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Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies (GF)

Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies
Fun fact: Amaranth was banished after the Spanish conquest of the Americas. The Spanish forbid its cultivation in hopes of helping to eliminate the Aztec tradition of human sacrifice. (Amaranth was often made into a ceremonial mixture that would be eaten at such occasions.)

It fell out of use for hundreds of years, and only now in recent times is amaranth getting any attention from westerners. Even today, its appreciation from home cooks seems to be small.

Yet, it’s doubtful this natural superfood staple of the Mayans and Aztecs will hang under the radar for long.

Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies

Like quinoa, amaranth is a complete protein, packing in nearly 10 grams of the muscle-building nutrient per cup (30% more than rice) along with a notable amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Meanwhile, in contrast to quinoa, since this gluten-free grain hasn’t yet fully been rediscovered, you can still score a bulk bin bag of the nutty seed at a price that won’t set you back.

Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies

After a recent trip to Mexico, where I found amaranth showing up both on menus in the form of breakfast porridge and as a nutty topping to various salads, I began to start experimenting with it myself in my own kitchen.

I love it as an alternative to oatmeal, cooked up with almond milk and raisins, and swirled with cinnamon, maple syrup and nuts. Just recently, I discovered it in its flour form.

After receiving a bag of amaranth flour from Bob’s Red Mill, I got to work — and to daydreaming — in thinking up ways to use it. With Easter approaching, I settled on doing some sort of baked treat, which led me in creating this recipe.

Inspired by spring, these Amaranth Flour Carrot Cake Cookies are spice-forward and a perfect pairing to a tall glass of almond milk. I recommend serving them with a smear of almond butter on the side, too, or even peanut butter if you have either on hand. For an extra special treat, sandwich a scoop of coconut ice cream between two cookies.

Did I mention they’re vegan and gluten-free, too? And not all that unhealthy, too…

Continue Reading…

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!

Continue Reading…

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I was recently asked to review two of Urban Outfitter’s cookbooks, both centered around clean and wholesome eating. First up,?Power Snacks, chock full of 50 pages of healthy snacks abundant in energy-boosting nutrients.

Broken down into several categories, the cookbook offers up classic “On the Go” snacks like Squash & Pumpkin Seed Muffins, “High Energy” bites like rainbow chard roll-ups, “Sweet Indulgences” including Chocolate Avocado Pudding, and more. Yummmmm-y!

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Full of color, I was instantly drawn to the Rainbow Nori Roll recipe, featured in the “Take to Work” section of the book. Laying out all of its ingredient on the table, it was hard not to be excited about all of the beauty going into this particular power snack. I mean, just look at that vibrant photo above. Pure awesomeness.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

I love snacks that are able to pack in a bunch of vegetables. So often, when we need a mid-afternoon refueling, we reach for something sweet, and often that means something that’s not too entirely healthy. With options like this – that feel entirely like a treat, but a savory one at that – it’s easy to keep snack-time the healthy pick-me-up that it’s meant to be. In other words, this recipe is far from the nap-inducing snack that too often steals away our second half of the day.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Another pro, these nori rolls really pack in the flavor, especially for an all-vegan sushi option. The sauteed asparagus and ginger give them an extra boost, and the beets really add something here, too.

That being said, if you have avocado on-hand, definitely add it. You can rarely go wrong with avocado in vegetarian sushi.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Likewise, there’s tons of room to play around with other ingredients in this recipe. You could add baked tofu for a little extra protein, or cucumbers, or other veggies of your choice. You could play with the grain, for instance, like I did, and try swapping the risotto rice for brown rice. I used a short grain brown rice, cooked it with a little extra water (1 cup rice to 2 1/2 cups water) and for a little extra time until it achieved the sushi-ready stickiness that it needed.

You could add wasabi to the roll or to the dipping sauce. You could add herbs. Or mango. Or whatever your heart may desire.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

Keep in mind, this isn’t a whip-up-in-5-minutes kind of snack. While the veggie prep is simple, there are a lot of ingredients to chop here, and the assemblage is a process, particularly if you’re new to sushi-making. That being said, sushi is easier to roll than you might think, so don’t let intimidation get in your way.

To save time, buy beets (unseasoned) that are already cooked. You can usually find them in cans in the veggie/bean section of the grocery store. You could also make the rice the night before, or prep some of the ingredients ahead of time.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

While these are best eaten the day-of, they’ll definitely last if you make them a day-in-advance. In fact, I’ll be enjoying some leftovers for lunch today.

Prep them on a Sunday and when the Monday stomach rumbles roll around, you’ll have a beautifully fresh snack waiting for you full of that extra zest you need to get the week going.

Rainbow Nori Rolls

 

You can check out the cookbook for other fun snack ideas. And stay tuned for a preview of Urban Outfitter’s other book,?The Clean Eating Kitchen, in the days to follow! Continue Reading…

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

If you’re not on the socca train yet, you should grab a ticket this week and get on it. It’s so easy to make, and incredibly tasty in many, many forms.

I’d say socca is akin to pizza crust – only full or protein and nourishment and a little more flavor. Really, you can add any toppings of your desire, including the classic tomato, basil, mozzarella trio that makes a good slice of ‘za. You can get fancy, like in this roasted carrot rendition. Or you can keep it fairly simple like this breakfast version below. And unlike pizza crust, it takes just a handful of minutes to whip up, no rolling pin needed.

Note – if you’re going to grab a ticket for the breakfast route, go for the savory option vs. taking a ride down a sweet socca road. I’ve tried to turn socca batter into blueberry pancakes, and it’s the first time socca’s failed me. Although, I must say, I haven’t totally given up on it in a sweeter form just yet. Future experiments are certainly to be had, and if you find a creation that works, by all means, please share!

Breakfast Socca with Eggs and Greens

As far as savory goes, this is a combination that works. Eggs, greens, and the last of summer’s tomatoes get piled onto a warm, nutty socca canvas. You could add a sprinkle of Parm on top, but it doesn’t even need it. If you’re seeking for more, serve it with a side of sweet potato hash, and a steaming cup of coffee. Magic. Continue Reading…

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

My dad set out earlier this year to sow a bunch of seeds that he thought would turn into beautiful butternuts. Instead, what he got was a bunch of green, bowling-ball-sized squash that looked like cantaloupe inside.

As he was describing these to me over the phone, I immediately thought (and wished, and prayed) that they must be kabocha squash.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

“Kabocha?” he said. My dad, the garden-guru, the man who puts on his farm boots daily and holds a hoe as if it were his full-time job, was stumped. He quickly found out that kabocha can combat a butternut, easily, and perhaps even come out on top.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Sweet, creamy, orange…it’s everything you could want in a squash. And this “Japanese pumpkin” is all the rage these days in the culinary world. Perhaps that’s why I befriended it before my soil-drenched daddy-o.

Fall Indian Coconut Curry

Anyway, I stole away with a bunch from my dad’s harvest, and it turned into the inspiration for this autumn curry. Lately I’ve been doing a ton of Thai curries, so I decided to take this one in an Indian direction with some quality curry powder, and finished with a spritz of lime and fresh cilantro. Serve it over brown rice, and if you’re feeling fancy, add some warn naan on the side. Continue Reading…

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