Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies (Vegan, Gluten Free)

It's that time of year again. Back to school time. How did this happen? Isn't still July? In my head it is. Don't get me wrong I am as excited as the next person about apple crisp and butternut squash soup and pumpkin everything... just not yet. I'm not ready to let go of summer flavors. Let's savor them as long as we can, shall we? 

Before I left for Austin I raided my pantry to try and use up everything I could so that I would have less to pack or God-forbid throw away. I did quite a bit of experimenting and these cookies were one of my successes (along with some vegan double chocolate espresso cookies that will be posted as soon I can make another batch and photograph them). These cookies are soft and chewy and full of nutty, tropical flavor. And as always are made with only real, wholesome ingredients.

Coconut Macadamia Nut Cookies
Adapted from this recipe.
  • 1 Flax Egg (1 Tablespoon Ground Flaxseeds mixed in 3 Tablespoons warm water)
  • 3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 1 Vanilla Bean, Scraped or 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/4 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Dry Sugar (I used Coconut Sugar)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Macadamia Nuts
Makes 12 Cookies.
Start by making the flax egg in a small bowl and set aside. Next, in a medium bowl, combine almond meal, coconut, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts; set aside. Whisk flax egg, add coconut oil, whisk again, add vanilla and whisk again. Add wet mixture to dry and stir until just combined. Chill dough for 30 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and form 12 flat rounds with the dough. Place on parchment paper or Silpat. Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before consuming. Enjoy the last tastes of summer.

How do you feel about the fact that September is right around the corner?

Friday, August 23, 2013

[Road Trippin'] Colorado Springs to Austin

I made it to Austin!

Sam flew up to Colorado Springs on Sunday night so he could do the drive down with me on Monday. We finally arrived at our destination around 1am Monday night. Since then I've been busy starting my new job, getting used to riding a bike everywhere again (a single speed!), finding a place to live, keeping up with school work and getting to know my new city. I apologize it's been to quiet around here. I'll be back to blogging regularly next week. In the meantime, I'll share some pictures from the drive.

It was a really fun and beautiful drive. Texas is a huge state, especially to someone from Rhode Island. Sam bought a lollipop with a scorpion in it at a rest stop in New Mexico, he didn't eat it, which is a good thing 'cause that's kinda gross. We were both really excited to drive through New Mexico since neither one of us had been there. That's my 34th state! Only 16 more to go! 

On Tuesday Sam made us a late breakfast that was super delicious! Scrambled eggs with my Spicy Black Bean Burgers mixed in with Black Kale. SO GOOD! I think he also added extra garlic and hot peppers. This would make awesome breakfast burritos!

In other exciting news, I've bought a domain name so this blog is getting official. I can't wait to get the new site up and going, although it may be a little while. I'll also be starting a new feature that'll have lots of advice about gardening and sustainable living from Sam. So stay tuned!

What have you all been up to?

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Nutty Molasses Carrot Muffins (Vegan)

Hey all! Happy Monday!
I have a really delicious recipe to share with you today, but before I get to that I have some news I'd like to tell you about. And it's pretty major....

Guys, I'm moving to Austin!

One week from this very moment, I will be traveling southeast in a car headed toward my new hometown. And I cannot wait! If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you're probably thinking, "Didn't you just move?" The answer is yes, yes I did. These past five months in Colorado have been a great time in my life, but it's time to move onto a place where I see myself staying more permanently; somewhere I can actually feel settled. I'm hoping Austin can be that place. I'll let you know, but for now let's talk muffins!

I found the original recipe for these muffins on Pintrest and could not wait to try them. Let me tell you, they are scrumptious! They have a perfect muffin consistency with a strong molasses flavor, nutty texture and subtle hint of carrot. These muffins make a tasty, cozy breakfast or snack on a cool, rainy day like the ones we've been getting here in Colorado.

Nutty Molasses Carrot Muffins
Adapted from this recipe.
  • 2 Cups Spelt Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flax Seed (mixed into 6 Tablespoons Warm Water)
  • 1/3 Cup Unrefined Coconut Oil, Melted
  • 1/2 Cup Blackstrap Molasses
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Cup Shredded Carrot
  • 1 1/4 Cup Chopped Pecans (or Walnuts)
Makes 12 muffins.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners or grease with coconut oil.
Combine flax seeds and warm water in a large bowl and set aside. Combine spelt flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and 1 cup of the pecans in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk the "flax eggs" until it begins to look more gelatinous, add the coconut oil and whisk again until combined. Mix in the vanilla, molasses, almond milk, apple cider vinegar and carrots. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined; do not over mix.
Spoon the muffin batter into the muffins tin, filling each section approximately 2/3 of the of the way. Sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts on top of the batter. Place muffin tin into the oven to cook for 30 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly from one of the muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin. And as always, enjoy!

Have you ever been to or live in Austin?
What are some awesome things I should do once I move there?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Simple Summer Squash Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Summer appetites are strange things. 
One minute you're craving a light, crunchy salad, the next a cold, creamy ice cream cone, then something charred and savory from the grill and before you know it you'll want to bite into a giant slice of fresh watermelon with the juice running down your arms. It's a funny time of the year for food. In the winter, I just want something warm and comforting. In the summer, my taste buds change with the wind. 
Maybe I just think about this stuff too much.

This salad was the result of trying to use up what I had in my fridge and pantry, but it tasted so good I just had to share it. Plus I had warned you all the other day about the amount of squash recipes that would be bombarding the site and I have yet to make good on that promise. 

I think the reason I enjoyed this salad so much is that it hit almost all my summer food cravings in one dish. You obviously get the crunchy salad from the the romaine, the juicy sweetness from the red peppers and the savory charred flavor from the sauteed garlic, veggies, and chickpeas. I guess I'd just need to finish it all off with a bowl of ice cream to make it complete. 

This salad is super easy to make, is done in minutes and is made using ingredients you probably already have on hand. Plus, it's a light enough meal for a hot summer night, but keeps you full due to all the fiber and protein.

Simple Summer Squash Salad
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Yellow Summer Squash, chopped
  • 1 Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1 Can Chickpeas, drained
  • 4 Cups Chopped Romaine
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Thyme
  • 1/2-1 Cup Green Onion, chopped
Makes 4 salads. 
Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the garlic and allow to cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally. Toss in the squash and red pepper, turn up the heat to medium-high. Cook the vegetables for about 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Be careful not to overcook them, you want them to still have a bit of a crunch. Turn the heat back down to medium, add salt, pepper, thyme and chickpeas. While the chickpeas are warming, arrange the romaine on plates (approximately 1 cup per plate). After about 5 minutes, turn off the stove and divide the chickpeas and veggies among the plates of romaine lettuce. Garnish with green onion. Serve with a smile and enjoy. This salad is particularly delicious when enjoyed with friends outside during sunset.  

Do you have specific cravings during different times of the year?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Tropical Green Tea Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Some days you need a little extra help in the morning. Those days are usually Mondays. You're unmotivated to go back to work after a fun weekend and the alarm always seems to go off a little earlier. On days like that I like to trade in my usual almond or coconut milk based smoothie for a green tea based smoothie. It gives me that little bit of a caffeine boost I need to get my day started.

For this smoothie I used Yerba Mate instead of a traditional green tea. I like using Mate because you get the initial jolt of energy you would if you were drinking coffee or espresso, but without the jitters or the crash later. It's a gentler pick-me-up, that's also gentler on your intestines. To save time in the morning and for a smoother tasting smoothie, brew the tea the night before and place it in the fridge to cool. Or if you plan on drinking one of these smoothies everyday, just make up a pitcher at the beginning of the week.

In this smoothie I used papaya, pineapple and banana for the fruit which are all great to have after a weekend of probably not eating like we should and drinking a little more than usual. Papaya is full of water and fiber to help flush your system, pineapple had lots of  vitamins and minerals and sweetens up the grassy tasting Yerba Mate, and bananas are full of potassium which helps regulate the water and pH balance in our bodies. Feel free to use frozen of fresh fruit. Always try to buy organic, especially papaya which is one of the top genetically modified foods. For a bit more of a nutritional boost I added a couple handfuls of spinach which also helps give this smoothie it's oh-so delicious looking swamp green color (Sam tells me the more a smoothie looks like something scooped out of a swamp the better, not sure I agree, but this smoothie does taste great!).

Tropical Green Tea Smoothie
  • 1 Banana
  • 1/2 Cup Papaya chunks
  • 1/2 Cup Pineapple Chunks
  • 1/2 Cup Yerba Mate (or your favorite green tea)
  • 2 Handfuls of Spinach
Makes 1 Smoothie.
Throw all the ingredients into a blender and blend away until smooth. Depending on the strength of your blender, you may need to add a little more liquid, feel free to add more tea, water or your favorite non-dairy milk. Pour the smoothie into a pretty glass, sit back, relax and enjoy. You deserve it, it's Monday.

Have you ever tried tea in your smoothies?