Last August, we decided to move to Chicago. When we first walked around what would become our new neighborhood, it was sunny, warm, children were playing, and the birds were singing. It was pretty hard to picture the snowy cold weather that would only be a few months away. I grew up in Chicago, but the dreamer in me still thought “maybe this year it won’t be cold.” As the fall weather started to become winter weather, the realist in me spoke up and said “It’s Chicago. We’re going to hole up in this house, cook all winter, and order groceries with Instacart.”
Well, here we are, spring is almost here, and I’m still alive, still cooking, and still using Instacart. We’re partnering with ALDI on this post to announce to you that ALDI is now on Instacart(!) in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Los Angeles. What’s great is that the prices are the same as the in-store prices and the only challenging part was meeting the $35 minimum for free delivery. It’s a happy problem to have because everything at ALDI is so darn affordable. I got the fresh ingredients for these bowls as well as a restock of pantry staples such as olive oil and extra cans of chickpeas. If we ever get snowed in, at least we can make hummus.
Now it’s time to talk about these bowls! These are my “I’m-ready-for-spring-but-it’s-still-winter” bowls. They’re warm and hearty, yet fresh and bright. I started by using an Ambiano Professional Nutrition Blender to make a super creamy green pesto-like sauce using raw kale and pistachios. I tossed (more) kale with some of the sauce and piled it into the bowls with quinoa, balsamic-y mushrooms, chickpeas, crushed pistachios, and red pepper flakes. It all comes together in roughly 30 minutes and while the concept is very simple, it’s so, so delicious.
Btw, this sauce would be delicious on so many things (salads, roasted vegetables, etc). While we were cleaning up, I caught Jack eating it with a spoon, although I’m not sure I’d recommend that 🙂
I woke up the other morning and thought… Matcha Frosting! Then I realized that with St. Patrick’s day coming up, cake with green frosting would be a fun treat. I had yet to eat breakfast that morning, but all I could think about was chocolate cake. Tell me I’m not the only one who wakes up with random cake cravings? 🙂
This cake is based on the chocolate zucchini muffin recipe from our cookbook (one of my favorite recipes!). The frosting is loosely based on the cashew frosting from my carrot cake recipe.
I realize that zucchini’s aren’t exactly in season, but going along with the green theme, I thought it was fitting. Plus, sneaking vegetables into cake is always a good idea… er… sometimes a good idea. Well, at least it is when the vegetable is zucchini.
This cake is very moist and a bit dense in a good fudgy way. The frosting is made from cashews with a tiny bit of matcha blended in to tint it green. You could also make this into muffins/cupcakes if you like, just reduce the baking time to about 15 minutes. If you skip the frosting, I recommend adding 1/2 cup chocolate chips for extra chocolatey goodness.
Happy St. Paddy’s week!
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!
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.
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.
These are not only so cute, but they’re a yummy three-flavors-in-one treat as well.
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.
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.