Healthy Easter Brunch Recipes

Avocado Almondaise Tartines

This blog is nothing if not seasonal, so let’s celebrate the holiday where rabbits lay the most delicious eggs – Easter!

In all seriousness, this holiday means two things to me – brunch with family & friends and the start of berry season (yay!). So I’ve picked out a few recipes you could serve at an Easter brunch, and a few that are less Easter-y and just scream spring me to me (I’m looking at you, Sunshine Chia Bowls).

You can click directly on the photos to go to each recipe:

Avocado Almondaise Tartines (pictured above)

Shakshuka with Spinach and Harissa

Shakshuka with Spinach and Harissa

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

Vegan Raspberry Coconut Scones

Vegan Raspberry Coconut Scones

Prettiest Spring Vegetable Crudités

Prettiest Spring Vegetable Crudités

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Carrot Quinoa Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies

Sunshine Citrus Chia Bowls

Sunshine Citrus Chia Bowls

Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Frittatas

Spinach & Sun Dried Tomato Frittatas

Romanesco Chickpea Salad

Romanesco Chickpea Salad

Ginger Kombucha Cocktails

Austin Restaurant Guide: SXSW 2017

Austin Restaurant Guide 2017

Since I know some of you are heading to Austin this week for SXSW, I thought I’d share an updated list of favorite places to eat and drink in my town. I’ve written a few of these posts in the past, but things change so quickly!

Here are some of our newest favorites as well as some old stand-by’s. I’ve also included some of my favorite shops and other activities in case you would like to see some sights in between meals 🙂

LUNCH:
(although many of these are great for a casual dinner)

Saigon le vendeur (pictured below)
This truck is our newest obsession so I’m putting it up first. They have a permanent location on east 7th street, but we first discovered it at the Saturday farmer’s market. Their vermicelli bowls are the best in town! I love how lemongrass-y the lemongrass tofu is and their sauce is two emoji thumbs up.

Piknik
Their brick and mortar restaurant is new this year – if you’re paleo, gluten free, or have any diet restriction, this is your spot. The food is made of the highest quality ingredients and is very health conscious. If you’re vegan, get the eggplant involtini. If you’re not vegan, get the hash. And don’t miss the matcha drinks.

Elizabeth (pictured above)
My most instagrammed restaurant (I can’t help it!) as well as a place Jack and I go to far too often. I like the tofu mushroom banh mi, the mushroom pho, the breakfast banh mi, and the tofu avocado steamed buns (not on the menu but just ask).

Austin Restaurant Guide

Taco Deli
If you visit one restaurant in Austin, go here. Get the sweet potato taco – if you’re pescatarian, don’t miss the mojo fish taco. Jack eats meat, and his favorite is the Happy Taco. Don’t miss the Doña sauce if you like spicy things.

Casa de Luz
When you’ve had too many margaritas, go here for some wholesome vegan macrobiotic food. Note that this is in no way fancy – there’s no alcohol and you pay up front. But what it has some the most flavorful macrobiotic cooking I’ve ever had, and the sauces they make are amazing. Check out their website for the meal of the day. If “suncheeze” is on the menu – go.

Austin Restaurant Guide

Flower Child
This is one of those restaurants that makes it hard to decide what to order because I want to try one of everything. There are TONS of vegan and gluten free options, but there are sustainable meat options as well. I especially love their green curry soup (if it’s a special that day), the Indian Cauliflower, and the Thai Cashew Quinoa. The gluten free brownies are delectable.

Austin Restaurant Guide

Poké Poké (pictured below)
If you like poke, don’t miss this one. They also have vegan poke with tofu and kale.

Koriente (pictured below)
I used to work across the street from Koriente and ate here literally every day. We love the shiitake tofu, but everything is great. The food is healthy and delicious and the staff is incredibly nice.

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Fresas (pictured below)
Ok, yes, it’s the place with the big, very cute, chicken sign, but you can go here even if you don’t eat chicken. I especially love the Jerez Salad with chickpeas and carrot escabeche. Their patio is big and beautiful, so go here on a sunny day.

Austin Restaurant Guide

Thai Fresh (pictured below)
A neighborhood favorite. I like their green curry, the papaya salad, and their coconut soup. They also have a big selection of vegan and gluten free desserts – the chocolate peanut butter pie is to die for.

Austin Restaurant Guide

Chi’lantro (pictured below)
As seen on Shark Tank, ha! It’s build-your-own Korean BBQ – you can choose your meat (or tofu), sauce, and whether you’d like tacos, a rice bowl, a salad, or a burrito. I get the tofu salad with black beans, avocado, and kimchi with the carrot-ginger sauce.

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BRUNCH:

True Food Kitchen (pictured below)
It’s not a local Austin chain but this restaurant, based on recipes by Dr. Andrew Weil, is on our regular rotation for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Favorites are: the tofu scramble burrito, the shiitake dumplings, the brussels sprout mushroom pizza (Jack’s favorite), and the vegan butternut squash pizza.

The Steeping Room
When we lived a little closer to this place, we were regulars. Jack and I had a Sunday Steeping Room ritual which means that it’s basically our church. I love all of their soups (they rotate daily), the curries, the chocolate crunch tea, and their vegan double chocolate cupcakes. A great spot for vegan and gluten free options.

Cafe No Sé
I’m putting this in the brunch section because it’s widely popular for brunch, even though Jack and I usually go for lunch or dinner (I hate crowds!). I love their gem lettuce salad and the kale salad. Don’t skip the hummus with their homemade flatbread.

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DINNER:

Epicerie (also great for lunch and breakfast)
The cutest little french cafe – great wine, delicious cheese and the BEST cauliflower gnocchi you’ve ever tasted.

Chicon
This is my favorite dinner restaurant right now. It’s owned by the same folks that own Contigo (another favorite), what I love about the menu at Chicon is that the food is incredibly local and seasonal. Its style is Texas farm to table and while there are a lot of meaty dishes, they don’t ignore their vegetable offerings. The menu changes often but some of the best things I’ve had were a vegan sunflower seed risotto, a pho made with spaghetti squash instead of noodles, and a salad made of smoked and raw mushrooms (it’s hard to describe why the salad was so good but it was killer). I can go on and on but I’m going to stop here because I’m going on and on.

Lenoir
This one is a twofer, as they have both an excellent wine garden as well as a phenomenal restaurant. The wine garden not only has a lovely selection of wine, but they also serve yummy light snacks. The restaurant is a tiny cozy place that serves a highly seasonal prix fix menu using local ingredients, and you can choose the dishes you want from 4 categories: land (meat), sea (fish), earth (vegetarian), and dream (dessert).

Other note-worry dinner places: Vox Table, Olamaie, Emmer & Rye, Juniper

BEVERAGES: Coffee/Juice

Juice Society
Love this new juice spot! 

Seventh Flag
I love their homemade almond milk chai

Patika (Wed-Sun for breakfast)
We’ve been loving the breakfast here lately – their avocado toast with jalapeños, breakfast sandwiches, bowls, and their pastries are pretty darn good too. They occasionally have gluten free pastries.

Sa-Ten (they also have food)
A cute Japanese-ish coffee shop with neat squirrel wallpaper. We love the coffee here as well as the simple lunch plates.

other great coffee places: Joe’s, Houndstooth & Cafe Medici

BEVERAGES: Wine

June’s
A new wine bar in our neighborhood. It’s a little pricey but the wines are very very good. Depending on the seasonality of the menu, I also love the whole roasted artichoke appetizer.

Hotel San Jose
Still one of our favorite patios to get a drink and people watch. If you come in the summer, get the Frozé (a frozen rosé slushie).

House Wine
On Sundays, they offer half-price by the glass for opened bottles. Great patio too. Did I mention half-price wine?

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SWEETS:

Sugar Mamas
Yummy cupcakes with vegan and gluten free options.

Cap City Bakery
An all vegan bakery – their peanut butter chocolate cupcake is super yummy.

Skull & Cakeboxes
You can find their baked goods at whole foods and other places around town – but they also just opened a new brick and mortar bakery. don’t miss their Bing Bong Cupcakes.

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STORES:

Kettle & Brine
Hands down, my favorite shop for home goods. I’m obsessed with their ceramic selection.

Wildflower
My second favorite place for home goods, furniture and organic bedding.

Spartan
Another great shop for ceramics and unique gifts.

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THINGS TO DO:

Springdale Farm
Visit their market stand on Saturday mornings. Walk around the farm grounds and have breakfast at Eden East (although it’s not vegetarian friendly – I suggest going to nearby Sa-ten before or afterward if your’e not carnivorous).

Saturday Downtown Farmers Market
It’s at 4th and Guadalupe, and it’s where I get most of my farmer’s market produce for my recipes. While you’re there go to the Saigon Le Vender truck.

Town Lake Trail
Hike, bike, or kayak if it’s a nice day.

Mt Bonnel
A scenic view over Lake Austin, plus get a little exercise hiking up the stairs. Afterward, brunch at Epicerie.

Barton Springs
It’s too cold for me (the water is 67°F year-round!), but I’m putting it on the list because it’s a fun Austin thing to do on a hot hot day.

Stroll down Soco
Visit the eclectic shops and have brunch at Cafe no Se.

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DAY TRIP:

Magnolia Silos
If you’re a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ show Fixer Upper, you might want to take the drive to check this spot out. It’s 1.5 hours from Austin – once you get there, you can shop, have lunch on the picnic tables (the Milo food truck is our favorite, the crepe truck is really good too). Get a sweet treat and an instagram photo of at the super cute bakery before you leave.

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

I have more than a few soba noodle recipes on this site, but I’ve decided that THIS recipe is my new favorite. These noodles are rich, tangy, creamy, sweet and a little spicy, with loads of kale mixed in – I love meals like this for weeknight dinners. The formula is simple: sauce + noodles + seasonal vegetables. Check, check, and check. The sauce can be made in advance and the rest can be assembled fairly quickly.

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

First, let’s talk about this sauce because it’s the main component of this recipe. It’s tangy, nutty, salty, and lightly sweet. It’s sweetened with Truvia Nectar, which is a blend of stevia leaf extract and honey. It has 50% fewer calories per serving than sugar, but I have to tell you that it tastes just like honey… or maybe even a tad sweeter which means that you can use less of it without sacrificing flavor.

I usually use peanut butter to thicken noodle sauces but this time, I’ve used a mix of tahini and almond butter. You can choose to use one or the other, but I think the combination of both gives this tangy sesame sauce a rich flavor without being too nutty.

I get a lot of reader requests for recipes that use alternative sugars so I hope you give this lower-sugar recipe a try!

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

The vegetables I chose here were from my weekend farmers market haul. I picked up kale, garlic chives (you could use regular chives!), scarlet turnips, and black radishes. You can switch out the vegetables however you like (in the summer I would go for cucumbers), but I really loved the combination of these bitter root vegetables with the sweet sauce. Plus – HOW PRETTY ARE THEY?

Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles Sweet Sesame Tahini Noodles

Almost-Spring Recipes

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls

I think it’s safe to say that no matter what climate you live in, we’re all experiencing a version of spring fever. It’s been exceptionally beautiful in Austin lately which makes me want to cook (or in some cases, just assemble) meals that are light and fresh and full of green things. Here are some of my favorites that I’ve been in the mood for lately. Click on the photos or the links to go to the full recipes.

Spring Broccolini & Kale Quinoa Bowls (pictured above)

These are packed with roasted chickpeas, broccolini, radishes, herbs, and avocado. Serve with a scoop of (nut-free) pea pesto that’s made with hemp seeds and dill.

Avocado and Mango Brown Rice Sushi

Avocado and Mango Brown Rice Sushi

One of my go-to lunches is the take-out sushi at Whole Foods, which is definitely easier and quicker than making it yourself. But I love being able to customize the ingredients – this avocado mango version with peanut dipping sauce is a favorite.

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad

Broccoli Tahini Pasta Salad

Our spring weather has me looking forward to summer, which has me looking forward to pot luck picnics… and this broccoli salad is the perfect healthy dish to bring. It’s made with tahini instead of mayo, and it’s loaded with zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, and herbs.

Lemon Edamame Avocado Sandwiches

Lemon Edamame Avocado Sandwiches

And speaking of picnics… here are some very green, very packable sandwiches, made with a creamy lemon-edamame spread.

Minty Green Shamrock Shake Smoothies

Minty Green Shamrock Shake Smoothies

A healthier way to celebrate St. Paddy’s day… or any day that you feel like a creamy green smoothie. These are made with almond butter, banana, spinach (which you can’t taste), and mint.

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

Tart Cherry Tabbouleh

A sweet twist on tabbouleh that uses dried tart cherries instead of tomatoes. It’s tossed with a bright lemony dressing and packed with herbs.

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

Roasted Artichoke Avocado Toast

It’s almost artichoke season around here. Because fresh artichokes take a little bit of work to prep, I like to enjoy the fruits vegetables of my labor in simple ways like these elevated avocado toasts.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Broccoli

Since it’s now quite spring, I thought I’d throw a comfort food recipe in the mix. These cozy sweet potatoes are filled with sweet potato rosemary cashew cream, broccoli, scallions, and hemp seeds.

Spring Broccolini Kale & Quinoa Bowls

For more spring recipes, click here!

5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

After such a positive response to this post that I wrote last month, I’m back with some more healthy little tips – this time I’m giving a little sneak peak at what my morning routine looks like. Yours might be more or less busy/hectic than mine – I work from home and don’t have kids to get off to school – but hopefully there are a couple of tidbits in here to inspire.

5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

1. Wake up & take a sec to cuddle with the dog.

I’m one of those people that doesn’t need an alarm clock because we have 2 hungry dogs that wake us up pretty early. After they’re fed, the little one bounds back in and lays by my head. They say dogs can help lower anxiety so before I get up to start my to-do list, I make a point to pause and take an extra minute to cuddle with the pup.

5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

2. Fuel up on a protein shake to start the day.

With 15 grams of plant-based protein and 4.5 servings of vegetables,* Burt’s Bees™ Protein + Healthy Radiance is a healthy way to embrace the day. Their formula is carefully crafted from a mix of pea, rice, oat, flaxseed and sunflower seed protein. I mix it with water or almond milk, or blend it into my favorite smoothie. I prefer the vanilla flavor but it comes in chocolate as well. While I drink my shake, I usually finish up that day’s blog post and take a first pass through my email.

5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

3. Skip the gym and go for a walk outside instead.

I have an old injury that prevents me from doing high impact workouts, but I love to walk. It’s not only great exercise but it helps me clear my head and work through whatever problems or projects I might be working on. I swear more “ah ha” moments happen during my morning walk than any other time of day. Weather permitting, I like to walk as many mornings as I can.

   5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

4. Breakfast!

By at least 10am, I’m hungry for a post-walk breakfast. It’s not always the same, but it usually involves avocados. They say that healthy fats are good for the brain and skin. I make my avocado toast with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of salt. Sometimes I sprinkle on some nutritional yeast and hemp seeds as well.

  5 Tips for a Healthy Morning Routine

5. Take a few minutes to clean up my work space.

Ok, to be honest I wrote this one here as a reminder for myself because I typically have 7 empty glasses and a bazillion post-it notes all over my desk. I’m not a neat worker, but I feel SO much better if I can take 5 minutes to tidy up my desk space before diving into work for the day. Next year’s goal will be to do this clean-up before I end the work day, but for now, baby steps.

Do you have a morning routine that works for you? Let me know!

*Based on vitamin content. 4.5 servings of fruits and vegetables would be needed to reach 25% Daily Value of Vitamins A, C, E, K and the B vitamins listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel.