Vegan Black Bean Brownie Bites

These black bean brownie bites are vegan & gluten free. Packed with fiber and protein, these brownie bites are a perfectly healthy treat!

As a vegetarian, beans are a regular part of my diet. Garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, navy beans, kidney beans… and of course, black beans. I love that they’re packed with protein and fiber and they’re just so versatile. Tacos, soup… brownies.

These black bean brownie bites are vegan and gluten free. They're low in sugar but high in protein and fiber. They're an easy, healthy dessert!If you haven’t gotten on board the bean-brownie trend, I’m here to tell you that you’re missing out. I’ve made a few different versions and these are my favorite. They even got a thumbs up from Alex, before and after he knew what was in them.

These black bean brownie bites are vegan and gluten free. They're low in sugar but high in protein and fiber. They're an easy, healthy dessert!

The best part is, you can whip them all up in a food processor so you only have one thing to clean! Also, I’d recommend not using muffin liners because these brownies actually tend to shrink up just a bit, which is how you can tell when they’re finished cooking. Don’t worry, if your spray your pan with a little non-stick spray, they’ll pop right out.

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What I’ve Eaten (Lately)

I haven’t done a What I Ate Wednesday post in so long, which is crazy! I’ve been a little hesitant to share because my eats truly haven’t been all that “clean”. But then I realized hello, this is what I’m eating and it’s real life and it’s awesome. Some days I eat really healthy and some days I just want all the carbs. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it and I’m actually kind of proud that I’ve been “honoring my cravings” rather than eating what I think I’m supposed to eat.  There were days when I would have said no to toast because it was “too many carbs at breakfast” but you know what? If I want toast, I’m going to eat some toast. With butter. Because it’s delicious.

So here’s the real deal of what I’ve been eating lately:

toast breakfast

If there’s an avocado lying around, I’ll make avocado toast but let’s be honest, when is there ever extra avocado around here?! Most of the time, I just smear on some Kerrygold butter. Sometimes I get sprouted grain bread and sometimes it’s just plain whole wheat bread.

work salad

I don’t even remember the last time I packed my lunch for work. I’m obsessed with our salad bar so lately I’ve just been getting massive salads. (You’d laugh if you saw how huge this bowl is.) It’s such an easy way to get in tons of veggies and it really fills me up! I usually top it with some crackers and hummus, too.

I haven’t been snacking as much lately, either. (Who am I?!) Maybe I’ve just been eating bigger portions at breakfast and lunch, I’m not sure. If I do have a snack in the afternoon, it’s typically yogurt.

baked pasta

I’ve been eating a lot of pasta recently. And pizza. And tacos. Truthfully, this has been what I’ve been craving. Plus we’ve been super busy and I’ve just been grabbing whatever seems to be the fastest & easiest thing around. Sometimes that’s pasta or sometimes it’s just soup and a salad. It’s easy for me to start over-thinking it but lately, I’ve just been so busy I haven’t had time to do that.

I think we often set impossible standards for ourselves based on what we see on our Instagram feed or what we read on the internet, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated. A healthy balance means that sometimes your meals include carrot sticks and… sometimes they don’t. I could probably ramble about this for awhile but I’ll just leave it here so you can share what you think.

What have you been craving lately?

5 Ingredients to Add to Your Next Smoothie

I love smoothies. I got a Vitamix about 5 years ago and I’ve been obsessed ever since. For a long time I just followed the same basic smoothie recipe but lately, I’ve been switching it up and I’ve found a few new favorites. Not only do these ingredients add a delicious flavor or a nice texture but they all add a unique nutritional boost! Here are 5 ingredients to try in your next smoothie.

Chia seeds

chia smoothie bowl

I love adding chia seeds on top of my smoothie bowls. Not only do they add a nice little crunch but they’re also packed with fiber, protein, healthy fats, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. They’re like healthy sprinkles!

Spinach

green smoothie

Toss a handful of spinach in your smoothie and you probably won’t even notice it, except for the color! Turn that smoothie bright green! You’ll get the benefits of added vitamins and minerals like zinc, folate, calcium, & iron, but you won’t taste a thing!

Tea

berry smoothie

For an unexpected flavor boost, add a 1/2 cup of brewed tea, cooled. This hibiscus tea smoothie has a sweet, fruity flavor without lots of added sugar, thanks to the tea. Brew a cup of tea, let it cool, and then blend it right into your smoothie! You’ll get the added bonus of antioxidants (and maybe a little caffeine if you’re into that sort of thing… which I totally am.)

Frozen Fruit

mango smoothie ingredients

Frozen pineapple is one of my favorite smoothie ingredients. It adds a natural sweetness and frozen fruit gives smoothies a thicker, fuller texture. I usually either add frozen pineapple, mango, or bananas into my smoothies. (Sometimes I add a little bit of each!) Here’s the recipe for my current favorite coconut mango smoothie.

Avocado

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My mother in law told me she added avocado to her morning smoothie and when she came to visit, we gave it a try together. I loved it. It made the smoothie so creamy and delicious. Now I’m obsessed! Anytime I have leftover avocado, I toss it in a smoothie for some healthy fats. (Try this chocolate avocado smoothie!)

Looking for more smoothie tips? Here’s how to make a super thick smoothie.

If you want to blend a super thick spoonable smoothie, try these tips and tricks!

Switch up your smoothie game and boost your nutrients with these 5 smoothie ingredients!

What’s your favorite smoothie ingredient?

Healthier Honey Mustard Dressing

I tend to be pretty picky when it comes to salad dressings. I have a few bottled favorites that are my go-to but a lot of what you find at the grocery store is full of all sorts of chemicals and preservatives. The funny part is, making your own salad dressing is SO EASY. Like ridiculously easy. This honey mustard dressing can be made in just a few minutes and you probably have all the ingredients on hand already!

Skip the bottled salad dressing and make this healthier honey mustard dressing!

Honey Mustard Dressing Recipe

5.0 from 8 reviews
Healthier Honey Mustard Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes about ⅓ cup of salad dressing
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk all ingredients together until combined, or add them all to a mason jar, seal, and shake vigorously until everything is combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

I actually couldn’t believe how easy this was. I’m usually anti-mayonnaise but just a tiny bit in this dressing helps make it creamy. I used the “Just Mayo” brand so there’s no dairy or eggs in it, in case that’s something you’re avoiding. Most of the fat in this recipe comes from the olive oil so it’s a much healthier fat! And I love the flavor of the apple cider vinegar in here. Nothing like a little dose of probiotics to give your salad dressing a boost!

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-11-53-36-amSkip the bottled salad dressing and make this healthier honey mustard dressing!

 Why grab the store-bought kind when making your own is so easy?

Skip the bottled salad dressing and make this healthier honey mustard dressing!

Looking for more salad dressing recipes? Try these:

What’s your favorite kind of salad dressing?

Skip the bottled salad dressing and make this healthier honey mustard dressing!

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Summer produce tends to steal the show when it comes to salad, but winter salads shouldn’t be overlooked. Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits and this is prime grapefruit season. Mixed with a little avocado and fennel, this salad is packed with flavor. It’s perfect for your next brunch!

grapefruit-and-avocado-salad

I love the creamy texture of the avocados paired with juicy grapefruit segments. It takes a little extra effort to segment the grapefruit and remove all of the bitter pith but it’s totally worth it.

5.0 from 7 reviews
Grapefruit and Avocado Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 large head of fennel
  • 3 large grapefruits
  • 2 avocados
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the fennel bulb to separate it from the fronds.
  2. Slice the very end off of the root and use a knife to cut out the middle part of the stem.
  3. Very thinly slice the fennel bulb
  4. Segment the grapefruit, using a knife to cut away the peel and the bitter pith (the white part.)
  5. Cut the avocado in half, remove the pit, and slice into segments.
  6. Combine the fennel, grapefruit segments, and avocado slices in a large bowl. Be careful not to smash the avocado.
  7. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and gently combine.
  8. Serve immediately.

Our Wednesday night bible study was doing a “breakfast for dinner” themed night with pancakes and breakfast casserole (and of course, plenty of bacon for the meat-eaters!) so I wanted to supply some sort of healthy side dish that wouldn’t feel out of place at the breakfast table. Since grapefruit seemed like an obvious choice, I wanted to pair it with something that would cut down on the bitterness. The fennel and avocado were a perfect pair!

grapefruit-and-avocado-salad

Looking for some other citrusy-avocado recipes? This avocado + orange salad is one of our favorites!

avocado orange salad

In fact, this grapefruit and avocado salad would be delicious on top of a bed of spinach or mixed greens!

Looking for the perfect winter salad recipe? Try this grapefruit and avocado salad. It's perfect for brunch or dinner!

What’s your favorite winter salad?

Healthy Valentine’s Day Desserts with 5 Ingredients or Less

Valentine’s Day is coming up and homemade desserts are a perfect way to celebrate. But rather than spending your whole day in the kitchen, try one of these healthy desserts with just 5 ingredients or less! Fancy desserts don’t have to be difficult.

Dark chocolate avocado truffles

You won’t believe there’s avocado hiding in these vegan & gluten free truffles. And the best part? They’re only THREE ingredients!

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This earl grey mousse from Gourmet Project is not only beautiful, but it’s also dairy free and gluten free.

Chocolate cherry truffles

These chocolate cherry truffles from Veggie Inspired Journey are packed with walnuts for a healthy dose of protein and fat! Just one of these would satisfy a sweet tooth, but I won’t tell if you have 2 or 3. 😉

chocolate coconut truffles

No matter your diet plan, you can find room for these chocolate coconut truffles. They’re dairy free, gluten free, vegan, and paleo approved! Get the recipe on Beaming Baker.

This honeydew sorbet recipe is so simple! You only need a few ingredients for this healthy, vegan, & gluten free summer treat.

This honeydew sorbet is perfect if you’re craving something sweet… but aren’t in the mood for chocolate. It’s only 3 ingredients and you can whip it up in the blender!

coconut-oil-fudge-10-15-1

I love the combination of chocolate and coconut so this coconut fudge sounds perfect to me! Get the recipe from Lake Shore Lady.

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There’s something about lava cake that just sounds so fancy. Make this extra chocolate lava cake for your chocolate loving Valentine! The recipe is over at My Organic Dairy.

 

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Skip the store-bought chocolate and make these Omega Chocolate Bars from A Healthy Life for Me.

frozen yogurt bites

These little frozen yogurt bites are ridiculously easy to make. If you use strawberry yogurt, you’ll even have a festive pink dessert!

nectarines-and-vanilla-yogurt

This 3 ingredient dessert would be perfect for Valentine’s Day! Try these Nectarines with Vanilla Yogurt & Grand Marnier from Pinch and Swirl!

 

thk-fudge2

Since every Valentine’s Day requires a little chocolate, this 4 ingredient chocolate fudge from Two Healthy Kitchens would be perfect!

wholesomeyum_sugar-free-chocolate-nutella-truffles-low-carb-gluten-free-3

There’s just something about truffles that feel like the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.  If I haven’t convinced you yet, then maybe these Chocolate Nutella Truffles from Wholesome Yum will convince you. They’re low carb and gluten free!

Valentine's Day Dessert Recipes don't have to be complicated! Try one of these easy, healthy, 5 ingredient recipes!

What’s your favorite kind of dessert?

One Pan Ratatouille Recipe

This one pan Ratatouille recipe can be made with a variety of vegetables depending on what you have in your fridge. It’s vegan, gluten free, and easy to make!

I’m literally sitting here wondering why it took me so long to make ratatouille. It’s basically a bunch of my favorite flavors and it’s full of vegetables. Plus, this recipe is not an exact science and you can swap in whatever you have. A pinch of this… a little bit of that… this is my kind of recipe.

vegan one pan ratatouille

Literally right after I made this ratatouille, I was watching Gilmore Girls and Suki was also making ratatouille. That’s when I knew this was meant to be. But seriously, I loved how easy this ratatouille was and it turned out quite delicious.

5.0 from 7 reviews
One Pan Ratatouille Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 28oz can whole tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of salt (plus more to taste)
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Optional for serving: Fresh burrata cheese, fresh basil, crusty bread.
  • Handful of basil
Instructions
  1. In a large cast iron skillet or pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat for a couple of minutes until it begins to shine.
  2. Dice the onion and add it to the pot. Let it cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Mince the garlic and add it to the pot, cooking for another 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bundle of thyme. Let it cook for about 5 minutes over low to medium heat, and use a spoon to gently break apart the tomatoes.
  5. Chop the eggplant zucchini and squash into ½" pieces and add them to the pot, cooking for 20 minutes, or until they've softened.
  6. Season with salt and red pepper.
  7. Serve with a dollop of burrata cheese, fresh basil, and a slice of crusty bread.

ratatoullie-pan

Hello there, veggies. You’re welcome to come over anytime.

We added a dollop of burrata cheese on top and ate it with some toasted Focaccia bread.

one pan rataoullie

Side note: Have we talked about how Burrata is amazing? If you’ve never tried it, it’s made from Mozzarella and cream so it’s basically the softest most delicious cheese ever. I’m not usually a soft cheese person… except for mozzarella. So this is my kind of cheese. Plus it just melts so perfectly on top of this warm ratatouille.

And the best part of this ratatouille recipe? You can make it all in ONE PAN. That means more time eating and less time scrubbing pots and pans. That’s a win in my book!

This one pan ratatouille is the perfect meatless recipe! You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand to create an easy healthy dinner!

What’s your favorite one pan meal?

21 Vegetarian Soup Recipes Guaranteed to Warm You Up

One of my favorite things about cold weather is the excuse to eat soup all the time. I love that there are so many different flavor combinations and it’s the perfect way to use up whatever leftovers you have in the fridge. Even if it’s not very cold outside, you’ll still enjoy these flavorful vegetarian soup recipes!

This vegetarian taco soup recipe is the perfect weeknight meal! It's a one pot recipe that'll help you get dinner on the table in minutes!

1. This vegetarian taco soup is like a burrito in a bowl! Keep it vegan or top it with cojita or feta cheese for an extra creamy soup!

2. If you’re a broccoli cheddar fan, this easy creamy broccoli cheddar soup recipe is super easy but totally delicious.

black bean soup

3. If you’re short on time, this 5 ingredient black bean soup recipes is one of the easiest things to make! You only need a handful of pantry staples.

4. Red lentils are one of my favorite ingredients and this red lentil soup from Compass and Fork is no exception!

5. Spoonabilities has a great way to use up all those veggies in your fridge for this hearty vegetable soup!

butternut-squash-soup-650-square

6. This vegan butternut squash soup from My Wife Can Cook is thick, chunky, and flavorful! It’s a perfect way to put winter produce to good use.

7. For a fun twist on cauliflower soup, try this roasted curry cauliflower soup, also from My Wife Can Cook.

spiced chickpea soup

8. This Moroccan Chickpea Soup is a healthy comfort food option. The potatoes fill you up and the chickpeas provide protein and fiber to keep you going!

slow-cooker-french-onion-soup6

9.Usually, vegetarians get left out of the French Onion Soup game, but not this one! Check out this French Onion Soup recipe from Apples for CJ. Bonus- you can make it in your slow cooker!

This curried lentil soup is a budget friendly dinner recipe that is also vegan and gluten free!

10. This easy curried lentil soup is full of protein and fiber but this recipe is very budget friendly!

11. Lots of winter produce on your hands? Make this sweet potato and apple soup from Trial and Eater!

coconut-chickpea-sweet-potato-soup-3-e1481727542930

12. This Coconut Chickpea Sweet Potato Soup from It’s Cheat Day Everyday is like all my favorite things in one bowl!

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13. If you need something to fill you up, this hearty three bean stew from Runnin Srilankan should do the trick!

14. This creamy mushroom soup from The Lazy Broccoli is so delicious, you might not believe it’s vegan! (But it totally is.)

This vegetarian tortellini soup is the perfect cold weather recipe! Perfect for a quick weeknight meal!

15. A package of frozen tortellini is the shortcut in this super quick tortellini soup recipe!

16. If you love beets then you must try this Beet Soup from Chews and Brews. The color is gorgeous!

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17. Spice things up with this Vegan Chinese 5-Spice Noodle Soup from the Healthy Helper!

vegan soup

18. For a unique twist on a classic, try this Thai tomato soup! It has the comfort of tomato soup with a unique flavor!

19. Is there anything zucchini can’t do? Try it in this Cheesy Zucchini Soup from My Life Cookbook.

20. I love the texture of barley, so I can’t wait to try this Barley Minestrone Soup from Fried Dandelions.

moroccan lentil stew bowl

21. I love the flavors of the lentils in this Moroccan Lentil Stew! It has just the right amount of spice!

Do I have you craving soup yet? Don’t forget to pin this post so you can come back to the recipes later!

Try one of these 21 vegetarian soup recipes for a healthy way to enjoy a comforting meal!

What’s your favorite soup recipe? Share a link below in the comments!

What I’m Loving: January

You guys there is so much I’m loving right now. January is one of my favorite months because it just feels so fresh. Not to mention that healthy stuff is suddenly all the rage. I love it. And this January is no exception! So here are a few of the things that I’m obsessed with right now:

Jordan, Me, and Samantha at PlankRVA

New workout classes.

I had a chance to check out PlankRVA and take a megaformer class. I had no idea what I was getting into but it turned out to be super fun. If you haven’t heard of megaformer classes, they’re sort of like pilates style classes but there’s a machine that you use the do the moves. It makes the moves much harder so it’s super effective. I was a little nervous because it seemed kind of complicated but the instructor was so helpful and the class was really fun. Honestly, it went by so fast. I was sore the next day, so that’s a good sign. If you’re in Richmond, PlankRVA is in the Innsbrook area, so it’s easy to get to no matter where you are!

ginger-juice

Local juice bars.

You know I love my juicer but sometimes I just don’t want to go to the store to buy a bunch of produce and make a huge mess in my kitchen. That’s why I’m pretty pumped that Richmond has been upping their juice game. I had a chance to check out Ginger Juice this week and we got to try a bunch of different things on their menu. Their chef is amazing and all of the good was exceptional. I highly recommend the kale salad or the avocado toast. (The avocado toast has this delicious vegan mayo that’s cashew based. It’s so good!) All of their juice is cold-pressed, so you’re not missing out on any nutrients.

cocktail

Cocktails.

While we’re on the subject of drinks…Alex has been getting into cocktail making and I’ve had the pleasure of being the taste-tester. It’s been fun to dive into a totally new thing and he’s made some really yummy ones, which got us thinking about healthier cocktails. I’ll have a few recipes coming your way!

Grace Not Perfection.

My friend Jordan (pictured on the left in that top photo) told me about this book and I’m glad I ordered it. (I literally went straight home and ordered it from Amazon.) It’s SO GOOD. I love Emily’s message and I think it’s a good reminder for bloggers, mom, and basically any woman with a smartphone. Seriously, I want to buy it for every woman in my life. P.S. it’s still on sale on Amazon so hurry up.

What are you loving lately?

Vegan Tempeh Tacos

If we’re being totally honest, I think we’ve eaten Mexican food every single for the past week. Once the house is stocked with limes, cilantro, and avocado… it’s hard to convince me to eat anything else. So we’ve had everything from this spicy Mexican street corn salad to these black bean enchiladas. Alex and I both enjoy Mexican food, so neither of us will complain if it’s on repeat.

tempeh-tacos

Yesterday I decided to do something a little different and use tempeh as the main event. If you’re not familiar with tempeh, it’s a soy based product, sort of like tofu. It doesn’t have much flavor on its own but it does a great job of absorbing flavor and sauces. Personally, I think the texture is much better than tofu. It’s hearty, chewy, and is a great vegetarian substitute for meat. Plus a 3oz serving of tempeh has 15g of protein and only 170 calories. My personal favorite is Lightlife Three Grain Tempeh because I think it has the best texture. Alright, now on to these vegan tempeh tacos.

tempeh-tacos-recipe

4.9 from 11 reviews
Vegan Tempeh Tacos
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This makes 6 tacos which could easily serve 2 hungry people.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (or tamari or liquid aminos)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke (you can leave this out if you can't find it, but it adds a great smoky flavor)
  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 6 taco shells (flour or corn)
  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup black beans
  • Salsa, cabbage, cilantro, cheese, etc. (optional toppings)
Instructions
  1. Combine the soy sauce, maple syrup, and liquid smoke in a shallow dish.
  2. Slice the tempeh into ½" slices and spread in a single layer into the sauce and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes. If you can marinate it overnight or for a few hours, that's even better.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tempeh to the pan in a single layer.
  5. Cook for 8 minutes or until it begins to brown, then flip over and continue cooking.
  6. You want both sides to be a little bit charred.
  7. While the tempeh cooks, dice the avocado and heat up the black beans.
  8. Once the tempeh is done, assemble your tacos and add any toppings you like.
  9. Serve immediately.

tempeh-taco-open

Alex added a little sharp cheddar on top of tempeh tacos. I kept mine vegan and just added a little extra salsa. The cabbage adds a nice crunch but you can skip it if you don’t have any. Also, I know you might not already have liquid smoke in your pantry, but you can usually find it near the barbecue sauce and it is so good. I love adding a little bit in a pot of chili for that earthy, smokey flavor. It’s definitely worth finding!

This made enough tacos for both of us, with just a little bit of tempeh left over. If you added in a side dish, you could feed three. The best part is that the tempeh really keeps you full! These might be my new favorite tacos.

These vegan tempeh tacos are perfect for taco Tuesday! Tempeh is full of vegetarian protein and these tacos will satisfy vegans and meat eaters alike!

What’s your favorite taco topping?