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White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

One of my favorite fellow Philly food blogger friends, Emily, recently made a big move to New York.

I’ve been missing dinner dates with her ever since.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

After numerous failed attempts to plan a “Skype cooking session” together, the chance finally presented itself for me to head up and see Emily’s new place and get back into the kitchen with her.

We immediately got to scheming up dinner plans — soup for the first snowy night of the year!  — and Emily kickstarted the blender to create some homemade almond milk for the next morning’s breakfast.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

As two food bloggers, of course we also set out to create a new recipe for y’all, and this Italian-inspired white bean dish over quinoa is what we settled upon.

The salty combination of olives and sun-dried tomatoes is one I could eat on the regular, and for me, acts as the centerpiece of this meal.
White Beans with Kale, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Olives

A generous helping of kale gets added to the mix as does a splash of acidity from some lemon and a punch of garlic, all together working to take white beans to the next level.

We loved this meal because it’s so full of flavor (shout out to the toasted pine nuts, too!) but also incredibly healthy — a welcoming addition to a holiday season full of richness and decadent treats.

We used quinoa as the base for this dish, but feel free to play around and get creative with the grain!

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Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

Fall has arrived and so too has butternut squash, both in my mom’s garden and at my local farmer’s market.

I’ve been loading up on the creamy orange treat and roasting it by the masses in my oven.

Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

With a full tupperware container of leftover butternut, I decided to pull out my spatula and basque in one of my favorite cool-weather activities — baking.

Muffins became the mission and pumpkin spice the theme.

Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

In honesty, I’m definitely not one of those PS-obsessed gals, and in fact, I actually kind of despite the trend. From cereal to yogurt to bagels to popcorn, the amount of pumpkin spice flavored foods is getting out of control. Pumpkin pie spice english muffins…really?!

Although in muffins…that’s a different story. The spice combination worked quite well with this recipe, and left the whole kitchen smelling like autumn upon baking. Love.

Also, fun fact: I learned last year, most canned pumpkin is made up primarily of squash. So, no need to blink twice when you see this recipe swapping pumpkin puree for mashed butternut.

Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

In my mission, I also set out to use amaranth flour, which I’ve had idling in my cabinet for some time now. It’s a gluten-free, high-protein flour, which makes it great for adding a boost of nutrition.

I haven’t been able to find many recipes that utilize it, so if you have a favorite way of cooking/baking with the flour yourself, please do share!

Pumpkin Spice Amaranth Muffins

I find these muffins best served slightly warm with a smear of almond butter and a drizzle of honey. Add a glass of almond milk on the side, and you’re in for a true seasonal treat, perfect as a cozy snack or senses-awakening breakfast.

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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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