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Snack

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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Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

Breakfast Sweet Potato Boats

I eat a lot of oatmeal. A lot.

Recently, however, I’ve been striving to switch things up. I’ve been experimenting with other grains, but also with sweet potatoes, my new favorite for adding a little variety to the breakfast table.

Trust me, sweet potatoes needn’t be just for dinner. They’re a real treat when complimented by other sweet flavors (cue bananas & maple syrup) and accented with nuttiness (cue peanut butter & toasted almonds).

Plus, a sweet potato’s natural creaminess isn’t far off from a traditional breakfast porridge, and you can really top it off with many of the same ingredients you might use with oats or other sweet (vs. savory) breakfast bowls.

Beyond the add-ins mentioned above, I utilized cinnamon and coconut flakes, two natural pairings to sweet potatoes. But really the options are endless. You could try pineapple and coconut milk, almond butter and raisins, tahini and cinnamon apples, etc. etc.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Continue Reading…

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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Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

We’ve been sweating through a major heat wave here in Philadelphia, and with 97-degree temps set for well into next week, it doesn’t look like the ice cream weather is stopping anytime soon.

That’s alright with me. As just mentioned, it’s perfect ice cream weather. Or should I say, Nice Cream weather.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

I’ve been watching the “Nice Cream” trend spread over the past few weeks, keeping it on my to-make list for some time now. I love ice cream. I love niceness. I knew I’d probably love nice cream, too.

A no-added-sugar, vegan, cool summer treat? Count me in.

And so, on a temps-nearing-90-before-8AM morning, I set off in the kitchen to make my own version.

Vegan No-Churn Chocolate Coconut Banana Ice Cream

 

What was awesome about this ice cream is that it came together with a quick 2-minute assembly and a spin in the blender. From there, all the work was left up to the freezer. No ice cream machine needed, no fancy ingredients. Nor too many ingredients that’ll weigh you down on a hot day.

Dates and bananas add the sweetness. This did provide a noticeable, but not overbearing banana taste. If you’re opposed to that, you can play around with cutting down on the banana and maybe even adding additional dates.

It gets its creaminess from coconut milk, also lending an element of richness you want in an ice cream, dairy-free or not.

Enjoy after three hours in the freezer for a soft-serve-like consistency. If you leave it in there much longer, then you’ll want to sit it out for a few minutes before serving and dip your ice cream scooper in hot water. And be sure to finish it with whatever crunchy, salty and fresh toppings your heart desires!

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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…