Eggplant Parm Frittata from Whole Foods Market

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I feel like February often gets a bad wrap. It's dark and cold (if you're in the Northeast like I am), and there doesn't seem to be much going on. But in reality there's lots to celebrate! It happens to be my birthday month, and for everybody else, there's Valentine's Day with that special person in yourself life (or Galentine's Day if you choose to celebrate with your closest gal pals). Plus, Whole Foods Market has an entire other, delicious reason to celebrate!

February is the month of Parmigiano Reggiano at Whole Foods Market, which just so happens to be one of my favorite cheeses! This year marks WFM's 10th anniversary of their traditional Parm Crack event. At this event, Whole Foods hand selects the highest quality wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano from defined creameries in Northern Italy. At 3 pm ET on February 24th, each store will simultaneously crack wheels of cheese, and there will be demonstrations and tastings for customers. If that weren't enough, Parmigiano Reggiano will be on sale from 2/23-2/25 at $5 off per lb. 

To celebrate this delicious event and give you a fun way to put that Parmigiano Reggiano to good use, I'm bringing you one of my favorite frittata recipes - eggplant parm.

Here's What You'll Need:

-1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
-1/2 medium eggplant, sliced
-4 eggs
-1 Roma tomato, sliced
-6 fresh basil leaves (2 chopped, 4 whole)
-2 garlic cloves, chopped
-1 tsp Italian seasoning
-Splash of milk of choice or water (optional)
-Sea salt and pepper to taste
-1 tbsp EVOO

Serves 2

Instructions:

1) Heat up the EVOO in an oven-safe pan on the stove top over medium high heat.
2) Add in the eggplant slices, and cook 2-3 mins/side.
3) Add in the chopped garlic and continue to cook for about 3 minutes.
4) In a bowl, whisk the 4 eggs with a splash of milk, 2 chopped basil leaves, Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper.
5) Spread the tomato slices throughout the pan, layering with the egpplant. Sprinkle the Parmigiano Regianno throughout the layers, and top with the remaining cheese.
6) Pour the egg mixture over the top, and top with the 4 basil leaves.
7) Cook, covered on the stove top, for 3-5 minutes until the sides are cooked.
8) Move the pan to the oven on broil, and cook until golden brown (~5-7 minutes).
9) Remove, and cut the frittata into two halves.
10) Plate, serve with your favorite sides, and enjoy!

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Make sure to head into your local Whole Foods Market to pick up that delicious Parmigiano Reggiano and experience the Parm Crack event for yourself! If you're local to Northern NJ, you can find more information here. And as always, let me know what you think in the comments below!

Winter Veggie Baked Ziti from Whole Foods Market

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The holiday season is very much upon us, and that has me in the mood for all of the holiday party dishes! Naturally, I headed to my local Whole Foods to pick up some fresh and seasonal products to make a dish that I'll be serving at my holiday dinner this year, a winter veggie baked ziti. They had everything I needed from organic pasta to sauce to seasonal fresh veggies and cheese. Plus you can even order online at the Whole Foods Market E-Store! We all know how hectic the holiday season can be, so WFM is making it as easy as possible.

For this dish, I decided to go with some of my favorite seasonal veggies - brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and mushrooms. They all remind me of this time of year and would make for the perfect healthier baked ziti dish. Mix in some pasta, sauce, and cheese, and you have yourself a a veggie-packed meal that even the kids will love! It really is the perfect easy-to-make main course for any holiday gathering.

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Here's What You'll Need:

-1/2 head cauliflower cut into florets
-1 bundle brussels sprouts (~20-25), halved
-8 oz baby bella mushrooms (~10-15)
-2 cups kale, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 lb box ziti
-25 oz jar marinara sauce
-1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
-1 cup ricotta
-1 egg
-2 tbsp and 1 tsp avocado oil, separated
-3/4 tsp dried oregano, separated
-3/4 tsp dried basil, separated
-Sea salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Toss the brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and mushrooms with 2 tbsp avocado oil, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp basil, sea salt, and pepper, spread the veggies on a baking sheet, and roast in a preheated 425 degree oven for 25 minutes. Once done, decrease the temperature to 375. 
2) While the veggies are roasting, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box.
3) In a large pan on the stove top, heat up 1 tsp avocado oil over medium high heat. Add in the 3 cloves of minced garlic and 2 cups of kale. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
4) Reserve 1 cup of marinara sauce from the 25 oz jar.
5) In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the cooked pasta, roasted veggies, sauteed garlic and kale, 1 cup shredded mozzarella, 1 cup ricotta, marinara sauce (minus the 1 cup), egg, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 tsp oregano, sea salt, and black pepper.
6) Pour the mixture into a large, greased baking dish. 
7) Top the mixture with the reserved cup of marinara sauce and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella. 
8) Bake the dish in the preheated 375 degree oven fro 30-40 minutes until fully cooked through. 
9) Serve, and enjoy!
 

I hope you enjoy this veggie-packed, healthier version of the classic! It's sure to be a crowd pleaser this holiday season. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and don't forget to check out your local Whole Foods Market or the Whole Foods Market E-store for all of your holiday food shopping needs!

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Red Currant Muffins (GF, DF)

So the number one question I'm probably going to get is WTF are currants? Honestly, I didn't even know myself until about 2 days ago. I stumbled upon some red currants at a small, local market when I was looking for blueberries and was intrigued. Obviously I googled them, and one of the first things that popped up was, "If you find local currants, buy them!" So I followed suit, snagged my currants, and headed home. Side note - they were gone in 2 days. 

From what I read, they seemed like tart berries, so I played around with them in the kitchen for breakfast. I loved the breakfast; My niece did not. Needless to say, they're definitely tart. So I figured the perfect way to balance out the tartness would be to put them into some delicious, sweet muffins. They did not disappoint! I made them gluten free and dairy free, and they are still so perfect and moist (sorry for the use of the word, but they are). Plus the sweet and tart balance is on point. And if you aren't feeling the idea of tart currants or just can't find them, feel free to swap them out for the berries of your choice. I'd imagine blueberries would be a great sub.

Here's What You'll Need:

-1 cup quinoa flour (I use this one)
-1/4 cup coconut sugar
-2 tbsp pure maple syrup
-Pinch of sea salt
-1 tsp baking powder
-1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
-1/2 tsp vanilla
-1 egg
-3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
-3/4 cup red currants

Makes 6 muffins

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix together all ingredients minus the currants until smooth.
3) Fold in the currants (may reserve a few to place on the tops of the muffins).
4) Evenly disperse the mix in a 6-cup muffin tin. Optional - top each with reserved currants.
5) Place the muffin tin into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until muffins are fully cooked through.
6) Remove the muffins, serve, and enjoy!

These muffins make for the perfect snack, treat, on the go breakfast, or even dessert! I haven't tried subbing other flours or milks, but I will update this post if I do. Or feel free to let me know how it goes in the comments below! I would also imagine the ghee would work as a sub for coconut oil as well as a vegan egg for the egg, but again, I haven't tested it out yet. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Spring Asparagus and Tomato Penne with Barilla ProteinPLUS

 This post is sponsored by Barilla; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

This post is sponsored by Barilla; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own.

Spring is finally upon us, and I couldn't be more excited! That means fresh, bright produce and lots of outdoor time, so I decided I needed a recipe that celebrates all of the above! And what screams spring time picnics more than a fresh, veggie-packed pasta salad dish?

I had recently stumbled upon Barilla ProteinPLUS pasta at my local Walmart. It's packed with 17 g of protein (per 3.5 oz portion) from all natural vegetarian ingredients including egg whites, grains, lentils, and chickpeas. It's also a great source of fiber and ALA Omega-3. It seemed like the perfect base for a quick, easy, and delicious meal any day of the week, so I ended up picking up the penne to give it a try. 

I thought it would pair perfectly with some bright spring veggies like asparagus and tomatoes to make a light and fresh pasta (or pasta salad) dish while still being a good source of lean protein. I added in some lemon juice, pine nuts, basil, and a few other ingredients to bring that extra flavor, and it all came together to make a great meal or side that'd be perfect for your next picnic!

Here's What You'll Need:

-One 14.5 oz box Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne
-1 bundle of asparagus (~20 spears)
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
-1/4 cup pine nuts
-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
-Juice of 1/2 lemon
-1/4 cup shredded or shaved parmesan
-1 tbsp EVOO
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-1/4 tsp black pepper

Serves 4 as a meal or 7 as a side or appetizer

Instructions:

1) Cook the Barilla ProteinPLUS Penne according to the directions on the box.
2) Remove the bottoms from the asparagus, and bake them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes (may also grill or steam until tender instead).
3) Cut the asparagus spears into thirds.
4) Toast the pine nuts on the stove top until they begin to turn golden (about 3- 5 minutes).
5) In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients until well blended. I reserved some of the pine nuts, basil, and parmesan to top it all off, but feel free to mix it all in if desired.
6) Serve warm or refrigerate to serve as a pasta salad, and enjoy!

Barilla Gluten Free pasta was recently named one of Parent's Magazine's "Top 25 Allergy Free Foods" making it a great choice to swap in for the ProteinPLUS penne if allergies are a concern! You can also use this Ibotta link to get some cash back when purchasing your Barilla pasta. Make sure to check out these other delicious Barilla recipes and their Pinterest board for more inspiration! And let me know what you think in the comments below!

Double Chocolate Protein Banana Bread - Vegetarian + GF

Since being introduced to Naked Nutrition's clean protein powders with minimal, straight-forward ingredients, I've been having so much fun playing around and coming up with new plant-based protein-packed recipes. Their Chocolate Less Naked Pea Protein contains just pea protein, raw cacao, and coconut sugar. That's it! No weird junk and nothing to hide. So naturally, I've been having a blast trying it out in all of the chocolatey goodness that I can think of, and this week is no different! In fact, I was feeling extra chocolatey this week which led me to this double chocolate protein banana bread recipe.

It's not only packed with all of the chocolate. It also brings the protein and other nutrients while being vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten free. It can also easily be made vegan by swapping out the eggs with flax eggs or nut free by swapping out the almond milk. It's basically the perfect way to Saturday, and will most likely be gone by the end of the weekend. No joke.

Here's What You'll Need:

-2 ripe (ideally spotty) bananas
-1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
-3/4 cup coconut flour
-2 eggs
-1 scoop Naked Nutrition's Chocolate Less Naked Pea Protein powder
-1 tsp baking powder
-2 tbsp chocolate sunflower seed butter (I used this one) or the nut butter of your choosing
-1 tbsp cacao powder (I used this one)
-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choosing)
-1/2 cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips 

Instructions:

1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mash your bananas in a bowl with a hand mixer or wooden spoon.
3) Mixed in the coconut oil, eggs, sunflower seed butter, and almond milk.
4) Add in the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips), and mix until well combined.
5) Fold in the chocolate chips. I reserved a few to add onto the top at the end, but feel free to add them all in if desired.
6) Pour the mixture into a greased or parchment-lined loaf pan, and spread it out evenly.
7) Bake in to the oven for about 50 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean).
8) Let the bread cool a bit for about 15-20 minutes before removing and slicing it.
9) Serve, and enjoy!

Hello chocolate heaven! Am I right? I know what I'm having as my dessert...and pre and post-workout snacks...and probably breakfast, lunch and dinner the next few days. But really, it's hard to keep your hands off (and mouth full) of this banana bread. Let me know what you think in the comments below!