About Rachel

Hello friends and family alike! My name is Rachel. A year ago I married my best friend and biggest supporter. Not long after we got married I made some much-needed and long-overdue changes in my diet. Even though I'm lactose intolerant, I had indulged in dairy products all my life and ignored the discomfort it caused. But I finally reached my limit and couldn't ignore the pain anymore. I started researching and learning about nutrition and the impacts that certain foods can have on our overall health. This prompted me to finally stop consuming ALL dairy products. Cutting out dairy completely had such a wonderful impact on how I felt that I decided it should only be the beginning.  Next, I cut out processed foods and sugars, gluten, soy, caffeine and meat.  More than anything, these "restrictions" to my diet forced me to branch out and try new foods. Suddenly I was eating more organic fruits, vegetables and grains and experimenting with different foods and methods of cooking that I'd never before experienced. Rather than restricting my diet, whole new doors were suddenly open to me! The transition was certainly difficult at times, but it felt so natural and worthwhile. Hopefully this is only the tip of the iceberg! I want to learn how to grow organic vegetables and herbs in my own backyard and i dream of becoming a certified nutritionist. More than anything, I'm so excited to share my passion for health and writing through this blog! I hope that my recipes and experiences--both successes and failures--will inspire others to also enjoy a healthier lifestyle. So please enjoy! And let me know what you think ;)

Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

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After a long week of parent-teacher conferences and tons of work, I felt like I deserved to treat myself to my favorite foods. Honestly, I’ll make up nearly any excuse to prepare my faves. “I’m exhausted. I think I need some No-Bake Nutella Pie to perk me up”……”I was coughing all day. I bet Quinoa Pizza would make me feel better”……(and my personal favorite) “_______ hurts (insert any body part). It’s a good thing chocolate heals everything!”  Yep, it doesn’t take much for me to convince myself that I need a good dose of foodie therapy–aka, time spent playing in the kitchen and eating non-stop. 

I think it’s probably no secret that I’m obsessed with the Quinoa Pizza. I mean, seriously? Pizza that’s super easy, vegan, AND gluten-free? How could I not make it constantly?!! Over the years, I’ve probably tried hundreds–if not thousands–of variations of this yummy pizza. I don’t think I have a favorite, but there are a few tried-and-true versions that I eat pretty regularly. Yesterday, exhausted from work and conferences, I decided that I was too tired to put much effort into the pizza that I was desperately craving. Instead, I used the hummus that I had on hand along with some fresh veggies and dubbed it my Mediterranean Hummus Pizza. The end result: a light, fresh, and completely healthy pizza that cured my cravings and left this pooped girl with a very content smile on her face.  

Without a doubt, this pizza will be making its way into my regular rotation. In fact, ahem……I think I feel another cough coming on, and I’m pretty sure I know exactly what would make me feel better!!

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Mediterranean Hummus Pizza
Serves 2
A delicious and healthy pizza that's also gluten-free and vegan.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
389 calories
62 g
0 g
11 g
15 g
1 g
478 g
779 g
6 g
0 g
9 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
478g
Servings
2
Amount Per Serving
Calories 389
Calories from Fat 93
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
16%
Saturated Fat 1g
7%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 779mg
32%
Total Carbohydrates 62g
21%
Dietary Fiber 12g
49%
Sugars 6g
Protein 15g
Vitamin A
32%
Vitamin C
97%
Calcium
12%
Iron
31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Crust
  1. 3/4 cup raw quinoa, soaked for at least 8 hours, rinsed and drained
  2. 1/4 - 1/2 cup filtered water
  3. 1/2 + 1/2 Tbs. olive oil
  4. 1/2 tsp. salt
  5. 1 small clove garlic, minced
For the Toppings
  1. 3-4 Tbs. hummus
  2. 1 Roma tomato, sliced thin
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 of a cucumber, sliced thin
  4. 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced thin
  5. 1-2 mushrooms, sliced thin
  6. a few thin slices of red onion
  7. a few kalamata olives, sliced thin
  8. artichoke hearts, sliced thin (optional)
  9. a sprinkling of fresh or dried oregano (optional)
Instructions
  1. Blend all of the crust ingredients (using only 1/2 Tbs. olive oil) in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Begin with only 1/4 cup water and add more as needed until it reaches a pancake batter-like consistency.
  2. There are 2 methods for cooking the dough. In the oven: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and coat either a cast iron skillet or an 8-inch cake pan with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. olive oil. Allow the skillet/pan to heat up for approx. 10 min. (you can do this while you prepare the toppings). Add the quinoa "dough" to the heated pan, swirl the pan around so that the batter distributes evenly, and return to the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Flip the dough over and cook for another 10 minutes, or until the dough begins to turn a golden brown.
  3. OR, on the stove: Heat a non-stick pan with the remaining 1/2 Tbs. of olive oil over medium heat. Pour the quinoa "dough" into the pan and swirl the pan around to distribute the batter evenly. Allow to cook for 5-10 minutes or until the bottom is firm and golden brown. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes or until the dough is cooked evenly on both sides.
  4. Turn on the broiler and set the rack on the second level from the top.
  5. Top the pizza with hummus, leaving about 1/2-1 inch of the edges exposed. Layer the veggies on top.
  6. Place the pizza on a cookie sheet and set on the oven rack under the broiler. Allow the pizza toppings to cook for approx. 5-10 minutes, watching carefully to make sure that the veggies don't burn. When the toppings are done, remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
beta
calories
389
fat
11g
protein
15g
carbs
62g
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Papaya & Strawberry Smoothie

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I’m having a hard time believing that it’s that time of year already! That’s right, it’s my favorite time of year. Today marks the first official day of Spring!

It’s the time when the weather finally begins warming up, the earth comes alive after the long and frosty winter, and vibrant fruits and veggies are in abundance! Honestly, what’s not to love?!? Ok, if I’m going to nitpick, my allergies tend to take a beating in the Spring, but otherwise I have a hard time finding anything to complain about.

This is also the time of year when I absolutely crave smoothies! So light and refreshing, they just seem to hit the spot. I’ve already begun cramming my fridge and my kitchen counters full of every kind of beautiful fruit and veggie that graces the grocery aisles. Lately, I’ve had a huge hankering for papaya
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Peppermint Pattie Cups

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With St. Patty’s Day just around the corner, I knew I had to celebrate the holiday the only way I know how–with dessert, of course! (Ok, and maybe with some green beer or Guinness, too). 
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Carrot Cake Cupcakes (gluten-free, vegan)

20140308-172642.jpgI don’t know how it almost passed me by unnoticed, but I’ve been so crazy busy lately that I nearly forgot that this is a very special week…..

Almonds & Avocados officially turns 2 Years Old!!

And because last year I celebrated the blog’s birthday with Chocolate Caramel-filled Cupcakes, it only seemed appropriate to celebrate this birthday with cupcakes too! That’s right, Carrot Cake Cupcakes

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Butternut Squash Tostadas with Avocado Crema

20140301-093408.jpgThere’s not a single day that goes by that I don’t crave Mexican food. I could eat tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never tire of it. Even though Mexican food isn’t known for being particularly healthy, I believe everything is OK in moderation. The problem with that: I just can’t control myself! I’ll eat several veggie tacos and an entire bag of tortilla chips and still crave more. And don’t even get me started on the guacamole….

It’s for that very reason that I like to make my own Mexican-style meals when those pesky cravings strike. That way, at least I know all of the ingredients that are going into my food and I’m able to cut out as much of the unhealthy and fatty elements as possible. Yes, I still eat a lot, but it’s a lot of healthy, whole foods. 

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