Trying something new: Celery Root Fries

Every seen Harry Potter? Do you remember the Mandrake Root? The little plant that when you pulled out of the ground it would scream its head off? Well, celery root almost looks like that. Just in the fact that they both look so gnarly and inedible. It doesn’t scream when pulled out of the ground though, so no need to worry.
Celery root is actually very edible and rather tasty. Plus, with fall approaching, it’ll be in season so you’ll be seeing a lot of it at your grocery store. The first time I cooked with celery root was three years ago when I lived in Santa Barbara with a house full of five other girls. I don’t remember how I came across it or even how I knew what to do with it, but I do remember my roommates acting very intrigued.

“You’re going to EAT that thing?!”

photo 5

They all sat around and watched while I removed the outer layer and started slicing the root into fry sizes. Once I had finished cooking them, the little fries were unrecognizable from the original form it took. I offered my roommates to try some. Needless to say, they were a little wary to try it after seeing the original gnarly, root-y shape, but once they got up the courage to try it, they ended up taking seconds, thirds, and fourths!

Try something new this fall and buy a celery root! I swear, it’s waaaay tastier than it looks!

Celery Root Fries

serves 1


1 celery root (you lose a lot while trimming off the outer edges, so try and get a larger one)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne (optional–for those who like a little spice in their life)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cut the top of the celery root off. This will be used as your starting point for cutting off the outer edges.

photo 4

3. Using a sharp knife, slice off the fibrous-y outer layer until it resembles a peeled potato.

4. Cut the root into thin, french fry shaped strips and put onto a cookie sheet. Add the remaining ingredients and toss until each fry is coated.

photo 3

5. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes or until its reached your desired crispiness. Serve with a chicken burger or maybe even a steak! I paired mine with a nice big steak and some green beans 🙂

photo 1-5

Eating healthy on a post grad budget: making the struggle easier

I have one more semester until I’m completely done with school and honestly, it scares the sh*t out of me. It’s hard to get excited about graduation when all I can think about is the impending doom of being on my own and having responsiblity thrust upon me. Thankfully, I have learned how to at least feed myself on a limited budget so I won’t starve to death or survive off of plain pasta.
One of my friends who graduated in May asked me to shed some light on how to eat well while pinching your pennies. I’m going to provide tips that have gotten me through hard times of barely any money and an example week of how to eat when you can’t even rub two dimes together.


1. Meal planning will become your best friend. It can be extremely annoying to have to plan out what you’re going to eat each day for 5 days, but unfortunately, you’re broke and you don’t have much more of an option. When you’re making the big bucks, you can go crazy and decide on a whim what you’ll eat, when you want to eat it. But for now, you have GOT to learn how to meal plan.

???So how do you meal plan???
Great question, young post college graduate. That leads me to my next point…

2. Make simple meals that all use some of the same ingredients. This is really important. Lets say you want to make a veggie pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, and broccoli. Use the leftover vegetables the next day to make a veggie quinoa bowl. It takes some planning, but it gets easier, I promise.


I’ve told you how to plan to eat cheaply for a week… now how do you make it healthy?


3. Use the recipes that I post to plan your meals around! And stay updated with the recipes that I post. I have been living a healthy and CHEAP lifestyle on my own now for four years. I’ve learned a lot. Use my information to help you succeed in staying healthy on a budget.


Now I’m going to lay it all out for you in a 5 day example so that you can get the gist of how to do this. I’ve  listed enough meals for each category to get you through the week. Some won’t have 5 different meals and that’s because you can eat this on multiple different days to save you money:

Breakfast: Eggs and toast, strawberry and almond butter toast (use bananas instead of strawberries), leftover savory eggs and potatoes

Lunch: raw kale salad with avocado dressing, fajita style chicken lettuce wrap, dinner sized salad (add chicken),  chicken sandwich (using leftover chicken from one of your meals), black bean quinoa bowl 

Snacks: peanut butter protein bars, kind bar, greek yogurt

Dinner: Vegan shepherd’s pie, green monster quinoa bowl, savory eggs and potatoes, potato leek soup with toast, teriyaki chicken plate (use quinoa instead of rice)

Drinks: a bottle of wine… you know… for the weekend. or something.

You can eat ALL OF THIS healthy food for only $55.61. And I even included a bottle of WINE! Take that out and you’re under $50!! I actually went to Trader Joes, wrote down the cost of every item that you need for these meals, and then figured out the cost of everything. You’re welcome. Now you don’t have any excuse! Go eat healthy and check in for more recipes on my blog! All are diet friendly. All approved.

Just a reminder… THESE are all the money saving meals that you’ll be able to make. Looks a lot different than ramen, huh?


Easy home made ALMOND MILK (without all the nasty preservatives!)

If you’re like the majority of health conscious Americans out there, you’ve probably lessened up on the milk and opted for almond milk (or other variations) instead. Growing up, I never drank regular cows milk. My parents supplemented my cereals with rice milk and that stuff… sucked. It always tasted so watered down and lacked any flavor. I was excited when I first discovered almond milk and the whole new realm of this flavorful and substantial liquid. It wasn’t until the last few years in the midst of studying for my Nutritional Sciences degree that I decided to take a hard look at the premade Almond Milks that you buy from stores. I was surprised to find the the majority of almond milks have around 11 ingredients. I didn’t even understand half of the ingredients and I study food labels in school! This sort of freaked me out because I believe in eating food as close to it’s original form as possible. So I decided to make my own almond milk and was surprised to find how easy it was to make. The one catch is that it only lasts about 3 days. That really makes you think because store bought almond milk lasts up to two weeks in the fridge after it has been opened. Just how many preservatives are in those almond milks that it can last that long?? It’s worth trying. Plus it just tastes so much better when you make it yourself. Another positive: it makes you seem ultra impressive to your friends when it really didn’t take that much effort on your part.


Homemade Almond Milk
makes 4 cups
what you’ll need
1 cup raw almonds
1 nut bag
1 mason jar

1. In the mason jar, soak the almonds in two cups of water for 12-24 hours.
2. After soaking, drain and rinse the almonds. Put the almonds into a blender with 4 cups of water and blend for about 30 seconds.
3. Position the nut bag over the mason jar and pour the water almond mixture into the jar. You’ll have to do this in batches but it’ll go by quickly using the nut bag. Make sure to squeeze the bag with the almond meal in it to drain out any liquid. Do this until the all the liquid has been drained from the almonds.
**this will last for up to 3 days
Try adding some dates and vanilla extract to make it taste even better!

The best damn dinner salad ever.

Okay, I may be a little biased, but this salad is really good! Plus, it looks so fricken pretty as if it came directly out of a food photoshoot for Bon Appetit magazine! It’s a perfect picture of hearty avocado with crunchy seeds, light lettuce and other fruit and vegetable delicacies. Make it. Eat it. Love it. Definitely two thumbs up. Top it with some sun dried tomato hummus to really sass it up!


The Best Damn Dinner Salad Ever
serves 1

2 cups mixed greens
1 small carrot
1 small beet
1/2 small cucumber
1/2 avocado
1 handful parsley
1 handful cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 cup roasted tomato hummus
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a large salad bowl, pour in the mixed greens.
2. With a zest-er or a grater, zest thin strips of both the carrot and beet. Add to the salad.
3. Cut the cucumber into thin slices and add to the salad.
4. Cut the stalks off of the parsley and add to the salad.
5. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and add to the salad along with the green onions.
6. Slice the avocado and scoop out on top of the salad.
7. Heat a small pan to medium and add in the pumpkin seeds. Allow the seeds to slightly brown while constantly moving them around do that they don’t burn. This should only take about 30 seconds. Sprinkle the crunchy seeds on top if the salad.
8. For dressing, add the hummus to the top and drizzle the olive oil over the entire thing.

**This salad is extremely filling so you probably won’t need anything else for dinner when you make it! Enjoy!

6 ingredient potato leek soup

This soup is so fast and so easy that literally anyone can make it regardless of their culinary skills (or lack thereof). The soup is deceivingly creamy without the use of any dairy. Since there isn’t any dairy, it’s also a lower calorie soup while still being able to fill you up!


Six Ingredient Potato Leek Soup
serves 2
2 Yukon gold potatoes
2 leeks
2 cups chicken broth
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

1. Wash the leeks and potatoes well. Chop the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Cut the leeks into 1/2 inch strips. Put both items into a pot with the chicken broth, salt and rosemary sprig. Cook while covered on medium for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, uncover and remove the rosemary. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for another 5 minutes.
2. Put the entire cooked mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender if you have one.
3. Pour the soup into two bowls and drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over each bowl. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

This recipe is perfect for a light summertime dinner! Enjoy!

Green juice power up

love juicing! For my birthday two years ago, my parents got me a juicer and I’ve been juicing ever since! Green juices are filled with so many beneficial nutrients and phytochemicals that improve overall health, decrease your risk for chronic diseases and just make you feel all around great! If you don’t own a juicer, many restaurants and stores are selling green juices. But if you buy juices often, you should really consider buying your own juicer. Freshly pressed green juices provide so many more benefits than juice that has been sitting there for a few days. Plus, you can put whatever you like into your juice and get creative!
When possible, use organic vegetables and fruit! That way, you won’t consume any chemicals or GMO food! If you have to use conventional, peel the skin from the vegetables and fruits.


Here’s my favorite green juice recipe that helps pick me up when I’m feeling a little sluggish.

Green Juice
makes 1-2 8 oz glasses, depending on the size/freshness of your veggies

2 kale leaves
1 bunch of parsley
1 large cucumber, sliced to fit into the juicer
1/4 lemon (including the rind)
1 apple, sliced to fit the juicer
2 celery stalks
1 large carrot, sliced to fit the juicer


1. Turn the juicer on and alternate between squishier items, such as apple and cucumber, with harder items, such as parsley and carrot. This will help pull more juice through the juicer.
2. Once all the vegetables have been juiced, put your juice into a mason jar and let it sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to chill. It tastes better cold 🙂

Enjoy your green juice!

Vegan Chili

This is a staple in my busy student life. I make a big batch of this and have enough for three days of dinners. It’s a great make-ahead dinner because it actually tastes better if it’s been sitting around for a few days in the fridge! I made it vegan mostly because I’m too lazy to add in any ground chicken or turkey, but you can definitely add that in if you prefer meat in your chili. I’ve made it with meat before and it tastes just as amazing. I just wanted to provide the vegan version for those who prefer no animal products.

Because it is plant based, my chili is rather low in calories for it being a main course. It only has 281 calories per serving and it will definitely fill you up and KEEP you full. This meal is filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep you healthy. Plus, it’s figure friendly for the quickly approaching summer season! Make it ahead on a Sunday and you’ll have enough to feed you through Tuesday!


Vegan Chili

281 calories per serving

serves 3


1 15 oz can of kidney beans

1 15 oz can of black beans

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1. Drain the liquid from the can of black and kidney beans.

2. Pour the olive oil into a large pan and turn the heat to medium high. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally for 4 minutes.

3. Add the cans of beans, the tomato sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, cumin, and chili powder. Turn the heat down to medium low and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered. Stir every 5 minutes. After the 20 minute simmer, the chili is ready to eat! Just make sure to let it cool before you eat it!

I hope you enjoy the chili! Try it out and tag me in your pictures on Instagram (healthyfoodylifestyle) or Twitter (@AutumnBates21) so that I can see your creations!

Fajita style chicken lettuce wrap

This is one of my favorite recipes that my mom used to make for me when I was growing up. It’s filling without making you feel bloated or too full. I usually make this recipe when I want something flavor packed, cheap and low in calories(only 189 calories per serving)!
The reason why I love this recipe is because it’s so easy to prepare and you get a good amount of protein in from the chicken. You are also able to cut the cooking time of the chicken down by more than half for this recipe by cutting the chicken into thin strips before cooking.
Pair this recipe with some steamed or roasted veggies to complete your low calorie, protein packed, delicious meal!

Take a picture of your fajita style chicken lettuce wrap and tag me in it on Instagram (healthyfoodylifestyle) or twitter (@AutumnBates21) to share your healthy dinner with me!! 🙂


Fajita style chicken lettuce wrap
189 calories per serving
serves 2
1 chicken breast
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hummus
1 cup spinach
4 romaine lettuces
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper

1. Cut the chicken into thin strips. Put 1 teaspoon of olive oil into a skillet/pan. Put the chicken into the skillet and heat to medium. Season with about a half teaspoon of salt and pepper and cook for 6-10 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken pieces, until done.
2. Pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a new skillet. Heat to medium and add the onions and bell peppers. Season with a sprinkle of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon). Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Add the spinach into the mix after the 7 minutes and cook for an additional 1 minute.
3. Combine the remaining teaspoon of olive oil with the Dijon mustard, lemon juice and garlic clove. Mix well before serving. This is the sauce for the wraps.
4. Lay the lettuce leaves out and add half a tablespoon to each leaf. Add the chicken, onions, bell pepper, spinach and sauce and serve!

Black Bean Enchiladas with Cashew Cream topping

It definitely seems like I’m a vegan from all of the recipes that I’ve been posting… but I’m not! It just turns out that vegetarian/vegan food tastes so good and I’ve been extremely inspired to make veggie filled dishes lately! But since I have a plethora of vegetarian dishes accumulated in my recipe bank now, there’s no excuse to go meatless a few days of the week! 🙂

Here’s another tasty and healthy creation of mine. The cashew cream isn’t a requirement for this recipe. I just think it’s a great addition, but not necessary. If you do decide to make the cashew cream, it does take a full 24 hours to soak the cashews prior to making the cream, so make sure you plan ahead!

These black bean enchiladas are only 316 calories per serving (and you get two enchiladas per serving!!). If you choose to add the cashew cream, it’s an additional 126 calories per serving. These also taste great the next day! The flavors all meld together over night to create an almost completely different dish!

Taste bud approved and figure friendly 🙂



Black Bean Enchiladas

serves 3


6 tortillas

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1 zucchini, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup onion, diced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/4 cup enchilada sauce

1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Preheat the oven to 375.

2. Pour the olive oil into a pan and turn the heat to medium high. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next, add the zucchini and chili powder and cook for an additional 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. After the 7 minutes, add the beans and cook for one more minute. Remove the pan from the heat once it is done cooking.

3. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Fill a tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of the bean mixture. Fold both sides into each other to form a little tube and place the enchilada, seam side down, in the baking dish. Repeat for the remaining 5 tortillas.

4. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Put in the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes.

5. (optional) Add the cashew cream on top of the enchiladas when you are ready to serve them.


Cashew Cream

serves 3

1/2 cup cashews

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water

1. Soak the cashews in water over night.

2. Drain the water from the cashews. Add the cashews, lemon juice, salt and water to a blender and blend until smooth.

Zucchini pasta with homemade easy tomato sauce

As those of you who follow me on Instagram know, I have had an excess of zucchini and tomatoes from my community service that I really needed to use. Last night, I finally used up my surplus of veggies by inviting my friends over for a big dinner! The result was a zucchini pasta with homemade pasta sauce. The homemade pasta sauce might sound a little intimidating, but it’s actually way more simple than you would imagine and your friends will be thoroughly impressed when you tell them that the sauce is homemade!
Plus… Only 277 calories per serving!! Indulge in this pasta dish this weekend without losing sight of your health and fitness goals!


Zucchini pasta with homemade tomato sauce
serves 2
1 pint of grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup sliced yellow onion
2 zucchini, cut into thin, bite sized pieces
1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1 inch strips
1/4 shredded white cheddar cheese
2 servings (depending on the pasta shape you use, the amount will change) of whole wheat pasta

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. On a cookie sheet, combine the container of tomatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 2 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss the ingredients together with your hands and put in the oven for 20 minutes.
3. While the tomatoes cook, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon olive oil to a pan and turn the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 3 minutes, add the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of dried basil and 1 teaspoon of dried oregano and stir until everything is evenly combined. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Put the zucchini mixture into a large bowl when finished cooking.
5. Fill a pot halfway with water and put it on the stove at medium high heat until it starts to boil. Add the pasta and cook for as long as the packaging for the pasta says.
6. Add the tomatoes to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the sauce to the zucchini mixture along with the cooked pasta and shredded cheese. Toss to combine and serve!

This is definitely more of a decadent meal than I usually post, but it’s okay to have a rich meal every now and then. One meal won’t make you fat or unhealthy so as long as you are doing well the majority of the time. Treat yourself every once in a while! You deserve it! Plus, this meal is definitely still nutritious because of the vegetables, fresh homemade sauce and whole wheat pasta.
If you’re looking for some sassy reads while you enjoy this meal, go to ! My friend Jenni writes her current hates and obsessions… Definitely a must read if you have a cards against humanity type of humor!
I hope you enjoy this meal as much as all my friends and I did!