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    Healthier Holiday Dessert Recipes a Registered Dietitian Swears By

    If you ask me, the holidays aren’t complete without your favorite, nostalgic foods. Even as an adult, I still look forward to decorating sugar cookies this time of year. Between work parties, family celebrations, and holiday festivities with friends, it can seem like dessert options are never-ending. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself or you have to forgo them altogether. 
    While I believe all foods can be enjoyed in moderation as a part of a healthy diet, it’s also important to be mindful of added sugar consumed during the holidays and beyond. Luckily, there are countless festive dessert recipes that incorporate healthy fats, natural sweeteners, and fiber without sacrificing taste. Keep reading for a round-up of healthier holiday desserts you can enjoy this season. 

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Sweet Potato Soul
     

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Fit Foodie Finds

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Real Food with Jessica
     

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: The Clean Eating Couple

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    Source: Eating Bird Food
     

    Source: Real Food with Jessica
     

    Source: Ambitious Kitchen
     

    Source: Eating Bird Food
     

    Source: Eating Bird Food
     

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    10 Festive Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to Try This Season More

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    10 Festive Non-Alcoholic Cocktails to Try This Season

    With all that celebrating this time of year comes drinks—lots and lots of drinks. And while I’ve never been one to turn down a glass of bubbly (or two), I also know it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Not only does alcohol wreak havoc on your digestive system, but it can affect mood (that dreaded hangxiety) and overall make you feel blah. It’s no wonder more and more people are becoming sober curious. The good news is there are plenty of bevvies of the booze-free variety that are full of holiday spirit. So whether you’re sober, sober curious, or just in the mood for a mocktail this holiday season, check out this list of 10 alcohol-free holiday drinks to toast with. 

    Source: Camille Styles

    Source: Ahead of Thyme

    Source: Unbound Wellness

    Source: Garnish with Lemon

     

    Everyone’s Talking About Going “Sober Curious”
    Here’s Everything You Need to Know More

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    8 Hacks That Will Help You Stop Throwing Away Uneaten Produce Every Week

    We’ve all been there: You load up a cart full of fresh fruits, veggies, and greens with high hopes of a healthy, salad-filled week ahead. But then you needed to treat yourself with takeout after a rough day at work. Or you spotted that bag of Trader Joe’s pasta stashed in your freezer and all memory of vegetables left your brain. All too soon, your once-crisp, fresh produce is now brown, limp, and oozing some sort of strange liquid.
    If this feels a little too familiar, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. Sure, part of the problem comes down to meal planning, but sometimes life just gets in the way. Luckily, there are tons of tricks out there that can help keep your produce fresher for longer. If you’re sick of throwing out fruits and veggies week after week, here are the produce hacks you need to know:

    1. Wait to wash your produce until you’re ready to eat it.
    I know you’ve seen those fridge-stocking videos of people unpacking their groceries, washing all the produce, and carefully arranging it in aesthetically pleasing containers. But I’ll let you in on a little secret: all that produce is going to go bad so fast. That’s because pre-washing your produce adds excess moisture that could make it spoil faster. Plus, you’ll likely want to rinse it again before eating it anyway to wash off any fridge germs, so you might as well save some water and skip the pre-rinse. 

    2. Store your produce properly. 
    If you come home from the grocery store and immediately toss everything in the fridge, you might be doing it wrong. Some fruits and veggies need to stay chilled while others are best kept at room temperature, and it’s important to know the difference. Tomatoes, for example, will go bad fast if you store them in the refrigerator. In general, fruits that ripen over time (like bananas, melons, avocadoes, and peaches) are good on the counter until they’re ripe—then they should go in the fridge. 

    3. Use your fridge drawers correctly.
    Most refrigerators have what are called crisper drawers—usually one for fruits and another for veggies. They’re separate because vegetables tend to prefer high humidity, while most fruits do best in low humidity. These drawers are typically marked accordingly, but if not, make sure the drawer you store your veggies in is closed tightly. You can keep your fruit drawer slightly ajar to lower the humidity inside.

    4. Put a paper towel in with your greens.
    If you’re tired of taking your spinach on its weekly trip from the fridge to the garbage can, this produce hack is for you. The next time you buy a plastic container of greens, open the lid and place a few paper towels on top. (If you buy bagged greens, empty them out into a separate container, then add the paper towels.) Put the lid back on, flip the container upside-down, and store it like that in the fridge. The paper towels will absorb moisture and help keep the greens fresh. Bonus tip: You can also use paper towels to keep your fresh berries from going mushy too soon!

    5. Freeze fresh herbs in oil.
    Herbs are a great way to add flavor and freshness to your meals, but it always seems impossible to use them all up before they go bad. Instead of waiting for that extra basil to inevitably perish in your fridge, freeze it in oil so you can use it later. All you have to do is chop up your herbs, spoon them into an ice cube tray, top with olive oil, and pop into the freezer. Later on, you can use your frozen herb cubes to flavor sauces, soups, pasta dishes, and more.

    6. Cover banana stems with foil.
    Bananas can go from green to brown and mushy in a matter of days. If you’re not looking to whip up some banana bread, you can keep your bananas fresher by covering the stem with a small piece of aluminum foil. This trick works because of a little thing called ethylene—AKA the gas that fruits emit as they ripen. By keeping it contained, you can slow down the ripening process. If your bananas still went brown faster than you wanted, peel, slice, and freeze them—you can use them for smoothies!

    7. Revive wilted produce with cold water.
    Got some produce that has gone all limp and wilted? You don’t have to throw it away just yet. Since most veggies and greens are porous, you can revive them by soaking them in water. Submerge your wilted produce in a container filled with ice water and place it in the fridge. In about 30 minutes, it should be perky again! For produce with stalks or stems (like broccoli, asparagus, celery, and herbs), treat them like a bouquet of flowers. Trim the ends and stand them up in a container of cold water so they can absorb moisture from the bottom up.

    8. Store mushrooms in paper bags.
    Mushrooms tend to turn slimy and unappetizing real quick, and the plastic-wrapped container they’re packaged in is often the culprit. Instead of tossing that container straight into your crisper drawer, empty the mushrooms into a paper bag first. The paper bag will absorb moisture, keeping your mushrooms at the right humidity level and slime-free. 

    Why a “Capsule Pantry” Is the Budget-Friendly Solution You Need if You Hate Meal Planning More

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    23 Plant-Based Recipes to Bring to Thanksgiving

    When I tell people I’m vegetarian, the #1 question I’ve always been asked is, “So what do you eat at Thanksgiving?” While a meat-free lifestyle has become more popular since second grade when the other kids called me “veggie girl” (true story), Thanksgiving isn’t traditionally the most plant-based-friendly holiday. Lucky for us health nuts, it’s actually easier than you think to find plant-based Thanksgiving recipes, whether you’re vegetarian/vegan or want to add more produce that will make you feel good and help prevent the dreaded post-Thanksgiving food coma.
    To prove it, here are 23 Thanksgiving recipes for all your traditional favorites, only they each sneak in some extra fruits or vegetables for more nutritious options. The best part? These recipes are so delicious, your friends at Friendsgiving or that picky uncle who only eats meat and dairy will never be able to tell the difference (because healthy or not, Thanksgiving dinner is meant to be enjoyed). 

    Appetizers
    1.  Butternut Hummus with Feta & Pomegranates 

    Source: Love & Lemons

    2.  Sautéed Brussels Sprouts Salad with Mustard Sauce

    Source: Cotter Crunch

    3.  Kale and White Bean Artichoke Dip

    Source: Minimalist Baker

    4.  Fall Harvest Salad with Pumpkin Garlic Vinaigrette 

    Source: Abra’s Kitchen

    5.  Turkey Veggie Tray

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    6.  Curried Cauliflower, Grape, and Lentil Salad

    Source: Minimalist Baker

    Main Dishes
    7.  Kale and Mushroom Stuffing

    Source: Love & Lemons
     
    8.  Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Broccoli Rabe

    Source: Pinch of Yum

    9.  Lentil and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

    Source: Minimalist Baker

    10.  Vegan and Gluten-Free Gravy

    Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

    11.  Healthy Green Bean Casserole with Mushroom Cashew Cream Sauce

    Source: Eating Bird Food
     
    12.  Roasted Delicata Squash

    Source: Love and Lemons

    13.  Vegan Meatloaf with Chickpeas and Lentils

    Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

    14.  Kale and Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

    Source: Love & Lemons

    Desserts
    16.  Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

    Source: Minimalist Baker

    17.  Feel-Good Apple Muffins

    Source: Pinch of Yum
     
    18.  No-Bake Pumpkin Pie Bars

    Source: Eating Bird Food

    19.  Cinnamon Baked Pears

    Source: Jessica in the Kitchen

    20.  Dairy and Gluten-free Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting

    Source: Top with Cinnamon

    21.  Cinnamon Chickpea Blondies

    Source: Cotter Crunch

    22.  Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Scones

    Source: Abra’s Kitchen

    23.  Paleo Orange Loaf with Dark Chocolate Glaze

    Source: Ambitious Kitchen

    14 Thanksgiving Outfits To Wear This Year
    (no matter what you’re doing) More

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    I’m a Vegetarian and My Boyfriend Isn’t. Here’s What I Make in a Week

    Cooking is my love language. Some people give gifts and some people write love letters, but I cook. Though my boyfriend knows a thing or two about roasting veggies and makes a mean pasta sauce, I like to do the cooking because it’s the way I take care of the people I love. It’s an activity I look forward to all day long, and let’s be honest, I’m just way better than he is (he’s better at doing the dishes, so win-win!). However, every meal I make is vegetarian. I’ve never eaten meat in my life (nope, not once!), so I wouldn’t even know what to do with a chicken breast, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between an oyster and a clam. My boyfriend grew up on chicken wings and steak, so I knew his adjustment to my plant-based lifestyle would not necessarily be seamless. 
    While every relationship is different, having dinner is something we like to do together. Eating together is our special ritual; I like to cook for him, and we hang out in the kitchen to catch up on our days. While many couples prefer to eat separate meals (especially when they have different dietary needs), I’ve found ways to make my cooking style work for both of our preferences, so I recorded my meals through an entire week of dinners from Sunday to Thursday (you best believe Friday is reserved for sushi takeout!). Read on for my tips, tricks, and recipes for cooking dinner as a vegetarian for my meat-loving boyfriend. 

    Sunday: Pasta Night

    My boyfriend and I are both Italian, so pasta is the natural go-to in our house. Seriously, there have been weeks where we have same kind of pasta every single night. It’s a good Sunday meal because it’s easy, simple, and delicious. Plus, whether or not you eat meat, everybody loves pasta, right? For plant-based options, I use quinoa, brown rice, or chickpea pasta, or I’ll make spaghetti squash. As for sauce, I love a homemade pesto or quick marinara, but I’ve also been known to get adventurous by adding avocado or hearts of palm to make a vegan “pasta alfredo” (at this point, my boyfriend has stopped asking what’s in the sauce). Don’t forget a simple side salad!  

    Monday: Korean Savory Pancakes

    The secret to getting your significant other to eat less meat? Get adventurous. Since I love to cook and try new foods, I make sure to experiment with different flavors and learn about different diets I would not otherwise be exposed to. In other words, my boyfriend is never bored. I was inspired by a recipe from Bonberi of bin dae tteok, or savory mung bean pancakes, which is a traditional Korean dish. Due to lack of time, I replaced mung beans with chickpea flour (very untraditional) and put together these delicious and dip-able pancakes in under 20 minutes. Trust me, he’s not missing his steak dinners. 

    Tuesday: Fried Egg Tacos

    Pro tip: If you live with someone who has totally different dietary preferences, taco night is the way to go. They’re easily customizable, and all you have to do is prepare a few different toppings and a couple of different fillers. I’ll fill mine with veggies and beans, but my boyfriend can add any kind of meat to his if he’s craving some extra protein. Another favorite hack is to top quesadillas or tacos with a fried egg for extra flavor and protein. I love using eggs for dinner as a protein we both can eat. 

    Wednesday: Blue Apron Meal for Two

    And now for my best cooking-for-two-different-diets hack: Blue Apron. Let’s be honest, yes, I love cooking, but I don’t always have time to meal plan, grocery shop, and DIY an entire meal from scratch. I think of Blue Apron as an investment in our relationship because we both can get what we want. Sometimes the vegetarian option is so delicious and filling that my boyfriend doesn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat. But when he is craving some chicken, steak, or seafood, Blue Apron offers the ability to have two separate proteins for the same recipe, so I’ll add tofu and he’ll add pork—no separate meal required. 
    Sign up for Blue Apron to get up to 14 free meals!

    Thursday: Asparagus Soup

    Some nights, I cook something that may not be filling enough for my boyfriend, so he’ll plan ahead to make his own meat if he wants something extra. Tonight, I was craving soup (it was a rare occurrence, I swear), so I prepared a thick asparagus soup and topped it off with pumpkin seeds and toasted baguette. Bonus life hack: Throw any soup into the blender, and it’ll immediately taste richer and creamier, even if it’s totally vegan. While that was enough for me, my boyfriend roasted some chicken for himself to eat with the soup. Bottom line is, if you have a meat-loving significant other or your roommate is fully plant-based while you can’t give up bacon, any vegetarian main meal can be turned into a side dish for a meat-lover. 

    Super Simple Vegetarian Trader Joe’s Recipes
    that anyone can make!

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More

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    Matcha Is Not Just a Trend: Here’s What You Should Know About It

    Move aside, espresso! Whether matcha is a new ingredient you spotted at Starbucks or a longtime staple in your household, this superfood packs some serious benefits that many Everygirl editors have experienced for themselves. FYI, matcha isn’t just a trendy caffeine craze taking over coffee shop menus and health food store shelves; it has roots in ancient Chinese and Japanese history. The powerful powdered tea is said to have originated in China (over 4,000 years ago!) before making its way to Japan and becoming a key part of tea ceremonies for thousands of years. With a history like that, you know it’s gotta have the health benefits to back it up.

    In this article

    What is matcha?
    “Matcha has been an all-star for centuries and was traditionally used in Chinese medicine,” explained Shizu Okusa, founder of Apothékary, a brand of plant-based medicine supplements based in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Japanese Kampo Medicine. “Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are grown in the shade to avoid direct sunlight. This process increases the content of nutrients, including amino acids and antioxidants, and is rich in chlorophyll.” In other words, it’s a powdered, more concentrated version of the green tea you’d find as loose leaf or in a tea bag, giving it a bright green hue, earthy taste, and high levels of antioxidants. 

    What are the benefits?
    “Matcha is known for boosting the metabolism, sharpening cognitive function, and basically keeping you on your A-game,” Okusa said. Yes, matcha is known as a coffee alternative because it contains caffeine, but the effects are very different. According to U.S. News & World Report, matcha gives you a calmer, more sustained energy, whereas coffee can make you feel jittery or leave you with that dreaded caffeine crash. Every body is different, so it’s important to experiment for yourself, but if you’re experiencing negative symptoms from coffee, like energy crashes or trouble sleeping, matcha might be a good alternative. 
    Beyond the caffeine, matcha itself is a powerful health food. It contains a high amount of antioxidants (one study found the number of antioxidants in matcha is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea. That’s a lot of antioxidants!), can help boost brain health, and may help promote heart health. Traditionally, matcha was seen as having energetic benefits as well. “This powerful superfood contains both Yin and Yang aspects by increasing energy while promoting calmness,” Okusa explained. 

    How to DIY Your Own Matcha at Home
    Matcha is a simple ingredient to incorporate at home, and even DIYing a frothy matcha latte is just as doable as brewing a cup of coffee. The traditional method is to put matcha and hot water in a tea bowl and whisk with a bamboo whisk, called “temae” (or a procedure for making tea). Also, be aware that matcha has not only been used for health benefits or as a delicious morning beverage, it also has important ceremonial ties. A tea ceremony is a Japanese ritual based on principles like hospitality, minimalism, and simplicity. To honor the tradition (and reap the benefits), view making and drinking matcha as an opportunity to take a pause from busy life rather than just a quick caffeine fix. Try a few minutes of meditation while drinking or share a cup of matcha with a friend. 
    If you prefer something a little frothier or sweeter, try adding your favorite latte sweetener, like honey or stevia, and whatever milk or creamer you prefer after whisking the hot water and Matcha powder together. Think of the whisking process like your machine making coffee or espresso. You have to fully blend your coffee before adding milk or sweetener, right? The same goes for matcha. Whisk with less hot water if you want to add more creamer to make a latte (think: similar to an espresso shot). Alternatively, whisk with more hot water if you want a thinner consistency. Pro tip: Matcha also works in baked goods too. 

    Try it:

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    What I Make for Dinner When I Don’t Feel Like Cooking

    No matter what I do or where I am in my life, it’s absolutely inevitable that a couple of times a week, I just do not feel like cooking. But a girl’s gotta eat (and doesn’t always want to order takeout) so an arsenal of easy dinner recipes has a permanent spot in my brain for when I just can’t muster up the will to really cook.
    It’s easy to turn to scrambled eggs or PB&J for those dreaded nights, but I’m here to inform you that that need not be the case. You can make easy meals with just as minimal effort, but that will give you a little more oomph (and ideally, a little more nutritional value). Hitting that sweet spot between minimal effort and filling you up is key, and the balance is one that can be mastered with a bit of trial and error (and for me, the help of my air fryer).
    Looking for some go-to, simple recipes to add to your weekly rotation? We’ve got you covered.

    Source: Gimme Delicious

    Source: Recipe Runner

    Source: Cookin Canuck

    Source: The Modern Proper

    Source: Pinch of Yum

    Source: My Everyday Table

    Source: The Modern Proper

    Source: Tastes Better From Scratch

    Source: Tasty

    Source: Peas and Crayons

    Source: Live Eat Learn

    Source: Morning Star Farms

    Source: Taste of Home

    Source: Taste of Home

    Source: Damn Delicious More

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    7 Hacks That Have Transformed My Cooking Routine

    I’m a firm believer that when it comes to cooking, you either love it or loathe it, and that’ll never change. For most of my life, my feet were firmly planted on the side of hating cooking—that is, until I started relying on cooking hacks that would easily transform raw ingredients to a meal on a plate.
    Unless I’m cooking with friends or family, 99 percent of the time, I want to get it over with as quickly and efficiently as possible. I envy people who enjoy chopping and grating and treat cooking like the ultimate form of self-care—I’m just not one of them. So instead of forcing myself to be, I use a few go-to tricks to make homemade meals in a way that doesn’t make me feel like it took all day.
    Ready to transform your cooking skills? These are some hacks I use in the kitchen that have transformed my cooking experience from dreaded to enjoyable.

    1. I treat myself to Blue Apron

    One of my biggest issues with cooking used to be that I would eat the same five or so meals over and over again. Even if they’re five meals I really like, it quickly gets boring and makes the cooking process feel redundant. To curb kitchen boredom, I’ve turned to Blue Apron to push me out of my comfort zone and introduce me to new, delicious meals.
    With up to 35 meal options available each week, there’s something for everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions or taste preferences. If there’s something about the recipe you don’t like or can’t have, you can add, swap, or upgrade your ingredients to make it perfect for you.

    My favorite part of Blue Apron is how much it’s made me look forward to cooking. The parts I don’t like (last-minute grocery store runs and searching the aisles for hard-to-find, expensive sauces I might not ever use again) are already done for me , and I can truly look forward to having a well-made, delicious meal that I can make in my own kitchen. None of them are too difficult or time consuming, since most of the recipes can be prepared in under 35 minutes. If I’m busy or out of town, Blue Apron is flexible and allows me to skip weeks or change my plan with zero hassle. Blue Apron’s meals have taught me to enjoy the process of cooking, and it spices up my weekly meal without takeout or delivery fees.
    Get 10 free meals and free shipping when you switch to Blue Apron!

    2. I turn to my air fryer to do the heavy-lifting

    There’s nothing that I use in my kitchen more than my air fryer. I’ve always been a bit weird about meat, and while I’ll eat it, I absolutely hate preparing it. With my air fryer, I can season my meats and veggies however I want. Then I toss it in, and it does everything for me, leaving me with the perfect crispy-but-tender results every single time. From homemade french fries to baked oats, my air fryer makes delicious foods like a little chef who lives in my kitchen and makes everything just a bit better than I can. 

    Compact Air Fryer
    I have a small kitchen, and this is the air fryer I bought to save space. I absolutely love it and find that despite it’s smaller size, it does the job just as well as my parent’s larger, full-size one. I’ve recommended this to just about everyone who will listen.

    3. I freeze my herbs

    It took way too long to realize that the reason my cooking was so underwhelming was because I wasn’t using enough spices and herbs to give it flavor. To solve this problem, I started growing a few of my own—basil, mint, and cilantro—on the windowsill in my apartment to always have access to a few fresh ones. To make sure none of my precious harvest ever goes to waste, I regularly trim them and keep what I’m not using in Ziploc bags in my freezer. That way, I always have them ready to add to soups, sauces, and smoothies—no trip to the grocery store necessary, and no waste in sight. 

    4. I pay attention to the order I measure ingredients in

    One of the least beloved parts of cooking is obviously the cleanup process. I used to measure my ingredients any which way, but now, I pay close attention to the order so cleaning up isn’t so tedious. 
    When I’m using wet and dry ingredients, I measure the dry first to make sure I’m not putting dry ingredients into an already-wet measuring cup where they’ll be sure to stick. If I’m using any sticky ingredients (like honey or agave), I’ll measure the oily ones first, which helps the sticky ones slide right out when it’s time to wash dishes.

    5. I prep sauces and dressings in bulk

    While I’m not opposed to using pre-made dressings and sauces, I usually like knowing what’s going into mine to avoid any unnecessary additives. I often turn to a few easy, go-to combos—like mayo and sriracha or olive oil and lemon juice—to top off my meals.
    It isn’t difficult to reach for a couple of different bottles, but when you’re doing it every day, it can add to the headache of cooking. For sauces and dressings I use multiple times a day, I’ve started making them in bulk and keeping them in glass jars in the fridge to speed up the process. I’ve noticed that when I’m hurrying to throw together a meal during my lunch break or at night before a workout, this little change makes all the difference.

    6. I shortcut halving produce

    Cutting produce like cherry tomatoes or small potatoes can feel tedious, so when I do need to do it, I place them between two plates, then hold the top one down and slice through the middle. It makes the entire halving process take less than 10 seconds, and anything that speeds up chopping is an immediate yes from me.

    7. I pre-prep smoothie ingredients

    I drink a smoothie almost every day, most of them a mix of both fresh and frozen ingredients. Rather than pulling them all out every day, at the start of each week, I throw single-portion ingredients into plastic baggies (which I keep to re-use every week) and put them in the freezer. Then when it’s time to make my morning smoothie, all I have to do is grab the baggie and put the ingredients in my blender with some almond milk, and I’m good to go. 

    An Editor Shares the 6 Easiest Meals She Makes on Repeat

    This post contains a sponsored inclusion of Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More