Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie

This week has been a bit of a blur. I was up in D.C. on Wednesday night for a work event, and for some reason, that just seemed to make the rest of the week speed up. (Sitting in traffic for 3 hours on my way home didn’t help either.) Needless to say, I was pretty thrilled when Conor offered to make dinner for everyone on Thursday night. Nothing better than having someone else do the work, right? Not to mention he loaded up on vegetables for quite the delicious stir fry.

I wanted to contribute a little something, and the 95 degree weather had me craving something cool. I decided to whip up a dessert that my mom has created a bit of a tradition around. Anytime I come home for the holidays, I can usually count on this being in the freezer. It’s delicious and it’s super simple, so if you have friends coming over for the 4th of July next week, cool them off with this treat. You won’t need to spend more than 10 minutes preparing it!

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie from I Heart Vegetables

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Pie

  • 1/2 package of Oreos
  • 1 pint of mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1/2 cup hot fudge
  • 1/4 cup crushed walnuts

Set out your ice cream for about 10-15 minutes, to let it soften. Start my crushing the Oreos in a large ziplock bag. This will be your crust, so you want it pretty well crushed. Press the crumbs into the bottom of an 8×8 pan or glass dish. Scoop the ice cream over the crust, and spread it evenly. Top with melted hot fudge. Sprinkle with walnuts. Yes, it’s actually that easy. You’ll want to let it sit in the freezer for an hour or two before serving, to let the ice cream re-freeze.

How’s that for an easy dessert? I guess this is the reason my business cards say “almost-health food blogger”…

So I headed over to Conor’s house, walked up to the door, and promptly realized that I’d left dessert in the freezer. You win some you lose some, right?

Better luck next time!

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Eats Lately: Snack Ideas

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you probably know I’m a big snacker. In college, I would often just snack all day instead of preparing a real meal. Thanks to a more structured schedule, I typically find myself eating larger meals, but I still like to supplement with snacks along the way. They keep me energized, and are always a nice pick me up during the work day!

So for a little “What I Ate Wednesday” recap, here are some of my healthy snack ideas I’ve been munching on lately. I hope they give you some inspiration for your own cravings!

Morning

I eat breakfast around 7am, so by 10am, my stomach will usually start growling. There are days when I don’t eat lunch until after 1pm, so I always come prepared with something to munch or sip on in the morning. This is what it’s looked like lately:

morning juice

Some mornings I have an apple, and some mornings I get out the juicer. This juice was practically glowing! It’s a nice little boost to my metabolism, and seems to give me plenty of energy! It’s also a great way to re-hydrate after my morning coffee.

Afternoon pick me ups

snack bars

Sometimes it’s fresh fruit. Sometimes it’s veggies and hummus. On days when I don’t have a lot of time to prepare a snack to take with me, I rely on protein bars. Sure, they’re processed and all that… but I find that if I don’t have a snack between 3-4, I come home from work and tear the pantry apart. It’s not a pretty picture. Best to just honor those hunger cues, trust me. These are some of my favorite throw-in-my-work-bag bar options. (Full review here.)

Evening Munchies

snacks at night

I used to be a huge night time snacker. Like to the point where I was having trouble sleeping because I’d be so full! Not good. Lately I haven’t been snacking at night (except for the occasional frequent fro-yo trip) but when I do, it usually has more to do with a craving than actual hunger. So I will sometimes have a glass of wine, or a piece of dark chocolate, or some popcorn. I try not to eat too much, because I think it does make it more difficult for me to fall asleep. I haven’t been able to find that Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn recently… so I’m hoping it’s not discontinued. Does anyone know where I can find it? For now, I’ll be making it on the stove, and sprinkling with nutritional yeast.

What are some of your favorite snacks?

3 Tips for a Successful Dinner Party

This weekend was a bit of a blur, with lots of party-hosting happening at our apartment. I love a house full of people, so this was totally my kind of weekend. Because it was a little crazy, I don’t have a lot to share with you today, but here are a few tips I pulled together from last night. These are my tips for hosting a successful dinner party. Enjoy ;)

Tip #1: Make a recipe you’ve made before.

tvp tacos for cooking club

I whipped up the essentials for these TVP tacos, but left all the ingredients separately, so people could customize their tacos based on their preferences. I wasn’t sure if everyone would want to try textured vegetable protein, but I had black beans, peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese, so each could make a custom taco.

Tip #2: Invite friends with exceptional cooking abilities, which will ensure that you have an amazing spread of food.

cooking club food

I’m pretty lucky to have so many friends who are amazing in the kitchen. Look at that mango salsa! And trust me, that Tres Leches cake was just as delicious as it looks.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to invite a guest of honor, in our case, Mr. Darcy.

Mr. Darcy

Except for him sticking his tail in my margarita, I’m totally in love with the furball. Isn’t he adorable?

Oh, and just in case you wanted a recipe out of today’s post, check this one out from a new-to-me blog:

pineapple margarita

Pineapple Margaritas from Gimme Some Oven

Yes, they were delicious.

Do you have any tips to hosting a dinner party?

Green Juice & (Lighter) Banana Bread

I finally purchased a juicer, after wanting one ever since talking to Shannon about the wonders of juicing. I’m kind of a sucker for kitchen appliances, so it’s sort of surprising that it took me this long to get one. Since I have a VitaMix (best appliance ever) I went with a fairly cheap juicer. I’ll still use my blender for most things, but it’s nice to have the option to juice, particularly when I have produce on the edge of going bad.

I got this new toy:

juicer

The Hamilton Beach 67608 Big Mouth Juicer

I’ve tried a few combinations so far, and here’s my favorite, which I put on Instagram:

juice

Green Apple Juice

  • 4 handfuls kale
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1 handful green grapes

I’ve been having juice in place of my usual morning snack, and I swear it’s giving more energy than my coffee! I can’t wait to try more combinations. This week has been so busy, I haven’t had a chance to get to the grocery store to stock up on more fruits and vegetables. I’m hoping to get lots of fresh produce at the farmers market.

I also baked a loaf of banana bread on Tuesday. I used this recipe from Cooking Light, but I made a few substitutions to get a little more protein and fiber in there!

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Lighter Banana Bread

Adapted from this Cooking Light recipe

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small mashed bananas
  • 1/3 cup 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Whisk together. In a separate bowl, beat the butter with the eggs until combined. Mash in bananas. Add yogurt and vanilla. Combine with the dry ingredients. Stir in walnuts. Pour batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan. Try to stop yourself from eating it straight from the pan.

And now I want to know, what juice combination do YOU think I should try?

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

I’m really blessed. That has very little to do with the enchilada recipe I’m about to share with you, but I think it’s important to take a minute out of the day, and just reflect on how lucky we all are. I’m loving life, and even though it’s been a little hectic and crazy, I’m still finding time to just be still for a few minutes, and enjoy everything life is throwing my way.

When life gets a little crazy, I like to spend some time in the kitchen. So when I got home on Monday night, I was ready to commit some time to cooking. I’m glad I did, because it really helped me unwind before my small group.

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Isn’t it amazing how slowing down a little bit can really change your perspective?

Anyways. Back to that recipe. This one is a little bit more complicated than most of my recipes, but it’s worth it, I promise. And it’s not complicated. You can handle it, and you’ll be glad you gave it a shot.

black bean and sweet potato enchiladas from I Heart Vegetables

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Adapted from this recipe by the Curvy Carrot

Serves 3-4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp minced garlic
  • ½ medium onion
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 medium vine tomatoes
  • ½ cup prepared salsa (or an extra tomato)
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 can black beans
  • ½ cup corn
  • ¼ tsp Chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)
  • ¼ tsp dried cilantro
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup green chili enchilada sauce

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Dice the onion, and add into the olive oil, cooking for 5-6 minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Dice the sweet potato and tomatoes. Add into the skillet with the salsa and water. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes soften. Gently mash the sweet potatoes with a fork or potato masher. You’ll basically want everything to get kind of mashed up. Stir in ½ cup of the cheese, black beans, corn, chili powder and cilantro. Let cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside and let it cool slightly. Pour about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce to the bottom of a baking dish. I actually used a loaf pan, because the width was perfect for the tortillas, but you can use an 8×8 pan if that’s easier. Add about ¼ cup filling to each tortilla. Roll, and place in the pan, (on top of the sauce) seam side down. Once you’ve rolled them all and filled your pan, Cover with remaining sauce and cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Then broil for 5-10, or until the cheese begins to brown. Let sit for a few minutes, and serve! It’s excellent with chips and salsa!

I’d never used sweet potatoes in a Mexican dish before, but they were perfect! Now that I’m past my sweet potato + almond butter obsession (seriously try it, it’s so good) I think I found a new favorite way to use up the orange spuds.

What’s your favorite way to eat a sweet potato?

Budget Friendly Dinner Ideas

I’ve said it before: my grocery budget  in the past has been out of control. It’s so easy for me to “accidentally” overspend at the grocery store. I love trying new products and recipes, but things can really start to add up. And while I love cooking for other people, ingredients can get expensive when you’re cooking for a crowd! I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way from time to time, so here’s a little recipe round up of some of my favorite budget friendly dinner ideas!

Budget Friendly Dinner Recipes from I Heart Vegetables

Hover over the image to pin it!

Tostadas… also known as “Open Faced Quesadillas“. These are so easy to make, and you can easily substitute ingredients based on what you have in your fridge. All you need are tortillas, cheese, and veggies/TVP/meat or whatever your filling of choice may be!

open faced quesadillas

Black Bean Fritters- These little guys might not be the most photogenic, but they’re delicious! You can make them as mild or as spicy as you please. They’re excellent with a little pico de gallo or guacamole on top!

black bean fritters

5 Ingredient Potato Soup- You don’t have to restock you pantry to create this hearty soup. Yes, it’s literally 5 ingredients. And it’s super filling!

Potato soup

Whole Wheat Pasta with Roasted Vegetables- You already know pasta is cheap, but don’t forget that it can also be a great way to use up leftover vegetables you have in your fridge. Peppers, onions, zucchini, broccoli, or tomatoes all work well with whole wheat pasta. No sauce? Just add olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic (and a little Parmesan cheese if you’re feeling crazy) and you’ve got dinner ready!

whole-wheat-pasta

One of my favorite rainy day meals is this vegetable minestrone soup. A perfect way to use up a few vegetables, this one-dish meal is super filling and satisfying! Sprinkled with a little cheese on top, this soup is just the right amount of fancy! (Hint: If you want to keep it vegan, leave off the cheese and you’re good to go!)

vegetable minestrone soup

For more tips on saving money, check out my post about saving money at the grocery store HERE!

 What’s your favorite budget friendly dinner?

Happy Father’s Day!

Even though I can’t be with my dad today, I’m happy to have such a wonderful, loving, funny, father in my life!

How did I get so lucky to have such an awesome family?

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Mom, Dad, Me, Grandma, Mark, and Aricka. (Baby Jack not pictured.)

Dad, thanks for playing games with us, taking us skiing, writing notes to me, teaching me gymnastics, letting me get away with anything… and being the best father I could ever imagine! Oh, and congratulations on becoming a grandpa ;) Jack is in for some great adventures!!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Creamy Feta Pizza

I’m not sure anyone walks into a kitchen and says “I’m going to make a really complicated dinner that is going to take forever to cook” but summer in particular seems to call for fast and easy meals. I’ll be posting more super simple recipes, to get you through the warmer months.

This recipe inspiration goes to my sister-in-law’s mother, who was here this week when little Jack was born. She made some amazing spread with cream cheese and feta, and I knew I needed to recreate this.

Since I was on my own for dinner last night, I wanted to keep things simple, and I had some pita I needed to use up, so I settled on a pita pizza. I figured if I added lots of fresh veggies on top of a whole wheat pita, I could justify this as a healthy dinner ;)

creamy feta pizza

Creamy Feta Pizza

  • 1 large pita
  • 1 oz feta
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • Sprigs of fresh dill (optional)

Pop the pita into the oven or a toaster oven for a few minutes at 400 until it’s crispy. You could brush it with a little olive oil and garlic if you’re feeling fancy, but you don’t have to. In a small bowl, combine the feta and cream cheese until smooth. (I just used a fork.) Stir in dill. Spread it over the warm pita and cover with diced tomatoes. You could also add olives if you’re into that. (I am not.) This was so simple, but so delicious.

I had this with my beloved kale salad, and it was the perfect meal after a quick Jillian Michaels workout. I’ll probably make this again before the weekend is over! This dinner kept me surprisingly full, although I did have a few pieces of this before I went to bed:

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I LOVE frozen mango. I could eat the entire bag at once. It’s so delicious. The weather here has been crazy, but I’m hoping for some sunshine over the weekend. I missed the farmer’s market last week, and it was disappointing not having lots fresh fruits and vegetables on hand. Looks like I’ll have to stock up this weekend.

What’s your favorite quick summer recipe?

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

I think I’m finally back in the swing of things. The past few days were a bit of a whirlwind, as my nephew entered the world, and my parents came to visit (plus the day trip to DC on Saturday) so it was nice to just relax at home last night. When life gets crazy, sometimes I need to just spend a little time in the kitchen. That’s why I made chocolate chip cookies on Sunday night.

Ok, I might have just been in the mood to eat some cookie dough. It’s hard to say.

Anyways. I wasn’t going to post this recipe right away, but it got quite a reaction on Instagram, so I figured I shouldn’t make you wait too long for the details. (Don’t worry, it’s super simple!) I seem to be stuffing everything these days. This recipe is sort of like a remix of the zucchini pizza boats, but I think this might be even better! Since spaghetti squash is almost like eating a bowl of spaghetti, it’s much more filling and you could serve this as a main dish. Plus, I had a spaghetti squash that I needed to use.  So work with me here.

stuffed spaghetti squash

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

Vegetarian & Gluten Free (Serves 2)

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Optional toppings: Fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper

Slice the spaghetti squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside of the squash with olive oil, and rub with garlic. (If you don’t have a brush, you can just drizzle it or spray it.) Turn it upside down (so the inside is facing down on a baking sheet) and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. It should be soft, and slightly translucent when you pull it back out of the oven. If it’s a big squash it may need a little more time. Scrape the insides with a fork, and they’ll start to form “spaghetti-like” noodles. Scrap it into a bowl, if that makes it easier to get it all scrapped from the skin. Then put it back into the skin, and mix the insides with tomato sauce. Top with mozzarella cheese, and basil. Pop it back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and brown. Pull it out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes, sprinkle with basil, Parmesan, and/or crushed red pepper and serve!

So much cheesy goodness, you’ll forget that you’re also getting in a few servings of vegetables. Sneaky.

Have you tried spaghetti squash?

Apple Pie Granola

I’m glad I had a recipe prepared and ready to go for today, because this weekend has been a little bit crazy. Friday night, I got a text from my brother to come to the hospital, because my little nephew was on his way! Alex and I got to the hospital and a couple of hours later, he was here!

jack

Isn’t he the cutest little love nugget you’ve ever seen? Maybe I’m biased, but I think he’s absolutely beautiful. I’m so excited to be an aunt. (Jack, you and I are going to have some great adventures!)

But back to that recipe… the other day, I was in the mood for some granola, and had an idea of a coconut mocha granola. After a quick survey of the pantry, however, I went in a new direction. I had some cinnamon apple sauce to use up, and it seemed like a great way to sweeten some granola without having to add a lot of sugar. I also had a few apples that needed to be eaten, and with that… Apple Pie Granola was born!

apple pie granola

 Apple Pie Granola

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (you could sub more apple sauce)
  • 1 cup whole grain rolled oats
  • ¼ cup cinnamon apple sauce (or plain)
  • ½ large apple, diced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar

Melt the coconut oil in a large mixing bowl, for about 10 seconds in the microwave. (It’ll melt really fast!) Stir in the oats, applesauce, diced apples and cinnamon. Mix until the oats are coated, and everything is combined. Spread out onto a lightly greased cooking sheet, and sprinkle with salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Put it in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy! This granola isn’t super crunchy, but it’s the perfect texture to eat on top of granola, or straight out of the jar. If you want more sweetness, you could add a tiny bit more brown sugar, but I liked it just like this.

Maybe I’ll pack a few handfuls with me while I’m hanging out at my brother’s house, with baby Jack.

Do you have any nieces or nephews?