vegan

February Fennel

For those of you who remember my matcha post from last month, part of my New Year’s resolution this year was to try a new ingredient every month. For February, I chose fennel. Fennel’s health benefits include aiding in digestion, stomach upset, and immunity due to it’s high anti-acidic, fiber, and vitamin C content.  I’ve had in dishes at my favorite restaurant in Nashville, Margot Cafe, but I was intimidated to cook it. Much to my delight, after doing some research there were countless easy ways to prepare the daunting vegetable. For starters, an easy way to prep your fennel for however you chose to make it is to first chop the stalk off the top, then slice the end of the bulb off, cut the bulb in half and go from there. Below are two of my favorites from the month!

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Raw Dijon Slaw

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Ingredients
1 cup assorted shredded or julienne sliced vegetables (I used fennel, beets, carrots, cucumbers, and celery)
1/2 cup white beans
1-2 cups spinach
1-2 tbsp walnuts
1-2 tbsp dried cherries
Dressing: 1-2 tsp olive oil, 1-2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar and/or lemon juice, pepper to taste

Directions
1. Chop the vegetables into thin strips or use a vegetable grater or mandolin.
2. Mix dressing ingredients and toss with chopped vegetables.
3. Serve over spinach and top with white beans, walnuts, and dried cherries. (optional)

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Oven Roasted Lemon, Fennel, and Artichokes

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Ingredients
1 cup canned artichokes
1-2 tomatoes, sliced
1/2 lemon, sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, sliced
1/4 cup kamut (wheatberries), uncooked
Handful black olives
Dressing: 1-2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 lemon juiced, parsley, thyme, pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Prepare kamut according to package directions.
3. Line a baking sheet with foil and place fennel, artichokes, tomatoes, and lemon on it.
4. Mix dressing ingredients, pour over vegetables, and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping in the middle.
5. Serve over kamut and top with olives. (optional)

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Brussels Sprouts Bonanza

So last week I bought a bag of brussels sprouts from Costco. With two pounds of raw brussels sprouts on my hands, I was determined to try as many different variations as possible throughout the week. To start I cut them all in half and roasted them at 425 for about 35 minutes, flipping them about halfway through. Then throughout the week I added this base to different recipes that you’ll find below.

My Classic Recipe

This is my go to recipe – the perfect mix of savory, sweet, and spicy. Roast with the remaining ingredients to intensify the flavor or simply add in afterwards. 

Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Cinnamon and cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp maple syrup, optional

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice, basil, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper
Drizzle of olive oil, optional

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with diced tomatoes and quinoa

Sriracha Lime Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
Lime juice, sriracha, ginger, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with black rice, kale, peanuts, and a poached egg. For a perfect poached egg, simmer a pot of water, pour an egg in and gently swirl for 3-4 minutes as shown below.

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Brussels Sprouts “Hash”

This last recipe takes a spin on a classic breakfast side dish by using shredded brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, and avocado instead of white potato, sausage, and cheese. 

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Ingredients
1 cup shredded brussels sprouts (or roughly chop whole ones)
1/2 sweet potato, grated
1 tomato, diced
1 egg
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Thyme, cayenne pepper, rosemary, lemon pepper
1/4 avocado, optional

Pan fry all ingredients (except the egg) until softened. Add the egg in last and cook to your desired consistency. Top with avocado, if desired.

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Cold Peanut “Noodles” and Sesame Tempeh

One of my favorite appetizers at chinese food restaurants growing up was cold sesame noodles. So with some healthy substitutions (mainly the broccoli slaw in lieu of noodles), I was able to recreate this takeout fav! I think I liked this version even better because I didn’t feel bloated and sluggish after eating it. It’s so fresh and flavorful and the sauce is UNREAL. Seriously I ate it for dinner one night and then leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day. And I even thinned the sauce out with some extra coconut aminos and water and made a delicious salad dressing! If that’s not a good testimony, I don’t know what is. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients
serves 2, with leftover sauce
1 package broccoli slaw, shredded carrots, or spiralized zucchini
1 package tempeh
2 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I subbed half with PB2)
1 tbsp honey
Spices: sriracha, ginger, cilantro, crushed red pepper to taste

Directions
1. Blanch broccoli slaw by boiling for 2-3 minutes and then soaking in ice water. Optional, but I think it tastes better than completely raw veggies. Also feel free to cook them more thoroughly with a drizzle of sesame oil in a pan.
2. Chop tempeh into cubes and sautée them with a tsp of sesame oil for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
3. Blend all remaining ingredients and spices to make sauce.
4. Toss broccoli slaw with sauce until coated. Top with cooked tempeh and sesame seeds, optional.
5. You can eat it as is, or let sit 1-2 hours or overnight in the fridge (I think it tasted even better the next day!).

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Blueberry Lemon Compote

Last week a friend of mine showed me a recipe for blueberry lemon quinoa. At the same time I had been experimenting with different homemade jams with chia seeds. Chia seeds are great for creating a jam consistency because they expand to up to 10 times their size when combined with liquid. So long story short, I was just playing around in the kitchen one morning and ended up with this delicious compote that came together in just about 10 minutes!

Ingredients
1/4 cup blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
lemon zest or lemon oil (optional)

Directions
1. Mash ripe blueberries with the back of a fork.
2. Add lemon juice, chia seeds, and zest.
3. Stir well to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the chia seeds expand and thicken the compote.
4. Enjoy over oats, breakfast quinoa, toast, pancakes, or just with a spoon!

Notes
*This is just for about 1 serving, feel free to double or triple the recipe. It will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
*If you’d like a smoother consistency, you can blend the lemon juice and blueberries before adding the chia seeds. Personally, I liked it chunkier.

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Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Traditional Italian food is often fried and loaded with cheese and refined carbs making it a total diet demolisher. So does that mean you can never enjoy the rich, gooey, flavorful goodness of pizza, baked ziti, or lasagna ever again? Of course not! But with inspiration from This Rawesome Vegan Life and the help of my partner in crime Stacey, we created a healthy alternative using cashews, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, and Italian spices. Raw cashews surprisingly take on a very creamy, savory flavor when mixed with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spices. It’s a common base for many dairy-free cheese substitutes, even cream cheese! The sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli create a fresh, lighter version of classic oil-filled pesto to compliment the heavier cashew “cheese.” Seriously y’all, I loveeee pesto, but I think this may be my new favorite! Although it may seem complicated with all the different components of the recipe, I promise it only took us under an hour to prep, cook, and clean (all just in time for our weekly Scandal viewing!)

Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats

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Ingredients
serves 2

2 zucchinis
1/2 cup diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
sprinkle of non-dairy cheese, optional (I tried almond cheese for the first time this week, but I also love daiya or Trader Joe’s brand)

Cashew “Cheese”
1/2 cup raw cashews
juice of one lemon
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano to taste

Sun-dried Tomato and Broccoli Pesto
1-2 cups broccoli (steamed and chopped)
handful sun-dried tomatoes
1-2 tsp olive oil (if the tomatoes aren’t packed in oil)
salt, pepper, basil to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Prepare the cashew “cheese” by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Remove and set aside.
3. Prepare sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto by putting all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender, I preferred it on the chunkier side so I used a medium speed setting. Remove and set aside.
4. Cut zucchinis in half and scoop out the seeds to make room for the fillings.
5. Fill zucchini with tomatoes and then layer in cashew “cheese” and pesto (we alternated a dollop of each).
6. Optional, sprinkle your choice shredded non-dairy cheese.
7. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and zucchini is softened.

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cashew “cheese”

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sun-dried tomato and broccoli pesto

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filling the zucchini

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mozzarella flavored cheese made from almonds – pretty mild taste and browns nicely!

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before the oven

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ready to eat (and watch Scandal!)

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bon appetit!

Monday Munchies: Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce

My latest grocery store find came just in time for Super Bowl Sunday! I used this amazing Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce from Trader Joe’s to make a delicious and healthy alternative to the classic Super Bowl appetizer, battered and greasy buffalo chicken wings. My version uses cauliflower as a base to soak up this finger-licking sauce!

BBQ Cauliflower Bites

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Ingredients:
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized florets
1 tbsp earth balance spread, melted (or sub olive or coconut oil)
1/4 cup TJ Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Roast cauliflower on a baking sheet with earth balance or oil for about 15 minutes.
3. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and return to the oven for another 15-20minutes.
4. Broil for an additional 5 minutes for extra crisp!

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Monday Munchies: Ezekiel Cereal + Bonus Recipes

I’ve been a fan of Ezekiel bread for quite a while now, but I never really explored their other products until recently. Their cereal is by far the tastiest, healthiest I’ve ever had or made. The reason behind their high nutritional value is because the grains they use are sprouted. Sprouting grains causes a biochemical reaction that increases their nutrient content and partially breaks down the starch, lowering their carbohydrate content.

The cereal definitely has more of a crunchy granola consistency, so it’s great on top of chia seed pudding or even just plain with fruit and almond milk. I also experimented with some recipes using it, so I included them below!

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Bonus Recipes

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Bran Muffins

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1.5 c Ezekiel Cereal
1/2 c Buckwheat Flour
1/2 c All-Purpose Flour (I used Bob Mills GF)
1/2 c Applesauce
1 c Almond Milk
1 egg
4 Dates, pitted and chopped
2 tbsp Coconut Sugar (you could sub maple syrup or sweetener of choice)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
Cinnamon to taste

Directions:
1.  Soak cereal and almond milk for 10 minutes.
2. Mix in the remaining ingredients until well incorporated.
3. Pour into a greased muffin tin and bake at 375F for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
4. These are extremely low in sugar, so if you prefer a sweeter muffin, add some maple syrup to the batter or drizzle them with honey or nut butter afterwards.

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Energy Bites

2 c Almonds
1 scoop Protein Powder
1/4 c Water
1.5 c Ezekiel Cereal
Optional: 2 dates pitted or 1-2 tbsp maple syrup to sweeten

Directions:
1. Blend first 3 ingredients (and sweetener, if using) until smooth and creamy.
2. Mix in cereal.
3. Roll into small bite-sized balls and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

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Have Your (Carrot) Cake And Eat It Too

This is a really exciting post for me because it’s my first recipe entry using my new camera! Full disclosure, I may have spent an hour this morning alone taking pictures of my smoothie and various versions of homemade nut butters (stay tuned for that post!). I think I may be obsessed with this camera now…or maybe I just need my roommate to get back from winter break…

Anyway, maybe it’s because of my cinnamon addiction or having a pet bunny growing up rubbed off on me, but carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts. After much experimentation, I concocted a couple of healthy alternatives shared below – oatmeal muffins and a smoothie. Enjoy!

Carrot Almond Oatmeal Muffins

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makes 12 regular muffins or 24 minis

1.5 cups oats
1 cup shredded carrots
2 egg whites
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional or sub 1 tsp coconut oil)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
Sliced almonds for topping (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until throughly mixed (it should look like the first picture below).
3. Spray or grease muffin tins (I used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray – my fav), and fill each with 1-3 tbsp of batter depending on the size of your tins. Top with additional almond slices, if desired (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Roasted Almond Slices – another staple in my pantry).
4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. They’re great with a drizzle of honey or almond butter as well!

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Carrot Cake Smoothie 

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1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 cup shredded carrots
1-2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional or sub 1 tsp coconut oil)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 date, pitted or half a banana
Ice cubes
1/4 cup oats to thicken, if desired
Optional boosts: 1-2 tbsp ground flax, protein powder, chia seeds, etc.

Directions:
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

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Thanksgiving Recap and Recipes for Leftovers

This year for thanksgiving, instead of flying back to New Jersey, my parents decided to take a trip to Nashville to spend the holiday here. When they booked this trip a couple months back, I’ll admit I immediately started searching for new recipes on Pinterest to try. I was so excited to cook my first thanksgiving meal and was determined to do it entirely from scratch. After spending (an amount I am far too embarrassed to disclosure) on groceries and unpacking 7 large bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods only to find that even the ingredients didn’t all fit in my tiny apartment kitchen, I started to get cold feet about the enormous task that lied ahead. However, despite accidentally freezing my fresh bags of spinach for the salad, overheating my Vitamix, and learning the hard way that oven mitts don’t protect you if they get wet, I would say overall my first thanksgiving was a culinary success.

Now on to the good part…the recipes! The meal was a conglomeration of variations of recipes on blogs I frequent, family traditions, and my own creations.

Autumn Salad

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1 roasted acorn squash, sliced into cubes
1 cup roasted grapes
Handful or more of goji berries
Handful or more of pumpkin seeds
1 standard bag spinach
1 standard bag arugula

Dressing: (ratio should be 2:1 vinegar to oil)
Apple cider vinegar
Olive Oil
Optional to taste: maple syrup or honey and salt/pepper

Directions:
Assemble all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and serve hot or cold with dressing.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Chickpea “Croutons”

adapted from Two Peas and Their PodIMG_8140

For the soup:
1 medium shallot, chopped
Handful baby carrots
1 apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 medium butternut squash (or 5 cups cubed)
28oz vegetable broth (aim for low sodium!)
To taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, salt/pepper

For the “croutons”
1 can chickpeas
Coconut oil spray (or sub any nonstick spray or 1 tbsp oil)
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or sub brown sugar)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Lots of cinnamon

Directions:
1. Heat all soup ingredients until the carrots, squash, and apple are soft.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Season to taste.
4. Heat oven to 350.
5. Rinse, drain, and roll out chickpeas on a paper towel to remove most of the outer layer.
6. Mix chickpeas, sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a large bowl
7. Spread out on greased cookie sheet and bake for 35-40min, being sure to rotate/shake the tray every 15min or so.
8. Serve chickpeas over warm soup.

Sweet Potato Tempeh “Meatballs”

adapted from Laura Lea Balanced

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2 tbsp ground flax meal
12 oz tempeh (1.5 standard packages)
Cooking spray or olive oil for pan/baking sheet
1 shallot, chopped
1 baked sweet potato (no skin)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
To taste: paprika, cumin, ginger salt/pepper

Directions:
1. Combine flax meal with 6 tablespoons of water and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375.
3. On a sprayed/oiled skillet, add crumbled tempeh and shallots and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add spices and heat for another 5 minutes or so (until tempeh is slightly browned).
5. Put the cooked tempeh and all remaining ingredients in a blender. Pulse until you are left with a sticky dough.
6. Scoop out approximately 1-2 tbsp at a time to form the “meatballs.” To prevent it from sticking to you, wet your hands with a bit of water.
7. Arrange the “meatballs” on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Enjoy with gravy or cranberry sauce!

Green Beans Almondine

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1 package of green beans (or about 1lb)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Optional: shallots, lemon juice, salt/(lemon) pepper, olive oil

Directions:
1. Microwave green beans for a minute or two to soften.
2. Heat almonds in a large pan with oil to toast.
3. Add green beans and optional spices until the green beans are cooked to your likening (I like mine on the crunchier side!).

Apricot Carrots

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This was one of my favorite dishes my mom used to make growing up – our Thanksgiving feast would not have been complete without it!

1 package baby carrots
About 1/2 cup apricot preserves (opt for reduced sugar or sugar-free)
Juice of half an orange
To taste: honey, cinnamon, nutmeg

Directions:
1. Steam/boil baby carrots until soft but still slightly crunchy
2. Add cooked carrots, apricot preserves, orange juice, and spices to a large saucepan.
3. Cook with the lid off so that the liquid reduces and becomes more of a glaze over the carrots.

Roasted Vegetable Stuffing

adapted from Food52

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1lb butternut squash, cubed
1lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 apple, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
10 thick slices of bread (I used challah #tbt to thanksgivingukkah)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried walnuts
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (opt for low sodium)
To taste: fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, chopped (about 1-3 tsp each)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Roast squash, brussels sprouts, apple, and 1 shallot until fork tender (about 40min).
3. Reduce oven 350.
4. In a large pot, sauté celery and other shallot for 5-7 min.
5. Cut bread slices into cubes and add to the pot until toasted.
6. Add roasted vegetables, cranberries, walnuts, and broth to the pot.
7. After the bread absorbs all the broth, transfer to a 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cauliflower Mash

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 russet potato
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp earth balance
To taste: salt/pepper

Directions:
1. Steam or boil cauliflower and potato until fork tender
2. Use a potato masher (or back of a fork/spoon) to mash ingredients with milk and earth balance

Mushroom Gravy

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1-10oz carton baby portobello mushrooms (or assorted)
1.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine (any kind you like to drink)
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp flour (I used Bob Mills GF flour)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
1 tbsp earth balance
Salt/pepper

Directions:
1. With cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil, heat diced shallot and mushrooms until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
2. Add red wine and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
3. Puree this mixture and then return it to the pan.
4. Stir in vegetable broth, spices, earth balance, and flour, and whisk until well combined.
5. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup pomegrante seeds
1 large apple, diced
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
Cinnamon/nutmeg to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except pom seeds and orange juice into a sauce pan and heat on high heat.
2. Once it is brought to a boil, cook for 5 minutes and then let simmer for another 15 minutes.
3. Once everything is soft and the sauce thickens, remove from heat.
4. Stir in orange juice and pom seeds.
5. Chill for several hours before serving.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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For the crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup oat flour (throw oats in a food processor until fine)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 dates, pitted
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the filling:
1 cup pecans
1 egg white
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil
7 dates, pitted
1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed without skin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For the crust, in a high speed blender, grind almonds and hemp seeds.
3. Add oat flour, dates, coconut oil, and spices until combined in a sticky mixture.
4. In a greased pie dish, spread the crust and press it down to coat the bottom (I used a mini pie pan but a standard pie dish would work too!)
5. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown
6. For the filling, grind the pecans in a food processor or blender.
7. Add sweet potato, egg white, water, coconut oil, dates, and spices until thick, smooth, and creamy.
8. Fill the baked pie crusts with the filling and bake for 20-25 or until firm.

Raw Caramel Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 dates

Directions:
Blend until smooth and creamy. The mixture will be very thick. You will need to reheat the leftovers because if left in the fridge or room temperature the coconut oil will solidify.

This was by far my favorite thing I made!

Pumpkin (White) Chocolate Oat Bars

adapted from Tone it Up

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1 cup oats
1 cup pumpkin puree*
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 overripe banana
1/4 cup almond butter
1 scoop Perfect Fit Vanilla Protein
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Handful of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine the pumpkin, applesauce, banana, almond butter, protein powder, sugar, and spices until smooth.
2. Stir creamed mixture with the oats in a large bowl.
3. If using the chocolate chips, stir them in now. I did half and half.
4. Bake for 35 min at 350.

*side note: If you have time to spare, making pumpkin puree is surprisingly easy. Roast a sugar pumpkin for 45 minutes and then scrap out the middle. Soooo much better than canned pumpkin!

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Bites

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 3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup oats
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla Perfect Fit)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 dates
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or pistachios)
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional to make it sweeter)

Directions:
1. In a blender, combine cashews, oats, protein powder, dates, and maple syrup until smooth.
2. Next, add in the cranberries and continue to blend.
3. Finally, fold in in the pumpkin seeds or pistachios in a large mixing bowl.
4. Roll into balls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. And store the leftovers there as well in an airtight container.

Given that my thanksgiving consisted of three people including myself and a dog, we had a ton of leftovers to say the least. Below are some of my favorites!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop protein powder
1 cup almond milk
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Directions:
Blend until smooth. Optionally, you can top it with the raw caramel sauce.

Cranberry Pomegranate Smoothie

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1/4 cup fresh cranberries
Spoonful of pom seeds
Spoonful or two of cranberry sauce
1 cup coconut water
Splash of orange juice
Ice

Directions:
Blend until smooth.

Green Beans Almondine Omelet

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Handful of leftover green beans almondine
2-3 egg whites or 1-2 whole eggs
Optional: avocado, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper

Directions:
Cook in a skillet until the eggs are set and browned. Top with avocado, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.

Stuffed Sweet Potato

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I have an addiction to sweet potatoes and find any excuse to eat them for any meal of the day. So naturally, I took my leftovers and stuffed them into a baked sweet potato. For this one, I used my maple roasted chickpeas, butternut squash, and cranberry sauce. Trust me, it was delicious 🙂

Cranberry Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts

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Combine roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and crushed pecans. Top with a squeeze of orange.

Some other things to try might be to add a poached egg to the stuffing like a “hash” type dish, a wrap with the sweet potato tempeh “meatballs” and either gravy or cranberry sauce, or a stew with all the leftover veggies! Post in the comments any other creative ways you’ve used your leftover Thanksgiving dishes or spare ingredients 🙂

Hope everyone had a relaxing and delicious holiday season! Happy 2015!

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Oil-Free Banana Nut Granola

Granola is usually one of those foods disguised as healthy, but is actually filled with tons of hidden added sugar and fat. I’ve recently been experimenting with different alternatives to the traditional versions with oil and sugar as the main ingredients. It’s super easy to make yourself, and that way you know exactly what’s in it. You can make a big batch, and when stored properly in an air tight container (mason jars are great for this!), it can last several weeks.

This granola recipe is by far my favorite one yet. It uses mashed banana as a binder instead of oil, and also serves as a natural sweetener as well.

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Oil-Free Banana Nut Granola

makes about 12 1/4 cup servings

Ingredients

1-2 bananas, mashed (depending on the size)
1.5c oats
1/4c quinoa
1/2c asst. nuts (I used walnuts and TJ cinnamon almonds)
1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder + couple tbsp of water (I used Perfect Fit)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tbsp almond butter, heated for 30 seconds in the microwave
Vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg (to taste)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients (except coconut flakes) in a large mixing bowl.
3. Spread the mixture out thin on baking sheet.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes and then sift every 5-10 minutes until it is golden brown and crunchy.
5. Sprinkle the remaining coconut flakes on top, and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes.

IMG_6742IMG_6747Perfect for topping on a smoothie bowl!