Tuscan White Bean Soup with Spinach

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Spinach | Sprightliest.com

You know Fall is near when pumpkin flavored everything takes over Pinterest.
Growing up I never really cared for pumpkin much. Of course, the only pumpkin thing I remember trying was a piece of Pumpkin Pie and it was okay, but not my favorite. I’d much rather have chocolate. As I’ve gotten older my taste buds have changed and I enjoy pumpkin more. Or maybe it’s just the spices that go with pumpkin that I like?!
It just so happens to be that time of year when Starbuck’s rolls out their tasty Fall inspired Lattes too, but after reading this article about the Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, it shot down my cravings real quick. I decided to try making my own pumpkin spice coffee. We have a Keurig coffee maker and use the refillable coffee pod so I first attempted to add the spices along with the coffee grounds but it clogged the filter and the water couldn’t get through. Next, I just added pumpkin pie spices to my coffee. It tasted good but it’s a little weird to have the spices floating around as they never really dissolve. Next time I’m going to try to infuse the spices in the creamer and hope it yields better results…
After all my pumpkin spice coffee escapades , I was really hungry and it was time to make dinner. I guess I was in the Fall spirit (even though it’s still hot as heck outside!) and decided to make a Tuscan White Bean Vegetable Soup.

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Vegetables | Sprightliest.com

Lots of veggies, white beans and Italian style spices went into the pot for a nice big bowl of goodness. And since this white bean soup is low in calories, I offset that by adding a healthy amount of mozzarella cheese and a piece of bread on the side ;-).

Tuscan White Bean Vegetable Soup with Spinach | Sprightliest.com

Maybe I will try Pumpkin soup next time I make soup…and hopefully I will have a Pumpkin Spice Coffee Recipe to share with y’all soon!
Tuscan White Bean Soup
Serves 4
A hearty white bean soup made with Great Northern Beans, carrots, onion, celery and spinach.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  2. 1/2 Large Onion, chopped
  3. 1 Stalk of Celery, chopped
  4. 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  5. 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
  6. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  7. 32 Ounces Chicken Broth
  8. 2 Cups Great Northern Beans, cooked (drain and rinse if using canned beans)
  9. 2 Cups Fresh Spinach Leaves
  10. 1/2 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  11. 1/4 Teaspoon Dried Rosemary
  12. 1/8 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  13. 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, and more to taste
  14. 1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add in the carrots, onion and celery and saute until softened.
  3. Next add the minced garlic and cook, while stirring, for 30 seconds.
  4. Place the spinach in the pot and cook, stirring frequently, until wilted.
  5. Pour in the canned tomatoes and chicken broth and add in the beans and spices. Stir to combine.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Bon Appetit!
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Turkey Burgers

Grilled cajun spiced turkey burgers stuffed with avocado and topped with mozzarella cheese. | Sprightliest.comWith our new grill setup in the backyard, there’s been a lot of grilling going on around here. It’s nice to keep the heat outside and since things cook up quick on the grill we have more time to work on our home improvement projects.
Currently, we are putting the finishing touches on our new pantry. We replaced the old wire shelves with stained wood shelves. I can’t wait to give the big pantry reveal but before I can do that I have to touch up a few spots. I want to cover the screws with wood putty and stain them to match the shelves and there’s a few scuff marks on the wall from the drill that I need to cover up. Then, we will be moving on to one of our next projects -the master bedroom closet. I have big plans for that (like a sparkle concrete floor!). I’m looking forward to that project and also to having a place to hang my clothes again!
All this home improvement work sure makes a girl hungry :). And if you saw my last post for Avocado Egg Salad, I told you about how much I am in love with avocados right now. So naturally, I came up with another avocado recipe. I made these turkey burgers the other day and was happy with how well they came out. Perfectly flavored with a little cajun spice and topped with melty mozzarella cheese! Adding the avocado into the turkey burgers is a good way to add flavor and healthy fat so they come out nice and juicy.Grilled cajun spiced turkey burgers stuffed with avocado and topped with mozzarella cheese. | Sprightliest.com
Turkey Burgers
Yields 6
Grilled Cajun spiced turkey burgers stuffed with avocado and topped with mozzarella cheese.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Haas Avocado (you could use any kind of avocado - but Haas are my favorite)
  2. 1.25 lb Ground Turkey Breast
  3. 1 Teaspoon Cajun Seasoning + More For Sprinkling on Top
  4. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  5. 1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
  6. 1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  7. 1/8 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  8. 1 Scallion, Minced
  9. Salt and Pepper to Taste
  10. 6 Slices of Mozzarella Cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat up the grill to high heat.
  2. Smush together the avocado, ground turkey breast, scallion and seasonings.
  3. Mix well to incorporate everything evenly.
  4. Form into 6 patties.
  5. Place turkey burgers on a plate or foil lined tray for easy cleanup.
  6. Sprinkle a little more cajun seasoning on top.
  7. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
  8. Add the cheese once you have flipped the burgers and they are close to being done.
  9. Once the cheese has melted and the burgers are cooked through, remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  10. Serve the turkey burgers on top of your favorite bun or skip the bread and eat with a fresh lettuce and tomato salad.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich | Sprightliest.com

I don’t know what triggered my new found love of Avocados but I began buying them every week at the grocery store a few months ago and have since used them in all kinds of ways.
Avocados make a great (and healthier) alternative to butter or mayo and taste just as good, if not better. I enjoy avocados for breakfast, using them in sauces or dressings, as a topping for salad, even in desserts.
I came up with this easy avocado egg salad creation by substituting creamy avocado in place of the mayo and I don’t miss the mayo one bit!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich - Skip the mayo and use creamy avocado instead!  | sprightliest.com

So simple, with just a few ingredients and yet so tasty!

Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich - Skip the mayo and use creamy avocado instead! | Sprightliest.com

Avocado Egg Salad
Serves 1
Egg Salad Sandwich using creamy avocado instead of mayo!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Teaspoon Dijon mustard
  2. 1/2 Hass Avocado
  3. 1 Hard Boiled Egg, peeled
  4. Pinch of Garlic powder
  5. Pinch of Onion powder
  6. Pinch of Paprika
  7. Salt and Pepper taste
  8. 2 Slices of Tomato
  9. Spinach Leaves
  10. 2 Slices of Bread
Instructions
  1. In a bowl add avocado, boiled egg, dijon mustard and spices.
  2. Use a fork to mash everything together until creamy. Mix well to incorporate spices evenly.
  3. Spread onto toasted bread.
  4. Top with spinach leaves and tomato slices.
  5. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and as my husband often says, "Mangia!"
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake | sprightliest.com

Whoever came up with this Watermelon Cake idea is genius! Ever since I saw a picture of this on Pinterest I have been thinking about making it.
A watermelon is cut into the shape of a cake and then iced with fresh whipped cream. I was skeptical of how the whipped cream would stay on the cake since watermelon has a lot of water in it but just patting off the top and sides with a paper towel got it dry enough for the whipped cream to stick to the cake. I slightly over-whipped my cream as it looks a little grainy but it still tasted great and it held its shape with no problem.

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake | sprightliest.com

It’s so refreshing to bite into this cake. The juicy melon combined with the cream, is the perfect summertime treat. The watermelon cake would make a great addition to summertime get togethers, BBQs, 4th of July…or anytime!

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake | sprightliest.com

Any melon – cantaloupe or honeydew, I bet even pineapple could be used instead of watermelon. You could even make a layer cake by alternating the different melons and stacking them up with a layer of whipped cream in between! Any way you stack it or cut it, this cake is a winner!

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake | sprightliest.com

Red White and Blue Watermelon Cake
Watermelon is cut into the shape of a cake, iced with fresh whipped cream and decorated with strawberries and blueberries.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 Watermelon, washed and dried
  2. Strawberries, washed and dried
  3. Blueberries, washed and dried
  4. 1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
  5. 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  6. 1/2 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Place a mixing bowl into the freezer.
  2. Carefully slice off the top and bottom of the watermelon. Remove the rind and cut into the shape of a cake.
  3. Pat the top and sides of the watermelon with a paper towel until it's dry.
  4. Remove the mixing bowl from the freezer and add in the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract.
  5. Whip cream for a few minutes until stiff peaks form. (Be careful not to over whip or your cream will turn into butter pretty quickly.)
  6. Ice the watermelon cake.
  7. Decorate with strawberries and blueberries.
  8. Enjoy!
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowl

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls | sprightliest.com

We’ve been busy at our new house scraping the old popcorn ceilings. What a process! When I’m tired from a long day of working on the ceiling, cooking dinner is a low priority. I’m usually super hungry by that point and just want to order out. I’ve found a little pre-planning and choosing quick cooking meals helps.
These Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls are an all-in-one fast and filling dinner idea. I created a healthier version by using brown rice, lean chicken, broccoli and a few cashews for a nice crunch. The light marinade is made from chicken broth and soy sauce.

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls | sprightliest.com

The Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls can be eaten as a complete meal or if you want to increase your veggie intake add a nice side salad.

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls | sprightliest.com

For this recipe I used Braggs  Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce since it is GMO-free. However, I just discovered a new product that I want to try out: Coconut Aminos. It’s supposed to be soy-free, gluten free and a non-GMO alternative! Great for those sensitive to soy or trying to avoid GMOs. Once I try it out I will let you know how it goes.

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls | Sprightliest.com  

Cashew Chicken Rice Bowls
Rice bowls filled with chicken, broccoli and cashews.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into chunks
  2. 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  3. Salt
  4. Pepper
  5. Garlic Powder
  6. Onion Powder
  7. 1 Cup Chicken Broth
  8. 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch
  9. 1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce (or Braggs Liquid Aminos)
  10. 14oz Package Frozen Broccoli Florets
  11. 1 Handful Raw Cashews
  12. Minute Brown Rice, cooked according to package directions
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.
  2. Preheat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add in the chicken and begin to brown on all sides.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce and corn starch.
  5. Once the chicken is browned on all sides add in the frozen broccoli florets, the marinade and a handful or 2 of raw cashews.
  6. Cover and simmer until broccoli is tender and chicken is cooked through.
  7. Serve on top of the brown rice.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

fluffy chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil | Sprightliest.com

After spending some time on Pinterest and being subjected to a visual barrage of scrumptious looking cookies, pies and cakes, I had a serious craving for something sweet.
Into the kitchen I went to whip up these homemade chocolate chip cookies stuffed full of flaked coconut.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil | Sprightliest.com

These homemade chocolate chip cookies are made with coconut oil and less flour and sugar so they hold their shape. Since they stay nice and thick there is lots of cookie to sink your teeth into.

Soft chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil | Sprightliest.com

Coconut and chocolate is a hard combination to beat (with the exception of peanut butter and chocolate) and they surely satisfied my craving for something sweet.

Homemade chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil | Sprightliest.com

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 21
Homemade chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil. These soft and thick chocolate chip cookies hold their shape and are filled with flaked coconut.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
19 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
9 min
Total Time
19 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  2. 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  3. 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  4. 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  5. 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil, melted (to melt oil, place the oil in a small bowl and place the bowl in warm water)
  6. 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  7. 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  8. 1 Large Egg
  9. 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  10. 1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (plus a few more for topping)
  11. 1/2 Cup Flaked Coconut, unsweetened
Instructions
  1. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Use a mixer to cream together the oil and sugar.
  5. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined.
  6. Slowly add in the flour mixture, a little at a time until dough is mixed.
  7. Scrape down the sides and stir in the chocolate chips and flaked coconut.
  8. Grab a small amount of dough and roll into a ball.
  9. Place onto the baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
  10. Place 2-3 chocolate chips on top of each cookie ball.
  11. Bake for about 9 minutes or until edges are just slightly beginning to brown.
  12. Remove from oven and cool before storing in an airtight container or freeze for longer storage.
Notes
  1. The dough will be oily looking but don't worry these bake up nice and fluffy!
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

fluffy chocolate chip cookies made with coconut oil | Sprightliest.com

Cold Pasta Salad

Blogging takes a lot of work. First there is research to be done on the subject, then I like to take nice photos to accompany the subject. After that, an article must be written about said subject, that article must be edited, photos must be added, and then we can’t forget about researching keywords and promoting the article.
I’m in awe of those bloggers who post multiple times a day! They are like the super-moms who seem to be able to do it all.
When I started this blog about a year ago, I would post pretty consistently 3 times a week. Since the New Year though, things have gotten so busy around here that I find posting once or twice a week is all I have time for. Of course, blogging is not my full time job so I have to split my time between work and blogging.
Since blogging is something I really enjoy, all the hard work that goes into it is worth it to me. I’ve learned to be okay with just blogging once or twice a week. And besides – sometimes it’s just hard to come up with what to say about something…like this Cold Pasta Salad…

Cold Pasta Salad with a creamy yogurt dijon sauce | Sprightliest.com

Mini farfalle (aka bow tie pasta) is mixed in a creamy yogurt dijon sauce, veggies are added for color and nutrition, and a little splash of lemon juice to brighten it all up!

Cold Pasta Salad with a creamy yogurt dijon sauce | Sprightliest.com

A great cold pasta salad to serve for brunch, lunch, as a side dish or even a main meal!
Cold Pasta Salad
This cold pasta salad features mini farfalle (bow tie pasta), halved cherry tomatoes and peas that are tossed in a creamy yogurt dijon sauce.
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Ingredients
  1. 1lb Mini Farfalle Pasta (bow tie pasta)
  2. 10 oz Bag Frozen Peas
  3. 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
  4. 1/2 Cup Onion, chopped
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (just enough added to the pasta to prevent sticking)
  6. 4 Tablespoons Plain Yogurt (add more if you want it creamier)
  7. 2 Tablespoons White Wine Vinegar
  8. 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  9. 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  10. 2-3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast (optional, but gives it a cheesy flavor)
  11. 2 Teaspoons Oregano
  12. 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  13. 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  14. Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add peas and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil, and continue to boil for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. In another saucepan, bring salted water to a boil.
  5. Add farfalle pasta, stir and cook until al dente, about 8 min.
  6. Drain.
  7. Add the pasta to a large bowl and pour in a little olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself.
  8. Add peas, tomatoes, onion, yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and spices and mix well.
  9. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
Notes
  1. I usually go by taste and feel when using spices so the amounts listed are just a starting point and my best guesstimate. Add more (or less) according to your taste.
Sprightliest http://kaicreatives.com/

Date Bars

Homemade Granola Date Bars | Sprightliest.com

I’ve always wondered what dates taste like and I have seen them used as a substitute for refined sugar in some recipes. I finally picked some up while I was at the grocery store. Dates are not the most appetizing thing to look at, but I decided to give them a chance. I took a teeny bite of one and…it wasn’t bad. Chewy and sweet. I got my husband to try one and he said they remind him of a Krispy Kreme doughnut. I guess I vaguely see why. The Deglet Noor dates have a slight nutty, caramel flavor and the skin is sticky. When you bite into it, it “cracks” like a glaze does when you bite into a doughnut.

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