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Crave-Worthy Recipes

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A Healthy Copycat of the famous Orange Julius Smoothie

My take on copycat recipes is this — if I want the real deal, I’ll go buy it. If I want to make it at home and eat it all the time, I have to find a way to make it healthier. Thus began my quest for a copycat Orange Julius recipe. Turns out, my recipe is not just as good as the “real thing,” I think it’s actually better. This may be because I’m aware of the gross amounts of miles on the treadmill I’m saving myself by leaving out the juice concentrate and the added sugar.  But either way, it’s a pretty darn good recipe. So what is an Orange Julius? If you’re not familiar, you’re in for a treat. An Orange Julius kind of tastes like a Creamsicle. It’s not as thick as as smoothie or as milky as a shake. It’s slightly frothy. Chances are, if…

How to make an all-natural margarita with just three ingredients

Quick! How do you make a margarita? Margaritas should be one of the most simple cocktails out there, but somehow, we’ve gone and complicated things. We’ve convinced ourselves that to make them, we need a fully stocked bar, a basket of exotic tropical fruit, and some sort of special whizzing machine. If you usually only order margaritas from restaurants or beach side bars, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. You can make this classic cocktail at home without adding loads of artificial sweeteners — and definitely nothing neon green. Once you taste a fresh margarita, you’ll never go back to those artificially flavored, complicated mixes again. Note: Agave syrup is pretty easy to find in stores nowadays. Look next to the honey or other sweeteners. Love tequila? One study claims it can help you lose weight. 3-Ingredient all-natural margarita Ingredients 1.5 ounces Patron Silver (or other tequila) 1/2 ounce agave…

Springtime pea tabouli salad

Spring salads can be so so good! Think of yourself eating whole, fresh ingredients and feeling happy, healthy, and full. This springy Mediterranean-inspired dish will deliver on all three. Springtime pea tabouli salad is filling thanks to the high-fiber peas and protein-packed quinoa (about 8 grams of protein per 1 cup cooked quinoa). It’s also loaded with tons of vitamins and minerals thanks to a bounty of beautiful spring herbs. Bring this main or side dish to the next family gathering or potluck. It’s vegan so everyone can enjoy it care-free. It’s also absent of easily-spoiled ingredients, so pea tabouli salad does well sitting out at picnics for extended periods of time. SPRINGTIME PEA TABOULI SALAD Ingredients 1 cup dry quinoa (will make about 3 cups cooked) 1/4 tsp salt 2 cups water 1 cup snow peas, sliced 1 cup snap peas, sliced 1 bunch parsley, chopped ~10 springs mint,…

How to make your own taco seasoning

Store bought taco seasonings are no fiesta. They’re filled with gross ingredients and labels that look like a chemistry textbook. If you’ve been looking to add more real food to your diet, you should try swapping this homemade taco seasoning recipe for those overpriced, small pre-mixed packets. Homemade taco seasoning is healthier, but it’s also cheaper. Not to mention, you’ll waste less packaging. It’s a win/win/win! Here’s how you make two tablespoons of taco seasoning — the perfect amount of seasoning to replace those 1.25 ounce packets. Each two tablespoon recipe is enough to season about one pound of meat, so if you’re making two pounds of meat, double the recipe. Three pounds? Triple the recipe, and so on. Add your new seasoning to these easy homemade enchiladas. Or try this warm and comforting taco soup. How to make taco seasoning Ingredients 1 tbsp chili powder 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/2…

Sweet and tart Southern lemon icebox pie

Lately, my flavor of choice for just about anything is lemon. Come spring, I crave that tart, cool flavor. This cheery lemon icebox pie is the perfect ending to a backyard barbecue, fish fry, or Easter dinner. But don’t get me wrong — I most enjoy it for breakfast the next morning. You will too — don’t judge. So, what makes lemon ice box pie different from lemon meringue pie? The latter is usually made with a lemon custard filling, while the former is made with a mix of citrus juice and sweetened condensed milk. And of course, one is topped with whipped egg whites formed into sky-high meringue peaks, and the other more commonly sweetened with a dollop of whipped cream. If you’re still unsure, know that you could actually use this recipe to make a killer key lime pie, just by swapping out the fruit. If you’re a fan…

Creamy asparagus, mushroom casserole

This creamy asparagus and mushroom casserole is the picture of spring side dishes. It uses up loads of that delicious, just-from-the-garden asparagus, fresh mushrooms, and leftover hard-boiled eggs. (Confession: My eggs had pretty pastel spots from getting dyed just days before, but this dish is a great way to make sure they don’t go to waste!) I’m a big fan of this casserole because it delivers such a big serving of vegetables, but it’s also so flavorful, I would eat it as a meal. The smoked paprika brings a lot of flavor to the white sauce, so take a few taste samples as you simmer the sauce and add more to your liking. Creamy asparagus, mushroom casserole Ingredients 2 bunches asparagus 8 ounces sliced mushrooms, with dirt brushed off 2 1/2 tbsp butter + 1/2 tbsp butter 1/4 cup onion, finely copped 2 tsp Dijon mustard 2 1/2 ounces shredded…

How to make your own Montreal Steak Seasoning

The days are getting longer, and that only means one thing — grilling season! Soon, we’ll be digging out our favorite fuss-free appliance from the garage and firing up the coals. Ah, sweet summertime is almost here. Grilling season calls for lots of different steak and burger recipes and seasonings. Rather than pay a premium for one small seasoning shaker, make your own mix at home. You’ll save money and be able to customize the blend. Montreal Steak Seasoning is one popular steak rub that can be found at nearly any grocery store nationwide. The unique blend and coarse texture make it great for sprinkling on steaks, burgers, hash browns, baked potatoes, salmon, or even roasted veggies. You can make it in no time with a mortar and pestle or spice mill, but if you don’t have one of those handy, have no fear. You can toss your spices in a…

Creamy gnocchi bake

This easy Creamy Gnocchi Bake with mozzarella and spinach is perfect for a weeknight meal. It takes about 15 minutes to prep, then 30 minutes to bake in the oven. While you’re waiting, throw together a tossed salad or sauté a vegetable for a super low stress, well-balanced meal. Plus, can we just take a moment to admire all of that cheesy, creamy goodness? Those seasoned cherry tomatoes are just bursting with flavor, and fresh basil makes everything better. It’s a dish your whole crew will go crazy for. Creamy gnocchi bake Ingredients 4 tbsp butter 4 gloves garlic, minced 1 tsp dried oregano 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved salt pepper 1/2 – 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes 4 cups spinach 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese 1 large handful basil, chopped + more for garnish 2 (about 17-18 ounces each) packages…

Cherry almond smoothie

Cherries are totally underrated as smoothie ingredients. I had been experimenting with new smoothie flavors, when I realized, I had not made one cherry-based smoothie — ever! Cherries are full of antioxidants, promote healthy sleep, and may even reduce post-exercise inflammation and pain. For someone training for a marathon like me, it’s an ingredient to definitely be added into a daily diet. Cherries are harder to find in the frozen food aisle than other berries, but I managed to find them in several local stores. If you’re unable to find them, you’ll (sadly!) have to wait until summer, then pit and freeze a bunch for later. Cherries are sweeter than strawberries, so they hold up well against almond milk. Greek yogurt and chia seeds add enough protein to make this morning mix a well-rounded meal. Enjoy! Cherry almond smoothie Ingredients 1 cup frozen cherries (or fresh, pits removed) 1/2 cup almond…

Vegan Thai-inspired snow pea salad with peanut dressing

Crunchy, colorful and full of flavor. This crisp Thai-inspired salad tossed in a mildly spicy peanut dressing is a total powerhouse of nutrition. Carrots, snow peas, cabbage, quinoa — it’s going to be your new salad obsession. You can instantly add more oomph with grilled chicken, beef, or shrimp, but it’s just as satisfying and filling without any animal protein added. Vegetarians might already know that quinoa and peanut butter are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. (Quinoa brings about 8 grams of protein per cup, and peanut butter brings about 8 grams per two tablespoons.) This superfood salad is addictive! The peanut sauce is similar to that served at your favorite Thai restaurant with chicken satay or with fresh spring rolls, but it’s easy to whip up with ingredients common at your everyday supermarket. You’ll want to put it on everything! Get creative with your salad. Add anything from…