I have love chocolate, sweets, and candy as much as the next girl, but beautiful smoothie bowls make me just as happy.
I have had a pitaya (or dragon fruit) smoothie bowl on my list of recipes to develop for a long time, but hadn’t fit it into my ingredient of the week scheduling. But when I started to think about what treats to make for Valentine’s Day, I knew the bright pink color of dragon fruit would be perfect!
So this Valentine’s Day, ditch the chocolate for a pretty in pink smoothie bowl, just kidding chocolate and flowers are always a good idea.
Pitaya Smoothie Bowl
because Valentine's Day doesn't only have to be about chocolate!
4tbspnonfat greek yogurt
In a blender or food processor, add the frozen pitaya and frozen raspberries. Add the yogurt and milk one tablespoon at a time until its the consistency you want.
Pour the smoothie into a bowl.
Add granola, chia seeds, pomegranate seeds, and raspberries to the bowl.
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I was in Denver for work a couple of weeks ago where I stumbled upon the most amazing restaurant, Mercantile Dining & Provisions. A friend as I had the privilege of sitting at the chef’s counter because that was the only seat available. What a lucky opportunity. With the exception of watching the chefs use more butter than I probably go through in a year, it was absolutely mesmerizing watching them cook and everything we ate was delicious (guessing that the butter had something to do with it.)
I knew I had to recreate the Chopped Brussels Sprout Salad the minute I took a bite. It featured the best fall flavors like pear butter and pumpkin seeds, so it seemed like a great addition to my Thanksgiving Table. I couldn’t find pear butter, and I removed the prosciutto and butter, but the results are still absolutely delicious.
Brussels Sprouts with Pear Pomegranate Figs and Feta
I feel like I cannot share a recipe without addressing the elephant in the room, but at the same time I am not one to share my political views all over the internet. But to say the least, I am sad and disheartened by the results of Tuesday’s elections.
That being said, cooking (and really baking) has always been a great coping mechanism for me. And so I am going to share my recipes as planned. Especially since I’ve created Thanksgiving theme, I think its important to recognize there are still things to be thankful for.
So, today I am sharing a salad recipe to serve on Thanksgiving or really any fall day, featuring persimmons. Persimmons are a beautiful and delicious fruit that are only in season for a few months of the fall. It’s hard to describe what they taste like, it’s similar to honey or dates, but with a different texture depending on ripeness.
Yesterday I shared my feelings on appetizers on thanksgiving (necessary), and I have a similar feeling about salads, necessary. I think is great to have something fresh and light on a plate that usually is filled with rich and heavy sides.
My family is definitely split on this issue but I know at least a few of them will be happy to see this salad on the table!
I am trying something a little different for the next few weeks. Instead of featuring an Ingredient, I will cook one dish at a time a Thanksgiving menu (sans the Turkey) I refuse to be responsible for the turkey.
So let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.
I am told there is a debate on whether it’s worth it to have on appetizers on Thanksgiving or if its better to just stick to the main event.
In my family, there is no a question. Appetizers are essential. How could one possibly wait until late afternoon to start the Thanksgiving feast. A true Thanksgiving means feasting all day.
For my thanksgiving menu, I think the ultimate appetizer is cheese. I have long admired How Sweet It Is cheese plate making abilities so I figured Thanksgiving was the perfect time to put my cheese plate making abilities to the test.
For my cheese plate, I started out with a baked brie because why not. A baked brie is always the best cheese on a cheese plate. For thanksgiving, cranberries and pomegranate seem like the natural topping for brie, right. I actually think I made this one last year too.
After the brie, I went with a Creamy Toscano Cheese Soaked in Syrah from Trader Joe’s and a Berry Goat Cheese to stick to the red/pink/purple color palette. I added two “butters” apple butter and fig butter as well as dried cranberries. Last but not least, you need a baguette and then I went with Rosemary Raisin Crisps from Trader Joe’s and a multi-grain cracker.
It finally feels like fall in DC so I am celebrating the only way I know how… with all the fall flavors. Pumpkin Pomegranate and Brussels Sprouts!
As delicious as this dish is, one thing it is not is a one pot meal. I wish! A pot for the farro, a skillet for the brussels, a cookie sheet for the pumpkin= one big mess. And if there is one thing I absolutely hate its cleaning up. I will cook forever if I never have to clean a dish again which is why top on my lists of must haves at any apartment is a dishwasher.
But on the bright side, this is a great dish to make on Sunday and eat all week. Add a little vegetable broth when you heat it up to bring out the flavors. Anyone a weekend meal prep warrior? It certainly makes healthy eating so much easier on long stressful days. Since I do the majority of cooking for my blog on the weekends. I am typically eating everything I make all week… including this dish for lunch tomorrow!
Pancakes are another Valentine’s Day essential in my book. Is there anything better than waking up to the smell of warm pancakes on the weekend! (honestly, I wouldn’t know because I am always the one making them). I first made these raspberry chocolate chip pancakes for my boyfriend last Valentine’s Day and they must have been good because we’ve made it to another! I’m telling you these pancakes are that good!
The chocolate raspberry combination is not only perfect for cupcakes it’s also perfect in pancakes. I find when I am out for brunch and see pancakes on the menu I am looking for this combo but I never see it. Fruit pancakes are great and chocolate chip pancakes are top notch too, but unless you are mixing fruit and chocolate chips together than you haven’t really experienced pancakes.
The second best part about these pancakes is that 3 pancakes still fit within my nutrition criteria. The Greek yogurt adds great texture to the pancakes without adding any saturated fat. I chose to make the pancakes half and half with whole wheat flour and all purpose flour to please taste buds, but you could certainly make them with all whole wheat flour. The same goes with the pomegranates. If you have them add them! if you don’t the pancakes are still perfect!
In order to get the heart shape pancakes, I just used a knife to cut a heart shape. If you have large cookie cutters that would work too. For the heart shape butter, I used very small cookie cutters. These steps are of course not necessary but it’s always fun to get into the Valentine’s Day spirit. The pancakes nutrition information do not include butter or syrup, use whatever you prefer but remember butter has a high saturated fat content and syrup is all sugar!
You won’t miss your summer salads after trying this version celebrating 2 delicious winter fruits: pomegranate and pears.
I love salad with fruit, I just can’t get enough of them. I really don’t like typical garden salads. Iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes and cucumber… not a salad in my book. Spinach, fresh berries, and some avocado…now that’s what I call a salad. Although salads with fruit are definitely harder to come by in the winter, especially in New England, I’ve got you covered with this pear and pomegranate combo.
This salad uses arugula as its base. I think the peppery flavor pairs nicely with the sweet fruit. Sometimes I find arugula to be a bit too peppery, if that’s the case for you can add half arugula half spinach.
The elephant in the room with this salad is the Parmesan Cheese. I know it seems out of place but trust me it works so well! Actually trust Jessica of How Sweet It Is. I discovered the fruit/Parmesan combination on her website and have been obsessed with it ever since. I like to use Trader Joes freshly saved Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese. The large shavings are perfect for a salad. The bonus is that this Parmesan “blend” is much more affordable than traditional Parmesan.
Although the salad is a recipe for one, the dressing will serve much more, about eight servings. I keep the dressing in the fridge and it last about a week. It will like separate in the fridge, but just shake it before using. I know many homemade vinaigrettes used mustard as an emulsifier, but I really dislike mustard. I did some research and found that honey was a pretty good substitute. Without mustard the dressing might separate more, but I am happy with the consistency and taste without it.
What I love most about this salad and dressing is that they are both great formulas for many salad variations. It’s easy to swap any fruit, lettuce, seed/nut, and cheese for another to make the salad completely different. I will certainly post some of my favorite variations on this blog. Even the dressing can be modified to fit with different salad combinations. You can swap in any type of vinegar for the apple cider vinegar.
I first discovered overnight oats a few years and have been hooked ever since. It’s so easy to prepare yet it feels more indulgent than yogurt or instant oatmeal. The best part is, if you make it in a jar, you can bring it with you on the go. I am a big fan of eating breakfast at work rather than before work, so I like the portability of overnight oats. For me, I don’t want to waste any time eating breakfast in the morning at home that could instead be time sleeping in bed 😉
Since this week’s feature ingredient is pomegranate I added lots of arils to my jar. I have previously mentioned that I prefer to eat seasonal produce but I do buy frozen fruit from time to time to add to smoothies, yogurt, and pancakes. This week I had frozen raspberries in the freezer so I added those to my jar as well. Before you eat your overnight oats in the morning, add any ingredients that you don’t want to put in the fridge overnight, like nuts, seeds, or granola.
This recipe uses a tablespoon of chia seeds. Have you ever used them before? Chia seeds are an ancient Mayan and Aztec seed that have grown increasingly popular due to its many health benefits. Chia seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which help reduce cholesterol and inflammation. They also are an excellent source of fiber and a good source of calcium.
Do you know the difference between and excellent source and a good source? Foods described as an excellent source of a certain vitamin or mineral have greater than 20% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) whereas foods that are a good source have between 10-19 of the recommended daily intake (RDI). Chia seeds start off as little seeds but when you put them in milk they change into a texture similar to tapioca. It’s definitely an interesting texture, but when I add them to yogurt or oats along with fruit I don’t mind the texture at all.
Prep this breakfast when you are making your lunch for the next day, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Pomegranates are one of my favorite fall/winter fruits. Besides having a sweet taste, they are also beautiful to photograph. The edible part of the pomegranate is actually its seeds, which are also known as arils. Pomegranates are high in Vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Roughly 1 pomegranate is equal to 1 cup of fruit.
Do you know how to cut a pomegranate? I can’t say that I know the right way, but I put together a series of photos to show you how I cut them. Before you start…BEWARE… pomegranate juice stains!
make sure you have a large working space and a sharp knife
it’s about to get messy
cut all the way through
make a small cut into one of the halves, pull apart the two halves with your hands
I use my fingers to pull out all the seeds, it’s helpful to have a bowl to place them in
this image shows what the inside looks like as you start to remove the arils
these are all the arils that came from that small piece of skin
you don’t have to do it all at once, place half the pomegranate in a plastic bag and leave it in the fridge for later
This calls for a celebration! And what celebration is complete without a cake! Welcome to my blog. I am so excited to share my love of food with you.
So what am I celebrating? I have just earned two masters degrees in Nutrition & Public Health. It’s been a lot of work over the past couple of years but it was certainly worth it! Now that I finally have some free time on my hands I want to share with you everything I have learned about nutrition and health.
I hope this blog evolves to provide my readers with healthy and nutritious recipes and meal plans. I have so many ideas of how to make this blog unique so please stay tuned to see what I can come up with!
After telling you all of this, why am I sharing a recipe for cake! Well because I love cake and all sweets as a matter of fact. My food philosophy doesn’t limit any food group or ingredient. I just think of sweets as treats-foods reserved for special occasions (and hey sometimes Wednesday is a special occasion). The words balance and moderation are often thrown around when it comes to food but from what I have learned so far, I still believe the principles of balance and moderation to be true.
For my first recipe I wanted to create something that involved flour (for baking) and fruit. Figs are one of my favorite fruits but they are not in season in the winter. In general, I like to eat seasonal produce and I will typically share seasonally inspired recipes. But being that I named my blog after figs, I really wanted to figure out a way to incorporate them for my first post. I compromised by using fig jam (I bought it at Trader Joes) and placed a few dried figs on top for decoration. I also decorated the cake with rosemary sprigs and pomegranate arils.
Will you please enjoy this cake with me?
This recipe does not meet the added sugar criteria, I have set for this blog. If this cake is cut into 10 pieces, once slice has 55g of added sugars. Please check back often for new sweets with less added sugar.