Grain-Free Mini Pumpkin Pancakes – Spunky Coconut inspired

Good morning, my lovelies!

I simply adore the weekends. Mornings where I get to sleep in until 7:30am, roll out of bed, enjoy a leisurely cup of French-press coffee, and take a moment to breathe….. Yes, weekends are the best.

I took a bit of time this morning to try my hand at a recipe I spotted over at Kelly’s Spunky Coconut blog. Her Silver Dollar Banana Pancakes looked like the perfect vehicle for the bag of coconut flour that has staring accusingly at me from the back corner of my refrigerator.

I took her base recipe and converted it from banana to pumpkin, which was a delicious swap. Unfortunately, mine stuck to the pan a bit, making then rather homely looking, bless their hearts….. Regardless of their scrappy appearance, they tasted delicious, especially when topped with a drizzle of organic honey.

Grain Free Mini Pumpkin Pancakes

– based on this recipe by the Spunky Coconut

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large, organic Egg
  • 3 Tblsp Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Tblsp Coconut Flour
  • 2 Tblsp Unsweetened, Plain Almond Milk
  • 1/4 tsp pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract
  • small pinch Salt
  • dash Cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Heat a frying pan and a bit of coconut oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter per pancake into the heated pan, and cook until set (this takes significantly longer than regular pancakes).
  4. Flip gently and cook about 1 to 2 minutes more.
  5. Serve with organic honey. (local if possible)

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

Ahhhh…..  I just got back from this week’s work trip, and am thoroughly enjoying sitting on my couch watching Glee.

Not that my trip was awful. Quite the contrary! I got to spend a delightful evening cooking and taking in the sunset with my lovely sister in-law.

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And come on, you can’t beat a view like this one….

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But, it is ALWAYS good to be home and cooking in my little kitchen.

If you can’t tell from my last post, I am a little obsessed with soft-boiled eggs right now.

What’s not to love about them? You get a rich, creamy yolk without the mess of it sticking to a skillet! It’s genius, I tell you! GENIUS! …I also get overly excited about Jeopardy, so I’m not the most creditable judge….

Anyway, this recipe is definitely one for the vaults. The punch of acidity coupled with the earthy flavor of the beet greens and the creamy richness of the egg yolk creates sheer perfection in a bowl!

For those of you who are not egg lovers, this recipe would be equally delicious sans l’oeuf.

 

Quinoa with Beet Greens & Lemon

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • zest of 1 Lemon
  • 1 cup Beet Greens, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 a Lemon
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1 tsp fresh Basil, minced
  • 1 large, Organic Egg
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 12 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the egg, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove promptly and cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the beet greens and lemon juice and saute until wilted. Add peas, nutritional yeast, fresh basil, salt & pepper, and cook until heated through.
  4. To serve, place the quinoa in a bowl, and top with the soft boiled egg.

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

I love beets, like really LOVE them.

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I also have an unexplainable fear of cooking them. (I also have a strange fear of artichokes, but that is another post entirely…) Maybe it is the chance that they will bleed their red dye all over my counter tops, hands, outfit… you get the picture. Maybe, I’m just scared of the unknown. Either way, I took another step toward conquering my “beet fear” once and for all with the creation of this dish.

Organic beets were on sale at my local grocery store this week. What better time to experiment?! I slung two bunches into my basket and strutted determinedly to the register. Once I got home, however, I wasn’t feeling quite so stoic. What in heavens name was I going to make? I settled on an easy, steamed beet. Wanting to incorporate the beet greens into my recipe (waste not, want not), I used them to make a garlic-y pesto & a warm salad.

For the sauce, I soft boiled an egg, which, once broken, lent a rich, creamy texture & flavor to the dish that beautifully tied in all of the sweet and savory notes of the other components.

Warm Golden Beet Salad with Beet Green Pesto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small Golden Beets
  • 2-3 Tblsp Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 3 Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups Beet Greens, chopped
  • 2 Tblsp dry White Wine
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 large, Organic Egg

Pesto Ingredients:

  • 1 clove Garlic
  • 1/2 cup Beet Greens
  • 3 Tblsp fresh Basil
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tblsp Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1/4 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Salt & Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Scrub beets and place in a foil lined square baking dish. Top with 2-3 Tblsp Vegetable broth and tightly cover with another piece of foil. Place in preheated oven and cook until fork tender, about 1 hour.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat. Add onions, and saute until translucent.
  4. Toss in the chopped beet greens, and cook until wilted., deglazing the pan with the white wine, if needed.
  5. Meanwhile, make a soft boiled egg. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the egg and boil for five minutes. Remove promptly and allow to cool slightly before gently removing the shell.
  6. Pesto: Place garlic, greens, basil, oil, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse to combine. Slowly drizzle in vegetable stock until desired smoothness and consistency is reached. Taste, and adjust seasoning.
  7. To serve, place sauteed beet greens and mushrooms in a bowl. Top with sliced golden beets, soft boiled egg, and a drizzle of beet green pesto.

Vegan Cheezy Quinoa

For weeks on end, I have lacked inspiration in the kitchen.

I have fallen into the dangerously boring trap of tossing random vegetables & legumes in a skillet or steamer, topping with marinara sauce or Braggs, and calling it a day. It’s partly because I have no one to cook for, and partly because I have found an inspiring career into which I now pour the energy that I used to pour into my food.

Well, these last few weeks, I began to find a balance between my work and caring for myself. I started Pure Barre classes and recommitted myself to daily workouts & HIIT. I started taking a little more time to prepare meals and listening to what my body needed.

My pictures leave something to be desired. (I kept forgetting to charge my camera battery…..) The recipes, though, are another story. Delicious, nourishing, and comforting… Enjoy!

Vegan Cheezy Quinoa

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened, Plain Almond Milk
  • 1/3 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes
  • 1.5 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced
  • 1.5 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry Mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Creamy Peanut Butter
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 2 Tblsp Sundried Tomatoes
  • 1 Tblsp fresh Basil, minced

Directions:

  1. Place quinoa, water, & bay leaf in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 12-15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove the bay leaf, fluff with a fork, and set aside.
  2. Make vegan cheeze sauce by placing almond milk, nutritional yeast, garlic, cornstarch, salt, dry mustard, paprika, turmeric, peanut butter, & black pepper in a blender and processing until smooth.
  3. Pour cheeze sauce over the quinoa in the saucepan and return to medium-low heat. Cook until sauce has thickened to desired consistency.
  4. Stir in the peas, sundried tomatoes, & fresh basil. Cook until heated through.

Mushroom Quinoa-sotto

Work was particularly stressful on Friday. Then, it started snowing an hour before I left the office. My 45 minute commute turned into almost 2 hours. By the time I arrived home, all I was planning on eating cereal for dinner.

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That’s what I was planning, but that’s not what happened…

As I stood in front of my open refrigerator door, I realized that a bowl of cereal was not quite the soul-nourishing meal I needed. I needed something that would warm me from the inside out. I needed to stand in front of a bubbling pot, methodically stirring away the days’ stresses. I needed risotto.

My long time readers know that I rarely make a traditional risotto. To be honest, it is because I am a complete dunce when it comes to cooking rice! It always comes out over done or under done, and just isn’t worth the hassle. Instead, I turn to my favorite “grain”, Quinoa. Quinoa is better for you than rice, and makes a delicious faux risotto.

Since I will be heading out of town again on Sunday, I did not want to open any new ingredients. Instead, I emptied my produce drawer, grabbed the only open carton of stock in the refrigerator, which turned out to be beef stock, and set to work.

I chopped and stirred for the better part of an hour. By the time I sat down to eat, my mind was calm, my body was relaxed, and my soul had been fed. Who needs a shrink when you have a stove?

Mushroom Quinoa-sotto

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced Crimini Mushrooms
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried Thyme
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • 3/4 cup Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup dry White Wine
  • 2 cups Beef Stock, warmed
  • 1/4 cup Smoked, Sundried Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup frozen Green Peas, defrosted
  • 2-3 handfuls Baby Spinach, plus move for serving, if desired
  • 1/3 cup Lentils, cooked
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Directions:

  1. In a large sauce pan, or small pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions and saute until translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook until they begin to sweat.
  4. Add minced garlic, thyme, salt & pepper, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Next goes in the quinoa, gently toast for 30 seconds.
  6. Deglaze the pan with white wine, and stir until absorbed.
  7. Stirring continuously to keep liquid from coming to a boil, add warm beef stock, 1/3 cup at a time. Wait until all liquid is absorbed before adding the next 1/3 cup stock.
  8. Continue until you only have 1/3 cup stock remaining to add to the pot. At this time, add the remaining ingredients, along with the remaining beef stock.
  9. Stir until all liquid is absorbed.
  10. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately on a bed of fresh baby spinach.

“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! ….a few days late…

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I am fresh off of a crazy month and a half during which I was home for about 4 days total. I have been to Orlando, Tampa, Anaheim, San Francisco, Seattle, Sacramento, Eugene, and San Jose. My marathon of travel culminated in a once in a lifetime trip to Kauai with my love, GF Guy.

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He has most of the pictures. But, once he posts them, I can promise you all a Gluten Free guide to Kauai featuring the best seafood on the island, a swim in a waterfall, a traditional Hawaiian lunch at a road side food truck, and a helicopter ride through the beautiful island that now holds a piece of my heart.

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We arrived home on Sunday, just in time to pull together a mini St. Patrick’s Day get together. In “traditional Irish fashion”, I whipped up a big pot of Pumpkin Chili. (riiiiight…..). The side dish, however, was the real star of the evening! I knew I had to make something green, but detest the thought of using artificial coloring. Instead, I used a healthy helping of spinach to transform Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix into a festive, green side dish that packed a veggie punch!

My “Sneaky Veggie” Cornbread is an excellent way to get those picky eaters in your family to eat more vegetables and have fun while doing it!

“Sneaky Veggie” St. Patrick’s Day Cornbread

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Puree almond milk and spinach in a blender until smooth.
  3. Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into a greased 9×9 baking pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until done, about 30 minutes.
  6. Cool slightly before serving.

Vegan, High Protein Blueberry Breakfast Mug Cake

I might be a genius. Why, you ask?

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I just made a cake…. for breakfast!!!

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The photos may not be the best, but at 6am, I am NOT taking the time to stage a photo-op. Besides, it’s the taste that matters!

My tummy has been unhappy with my breakfast choices of late. For the last few days, breakfast has been certified gluten free oatmeal. The result has been days of bloating, gas, cramping, and ……… My fellow “glu-tards” out there get the picture. I’m not happy about this recent development. I used to be able to tolerate certified gluten free oats. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!!!

I needed something to cheer me up this morning. I needed cake. So I made cake, and it was good. It was also good for me, so that makes it even better!

I took my normal sugar-free mug cake recipe and replaced the cocoa powder with my favorite, vegan protein powder and VOILA! In under two minutes, you get a vegan, gluten free, sugar free, high protein cake that you can eat for breakfast! You’re welcome. I will be accepting my Nobel Prize in 2014.

High Protein Blueberry Breakfast Mug Cake

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Vegan Protein Powder (I like Vega One Natural flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Tbsp Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Creme Liquid Stevia (omit if your protein powder is already sweetened)
  • 4-5 Blueberries

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a microwave safe mug and stir until smooth.
  2. Place mug in a microwave and microwave on high for 1 minute.
  3. Top with vegan coconut milk yogurt and additional blueberries, if desired.

BBQ Baked Tofu

If you know me, you know that I am a ‘Fu Lover.

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I LOVE ME SOME TOFU!!!! (as long as it’s not fried)

Plain, straight out of the package or baked are my two favorite ways to enjoy tofu.

I know soy gets a bad rap, but here is the deal…..

I eat organic, non-gmo tofu. I don’t eat many processed foods which are often laden with genetically modified, processed forms of soy. The studies claiming soy is bad for you are inconclusive, in my opinion. Tofu is an excellent vegetarian source of complete protein. Plus, tofu tastes DELICIOUS!

Okay…. rant over. Cause ain’t nobody got time for that! *wink*

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I made a scrumptious BBQ marinade for my tofu before baking it to a “meaty” consistency in the oven. Served atop a baked sweet potato and sauteed greens, this tofu is my new favorite! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

BBQ Baked Tofu

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz) container Firm Organic Tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Tbsp Gluten Free, Vegan BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Hot Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Liquid Smoke
  • pinch Sea Salt
  • pinch Black Pepper

Directions:

  1. Press tofu at least 4 to 6 hours to remove excess water. I use a Tofu Xpress.
  2. Drain.
  3. Slice tofu in half, width-wise, and then cut into cubes. Place cubed tofu in a resealable container and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour marinade over cubed tofu and toss gently to coat evenly.
  6. Marinate tofu for 45-50 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place cubed tofu in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  9. Bake tofu for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.

Vegan BBQ Stuffed Acorn Squash

Hello strangers!

It has been over a month since I last updated this blog. I seem to have reached the point where I feel like most of my dinners are variations on already posted recipes. I suppose that is bound to happen when you have close to 600 recipes posted, but it still makes me feel utterly unimaginative.

The holidays were filled with travel and family. I was able to spend an entire week with GF Guy and Dickens! It was beyond heavenly!

Here is a little peek into the last month….

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THEN it was back to reality. Work has been wonderful and busy. I have been jetting back and forth between San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland each week and planning my travels well into March. To tell the truth, I love my busy, jet set life! I am a transient person, by nature. Traveling for work keeps my wanderlust in check. It’s hard to believe I have been living in the same city for a year and a half. My how time flies!

In other news, I have been vegan for almost an entire month. (minus 1 evening where my options were gluten or fish…. obviously, I chose the fish…) I work for a company that sells both gluten-free and vegan products. In an effort to educate everyone at the company on a vegan diet, and in an exercise to develop empathy for what those with dietary restrictions  must face on a daily basis, we have all adopted a vegan diet for the month of January. At first, I thought I would have a difficult time forgoing meat, fish, and honey. However, I am happy to report that I have had no problems! I have felt energized and focused this entire month. So much, in fact, that I am considering adopting a vegan lifestyle. I can’t promise anything. I’m already difficult to feed when I go visit friends and relatives, but we shall see….

For now, I will be vegan until February 1st. My focus during this month’s vegan challenge has been on eating whole foods. No processed meat alternatives for this girl! My diet has consisted heavily of fresh produce, beans, quinoa, and brown rice. In my humble opinion, this is the best way to approach a vegan diet. Food as nature intended is the recipe for a healthy diet. The below recipe is just that. Enjoy!

Vegan BBQ Stuffed Acorn Squash

(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup Yellow Onion, diced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp Water
  • 5-6 Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups Green Kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Great Northern White Beans, cooked
  • 3 Tblsp Gluten Free, Vegan BBQ Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Daiya Vegan Cheddar Style Cheese Shreds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut Acorn Squash in half, lengthwise. Using a spoon remove and discard the seeds and strings.
  3. Place squash in a baking dish, cut side down. Pour water around the squash until about 1/4 inch deep.
  4. Place squash in the oven and cook 35-40 minutes, until soft to the touch.
  5. Remove squash from the oven, and place face up on a plate to cool slightly. Discard the cooking water.
  6. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  7. Saute the mushrooms in the olive oil until they begin to sweat. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes, until translucent.
  8. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  9. Deglaze the pan with 1 tsp water.
  10. Add the chopped tomatoes and kale to the pan, and saute until kale begins to wilt.
  11. Next add the cooked beans and BBQ sauce and cook until heated through.
  12. Remove the kale mixture from the heat and spoon evenly into the cooked acorn squash halves.
  13. Top each squash half with 1/8 cup of Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese Shreds.
  14. Place squash in the oven under the broiler and cook 3-4 minutes until the Daiya Vegan Cheese begins to melt.
  15. Enjoy!

Christmas Cookie Round-up 2012

Haul out the holly! It’s time for a holly, jolly holiday!

(10 points to anyone who can guess which Broadway musical I am referencing)

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Yesterday, I invited a few friends over for a Christmas party. Being the over-achiever that I am, and not wanting to put anyone out with my dietary restrictions, I decided to make all the cookies myself. I heated up my little apartment with the stove going all day as I rolled and mixed and sprinkled powdered sugar & cinnamon. It was like Christmas exploded in my kitchen!32401_10101635107712882_1324212968_n

Confession: I have an almost compulsive need to completely clean the kitchen between baking each kind of cookie. I put all of the ingredients away, wash and dry the bowls and spoons and return them to their respective cupboards, and wipe down the counters. Then, I recenter myself, pull out the needed ingredients, and start on the next cookie. Some might call it obsessive. I prefer to think of it as organized.

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Anywho… I went through my cookie recipe archives and pulled out a few of my favorites. The star of the evening? Definitely the Vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies, which we discovered have about 5 other names, depending on which country you hail from. (ie Russian Tea Cookies, German Pfeffernussen…. the list goes on) Whatever you chose to call them, they are delicious!

I also found a recipe for homemade Cinnamon Ornaments. With only three ingredients, cinnamon, applesauce, and cloves, they are incredibly easy and make fun gifts for party attendees!

Now, strap on that apron, put on your Santa hat, and get baking!

(Hint: Click on the cookie name to see the recipe.)

Vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

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Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

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Mint Chocolate Fudgie Babies

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Cinnamon Ornaments

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