Carrot Quinoa Salad with Spicy Chili Lime Vinaigrette


Hello lovelies! I hope everyone is having a beautiful week!

I have to say, as much as I love the warm sunny days we have been having, I welcome the occasional rainy day. You see, the rainy days are perfect for binge watching shows without feeling guilty about wasting a nice day. Lately, we have been re-watching Game Of Thrones in anticipation of the season 7 premiere July 16th. It is insane how much I missed the first time around!

Which shows do you love to re-watch?

Okay, now let’s move on to this gorgeous salad. I love a bright, hearty spring salad. I wanted something substantial and healthy, but needed to go to the store. I decided to make a clean out the fridge salad. First, I tossed some carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, and smoked paprika. Then, baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes.

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While the carrots were cooking, I made some quinoa. Make sure to rinse the quinoa well before you cook it. I use a fine mesh sieve and run water through until it runs clear. This will take away any bitterness from the quinoa. I find that the quinoa turns out the best if I cook it plain, without any seasonings. Then, once it is cooked I fluff it with a fork and add seasoning.

carrot quinoa salad

Next, to assemble the salad, I lay down a bed of fresh spinach.

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Then, put the cooked quinoa over the spinach.

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The next layer is the beautifully cooked carrots.

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Finish the salad with a drizzle of Spicy Chili Lime Vinaigrette and some fresh chopped cilantro. Dig in!

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Carrot Quinoa Salad with Spicy Chili Lime Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 25 minutes
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A bright and hearty spring salad


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 cup water

1lb carrots, peeled and sliced into coins on a diagonal

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

salt and pepper to taste

4 cups spinach

1/2 cup fresh cilantro


1 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons honey

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

10 pickled jalapeno slices, chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a boil, cover, drop the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Toss the carrots with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and garlic. Add to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping hallway through.
  4. Vinaigrette: whisk together the garlic, chili powder, lime juice, honey, and apple cider vinegar. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil. Toss in the jalapenos and season with salt and pepper. The easy way: Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid that seals completely. Shake until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To assemble: Layer the spinach, quinoa, and carrots. Drizzle with dressing and garnish with fresh cilantro.


xo Ali Taylor

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Spring Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

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Spring food brings to mind colorful produce and lots of green. I wanted to combine some of my spring produce favorites in a simple salad with a zippy herby vinaigrette. Its an easy side dish for any meal.

First, roast the potatoes and asparagus. I like to toss the veggies separately, because the potatoes will take longer to cook. I use a good drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, and some fresh garlic. That is it

Next, make the vinaigrette. I wanted to use some fresh dill, parsley, and lemon. To round out the dressing, I added some honey, apple cider vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, taste, and adjust if needed.

To serve, toss the potatoes, asparagus, and radishes together with the vinaigrette. I like this best warm or at room temperature. If you are making it ahead of time, make sure you bring it to room temperature before serving. The dressing may harden a little when chilled.

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spring potato salad

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Spring Salad with Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 45 minutes
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A light and fresh spring salad full of color and flavor



1-1.5 lb bag baby Yukon gold potatoes, quartered

1 bunch asparagus, bottoms trimmed and cut into

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 bunch radishes, sliced as thin as you can

drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped

1/2 lemon, zest and juice

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 heaping tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon grainy mustard

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Toss the potatoes with olive oil to coat and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic. Add to a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping hallway through.
  3. Chop each asparagus stem into 3. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  Roast on a separate sheet pan lined in parchment for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through.
  4. Vinaigrette: whisk together the honey, mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, and apple cider vinegar. While whisking, slowly stream in the olive oil. Toss in the fresh herbs and season with salt and pepper. The easy way: Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid that seals completely. Shake until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To assemble: Toss together the potatoes, asparagus, radishes and dress with vinaigrette.

xo Ali Taylor

Bittersweet Fudge Brownies


Chocoholics of the world, listen up!

These are the most bittersweet chocolatey brownies ever baked. Yeah, I said it. These brownies are so fudgy and dark chocolate filled, that I made them twice in as many days. They were downed that quick.

And, they have a secret healthy ingredient. Shhh…..

I will never look at a leftover roasted sweet potato the same ever again. I thought my favorite use was to whip the leftover sweet potato with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon; but these brownies have knocked that into second place. Sure, I still love my whipped pb sweet potatoes, but chocolate desserts are the best desserts. So, if I have the time to make them, these are the new go-to recipe.

bittersweet triple chocolate brownies

I love healthy secret ingredients. In this case, the sweet potato gives the brownies sweetness and moisture without adding oil or regular white sugar. I can’t take all of the credit here, though. I was inspired by this recipe by Daphne Oz.

In order to make these brownies triple chocolate, I used chocolate three different ways. I melted dark chocolate chips with some hot coffee and poured it into the batter, used 100 percent unsweetened cacao powder, and sprinkled the top with even more dark chocolate chips.

This recipe is super simple and super satisfying. Melt the chocolate chips and butter with some strongly brewed fresh coffee and set aside until cool. I like to do this in a liquid measuring cup. Pour yourself a cup with a splash of vanilla creamer.

Then, beat together the sweet potato, sugar, vanilla, and eggs with a hand mixer. Combine the dry ingredients: flour, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt. By now, the chocolate should be cool enough to add to the sweet potato mixture. We just don’t want scrambled eggs here, that would kind of ruin it. Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the sweet potato mixture, beating with the hand mixer.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined. Try not to overmix, please!

Pour the brownie batter into a pie dish sprayed with coconut oil, sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, and pop into the oven. Check the brownies at 25 minutes to see if they are done. If they are a little under, that’s okay. They will carry over a little bit as they cool. If you choose to bake until a toothpick comes out clean, the brownies go from fudgy to cakey. Still delicious.

Bittersweet Triple Chocolate Fudge Brownies

  • Servings: makes 24 brownies
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The most decadent and chocolatey brownie bites ever.


1 large sweet potato, roasted

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/3 cup strongly brewed coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup flour

3/4 cup cacao powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Put 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a liquid measuring cup with 1/3 cup hot coffee and 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir to melt the chips and set aside to cool.
  3. Using a hand mixer, blend the sweet potato with the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Once the melted chocolate and coffee is cool enough, add it to the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Mix together flour, cacao powder, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix with a spoon or rubber spatula until JUST combined. Overmixed brownies are the worst.
  6. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into a pie plate because we don’t like to follow all of the rules.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  I like to under-bake brownies for the fudgiest result, but if you’re not into that, bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out clean.


xo Ali Taylor

Bittersweet Brownies

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Spooky Worm Flatbread Pizzas

It’s less than a week away from Halloween and I am bringing you an extra spooky appetizer. Spooky Worm Flatbread Pizzas will be the hit of your Halloween party. Naan flatbread is topped with your favorite marinara, mozzarella cheese, and piled with caramelized red onions that will have your guests doing a double take.

Spooky Worm Flatbread Pizzas

  • Servings: 2 as a meal, 4 as an appetizer
  • Time: 45 minutes
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1 Naan Flatbread

1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup marinara

1 cup red onions, sliced

1 tsp butter

1 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup water



1 sprig rosemary

1 sprig thyme


    Preheat the oven to 375.


  1. Heat a saute pan to medium high heat. Add the olive oil and butter.
  2. Add the onions, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme.
  3. Saute the onions about 8-10 minutes until golden.
  4. Add the water and continue to saute until the onions begin to caramelize. About 5 more minutes.
  5. Remove the thyme and rosemary sprigs.
  6. To Assemble:
  7. Place the flatbread onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Spread the sauce over the flatbread.
  9. Sprinkle the mozzarella.
  10. Load on the onions/worms.
  11. Bake for 12-15 minutes.


xo Ali Taylor

Apple Crumble Muffin Cake

What an exciting day for Cleveland! The Indians have officially earned their place in the World Series!

Now, let’s take a look at the incredible crumble topping on this muffin cake. I adapted the recipe from one that I found from Cooking Light. I doubled the crumble topping, added vanilla, lemon zest and nutmeg. I also substituted coconut oil in place of the canola oil the original recipe called for. Then, I decided to make it into one big cake instead of 12 muffins. I am in love with this one. It is perfect for a coffee date, brunch, or dessert.




Apple Crumble Muffin Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 45 minutes
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A lightened up fall favorite perfect for breakfast or an afternoon coffee break.



2 tbs butter, melted

2 tbs coconut oil, melted

1 tsp cinnamon

4 tbs old fashioned oats

4 tbs all purpose flour

2 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1 tsp lemon zest

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup low fat buttermilk *cooking tip below

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 apple, peeled and diced; I used red delicious (about 1 1/4 cups)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix together the crumble ingredients(butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, oats, four, brown sugar, and vanilla) and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine the wet ingredients: buttermilk, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Add the dry into the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing in between.
  6. Fold the diced apple
  7. Pour the batter into a pie plate that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  8. Top the batter with the crumble mixture
  9. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. **Cooking Tip: If you do not have any buttermilk on hand, sqeeze 1 tbs of fresh lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup then pour in milk (any kind) up to the 3/4 cup line. I used this method with unsweetened original almond milk and the recipe turned out fantastic.


xo Ali Taylor