Vegan Bolognese

Remember when the cow escaped from the Brooklyn slaughter house in April 2016? Well, that's all it took for Mike (and I) to stop eating red meat. the cow was doing everything it could to not get caught and go back to the slaughter house, and our dog Sherman kinda looks like a cow/pig, so no more red meat or pork in the Occhipinti house. Up until that moment our week night go-to was skirt steak on the George Foreman. Over the past two years we have made our new staple fish, particularly salmon, but even with Pintrest there are only so many ways to cook creatures of the sea.

Being Italian American, Bolognese sauce is one of my favorites. I remember I would find myself just eating the sauce as my dinner without any pasta I loved it so much. Yes, you can make the sauce with ground turkey or chicken, but I figured let's explore the world of plants and see how it measures up. 

Made with lentils instead of meat I was a little concerned that the chalky lentil taste would take over, but much to my surprise the texture and taste was very balanced! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

PS- this recipe takes a few hours because you really want to cook down the sauce. It makes for a great Sunday Dinner or week night when you have a little extra time :). 


Vegan Bolognese
1 cup green lentils
     *Protip: soak these for a few hours or overnight to make them easier to digest
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 Vadalia onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp Italian parsley (optional) 
3 cups vegetable stock
1 32 oz can San Marzano Peeled tomatoes (you'll thank me later) 
1 can tomato paste
1 TSBP Olive oil
150g Edamame noodles, dried (or any other noodle you like!) 

Sauté the olive oil and garlic in a sauce pan. Add carrots, celery and onion and cook for a few minutes until the onions become translucent. Since the tomatoes are peeled you can either blend them with a hand mixture prior to placing them in the pan or use a potato masher after you mix them with the veggies for a heartier taste (the latter is what I did). Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, vegetable stock and lentils. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for 45 minutes to an hour with the lid on. After about 3/4 of an hour to an hour, remove the lid and cook for another 30-45 minutes. The longer you cook it the thicker the sauce gets, so its a personal preference. I used the edamame noodles because they are high in protein and fiber, and were the only noodle I had in my cabinet at the time, lol. But in all seriousness these are the only noodle alternative I like. The texture is good and the taste is mild and they're not too dense like some of the others. Bring water to a boil, add the noodles, cook for 5 minutes and drain. Plate the noodles with your sauce on top. I sprinkled with a little Italian parsley at the end. 

Vegan Pumpkin Chili

From the kitchen of Amanda Occhipinti



  • 1  large white onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds for less heat) 
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) low-salt diced tomatoes*
  • 1 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin
  • 1 can pinto beans cooked
  • 1 can black beans cooked
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice


1) Chop up the onion, carrot, and bell pepper into pieces.

2) In a cast iron Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Place the onion, carrot, and bell pepper in the pan and sauté until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes.

3) Add the garlic, jalapeño, soy sauce, and spices and cook for another 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes, pumpkin, broth, and beans. Turn down the heat, cover, and let that simmer together until thickness is desired. The original recipe says simmer for 15 minutes but I simmered it for almost an hour. Regardless, stir occasionally. 

4) When it is done simmering, turn off the heat and add in the lime juice.

5) Serve right away with your favorite toppings. We did cilantro with a side of gluten free corn bread! 


The Tale of Two Apples

 by: Amanda Occhipinti

by: Amanda Occhipinti

True story.

I purchased two locally grown Gala apples last week. We’re not huge fruit eaters in this house but I figured they would get been eaten at some point during the week. Since they were still sitting on our counter this morning, I asked Mike if he just didn’t like apples.

“I like them, I just prefer them cut up,” he said.

I laughed out loud.

So, the task of the day amongst the usual Sunday ritual of gym--meal prep--laundry was to come up with a recipe so these apples could be eaten (to Mike's liking).

All the ingredients used, I already had in the house. Fair warning to anyone who tries this recipe, it is 100% from scratch. Comments and tips are welcome!

2 large gala apples washed and diced, skin on
4 TBSP Truvia divided
3 TBSP unsweetened apple sauce
1 scoop NutraBio Vanilla Whey Protein Isolate
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup oatmeal ground into oat flour
1/2 cup almonds chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
4 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/4 tsp sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Coat a non-stick 9x9 baking pan with cooking spray of choice.
  3. In a mixing bowl combine the apples, applesauce, 1 TBSP of Truvia, and 2 tsp ground cinnamon. Toss well and place in baking dish.
  4. In the same bowl combine the oatmeal, oat flour, almonds, protein powder, and remaining cinnamon.
  5. Melt the 3 TBSP of Truvia in the coconut oil and add the oil mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.
  6. Pour into baking dish to cover the apples.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is nicely browned.
  8. Serve alone or with your favorite topping.

Crustless Protein Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie .jpeg



  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Spray a pie dish with cooking spray.
  4. Fill pie dish with pumpkin mixture.
  5. Bake for 25-30 min or until center runs dry with a toothpick. Let cool completely before serving.
  6. Top with your favorite ice cream or whipped cream. (We use Halo Top Vanilla Ice Cream).
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Stuffed Peppers That Fit Your Macros

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One of the biggest complaints we hear about meal prep is that the meals can get boring. This recipe is an example of a great way to take a more generic ground turkey and rice meal and make it feel a lot more satisfying.

***For this recipe, we chose to add the rice and the turkey separately, so that we can portion out each one individually and get a better idea of the grams from carbs and protein. If you are not to concerned about knowing your exact portions you can mix the rice and turkey and add them to the pepper together.


  • 6 large sized bell peppers (any color)

  • 2 cups cooked rice (~1/3 cup in each pepper) (pre-cooked in the rice cooker)

  • ½ onion, finely diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced

  • 1.5 lbs organic ground turkey (93% lean)

  • 1 cup diced tomato

  • ½ can corn

  • Salt and pepper

  • ¼ teaspoon rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • ½ teaspoon oregano


·      Shredded Cheese


What To Do

1.    Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds.

2.    In a skillet, brown the ground turkey

3.    Add onions and garlic. Simmer for a few minutes.

4.    Add the corn, tomato and seasoning. Low simmer for 5 more minutes.

5.    Measure out 1/3 cup of rice and add to each pepper.

6.    Measure of 4 oz of meat mixture and add to pepper.

7.    Add 1/3 cup of water into base of dish

8.    Wrap dish tight with tin foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to soften peppers.

Open Face Taco With "Yellow Rice"

By: Amanda Occhipinti

Taco Tuesday for fitness party animals...

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Taco Ingredients:
1lb ground turkey
1 yellow onion
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2 gloves garlic
1-2 TBSP olive oil


Taco Seasoning:
2 TBSP chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot!)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Cilantro for garnishing

"Yellow" Rice:
1 cup white or brown rice
1-2 TBSP Olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp sea salt

Taco Meat Directions:
1) Mince garlic, chop onions, and rice peppers.

2) Add olive oil to sauté pan heat over medium high heat. Place garlic and onions in the heated oil. Cook until onions turn translucent. Place peppers in the same pan and cook until soft.

3) Mix all of the spices together in a bowl.

4) Place ground turkey in a separate pan and cook on medium high heat. Once almost browned add the spices and finish cooking.

4) Turn heat to low and add the peppers and onions to the ground turkey. Simmer for a few minutes to finish cooking.

"Yellow" Rice Directions:
1) Heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil in a sauce pan with 1 clove of minced garlic. Once the oil is hot, add the rice and seasoning and toast the rice for 5-10 minutes.

2) Remove the rice from the heat and add 2 cups of hot water (I've used cold but it splatters WAY more) SLOWLY to the pan. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Author: Katie Paliotti

Gluten Free

Dairy Free

Guilt Free

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Just as a preface to any baking recipes that I post, I am the kind of baker who mixes up teaspoons and tablespoons and occasionally uses baking soda, instead of baking powder. If you ask my mom, she will tell you I have been ruining Christmas cookie recipes for 20 years.

Why is this relevant? It means that any recipe I do is SUPER simple and if I can do it, I’m pretty sure anyone can do it!

This will be my third fall season making this bread. I think the fall is the worst season to have a gluten/dairy allergy because you really miss out on the best breads and pies. However, thanks to this recipe I have a little less food FOMO (fear of missing out)!

Definitely worth trying!

Supplies Needed:

  • Greased Mini Loaf Pan (9x5)  (Can also try making them into muffins!)
  • Hand Mixer if you have one, I usually go without.


3/4 cup pumpkin puree (cooked) (NOT THE SWEETENED PIE FILLING)
1 ripe banana
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup Almond Flour
1 tbsp Maple Syrup
4 pastured eggs
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (if not available, use cinnamon and nutmeg)

Optional Add-ins: Chocolate Chips, Walnuts

Pumpkin Ingredients.jpg

What To Do:

1.     Pre-heat oven to 375°.

2.     Mash Bananas in a smooth puree (with a fork)

3.     Mix in pumpkin puree, eggs and rest of wet ingredients

4.     In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients together

5.     Add the wet and dry ingredients and blend together with hand mixer

6.     Pour batter into a greased mini loaf pan

7.     Let cook for 30-35 min (until you can stick with a fork and it comes out clean!)

***TIP: Let cool before cutting

Breakfast, Meals

Breakfast Cookies

Oatmeal is a breakfast staple in our house. However, plain rolled oats can get a little boring at times. Here's a way to eat your oatmeal that's different and delicious! You can make a batch of these and eat them on the go in the morning, as a snack later in the day, or even for dessert. The recipe is also flexible to add your own favorite ingredients like walnuts, raisins or dark chocolate!

Tri-Color Bean Salad

In an effort to switch up the usual rice and potatoes side dishes, here's a healthy and simply prepared bean salad packed with all of your macronutrients, even fiber! Adding fiber to your diet is great to help keep you regular. Enjoy!  

Turmeric Salmon with Mushroom Kale

Since Mike and I don't eat red meat, unless it's a special occasion, Salmon and Chicken become our nightly dinner staple protein sources. Salmon is great because it's loaded with Omega-3's, which are essential fatty acids. They are essential because our body can't make them on it's own, therefore require us to get them from the outside, like eating wild caught salmon!

Dinner, Meals, Quick, Healthy, Paleo

Curry Shrimp-Fry

Real story: In Kindergarten, we all had a week during the school year where we get to feature ourselves on the "About Me" board. We would bring in various show-and-tell pieces, have extra play time, and would display all of our favorite things on the bulletin board. The "About Me" board would include things like our favorite color, movie, TV show, subject, and of course food. So along comes my week and on the board were things about me:

Salmon Bruschetta

I am always looking for different ways to prepare healthy dinners. The trouble I find with a lot of "healthy" recipes is sometimes they call for strange ingredients not readily accessible ingredients. It's just Mike and I (don't tell the dogs I wrote that, lol) and we keep it pretty simple. So then I would finding myself spending money on ingredients that I would use ONCE and then have to throw the rest away.