Tuscan Kale, Balsamic Sweet Potato and Wild Rice Warm Salad – #vegan #getinmybelly

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Okay, so this salad has been my new favorite meal – I like it so much I eat the leftovers for breakfast sometimes. It’s a spin off of my Faux Sweet Green Salad Recipe – and I absolutely love that it’s warm. So it might be a big favorite in the fall but I’m sharing it now as there were many people on Instagram asking for the recipe!! Super easy to make, you can find Tuscan Kale at your local supermarket or preferably at your local farmers market! Try to buy organic where and when possible! I hope you all enjoy it!

What you need:

  • 1 Head of Tuscan Kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, cubed
  • 2 Cups of Wild Rice, cooked
  • Green Onion
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of white wine (can use water if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup (+ more for sweet potatoes) of Balsamic Vinaigrette (this is something that if you buy from an artisan oil and vinegar shop can REALLY transform the dish!) – try to splurge on nice olive oil and balsamic when possible 🙂
  • Salt, Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes
  • Balsamic Drizzle for topping
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Heat Oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit, place sweet potato cubes on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil, balsamic vinegar and S&P over them mixing to coat evenly. Cook for 20-35 minutes depending on how cooked you prefer them (I actually like when they are a little charred!)
  2. Meanwhile, cook rice, chop kale, prep other ingredients.
  3. Once rice and potatoes are done, drizzle olive oil in a pan and add the kale and 2-3 stems of green onion also roughly chopped, seasoning with salt and pepper. Turn heat to medium and add the white wine and cover, reducing heat as necessary.
  4. Make sure to keep stirring so the ingredients don’t stick to the pan.
  5. Once Kale looks bright green, add rice, sweet potatoes, garlic and season.
  6. Add balsamic vinegar and continue stirring.
  7. Once the smells are very fragrant and the ingredients have soaked up most of the liquid, plate and serve warm.
  8. I suggest drizzling balsamic glaze, topping with fresh herbs and red pepper flakes…Enjoy!!
  9. For my carnivore readers – this is a great salad to top with grilled salmon or warmed goat cheese!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xoxo

Zucchini & Kale Ricotta Fritters

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Happy Wednesday!! I am so excited about using ingredients from our garden for the first time, ever. We are growing cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, green onion and herbs this year. Here I was able to chop up fresh green onion which tasted so much more powerful than ones I have bought at the grocery store!

These were super yummy, cheesy and gooey in the middle with a nice crunch on the outside. I achieved this by dipping the fritters/cakes in panko bread crumbs before pan frying in coconut or olive oil. Because these are so rich, they leave you feeling full. It doesn’t even feel like you’re eating zucchini and kale! Another great option would be to serve this over some lemony arugula with a citrus dressing to balance out the flavors. Hope you all enjoy!

What you need:

  • 2 medium zucchini (organic), grated
  • 1 green onion (chop up whites for the mixture and greens for topping)
  • 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs and extra for dipping before frying
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of parmesan
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups of kale chopped finely
  • 1/2 tsp dried chives
  • zest from one lemon
  • plain greek yogurt for dipping

Directions:

  1. Grate the zucchini. Place in a bowl and salt. Place in fridge for 10 or so minutes. Remove and take a clean towel or paper towel and squeeze out as much water as possible. Place back in a large bowl.
  2. To the zucchini add the ricotta, parmesan, egg, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
  3. Let the batter sit in fridge for 15-20 minutes.
  4. On a plate pour some panko bread crumbs for dipping before frying.
  5. Heat a pan with coconut or olive oil.
  6. Take mixture out of fridge and add 1/2 cup or more of bread crumbs achieving a sticky but combining texture.
  7. Take a large spoonful of the mix and roll into a medium sized patty of some sort, then dip on both sides in the panko. Add to the hot oiled pan.
  8. Pan fry for a few minutes on each side until they are golden brown or a little darker (we prefer it crunchier)!
  9. Serve hot with greek yogurt topped with chives and lemon zest. Salt and pepper to taste. Add the remaining green onion.
  10. ENJOY!!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xoxo

Roasted Garlic, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos (Vegan, Gluten Free, DELICIOUS!)

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Happy Friday!!! What a couple of weeks it has been! We are now only 28 days away from our wedding celebration. I am soooooooo excited to see all of the details I have been working so hard on come into reality. Wedding Planning without hiring a professional planner is basically like having another job — I give major props to everyone in that profession. You have to be extremely detail oriented!

With all this warm weather I am constantly craving tacos and margs!!

T A C O S!!! Who doesn’t love them?

I am a sucker for some sweet potatoes and roasted garlic so I decided to roast them in the oven together to get a nice char on the potatoes and a creaminess from the roasted garlic. I seasoned them with a store bought organic fajita spice mix that I used for the beans and veggies as well. When you incorporate the spice throughout the meal, it really brings a unity to all the ingredients. This can be vegan or you can add cheese if you are a queso lover like me ❀

We topped this with a Pineapple and Mango salsa from Wegmans which was the bomb. When coupled with hot sauce, the flavors balanced out so well and the taste was INCREDIBLE!

These are so filling and hearty compared to most veggie tacos – I highly recommend. Let me know if you try them via social media with the hashtag: #jessicaashleyrecipes

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!!

What you need:

  • Tortillas (corn if you want to keep Gluten Free)
  • 2 Organic Green Peppers
  • 1 Small/Medium sized onion
  • 1 large Sweet Potato, cubed (I prefer to leave the skin on)
  • 1 Can or Package of Black Beans (BPA Free!)
  • 2 bulbs of Garlic (left in their natural covering for roasting)
  • Olive Oil
  • Organic Fajita Spice Packet
  • Lime Juice
  • Fresh Organic Cilantro

Directions:

  1. Heat Oven to 400 degree F
  2. Prepare Sweet Potato Cubes and Garlic Bulbs by tossing in olive oil and 1/4 of the spice packet. Add juice from 1 lime wedge.
  3. Roast in Oven for 35-40 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, chop onion and peppers julienne style and toss in olive oil, lime juice (1-2 wedges) and 1/2 of the spice packet.
  5. Rinse Black Beans and add in small pot. Season with 1/4 (rest of the spice packet). Lime zest, and 1/2 lime juice.
  6. Toss the onion and peppers in a large pan with 1/4 cup water, cover and reduce heat to medium.
  7. Continue stirring veggie mix every so often as to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan.
  8. Once the veggies are soft they are finished, reduce heat to low to keep warm or turn off and cover.
  9. Heat Beans on medium heat and then reduce to low to keep warm.
  10. Once the sweet potato and garlic is ready remove from oven and squeeze the garlic out of its shell into bowl with potatoes.
  11. Heat Taco Shells.
  12. Build tacos with Beans, Veggies, Potatoes, Garlic, Cheese (optional), pineapple/Mango Salsa, fresh cilantro, hot sauce (optional).
  13. ENJOY!!!!!!!

Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes (gluten free, vegetarian, delicious!)

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Happy Thursday, guys! I haven’t posted a recipe in a while…I totally admit to neglecting my blog a little bit. I have been taking my 200 hour yoga certification class which I have been putting off for YEARS. But it is totally LIFE changing!! On top of that, and my other full time job and teaching yoga and being a mom and oh yeah planning a wedding…I totally put this on the back burner for a hot minute. BUT–I am back with an awesome recipe. I have never used Spaghetti Squash in this way. These babies took me back to the days of growing up eating homemade potato pancakes! These are made with cooked quinoa, spaghetti squash, kale (you can use spinach if you want), parmesan cheese, gluten free flour and eggs. So simple, yet they were soooooo delicious. Let me know what you think!!

What you will need:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash, cooked previously (I did mine a day before)
    • Heat oven to 425 degrees and cut squash in half. Remove seeds and center. Spray with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook cut side down so the outside of the squash is facing up for 35 minutes or so until the squash is nice and soft and you can scrape (just to check if it’s done) the edges to see the “spaghetti”. LET COOL and then finish scraping the sides so all the “spaghetti” shows!!! After, try squeezing as much water out of the “noodles” using paper towels over the sink. You can store the spaghetti squash in the fridge for up to 5 days which helps remove the liquid in it. I waited only one day.
  • 2 cups COOKED quinoa
  • 2/3 Cup flour (I used Red Mill’s All purpose gluten free flour)
  • 1 cup uncooked, finely chopped Kale (or whatever green you would like)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Green onion for topping
  • sour cream or greek yogurt for topping
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a kitchenaid or bowl with hand mixer add the 2 eggs and beat on high for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add flour and beat on medium to combine – another minute or so.
  3. Add spaghetti squash, quinoa, kale, garlic, and cheese and mix on medium until fully combined.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat a pan on extremely high heat (the cakes will stick unless the pan in hot).
  6. Then add some olive or coconut oil to the pan, it should sizzle and maybe smoke just a little bit.
  7. Drop a large spoonful of the batter 4 times onto the pan and use a spatula to round out the shape and flatten a little bit.
  8. Cook 2 minutes or so, I actually preferred the outside a bit crunchy so I would leave them on for a little longer.
  9. Then flip, cooking additional 1-2 minutes.
  10. Turn heat off of the pan and allow the cakes to chill in there still cooking for another 1-2 minutes (check if they are too burnt and skip this step if you want, I preferred to do this step every time).
  11. Remove cakes from pan and place on plate.
  12. Continue process until all batter is used.
  13. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the green onion and add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt (preferably organic!!) if you would like for a classic potato pancake flavor.
  14. Enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy these cakes as much as my family did yesterday. It is a great way to get some extra veggies in your diet. Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

“Like the bar” Veggie Wrap (Vegan, easy, delicious!)

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Happy Sunday, everyone! In Northern Virginia we experienced a high of 78 degrees last week. No joke I put on a bathing suit and was outside in FEBRUARY! Totally enjoying it and soaking it up of course, but then my mind is like…GLOBAL WARMING AHHHH!!! Now it is back to feeling like a crisp winter day.

So as a Vegetarian, eating out can be a bit challenging. One of my favorite meals to order out is a Grilled Veggie Wrap. But, in most cases, the ingredients aren’t organic and yet the price is pretty steep. We have owned a George Foreman grill for like, 5 years and have barely used it. But we just discovered using it as a panini press and it has been life changing!!! baha.

I made this vegan veggie wrap with veggies we had grilled the previous night and some fresh kale, cucumber and onion. I dipped it in Annie’s Balsamic Vinaigrette. IT WAS SO GOOD. The vegan shredded cheese is “Daiya” but you can make it non-vegan with regular cheese.

This is so easy to do, it does require knowing how to roll a burrito [just google it and you will figure it out pretty quickly 😉 ]

What you need:

  • Whole Wheat tortilla, option to use gluten free tortilla
  • Hummus (I used roasted garlic!)
  • Veggies of your choice-I chose:
    • Fresh Kale (I massaged)
    • Cucumber
    • Fresh Red Onion
    • Grilled Veggies (zucchini, yellow squash, onion)
  • Daiya Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • Jalapeños (I like the kick!) optional of course
  • Dressing of choice for dipping

Directions:

  1. Assemble the ingredients on tortilla
  2. Heat your panini press, George Foreman or pan
  3. Spray (pan/press/foreman) with olive oil or coconut oil
  4. Wrap tortilla with contents into a burrito
  5. Place wrap on heated surface and press down
  6. Wait a few minutes until outside is a little crispy and everything is heated on the inside
  7. Serve with dressing for dipping
  8. Enjoy!

In my attempt to focus more of a vegan, plant based diet this is something I can definitely incorporate. It was tasty and filling!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xoxo

Protein Pancakes (simple, gluten free, healthy)

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Happy Wednesday, everybody! I hope you all enjoyed your long weekend. I love having my birthday fall on a long weekend every year but it’s usually freezing in Virginia. Luckily we were blessed with 70 degree weather and had a blast at Stone Tower Winery in Leesburg, VA.

After indulging in cake and wine, I am making it a point to eat healthier this week! Sofia and I love making these easy protein pancakes. The great thing about them is that you can change up the flavor whenever you want. We top them with real organic Maple Syrup, nut butters or just enjoy plain!

What you need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 organic egg
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • optional: 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • optional: 1 tsp cinnamon
  • optional: ground oats or protein pancake mix
  • optional: fruit

Directions:

  1. Take all ingredients and blend in a blender until combined.
  2. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Heat a griddle or pan on medium heat.
  4. Pour batter onto griddle, option to add blueberries here.
  5. These cook extra quick so to do it evenly I recommend covering the pan with a glass lid.
  6. Flip when air bubbles show up throughout.
  7. Top with your favorite toppings and enjoy!! This will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

Enjoy! Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xoxo

 

Gooey Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, no butter, no refined sugar!)

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Happy Monday!! Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was pretty relaxed, but the weather turned SUPER winter in the DC area. We are even expecting snow next weekend which I am extra excited for since my mom and sister will be in town visiting for the holidays.

Now to these cookies…can you believe I snapped these pics with my phone? #vscocam for the win!! I dislike wasting anything (food, water, energy, time, etc)…but there is something about bananas where they just ripen too quickly for us to eat them and then they are black. What to do, what to do? I usually freeze the peeled bananas and save them for smoothies which is great or homemade banana ice cream (I know, yum!). But since it is fall/feels like winter, I am coming up with recipes to use them for baking.

Bananas have a lot of natural sugar so it’s so easy not to have to add a lot of additional sweeteners. I stay away from refined sugar as much as possible so I sweetened these with one cup of maple syrup (that’s it!). Rather than butter I chose coconut oil and I used oatmeal and gluten free all purpose flour for the base. They are very banana in taste (I love banana, though) and if you are a PB lover like I am, drizzle some warm Peanut butter on top and then die of love for these cookies.

Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 2 small-med overly ripened bananas
  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup (the good stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 cups of gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 cup of organic chocolate chips or cacao chips (if using cacao chips, might want to add more sweetener such as agave!)

Directions:

  1. I used a kitchenaid but you can use a handheld mixer and one large bowl for this recipe. Combine the egg, bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and beat on medium for about 3 minutes (should be on the runnier side than traditional cookies)
  2. Stop mixer, add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and beat together for another minute.
  3. Stop, add chocolate chips and either hand mix with large spoon or beat on low to mix together.
  4. REFRIGERATE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS (up to 4 days!)
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  6. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet
  7. Using a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon scoop the dough and roll into little balls, placing on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-13 minutes depending on the ripeness of your bananas and how long you refrigerate you might want to taste test and cook some more!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you (and non-wasteful!!), xo!

Yummy Cuban Bowl (easy, vegan, gluten free!)

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I am sooo surprised I have not made Cuban food before. It is SOOO yummy! This is going in our regular recipes for sure because the whole family liked it! Most of the ingredients can be made ahead of time and you can just reheat and add them all to the bowl. I hope you guys love it!!

What you will need:

  • 1 cup of uncooked rice (I chose wild brown rice)
  • 1 sweet potato cubed
  • 1 Super ripe (almost black) Plantain!! (not a banana)
  • 1 Can of organic Black Beans
  • 3 small tomatoes or 1 large
  • Cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/3 red onion (instead of the above 4 ingredients you can buy store bought pico de gallo!)
  • 1 lime
  • 1 avocado
  • cumin
  • pink salt
  • coconut oil
  • Cayenne Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook rice from packaging directions.
  2. If you are making your own pico de gallo, add 1 cup of diced tomato, 1 large bunch of chopped cilantro, 1/3 of finely chopped red onion, deseed and devein the jalapeno and chopped into small pieces (be careful, do not touch your eyes or face), add salt!!
  3. Cube the sweet potato and then sauté in coconut oil over med high heat and season with cumin and salt, stirring frequently for 10+ min or so on each side until it is soft (taste before removing from heat).
  4. Place sweet potato in bowl and cover with foil to trap heat
  5. Peel the plantain by drawing a sharp knife along the ridges and removing the peel. Then chop into coins cutting on an angle and trying to get all at the same size so they cook the same time. I like mine thin!
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or more in same pan and then add plantain, cooking on both sides until golden brown or crispy.
  7. Remove and cover with foil
  8. Add beans to same pan, season with cumin and some cayenne for an extra kick.
  9. Assemble the bowls with rice, beans, sweet potatoes, plantains, pico de gallo, avocado slices and a lime wedge for squeezing over top!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Snacks on Snacks… (healthy and toddler approved!)

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Happy Monday, everyone!! Who doesn’t like snacks??? A few months ago Sofie used to call them “nacks” and would constantly say, mommy nack please…please mommy!!! Needless to say, nacks are the best. I find TONS of great options at Homegoods and TJ Maxx. A few online places I shop at are Amazon, Vitacost, and Jet.com.

I thought I would share some of our favorites with you. As a mom to a toddler, I know how important it is to always have some healthy snacks (that she actually likes) on the go. Most of these you can take with you!

Some of Our Favorite Snacks:

  1. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks…available at most grocery stores and online. Hard to tell who loves them more (Kiril or Sofia, haha!)
  2. Avocado Toast… Literally spread avocado onto a piece of toast and that’s it. If you want to get fancy you can season with pink salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, add roasted garlic, Sriarcha, whatever you fancy…goes great with eggs, too! (EASY BREAKFAST FOR THE WIN)
  3. Organic Dried Mango…Sofia’s absolute favorite fruit in the whole world. We buy the organic frozen mango cubes too and that’s another fun favorite. But these pouches are great to slip into our diaper bag and head on out for the day. I buy them in bulk from Amazon.
  4. Sustainable Indulgence Cookies… These are my favorite of this list. Put almond butter in between two and you have a yummy cookie sandwich. I found this brand at Homegoods–but they have tons of flavors. I recommend ordering online!
  5. Biena Chickpeas…So Kiril and I also found these in the snack section of Homegoods and after trying them he ordered an ENTIRE BOX of like, 40 bags. All different flavors (habanero, sea salt, cinnamon, etc). THEY ARE SO BOMB.
  6. Justin’s Nut Butters (Banana optional!)… These are sold at the grocery store. I like the little pouches but we also have the jar because let’s be honest, a spoon plus justin’s is heavenly
  7. Yogurt… Siggi’s is a pretty good brand of yogurt and Sofia’s favorite is Lifeway Organics. Both yummy and both Toddler Approved!

Hope you guys enjoy this list and have a chance to try some of these yummy treats. Happy nacking’!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Fall Quinoa Vegetable Soup (gluten free, vegan, healthy)

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Sometimes the weather just says SOUP. Not like in the movie it’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (if you have kids you may have watched it, ha.) BUT seriously, I love cuddling up with some hot soup a blanket and Netflix. Add some wine and it’s a party for one!

Sofia as always is my little helper. She LOVED this soup (TODDLER APPROVED, what?) Bonus we froze half of it and thats a lunch or dinner I don’t have to make in the future. WINNING!

This soup was pretty easy to make. Have you thought about using quinoa in soup before? I have tried pasta and rice but not quinoa. IT is awesome. It’s hearty and filling while absorbing the flavors and being extra tasty.

I hope you guys enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 1 Box of Organic Veggie Stock (4 cups) or 2 if you subtract the water below
  • 4 Cups of water
  • 1 Cup Organic Quinoa (uncooked)
  • 3 Organic Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 sweet potato chopped at the same thickness as the carrots
  • 2 Organic celery stalks chopped
  • 1 Large can of organic Diced Tomatoes, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Small onions chopped finely, or 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 tsp dried organic thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Zucchini and 1 Yellow Squash (or about 1-2 cups of seasonal veggies of your choice)
  • Pink Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • spinach or kale (1-2 cups)
  • 1 can of chick peas, rinsed (BPA free can!)
  • 3 TBSP Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Wash, Dry, and Chop produce
  2. In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil and then add onion, carrot, celery, and sweet potato. Season with salt and pepper
  3. Cook for 4 min or so when onion becomes translucent
  4. Add seasonal veggies, cook for 4 more min or so, stirring often
  5. Add the garlic and Thyme, cooking about 1 minute when it becomes extra fragrant
  6. Pour in the rinsed tomatoes and cook for 3 more minutes, still stirring quite often
  7. Add the cup of quinoa, broth and water (or just broth). It’s ok to use a little less quinoa if you’d like for extra soupiness and less stew-iness.
  8. Add 1 tsp of salt, 2 bay leaves and a couple shakes of red pepper flakes
  9. Generously season with cracked black pepper
  10. Raise heat to bring the soup to a boil, then cover partially with a little edge open to steam out and reduce heat to simmer for 25 minutes
  11. After 25 minutes add chick peas or rinsed canned beans of your choice and spinach. Continue cooking for 5 or so minutes more.
  12. If the soup is not broth-y enough for your desire from the quinoa soaking it up, add broth or water here.
  13. Taste and season as desired, remove the bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice
  14. Plate and enjoy!
  15. PS -You can freeze your leftovers!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you!