I fell behind on posting over the holidays, which I wouldn't too bad about, except that it means I haven't posted about these empanadas yet! These were Melissa's idea for one of our amazing vegetarian lunches. You can see from her post, which is from all the way back in October, just how far behind I am!
Anywho, back to the empanadas! Crispy, buttery, flaky crust. Smoky, creamy, hearty filling. Cool, creamy, vibrant dipping sauce. Yes, yes, yes!
You will need to bake some sweet potatoes, the fastest and easiest way to do this is in the microwave. Then scoop out the flesh and mash it with a fork.
This month for the Improv Cooking Challenge, our ingredients were Carrots & Curry. I knew immediately that I wanted to make a soup, so I looked back through my archives and found three soup recipes that I'd previously made. I used these three recipes to help me come up with a new one: Spiced Carrot Soup with Chickpeas and Tahini, Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Prosciutto, and Thai Pumpkin Soup.
I started by cooking madras curry and grated ginger in olive oil (though it occurs to me now that I could have used coconut oil), then adding carrots, onion, and garlic. I seasoned with salt and cooked for 15 minutes, until the vegetables started to brown. Then I added chicken broth and coconut milk and simmered covered for 20 minutes. You can use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian/vegan.
If you've been anywhere near Instagram, you know that avocado roses are all the rage. Simple, elegant, beautiful. Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) and I decided to try our hands at making them, and I think they turned out pretty well!
Watch this video to learn how to do it. Melissa is much more coordinated than I am, so those are her hands you are seeing.
Or you can follow these directions: Oil a cutting board and knife with olive oil.
A month ago, Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) asked for my help coming up with toppings for these gorgeous beet, quinoa, and black bean burgers. How could I refuse?! Before I tell you what we decided on, let me tell you about the burgers themselves.
The are firm, full of flavor, have great texture, and are a little bit smoky. Everyone always says this, but they do taste very meaty. I swear.
Veggie burgers rely on many ingredients to make a good product. They can be notoriously mushy and fall apart. This recipe seems to hit all the right notes to make a great burger. Mushrooms, onions, and beets give moisture and flavor; quinoa gives texture; and black beans and ground nuts hold it all together.
I was approached by a representative of Nuts.com to enter their healthy summer snack contest! Woo! People are finding my blog and I get an excuse to play with cool ingredients and make a healthy snack.
I knew I wanted to do some kind of bar, but I am not enough of a baker to create a recipe on my own, so I turned to the best baker I know - Melissa from Smells like Brownies. Together, we came up with a granola bar recipe that included cacao butter, cacao nibs, dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut, almond flour, chia seeds, and oats. Sweetened only with honey, these bars are a powerhouse of energy (they also have great texture and flavor).
To get the most flavor, roast the hazelnuts at 350 for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan at 10 and 15 minutes to ensure that they roast evenly. You can then rub most of the skins off with a towel. If you really want to get rid of all of the skins, you will have to blanch them and the skins before roasting.
You will need a food processor for this recipe, but it comes together very easily. Then you just press into a pan and bake. The bars are a little crumbly, so if you aren't a fan of that - try soaking the chia seeds in a bit of water before adding them.
The real MVP of this recipe is the cacao butter. My goodness, does it smell and taste delicious. It's like vegetable oil (or more like coconut oil in terms of healthiness and uses) that tastes like chocolate - I might be a little obsessed now. You can wrap these individually to travel or to freeze. You can also sub in whatever nuts you like, add more dried fruit - whatever you want!
Oh, yeah - if you make sure to use GF oats, this is totally Gluten Free! And if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup, it's also vegan! Enjoy!
This is True Food Kitchen's Chia Seed Pudding Pudding, made with banana and coconut milk, it is one of my favorite desserts ever. I crave it, I dream about it, I love it so much! I used to stop by after working out to treat myself (it's a healthier dessert, but still sugary). And then I moved from 5 minutes away to 35 minutes away. Sad day!
So I hit the web to find a recipe to make it for myself at home and it turns out that it was incredibly easy to find! Success! Then it turned out to be incredibly easy to make, too - double success!
Please try this wonderful treat for yourself, and enjoy!
Chia Seed Pudding
adapted from Dallas News
2 1/2 to 3 large ripe bananas (divided use)
18 oz canned coconut milk, or coconut cream if you can find it (not cream of coconut, just unsweetened coconut cream)
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 small pinch kosher salt
6 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp toasted coconut chips, for garnish
Combine 2 large bananas with the coconut cream, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt in a blender. Purée until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the chia seeds; blend on low speed to combine. Place mixture in a sealed container to set; stir after 20 minutes. Chill for at least 4 hours before serving (may be prepared to this point up to 48 hours in advance). Top with banana slices and toasted coconut chips.
One Year Ago - Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Two Years Ago - Miso Tahini Soup
Three Years Ago - Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Broccolini
Four Years Ago - Lasagna with Cinnamon
Five Years Ago - Spiced Pumpkin and Lamb Tagine; Thai Pumpkin Soup; Spiced Carrot Soup
I made these cupcakes (a long time ago) for the bridal shower of a vegan friend of mine. Please ignore how terrible I am at frosting - this was literally my first time using my piping set. I got the recipe from Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) who said it was a delicious cake recipe, even for non-vegans. And you know what? She was right! These cupcakes are moist and decadent and very chocolatey - and don't taste at all like avocado! They are also incredibly easy to make.
The original post included a lemon and avocado frosting that I was not a fan of, so I ended up using Duncan Hines chocolate frosting in the tub (which just happens to be vegan). You can use whatever frosting you prefer.
Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cupcakes
adapted from Joy the Baker
makes 36 cupcakes
3 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used avocado oil)
1/2 cup soft avocado, well mashed, about 1 medium avocado
2 cups water
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake wrappers into 3 muffin tins.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients except the sugar.
Mix all the wet ingredients together in a bowl, including the super mashed avocado (you really don't want any chunks).
Add sugar into the wet mix and stir.
Mix the wet with the dry all at once, and beat with a whisk (by hand) until smooth.
Scoop batter into muffin tins. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove onto cooling racks to cool completely before frosting.
I was making dinner for a vegan friend of mine and found this quick and easy recipe that sounded good. Using mostly canned products, I was not expecting it to turn out as well as it did (hence no preparation photos). We were both surprised at how much flavor this chili had. I added in some chopped leftover steak for Jasper, and he loved it too. This is definitely going into my records as cheap, easy, customizeable, and well-loved.
Vegan Three Bean Chili with Pesto
adapted from Real Simple
1 tbsp plus 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian spices, including liquid
kosher salt and black pepper
1 15.5oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 15.5oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 15.5oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp pine nuts (you can use a less expensive nut)
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes and their liquid, 2 cups water, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and bring to a boil.
Add the beans and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
Either finely chop the garlic, pine nuts, and parsley and combine with remaining 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper in a small bowl OR put everything into a mini food processor and pulse.
Divide the chili among individual bowls and top with the pesto.
I recently moved to a new house about 35 minutes from my old one, but I still have a gym membership near my old place because I need to use up some training sessions before I quit. So I've been driving over there twice a week to train. I'm used to drinking a protein shake on the way to the gym, working out, then getting lunch. But now with the extra drive (and waking up earlier), I'm getting hungry by the time I get to the gym - and that is no good for working out! So here is where these (vegan, paleo, gluten-free) date and nut bars come in handy. I throw one in my bag straight from the freezer, and by the time I get to the gym they are thawed, so I eat it before heading in. They fill me up and give me a boost of energy - perfect!
These are also great for healthy homemade snacks or desserts, and especially for people with food allergies (other than nuts, obviously). I bet kids would love them.
The crust is made from nuts, date, and coconut - most of which is pressed into the bottom of a pan, and the rest is sprinkled on top later. The original poster is a big fan of soaking and drying nuts before eating them to remove the phytic acid that can make them difficult to digest. I tried it for this recipe and it took quite a bit of time (I dried them in the slow cooker overnight), but if that is too much work for you it's okay to just use raw nuts. The original recipe also calls for brazil and macadamia nuts, but these are a bit hard to find and a little expensive. I recommend raw cashews as a replacement.
The filling is made from dates, dried figs, and orange zest - yum.