Spinach, Blueberry, & Toasted Almond Salad

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Last summer while traveling with friends in Poland, we stopped by an adorable pierogi restaurant to purchase pierogies for lunch to bring on our bus ride. The extensive menu listed over 50 different savory filling combinations — mostly some combo of potato, onions, meats, cheeses, etc — but after scanning the list and finding the small section of fruit options at the bottom, I immediately knew that I needed the blueberry. There was no other option.

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Ever since then, my dear friend Laura insists on pointing out to me every time I eat blueberries that I have a weird obsession with them. I don’t eat blueberries often throughout the year, so I never really realized up until her wise remarks that it’s kind of true: I love blueberries. I remember sitting outside of an ice cream stand in Maine with my family a few summers ago, happily sipping a blueberry milkshake when everyone within a 100-ft radius of me was holding an ice cream cone. In middle school, my go-to frozen Eggo waffle flavor of choice was never the plain or the chocolate-chip that my brother liked, but the way-too-sweet blueberry-filled ones. Over my four years in college dining halls, I looked forward to the mornings with blueberry crepes on the menu because it meant that I could apply a liberal serving of the blueberry filling on top of my bowl of hot oats. Looking back now, I fully admit it: My name is Rachel and I love blueberries.

This isn’t much of a recipe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less deserving of its own post. Simply add some warm toasted slivered almonds and a sprinkling of fresh blueberries on top of a bed of spinach (or any greens), add your dressing of choice (I chose a tangy sesame ginger dressing, which worked well), and there you go. A simple, fresh salad with a delicious crunch!

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Another reason to love blueberries. 🙂

Question: Favorite way to eat blueberries?

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2-Ingredient Chocolate Banana Soft-Serve

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I have a love affair with my food processor, and I’m not afraid to admit it. And now that the weather has been consistently hot and humid, I’ve been making little batches of banana ice cream a few times a week. I can’t stop!

To be honest, I’ve never been the biggest fan of ice cream in general. It tastes delicious — don’t get me wrong — but I’ve never been one to crave ice cream for dessert, and almost always prefer other desserts when given the choice. But this is absolutely perfect for me: not only does it taste incredible, but it’s 100% all natural, vegan, not too sweet nor heavy, and way easier and faster than making any sort of dairy-based ice cream at home.

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2-Ingredient Chocolate Banana Soft Serve: (for 1 serving) vegan

  • 1 large, ripe, frozen banana
  • 1 Tb. natural 100% cocoa powder
  • optional add-ins: splash of milk of choice (for a creamier consistency), sweetener (I used dark chocolate-flavored liquid stevia drops, which is a find that I highly recommend!), chocolate chips, coconut flakes, peanut butter, etc.

In a food processor (or good blender), pulse frozen banana until creamy consistency is reached. Add 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder and optional sweetener and blend until incorporated and preferred texture is reached.

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I ate mine (for breakfast) alongside a scoop of Greek yogurt, which brought the cool creaminess to a whole new level. A super chocolatey, banana-y, and healthy bowl of goodness. 🙂

Question: Have you ever tried to make your own ice cream or any sort of fruit-based soft-serve?

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl: A New Friend

For the past few months, I’ve had something stored on my bedroom dresser that I haven’t really told people about.

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Peanut Butter & Co’s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter. Now, let me get this straight– I’ve been wanting to open this jar for months now. But being the [slightly] obsessive person that I am, I made it my priority to finish at least one of the three nut butters I had open before I could start the next one. Logical, right?

Yesterday afternoon, friends, my Trader Joe’s salted almond butter came to an end. This long-awaited event brought a mix of emotions. It’s always a bit saddening to see the bottom of a jar of nut butter reveal itself, but on the other hand, it also allows for new doors to be opened.

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This stuff is very cinnamon-y, sweet, and absolutely delicious. There was no pool of oil sitting at the top when I opened it, which gave me the green light to just stick my spoon in and go. After a few mini spoonfuls of utter bliss, I decided to be more civil and spread it on some celery for a little twist on one of my very favorite food pairings!

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Surprisingly, I thought it tasted a little lighter than normal natural peanut butter, and this is curiously holds true in the nutrition facts (somehow a normal 2 Tb. serving size is a bit less calories and fat than normal peanut butter? Interesting, especially since there’s added palm fruit oil in the ingredient list).

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Regardless of its label, PB & Co has, once again, outdone itself.

Question: Have you tried any of the PB & Co peanut butters? This one and the dark chocolate dreams are both amazing in my opinion!

A Fresh Start

Let’s begin in the way all things should: with breakfast.

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A lovely bowl of chopped peaches, banana, blackberries, and blueberries. It’s the middle of July, the temperature is hovering somewhere between 90 and 100 degrees, and the time is ripe for a simple and refreshing fruit  bowl to start the day.

I’ve been hesitant about starting my own full-fledged blog for a year or two now. I’ve been a full-time college student for the past fours years without a kitchen at my disposal, so needless to say it’s been a bit difficult to prepare my own food (and take enjoyment in it at the same time) during this period. After graduating college this May with a bachelors degree in psychology, well, things are a bit different; instead of spending countless hours procrastinating in the form of reading food blogs, I can finally start my own!

This is where I’ll be sharing little tid-bits of my life that involve food, health, and all things peanutty (I’m looking at you, peanut butter). I love healthy food and I’ve been a vegetarian for years, but I believe that healthy food should be practical, and eating and enjoying food should be a simple affair. I won’t be spending hours trying to get that one “perfect shot” of a salad bowl, and I also probably won’t make the same recipe 10 times in a day in hopes of perfecting it to the last granule of sea salt. Now without further ado, let’s get breakfast!