Tag: gluten free

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 4Hey there friends!

Spring is HERE! And you know what that means, right?

Girl Scout Cookies!!!

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 6I have been looking forward to girl scout cookie season ever since I was a girl scout myself. My parents always went a little nuts and bought, I’m not joking, 21 boxes of cookies. Is that too many? That seems like too many, buuuut if I’m being real, it also doesn’t sound like enough. I mean, girl scout cookie season only comes once a year, so you really do need to stock up.

Vegan and Gluten-free SamoasThose girl scouts really have their business model nailed. A scarcity-based and time-sensitive sales strategy that causes a nation-wide frenzy. Sounds like Wall-mart during Black Friday. Could you imagine if those little Girl Scout pitched their tents outside of Wall-mart during Black Friday!? I shudder to think. That sounds more violent than a Donald Trump rally held on the Mexican border.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 1Wait. How did Donald Trump end up in a blog post about cookies??? Ugh, don’t even get me started. He is everywhere and I don’t want to add any more attention to that crazy oompa loompa, so let’s get back to talking about all things pleasant and cookie-related, shall we?

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 2Ahh, yes. I already feel better. Girls Scout cookies are such a nostalgic part of childhood and I absolutely love that you’re never too old to get excited about them.

Of course, since I am older now I am much more aware that eating a cookie from each box (ie: 5 cookies) may not count as a well-rounded meal. Though points for variety, right?

So I thought it would be fun, and necessary for my waistline to recreate my absolute favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Samoa with better-for-you ingredients. I couldn’t call these healthy per say, but they are ten times better than the real thing.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 3These are honestly my favorite cookies that I’ve ever made. They taste just like the original-so decadent, lots of different textures going on with the crumbly cookie, gooey caramel and slight snap of the chocolate coating. The cookie also contains a touch of salt which I LOVE with anything sweet or chocolaty.

There are four components to this recipe: the cookie, caramel, toasted coconut and chocolate coating, but I promise, all of them are super simple to prep and are totally worth it when you put them together.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 7

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 8 Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 9

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas

Makes 12 cookies

Almond Cookie

Based on Chocolate Covered Katie Tagalongs

1 cup almond flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

Set oven to 325 degrees. Combine first three dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla in a separate small bowl. Mix wet ingredients into dry and stir very well, breaking up any clumps.

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough onto baking sheet and pat into a circle. You should get 12 cookies out of the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes.

 

Coconut Caramel

1 can coconut milk

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredient is a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally for a total of 30-35 minutes, stirring more frequently towards the last 10 minutes.

Take off the heat and allow to cool.

 

Chocolate Drizzle

1/3 cup 60% dark chocolate chips

1 tsp coconut oil

Microwave chocolate chips and coconut oil for 15 second. Stir and repeat until completely smooth.

 

Toasted Coconut

1/4 cup shredded coconut

Place coconut in a small pan over med-high heat. Occasionally stir the coconut in the pan until it becomes toasty and golden brown, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to let it burn. Turn off heat and allow to cool.

Samoas

Take one cooled cookie and turn it over. Using a spoon or knife spread a thin layer of melted chocolate over the bottom of the cookie and place back on the baking sheet, chocolate-side up. Continue coating all of the cookies. Pop the baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Using a spoon, place a dollop of caramel on the other side of the cookie and spread almost to the edge. Repeat with all other cookies. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Using a spoon, drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies and allow the chocolate to set. Store cookies in a closed container.

Vegan and Gluten-free Samoas 10I deserve a badge for these.

 

Which girl scout cookies are your favorites?

I didn’t try Thin Mints until I was in my late teens. Somehow I was convinced I didn’t like chocolate and mint together. My only regret in life.

 

With so much love,

Sam

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream

Pumkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 3Can we acknowledge how ideallic/stunning/picturesque this Autumn has been so far??

Fall has always been my favorite season, but add to that mild temperatures, golden sunlight and crisp air and I’m about to go do cartwheels into crunchy leaf piles! Can it be November for 3 more months?? Like can we just all collectively agree to not acknowledge December, January and cold, depressing February and keep it November until March?

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 1It’s a good plan, isn’t it? You know what is also a good plan? These pancakes I made you. These over-the-top, fluffy, pumpkin-spicey, mapely beauties. They just scream Fall, don’t they?

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 2I’m so proud of them too. When I taste-tested the final dish I couldn’t wait to share them with you.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 4Guys, I’ve really been trying to post things for you, but every new recipe I’ve tried to make in the past few months has been a complete failure. Seriously! I really couldn’t make anything good. Is it possible to win at failing? If so, I definitely won.

I tried muffins that turned out heavy and dry, this pumpkin pancake recipe that I almost gave up on (thank god I didn’t!) and a pumpkin cobbler with pecan streusel that sounded great in my head, but I think I can confidently call it my worst baking fail ever.

It’s the one that clinched the win for sure.

The streusel was tasty though.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 5Thank goodness I kept going or these babies might never have been born.Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 6Need some pre-Thanksgiving fuel? Here you go! Healthy, festive and, and maple cream! Please make these. If only for the salted maple cream!

Salted Maple Cream 1I have major issues with maple syrup. I love the flavor, but I hate how it just disappears the minute you pour it on a pancake. It’s like the pancake is a sponge and you have to keep using more and more syrup just to taste it, and then you end up in a hyperglycemic sugar coma.

You know what I’m talking about, right?

My solution was to dip my pancakes into the syrup instead of pouring it on, but it’s still a race to get said bite from the fork to my mouth before the syrup sinks in.

salted Maple Cream 2Hello, maple cream!

You solved all of my pancake syrup-tasting  problems. You sit so nicely on top of pancakes and never disappoint me by disappearing. And, your flavor is so intense and your texture is so creamy I don’t think I’ll ever go back to plain syrupy maple again.

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 7Okay, here’s the deal. I don’t want to lead you all on because you’re my friends. You do need a candy thermometer to make the maple cream. You can’t make it it without one, so don’t even try, and you need some patience. And a little shoulder muscle will help too, but it’s soooo worth it! And there’s really only one ingredient necessary. I added a touch of vegetable oil to keep the maple syrup from boiling over on the stove, and I added salt because salt with sweet things makes them exponentially better.*

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream 8

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream

Makes 4-6

1 medium banana

2 tbsp ground flax

5 tbsp vanilla almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder

2 tbsp *coconut flour (optional)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

1 pinch salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup egg whites

In a medium size bowl, mix flax and milk. In a small bowl mash the banana with a fork. Add banana and all other ingredients in with the flax mixture.

Heat a non-stick pan to medium and coat with cooking spray. Pour in batter and flip when you see bubbles. Only flip once for really fluffy pancakes.

For extra fluffly pancakes: Mix all ingredients except egg whites. In a separate bowl (or in a stand mixer) whisk egg whites until they develop stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Add half of the whipped egg whites to the pancake mixture and stir. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix.

*Coconut flour sucks up moisture, so I added it because the pumpkin puree made the batter runny. If you don’t have coconut flour, add a few tablespoons of oat flour until the batter has the right consistency.

Salted Maple Cream

1 cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp salt

Pour the maple syrup, salt and oil in a saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer. Fill a large bowl with ice and a little bit of water. Heat the maple syrup over medium heat until boiling (the oil should keep it from boiling over, but watch carefully anyway!) and cook until it reaches 235 degrees F. Once at 235 degrees F, remove from the heat and place the saucepan on the ice bath. Let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. When the candy thermometer reads 100 degrees F, begin to stir the syrup with a wooden spoon until it’s creamy. This can take anywhere from 15-35 minutes. It requires patience and some muscle, but it is worth it! Stir until it’s light in color and the consistency of nut butter. Store in the fridge and use on everything!

I used this tutorial for the maple cream

Pumpkin Protein Pancakes with Salted Maple Cream   Salted Maple Cream*Maybe I should sprinkle salt on February.

 

What are your Thanksgiving day plans?…and more importantly, what are you eating!?

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 1Oh my god, guys! How is it already August!? I feel like for months I’ve been waiting for Summer and now it’s almost over. What??? How did that happen!?

I didn’t get to do half of the summery stuff I planned to do, like sitting outside on a restaurant terrace slurping oysters and washing them down with ice cold rose, making the 30 minute trek to Red Hook Lobster Pound, (there is no public transportation that goes there) for the best lobster roll in NYC…totally worth it, btw. All Spring I couldn’t wait to have picnics in the park and host get-togethers on our roof, all of which has been a big fat fail so far. :(

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 2

Why do all of my Summer plans include food?

And why do I act surprised?

What HAS happened is all the beautiful summery produce. The farmers markets here in NYC are overflowing with juicy, sun-ripened peaches, super red tomatoes and the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen!

I don’t think you can really tell from this picture, but trust me, it’s humongous!

What would you do with that giant vegetable? I mean, there are only so many zucchini noodles and stir-fry’s you can make.

Yes, muffins. My thoughts exactly.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 4Because isn’t dessert always the answer?

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 5

Or in this case, breakfast. Because there are veggies in here! My favorite kind of treats are ones that do double-duty 😀

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 6Who knew that zucchini and chocolate went so well together. I’d like to thank the person brave enough to first try this combo.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini MuffinsChocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Makes 12

1 cup oat flour

1/2 cup protein powder

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

2 small ripe bananas

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 egg whites or 2 flax eggs

1 cup shredded zucchini

1/3 cup greek yogurt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray inside of liners with nonstick cooking spray.

Put shredded zucchini in a clean dish towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a stand mixer add mashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and eggs and mix until smooth. Add in zucchini and yogurt and beat again until well combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix! Fold in chocolate chips.

Evenly divide batter into muffin cups. Alternatively you can reduce the size and bake 15 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 7 Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins 8There’s still some zucchini left over.

 

What are your favorite summertime activities? Have you done them all yet? If you haven’t, there’s still time!

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

Blueberry Lemon Bars

Blueberry Lemon Bars 3

 

Hi there!

How’s your week been so far? Mine has been buuuussy! It’s been one of those weeks where everything happens or has to get done at once and at some point you just have to laugh because the volume of work is ridiculous and you know next week isn’t going to be half as busy.

I won’t bore you with the details. I’ll just say that I was up at 4:30 this morning and got home from work at 9:30 tonight.

So these bars were necessary.

 

Blueberry Lemon BarsI decided to make these Blueberry Lemon Bars Sunday night after I finished my usual meal prep for the week. I’m so glad I did.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 9The chef was glad I did too 😀

I always consider it a win when I bake something that we both agree is delicious. He has a huge sweet tooth and he doesn’t care whether his treats are healthy or not, so when I bake something I feel good about and he chooses over an oreo, I’m happy.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 4Blueberries and lemon is one of my favorite flavor combinations. It’s just so summery. The lemon zest adds a pop of brightness to the juicy sweet blueberries and a touch of coconut sugar and vanilla just do magical things to these bars.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 5

Like make me feel okay about a 17 hour day.

 

Blueberry Lemon Bars 8Blueberry Lemon Bars

Vegan, Gluten-free

Makes 12 bars

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp oat flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1/2 heaping cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak the rinsed beans in water while prepping other ingredients. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with coconut oil.

Add all ingredients except blueberries to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Mix in blueberries and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and slice into 12 squares. Store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Blueberry Lemon Bars 7Yup, they’re that good.

 

What is your favorite summer fruit? Mine is a tie between blueberries and blackberries.

Any Memorial Day plans? Not gonna lie, mine might involve making another batch of these bars ;D

 

With so much love,

Sam

Chocolate Chip Coconut Breakfast Cookies

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 1Hey there friends,

Happy Friday, first beautiful week of Spring, belated Cinco de Mayo, whatever else you have to celebrate.

I have a lot to celebrate this week. This past Monday my good friend and former roommate got engaged! A bunch of us were part of the surprise and it was so exciting and perfect. She laughed, she cried, she hyperventilated.

They are one of the best couples I know and I am so happy for them!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 2Then there was Cinco de Mayo. Before last year I didn’t really celebrate this holiday except with an occasional margarita. But, last year on May 5th my sister gave birth to, no joke guys, a Mexican-American baby boy! My nephew’s birthday is my favorite thing in the world. You can’t make that stuff up.

His first birthday was full of drinkage for the adults :) Can you imagine his 21st birthday!? I kinda can’t wait.

Margarita’s for everybody!!!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 3Lots of celebrations call for lots of delicious treats, and what’s more treat-like than cookies for breakfast!?

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 4I ‘m so guilty of getting in a breakfast rut. I have no problem eating the same breakfast for two weeks straight. Lately, its been protein pancake cashew butter roll-ups with chia seeds and blueberries, and while I’m still not sick of them, I thought it would be fun to try out a new portable breakfast option.

The breakfast cookie was born!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 5I wanted these cookies to be healthy and something I could feel good about eating first thing in the morning. Does anyone else feel that what they eat in the morning sets up the rest of their food choices throughout the day?

So, healthy was a must and so was filling. I needed something to keep me going through my morning training sessions. I need to be focusing on my clients and not my stomach, so protein, healthy fats and fiber were also a must.

Lastly, they needed to taste great. A healthy cookie is worthless if it tastes like sawdust. These had to be chocolatey, moist and have some kind of texture. Coconut flakes and hemp seeds did the trick there.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 6These cookies are such a great breakfast option. Two keep me satisfied for a full four hours!

They also only took one recipe test to get right, they only take one bowl for easy cleanup, and the ingredients are nicely interchangeable. Don’t have hazelnuts? No biggie! Use walnuts, cashews or just more almonds. Play around with add-ins like dried fruit. Don’t worry if you don’t have hemp seeds or are allergic to coconut. Just leave them out.

Should I stop talking now and give you the recipe!?

OKAY!

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 7

Chocolate Chip Coconut Breakfast Cookies

Makes 12-15

1 cup almonds

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1/4 cup vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp ground flax

1 egg

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 tbsp hemp seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts onto a baking sheet and toast in oven for 8-10 minutes. Keep the oven on. In a food processor, blend nuts until completely smooth. Add protein powder, maple syrup, vanilla, flax, egg, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt to the processor and blend for about 2 minutes. Remove the blade and mix in chocolate chips, coconut and hemp seeds.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon onto a prepared baking sheet and flatten to desired thickness. These cookies will not spread in the oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.

Healthy Breakfast Cookies 8COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST!!!

Did you celebrate Cinco de Mayo on Tuesday? If so, how did you celebrate?

Would you ever eat cookies for breakfast? Or have you? 😉

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

The Ultimate Veggie Lasagna

Hey there friends,

Happy Spring! Happy allergy season :/

Man, my allergies are here with a vengeance! I’ve never had them this bad before. Usually I don’t like to take any pills. I’d rather sniffle through them for a few days, but last week when they hit I was like, “GIVE ME ALL THE PILLS!!!!” I think I scared my co-workers ;b

So, this also happened last week.

veggie lasagna 1O.M.G does that not look like the most delicious, decadent, perfect slice of lasagna ever!?

But, isn’t it the wrong season for something so heavy? It’s getting warmer out which means everyone is taking a look at their winter bodies and saying, “uh oh”! Less clothing means wanting to drop a few pounds which means lighter foods, so…

Eat this lasagna!

No, seriously.

Guys, this is the ultimate veggie lasagna. Yes, it’s full of veggies, but there is one genius thing that sets this lasagna above all veggie lasagnas.

There are no noodles in this lasagna! At least no carby, starchy noodles. You see those layers up there? That’s zucchini and huge trumpet royale mushrooms sliced and cooked and masquerading as noodles. When cooked, the thinly sliced mushrooms take on an al dente-like texture so you don’t miss any of the satisfying bite of real noodles.

‪veggie lasagnaYou can thank the chef for this recipe. It was a special at the restaurant last week and the minute I tasted it, I knew I had to share it all over the interweb.

Here ya go, interweb.

Ultimate Vegetable Lasagna

4 lbs zucchini (about 3 large), cut lengthwise into thin slices

4 lbs trumpet royale mushrooms, cut lengthwise into thin slices

1 32-ounce jar marinara sauce

2 15-ounce containers part-skim ricotta

2 large eggs

1 cup grated parmesan

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange zucchini in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

In a large pan, saute mushrooms until each side is golden brown and most of the moisture has been cooked out. Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together ricotta, eggs, parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Layer zucchini, cheese, mushrooms, then sauce again and repeat until baking dish is full. Top with mozzarella cheese.

Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

EAT!

 

How are you doing during allergy season? How do you get through it?

Do you like veggie lasagna? Even if you don’t, I bet you will like this one 😉

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies 5Hiiii,

You see that up there? That’s something special, let me tell you. That there is the answer to Mondays, bad haircuts, and armpits in your face on a crowded subway.

I realize I reference the subway quite a bit. A lot of weird stuff happens on the subway. And, I can’t be sure, but I feel like NYC subways are one of a kind.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip BlondiesJust this past week I witnessed a man on a moving train, between the cars, bang on the door and yell at us to let him in. The door was locked so we couldn’t and he just got angrier and angrier and kept banging. The train pulled into the station and, sure enough the man stomps into our car from the open doors. Fuming, he pushed past a woman, set up a folding chair in the middle of the car and pulled out a large drum from I-don’t-know-where. He announced that he was homeless and asked if we could find it in our hearts to help him. He said, “God bless” and proceeded to play an aggressively loud drumbeat for the duration of our trip.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies 1He was pretty pissed when no one opened their wallets for him.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies 3Anyway, I’m getting sooo off topic. THESE BLONDIES!

So freaking good! Moist and tender, they pretty much taste like peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough. I won’t even suspend the surprise because you already know they’re made with beans! Chickpeas this time, along with flax seed for omega 3’s, oat flour for fiber, and chocolate…

Because, antioxidants.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies 4Adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies

Vegan, Gluten-free

Makes 12 bars

1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tbsp ground flax seed

2 tbsp oat flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Soak the rinsed beans in water while prepping other ingredients. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with coconut oil.

Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Mix in chocolate chips and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes and slice into 12 squares.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies 2I’d take an armpit to the face for one of those.

 

Any scary or funny subway stories?

Brownies or blondies?

I can’t choose. I love them both 😀

 

Have a great rest of your week friends!

With so much love,

Sam

 

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies

 

 

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 7Oh hey there,

How has your week been so far?

Let me tell you about mine. It’s been snowy, and also rainy, and then slushy. I think this is brownie weather.

I know, I know, all weather is brownie weather, but in the first week of March, when you can just see the finish-line of winter and without warning you get dumped on with a mix of snow and freezing rain, brownies are seriously a necessity.

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 5If you like a light, cakey brownie, this is not the brownie for you. If, however you are a super fudgy chocolatey brownie lover who also happens to adore coffee then keep on reading, my friend!

Oh, yea and they’re healthy. Did I mention they are healthy??

Are you really surprised?

I think you know me by now 😉

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 8And because you know me so well then you know this is where I ask you to trust me…

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 4I’m putting beans in your brownies!

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 2Yay! Healthy black bean brownies that are vegan and gluten-free to boot. And delicious.

Seriously delicious.

If you made my Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet Cake then you know how delicious beans in your baked good can be. If you haven’t tried it yet then these brownies will surely make you a believer.

High-fiber, gluten-free, and vegan. And don’t forget the chocolate.

It counts as a super food.

No really.

Plus, don’t brownies taste even better when they are guilt-free?

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 1Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies

Makes 12 servings

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed

4 tbsp water

1 tbsp coffee

2 tbsp ground flax

3 T melted coconut oil

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with coconut oil. Soak the rinsed beans in water while prepping other ingredients.

In a small bowl stir together water, coffee and flax and let sit for 5 minutes.

Drain beans and add all ingredients except chocolate chips in a high-powered blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

Pour batter into the baking dish and top with chocolate chips. If desired use a spoon to swirl the chocolate chips down into the batter. Bake for 24-26 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes. Store in an airtight container for a few days or in the fridge for longer.

Healthy Mocha Black Bean Brownies 6Almost makes you wish for more slushy days.

Almost.

Not really.

 

Have you ever tried black bean brownies? Anything special you like to do on rainy days? I park myself on my couch with a cup of tea and a fuzzy blanket. Mmm, so cozy!

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

 

Lightened Up Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

 

cauliflower mac and cheese 6Hi friends,

I’m back this week with my second cauliflower recipe in a row. This veggie just keeps amazing me! Like a baby that learns for the first time where his toes are and it’s the most exciting thing to a new momma, I just can’t stop showing off how incredibly talented and smart cauliflower is.

The winter in NY is really kicking it into full gear. It started a bit late, but we are definitely feeling the cold now. The last week has been all about chili, soup and mac and cheese. Anything to keep warm.

I’m a firm believer in eating for the seasons, and that goes beyond just eating root veggies in the winter and tomatoes in the summer. Where I live and what the season is determines, more often then not, what I eat and how I cook. I prefer to eat cool, crisp, simple meals like salads, gazpacho and raw foods in the summer and warm, slow cooked meals with lots of spices and warming ingredients in the winter.

There’s nothing better than an avocado shrimp ceviche in a tropical climate like Costa Rica. As much as I love it, ceviche would feel totally out of place and not really as satisfying in February during a snow storm.

I am definitely not saying that you should retire the salads until the temperature climbs above 60 degrees, but swapping some of your fresh produce for cooked may help you feel more nourished and satisfied during the colder months. cauliflower mac and cheese 1Warming foods don’t have to be heavy foods either. Roasted vegetables, spaghetti squash instead of pasta, lean meats, broiled fish and broth-based soups are all delicious, warm and hearty options.

Spices such as cayenne, paprika, turmeric and cinnamon are also an easy way to lend warmth to your meals.

Drinking hot water with lemon and ginger is a fantastic start to your morning-it’s both comforting and detoxifying.

And when the cinnamon in your coffee or the turmeric in your scramble is just no match for the sub-zero temperatures and your crappy apartment thermostat, make this mac and cheese. Soul-warming comfort food all the way.cauliflower mac and cheese

I realize that I ask you to trust me a lot on this blog. Do you?

I hope you do, because this mac and cheese is baby-learning-to-crawl incredible.

cauliflowerIf you haven’t figured it out already from the ginormous clue in the picture above, there is cauliflower IN the sauce… (Here’s where we find out if you really do trust me.) Not only is it in the sauce, the cauliflower IS the sauce.

cauliflower pureeAre you still here?

Yay!

Can I tell you that I barely ever make mac and cheese. I’ll eat a few bites here and there at a restaurant, but all of the butter, flour, milk and cheese keeps me from ever making it myself at home.

That changes today!

I had the idea to use cauliflower to replace the bechamel and it worked even better then I thought it would! The result is a lightened up, but still creamy, cheesy, gooey indulgent mac and cheese that wont leave you feeling like you ate a brick.

This mac and cheese is also super customizable. I used gluten-free pasta, not because I follow a gf diet, but because I wanted to experiment for you guys in case any of you do. Surprise number two: gf pasta tastes like regular pasta! I was not expecting that. I’m really glad I tried it and found out. I’ll definitely be cooking with more gf pasta from now on.

I’m also planning more flavor combinations for this mac and cheese. I see a mushroom thyme and smoked gruyere in my very near future.

You can use any cheese you like and the recipe will be vegan if you use a nondairy cheese. I added a bit of bacon crumbled on top. Since I took away a lot of the fat, starch and calories by using cauliflower I figured there was a little wiggle room for bacon. Isn’t there always a little wiggle room for bacon?

Yes. Yes, I think so.

cauliflower mac and cheese 5

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower (4 loose cups, chopped)

12 oz elbow pasta

1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1/2 small onion or 1/4 large onion roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar (I used Cabot Super Sharp)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

salt and pepper

Optional Toppings

For a crunchy crust: 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

To make it extra delicious: 2 slices of bacon

To make it extra cheesy: 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (sprinkle before topping with panko)

For extra flavor: 2 tbsp parmesan cheese

For a kick of heat: as much red chili flakes as you want

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a tbsp of salt. Add cauliflower and cook for 8-10 minutes, just until fork tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a blender. Bring water back up to a boil and add pasta. Cook 1-2 minutes less than package instructs. (It will continue to cook in the oven later)

If adding bacon, cook in a 10 inch oven safe skillet until crispy. Drain off fat (but don’t wipe out pan) and blot bacon with a paper towel. Crumble and set aside. Add onions and garlic to pan with s+p and saute 5 minutes.

To blender, add onions, garlic, mustard, paprika, cheddar cheese and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth, season to taste with s+p.

Drain pasta and rinse with cool water. Add pasta to the skillet and mix in sauce until thoroughly combined. Top with desired toppings and bake for 20 minutes. Serve.

cauliflower mac and cheese 4cauliflower mac and cheese 3I heart you, cauliflower.

 

What is your favorite wintertime comfort food?

Are there any foods you sneak veggies into?

 

With so much love,

Sam

 

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

 

cauliflower buffalo bites 1 Guys!

The Super Bowl is this Sunday! Did it sneak up on you like it snuck up on me? Okay, confession time. I look forward to the Super Bowl every year. I enjoy watching the game and having friends over, but I’m not really all about the game. (I don’t even know who’s playing this year). I am, however, all about the snacks! Is anyone surprised? I had made these cauliflower buffalo bites in December on a whim and thought, “Omg, these would be perfect for the Super Bowl, but how do I keep them under wraps until then? February is soooo far away.” I don’t like keeping things from my friends :/

Aaand, *poof* it’s February. Ironically I was about to share a different recipe today that also features cauliflower as the main ingredient and now I’m going to have to keep that one under wraps. At least I only need to wait until next week to share that recipe. And guys and gals, it may be the best recipe I’ve ever come up with. I’m serious.

Cauliflower is having a huge moment right now and I’m totally buying into it. It’s just so crazy versatile. Cauliflower’s neutral flavor makes it a perfect substitute for creamy, starchy things. You can’t exactly hide broccoli in mashed potatoes the way you can cauliflower.

Did you know that cauliflower is in the same family as kale, broccoli and collards? Obviously, vegetables=healthy things, but I was curious just how healthy cauliflower is and, whoa!

In a one cup serving:

29 calories

5 g carbs, 2 g fiber and 2 g protein

77% vitamin C

High in antioxidants

Anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, cancer-preventing

These cute little florets pack a serious nutritional punch!

cauliflower buffalo bites

cauliflower buffalo bites 4So these buffalo bites. So addictingly crunchy and full of flavor. I’m not going to tell you to forgo the wings (let’s be realistic here), but starting with these bites is a sneaky way to get your veggies in, and after all the buffalo-flavored goodness and cool blue cheese yogurt sauce, you may just be so satisfied you only reach for 2 or 3 wings over the course of the game.

That’s my secret to not over-indulging. I eat the veggies and other healthy goodies first and then allow myself one or two of the indulgent stuff guilt-free. I’m usually full by then so I don’t want more than that.

Make these, set them out with the other Super Bowl snacks and then come back here and let me know how they went over. Pawn them off as your own idea. You’ll definitely get points for creativity.

Cauliflower buffalo bites 2

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

Makes 6-8 portions

Adapted from Craftsy.com

1 medium head of cauliflower

1 cup rice flour

1 cup corn flour

1/2 cup milk of choice (I used hemp)

1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2/3 cup buffalo style hot sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons melted butter

Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce:

1 cup plain full-fat Greek yogurt

3 tbsp crumbled blue cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon mustard

1 teaspoon chopped dill

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet  with parchment paper.

Wash and trim cauliflower into bite-size florets. Whisk the rice flour, corn flour, milk, water, paprika, salt, and pepper in a medium sized bowl until thoroughly combined. Coat each cauliflower floret with a thin layer of batter and evenly space on the baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, flipping half way through.

While baking, stir together the buffalo sauce and melted butter in a bowl. Remove cauliflower from the oven. Generously brush the top of each floret with the buffalo mixture. Place back in the oven for 15-17 minutes until golden and crunchy. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before digging in.

To make the blue cheese sauce:

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse until reaching your desired texture. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.

cauliflower buffalo bites 3Can someone tell me who is playing, please?
 
 
Are you all on the cauliflower bandwagon?
If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party, what kind of yummy snacks are you planning to serve?

 

With so much love,
Sam