Brie, Tomato & Basil Pasta

On hot summer days when I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated, I just want a meal that can be made quickly. And you know, one that is also delicious and not filled with fast-food preservatives and grease – it’s a tall order, I know. Enter, this simple but sumptuous Mediterranean pasta. With chunks of gooey Brie and aromatic sundried tomatoes and basil, it takes fifteen minutes to make but tastes like something you’d eat with delicate silverware over a white linen tablecloth. It’s also incredibly easy. Seriously, if you can boil water and have opposable thumbs to tear cheese, you can whip this dish up without a problem! Here’s how it’s done.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 Wheel of Brie
  • 1 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 Chopped Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Chopped Basil 
  • 1 Package of Pasta (Choose whole wheat variations for extra fiber.)
  • Olive Oil (Use enough to lightly coat all of the pasta.)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS

1 // Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package (usually for around 10 minutes). Drain the pasta.

2 // Drizzle olive oil over cooked pasta and toss until all of the noodles are lightly coated. Add the butter and toss the pasta further.

3 // While the pasta is still super hot, tear up Brie into small pieces and add it to the pasta. Stir the pasta so that the melted cheese is dispersed throughout.

4 // Add the garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to the pasta. Toss in the sundried tomatoes and basil. 

5 // Garnish the pasta with a little extra chopped basil to make it pretty!

This is one of the easiest (and most delicious) pastas ever. It tastes equally yummy cold as it does hot and the flavours seem to intensify when you reheat and eat it the next day. You can also customize this recipe with any other add-one you want – for example, my boyfriend loves it with chopped up bacon bits. If you’re feeling like having a lazy evening but don’t want another meal that comes in a take-out box, this quick and tasty dish is absolutely perfect. You can also eat it cold as a pasta salad for a light summer’s day dinner.

What’s your favorite lazy day recipe? 

xoxo,

Alicia

Cheap & Easy | Protein-Packed Vegetable ‘Noodle’ Stir-fry

As a student, there are times when I have to cut my grocery bill way, way down in order to afford life. When I can’t afford to splurge on the more exotic items I want (hello Coconut Bliss Naked Coconut Ice Cream and bubbly wine), I have a couple of go-to recipes that I turn to throughout the week to make sure that I’m not, quite literally, eating through my money. One delightful perk of my new-found vegetarianism is how cheap my meals can be if I just focus on whole foods. When you’re buying nothing but fresh produce and canned lentils, you can watch your grocery bills go from $60+ to quite often less than $30 in the blink of an eye. Still, no one wants to eat nothing but plain, raw veggies all day, so a little creativity is needed to transform them into delicious and nutritious meals that will leave you totally full for hours, while still craving seconds because it’s just that tasty. This particular recipe is chock full of satiating protein which will leave you satisfied until your next meal – without the bloat that comes from gulping down a steak. It’s also delicious, free of refined carbs and can be whipped up in 20 minutes. Read on to find out how to make this plant-based plate of heaven.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 Large Zucchinis
  • 1/2 Can Beans (I love chickpeas, pinto beans, and black beans the most but the choice is yours!)
  • 1 Cup Extra Firm Tofu (chopped into cubes)
  • 1/2 Cup Tempeh (chopped)
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Slices Vegan Cheese
  • * 1 tbsp Peanut Butter (or almond/cashew butter)
  • 2 tbsp Garlic Powder 
  • 1 tbsp Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder (to taste)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • 1/3 Cup Soya Sauce 
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil

DIRECTIONS
1 // Wash and peel the carrot and zucchini. Use a spiralizer (follow the directions depending on which model you have) to cut both vegetables into long, noodle-like strands. Set aside.

2 // Grease a skillet with a little bit of coconut or olive oil and add the vegetable ‘noodles’. Cook on medium heat.

3 // Rinse your beans or lentils and add them to your noodles along with all of your chosen spices. The spices I have listed here are my favorite, but feel free to get creative with flavours of your choice – for example, curry, turmeric, cayenne etc. Toss the ingredients and turn the heat slightly down.

4 // Add the diced tomato, tofu and tempeh to the stir-fry, along with the soya sauce and sesame oil. Stir all of the ingredients together. 

5 // At this point there will be a lot of liquid in your stir-fry because all of the moisture will be cooking out of the vegetable noodles and tomato. One way to thicken it up is to add a bit of peanut butter (or any nut butter). This will also give the dish extra protein and enhance the Asian-inspired flavours. It’s totally optional but I really enjoy the creamy consistency and rich, nutty flavour it gives the stir-fry.

6 // Continue to simmer the mixture on low-heat until all of the extra juices have been reduced. Feel free to add some vegan cheese for a little extra flavour and creaminess! 

7 // Serve on its own or with some brown rice or quinoa for even more bite and protein. This dish is extremely filling (contrary to the popular belief that vegetarian and vegan meals leave you feeling hungry) and this recipe makes enough for two or three portions. Again, this recipe is totally customizable depending on your tastes. Swap out the spices and vegetables for your favorites. Don’t like carrots? Spiralize sweet potato or parsnips instead! Not a fan of tofu? Add some seitan and cut up portobello mushrooms! 

I have really enjoyed cooking vegetarian meals and I find that because they do not have meat, the extra effort and creativity that goes into creating these dishes makes them even more delicious then some of the carnivorous meals I enjoyed in the past. It’s also nice not feeling bloated or lethargic after every meal! Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a vegetarian or vegan, keeping at least some of your meals completely plant-based throughout the week will have a powerfully positive effect on your health – as well as your cooking prowess! 

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think! Also, as always, I’m always snooping around for new veggie recipes, so please give me a shout my herbivore friends! 

xoxo,

Alicia

My Go-To Green Smoothie

green-smoothie-recipe
When I’m in a pinch for time or simply want a super healthy meal on the go, green smoothies are one of my favorite breakfast options. They are packed with vitamins and can be made in minutes with minimal clean-up afterwards. Packed with chlorophyll and other essential plant-based nutrients, green smoothies have been praised for their many health and beauty benefits, such as glowing skin, shinier hair, a stronger immune system, and a decreased risk of heart disease. They are also a great way to sneak in extra greens without you even noticing them (kids love them)! There are a lot of great recipes out there that I enjoy, but this is my favorite green smoothie recipe of all time. Chock-full of healthy fats, vitamins, and antioxidants, this rich and creamy smoothie tastes like dessert but packs a serious nutritional punch. Plus it’s vegan!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 Handfuls of Mixed Greens
  • 1 Cup Blueberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Strawberries, Peaches & Pineapple
  • 1 tbsp Spirulina
  • 2 tbsp Matcha Powder
  • 2 Cups of Vanilla Almond Milk

DIRECTIONS

1 // Add all of the fresh fruit and avocado into the blender and add one cup of almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

2 // Toss in the leafy greens and frozen fruit along with the almond milk, spirulina, and matcha powder. Blend on high until the smoothie is entirely mixed and has a frosty yet creamy consistency.

3 // If you prefer your smoothie to be sweeter, add a drizzle or honey or real maple syrup and blend on low to mix it in.

4 // Enjoy your delicious and super healthy green smoothie!

Have you tried green smoothies and, if so, are you a fan? If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you felt about it! It’s my fave but I’m curious about what others would think. Until next time!

xoxo,

Alicia

Healthy (And Vegan!) Pancakes


There are few things I love more than breakfast and I especially love pancakes. The lazy Saturday mornings I spend making chocolate chip pancakes with my boyfriend are something I really look forward to and cherish.  That being said, lately I’ve decided to put more effort into my health and eating right. I’ve also started eating a vegetarian diet. Although I am not vegan and do eat dairy and eggs, I try to keep portions of those foods small and so I really love the idea of making dishes vegan whenever I can. This pancake recipe came from a friend and colleague and is as delicious as it is nutritious. It leaves out all of the things that could conceivably make pancakes unhealthy (refined sugar, dairy, white flour, eggs) but keeps the flavor and fluffy texture of the pancakes you’ve grown up eating. It’s also filled with energizing vitamins so you won’t feel sluggish after eating these like you would with a stack of flour-made pancakes! They are incredibly quick and easy to make – all you need is a blender and a mere handful of ingredients. Here’s how it’s done!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1 Mashed Banana
  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • * Extras ( I like raspberries, blueberries, and matcha tea powder)

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat a pan or skillet on medium heat. Grease the pan with a bit of coconut oil.

2 // Measure out the ingredients and dump them into your blender or food processor.

3 // Blend on a low speed until the ingredients are blended and have a consistency that resembles batter. If the consistency is too thick, add a little bit of coconut or almond milk.

4 // Use a soup ladle or 1/2 cup to scoop up the batter and pour it onto the hot pan.

5 // Cook the one side until small bubbles start to form. Flip the pancake and cook the other side (approximately 2 minutes). 

6 // Repeat until all of the batter is used up. Garnish with fresh fruit, whipped coconut cream, and a touch of syrup!

If you give these a try let me know how they turned out for you! Also, I’m on the look out for other good vegetarian or vegan recipes so if you have a great one, please share! 

xoxo,

Alicia

Non-Boring Low Calorie Cocktails


I’ll say it – I love a refreshing cocktail, especially as a way of relaxing after a long work day. And while I may enjoy a glass (or three) of crisp white wine or a frosty margarita, I do not enjoy the extra pounds that I gain after indulging in a few too many of those tasty bad boys. That being said, cocktails can be a part of a healthy diet. The key? Moderation and recipes that call for little to no added sugar. So without further ado, here are seven bevvies that you and your waistline will love! 


Photo and Recipe via My Crazy Good Life

1 // 100 Calorie Coconut Margarita 

Put the lime in the coconut but leave out the sugar. Using stevia instead of sugar cuts a ton of calories from this cocktail, while the coconut water is filled with antioxidants and electrolytes. Translation? The hangover and puffy face that many get after drinking won’t be a thing. Now that’s something to raise a glass to!

INGREDIENTS

  • Ice (crushed or cubes)
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1/2 Lime Juice 
  • 3 oz Coconut Water
  • *1 tbsp Stevia
  • Soda Water

Photo and Recipe via The Taylor House

2 // Fruity Moscato Wine Spritzer

Fresh fruit, fragrant Moscato, and soda water are the three main ingredients in this low cal recipe. This pretty poopsie is super flavourful but light. In other words, it’s the perfect summer sipper!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Bottle Moscato Wine
  • 1 Bottle of Soda Water
  • 1 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • Lemon Slices

Photo and Recipe via Pretty Providence

3 // Skinny Piña Colada Slushies

A piña colada that is not chock full of empty calories? This is not a drill. With coconut water and milk, sugar-free flavour drops and a bit of dark rum, this cocktail is every bit as delicious as the classic recipe, but is waaay healthier. Go ahead. Have another.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 Cups Sugar-Free Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Coconut Water
  • 2 Squirts Dasani Pineapple Coconut Drops
  • 2 oz Dark Rum


Photo and Recipe via bird + cleaver

4 // Wasabi Bloody Mary

With zero added sugar and vitamin rich tomato juice, this lighter take on the bloody mary is a savoury treat with a fiery kick. Some people say that spicy foods and drinks rev up your metabolism, but even if that’s not the case, this tasty drink is a much healthier option when you’re craving a ceaser or Bloody Mary. Drink your veggies!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz Vodka
  • 12 oz Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Wasabi 
  • 4- 6 Dashes Sriracha (to taste)
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 4 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Pinches Celery Salt


Photo and Recipe via Peanut Butter & Peppers

5 // Skinny Watermelon Mojito

The only thing that can improve a refreshing, minty mojito? Sweet chunks of watermelon! Not only is this pink fruit super tasty, it’s also hydrating and filled with potassium. Sip this frosty treat with way less calories and zero guilt. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Watermelon (seeded and chopped)
  • ½ Lime (juiced)
  • 4 Mint Leaves
  • Ice
  • 1 oz. White Rum 
  • Club Soda


Photo and Recipe via Camille Styles

6 // Fresh Grapefruit Greyhound 

If you’re not a fan of super sweet drinks, then this tart combination of grapefruit juice and vodka is sure to please your palate. Also, this refreshing drink is pretty easy on the waistline! A good rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating (and drinking) – the fewer ingredients involved, the better. This recipe calls for only three and zero refined sugar. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz Vodka
  • 6 oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 6 oz Club Soda


Photo and Recipe I Breathe I’m Hungry 

7 // Low Carb Sparkling White Wine Sangria

Stevia is kind of a magic ingredient when it comes to sugar replacements. It’s zero calories but it’s also all natural – no nasty aspartame here! I use it when baking and in my coffee. Why didn’t I think of using it to sweeten cocktails? It does the job perfectly and without a side of guilt. Add a little bit of this non-sugar-sugar to some bourbon, peaches (I prefer frozen), vodka, and mandarin soda water and you have a tangy toast that rivals your favorite belini. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Cup Peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar-Free Mango Flavoured Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Stevia
  • 1/4 Cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 Cup Vodka
  • 24 oz Mandarin Flavoured Seltzer Water

I don’t know about you but it feels like cocktail hour! If you try any of these, let me know what you think! 

xoxo,

Alicia

High Tea at Home


I am someone who truly believes that almost all problems can be made a little better with tea. Happy? Sad? Peeved? Tea is the answer to everything. My love of tea has definitely been passed down by my mom. Ever since I was a little girl she would collect tea cups and teas. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of hosting tea parties with my dolls as the guests and my mom pretending to sip on invisible tea. Flash forward 18 years and I still love tea parties. My mom and I especially love sitting down for high tea, although it has always been a special and infrequent treat because of how expensive it is. I started thinking about ways that I could recreate that luxe high tea experience at home and I came up with these 5 tips and tricks. Here’s how to host an intimate and elevated high tea experience at home and without breaking the bank.

1. Break out the pretty china.

Save your university mugs for another time. High tea is the time to channel your inner Marie Antoinette and bring out dishes, cups and cutlery that look like little works of art. It will just add to the whole experience and impress your guests to boot.

2. Set the mood with scents.

Our sense of smell is deeply entwined with our memories and emotions. Though it may seem simple, lighting a scented candle, burning some incense, or putting out a dish of potpourri can really create a beautiful atmosphere. You can also choose specific scents depending on the season or occasion – for example, I love soft floral scents in the spring and summer, and woody candles in the fall and winter.

3. Prep some salty and sweet appetizers.

You can’t have a high tea without serving some nibbles! It’s always best to serve a variety of different flavours, with savoury and sugary options to please all of your guests’ tastes.


4. Keep a variety of teas.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have a few different options on hand to suit your guests’ preferences. Some people only drink green tea, while others prefer classic black. It’s also a good idea to offer a herbal tea as well, just in case someone is sensitive to caffeine. Keep things interesting with a variety of flavours – think floral jasmine, sweet vanilla, and classic earl grey.


5. Leave a lasting impression.

It’s always a sweet touch to have a little takeaway token prepared to give your guests when they leave. They don’t need to be big or expensive, just a small gift to thank your guests for coming and to remind them of your high tea! Handmade gifts have a personal touch that you just can’t get from a store, and I love the idea of centering your gift around, what else? Tea. And how cute are these tea cup planters?!

xoxo,

Alicia

Vegetarian Enchiladas


Photo via WeHeartIt

For a long time I have wanted to adopt a vegetarian diet and I have finally decided to take a leap and just do it. I know that there are going to be challenges ahead of me – mainly battling temptation while eating with my family and boyfriend, all of whom love meat and think I’m a bit of lunatic for trying to give it up again. Maybe now that I have put this out into the webosphere I will feel like I’m held even more accountable for my eating habits. I’m super stoked to try more vegetarian dishes and I decided to try and replicate one of my favorite meals – enchiladas – without using any meat. I made this for my boyfriend the other day and he said that he couldn’t even tell that it was meatless. It was flavourful and filling, and a lot lighter in calories than the enchiladas I used to make. It was also super easy! Whether or not you are a vegetarian, I am pretty confident that you will enjoy this dish!

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 2 Cups of Veggie Ground
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Bell Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Chili Powder (or to taste)
  • Dash of Salt
  • Dash of Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup of Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Cheese
  • 1 Can of Lima Beans


Photo via WeHeartIt

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (Celsius).

2. Chop the onion into small cubes and sautée with olive oil and the veggie ground. Add the garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Sautée for 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent.

3. Grease a baking dish with a bit of olive oil (or coconut oil) and lay out tortillas.

4. Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl (I used pre-made sauce) and scoop a spoonful onto a tortilla and spread the sauce from edge to edge, covering the tortilla. Scoop a couple of spoonfuls of the veggie mixture into the tortilla and sprinkle cheese on top. Roll the wrap and place into the baking dish. Repeat this and line up the enchiladas until all of the mixture is used up.

5. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and spread it as evenly as possible across. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top of the enchiladas.

6. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, cilantro and guacamole. Enjoy!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Also, if anyone has any vegetarian recipes you think I should try, let me know in the comments!

 

xoxo,

Alicia