Tag Archives: nutritious

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

31 Oct

This past weekend I had big plans for my “recipes to experiment with” list. I hadn’t had a weekend at home with nothing to do in a while and I was itching to create some deliciousness. As I created each new recipe, I started to question if I truly have the “right” interests/hobbies in life. Each one was a fail, one after the other; under seasoned pumpkin curry soup, date caramel apples that didn’t set up right, and running out of ingredients I swore I had on hand. My ultimate moment of questioning came when I excitedly offered my hubby some cheese-less beer cheese soup (I know, I know…cheese is in the name…I get it) and asked for his input. I knew it needed some tweaking but thought I was on the path to an amazing discovery. Trying to be helpful and offer input, he suggested, “trying to use a different kind of cheese”.

I was ready to throw in the towel. I had waited all week for this day. I brought extra cash to the farmer’s market to get some seasonal goods, stocked up on staples at the grocery store, and woke up extra early to spend some extra time in the kitchen; to not have one good outcome from it all was not ok with me. I decided to give it one last effort and came out with these:

Dreamy,

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heavenly,

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wholesome pumpkin bars with cream cheese-less cream cheese frosting.

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I got the amazing frosting recipe from Love and Lemons.  I clearly have a lot to learn from her. She was able to make the frosting taste like the real thing without actually including the main ingredient. Genius!

These bars have a lot to offer. Believe it or not they are packed with nutrition: oats, pumpkin puree, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, a touch of natural sweetener; what more could a girl want? Although the frosting makes them a-m-a-z-i-n-g, I have enjoyed them sans frosting as a quick, on-the-go snack. They freeze well, too, and only use one bowl to make! Oh, and depending on your dietary restrictions, they are vegan (so dairy and egg free by default) and gluten-free, if you use gluten free oats! Honestly, I don’t know why you guys are still reading. You should be preheating your oven and getting out your mixing bowl and measuring cups…

Pumpkin Bars

Makes 9 bars (8×8 inch pan)

2 cups rolled oats

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/4 cup maple syrup (add an additional 2 tablespoons if you like things sweeter)

1/2 cup cashew cream (1/2 cup cashews processed with 2 1/2 tablespoons almond milk; you might be able to use a nut butter but I did not test it)

1/4 cup uncrystallized candied ginger, cut into quarter inch pieces (I found mine at Trader Joe’s; other dried fruit would work as well)

Frosting (from Love and Lemons)

1/2 cup macadamia nuts (soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed)

1/2 cup cashews (soaked for 2 hours, drained and rinsed)

1/4 cup almond milk

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin seeds.

3. Add pumpkin puree, canola oil, maple syrup, and cashew cream. Mix well to combine.

4. Fold in uncrystallized candied ginger.

5. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes until lightly browned.

6. To make the frosting, combine all frosting ingredients in a high speed blender. Start blender on low and gradually increase to high.  Blend until smooth.

7 . Cool the bars on a cooling rack. Wait until bars are completely cooled to add frosting.

Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

4 May

Hello hello. I have been MIA and I apologize. It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks with another whirlwind week ahead. I had some quality family time over Easter and some quality sister time soaking up the sun in Florida. The hubby and I head on a West coast adventure later this week. All exciting things that have left me with very little time to cook or blog!

I thought I’d sneak in a quick post just in time for Cinco de Mayo.

I love roasted chickpeas. They satisfy the need for a crunchy snack and are full of protein and fiber. You can easily season them how you like. These Mexican roasted chickpeas are the perfect healthy way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

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The inspiration for these chickpeas came from these delicious lentil tacos. I tossed a can of chickpeas with the spice mixture from the tacos and some vegetable oil, popped them in the oven and waiting while they roasted to perfection.

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My favorite way to enjoy these was atop a clean version of a taco salad. I tossed together some romaine, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced green onions, crushed Beanito chips, avocado, and topped with some olive oil and lemon juice…yum yum yum.

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Mexican Roasted Chickpeas

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with vegetable oil. Add spice mixture and toss until chickpeas are well coated.

4. Spread chickpeas into a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast in oven for 35-45 minutes until crispy, tossing or stirring chickpeas every 15 minutes.

 

Loaded Quinoa Cookies (vegan)

25 Mar

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I’ve mentioned before that I love snacking…specifically the kind that makes you feel like you’re “splurging” but you’re really getting loads of good-for-you ingredients. I especially love that kind of snacking when it’s neatly packaged into a cookie.

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These loaded quinoa cookies do just that.

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The cooked quinoa adds satisfying protein that make these cookies great for an on-the-go breakfast or a tasty snack.

Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you have on hand. The first time I made these cookies, I used a jar of odds and ends mix-ins I had been collecting. The tablespoon of pistachios leftover from making granola, the 1/4 cup of shredded coconut leftover from making banana bread, and the handful of chocolate chips left from making cookies. I’ve made these cookies a few times and use a different combination each time. My favorite combination included pistachios, toasted coconut flakes, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and chocolate chips.

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Leave a comment below with the mix-ins you tried. Happy snacking 🙂

Loaded Quiona Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

3/4 cup mix-ins (any type of nut, dried fruit, chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Add whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and mix just until combined. Fold in quinoa and other mix-ins.

4. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using you fingers, gently press dough balls until flattened. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Go-To Green Drink

17 Mar

Another one of my favorite things: starting my morning with a refreshing clean green smoothie.

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Every now and then I decide to mix it up, but I have a new go-to smoothie that I can’t get enough of in the morning.

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Going along with the “green theme” for St. Patty’s Day, I found it appropriate to post this recipe today. Also, you might appreciate this smoothie tomorrow morning in case you have one too many adult green beverages tonight!

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Here’s the run down on the goods:

Almond milk: low calorie, flavorful source of calcium (as long as it’s fortified)

Banana: great source of potassium; perfect for getting rid of excess water weight from St. Patty’s Day!

Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers, Spinach: hydration, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron

Mango: Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A

Fresh ginger: may help relieve indigestion

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Go-To Green Drink

Makes 2 servings (about 1 cup each)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 banana, peeled

2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks (about 1/2 of a large cucumber)

2 cups spinach

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Turn blender on, increase speed to high and blend for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until well blended. Add ice if desired.

 

 

 

Greek Farro Salad

14 Mar

Another favorite thing of mine is simple ingredients.

I was craving a hearty, fresh, salad with a grain base.

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I had picked up some farro from Trader Joe’s. I had a ton of fresh veggies that I couldn’t wait to bite into. I had some feta cheese that was begging to be a topping on my salad. I was thinking about what to do for a dressing. I decided to keep it simple. With good ingredients, there’s no need to get too fancy with anything.

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Let the flavors shine through!

I was also dreaming of summer (as another foot of snow was being dumped on us…I’m not complaining though!) and a salad made with refreshing veggies was just the thing.

You can feel great about eating this salad. It makes a great main dish or the perfect side dish to accompany your meal. The farro is a whole grain with a satisfying chew to it. The chickpeas are a great source of fiber and protein. The olive oil gives you a daily dose of omega-3’s. And who can complain about a colorful array of veggies?

Bite into this salad and dream of warm summer nights, pool parties, and flip flops!

Greek Farro Salad

Note: The cucumbers don’t keep their fresh bite after the second day. I would recommend keeping them separate and adding them to your salad if you don’t plan to enjoy it all the first couple days.

Makes 6 cups

3 cups cooked farro (I used Trader Joe’s)

1 cup cucumbers, chopped

1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half

3 scallions, white and light green parts, sliced thin

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1. Add farro, tomatoes, cucumbers, scallions, feta, and chickpeas in a large bowl. Stir to combine.

2. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine. Add more salt to taste. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Raw Vegan Granola Bars

10 Mar

I am posting about one of my favorite things twice because I like it that much…snacking. Healthy snacking to be more specific. These bars are the perfect thing to satisfy an afternoon sweet tooth or to fuel your day for an on-the-go breakfast. They are full of fiber, protein, heart healthy fats, and are naturally sweetened with dried fruit and honey. I made them using Trader Joe’s almond butter. I love all nut butters but this Trader Joe’s creamy almond butter tastes sinfully delicious. I highly recommend it 🙂

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They got a stamp of approval from my hubby which is always a big deal!

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*Edit: These granola bars are technically not vegan because they contain honey. I was recently informed the vegans who eat honey are called “Beegans”. Substitute the honey with maple syrup or agave nectar to make them truly vegan. Enjoy 🙂

Raw Vegan Granola Bars

Makes 10 bars

1 ripe banana

2 cup oats

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup honey (substitute with maple syrup or honey to make them truly vegan)

1/2 cup almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mash banana well. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.

3. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread evenly into pan using the back of a spoon to smooth mixture. Place pan in the freezer for 2 hours. Take pan out of freezer. Remove mixture from pan and place on a cutting board. Cut into 10 even bars. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and store in freezer.

Raspberry Pecan Oatmeal

8 Mar

Favorite thing #4: Breakfast

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I never used to be a breakfast person. It was torture when my mom would make me eat something before leaving for school in the morning. Once I learned the importance of breakfast and started eating it regularly, I started to wake up hungry.

Eating within the first hour of waking up helps jump start your day. It revs up your metabolism, increases productivity, and keeps you more satisfied during the day.

My breakfast of choice is oatmeal. It’s the perfect canvas to create a delicious breakfast packed with nutrition. I go back and forth between steel cut oats and old-fashioned rolled oats. Depends on my mood. My go to combo is unsweetened vanilla almond milk, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, and a drizzle of agave nectar.

Every now and then, usually on the weekends, I change it up. My  latest creation was a perfect combo.

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I used my roasted pecan butter.

This combo is guaranteed to get your day off to a great start. The fiber, healthy fats, and protein found in this meal keep you satisfied through the morning.

Raspberry Pecan Oatmeal

Makes 1 bowl

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1/4 cup raspberries

1 tablespoon roasted pecan butter

1 teaspoon agave nectar

Dash of cinnamon

1. Combine oats, milk, and flaxseed meal. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes until most of the liquid is absorbed and oatmeal is creamy.

2. Top with raspberries, pecan butter, agave nectar, and cinnamon. Sit back, relax, and fuel your day 🙂

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