Spring is here, and I’m thrilled! We’re just starting to see green grass again. I’m daydreaming of warmer days and picnics in the park. Sunshine, tulips, asparagus, Claritin—I’ll take it all.

Below, you’ll find a list of what’s in season this month, and a few links that I’ve been wanting to share with you (including a few affiliate links). Cheers to April!

Continue to the recipe...

The post What to Cook This April appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Well, I finally did it—feast your eyes on these grain-free, nut-free vegan chocolate chunk beauties!! Whew. Nicole and I, along with a couple bonus mama testers (shout-out to Cynthia and Jen!), teamed up to test about 25 batches of cookies these past few weeks! High fives all around. I couldn’t do it without these amazing ladies.

Over the years I’ve been asked so many times to develop grain-free vegan cookies…and nut-free vegan cookies…and grain- AND nut-free vegan cookies! Haha. So you know what I did? I created grain-free and nut-free vegan cookies. It wasn’t easy, but the journey was rather delicious. These cookies have actually been in the making for a couple years as I went back to an old grain-free cookie recipe that I started developing and then forgot about. Score!

This recipe uses cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from yuca with good binding properties and a neutral flavour. I wanted so badly to share a swap for the cassava flour (as I know it’s not a common ingredient), but I’m just not quite there yet—although I have been experimenting with arrowroot starch as an option! Stay tuned. So today, instead of a flour swap, I thought I’d share some other allergy-friendly OSG cookie recipes that might suit your needs in the list below. I’ve also included suggestions for where to find cassava flour within the recipe itself.

If you don’t have cassava flour on hand and still want to make some cookies (of course you do!), here are some of my nut- or grain-free vegan choco chip cookie options:

Nut-free vegan cookies:

  • Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 213. You can swap the peanut butter for natural smooth sunflower seed butter.
  • Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the nut-free option on page 266.

Grain-free vegan cookies:

  • Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the grain-free option on page 266.

Gluten-free vegan cookies:

Any faves out there? I’d like to think there’s something for everyone. :)

Let baking season begin in 3…2…1…GO!

4.9 from 8 reviews

Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free

I’ve had so many requests for a grain- and nut-free version of my popular vegan chocolate chip cookies and I’m so happy to have one to share at long last. These delicate cookies are light as air and use sunflower seeds (both in butter and ground form) to create a rich and “nutty” cookie. Sometimes sunflower seeds can lend a bitter flavour, but these cookies have a mellow and pleasant taste! I also use cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from dried yuca. I’ve found it has good binding properties and a neutral flavour for baking. You can purchase it on Amazon or find it in some health food stores. It’s very important to follow the instructions exactly as written as these cookies are sensitive to even small changes. This recipe is adapted from my Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies.

Yield
9 medium/large cookies
Prep time
10 Minutes
Cook time
10 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the wet ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup (63 g) natural smooth sunflower seed butter*
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) coconut oil (room temp) or grapeseed oil**
For the dry ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons (54 g) raw sunflower seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (30 g) cassava flour***
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground chia seed****
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate squares

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
  3. Place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about 40 to 60 seconds until a fine meal forms. You want to process the seeds to as fine a meal as possible without them turning into butter!
  4. Add the dry ingredients (ground sunflower seeds, cassava flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) to the wet mixture bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Chop the chocolate, reserving one heaping tablespoon for later. Stir the remaining chopped chocolate into the dough until combined.
  5. Using a 2-tablespoon (30-mL) cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), scoop small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart. There’s no need to flatten the mounds as they’ll spread out during baking. Now, using the chocolate you set aside, press a few chunks into each mound (this just helps the cookies look a bit more chocolaty when baked!).
  6. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
  7. Remove cookies from the oven and cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie (they’ll be very fragile) to a cooling rack for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be crumbly until they are fully cooled, so it’s very important that you give them some time to firm on the rack (I know, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do!).
  8. Serve and enjoy! Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. I love the delightful “snappy” texture these cookies get as the chocolate firms up from chilling!

Tips:

* The sunflower seed butter should be 100% sunflower seeds without any added sugars or oils. I use Organic SunButter. Be sure to stir the sunflower seed butter before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard butter at the bottom of the jar. If using thicker seed butter, the cookies won’t spread as much when baking.

** If your coconut oil is hard as rock, you can melt it over very low heat and then cool before using. Avoid using warm coconut oil as it’ll melt the chocolate chips.

*** Cassava flour can be a bit tricky to locate. Your best bet is to buy from an online retailer (such as this one on Amazon) or a natural food store.

**** To make ground chia seed, add seeds to a high-speed blender or coffee grinder and blend/grind on high until a flour forms. An equal amount of ground flaxseed also works in place of chia, but it will yield a thicker cookie. I prefer using ground chia. Leftover ground seeds can be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag for future use.

When you live in a household that’s favorite meal is breakfast, creativity knows no bounds. This egg sandwich is the perfect breakfast treat and I’ve even been known to wrap it up and take it on the road.

Fried Egg Sandwich: the beginning

I love a good breakfast egg sandwich but anytime I’m out and about, my options are limited. This little breakfast treat is usually geared towards meat-based meals and so over the years, I’ve experimented with many different veg-heavy alternatives. Enter this avocado egg sandwich!

I’ve loaded this sandwich up with a hefty amount of vegetables, hummus, and a solid sauce to bring it all together. Not much is missing, making this my kind of breakfast.

Kale Sauce

One of the reasons I wanted to share this particular recipe: the kale sauce. I posted this omelette a few weeks back and this is a perfect example of having one sauce across a few different meals. This kale sauce is vibrant and the perfect way to add greens to this sandwich without having a pile of leafy greens.

I will say, the tarragon in the sauce isn’t for everyone. Feel free to use whatever kind of sauce you might like. A variation of pesto is always nice or experiment with other types of flavorful sauces.

Hummus

When it comes to sandwiches, hummus is up there with mustard as an every-day kind of thing. I’d happily lather it on almost every sandwich I eat. It’s also a great way to experiment with different flavors. Make a harissa, beet, or herby hummus to use on sandwiches and grilled cheeses.

Vegan

Obviously the egg is the issue here but you could easy drop the egg and have a delightful veg sandwich. I've also been playing with the idea of adding a tofu scramble to the mix!

Extra Veggies

Finally, the most important part: the vegetables. This avocado egg sandwich is perfect for any kind of seasonal vegetables. In the summer, use roasted tomatoes or grilled squash. In the spring, pile it high with fresh or sautéed greens.

[tasty-recipe id="38002"] continue reading

The post Avocado Egg Sandwich with Hummus appeared first on Naturally..

My first boss used to joke that I’d probably be happy on a diet of mostly baby food. He said this because of my obvious love of mushy-textured foods, which I snacked on constantly at work: refried black bean dip, nut pate, and hummus. Especially hummus.

My love of mush hasn’t budged as the years go by. If anything, it’s gotten deeper. I love not just mushy dips, but also mushy porridge, soft/mushy grain dishes, smashed beans, and mushy soups and stews. This is especially true when it comes to puréed soups: the thicker the better, which means the texture sometimes walks a pretty fine line between soup and mush.

This creamy roasted garlic and chickpea soup isn’t offensively thick or mushy, and the addition of tender greens gives it some texture contrast. But it does have that thick, puréed texture that I love so much, and since the base is roasted garlic and chickpeas with a touch of lemon, it’s not so different from hummus soup. I’ve just given it a slightly fancier name 🙂

The soup begins with two whole heads of roasted garlic. It sounds like a ton, but the reason I’ve called for it is because the first time I made the soup, I only used one head of garlic. I liked the flavor, but I thought it could easily do with double the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic has none of the kick of the raw stuff, and in fact it gives this soup a mellow sweetness. If you’re very sensitive to garlic, of course, feel free to reduce the amount, but if your garlic heads are medium or small, I suspect you’ll find that two of them is just right.

Otherwise, the soup is super simple. Roasting the garlic is actually the most time-consuming step. Once that’s taken care of, you just sauté some chickpeas and onion, add broth and salt, and blend it all up. Here’s how it comes together.

Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup

  • 2 heads garlic, top sliced off crosswise to expose the cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (2 cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or 4 cups broth + 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, and more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, as desired
  • 4-5 cups tightly packed chopped spinach, chard, kale, broccoli rabe, or another leafy green
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Lightly drizzle the garlic heads with olive oil. Wrap each head in foil and roast for 45 minutes, or until the cloves are becoming caramelized and the garlic is very fragrant.

  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring often, or until the onion is tender and clear. Add the chickpeas, broth (or broth + water), salt, and pepper. 

  3. Transfer the chickpeas and broth to a powerful blender. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from both heads into the blender, too. Blend on high till the mixture is very smooth, taking precaution with spattering (the soup will be very hot). You can do this in batches if your blender is on the small side. You can also use an immersion blender.

  4. Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot and bring to a simmer. Add the greens and cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the greens are very tender. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste, season as desired, and serve!

If you like, you can roast the garlic 1-3 days ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to blend.

When I first made the soup, it was in the middle of a week of seasonal peaks and valleys temperature, sunny days and drizzle. I enjoyed it for many lunches with a hunk of homemade sourdough and a little salad. It felt like the perfect transition meal between winter and spring: still hearty enough to be warming and grounding, thanks to the chickpea base, but the puréed texture, spring greens, and burst of lemon made it feel fresh, too.

I could imagine making it again very soon, as New York continues to ride the customary April weather. And although I love the chickpeas here, I’m also eager to try it with some white beans.

Wishing you an easy transition between seasons this week, and I’ll see you back here for the usual roundup on Sunday.

xo

The post Creamy Roasted Garlic & Chickpea Soup appeared first on The Full Helping.

Serves 4
Total time: 30 minutes || Active time: 30 minutes

I know, I know, I put Brussel Sprouts in everything. Well, until someone invents an even more awesome vegetable*, I will continue to overuse them. Even fried rice is not safe from that little cruciferous flavor bomb! Not that anyone is complaining.

This version is fresh and aromatic with the addition of a million herbs and scallions. And pinenuts are a surprisingly tantalizing addition to fried rice! A small handful goes a long way to adding another decadent layer of flavor. You can top with some gingery tofu or something, if you’d like it to be an entree. Or you can toss in some browned tofu. Or simply serve in addition to a bigger Thai-inspired spread. Or just be like “It’s fried rice for dinner/breakfast/elevensies!” and eat the whole darn thing.

*Maybe a more awesome vegetable has been invented? Google “lollipop kale.” OMG.


Recipe Notes
~The rice has to be cold for this recipe to work correctly, otherwise it will get mushy and sticky. Many supermarkets carry frozen bags of rice for reasonable prices. I’ve made this recipe with a standard 20 oz bag of rice in mind (Whole Foods has frozen Jasmine rice, even.) But you can certainly freeze your own! Just steam it up, fluff it and place in a mesh strainer. Just sticks the strainer in the fridge to cool comletely, that way it will cook quickly and evenly. Then place rice in a freezer bag and freeze until ready to use. I always keep a bag at the ready for quick weeknight meals, veggie burgers, what have you. For this recipe, you can just toss the rice into the pan frozen.

~I love the richness of coconut oil here, but if you wanna use another veggie oil, I won’t be mad at you.

~If you’re not feeling the pinenuts, try some roasted cashews!

~The agave is only for the very very slightest hint of sweetness to elevate the flavors. If you don’t have any, dissolve some sugar in the soy sauce and that’ll work just fine!

Ingredients
2 tablespoons refined coconut oil, divided
12 oz Brussel sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin half-moons
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1 cup finely chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
4 cups cooked and cooled jasmine rice [see note]
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon agave

Sriracha to serve

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Saute the Brussel sprouts and carrots in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 5 minutes, until Brussel sprouts are lightly charred. Toss in the pine nuts and cook for two minutes, tossing often, until toasted. Transfer everything to a large plate and set aside.

Lower heat a bit to medium. In 1 teaspoon oil, saute the basil, cilantro, scallions, garlic and ginger for about a minute. The herbs will wilt and everything will smell aromatic and wonderful. Now add the rice, red pepper flakes and the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and cook for about 5 minutes, tossing often.

Add the Brussels mixture back to the pan, and drizzle in the soy sauce, lime juice and agave. Cook for 3 more minutes or so, until rice is lightly browned. Taste for salt. Serve with plenty of Sriracha!

Hi friends! How’s the day treating ya? The week is off to a pretty great start. Yesterday, I had breakfast with a friend and taught a spin class later that evening, and today, I have two podcast interviews. The show will be back the week of June 3 and I have so many fun and informative episodes headed your way. 

Latteee

[The decaf almond milk latte at Cartel is my fave]

Lunch was a huge smoothie and piece of sourdough, 

and for dinner, we had this shrimp pasta with sautéed zucchini and bell peppers. I just sautéed the shrimp with butter, garlic, lemon zest, and a little parmesan, and served it with angel hair noodles. It was one of this easy and super quick dinners that the girls loved. They’re huge fans of anything with shrimp right now.

Dont pin this terrible photo

(Our kitchen lighting at night is gorgeous, I tell ya)  

For today, I have a random question for you: if you went back to school or chose another profession, what would you do?

I’ve thought about going back to school for years now. While I don’t think it’s going to be anytime super soon – there’s kind of a lot happening behind the scenes – I often daydream about the time when it happens. It’s funny because in college, I always thought it was “so cute” when “old” (old = 30+) people were in my classes. Like, “Oh, there’s Jan, raising her hand to show she knows the answer for every question.” And one day that will be me lol.

Gina Harney Favorites 0049

I finished half of my MBA in Valdosta (my Bachelor’s is in Finance from the U of A) and to be honest, right now, I don’t really see myself finishing it. What would I do if I had my MBA? Probably what I’m doing right now: running my own business, but with enhanced skills and knowledge under my belt. I thought it would be fascinating to go back to school to be a Physical Therapist, or possibly go to acupuncture school. Those are my top two right now. If you could go back to school for anything, and time and tuition didn’t matter, what would you do?

I’m excited to read these comments!

Have a wonderful day.

xo

Gina

Heads up: there is a HUGE Beautycounter sale happening right now!

Beautycounter 575x575

It’s 15% off the entire site for friends and family. If you’ve been wanting to try Beautycounter, this is your chance! You can also take a skincare quiz here to find which regimen works for you!I highly recommend the overnight peel, the dew skin, the #1 brightening oil, the charcoal mask, the brow gel, and any of the lip products. I wear the color intense lipstick or a lipgloss every day. Also, with summer on the way, we have awesome sunscreens with clean ingredients. The sunscreen stick is the perfect size to stash in your purse! Check out the full sale here and email me or comment below if you have any questions. 

Overnight peel

The post What would you do? appeared first on The Fitnessista.

My very first vegan Instant Pot recipe is here! I finally took the plunge and purchased an Instant Pot after being on the fence about whether I wanted a new appliance to take up real estate on my counter (it would have to fight for space next to the kids’ piles of artwork, after all). Thanks again for the Ask Angela weigh-in back in February. I’m usually suspicious of new trends and like to wait a good while before I take the plunge, but I’m loooving it so far. I had totally underestimated how nice it is to put the lid on a recipe and walk away! But this same convenient feature also makes it challenging to develop recipes because you have ONE SHOT to get the cook time/pressure correct. No big deal. This curry took over 10 trials to get perfect…I changed up the flavours, cook time (6 minutes, 5 minutes, 1 minute, 4 minutes…ahh!), liquids-to-solids ratios…you name it, I tweaked it! Nicole and I love a challenge, though, so it’s been fun figuring it out and I do think we’ll get quicker as we go.

I had a stovetop pressure cooker back in the day and that thing used to scare the bejesus out of me with all of its rattling and clanking around. So the first two times I cooked with my new Instant Pot, I handed Eric a wooden spoon and instructed him to release the steam while I hid. I’m not proud, but hey, at least I’m now doing it myself! It’s really not that bad at all, and it feels so much safer than my old stovetop pressure cooker ever did.

Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot, though! I got yo’ back. We’ve tested this curry on the stovetop as well because I want everyone to be able to make these easy recipes at home! I haven’t had a chance to test this curry in a slow cooker yet, but if any of you do, could you please leave a comment and let us know how it goes? The beauty of this curry is that you literally throw everything (except the greens) into a pot, stir it, and cook. It couldn’t be easier! Of course, I wouldn’t call this an authentic Thai curry by any means, but it’s delicious and comes together quickly on those busy weeknights.

Anyway, if you have any questions about this recipe or the Instant Pot in general, please fire away below! If I can’t answer your question, maybe someone else can help by chiming in with their experience.

 

4.9 from 62 reviews

Instant Pot Cauliflower Thai Curry

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

I love the soft, stew-like texture of this spicy curry and how serving it over a cup of fluffy rice lends just the right amount of chewiness! This dish is one of those crave-worthy comfort foods that I reach for again and again. I created this recipe out of a need for more go-to pantry dinner options that take advantage of my speedy new Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Not to worry if you don’t have one, though—follow my directions in the tip below to make this curry on the stovetop instead. It’s important to follow the Instant Pot directions carefully to avoid overcooking the veggies. This recipe's directions (steps 1 and 2) have been lightly edited as of January 10, 2018 to avoid some machines getting a burn notice. This recipe is adapted from my 8-Minute Pantry Dal.

Yield
5 1/2 cups (1.3 L) or 4 servings
Prep time
10 Minutes
Cook time
20 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the curry:
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can diced tomatoes, with juices*
  • 2 cups (260 g) chopped cauliflower florets (1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups (340 g) peeled and cubed (3/4-inch) butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) red curry paste**
  • 1 teaspoon (7.5 mL) dried flaked onion***
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) uncooked red lentils
  • 2 cups (75 g) packed stemmed and finely chopped kale or chard
Serving suggestions:
  • Cooked jasmine rice or grain of choice
  • Fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • Fresh lime juice

Directions:

  1. Add all of the curry ingredients (except the red lentils and kale/chard) to the Instant Pot and stir until combined. 
  2. Add the red lentils on top of the mixture and gently press them into the liquid (do not stir the lentils into the mixture as this can result in a burn notice in some machines).
  3. Secure lid in the lock position and check that the Steam Release Handle is pointing to the “Sealing” position.
  4. Press the “Pressure Cook” button (or “Manual”, on some machines) and set the cook time to 5 minutes on high pressure. After 5 seconds you’ll hear a couple beeps and the screen will say “on”. The cooking process has begun! You can now go do something fun for about 10 to 15 minutes while the curry cooks.
  5. You’ll hear a few beeps when the timer is up. Immediately do a “Quick Pressure Release” to avoid overcooking the curry. I stand back and use a wooden spoon handle (never my hand!) to shift the Steam Release Handle to the “Venting” position to release the pressure. Once all of the pressure has been released, the float valve will sink and you won’t hear steam anymore.
  6. Carefully open the lid and stir the curry. To achieve a thicker texture, I like to mash a bit of the curry with a potato masher, simply pulsing about 4 or 5 times around the pot. You can also blitz it for a second or two with an immersion blender.
  7. Stir in the chopped greens until thoroughly combined and secure the lid. Set the Instant Pot to the “Keep Warm” setting and allow the greens to wilt for about 5 minutes in the curry. Press “Cancel” to turn the heat off and release the steam again, if necessary, before removing the lid.
  8. Serve over rice or grain of choice, if desired, and garnish with cilantro and lime. The lime juice gives it a lovely brightness, but avoid using too much as it can overpower. I always add a sprinkle of salt and pepper before serving too.

Tips:

* The canned diced tomatoes that I use are quite "soupy" and liquid-y. If your can seems to be on the low end of the liquid content, I would recommend adding a 1/2 cup of water to this recipe before cooking.

** I love this Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste—it’s shelf stable and comes in a small glass jar. You can often find it in the international cuisine aisle of grocery chains.

 

*** Dried flaked onion is less concentrated than onion powder. Onion powder will work as a substitute if that's what you have on hand, but I would suggest using a smaller amount (around 1/2 teaspoon) as it’s more flavourful.

 

STOVETOP OPTION: Not to worry if you don't have an Instant Pot as this recipe works great on the stovetop too. Simply add all of the ingredients except the kale (or chard, if using) to a large pot, stir, and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 to 35 minutes (adding the kale/chard during the last 10 minutes), until the veggies and lentils are tender. Stir the curry every 5 minutes while cooking, and reduce the heat if necessary to prevent it sticking to the pot. Follow directions #5 and #7.

 

Note: Cauliflower amount has been changed from 2 1/2 cups to 2 cups as of Sept. 25/18.

 

At long last I’m able to give you a bit of an update on my recent health struggles! If you’re catching up, read this post and this post (and the comments) first.

Well, where did we leave off? To start, I’m so thankful to have found a great naturopath after not having an overly helpful experience earlier in the year. I’ve been struggling with my symptoms on and off for years now, so it’s been a huge relief to finally get some answers! Slowly but surely I’m starting to feel like a new person. My recent tests showed that my hormones are a hot mess…estrogen is too high, my morning cortisol is way too low (hello, feeling like a zombie even after a decent night’s sleep), and one of my thyroid hormones is also too low. My doctor had suspected many of these results based on my symptoms, but it was interesting to see them on paper! I’m definitely no expert on this stuff, but I learned that when one hormone is off, it can impact another…and on and on the cycle goes, often throwing your entire system out of whack in the process. I felt such relief knowing that how I was feeling wasn’t just in my head all this time.

It’s so easy to push through feeling awful, blaming your symptoms on other things. I can’t even tell you how many times I told myself that I felt like crap because I was a new mom, or I was nursing and up in the middle of the night, or I was working out too hard (or not enough), or I wasn’t taking my vitamins, or my diet wasn’t balanced, or I was just feeling anxious about changes in my life. Some of those things may have been part of the issue, but I overlooked the real possibility that something beyond my immediate control was at work.

Dear self: it’s okay to ask for help.

Speaking of which, my biggest regret is that I didn’t get help for my symptoms sooner. It’s easy to put off, especially when Dr. Google is at your fingertips. Everyone would tell me how important it is to take care of myself while raising two young kids, but most days I just pushed it aside and tried to rely on the fact that I am a generally healthy person who eats well and exercises. My mom and Nicole were the ones who finally pushed me to get help…we all need those people in our lives who look out for us! Sometimes you have to learn the hard way, but I’m grateful for this lesson and wake-up call. I may have ignored my body’s messages for quite some time, but once I commit to something, I’m all-in, and I’ve been such a good “student” these past few months!

Taking the time to heal has set me back on some career goals this year, but sometimes there’s no better goal than good health. I actually can’t think of a better way to celebrate OSG’s upcoming 10-year milestone than circling back to my journey to health, which is the reason I started my blog! It’s just another reminder that our journey is always changing and evolving over time.

I’ll try to update you again as soon as I have more to share, but in the meantime if you have any questions, or would like to share your own experiences, I would LOVE to read them below.

Oh, and I should probably mention this recipe before I go! My naturopath recently encouraged me to add more green tea to my diet, and this has been my go-to mix. I had requests for the recipe after sharing it on Insta Stories last week, so I decided to put it up on both the app and blog! I hope you’ll find this warm, creamy matcha blend as calming and gently energizing as I have.

4.5 from 6 reviews

Sleepy Morning Blender Matcha

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

You know when you wake up on a chilly morning and need a hot drink now? Well this is my go-to on fall and winter mornings (or afternoons!) when I want a change from coffee. The thought of this smooth, warm, creamy drink seriously lures me out of my cozy bed. I love how effortless this recipe is, especially on those half-awake, barely functioning mornings (just make sure you’re alert enough to operate a blender with hot liquid!). I love matcha green tea powder because it delivers calming, jitter-free energy as well as powerful antioxidants. Be sure to see my Deluxe Version in the Tips section below for a more decadent way to make this beverage—when I want an especially comforting treat, I’ll forgo the water and only use canned coconut milk.

Yield
1 1/3 cups (330 mL)
Prep time
5 Minutes
Cook time
0 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) canned light coconut milk, room temperature*
  • 1/2 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, or to taste**
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add the water to a kettle or pot and bring to a boil.
  2. While the water heats up, add the coconut milk and matcha powder to a high-speed blender.
  3. Once the water has boiled, remove it from the heat and let sit for 15 seconds. Carefully add it to the blender along with the maple syrup (if using).
  4. If your blender’s lid is vented, secure it on top. If you don’t have a vented lid, keep the lid slightly ajar so air can escape. Blend on the lowest speed, very slowly increasing to medium, for about 20 seconds until frothy and combined.
  5. Immediately pour into a mug and enjoy your cozy cup o’ green!

Tips:

* If using already chilled canned coconut milk, add an extra 1/3 cup (80 mL) hot water to ensure your blend is hot enough (nobody wants lukewarm tea, if you know what I mean!). Be sure to stir the coconut milk before measuring.

 

** My preferred brand of matcha powder is DoMatcha Organic Summer Harvest Matcha Powder.

 

Deluxe Version: Heat 1 cup (250 mL) canned light coconut milk on the stovetop over medium heat, watching closely to ensure it doesn’t boil over. Once it starts to simmer and froth, immediately remove it from the heat. Add this to the blender along with the matcha powder (and maple syrup, if using). Follow steps 4 and 5 above and enjoy your extra-creamy tea!

Serves 8
Total time: 1 hour || Active time: 1 hour

“You got your nachos in my breakfast.” “No, you got your breakfast in my nachos.” OMG, it’s breakfast nachos!

These are loaded with all of the brunchy requirements: scrambled tofu, roasted potatoes, avocado salsa and a creamy, cheesy, cashew sauce. They’re great for sharing with a crowd or for a slightly messy breakfast in bed. It’s definitely “company food.” You don’t want to eat breakfast nachos alone, unless you really really love yourself.

You can make a few huge plates for everyone to share, perhaps as the savory component of a brunch. Because, yes, nachos are a great appetizer before pancakes. Or make little individual servings. Either way, just remember to layer ingredients between the layers of chips. I hate when all of the fun stuff is just dumped on top and you’re left with empty chips at the end. An empty chip is just a crime.

There are a few components here, but it’s very easy to put together. None of them are crazy difficult. While the potatoes roast, you can pretty much prepare everything else, just remember to set a timer because you don’t want to burn the taters. It’s always been my opinion that brunch without potatoes is like going whale watching but seeing no whales. It’s fine, but next time, gimme some whales.

Anyway, dig in! I swear there are some chips under there. Here’s the Instagram pic where you can actually see ’em.


Recipe Notes
~ If you don’t feel like nachos (who doesn’t feel like nachos?), these make great breakfast tacos as well. Maybe just add some shredded lettuce.

~ If you’d like to make the salsa a day in advance, that’s cool! Just leave the avocado out until ready to serve, because it will brown if you leave it in the salsa. When ready, just dice and fold in.

~ The cheesy sauce is great in advance, too. Although you’ll want to bring it to room temp before serving. You can even just gently heat it up and it’ll be yummy that way.

Ingredients
For the potatoes:
1 1/2 lbs red potatoes, diced 1/2 inch
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the scrambled tofu:
1 tablespoon olive oil
Small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz extra firm tofu
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

For the melty cheezy sauce:
1 cup unroasted cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours, drained
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons mellow white miso
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt to taste

For the avocado salsa:
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced into thin rings
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch salt
1 avocado, diced medium

To assemble:
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15-oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 big bag restaurant style tortilla chips
Fresh cilantro for garnish
Hot sauce for serving

Roast the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On the prepared baking sheet, toss the potatoes with olive oil and salt. Cook for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice, until golden and tender. Remove from oven and set on a cooling rack until ready to use.

Make the scrambled tofu:
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes, until onion is translucent. Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with salt, and cook for about 10 minutes. Get under the tofu with a thin metal spatula now and then as it cooks, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is.

Add the cumin and turmeric, with a few splashes of water if it seems dry. Toss to incorporate, and let the turmeric color the tofu - it should be a nice bright yellow. Add the nutritional yeast and lime juice and cook for about 5 more minutes. Taste for salt. Cover with tin foil to keep warm until ready to assemble.

Make the cheezy sauce:
Puree everything in a blender until absolutely smooth, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula occasionally. This could take 2 to 5 minutes, depending on your blender. Remember to give the motor a rest every minute or so.

Make the avocado salsa:
In a medium mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients except for the avocado. Get them really well incorporated and let them sit for 5 minutes or so to get the tomatoes to release some juice and for the flavors to meld. Fold in the avocado.

Assemble:
Whether you’re making big shareable or little individual servings, zig zag a little cheezy sauce on the bottom of the plate. Place a layer of chips on the plate, layer with sauce, tofu, potatoes, beans, and salsa, then add another layer of chips and repeat. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Per request! Many moons ago, we made a summer cheese here. It was simple, had a few handmade components but was super quick to throw together. Since then, and especially lately with the holidays...

Please visit Sprouted Kitchen to view this Recipe.

I’d originally thought of this as being a St. Patrick’s Day dish, thanks to the cabbage, but since that day has come and gone I’m just going to file it as another simple, flavorful, internship-inspired dinner idea.

I realized as I was making this caramelized cabbage & onion pasta that I make much more pasta in the summer than in the winter. I guess that’s not surprising—pasta lends itself so beautifully to burst fresh tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and other summer produce. This dish encouraged me to combine pasta with two vegetables that I don’t usually associate with it—onion and cabbage—and I was surprised by how much I loved the results.

The meal is incredibly easy to make. Simply caramelize some onions and cabbage (I started by cooking the onions for five minutes, then added the cabbage and allowed the whole thing to simmer for another ten minutes) and add some vegan bacon if you like. Olive oil is fine for caramelizing, but using a little bit of vegan butter definitely takes the meal to the next level.

While you do that, you cook the pasta, and at the end, you mix it all together. If you like, you can even prepare the onions and cabbage ahead of time, and simply boil the pasta and mix it up when you’re ready to eat! I’ve made this dish twice now, and that’s how I batch cooked it the second time I tried it.

The pasta is on the smoky/earthy side, so a little bit of fresh parsley and a tiny splash of vinegar are really nice to help brighten it up. The parsley adds color, too. If parsley isn’t your favorite, chives would be excellent, too. And, as I disclaim so often these days, you could easily add another chopped vegetable of choice (like leafy greens) to the mix.

Here’s the recipe.

Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta

This simple pasta dish is full of smoky, earthy flavors thanks to paprika, cabbage, onion, and an (optional) few slices of vegan bacon. A perfect winter dish!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegan butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 small head (or 1/2 large head) green cabbage, shredded (about 4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable or mushroom broth, plus extra as needed
  • 3-4 slices vegan bacon of choice, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika)
  • 8 ounces pasta of choice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Small splash red or white balsamic vinegar, optional and to taste
  • 4 tablespoons chopped parsley, or as desired
  1. Heat the oil or butter in a large, roomy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring every now and then, for 5-7 minutes, or until the onions are gently browning. Add the cabbage, 1 cup vegetable broth, and vegan bacon if using. Continue cooking the vegetables for 10 minutes, stirring often, or until the onions have darkened and the cabbage is very tender. If the vegetables get at all dry, add a few extra splashes of broth.

  2. While the onions and cabbage caramelize, cook the pasta according to package instructions. 

  3. When the pasta and vegetables are both ready, drain the pasta and add it to the skillet. Once again, if the mixture gets a little dry, add an extra splash of broth. Warm all ingredients through. Taste, and then add salt, pepper, and/or vinegar to your taste. Serve the pasta right away with chopped parsley on top.

I began an oncology rotation on Monday, and I’ve already learned so much—clinical knowledge and life lessons both. More on that soon, but for now, rest. Have a wonderful evening, friends.

xo

The post Caramelized Cabbage & Onion Pasta appeared first on The Full Helping.

One thing that’s been especially hard during my recent health struggles is that I’ve had some negative feelings resurface surrounding food and restriction. Those of you who’ve been reading for years may know that one of the reasons I started blogging back in 2008 was to share my journey to health. I spoke a lot about my journey to recovery from disordered eating, something I had struggled with for over a decade.

When I taught myself how to cook and fell in love with making plant-based recipes, I started to make positive associations with food again. And slowly, as I learned to eat intuitively (and embraced therapy!), I built a solid, positive foundation channeling that energy into something that made me feel really good. I don’t know where I’d be now if I didn’t have your support and community along the way. Knowing that my readers were eager to try out the recipes I was sharing kept me immensely motivated to keep going! It still does to this day.

The various symptoms I’ve been dealing with this past year (as well as committing to the dreaded allergy elimination diet) have challenged my relationship with food a great deal. If you’ve dealt with food allergies or sensitivities, you know how much it can drive you crazy in frustration as you try to figure out what’s going on. Every single food becomes suspect. I had incorrectly thought that it was a single food causing my troubles, when in fact it was much more complex than I had realized, with many hormonal imbalances and other systems at play.

Over the past year I found myself starting to question everything I was putting into my body, to the point where for a while I was only consuming a handful of specific foods. I didn’t know what I could eat because everything seemed to be causing reactions. It really messed with my head for a while there! This isn’t my first test by any means, and I know that these challenges and setbacks are a normal part of the journey—there’s no shame in struggling with things you may have thought you’d beaten. I can already tell that this experience has had many silver linings, one of them being a deeper appreciation for my health. And as I’ve seen my health improve over the past couple months, I’ve been so relieved to be getting back to a friendly place with food again by celebrating what it can do for me rather than fearing it!

And what better way to celebrate food this time of year than with the irresistible combo of chocolate and pumpkin? These rich and chocolaty gluten-free and vegan muffins have been enjoyed by everyone lucky enough to get their hands on a trial batch…minus a couple chocolate-hating toddlers roaming around our kitchen. *shrugs* Needless to say, Eric and I have had our fair share throughout the testing process…no complaints over here. Pair the muffins with my popular Pumpkin Spice Latte and you’ll have yourself a delicious and festive autumn snack!

 

 

   

4.8 from 32 reviews

One Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free

These moist, dense, gooey pumpkin chocolate muffins are similar to that feeling you get walking through a pumpkin patch, sipping dark hot chocolate, and crunching colourful autumn leaves beneath your feet! Picture a delicious pumpkin chocolate cake or brownie—but in muffin form. What could be better? How about that they take just one bowl to make! This recipe is adapted from Beaming Baker and my Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins.

Yield
12 muffins
Prep time
15 Minutes
Cook time
22 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the chia egg:
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ground chia seed*
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
For the wet ingredients:
  • 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) grapeseed oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
For the dry ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) gluten-free rolled oats, blended into a fine flour**
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice***
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2/3 cup (120 g) non-dairy chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, divided**** (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. Add the rolled oats to a high-speed blender and blend on high until a fine flour forms. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the ground chia seed and water until combined. Set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  4. To the same bowl, add the rest of the wet ingredients (pumpkin, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla) and stir until smooth.
  5. Add the dry ingredients (oat flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth (I love using my big whisk for this task!).
  6. Set aside 1/4 cup (45 g) of chocolate chips (if using) for the topping and stir the remaining chips into the batter.
  7. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each two-thirds full. Press the remaining chocolate chips into the tops of each muffin.
  8. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes (I bake for 22), until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  9. Place the muffin tin on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove each muffin and place it directly onto the cooling rack until fully cooled. Leftover muffins can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for several days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Tips:

* If desired, you can use 1 tablespoon ground flax in place of the ground chia seed. Proceed with mixing in the 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water as directed.

** You can use 150 grams oat flour rather than grinding your own (this is equal to 1 cup and 7 tablespoons oat flour measured using the scoop-and-shake-until-level method). Alternatively, 1 1/2 cups (233 g) whole-grain spelt flour will also work as a swap for the oat flour. If using whole-grain spelt flour, you will likely need to bake the muffins for a couple extra minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Please keep in mind that spelt flour is not gluten-free.

*** If you're a big pumpkin spice fan, you can use up to 1 tablespoon of spice mix in this recipe.

**** Try chopped walnuts or pecans for a crunchy, healthy twist!

You can make these muffins into a loaf instead. Simply pour the batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (I bake for 46) at 350°F (180°C) until a toothpick comes out clean.

Last Monday was the first day of my oncology rotation. The rotation is only two weeks long, and I requested specially (in spite of a very long commute) because I knew it would be my only opportunity to learn about working with cancer patients.

I spent most of last weekend sick with another cold (I’ve stopped keeping track of them), but when I woke up on Monday morning, I was certain I was well enough to go in. I popped a decongestant, drank a lot of water, and got going.

I must have looked even worse than I felt when I arrived at work. My preceptor immediately asked me if I was sick. Midway through our morning orientation—probably as I was blowing or wiping my nose—she told me she was making an executive decision and sending me home to get well.

I was mortified, of course. As soon as I’d arrived that morning, I knew it was a bad judgment call to have come in. Had I stayed for the day, I’d have been working with immunocompromised patients, which would have made my drippy, febrile and sneezy state completely inappropriate. It was a perfect example of not seeing the forest for the trees: I was so focused on showing up on my first day and doing a dutiful job as an intern that I forgot my primary responsibility, which is to help people. Not to expose them to pathogens.

I’m grateful to my preceptor for kindly but directly helping me to see this. It was an important wake up call. As the internship wears on—and at this point, I feel like I’m stuck in the toughest stretch of a marathon—I find myself relying more and more on sheer grit and stamina to get through it. But I can’t lose sight of the fact that this is a deeply and fundamentally human experience: on the other side of my work and my efforts are human patients who need my good judgment and care.

And I’m human, too: a dietitian-in-training who wants to do her best work. However embarrassing last Monday felt, I’d made what I thought was the right call when I woke up. I soon learned differently, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was doing my best.

Compassion, empathy, gentleness: the internship continues to teach me how to extend these qualities to myself and others. It’s softening me in ways I didn’t expect it to, not least in the way I treat myself. Even if that were the only life lesson I took away from the experience, I’d call it time well spent—my occasional cursing and complaining aside 🙂

Wishing you a self-compassionate week, as always. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

I love when my friend Sophia makes Greek food on her blog! These baked gigante beans are bringing me right back to childhood.

This chili peanut stir fry bowl is packed with simple ingredients and perfect for weeknights.

I got an air fryer this winter. So far I’ve used it exclusively for potatoes, which—as I keep telling people—is enough to make the appliance well worth it. I eat a lot of potatoes! Still, I want to branch out, and this crispy tofu recipe looks like a great place to start.

A simple, beautiful, and deeply green broccoli salad for spring.

I could always use another recipe for homemade baked beans. This one is oil free, easy, and looks just scrumptious. I love any recipe described as “sweet and tangy,” so I’m sure it’ll be up my ally.

Reads

1. It’s that time of the year when spring promises to be here, but wintery climate and wintery spirits drag on. I liked this article on coping with seasonal depression; it has creative, authentic tips from folks who live with SAD every day.

2. Important reporting from Mosaic on anesthesia awareness and the surprising prevalence of wakefulness during general anesthesia.

3. I had only the haziest idea of what a food web is until I read this article! So interesting.

4. This article on suicide among veterinarians is old, but I saw another, much shorter article on the topic recently that got me curious. I hadn’t given much thought to the longterm effects of the trauma associated with euthanasia.

5. Finally, some reporting in Popular Science on a new drug targeted to treat post-partum depression. I hope it lives up to its promise.

I’ve got a lightly sweetened, sneakily healthful cake recipe coming your way in the next few days. Happy Sunday, friends.

xo

The post Weekend Reading, 3.24.19 appeared first on The Full Helping.

This is a busy season, and I’m feeling energized by the warmer weather and longer days. Finally! I can’t wait for Kansas City to turn green again.

It seems like we could never have enough quick weeknight recipes, so I’m sharing a collection of my favorites today. These are warm and comforting, yet fresh and full of nutritious vegetables. They’re exactly what I’m craving right now.

If you appreciate this post, you might also want to bookmark my “easy weeknight dinners” category, which I update with recipes as they are published. For all of my vegetarian dinner recipes, simply click here or click on the “dinner” link in the menu bar. Don’t forget that my cookbook has many more delicious weeknight dinners, big salads, and more.

Continue to the recipe...

The post 20 Simple Vegetarian Dinners appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

We went out last night to pick up a tree. The kids were bundled and the packing blanket was in the back to protect the roof. This is the first year both of the kids are super jazzed about the...

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This enchilada recipe is cheesy, comforting, and makes a delicious casserole to take to anyone who just had a baby, or needs a little pick-me-up. They’re also perfect to freeze and make ahead for busy weeknight dinners!

Hi friends! Happy Monday! How was the weekend? I hope you had a wonderful one. We had so many fun adventures – a girls’ night, a date night, park time, a zoo field trip, crepes, and a soccer game! – but the weekend started off with taking a baby meal to a good friend. We’ve known him since our first move to North Carolina; pretty much our whole military life. I was so excited when they welcomed a gorgeous baby girl into the family, and of course I signed up to bring a baby meal to celebrate. 

Baby meal stuff

I can’t believe that I haven’t shared my go-to enchilada recipe on the blog!! This is purely accidental. I want to post it every single time I make them, but they’re eaten quickly and I usually make them at night, so with the yellow light, it doesn’t make the prettiest photos. I decided to just post it with the iPhone photos I took so you guys can have it!

This is the recipe I always make. The girls request enchiladas at least once a month and crush them every time, and it’s my standard baby meal. I feel like maybe I should switch up my baby meal menu because pretty much everywhere you look in Tucson, an enchilada stares you in the face. But, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And these beauties definitely ain’t broke. 

This recipe seems like a lot of steps, but the more you make it, the easier and faster it happens. Just trust the process; it’s worth it. Put on some Juanes radio on Spotify, pour a little wine, and go for it!  This recipe makes a double batch, so definitely make a pan for yourself and one to gift to a neighbor, a friend, someone with a new baby (they really need enchiladas!) or wrap and put it in the freezer. You’ll thank yourself later.

BEST CHEESY CHICKEN enchiladAs

Important: chicken and tortillas matter. For the chicken, I always use store-bought rotisserie chicken. It has the most flavor and best texture. The best part is that you don’t waste 100 years grilling and baking your chicken. And don’t even boil it unless you want the chicken to taste like white, chewy rubber, mmmm k?

As far as the tortillas go, I try to get as close to homemade as possible. When I’m feeling extra, I use the frozen fresh tortillas from Costco. You cook them on the griddle until they’re lightly golden brown and your whole house will smell amaaaaazing. The best part about making your own: enjoy them warm with a little butter and jam, rolled up, and they’re pretty much the best thing ever. (We call them “jam things” in our family and it’s a tradition from when you’re about two until forever.) If you don’t have homemade, don’t worry!! Just make sure to get the ones with a paper label on the inside (this means they’re legit) like Alejandro’s brand. Also, don’t be afraid to feel the tortillas before you put them in your cart. Make sure they’re soft and nice! You can use corn tortillas, but I find that the flour ones give it a better texture. 

Enchis

(This pic was from a batch I made a couple of years ago! They got a little toasty under the broiler.)

Here’s the recipe! I hope you love it.

Print
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The best cheesy sour cream enchiladas

These are savory and creamy green chili and sour cream enchiladas. Make these in advance to enjoy later in the week, or share them with friends who just had a baby! I hope you love these.

  • Author: Gina Harney // The Fitnessista
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Mexican food
  • Method: Casseroles
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients

2 rotisserie chickens, shredded

16-20 fresh flour tortillas

2 small cans of mild green chilies (8 oz total)

1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cumin

4 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

32 oz chicken broth

8 oz sour cream

5 oz red enchilada sauce (1/2 can)- this is optional but adds awesome flavor to the sauce

32 oz Mexican shredded cheese

Salt and pepper

Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish

Instructions

Place the shredded chicken into a large bowl. Preheat the oven to 375 and grab two 13×10 inch casserole dishes.

Heat a large saucepan to medium. Add a splash of olive oil, the garlic and green chilies, and stir until fragrant, 1-2 minutes.

Add the oregano, cumin, and butter, and allow the butter to melt completely.

Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute (to get rid of the flour taste), then whisk in the broth. Bring the heat up to high, until bubbling, and continue to whisk. When there are no lumps, remove from the heat. Stir in the sour cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the red enchilada sauce. Season well with salt and pepper.

Add a couple of ladles of sauce to the chicken and a couple of handfuls of cheese. This isn’t exact; you just want the chicken to be moist and cheesy.

Ladle some sauce onto the bottom of each casserole dish – just enough to cover the bottom.

Heat your tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until soft.

Start with one tortilla and fill with chicken along the middle portion of the tortilla. You don’t want to add too much chicken; just add enough for a serving. Roll up the tortilla and place seam-side down in the casserole dish. Continue with the rest of the tortillas and chicken. You’ll have 8-10 enchiladas in each pan.

Cover the enchiladas with sauce, making sure that no tortilla is left uncovered. Next, cover completely with cheese. Be super generous here.

Cover the casseroles with foil and bake for 30 minutes until bubbling. To brown the cheese, remove the foil and broil for 2-3 minutes (just keep an eye on it).

Serve with fresh chopped cilantro on top! 

Keywords: enchiladas, green chili enchiladas, sour cream enchiladas, best enchilada recipe

I always pack these up with salsa, chips, homemade guac, Instant Pot Mexican Rice, beans (these need their one post, too!), and for this particular baby meal, I added a margarita mix, bottle of tequila, and a few limes.

What’s your favorite comfort food? If your friend has a baby, what’s your go-to meal recipe? I’m always looking for new ideas! I also love to make lactation cookies for new mamas, too. 

Happy Monday!

xo

Gina

The post The best cheesy sour cream enchiladas appeared first on The Fitnessista.

10 YEARS!!! Can someone please tell me how it’s been a decade since I wrote my very first blog post? We’re celebrating today with this incredible vegan dessert and a weeklong OSG Recipe App sale for charity (deets below).

When I started my blog on October 31, 2008, Eric and I were newly married and living in Toronto while I was working full-time as a researcher and wrapping up my Master’s degree. Life was pretty chaotic, and completing my degree was starting to wear me down (at one point I thought I was just going to cut my losses, throw in the towel, and move on!). This blog was the most amazing creative outlet during a time when my life was lacking the kind of creativity that I absolutely craved. It allowed me to explore a side of myself that I hadn’t since I was a kid (like my love for photography, baking, creative writing/journaling, and just being a goof). My blog’s first tagline was “Food. Fitness. Fashion. Fun.” Pretty epic, right? Lol. I’m grateful to Eric for encouraging me to “find a hobby” after years of exhausting myself with school and work. He still jokes that my “hobby” turned into my career, so I need to find a new hobby now. (Fine, I’ll start my own animal farm! YOU WIN!)

I find writing therapeutic in soooo many ways. In the early days, I didn’t have more than a handful of readers, and I found it quite easy to talk about my struggles online. I was like no one is going to read this anyway! It was an online journal of sorts, and I wrote about my history with disordered eating and how I was finally getting myself on a path to recovery. I shared the challenges I faced finding a career that I was truly passionate about (and, eventually, how I relinquished my need to people-please by completely changing my career path). I had the most supportive response from those first early blog readers (as well as my friends and family), so I kept writing with my heart on my sleeve.  

After coming in the top 3 of the food blogging challenge Project Food Blog, an editor from a major publishing house emailed me saying she loved my work and was wondering if I’d like to write a cookbook. Pretty sure I fainted! It was the email that changed everything and solidified the fact that I was on the right path after doubting myself and my decision to change careers for so long.

So here we are 1 blog, 3 moves, 2 cookbooks, 2 kids, and 1 recipe app later…including countless late nights, self-doubt, and (ongoing) indecision for good measure! It sure has been a wild ride! I’m still learning and dreaming of new goals every day (all while not having the slightest clue how to get there!). Above all, I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve stayed true to myself and the values I have for this hobby-turned-business. The best part is that I’ve been lucky to meet so many of you amazing people online and in person, and I still can’t quite believe how freakin’ genuine, cool, and supportive everyone has been! It’s so crazy to think that some of my best friendships have been made through this blog. Forever grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my veggie-lovin’ heart for making this such a fun journey. And cheers to the next 10 years! Any guesses as to what adventures they’ll bring for you or me?

To celebrate OSG’s 10-year anniversary, we’re having a big OSG Recipe App sale this week with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada. Right now our app is just 99 cents, so if you’ve been thinking about downloading it, this week is a great time to do so while supporting a fantastic cause that’s near and dear to my heart! You can find our recipe app on both the iTunes and Google Play stores. Thank you so much for all of your amazing support and for helping us give back to our community.

I had so much fun celebrating Canada’s food writers at the Taste Canada Awards Gala last night! We were nominated in the Food Blogs Health and Special Diet category, and I was so honoured to take home Gold! All I could think about was how grateful I am to have this recognition, especially so close to OSG’s 10-year milestone. Plus, Adriana and Arlo have been calling all of my food “YUCKY” lately, so now I can show them the award and explain that they’ve been outvoted, lol.

Last but not least, we’re having a little party to celebrate 10 years and this new dessert is on the menu. I hope you’ll enjoy every bite as much as we have! With Halloween tomorrow, I can’t think of a better time to indulge in some creamy, dreamy, chocolaty PB goodness.

  

 

 

5 from 7 reviews

Salted Peanut Butter Crunch Torte

Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free

While dreaming up a recipe to celebrate Oh She Glows’ 10-year anniversary, I immediately thought of one of my all-time favourite flavour combos: salted peanut butter and chocolate! Hubba hubba. This salted peanut butter torte (of pure sweet heaven) is easy to throw together and only takes a couple hours to freeze. Its creative presentation will impress the heck out of your guests, and that irresistible sweet-salty flavour and creamy, crunchy texture will blow your taste buds away! I’ve also tested this torte with 3 different fillings: peanut butter, almond butter, and a nut-free sunflower seed butter version! And guess what? They’re all so delicious we couldn’t pick a favourite! See my Tips for how to make the sunflower seed and almond butter versions.

Yield
12 small or 9 medium servings
Prep time
25 Minutes
Cook time
10 Minutes
Chill time
2 hours

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  • 1/2 cup (78 g) almonds
  • 1 cup (100 g) gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons (30 mL) smooth natural peanut butter
For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) coconut cream*
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup (185 g) smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For topping (optional, but recommended):
  • Coconut Whipped Cream**
  • 1/2 cup (95 g) non-dairy chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) coconut oil, melted***
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped toasted walnuts and large-flake coconut****

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly grease an 8x8-inch square pan with coconut oil (including up the sides, too). Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the width of the pan with a bit of overhang so it’s easy to lift out.
  2. For the crust: Add the almonds, oats, and salt to a food processor and process until the mixture resembles a coarse flour, about 30 seconds.
  3. Melt the 1/4 cup coconut oil in a medium pot (you’ll be using the same medium pot for the filling) over low heat. Add the melted oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter to the processor and process until the mixture comes together in a heavy dough, 10 to 15 seconds. The dough should look like a wet cookie dough. If you find it a bit dry, add a teaspoon or two of water and process again until a wet dough forms.
  4. Spoon the dough into the prepared pan and crumble it evenly all over the base. Lightly wet your fingers and press the dough into the base firmly and evenly. Level the edges with your fingertips. Poke the base with a fork about 12 times to allow air to escape while baking.
  5. Bake the crust for 9 to 11 minutes, until it looks pale and a bit puffy. The crust might look underbaked when you remove it, but this is what we want to avoid drying it out.
  6. Meanwhile, make the filling: In the same medium pot (no need to clean it!), melt the coconut oil and coconut cream over low heat. Now add the maple syrup, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
  7. Spoon the filling onto the crust (there’s no need to cool the crust first) and carefully transfer the dish to a level surface in your freezer. Chill until solid, about 2 hours. If I’m not serving the torte right away, I’ll cover the pan with tinfoil after a couple hours of freezing. While it chills, prepare the Coconut Whipped Cream and gather the toppings so they’re ready to go.
  8. Once frozen, remove from the freezer and let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges to loosen the slab. Using the parchment paper, lift the slab out and place it on a serving platter. Slice into slices of your desired width. Now add the toppings: I add a large dollop of Coconut Whipped Cream on each and then top it with lots of drizzled melted chocolate, walnuts, and large-flake coconut. A pinch of coarse sea salt is nice too. If you have leftover melted chocolate, serve it on the side in a small dish so you can spoon some more chocolate over top while eating (trust me on this one!). Serve immediately—the combo of cold filling and warm melted chocolate is just dreamy! But the chilled leftovers (with hardened chocolate) are totally irresistible too.
  9. Storage tips: The filling softens a great deal at room temperature, so it's best not to leave leftovers on the counter for longer than half an hour. Return it to the fridge or freezer for best results. Cover leftover slices and store in the fridge for up to 1 week, or you can freeze the slices for 4 to 6 weeks. I like to wrap frozen slices in tinfoil and then place them all into a freezer-safe zip bag.

Tips:

* Chill your can of full-fat coconut milk for at least 12 hours before you begin this recipe so that the cream on top is solid. After making the torte, you’ll have some leftover coconut cream in the can which can be used to make Coconut Whipped Cream for the topping!

 

** Feel free to use store-bought coconut whipped cream instead. I like “So Delicious Dairy Free CocoWhip!”

 

*** To a small pot over low heat, add the chocolate and oil. Stir until smooth and combined.

 

**** Of course you can use roasted peanuts instead. I’m not a big fan of them so I prefer to use walnuts.

 

Make it nut-free: In the crust, swap the almonds for sunflower seeds and in the filling swap the peanut butter for roasted sunflower seed butter. I like to add an extra tablespoon of maple syrup and a pinch of salt to this version—the filling tastes like salted caramel!

 

Almond butter version: Swap the peanut butter for roasted almond butter.

 

Don’t have an 8x8-inch square pan? You can make this in an 8x4-inch loaf pan or standard-size muffin tin (both greased with coconut oil).

It is a lot of recipes. It sounded manageable in theory; write four recipes each week for Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club, keep up loosely here on the blog, my private chef job, occasional freelance...

Please visit Sprouted Kitchen to view this Recipe.

On Friday I wrapped up my very short but incredibly meaningful two-week rotation at the John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack, New Jersey. The commute wouldn’t have made it sustainable for me to stay any longer, but I wish I could have. I valued pretty much every moment of the experience.

One of the things I was told about the dietetic internship before starting was that I’d probably be surprised by what I loved and what I didn’t. Having had some counseling experience before starting my rotations, I wasn’t sure how much this would apply to me, but it has. Not across the board, of course: there are some rotations I’ve suspected wouldn’t be for me, which turned out to be true. And I’m reasonably sure that I’ll love my GI rotation, which starts tomorrow.

I could never have guessed how much I would love working with seniors, though—a passion that emerged only as I was completing my rotation in long-term care. And while I thought oncology would be meaningful to me for personal reasons—having watched a loved one go through chemo and radiation therapy years ago—I didn’t expect to enjoy the work in as many ways as I did.

It was intellectually stimulating and deeply interesting. I loved observing how teams of practitioners—doctors, nurses, social workers, researchers, and dietitians—came together in patient care, especially when handling a complex case. Most of all, I loved getting to know the patients and their families.

The big downside of this rotation, my commute aside, was feeling crummy for most of it: both the cold I started with and the seasonal allergies and fatigue that plagued me for the rest of my time at JCTT. I was so tired after my last day that I fell fast asleep on my commute home. It was an easy rotation insofar as my engagement goes, but it was difficult physically.

Over the years I’ve gotten good at recognizing traces of body judgment or body dysmorphia in how I relate to my appearance and shape. In recent years I’ve become aware of a related tendency, which is to feel easily exasperated and frustrated with my body when it’s not at “peak performance.” I’ve always been prone to stress, digestive troubles, allergies, and picking up bugs, which makes it easy to judge. And since I’m not twenty-five anymore, peak performance looks quite different than it used to. My energy reserves get depleted a lot quicker than they did even five years ago.

I have a ways to go with accepting my body’s energetic limits. I know my boundaries, but I resent them; there’s always a part of me that wishes I could do more. Illness can feel oddly triggering, the way fluctuations of the scale used to. Working in the health/wellness space, where boundless energy is often presented as an ideal, doesn’t always help.

I’ve developed a lot of strong muscles when it comes to avoiding self-comparison about the way I eat. It’s important for me to exercise that same strength in resisting the temptation to compare my health and stamina to other people’s. My body is its own quirky, lovable entity. Sometimes I wish I’d given it an easier time when I was younger, rather than pushing its limits with overwork and self-starvation. I often wish it weren’t as sensitive and responsive to triggers as it is.

But if my time at JCTT has reminded me of anything, it’s the supreme importance of meeting our bodies where they are, both in sickness and in health. I’ll continue to encounter physical challenges as my life goes on. Some will be irksome, others more serious. In those times body respect and self-care will matter more than ever. I can cultivate those capacities right now, by choosing not to dwell on the fact that I’ve been strung out. Instead, I can rest and give thanks to my body for getting me through another rotation, which is exactly what I’ve been up to today.

Giving thanks for this body of mine, and celebrating your bodies, too. Happy Sunday. Here are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

Dreena Burton’s recipes are always no-fail, and I love the looks of her new sweet potato pasta sauce.

A simple recipe for spicy, garlicky broccoli steaks.

Laurel’s chipotle sofritas bowls look so colorful and tasty—not to mention they’re packed with plant protein.

Isa’s garlicky white bean and asparagus soup is on my spring cooking list.

I think I’m going to celebrate getting to my final community rotation by making Kathy’s irresistable glazed donuts.

Reads

1. I’m guessing that a lot of you are familiar with the basic lifestyle patterns observed in the world’s so-called blue zones, but if you’re not, here’s a good recap.

2. The New York Times examines the link between pain perception and anxiety.

3. If I’ve ever appreciated simple and intuitive recipes and cooking, it’s been throughout the last eight months. But I do like to have my hand held by a cookbook author, too—especially if it means I’m less likely to mess something up—and I could understand some of JJ Goode’s case for long recipes. Even if I’m unlikely to re-enter that mode anytime soon.

4. Many religions ask for periods of abstinence or other special considerations around food. This topic can be under-discussed in our dialog about eating disorders, though in the last couple years I’ve seen many more personal testimonials about having an eating disorder during Ramadan. Likewise, I love Kimberly Robins reflections on reconciling eating disorder recovery with kashrut, or Jewish dietary law.

5. Undark takes a look at the difficulties associated with patient-matching, or matching patients with their appropriate medical records.

I had a delicious and lightly sweetened treat to share last week, but my rotation took priority in the last seven days. The good news is that I’ll have it ready to share with you tomorrow. Till then, be well.

xo

 

 

The post Weekend Reading, 3.31.19 appeared first on The Full Helping.

Post sponsored by Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. See below for more details.

It is really amazing that I do not have more grain bowl recipes on this site. A grain bowl is by far the biggest staple meal for our family. Need a filling breakfast? Grain bowl! How about a last-minute dinner made from leftovers? Grain bowl!

You can practically make a grain bowl any way but I have a few tips that might help you make it even better or easier!) For starters, try using components. Whip up some roasted vegetables and grains on the weekend, making this a practically instant meal during the weekdays.

Also, use whatever egg method your like best. I skip around depending on what I’m feeling that day (and one of the reasons I love keeping Pete and Gerry Organic Eggs on hand!) Pan-fried, hard-boiled, soft-boiled, or scramble all work great in this recipe.

Grains for days

The foundation of the bowl but easily changeable. I love using farro because it’s hearty and provides an amazing texture to the overall dish. However, you could easily use quinoa, millet, sorghum, or barley.

If you’re in a hurry and did not prep the grains ahead of time, I’d recommend using bulgur. It’s quick and delicious, making this meal from scratch a bit quicker.

The Eggs: Pete and Gerry Organic

I’m excited for another partnership with Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs this year. One of the reasons I love using their eggs is because I know the company is deeply invested in protecting the land, since they’re a Certified B Corporation. The eggs are also produced humanely, making sure the chickens are well-cared for.

Grain Bowl: Hummus, forever.

Next in line for the components: hummus. I know this isn’t for everyone but I can’t eat a grain bowl without it. It’s the binder and helps bring a bit more flavor to the overall recipe. Best of all, you can use any kind of flavored hummus you like.

I typically go with roasted garlic hummus but roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, lemon-dill, or beet hummus all work.

Vegetables

Finally, the vegetables. The beautiful thing about these grain bowls is that the cauliflower is easy to replace. Carrots, squash, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, green beans- every seasons holds a few different types of grain bowl options!

Also, if you don’t feel like turning on the oven, I’ve been known to steam the cauliflower then toss it with a smoked paprika compound butter. A little decadent but oh-so-good.

[tasty-recipe id="37861"]

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Sorghum Salads

I realize sorghum is not your every-day grain but I love showcasing recipes to try and get it used a little more in the kitchen. The flavor isn't big but it does provide a little warmth to a dish. I find, my usage of sorghum is more about texture. Sorghum has a similar texture to cooked wheat berries. Slightly chewy, far from mushy.

Sweet Potatoes

While I tend towards using roasted sweet potatoes in dishes like this, you could easily swap them for something similar. Roasted squash or rooted vegetables during the winter make a good 1:1. During the summer I like to use similar flavors with roasted sweet corn, tomatoes, and peppers.

Spices

Depending on the spice company, chipotle can get hot in fairly small quantities. However, this isn’t the easiest thing to tell. I like to take just a small taste of the powder and see how it reacts. If I find that my mouth is on fire, I might cut back a bit. If the opposite is true, I’ll usually bump the chipotle amount up to 1 teaspoon.

The other option is if you happen to have chipotle in adobo sauce, you can swap the powder for about ½ of a minced chipotle and a bit of the adobo sauce.

Garlic Oil

One of my favorite ways to have a bit of garlic flavor without being overpowering: garlic-infused oil. It’s as simple as smashing garlic, cooking it in a bit of oil, and letting it rest. Occasionally I’ll use nut-oils and infuse with garlic as well.

[tasty-recipe id="33130"]

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I've shared these a few times on instagram and now I've finally put pen to paper to write the recipe. These sweet potato enchiladas are about the most comforting meal I cook, without an overload of cheese. The sweet potato and beans provide the filling while and easy homemade enchilada sauce brings it all together.

Sweet Potato Enchiladas: Components

This recipe is involved, there’s no two ways around it. While I’ve tried to limit the amount of prep by relying heavily on pre-ground spices and garlic powder, this meal is heavy on components.

The great thing for you, however, is that all these components can be made ahead of time and used not only in this meal but meals across the week. For example:

The sweet potatoes

Sweet potato puree, during the cooler months, is an automatic go-to. I make wraps, pasta dishes, risottos, and even my morning toast with a little help from a simple sweet potato puree. Make a couple-potatoes worth by simply roasting whole potatoes and scooping out the potato once cool. The sweet potato puree will last for up to 5 days.

Don’t want to use sweet potatoes? Any puree will do. Pumpkin or butternut squash would be my next two choices. You can also add in greens, sweet corn, or roasted tomatoes during the spring and summer months.

The Beans

When it comes to beans, these are a riff on my spiced pinto beans (made a little easier in this enchilada recipe if you’re making the night-of). I love these beans as taco filling, as a toast topper, or as a topping to a creamy polenta bowl. I usually batch and use them twice in one week: once for these enchiladas and once in a grain bowl.

The Enchilada Sauce

Similar to the beans, I make a much more involved enchilada sauce that uses dried chilis, toasted whole spices, and a slower cooking time. However, I wanted to keep this recipe as close to weeknight friendly as I could (I realize a 60-minute ordeal isn’t super weeknight friendly but these are so good!)

Enchilada sauce is a good batch and freeze project. Make triple of what I have here and freeze it in 2-cup increments. I love using this sauce to cook eggs in too.

Make-ahead

Beyond the idea of prepping the components ahead of time, this is also one of my favorite meals to make for other people. Think new families! The entire dish freezes after assembly so the only thing left to do is bake (which will take about 20 minutes longer but other than that-everything stays the same!)

[tasty-recipe id="37893"]

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The post Pinto Bean Sweet Potato Enchiladas appeared first on Naturally..

The dates are fast approaching. NYC, Nashville, Chicago (sold out, thank you!) and Napa, I am coming to feed you. Because the NYC February 1st date sold out so quickly, we’ve added a second date on February 2nd. I’ll be preparing a 4-course dinner on stage at City Winery, while telling the story of each dish. You’ll be eating a 4-course dinner with wine pairings. Part dinner theater, part pyrotechnic arena rock, part Borscht-belt comedy. All totally delicious.

From my early years in Brooklyn just learning how to make my own tamales and create vegan translation of my favorite foods, to my adulthood as a cookbook author taking over the world with cupcakes, and finally, my current life in Omaha, opening a vegan restaurant – Modern Love – in the heart of cattle country, these recipes will tell the story of my life. Along the way you’ll also learn about the intriguing properties of coconut oil, the secrets to achieving perfect grill-marks, how to make eggs out of anything and the fastest, easiest way to mince a lot of garlic. And don’t worry, no matter where you are sitting you won’t miss a thing, because there will be video screens showing the action on my cutting board.

PS Sorry, there won’t really be any pyrotechnics.

The Menu
Act I
Caesar Salad With Brussels
seared brussel sprouts, grilled tofu, tahini caper dressing, toasted pine nuts

Act II
Tamale
lentil chorizo, mole rojo, guacamole

Act III
Chickpeas & Dumplings
creamy chickpea stew, rosemary biscuits

Act IV
Chocolate Mousse Cupcake
pistachio dust, coconut whip, raspberry caramel

Tickets still available:
February 2nd NYC Buy Tickets
February 4th Nashville Buy Tickets
February 8th Napa Buy Tickets

Hope to see you there! Oh, and here’s a little peek at the first course, Grilled Caesar Salad.

Brunch for a group. Inexpensive dinner. Cook once, reheat through the week breakfast. Put a slice in a tortilla or between toast and you’re off. Frittatas are just the best. Especially for some who...

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Hellooooo! I’m alive, I’m alive! Did you think after my 10-year blogiversary post that I decided to take a 10-year break? lol. It’s been a busy month with a lot of fun events going down. I just returned from WXN’s Canada’s Most Powerful Women celebrations, and I’m still riding the high of winning an award in the Entrepreneur category and meeting so many incredible people. So many happy tears this week. It felt (and feels) absolutely surreal. I’m super inspired by these amazing Canadian women to keep going forward, doing my part to give back, and creating meaningful change in this world. I’m grateful to you all who support me and what I do…truly, thank you.

Here’s a snippet of the interview I did with WXN (the rest is found on their website):

SUCCESS all comes back to love. Do I feel love deep in my soul for what I’m doing? Are my kids and my husband happy and loved? Am I taking time to enjoy the process rather than allowing perfectionist thinking to take hold? My definition of success has grown so much since starting the blog, writing my two cookbooks, and becoming a mother. Today, success is knowing that I have the power to push through challenges while taking the time I need for myself to balance and stay healthy. After struggling with illness this past year, one of my biggest wake-up calls was realizing that it’s okay to take a break even if that means letting go of a professional goal for the time being.”

As an introvert, big social events tend to tucker me out (anyone else?!), and I find myself looking forward to my first day without any commitments (aside from, umm, two hyper toddlers, I suppose…). This creamy 3-ingredient steel-cut oatmeal recipe is the one I’ve been making once or twice weekly since fall hit. It may sound strange, but I find it calming in a way. I just love that I can throw a few ingredients in my Instant Pot, stir it up, and walk away until it’s done cooking! No stirring or watching…woot, woot. I’ll often throw it on and then get ready for the day or feed the kids and come back to a hot pot of oats. It’s a good feeling…a darn good feeling!

Don’t worry if you don’t have an Instant Pot because I also provide a stovetop version below—your oatmeal will turn out the same either way, but the stovetop version just requires monitoring and stirring as it cooks.

This time of year I love to top a hot bowl with toasted walnuts, chopped dates or raisins, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup, and seasonal fruit like pear or pomegranate. So cozy! Walnuts or pecans with maple syrup, cinnamon, and peanut butter is another dreamy combo.

Before I go, a quick note that we’ll be participating in Giving Tuesday this coming Tuesday November 27, 2018. Here’s a bit about the cause:

“GivingTuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Black Friday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it’s a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for favourite causes. In the same way that retailers take part in Black Friday, the giving community comes together for GivingTuesday.”

This coming Tuesday, we’ll be donating 100% of that day’s OSG recipe app proceeds to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank as our way to take part. I hope you’ll consider participating in #GivingTuesday too! 

   

4.9 from 15 reviews

The Creamiest Steel-Cut Oats

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

My goal was to create the creamiest bowl of steel-cut oats using just a few ingredients...and this is it! This luxuriously chewy steel-cut oatmeal is the perfect base for all of your favourite topping combinations. I love adding pure maple syrup, cinnamon, seasonal fruit, toasted walnuts, and chopped dates or raisins. It doesn’t get much cozier on a cool fall or winter morning! I’ve also provided cooking instructions using both the stovetop and Instant Pot (I prefer the Instant Pot method as it's so easy). For the Instant Pot method, please see the Tip section.

Yield
2 3/4 cups or 4 servings
Prep time
2 Minutes
Cook time
25 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the oatmeal:
  • 1 (14-ounce/398 mL) can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1 cup (172 g) uncooked steel-cut oats
Serving suggestions:
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Toasted walnuts
  • Dash fine sea salt, stirred in
  • Cinnamon
  • Raisins or chopped pitted Medjool dates

Directions:

  1. STOVETOP METHOD: Pour the can of coconut milk and 1 cup (250 mL) water into a medium pot and bring to a low boil over high heat.
  2. Add the steel-cut oats to the pot and stir to combine. Immediately reduce the heat to low (low heat is important or they’ll burn) and gently simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring four to five times during cooking and reducing heat if necessary to prevent burning. This method produces a thick pot of oats. For a porridge-like consistency, stir more water in to your liking. I like to stir in about 1/2 cup (125 mL) water after cooking.
  3. Portion into bowls and top with your desired garnishes—I love the combo of pure maple syrup, toasted walnuts, seasonal fruit, fine sea salt, cinnamon, and raisins or chopped dates, but feel free to get creative and change it up depending on the season. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or you can freeze them for up to 1 month. I store cooled single portions in freezer-safe bags and lie them flat in the freezer for easy stacking. Reheat refrigerated or thawed leftovers on the stovetop in a small pot along with a splash of water or milk over medium heat.

Tips:

INSTANT POT METHOD:

 

  • Add the coconut milk and water to the Instant Pot, followed by the oats. Stir to combine.
  • Secure lid in the lock position and check that the Steam Release Handle is pointing to the “Sealing” position.
  • Press the “Pressure Cook” (or “Manual”) button and set the cook time to 7 minutes on high pressure. After 5 seconds you’ll hear a couple beeps and the screen will say “on”. The cooking process has begun!
  • Once finished, you’ll hear a few beeps letting you know that cooking is over. Now let the Instant Pot do a “Natural Pressure Release”—I wait 10 minutes for most of the the pressure to release on its own.
  • Carefully release any remaining steam before removing the lid. Stir the oatmeal until combined, adding more milk or water if you’d like to thin it. It’ll be oh-so-creamy and continue thickening as it sits!
  • Portion into bowls and top with your desired garnishes—I love the combo of pure maple syrup, toasted walnuts, seasonal fruit, fine sea salt, cinnamon, and raisins or chopped dates, but feel free to get creative and change it up depending on the season. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 to 7 days or you can freeze them for up to 1 month. I store cooled single portions in freezer-safe bags and lie them flat in the freezer for easy stacking. Reheat refrigerated or thawed leftovers on the stovetop in a small pot along with a splash of water or milk over medium heat.

You can also make pre-portioned servings so all you have to do is dump it in a pot in the morning and quickly heat it up with a splash of milk! 

I love working with food, but one of my other passions is home decor, so I hope you’ll humour me with this post! I’ve caught the decor bug in recent years, and I just love every stage of putting a room together. The only problem is that I don’t have much time for home decor projects (I’ve completed 2 nurseries and an office in 5 years…lol), so I’ve been chipping away at this office at a snail’s pace. But I’m quite happy with how it’s come together. My goal was to create a serene and elegant home office with a lil’ bit of drama!

When we first moved into this house, we painted the office grey. We were going through a huge grey phase, but over time it started to wear on me, and I found the office was less than inspiring. I started to feel blah whenever I was in there (I also regret painting the basement grey…ugh!). One of my blog readers actually warned me about picking grey for an office, but I didn’t listen…you guys are always right! After going back and forth over what colour(s) I wanted to paint my office (I tested everything from spa green to super soft blush pink and, yes, even yellow!), I finally settled on a navy–charcoal blend and blush pink.

When I pictured my white office furniture popping off a dark, dramatic wall, I was sold. I didn’t want the whole room to be dark, so I kept the rest of the walls white for an airy feel. I’ve gone back and forth over whether I should do a bit of wallpaper on one wall (maybe the front wall where the windows are?), but I’ll most likely just leave it alone!  

The only thing missing is the light fixture above my desk. The electrical needs to be put in and I need to pick out the light…any ideas?? Should I go with a chandelier…or a semi-flush or…?

First, I’ll kick things off with my TWO bosses…they are fairly new to their “directing” roles, but it’s like they’ve been doing it their whole lives…. ;)

 

And here’s how it looks during the month of December! Lately I’ve loved getting up extra early for some “me time” in the morning—I turn the Christmas lights on, sit at my desk with my coffee, and do some writing, reading, planning, etc.

By the way, just in case you missed my big holiday newsletter, you can find a round-up of my favourite festive vegan recipes here! If I don’t chat with you again before signing off for Christmas, I hope you have a fantastic holiday! Thank you for all of your amazing support, thoughtful comments, and for making and sharing so many of my recipes this year!

Office details:

Paint colour (dark wall) – Blue Note (Benjamin Moore)

Paint colour (white) – Distant Gray (Benjamin Moore)

French doors – Wrought Iron (Benjamin Moore)

Desk and two filing cabinets – Crate and Barrel

Blush rug – Pier 1 Imports

White shelf – Wayfair (discontinued)

Elsie desk chair – World Market

Floral storage boxes on shelf – HomeSense (Guess what’s inside? Toys!)

Two white faux leather chairs – Wayfair

Rose quartz slab (on desk) – Anthropologie

Basket – Zara Home

Grey mug – Crate and Barrel

Blush pillows – HomeSense

Dark floral pillow – The Bay

Large floral framed print – Minted

Prop shelf with dishes – Wayfair

Mirror – Zara Home

Mountain print – SisiandSeb on Etsy

Profile art – SaltandPrinter on Etsy

Desert scene art – SisiAndSeb on Etsy

Pink Blue Abstract Print – LittleValleyStudio on Etsy

Taurus print – SaltandPrinter on Etsy

Inhale Exhale print – ParadigmArt on Etsy

White vase on desk – HomeSense

Blush pouf/ottoman – Restoration Hardware

Pink vase – Anthropologie

Grey letter A – HomeSense

Pink “crystal” tealight holder – HomeSense  

I used to write about digestion all the time on this blog, but it’s been a while since the topic came up. It’s not that my interest in GI health has waned—it hasn’t—but it’s become more of a professional focus and less of a personal one, mostly because my own struggles with IBS have receded over the years. Why? Hard to say, but I suspect that consistent eating patterns (as opposed to the extremes of my eating disorder years), plenty of soluble fiber, and better coping skills with stress and anxiety have a lot to do with it.

In recent years, mental health and emotional well-being have been a bigger focus for me than digestion; the physical ailments I cope with often have a strong psychosomatic overlay, which means that mental health gets a lot of my attention even if I’m presented with immediate physical complaints. This is all my way of saying that digestive health has taken a backseat to the stuff that feels more urgent to me, even if my intellectual curiosity about it remains strong.

This week, I started my 5-week GI rotation. I was immediately reminded that the gut is really what sparked my interest in health and healthcare to begin with. I was also reminded of the fact that, to date, supporting people through digestive illness is some of the counseling work I’m most proud of. I suspect it’ll stay that way.

I’ve learned a lot already; my preceptor is a great dietitian and a true digestive health expert, but she’s also an excellent preceptor. She likes teaching, has a knack for it, and is generous with her time and expertise. Writing notes under her tutelage is humbling, but I’ve learned a lot from it already.

In addition to rekindling my interest in all things gastroenterological, this rotation is also bringing me back to my own experiences as a GI patient: first the long, drawn out struggle with IBS and digestive woes post-anorexia, then the long and mysterious bout of gastroenteritis (or so it was labeled—two GI doctors and I never figured it out) that I had in the years following my post-bacc. It is reminding me of how profound digestive illness is, how vulnerable it has made me and makes anyone who’s affected by it.

Digestion is the process that converts food into nourishment; when it’s compromised, the whole business of eating becomes vexed. Digestive ailments can cause particular kinds of anguish around food, and the fear and anxiety they cause can linger long after symptoms are actually resolved.

In my own work, I’ve often seen how digestive struggle and disordered eating are, or become, intertwined; yes, eating disorders usually leave a person with GI trouble, but it can work the other way, too. Years of GI illness can make people prone to all kinds of disordered eating.

Next year and in the years beyond, when I’m working one-on-one with people again, I hope that I can make a small difference in the lives of the many folks who are coping with digestive distress. I hope I can do this not only because I want to make a difference in my clients’ day-to-day quality of life, but also because there’s symbolic importance in helping people to heal the channels that allow them to take in food.

Here’s to four more weeks of learning more about how to do this. And here’s to a new week. Here, too, are some recipes and reads.

Recipes

One of my nutrition goals for this year was to get more servings of fruit into my diet. I’m doing a lousy job so far, but at my last rotation a colleague of mine made a fruit salad with mint and ginger that reminded me of what a good vehicle a snazzy fruit salad can be! I love Liz’s colorful fruit salad with maple dressing, and she’s got some great tips on assembling fruit salads in general.

The ever-talented Eva is inspiring me to try my first-ever, vegan Massaman curry.

A delicious vegan pizza with naan as a base. Can’t wait to try this, especially once summery produce is in season.

This vegan pasta and bean salad with tahini orange dressing has my name written all over it.

Finally, I make a point of never saying no to a vegan blondie. All the better if “cookies n’ cream” is part of the description 🙂

Reads

1. The hospital where I did my oncology rotation was starting to offer CAR T-cell therapy, which is a relatively new treatment for leukemia and multiple myeloma. I found the process—in which the body’s own T cells are converted into killer T cells that can attack cancer—fascinating. This article details how it might be an option for the treatment of solid tumors, too.

2. An interesting new report has listed some of the best foods that we can eat regularly in order to promote biodiversity. NPR reports.

3. Speaking of biodiversity, The Atlantic has an interesting article on Bd (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), the fungus that has decimated frog populations and condemned more species to extinction than any other pathogen.

4. Very important reporting on how clinical trial data can be misrepresented to patients.

5. I try to remind myself each day that a little bit of kindness never hurt anybody, least of all me. US News & World Report explains how acts of kindness benefit both the giver and the recipient.

In kindness, I’m signing off. I’ve got a creamy, nutritious, and very simple soup recipe to share with you this coming week!

xo

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Creamy kale pesto white bean dip is a delicious, super savoury, slightly cheesy, naturally vegan, and nut-free appetizer that everyone will enjoy.

The post CREAMY KALE PESTO WHITE BEAN DIP appeared first on The First Mess // Plant-Based Recipes + Photography by Laura Wright.

How is 2019 treating you so far? Scrolling through Instagram would have me believe that we’re all killin’ this New Year thing, but something tells me I’m probably not seeing the less than stellar starts to the year. I know ours was nothing like we expected. Emotionally draining to say the least, and I had to give myself a break from the shiny social media highlight reels for a bit. Half-way into January, I’m now feeling ready to turn this year around and I’m hopeful it will be a really great year. 

Maybe you, like me, were more than ready to leave 2018 in your dust, but the start to the year hasn’t gone as you hopedplease know that you aren’t alone! Life challenges don’t adhere to a calendar format and they certainly don’t pause for holidays. All that we can do is put those lessons in our back pocket and carry them with us going forward. Progress, not perfection…am I right?! 

My passion for chickpea pancakes has reignited lately. I forgot just how quick and easy these savory cakes are to whip up for a light lunch or dinner. While I don’t see myself burning out on soup and toast anytime soon, these are a pleasant change from the usual winter fare. I’ve also been really into the bright and tangy combo of lemon-dill lately (must be that drab winter weather!) so I decided to make those the standout flavours in this recipe. Served with a rich Lemon-Garlic Aioli, crunchy chopped dill pickles, green onion, and fresh dill…this dish brightens up any day. Even though my brain can’t quite comprehend it, I know not everyone is a big dill pickle fan. If that’s the case, I’d recommend trying my reader-fave Jumbo Chickpea Pancake recipe instead! 

4.8 from 12 reviews

Crunchy Dill Chickpea Pancakes with Lemon-Garlic Aioli

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

Calling all dill pickle fans! Chickpea flour, which forms the base of these easy-to-throw-together savory pancakes, is an earthy-tasting flour, so I like to brighten it up with fresh lemon and dill. Chopped dill pickle gives these pancakes a delightful tangy crunch, and grated carrot lends a touch of sweetness as well as an extra boost of nutrition. Topping them with my 3-ingredient Lemon-Garlic Aioli is a must for mega flavour and richness, so don’t skip it. (Uh oh, I'm getting bossy again!) Ready in 30 minutes or less, these pancakes make a light breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This recipe is adapted from my Jumbo Chickpea Pancake.

Yield
7 (3-inch) pancakes
Prep time
16 Minutes
Cook time
14 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the Lemon-Garlic Aioli:
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) soy-free vegan mayo
  • 1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, grated on microplane
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 mL) fresh lemon juice, to taste (I use 2)
For the pancakes:
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced (1 heaping tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup (42 g) grated peeled carrot (1/2 medium)*
  • 1/3 cup (47 g) finely chopped dill pickle (2 small)**
  • 1/2 cup (63 g) chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons (10 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) water
  • Fine sea salt and pepper, to taste (I use 1/4 teaspoon)
For serving:
  • Sliced green onion, chopped dill pickle and fresh dill, aioli

Directions:

  1. For the Lemon-Garlic Aioli: In a small bowl, stir together the vegan mayo, minced garlic, and lemon juice (to taste). Set aside.
  2. For the pancakes: To a large skillet, add the oil and sauté the garlic for a couple minutes over low-medium heat, stirring frequently, and being careful not to burn. Add the grated carrot and finely chopped dill pickle and sauté another minute or two until the carrot has softened a bit.
  3. Preheat another large non-stick skillet (I use a flat pancake skillet) over medium heat. Or, simply use the same skillet as before if that works for you! 
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, water, salt, pepper, and sautéed veggies. Whisk until combined and let the batter sit for 1 minute.
  5. When a drop of water sizzles after hitting the pancake skillet, it’s preheated and ready to use. Spray the skillet with oil.
  6. To the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Use the tablespoon to spread the batter out until it’s about 3 inches in diameter. Space the pancakes an inch or two apart on the skillet. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat, until a golden brown crust forms on the bottom. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. I prepare the toppings while the pancakes cook.
  7. Place the pancakes on a cooling rack, grease the skillet again, and cook the remaining pancake batter using the steps above.
  8. Serve the pancakes warm with a big dollop of Lemon-Garlic Aioli and generous sprinkling of minced fresh dill, chopped dill pickle, and sliced green onion if you’re feeling fancy! We haven't found these to freeze or reheat very well, so I recommend making and serving the pancakes fresh.

Tips:

* I use the standard-sized grate hole on the box grater.

** It’s important to finely chop the dill pickle as larger chunks feel a bit too chewy in these pancakes.

Want to increase the garlic flavour even more? Use garlic-flavoured dill pickles for a fun twist!

If you're using fresh dill as a garnish, feel free to also add a bit of minced dill to the batter.

They are four and a half and almost three. My babies are potty trained, can buckle their own car seats, and clear their plates from the table. The crib will be passed to a friend next month and I’ve...

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Today is a big day for my friends Jack and Jeanine—it’s book launch day! I hope you’re familiar with their blog, Love and Lemons. It’s one of my very favorites, and I’ve been looking forward to their second cookbook for a long time.

Their new book is called Love and Lemons Everyday (affiliate link), and it’s absolutely stunning. The new book offers “more than 100 bright, plant-forward recipes for every meal.” Jeanine’s cooking style is super fresh and often inspired by the farmers’ market, and it shows.

I love how she weaves tips between the recipes, like how to freeze quinoa, and colorfully displays seasonal variations for recipes like fruit crumbles (four ways)! She even offers a giant visual grid of salad dressings, which I’ll be referencing often.

To celebrate their new book, I’m sharing Jeanine’s recipe for whole-roasted cauliflower slathered in seriously delicious turmeric-spiced yogurt sauce. Somehow, I’ve never prepared cauliflower in this fashion, and it was both fun to make and fun to eat. Want to see how it’s done?

Continue to the recipe...

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As we wait patiently (or not so patiently) for spring, I’m sharing what feels like a bit of a last-hurrah for winter recipes. This pasta with walnut cream sauce came out of one of my instagram recipes. People liked it so much, I felt like it deserved a place on the site. It’s rich sauce is vegan, but I think that makes the creaminess even more amazing.

Walnut Cream, the real star

In all the nut-based alternative creams/cheeses, walnut cream reigns supreme in my life. I love the warm flavor and how nicely it purees into a smooth sauce. The softness of the walnuts is also your friend here. I find the walnuts only need a good hot soak for about an hour.

Of course, if you’re not on the walnut-wagon, you can use a more milder cashew cream or even an almond cream.

Sweet potatoes (and other veg)

I realize that as I’m posting this recipe, you’re probably over sweet potatoes and ready for spring. I’m with you, but I have a few more to use before I dive head first into spring. Swap the sweet potatoes for winter squash or try it with some steamed greens like kale or chard.

Grain Bowls

Finally, if pasta isn’t your jam, you could turn this into a delicious grain bowl. I’d plan to cut the sauce in half and use more as a drizzle and less as a sauce. Use a hearty grain here, like sorghum or wheat berries.

[tasty-recipe id="37917"] continue reading

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All things considered, I’d say I have a pretty moderate relationship with sugar. I love homemade dessert, and I bake with sugar, be it refined or natural. As a longtime nutrition student and RD-to-be, I’m mindful of how much I use and I keep in mind that treats are special. But I’ve never avoided sweetening.

This works well for me, but the most common question I get asked about my baked goods here on the blog is whether the sugar can be reduced, and how. I do my best to give good answers, keeping in mind that reducing sugar (or using a liquid sweetener in place of granulated sugar) can change the texture and taste of a finished product (less moisture, less rise, etc.).

Now that I’ve spent a few months working with diabetic patients, I’ve gotten savvier and more knowledgeable about lower sugar baked goods. In my last two rotations, my counseling was almost entirely dedicated to diabetes management. I saw firsthand how much vigilance goes into monitoring and carbohydrate intake and covering it with medication, if appropriate. We never advised our patients to avoid dessert, but we did encourage them to be mindful about how much and how often. And we spent plenty of time chatting about how to create pleasurable desserts at home with less sugar, or with alternative sweeteners.

I’ve never used alternative sweeteners because they haven’t been necessary for my own health needs. When I do reduce sweetness of baked goods, I generally just use less cane sugar or maple syrup. But my winter rotations made me remember being a student in medical nutrition therapy, when our professor taught us to take our own blood sugar in class. As we were pricking our fingers, she told us that the purpose of the exercise was to better understand what our future clients—some of whom would surely have Type I or II Diabetes—experienced each day. Months later, she asked us to try liquid supplements, so that we’d know what patients who relied on them for nutrition support were tasting (there weren’t any vegan options, but it did get me thinking about how great a need there is for them).

I appreciated my professor’s perspective. There’s a big difference between abstract guidance and firsthand knowledge. Before telling any client to do something, I’d rather have a some lived experience of what I’m suggesting. And now that I’ve spent so much time with diabetes management, it’s important for me to understand the dietary changes that need to accompany a diagnosis—enjoyment of lower sugar sweets included.

Just as I was wrapping up my rotation at the Institute for Family Health, the folks at who produce the In The Raw® family of sweetener reached out to me about sampling their Monk Fruit In The Raw®. Monk fruit (also known as luo han guo) is a type of gourd that traditionally grows in China, and it’s been used medicinally for centuries. Monk Fruit In The Raw is a zero calorie sweetener that’s perfect for sweetening beverages and baking.  Plus, the bakers bag conveniently measures cup for cup, just like sugar.

Having never tried the product—and especially since I was in the middle of diabetes counseling—I was excited to sample it. I had a much better experience with it than I’ve had with other alternative sweeteners, especially for baking! It has a pleasantly fruity taste, and the signature baking bag makes it easy to add to cookies, cakes, and more. In my experiments so far I’ve used a combination of the Monk Fruit In The Raw Bakers Bag and sugar to reduce sugar while retaining texture and rise. Folks with diabetes who prefer a truly sugar-free dessert could use all monk fruit instead; the brand recommends using about half the amount of monk fruit for the amount of sugar called for.

The baking recipe I’m sharing today takes even more inspiration from my internship, as it was inspired by something I made in my last rotation. I was working with kids, using hands-on cooking experiences to teach them about food and nutrition. My supervisor and I shared a chocolate beet cake, which was an easy and delicious treat for them to make and also a great opportunity to teach them about beets (watching their little faces light up as we cut the beets open and showed them the electrically colored interiors was so sweet).

An upside of using pureed beets in baking is that they add a lot of natural sweetness along with moisture, which means that it’s easy to cook with reduced sugar and fat. The beets add plenty of vitamins and minerals, and they sweeten while also contributing fiber, which helps to control the release of sugar into the bloodstream.

Today’s chocolate beet cake uses a combination of beets, monk fruit, and a small amount of granulated sugar to create something that tastes completely like dessert, but has a balanced ratio of sugar and fiber. It’s also relatively low in fat (only 1/4 cup of oil for the whole recipe), and—thanks to the beets—packed with fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. I based it off of a Martha Stewart recipe, and I’ve made it repeatedly already, so that I could recommend it to patients and clients.

For diabetics and those who are being mindful of sugar intake for any reason, I like to use a 50/50 combination of monk fruit and coconut sugar here (6 tablespoons of each). This gives a nice rise with less sweetener. If you like, you could use all monk fruit, which would yield a denser and fudgier texture—think cakey brownies 🙂 And of course, you could also choose to use all granulated sugar of choice, which will give you a very similar cake, but a little more fluffiness and rise.

No matter how you make it, this one is really a keeper. It’s plenty chocolatey, and the beets give it a wonderful moistness and rich flavor. It’s super fun to make with kids (they love the beet purée!) and nutritious enough to serve as a special snack/treat as well as a proper dessert. Here’s the recipe.

Lightly Sweetened Vegan Chocolate Beet Cake

This lightly sweetened vegan chocolate beet cake has a moist texture and just the right amount of sweetness. Perfect for snacking!

  • 4 beets, trimmed and washed*
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (substitute all-purpose, unbleached flour or a 1:1 combination of all-purpose and whole wheat or spelt flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons tablespoons coconut or cane sugar**
  • 6 tablespoons Monk Fruit In The Raw®
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon teaspoon apple cider or white vinegar
  1. First, make your beet purée! Preheat your oven to 400F. Wrap each beet in foil and roast for 45 minutes, or until the beets can be easily pierced with a fork. When the beets are cool enough to touch, run them under cold water while you slip off the skins. Roughly chop the beets, then add them to a food processor or blender. Blend or process the beets until they make a smooth purée (a couple minutes). Set the purée aside; you should have 1 1/2 cups or so.

  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F. Lightly oil an 8 x 8 square baking dish (or an 8 or 9 inch round baking dish).

  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cocoa, sugar, and monk fruit in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beet puree, oil, water, vanilla, and vinegar. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients. Mix the ingredients till you have an evenly mixed batter; a few little clumps is fine.

  4. Transfer the batter to your baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is firm and set and a toothpick emerges clean (or nearly clean). Allow the cake to cool for 15-20 minutes before removing it from a pan and transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool to room temperature. Cut into pieces and enjoy.

*In place of roasting beets from scratch you can use one of the pre-cooked beet options on the market these days! You’ll need 4 beets, which is usually about 1 lb (12-16 ounces).

**Substitute 12 tablespoons sugar for the combination of sugar and alternative sweetener if you wish.

A word about the beets in this recipe: it’s nice to make the purée from scratch, but nowadays it’s not too hard to find pre-cooked beets that are ready to eat. My local grocer usually carries one or two options, and it makes adding beets to salads really easy. It also cuts the preparation time of this tasty cake considerably, so don’t hesitate to us the option (or canned, cooked beets) if that’s more convenient for you. You need about 1 1/2 cups beet purée, which for me has been about 1 lb cooked beets.

This cake is lovely with a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, or a glass of non-dairy milk. If you’d like to dress it up for a special occasion, you could easily add glaze or vegan frosting to it. As it is, it’s a perfect snack cake. A little sweet, a little nutrient-dense, and very satisfying. My work encourages me to learn and experiment all the time, and I’m so glad to have found an alternative sweetener that has a taste I like, a texture that works well for baking, and is low sugar enough to be appropriate for a lot of the folks I work with.

Here’s to nutrition work that gives me firsthand experience and makes me more able to meet people where they are, day by day. Wishing you a good rest of the week; hopefully it’ll include something sweet 😉

xo

This post is sponsored by Monk Fruit In The Raw®. All opinions are my own, and I love this natural alternative to sugar. Thanks for your support!

The post Lightly Sweetened Vegan Chocolate Beet Cake appeared first on The Full Helping.

Do you ever feel like you’re on the verge of a breakthrough, but you’re not quite sure how you’ll do it? This has been my mindset lately. I’ve been so inspired in different areas of my life to create meaningful change with things like personal growth, career dreams, family life, etc. You could say that a little self-help inspo has struck me! I’ve felt stuck with indecision and fear for a while now, and the motivation finally hit me to actively do something about getting unstuck. It’s easy to just go through the motions each day.

For most of my life, I’ve always been trying to “fix myself”…this can be a positive thing (such as when I’m trying to be the best version of myself I can be), but it can also turn into a very toxic mindset. It’s easy for me to veer to the dark side of self-improvement and lose sight of my qualities and self-worth. Anyone who suffers from this tendency knows that it’s not a particularly fun way to live. You never feel “ready” because there’s always something to fix or a goal to achieve before being worthy of your and others acceptance. I’m working to make progress in this area. It’s kind of hard to explain, but maybe you can relate?  

I have Dr. Brené Brown to thank for my recent bout of inspiration. I first became enamoured with Brené after watching her TED talk on vulnerability years ago and listening to her on Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations podcast. I’ve read The Gifts of Imperfection twice, and plan on reading it a third time soon (it’s a quick read and easy to devour in a couple evenings). There’s so much wisdom to soak up, and I learn things each time I read it. Currently, I’m reading Daring Greatly (which I’m finding slower, but still learning from it), and hope to read this one and this one next. I’ve been carving out some reading time in the evenings lately, and it feels so good to get back into it! I’m also (late to the party) using my Kindle reader on my phone and love how I can read a few pages here and there while I’m waiting for an appointment or when I have time to kill. I’d love to hear if you’re reading anything inspiring lately too!

“As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons, and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear. Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connectionto be the person whom we long to bewe must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen.”

~ Daring Greatly, p. 112.

  

5 from 7 reviews

Game Night Crispy Potato Bruschetta

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

The first time I made this healthy comfort food recipe, Eric and I had the song Ave Maria playing (Michael Bublé version...so hypnotizing!), and we fell into a trance as we ate crispy round after crispy round of potato bruschetta. Needless to say, we heard the angels singing and I think you will, too! This recipe serves two hungry people as a main or five as an appetizer. The best tip I can give you when making these is to serve it directly on the baking sheet (if you can!) as it keeps the rounds a bit warmer compared to transferring to a platter, and also to top the rounds and serve them right away. If they sit for longer than 10 minutes, they’ll start to lose their fantastic crispiness and soften considerably. This recipe is inspired by the Taco Fiesta Potato Crisps in The Oh She Glows Cookbook (also a delicious appetizer option!) and Potatoes USA.

Yield
30 potato rounds
Prep time
15 Minutes
Cook time
30 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:
  • 2 large (500 g total) Russet potatoes (unpeeled)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) grapeseed oil or virgin olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
For the Avocado-Tomato topping:
  • 2 medium (7 g) garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup (15 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups (344 g/12-ounces) grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
  • 1 large (240 g) ripe avocado

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220ºC) and line an extra-large (or 2 medium) baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
  2. With a sharp knife, slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Make sure they’re not any thinner than that, or they might not be sturdy enough to pick up with your hands and the edges will burn more easily while cooking.
  3. Place the rounds into the centre of one baking sheet in a mound. Toss with the oil until all sides of the rounds are fully coated. Spread into a single layer, spacing them a 1/2-inch apart. Sprinkle liberally with salt.
  4. Roast the potatoes for 25 to 35 minutes (I do 30), flipping once halfway through baking, until tender and golden brown in some spots. I prefer these slightly overcooked so they’ll crisp up a bit around the edges.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the topping. In a large food processor, mince the garlic and basil until finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and pulseonly 10 to 14 timesuntil the tomatoes are chopped into almond- and pea-sized pieces. Remove the bowl, take out the blade and set aside, and stir in the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Set aside to marinate.
  6. Five minutes before the potatoes are ready, dice the avocado very small into almond-sized pieces. Fold the diced avocado into the tomato mixture. Taste and stir in more salt if desired. The mixture will look quite juicy/watery, but this is normal!
  7. After removing the potatoes from the oven, add another generous sprinkle of salt on top. Add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon avocado-tomato mixture onto a fork and strain out the juices by tapping the inside of the bowl. Place the strained mixture onto the centre of a potato round and repeat this process for the rest of the rounds.
  8. Serve immediately, directly from the baking sheet(s)I find serving from the baking sheet keeps them warmer, but if you prefer you can transfer the rounds to a platter before adding the topping. If the potatoes sit they will soften and lose their crispness, so I don’t recommend letting them sit around for longer than 10 minutes (usually not a problem in this house!). If you have any avocado-tomato mixture leftover feel free to polish it off with some tortilla chips!

Tips:

Up the glow factor: Sprinkle my Vegan Parmesan Cheese on top.

 

Should your potatoes become soft from sitting for too long, these reheat well on a sauté pan, preheated over medium heat, for 1 to 2 minutes. This results in slightly browned bottoms and revives the firm texture without affecting the toppings.

Oh Eric, what a sport for being my food photography model, hah. There were some heavy sighs when his arms got tired…no one said being a model was easy! Okay, maybe they did say that…but just ask Eric about the struggles!

In case you’re wondering – these “photoshoot” potato bruschettas were SO COLD by the time we finally got to eat them. Sniff, sniff. But they were still worth eating! And we’ve enjoyed them many times piping hot out of the oven which is simply the best. If you try them out, I’d love to hear what you think and see your photos, so don’t forget to tag them with #ohsheglows on social media! 

Green Sauce

When it comes to experimenting with recipes, sauces are up there as a favorite. It can be easy to completely shift a dish (or many dishes) with one simple sauce. I don’t use a lot of kale outside of a few recipes but using it in sauces ensures I use it all before it goes bad.

Saucy Kale Omelette

You can swap the kale for other greens such as spinach, chard, or collards. If you’re using spinach, drop the time for blanching. Spinach takes much less time: usually around 30 to 60 seconds.

Tarragon

I know tarragon isn’t everyone’s favorite herb. You could swap it out for chives or if it’s summer, use fresh basil.

Omelette vs Frittata

I love a solid omelette for my morning breakfast but if I’m making a dish to feed the family, I usually stick with frittata. You can easily use this same concept in frittata form. I like to use this base recipe and right before I transfer the pan to the oven, I swirl in the kale sauce.

Add some Grains

Leftover grains? Add a few to the omelette. I really like using cooked grains in the omelette or as an omelette filling. This also works if you’re making the frittata (as mentioned in the previous paragraph!)

Veg Bulk

Depending on the time of year, add fresh or cooked vegetables to the filling. During the cooler months, roasted squash or sweet potatoes. For spring, try some pan-fried asparagus then during summer, blistered tomatoes!

Vegan-it

Finally, since the sauce is vegan, I’d be remiss if I didn’t add a vegan option for the omelette. Use the kale sauce in a tofu scramble, make a grain bowl, or there’s the new ‘just’ product that uses mung beans as a base.

[tasty-recipe id="37936"]

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