is another plus!.

This recipe is easy as can be. First, steam, then chill the kale. I like to pop it in the freezer for a few minutes, you could blanch it if you prefer, just make sure it’s dry before mixing into the recipe. Next, mix everything together, mash it, and fold it until it’s chunky yet dip-able.

Kale Guacamole Kale Guacamole Kale Guacamole Kale Guacamole Kale Guacamole

Healthier (Vegan) Stuffed Potato Skins

Healthier (Vegan) Stuffed Potato Skins

I wanted to share this fun healthi(er) “game day” recipe before the Super Bowl even though, admittedly, we’re not big football fans. And by “we,” I mostly mean me. Jack will socially watch a game at a party, but my relationship with football didn’t exactly start off on the right… foot.

Beginning in 1st grade, every year in gym class, we started the year with a football written test. Way to get kids interested in sports, right? The teacher would hand out worksheets to bring home and study (which I never did) and every year I’d bring home a failing grade and a sheet that my mom would have to sign. I’d walk up to her feel really awful (although not awful enough to study the following year!), but every year my mom would make me feel better by saying how ridiculous it was that we had a football written test while she signed my failed worksheet.

While I still don’t know the rules of the game or who’s playing, I can get behind sporty food, made in healthier ways. So let’s talk about potatoes!

Healthier (Vegan) Stuffed Potato Skins Healthier (Vegan) Stuffed Potato Skins

For this recipe, Jack all but made me go outside of my sweet potato box to roast up russet potatoes and get that classic crispy potato skin. Don’t worry though – I stuffed them with very un-classic things. This recipe has a few components involved, most of which can be made in advance. 

I made a “sour cream” out of sunflower seeds. It’s creamy, tangy, and delicious – which we need on these potatoes because this also takes the place of any cheese. If you have extra, scoop it into tacos, onto burrito bowls, or use it as a dip for veggies. It’ll keep for a few days in the fridge and it’s a delicious creamy condiment to have on hand.

What’s next? Coconut bacon! It’s super easy to make, but since your oven will be roasting the potatoes, it’s best to make this in advance. Luckily, it’s actually super easy. All you need is coconut flakes, tamari, smoked paprika, and maple syrup. You could add liquid smoke if you want – I don’t because it’s not something I keep on hand and I get enough smoky flavor from the smoked paprika.

The filling here is made of black beans, (frozen) corn, red onion, chili powder, lime juice, and cilantro. I would eat this salad on its own any day, but today we’re stuffing it into these potatoes.

The final step? Assemble into crispy potatoes and serve!

Healthier (Vegan) Stuffed Potato Skins