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These caramelized baby bananas make for an irresistible and healthy dessert or snack!

You may or may not know this about me but I have a sweet tooth that is OUTTA control! If I don’t eat enough fruit, I WILL somehow locate a Krispy Kreme doughnut or bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. For that reason I’m always always always looking for healthy dessert recipes. This is one that you MUST try.

These caramelized baby bananas make for an irresistible and healthy dessert or snack!

For this recipe I used my new obsession: baby bananas. Have you ever tried these?? They are like an elevated perfect version of normal bananas. I can’t believe it took me so long to try them.

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I ate that entire bunch on the way to work that morning! Best commute ever. What I’m trying to say is…buy yourself some baby bananas next time you see them. Also, make this recipe.

Caramelized Baby Bananas
 
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Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 baby bananas (or you can use 1-2 regular bananas), cut in half lengthwise
  • ½ T. maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon
  • optional toppings: peanut butter, toasted walnuts, nutella, honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat your broiler to high (or 500 degrees).
  2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet (I used a tiny bit of coconut oil) and place the bananas on the sheet, cut side facing up.
  3. Use a pastry brush to brush a little maple syrup on the top of each banana piece.
  4. Sprinkle the bananas with a dash of cinnamon.
  5. Broil in preheated oven, checking often, until the tops are caramelized. This took about 4 minutes under my broiler, but check often so they don't burn!
  6. Remove from the oven and top with peanut butter, walnuts, and any other ingredients you like!

These caramelized baby bananas make for an irresistible and healthy dessert or snack!

I decided to top mine with peanut butter, Nutella, some toasted nuts, and a drizzle of raw honey. Toasted coconut, toasted almonds, or fruit jam would also be delicious options! This tastes like bananas foster and REALLY hits the spot when you’re craving dessert. You don’t even need any toppings at all and this makes such a delicious treat!

These caramelized baby bananas make for an irresistible and healthy dessert or snack!

Every day I don’t succumb to a doughnut is a success in my book. šŸ˜‰ One day down.

-Lauren

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This post brought to you by MarzettiĀ® Brand. The content and opinions expressed below are that of A Dash of Soul.

Even though I’m a vegetarian, I sometimes have a hard time thinking ofĀ quick and easy ways to make flavorful vegetable dishes. That’s why when MarzettiĀ® reached out to me about their MarzettiĀ® Veggie Drizzleā„¢ Finishing Sauces,Ā I knew I had to try them! They have several flavors but for this tasty vegetable medley I used the MarzettiĀ® Veggie Drizzleā„¢Garlic Parmesan Finishing Sauce. mareztti-0047 The MarzettiĀ® Veggie Drizzleā„¢ Finishing SaucesĀ comeĀ in a bottle that is ready to use. You just pour the sauce right on and you instantly have delicious vegetables. I love that I can use this on busy weeknights to take make dinnertime even faster! I think it would also be great for repurposing leftover veggies too. You could flavor your broccoli with Garlic Parmesan flavor one night and Honey Balsamic the next! mareztti-0061 In this medley I used broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots, but there are different flavors of MarzettiĀ® Veggie Drizzleā„¢ Finishing Sauces that pair well with any vegetable (or blend of vegetables) that you like!

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I was very impressed with the flavor of this product and would highly recommend it. Life can get very busy and it’s great to have convenient options like this to help out in the kitchen! mareztti-0054 Let me know if any of you tryĀ MarzettiĀ®Ā Veggie Drizzleā„¢ Finishing Sauces, I think you’ll really love it!

-Lauren

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Healthy and delicious ice cream made from 5 clean ingredients!

I wish I could say I came up with this genius idea. I wish I could. Maybe I’ll just pretend for this post that I did, in case you haven’t heard of it? Ok, I came up with this genius idea. You won’t even believe how creative and smart I am. This simple 5-ingredient recipe is a delicious replacement for ice cream and I have been addicted to it the last few weeks!

Healthy and delicious ice cream made from 5 clean ingredients!

And here’s the embarrassingly simple (and genius, all mine) recipe:

Raspberry Swirl Nice Cream
 
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Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 frozen bananas, sliced
  • ½ t. vanilla extract
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, mashed with a fork
  • 1 T. peanut butter
  • 2 T. granola (optional, but provides a nice crunch)
Instructions
  1. Mix the bananas and vanilla extract in a food processor or high speed blender until the mixture is smooth and fluffy (will take a couple minutes at least).
  2. Fold the mashed raspberries into the banana mixture to make a swirl.
  3. Divide banana mixture into two bowls.
  4. Top with granola, drizzle with peanut butter, and enjoy!

Come and check out my Facebook page for a video on how I made this!

Healthy and delicious ice cream made from 5 clean ingredients!

If you have a sweet tooth like me you will LOVE this. You will love the genius idea that I came up with.

-Lauren

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I’m back this week with more food prep! It really is changing our game. I can’t even tell you how many unhealthy choices have been/will be avoided because of the few hours I spent prepping for this week. These ideas will work for either Hammer & Chisel (which we’re loving) or 21 Day Fix. I could have prepped all our meals but I decided to focus on lunch since I feel like that’s our weak spot. Here’s the result!

Food Prep Ideas for Hammer & Chisel or 21 Day Fix!

And here’s what’s on the menu!

Plant-based lunches:

  • veggie bowl of sautĆ©ed broccoli, onions, and mushrooms with vegan cheese sauce topping (3 green, 1 yellow, 1 teaspoon); black bean burger (1 red, 1/2 yellow)
  • caesar salad with [unpictured] roasted chickpeas (2 greens, 1 red, 1 blue, 1 orange, 1/2 yellow);mixed berries on the side (1.5 purple)

Food Prep Ideas for Hammer & Chisel or 21 Day Fix!

I admit, the croutons aren’t an approved food. :) But feel free to leave them out or make your own croutons with whole grain bread!

Food Prep Ideas for Hammer & Chisel or 21 Day Fix!

Omnivore lunches:

  • balsamic marinated flat iron steak (2 reds, 1 teaspoon); sautĆ©ed broccoli, mushrooms, and onions (2 greens); roasted sweet potatoes (2 yellows)
  • chicken cesar salad (2 reds, 2 greens, 1 blue, 1 orange, 1/2 yellow); mixed berries on the side (1.5 purples)

Food Prep Ideas for Hammer & Chisel or 21 Day Fix!

If you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to Pin Ā the image below! :)

Herbivore and Omnivore ideas for healthy food prep!

If you’re interested in the nutrition plans I’ve been talking about then just let me know and I can give you more info!

See you next time!

-Lauren

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Prep for Success!

Being a busy working lady means LOTS of opportunities for excuses. I’m learning this more and more every day! But every time I make a mistake I try and figure out what went wrong. I know for a fact that when I have a healthy option prepped and ready to go, I am infinitely more likely to make the healthy choice. Makes sense, right? So when Jason and I started Hammer and Chisel (an awesome workout/nutrition program) last month, I knew I wanted to start off right by doing some food prep. I set aside a few hours on a Saturday and got to work.

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The first thing I made was egg cups! I wanted to include plenty of veggies so I added onions, spinach, and bell pepper inside. A little cheese on mine and some turkey bacon + cheese for Jason’s! These were SO convenient for the mornings.

The Hammer & Chisel nutrition plan has a certain amount of fruit that you’re supposed to eat every day. I am a HUGE lover of fruit, but it can be kind of tough in the winter when there aren’t as many fruits in season. To make sure we didn’t skip our fruit I washed and portioned out single servings of grapes and cara cara oranges.

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Here are some more ideas for healthy things you can prep in advance:

  • Parfaits with greek yogurt, granola, and berries
  • Sliced bell peppers and cucumbers to dip in hummus
  • Fruit salad
  • Egg salad (use greek yogurt to replace some or all of the mayo!)
  • Homemade trail mix
  • Overnight oats

We’re loving Hammer & Chisel so far! I hung the nutrition plan up in our kitchen for easy reference. The plan doesn’t restrict my food intake at all (who wants to be restricted?? not me! not ever!), it just ensures that we’re eating the right proportions of each food group.

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This is one of the dinners we enjoyed in our first week of the plan:

Spring mix salad, barley, balsamic glazed salmon

That’s a spring mix salad dressed with fig balsamic vinegar, barley, and balsamic glazed salmon. Drooling just thinking about it!

See you next time, friends!

-Lauren

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Eating and Being Merry

I hope you all had wonderful holidays! I thought the new year would be a perfect time to catch you up on all we’ve been doing this holiday season. It’s been quite the whirlwind!

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The season started in New Jersey where we spent Thanksgiving with Jason’s family. My in-laws are great cooks so all the food was amazing!

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I think it was great for Jason to get to spend the holiday back home with his family. Just look at that face!

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When we got back I started preparing for my most favorite time of year! We decked out the house (including a real live Christmas tree for the first time in my life!) and I decided to host Christmas Eve dinner at our place. Jason’s family usually does a seafood dinner that night, so I decided it would be fun to do the full feast of seven fishes. It’s a traditional Italian/Italian-American meal and it’s a really special way to celebrate the holiday. The feast takes quite a bit of preparation and so it was nice to have some snacks beforehand when all our guests (my family) were at our house and hungry! Almonds to the rescue!

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These almonds go great with cheese and olives as an appetizer! They aren’t as salted as other varieties so they’re perfect with sharp cheeses like aged cheddar or aged provolone. After our appetizer course we were ready to continue the feast! Jason made linguine and clams for the pasta course:

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And then after a little breather we continued on with dishes like filet of sole, fried shrimp, broccoli rabe, roasted cauliflower, potato croquettes, and even oysters!

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It was quite a lovely evening with my family. There’s nothing better (really, can’t think of anything) than sharing a meal with people you love.

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We’ve been back in Atlanta for a couple years now, but it’s still so crazy to me that we can just call up my family and they’re only minutes away!

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But the holiday fun did not end there! No no! My beautiful friend Katherine came to town to celebrate New Year’s Eve and just generally have an awesome time. We ate a ton, talked a ton, laughed a ton, and danced a ton. Just how it should be!

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Cheers to a fabulous 2016 full of more delicious food and merriment.

Thanks for reading!

-Lauren

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. All opinions are my own. Check out Blue Diamond onĀ their website or on Facebook!

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A veggie dish you will not be able to stop eating! Flavorful, savory roasted cauliflower!

Well if there was ever a good reason to come out of an unintentional hiatus from your food blog, roasted cauliflower is it.

A veggie dish you will not be able to stop eating! Flavorful, savory roasted cauliflower!

When I realized that it was November (don’t ask me how that happened), I decided that I needed to get my act together and share some awesome plant-based recipes for Thanksgiving! Things may be busy, but I’m never too busy for the best food holiday of the year. If you haven’t tried roasted cauliflower before, you will NOT be disappointed by this. Steamed cauliflower can be very mediocre, but when it’s roasted it suddenly becomes irresistible.

A veggie dish you will not be able to stop eating! Flavorful, savory roasted cauliflower!Roasted garlic takes everything to the next level. It takes a little bit of extra time to make, but it is so worth it for the flavor you get in return. It’s garlic at its finest. Don’t skip the roasted garlic!

roasted cauliflower-ingredient-0008This recipe uses an entire head of roasted garlic, but I recommend you go ahead and roast a few heads while you’re at it to use for other things in the kitchen (think pasta sauce, mashed potatoes, or even your eggs in the morning). The garlic gets blended together with lemon juice and olive oil to create a thick sauce that gets tossed into the cauliflower right at the end of its roasting. Honestly I think the same thing could be done to almost any vegetable and it would be just as amazing!

Addictive Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. Italian parsley
  • 2 T. pine nuts
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While oven preheats, peel the outer skin (just the parts that peel off easily) from your head of garlic. With a sharp knife, cut off the top of the head so that the tip of each clove is exposed.
  3. Place the head of garlic onto a small sheet of aluminum foil and pour a generous amount of olive oil over the garlic. Wrap up in the foil.
  4. Roast the garlic inside the foil package for 45 minutes.
  5. While the garlic is roasting, core the cauliflower and cut the florets into bite-size pieces.
  6. Juice the lemon (should yield about 3 T. of juice) and set aside.
  7. Chop the parsley and set aside.
  8. Prepare the cauliflower for roasting by tossing it with 2 T. of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  9. When the garlic is done roasting, remove it from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  10. Roast the prepared cauliflower in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until it is tender and nicely browned, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  11. While the cauliflower is roasting, use a knife or your hands to remove the garlic cloves from their peels.
  12. Using a food processor, puree together the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and 2 T. olive oil.
  13. Remove the roasted cauliflower from the oven and toss in the garlic mixture and pine nuts with a spatula. Return pan to the oven for about 2 minutes, or just until the pine nuts have toasted.
  14. Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled on top and enjoy!

A veggie dish you will not be able to stop eating! Flavorful, savory roasted cauliflower!Trust me, trust me. I usually stay away from dramatic recipe titles but REALLY! I almost ate the entire head of cauliflower by myself.

A veggie dish you will not be able to stop eating! Flavorful, savory roasted cauliflower!Thanks for reading! I hope to be back very soon! I feel like it’s been forever since I caught you guys up on my life.

-Lauren

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Sweet and fluffy cornmeal cakes made with Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix! #ad

If you’ve never experienced a hoecake before, you’re missing out on one of life’s finer pleasures. A cross between cornbread and a pancake, these time-tested beauties are so versatile and SO darn good. Usually hoecakes are eaten with savory dishes, but they are just as amazing with sweet accompaniments. So when I was contacted about trying Fleischmann’s new Simply HomemadeĀ® Cornbread Mix, I knew the perfect way to put it to the test!

Sweet and fluffy cornmeal cakes made with Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix! #adI LOVED this mix. I’ve tried several cornbread mixes in my day, but this is the first one I’ve tried that stacks up to homemade. I kid you not. It has the texture and flavor (and hint of sweetness, just the way I like it) of cornbread made from scratch but takes about 30 seconds to mix together. And forget relegating cornbread as a side dish, this dish is a centerpiece!

Sweet and fluffy cornmeal cakes made with Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix! #adYou could serve these hoecakes a couple different ways. They would be awesome for brunch with some sorghum or raw honey drizzled on top. But dusted with a little powdered sugar they make a crowd-pleasing dessert for a summer barbecue!

Brace yourself for the easiest (and probably fastest) recipe I have ever posted.

Sweet Hoecakes with Summer Berries
 
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Serves: 8 hoecakes
Ingredients
  • 1 package Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix, batter made according to package directions
  • ½ t. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. mixed summer berries (I used strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • ¼ c. powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Stir the vanilla extract into the cornbread batter. Set aside.
  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and add enough oil or butter (I used a vegan butter spread) to coat the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pour ⅓ c. batter at a time into circles in the hot pan. Cook until the edges of the hoecakes appear cooked through and the bottom side is golden brown (about 3 minutes), then flip and cook until it browns on the opposite side.
  4. Remove from heat, top with fresh berries, and dust with powdered sugar as desired.

That pretty yellow color you see in the hoecakes comes from real corn! I would highly recommend this mix for when you want the deliciousness of fresh cornbread (or fresh hoecakes :) )without any extra fuss. I look forward to trying it as bread alongside a bowl of chili when fall rolls around. But for now, while the summer berries are at their peak, this is perfection. Sweet and fluffy cornmeal cakes made with Simply Homemade Cornbread Mix! #ad
-Lauren

*****

I wrote this post for Simply Homemade as a part of their Cornbread Grilling Challenge. I was given the product free to try and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own.

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A sweet and tangy summer salad, full of flavor!

I promised another summer salad and here it is! I’ve been testing out all different fruit combinations in my salads this season. Conclusion: salad and fruit belong together.Ā A sweet and tangy summer salad, full of flavor!

I have my mother-in-law to thank for introducing me to fresh figs a couple years ago. When you get them at the perfect phase of ripeness, they are soooo divine. In this salad they add a sweet and slightly earthy flavor that goes SO well with the crumbled goat cheese. And then…the dressing.

A sweet and tangy summer salad, full of flavor!

The dressing is made with whole, fresh blackberries and came out even BETTER than I expected! You’ll need a food processor or really good blender to make it, but other than that the ingredients are very simple. The balsamic vinegar is such a nice complement to the berries! The result is tangy, rich, sweet, thick deliciousness. You really don’t need a lot of ingredients to make an awesome salad dressing!

A sweet and tangy summer salad, full of flavor!

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
 
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Author:
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Dressing
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • ¾ c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. raw honey
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
Salad
  • 6 oz. mixed greens (I like those plastic containers of pre-washed greens for salad)
  • 8 fresh figs
  • crumbled goat cheese (to taste, I used about 3 T. for the whole salad)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the blackberries and ½ c. of the balsamic vinegar until the blackberries have broken down completely (about 15 minutes). Stir often and use the back of your spoon to mash the berries as they cook down. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pour the blackberry mixture, remaining balsamic vinegar, mustard, and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process until the ingredients form a smooth, thick puree.
  3. Drizzle in the olive oil as the food processor is running. Add oil until the dressing reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary.
  5. Chill dressing in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. To assemble salad cut figs in half and place them over greens along with crumbled goat cheese. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

A sweet and tangy summer salad, full of flavor!

You’ll have dressing left over. Trust me, that’s a good thing! :)

It’s been a little challenging to juggle work and fitness coaching and blogging, but I’m starting to find my balance. Slowly but surely I am finding my new normal. I’m so appreciative of all you that have hung on for the ride.

-Lauren

Ā 

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I’m Nuts About These!

Many of you know that I’m nuts about nuts (genius pun, I know) which is why I LOVE getting to be a Blue Diamond Tastemaker! When you already love a brand and all their products, it’s pretty much a dream come true to be able to work with them. When I got an email recently about testing out Ā and sharing Blue Diamond’s Artisan Nut Thins, I jumped at the chance! Jason will confirm that I’ve devoured many boxes of these since they were first released.

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These seriously make for an fantastic snack. Firstly (and most importantly), they are delicious and have a very satisfying crunchy texture. Secondly, these guys are actually nutritious and made with awesome ingredients.

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I’ll be honest, I almost always eat these plain! They’re quite addictive on their own! BUT I can think of a lot of awesome things that you can pair them with, like hummus or cheese or fresh fruit. Or some of this deliciousness:

Smokehouse Pimento Cheese BallĀ (which I just so happened to have served with Nut Thins when I made it months ago!)

A creamy pimento cheese ball rolled in smoky roasted almonds! #sponsored #GameChangingSnacks

Who else has tried these and loves them?? If you haven’t tried them, track down a box at your nearest grocery store! Or 3 boxes…

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-Lauren

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Nut Thins. All opinions are my own. Ā 

 

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