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“Minimal" is the exact keyword most busy mamas want to hear when discussing dinner recipe options. Our figurative plates are full, and when it comes to planning and prepping meals—the simpler, the better.


So can simple, good-for-you meals still taste delicious? Dana and John Shultz of the popular blog Minimalist Baker proves that yes, they can, in their beautiful new cook book.

That book, Everyday Cooking, holds 101 vegan, mostly gluten-free, never seen before recipes from breakfast and apps, to dinner and desserts.

The best part about their recipes like the weeknight burrito bowl or the handmade hippie cereal is that they all only require 30 minutes (or less!), one bowl or pot, or ten ingredients or less.

We love a good meal just as much as the next gal, but extra time spent snuggling our two-year-old or planting kisses on our sweet newborn—okay, okay, even extra time to do laundry or make a work call? That's sweeter than any tasty treat out there.

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Less is more, people.

We got to chat with Dana and John of Minimalist Baker about their pantry staples, time-saving tricks in the kitchen, and got the scoop on some of their best recipes.


How did you two decide to start Minimalist Baker?

Dana + John: We started the blog we wanted to cook from back in the summer of 2012. I have always been a somewhat lazy, impatient cook and wanted recipes that required little time, ingredients and equipment. That's how Minimalist Baker came to be.

Why did you want to create this online space to share your recipes and cooking?

Dana+ John: I am a sharer by nature. When I find—or make—something awesome, I naturally want to share it with everyone. Creating exciting new recipes is a natural thing I want to share about. A blog was the perfect way for me to do so.



What made you decide to take the leap and create a (beautiful!) cook book?

Dana + John: Our fans kept asking for something in print that they could hold and use in their kitchens. The brainstorming started from there!

Can you give us the scoop—how do you soak cashews and make almond meal?

Dana + John: Soaking cashews is incredibly simple. Just put cashews in a bowl, cover with boiling hot water, and leave it alone for 1 hour. Then drain and you have the perfect vegan base for creamy sauces, desserts, dressings and more! As for almond meal, that's just raw almonds ground into a fine meal which is perfect for making baked goods gluten free and more wholesome!



What are your must-have pantry items?

Dana + John: You can see a whole list here!

Some pantry items include: Bob's Red Mill 1:1 gluten free flour blend, Bob's Red Mill arrowroot starch, Bob's Red Mill brown rice flour, Bob's Red Mill white rice flour, Bob's Red Mill tapioca flour, Bragg nutritional yeast, Brown rice noodles.

A lot of your meals take 30 minutes or less to prepare. This is huge for busy mamas! What other time-saving tips do you have for us in the kitchen?

Dana + John: Meal plan on Sundays so you only have to grocery shop once. That way you go into the week knowing what to expect and plan for.

I also think multitasking is a huge time saver when it comes to quick cooking. While your quinoa is cooking, chop your vegetables. Or while your chili is bubbling away, prepare your garnishes. Last but not least, try simple recipes!

Shameless plug, but the recipes in the book are truly easy!


Homemade hippie cereal recipe

YIELDS 21 SERVINGS

PREP TIME 10 MIN. | COOK TIME 25 MIN. | TOTAL TIME 35 MIN.

1 3⁄4 cup (196g) slivered raw almonds (slivered do better than whole)

1 1⁄4 cup (125g) raw pecans

3⁄4 cup (90g) raw walnuts

2 Tbsp (24g) chia seeds

2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

2 Tbsp (24g) coconut sugar (or sub organic cane sugar or organic muscovado sugar)

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil or coconut oil

1⁄4 cup (60ml) maple syrup or agave nectar

6 cups (84g) puffed brown rice cereal

OPTIONAL1⁄4 cup (28g) roasted unsalted sunflower seeds

1⁄4 cup (35g) dried blueberries or other dried fruit

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven.

2. In large mixing bowl, combine almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia, 1 tsp cinnamon, coconut sugar, and salt.

3. In small saucepan over low heat (or in small bowl in the microwave), warm oil and maple syrup or agave nectar. Pour over dry ingredients in the large mixing bowl. Mix well.

4. Spread mixture evenly onto large baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. If adding sunflower seeds and dried fruit, remove from oven and add at this time. Stir.

5. Increase heat to 340 degrees F and return to oven for another 5-7 minutes, or until deep golden brown.

6. Rinse and dry mixing bowl. As soon as granola is visibly browned and done cooking (about 25 minutes total), remove from oven and let cool completely.

7. When completely cooled, pour puffed rice into large mixing bowl and add remaining 1 tsp cinnamon. Toss. Add cooled granola and toss once more.

8. Store in a container with airtight seal. Cereal will keep 2-3 weeks. Serve as is or with dairy-free yogurt or milk. Sliced banana makes a lovely addition.


Southwest sweet potato black bean dip recipe

SERVES 6

PREP TIME: 10 Minutes | COOK TIME: 20 Minutes | TOTAL TIME: 30 Minutes

2 medium to large organic sweet potatoes (~260g), cubed, skin on

2 Tbsp (30ml) olive oil or avocado oil

2 Tbsp (30ml) maple syrup (or sub coconut sugar)

1⁄4 tsp each sea salt, chili powder, ground cinnamon + ground cumin

1 cup (150g) whole corn kernels

1 cup (60g) cilantro, chopped

1⁄2 cup red onion (55g), diced

1 15-ounce (425g) can black beans, rinsed + drained SAUCE

1 ripe avocado

1 Tbsp (15ml) olive oil or avocado oil

1 lime, juiced (3 Tbsp or 45ml)

1-2 Tbsp (15-30ml) maple syrup or agave nectar

Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Lightly grease a baking sheet and add potatoes, oil, maple syrup, salt, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Toss to coat.

3. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft and lightly browned, stirring once halfway through to ensure even baking. Sample and adjust seasonings if needed. Set aside.

4. In the meantime, add sauce ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mash/mix to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

5. Add corn, cilantro, onion, black beans, and roasted sweet potatoes to sauce and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

6. Serve at room temperature with tortilla chips. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, though best when fresh.


Easy weeknight burrito bowls recipe

SERVES 4

PREP TIME 5 MIN. | COOK TIME 25 MIN. | TOTAL TIME 30 MIN.

RICE

1 cup (200g) white rice*, uncooked

2 cups (480ml) water

1⁄4 tsp sea salt

1⁄2 lime, juiced (1 Tbsp or 15ml)

2 Tbsp (8g) cilantro, chopped

BLACK BEANS

1 15-ounce (425g) can black beans, slightly drained (if unsalted, add 1⁄4 tsp salt)

1⁄4 tsp each garlic powder, ground cumin + chili powder

PEPPERS + ONIONS

1 Tbsp (15ml) grape seed oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil

1 green bell pepper (119g), seeds removed, thinly sliced

1⁄2 medium red onion (55g), thinly sliced

Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

CORN SALSA*

1 cup (150g) corn, fresh or canned

1⁄4 cup (37g) tomatoes, finely diced

1 jalapeño (14g), seeds removed and finely diced

1⁄4 cup (27g) red onion, finely diced

1⁄2 lime, juiced (1 Tbsp or 15ml)

1 Tbsp (4g) cilantro, chopped Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

GUACAMOLE

1 ripe avocado

1⁄2 lime, juiced (1 Tbsp or 15ml)

Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

1 Tbsp (4g) cilantro, chopped

1. Rinse rice in fine mesh strainer. Add to small saucepan with water. Bring to boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until water is absorbed — about 15-20 minutes. Do not lift lid until it is finished cooking.

2. While rice is cooking, add black beans to saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, add spices, and stir. Then reduce heat to low to keep warm until serving, stirring occasionally.

3. In the meantime, heat large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp (15ml) oil, peppers, onion, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until tender and slightly browned. Set aside.

4. While peppers and onions are sautéing, add all corn salsa ingredients to mixing bowl and toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.

5. Lastly, add all guacamole ingredients to a mixing bowl. Mash to combine using a fork or potato masher. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

6. Once finished cooking, remove rice from heat. Add salt, lime juice, and cilantro.

7. To serve, scoop rice into serving bowls and top with beans, peppers and onions, corn salsa, guacamole, and any other desired toppings. I love extra red salsa, hot sauce, and tortilla chips.

8. Store leftovers separately (covered) in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Corn salsa will keep 5-7 days.

Notes:

*I like using white rice because it cooks much faster and keeps this recipe under 30 minutes. But you can sub brown rice if you prefer.

*To switch it up, sub vegan refried beans or pinto beans for black beans.

*Instead of the corn salsa, you can also sub your favorite red or green salsa.



Recipes reprinted with permission from Minimalist Baker's Everyday Cooking by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Dana Schultz.


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Back when my husband and I were creating our wedding registry, it was a fun, low-pressure opportunity to select some new dishes and linens. After all, I knew a thing or two about stocking my home and making the "wrong decision" with thread count was the only thing that posed any risk to my sleep at night.

Fast-forward a few years to when I created a baby registry before the birth of my first child—and I found the experience to have a much steeper learning curve. Unlike those sheets, it felt like a bad swaddle or bassinet selection would be catastrophic. Unsure of what to expect from motherhood or my baby, I leaned heavily on advice from friends who already ventured into parenthood. (Starting with their reminders to take deep breaths!)

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Now a mom of three little ones under the age of four, I'm happy to be in a position to pass along some baby registry wisdom.

Go shopping with a veteran parent

As first-time parents, my husband and I barely knew the difference between a bouncer and a swing, let alone what specific features we would want. So when a mom friend recommended we head to Walmart to build my registry together—because she found them to carry the trendy brands she loved AND make registering a breeze during her pregnancy—I leapt at the chance.

By walking through the aisles together and actually getting to see the products, I was much more confident in my registry selections. Thanks to that quick, in-store tutorial from my friend, I understood exactly how to match a perfect infant car seat with an extra base and stroller—which is something I would have been clueless about on my own.

Include items at a variety of price points

When it comes down to it, a registry is really a wish list. So, while I had a personal budget for a stroller if it had to come out of my own pocket, this was an opportunity for me to ask for the stroller of my dreams. And, wouldn't you know it? A few family members went in on it together, which made a bigger price tag much more manageable.

At the same time, it's nice to include some of the smaller ticket items that are absolutely essential. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I was to skip buying my own diapers for those first few weeks. (With super cute patterns, these are also surprisingly fun to give, too!)

Think about the gifts you would like to give

The first time I bought a mom-to-be a gift after my own child was born, I knew immediately what to look for on her registry: a diaper bag backpack, which I had come to have very strong opinions about after battling falling straps with my first diaper bag. This allowed me to feel like I had a personal touch in my gift, even if I brought one pre-selected by her.

I also appreciate it when my friends clearly incorporate their style into their registry choices, like with adorable baby outfits or nursery decor—and there's no sweeter "thank you" than a picture from a friend showing your gift in use.

Ask for things to grow with your child

Even though it's called a baby registry, there's no need to limit yourself to gifts to use before their first birthday. (To this day, I still have people who attended my baby shower to thank for the convertible bed that my oldest child sleeps in!) Knowing that, I would have included more options with long lifespans into my registry—namely, a baby carrier that can be used during the newborn months, baby months and well into the toddler years. A well-designed baby carrier would have saved my back from serious pain because it would have allowed me to comfortably and ergonomically carry my toddler as she made her way into the 25lb+ club. One brand that's designed to grow with your baby and accommodates 7-45 pounds (up to about four years old) and offers both inward and forward-facing positions is Ergobaby. With several different design and style options, you can easily find one that caters to your parenting needs. From an all-in-one carrier, like the Omni 360, that grows with baby from the newborn stages into the toddler years or a newborn-specific carrier, like the Embrace (and don't worry you can later upgrade to a carrier for an older baby, I recommend the 360 Carrier). The best part? All ergonomic designs are supportive and comfortable for both baby and parent, offering extra lumbar support with breathable, lightweight mesh styles. Everyone (even grandparents!) can get a kick out of babywearing, which is a nice and welcomed break for parents. Having one of these on my registry would have certainly made those first few years so much easier.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


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