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Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

It’s been a bit of surprise to see corn so largely displayed and promoted in the grocery store as of recently. It’s definitely a bit early for the local season, but I caught the summer bug and have succumbed to buying it on more than one occasion.

There’s something about these early 90-degree days in June that has been keeping summer on my mind, along with a menu of eats that match.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This dish was also inspired by a recent purchase of basil that I’ve planted in my backyard Philly garden. It looks as though I’ll never reap a large enough harvest for pesto, but my potted plants are, for now, yielding enough herbs for dishes like this. Score.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

This is a light and refreshing meal, perfect for a midday lunch on a warm day. It’s nourishing and certainly not the kind of dish that’ll weigh you down as those hot temps takeover.

Quinoa with Sauteed Corn, Avocado and Basil

Don’t skimp out on the quality of olive oil that you use and be sure to reach for fresh (vs. dried) basil here, as both add a lot to the delicate complexity of flavors here.

However, if you want to get playful, feel free to switch up the nuts, and work with pine nuts or pistachios or something else that might sound fun to you.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

As mentioned in my last post, I’m really getting into using sweet potatoes as a fun way to spice up breakfast.

I hadn’t imagined I’d be posting two sweet potato recipes in a row that are designed for breakfast. But I’m not mad about it. Quite the opposite actually.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

This one comes as a spinoff of one of my good friend’s recipes.

I’m fortunate to have another great food blogger gal pal just a 15-minute bike ride away from my own kitchen headquarters. Emily (from Nourishing Matters) and I do a lot of week night cooking collabs, and I’m always obsessing over her latest creations that she puts up on Instagram.

That being said, it felt like a real treat to try out her Sweet Potato Pancake dish. This was a top candidate on my to-make list for some time.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

I’m happy to report that this recipe is super fun.

Just as I’ve found sweet potatoes to be a great resource for brightening up breakfast, I’ve now found that they act as a great mechanism for jazzing up traditional pancakes, too.

Unfortunately, while I like to pretend I’m still a kid, plain pancakes just don’t cut it for me like they used to. Throw some blueberries in there, and I’m a happy gal. Or oats and bananas. Or anything else that’ll perk that plate of flour up a bit.

If you feel the same about pancakes, try giving sweet potatoes a go.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

While Emily uses tahini, I decided to use Barney’s almond butter here, both within the pancake and for a creamy maple drizzle to add on top.

That almond-maple drizzle now has me dreaming of other uses for the sauce. So good and so easy!

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

These pancakes were pretty easy to make too and are perfect if you have any leftover sweet potatoes on-hand from the night before.

If you don’t, you can simply use the quick steaming method described in the recipe below. It shouldn’t take longer that 15 minutes to get the potatoes to the soft texture needed for the pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Maple Almond Butter Drizzle

Be sure to slow-cook these pancakes on the griddle. You don’t want to turn the heat all the way up to high, or you’ll end up with blackened exteriors and a far too mushy interior. Patience!

That being said, these are a bit moister (in a good way!) than traditional pancakes, so don’t be alarmed if the inside is a bit soft even after cooking for a handful of minutes on each side. The texture makes the perfect compliment to the crunchy almonds you’ll put on top along with, perhaps, an optional handful of toasted coconut flakes too. After finishing with the maple-almond drizzle, it’s hard to deny this is a super fun treat for breakfast or brunch.

Who’s ready for Sunday morning?

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Spinach and Komatsuna with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

I recently teamed up with my friend Nicole over at Vestige Home to create this fresh and easy spring meal. Nicole makes gorgeous hand-carved wooden creations, like that walnut bowl pictured above.

Photographing food is always ten times easier when you have beautiful dish-ware to work with!

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Inspired by a CSA bounty, we settled on a greens and shiitake saute over this brown rice mix that Nicole picked up from a local New Jersey farm. I had nooo idea that rice could be cultivated on the east coast, let alone right next door to me in New Jersey. Apparently the farm, Bloom Moon Acres, uses a dry farming technique, allowing them to produce rice on a local scale.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

The rice was quite tasty and the perfect nutty and chewy compliment to the tender spinach and mustard that came to top it. I’d recommend using a black rice or a black and brown rice mix yourself if making this recipe.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

Both Nicole and I were quite pleased with how quickly and easily this recipe came together. After cooking the rice, you can just about?pull this all together in 10 minutes or so.

That’s one of the perks to working with spinach, which cooks up fast in comparison to other greens, as does the komatsuna.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

What is komatsuna? Komatsuna is a Japanese mustard green with a flavor profile that lays in between spinach and mustard. It’s definitely a bit milder than regular mustard greens.

Most Asian markets should carry it, as will Whole Foods. However, if you can’t find it, you could swap it for mustard greens, but definitely seek out a baby variety so that you don’t end up with something too bitter for the delicate flavors of this dish.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

We chose toasted almonds to top complete the meal, adding a crunch and a subtle nuttiness that wouldn’t overpower the rest of the dish.

To toast, simply heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the almonds. Stirring regularly, cook for 5 minutes or so, until the almonds begin to brown. At this point, you’ll want to remove them from the pan so that they don’t continue to cook and end up burning.

Spinach and Mustard Greens with Shiitakes and Almonds over Rice

A squeeze of lemon finishes everything off, drawing out the brightness of all of the ingredients.

Serve among two to three people for a light lunch or share among many (six) as a side. Nicole has some nice serving dishes that can help you with this step…!

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Sauteed Radishes and Scallions with Quinoa

Sauteed Radishes and Scallions with Quinoa

I’ll admit, radishes weren’t ever really on my radar until the past year or so.

It was within recent months that two things changed: 1) The discovery of watermelon radishes (so pretty!); and 2) Sauteed radishes (so yummy!).

Sauteed Radishes and Scallions with Quinoa

I’ve always thought radishes were beautiful, but rarely would I go out of my way to pick them up for slicing on salads and such. That is, until, as mentioned before, I came to learn about the radish in its cooked form.

Sauteed Radishes and Scallions with Quinoa

A little saute takes the humble radish to the next level.

Throw those pink beauties in the pan with a spoonful of butter or quality olive oil, add a pinch of salt, and suddenly sliced radishes become addicting. You taste test one with your wooden spoon, and it doesn’t take more than 30 seconds until you’re reaching for another.

Game-changer, I’m telling you.

Radish Still Life

In light of spring, I’ve created a light and bright recipe inspired by radishes and scallions, two of the first veggies to pop up for the season in the garden.

Sauteed together, the ingredients create a delicate balance of flavor that works so beautifully together.

A nuttiness from both the quinoa and crunchy toasted walnuts completes the dish, as does a hint of lemon.

Sauteed Radishes and Scallions with Quinoa

I invite you to tryout sauteed radishes in other forms, too. I love them scattered across a nice, crusty bread. Bonus points if that bread is made into avocado toast. They also work well on top of salads and many forms of grain bowls.

If you decide to give them a shot outside of this recipe, I’d love to hear what you come up with!

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Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I like muffins to be rather distinctive from cupcakes.

Not too sweet. Heartier than a light and fluffy cake. And filling enough to leave me satisfied after just one.

Although, hints of decadence (like chocolate chips) are a must, so that the yearning for an icing topped cupcake doesn’t follow.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
These Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins fit the bill perfectly for that description, packed with wholesome ingredients like oats, whole grain flour and bananas, while being balanced with a touch of sweetness lent by brown sugar, cinnamon and a dose of dark chocolate.

Eat them for breakfast, eat them at snack-time, eat them for dessert, eat them whenever — guilt-free.

Feel free to play around with this recipe, too, by adding nuts or raisins or even other spices. There’s no better time to play around in the kitchen than when it’s cold outside, and as I agonize over the blanketing of snow outside my window, I hope these will give you a little comfort like they’ve given me!

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