Thursday Things

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– Another successful cooking class at the Dream Center! This week we made my turkey chili verde, and it was a hit! I know I say this every week, but the sweet ladies that come to my cooking class fill my heart so much. We get to learn about Jesus, then cook delicious healthy foods. They make me look forward to every single Monday night.

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– I got to hang out with one of my favorite people at the game this weekend. It was rainy, cold and gross (note the wet cray hair), but Tech beat Kansas! Wooo!

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– I swoon over the tiny cute pumpkins every time I go to the grocery store. I’m pretty sure my house is going to be covered in them by the end of the month. Sorry not sorry.

– This soup party looks like so much fun. I need to do something like this!

10 things to do when you first wake up. This seems like a great way to start a morning.

– This is probably the cutest office I’ve ever seen! I seriously need some office décor inspiration right about now.

Goat cheese is officially going in my scrambled eggs until the end of time.

– This brussels sprouts pumpkin and apple hash is making all of my fall dreams come true.

Fitness is 5 minutes? Sign me up!

– This fall veg + lentil bowl with goji ginger tahini cream is just about the dreamiest thing I’ve seen all day.

– Turmeric in my oatmeal?! I have to try this!

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Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Ya’ll, I made you some brownies. Out of black beans. And they’re GOOD.

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Black bean brownies have kind of become a thing, so it’s not quite as weird as it used to be because people are finding out that they are actually really good. But if you’ve never seen this crazy recipe before, don’t give me the stink eye before you try them.

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The black beans are used in place of any kind of flour for this recipe, and somehow it totally works. They come out soft, sweet, moist, super chocolate-y, and insanely addicting. They are honestly some of the best brownies I’ve ever had. And it doesn’t hurt that they are loaded with some great nutrients like fiber and antioxidants. Secretly healthy desserts that only FEEL indulgent are my jam.

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

They are simple and come together pretty quickly because they only require a food processor (or blender). Just throw all of the ingredients into the processor, whirl until it becomes a nice chocolate-y batter, and spoon them into the mini muffin tin. You could always make them in a bigger pan and cut them into squares, but I think mini muffins are just the cutest. I couldn’t resist. I sprinkled some chopped peanuts on top just for fun, but you could use pecans, walnuts, or even something different like coconut. Oh, I’m totally doing that next time!

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

I feel like this is the only proper way to start out our week. So dunk these little guys in some almond milk and enjoy this Monday!

 

Flourless Black Bean Brownie Bites

Yield: Makes 24 mini brownie bites

Ingredients

  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I used dairy-free Enjoy Life)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • optional toppings : chopped peanuts (or whatever nut you want)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, to a food processor or blender and blend until it becomes a smooth batter.
  3. Remove the blade, add the chocolate chips, and stir in the chocolate.
  4. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray and spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling the tins up about 3/4 full.
  5. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the top and bake for 25-26 minutes.
  6. Let the brownies rest for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan, the brownies should easily pop right out of the pan.
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Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Ch-ch-ch-chia!

You guys know how much I love chia pudding, so of course I had to make a pumpkin version. Because, pumpkin everything. Duh.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

This super healthy pudding has all of the same elements of pumpkin pie, with way more health benefits. It’s creamy, cold, pumpkin-y, sweet and satisfying. Chia seeds have tons of fiber, so it will keep you full for hours. And not only fiber, but protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. These tiny little seeds are so packed with nutrition, and are definitely worth adding to your diet. They are so versatile, and can be added to so many recipes. Everything from a pudding like this one, smoothies, soups and gravies, seedy crackers, or even as a vegan egg substitute.

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I’ve eaten this pudding at several different times of the day. It’s great as a quick and filling breakfast, and if you make it ahead of time, you will wake up to a breakfast that is ready for you. And I don’t know about you, but I wake up starving in the mornings. I don’t have much patience for cooking a complicated meal after I wake up, I want food and I want it 20 minutes ago. Having some kind of chia pudding in the fridge always makes my mornings a little bit better.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

And what’s even better? A chia pudding that makes me feel like I’m eating pumpkin pie. Score.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • optional toppings: pecans, pumpkin pie spice, coconut whipped cream

Instructions

  1. You will make this in 2 separate mason jars, so divide all of the ingredients between the 2.
  2. Combine half of the chia seeds, pumpkin, milk, syrup, vanilla and pumpkin spice in one of the jars, then repeat with the rest of the ingredients in the second jar.
  3. Tightly close each jar and give them a good shake, until everything is well combined.
  4. Set them in the fridge for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
  5. The pudding is ready to eat when you take it out of the fridge. Top it with pecans, more pumpkin spice or whipped cream if desired.
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Butternut Squash Puree with Chipotle Chickpeas

Butternut squash is one of my all time favorite fall vegetables. It always hits the spot. I love how it is sort of sweet and savory at the same time.

Butternut Squash Puree with Chipotle Chickpeas

My original thought for this recipe was to just leave the squash in small pieces, roast it and combine it with the chickpeas with spices, sort of like a curry dish or thick stew. But, then for some reason I pulled an audible and decided to make it into a smooth puree and top it with the spicy chickpeas. It seemed kind of strange to me at first, but it works.

Butternut Squash Puree with Chipotle Chickpeas

The subtle sweetness and creaminess from the butternut goes really well with the spicy chipotle chickpeas. I love that it’s so creamy, warm, and SO fall-like! It will fill you up and satisfy any fall craving. Although butternut is normally my favorite, you could always get a little crazy and use another squash if you want. Acorn, kabocha,whatever floats your boat. Oh oh oh! I bet sweet potatoes would even be great!

Butternut Squash Puree with Chipotle Chickpeas

Make this, sit out in the crisp fall weather, and soak it all in. I think I’m going to need a giant spoon so that I can shovel this into my pie hole.

 

Butternut Squash Puree with Chipotle Chickpeas

Yield: Serves 2 generously

Ingredients

    Butternut Puree
  • 2-21/2 cups butternut squash (peeled, seeded and cubed)
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • Chipotle Chickpeas
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo + 1 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • pinch of black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay the squash on the baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20-25 minutes, until soft.
  2. Remove from oven and scrape all of the squash into the food processor, add the butter and milk. Pulse until it turns into a smooth puree. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Make the spicy chickpeas by preheating a saucepan over medium-high heat. Finely chop the chipotle pepper and add the chickpeas, chipotle, adobo sauce, garlic, stock and pepper to the saucepan. Cover and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, it will thicken up just a bit.
  4. To assemble, spread the puree onto a plate, and top with the chickpeas. Garnish with parsley if desired.
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Thursday Things

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– My cooking class at the Dream Center is going so well! We ended up moving it to Monday nights to try and draw a bigger crowd, and it was a hit. We made my coconut kale chickpea soup, and everyone really liked it! I love getting to interact and hang out with these sweet ladies, and to watch them learn about healthier food options is SO much fun for me.

This is pretty funny.

– Produce tips: cleaning, storing & using

– I haven’t made smashed potatoes in so long, these are making me want some asap!

Coconut flour carrot cake, get in my belly!

– I’m totally making these pumpkin spice muffins with cinnamon cream cheese glaze and bringing them to our tailgate this weekend.

10 Tips for eating healthy on a tight budget

– The videos that David & Louise make are so beautiful.

– The weather is playing games with me, and it’s quite irritating. We had a couple of really cool days, and then today we’re supposed to get up to 90. What?! No thank you. Oh well, at least it’s nice and cool in the morning so that I can eat my breakfast out on the patio.

– I STILL haven’t seen Gone Girl. I keep hearing that it will totally freak me out and want to come home and lock all of the doors and windows. I need to drag Kenny to take me to see it asap.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

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Grain-Free Biscuits

I think biscuits are the only proper way to start out this week. A cold front has come through Lubbock, and I think I need to make another batch of these to comfort me and warm me up a bit. Slather those babies with some grape jelly or honey, and I’m a happy lady.

Grain-Free Biscuits

Can you believe that this is the first time I’ve made biscuits since going gluten-free?! I haven’t had a biscuit in nearly two years, until I made these. I know, I’m shocked too. How on earth have I gone through life for two years without biscuits?!

Grain-Free Biscuits

When I decided that I wanted to come up with some type of traditional biscuit recipe, I knew that I wanted to make them free of not just gluten, but all grains. I apparently like to make things harder on myself. So I experimented with a couple of small test batches, and then came up with what we have here. These biscuits are soft, slightly chewy, a little bit dense yet still light and airy, and are basically like little rays of sunshine for your morning.

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I stuck with almond and coconut as my two main flours for the dough, which is something I do pretty often when it comes to my paleo baked goods. There haven’t been many times when I’ve gone wrong with this combination, they work really well together, and I always seem to like the texture that they give. This dough also comes together very quickly, so you really wouldn’t be taking much more time to make amazing homemade biscuits than you would with the canned kinds. And we all know homemade is way more delicious, and always healthier.

Grain-Free Biscuits

Grain-Free Biscuits

I made my biscuits on the thin side, but you can easily double the thickness just by doubling the height of the dough when you roll it out and cut the biscuits. That will result in similar texture, and will only add on a few minutes of cooking time in the oven.

Grain-Free Biscuits

Grain-Free Biscuits

Get crazy with your favorite toppings too. Depending on what kind of mood I’m in, I top my biscuits with anything from butter, honey, jelly, preserves, almond butter, or even a homemade GF gravy.

Oh man, I just made myself hungry again, I’m making a batch of these asap!

 

Grain-Free Biscuits

Yield: Makes 20 (1/2" thick) biscuits OR 10 (1" thick) biscuits

Ingredients

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your milk of choice)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, eggs and honey until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a wooden spoon to start mixing. Once the dough starts to come together, then you will have to use your hands to knead it a bit. Just roll it and press it a few times until it is one big ball of uniform dough.
  4. Set aside and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat mat. Once the dough has rested, it is time to roll it out.
  6. Lay out a piece of parchment paper and place the dough on top. Lay another piece of parchment on top of the dough and use a rolling pin to gently roll out the dough into an even layer, until it is about 1/2 inch thick. (If you want a thicker biscuit, roll it to a 1 inch thickness)
  7. Using a biscuit cutter or glass jar, gently cut into the dough forming the circles. Continue cutting the dough until you get through the whole sheet.
  8. Carefully, peel away the outer edges of the dough and set aside. Lay the biscuit circles onto the baking sheet.
  9. Take the scraps of dough and roll them into one big ball again. Do the same rolling process with the rest of the dough to finish cutting out all of the biscuits.
  10. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly golden on top. If you cut your biscuits to a 1 inch thickness, add about 3-5 minutes onto your baking time.
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Paprika Parsnip Fries

I feel like I’m cheating on my beloved sweet potato fries with these of the parsnip variety. But not to worry, sweet potato, I will never leave you.

Paprika Parsnip Fries

Sometimes I like to make fries out of other types of vegetables rather than just potatoes. Parsnips are in the carrot family, so you’re getting tons of good vitamins, fiber, and they even have some anti-inflammatory properties. Fries that are good for you, but still totally decadent? I’ll take it.

Paprika Parsnip Fries

Paprika Parsnip Fries

I spiced them up a bit with some paprika to give them a little kick, bake them,  and then dip them in this amazing pesto. Seriously, you won’t even miss your regular french fries.

 

Paprika Parsnip Fries

Yield: Serves 2-3

Ingredients

  • 4-5 parsnips
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • a batch of spinach parsley pesto (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and cut the ends off of your parsnips. Cut them into strips to make fries.
  3. Place them on a lined baking sheet and drizzle the oil over them.
  4. Season with the paprika, salt and pepper and toss to combine.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside.
  6. Serve with pesto of your favorite dipping sauce.
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Creamy Potato & Onion Soup

We’re going to pretend that it actually feels like Fall outside, and slurp up some creamy potato soup. Okay, you don’t have to slurp, I’ll go ahead and slurp enough for the both of us.

Creamy Potato & Onion Soup

This creamy potato and onion soup pretty much screams fall and makes me wish it was more like 60 degrees outside instead of the 80s that we’ve had these last few days. The only time it’s actually cool outside is in the early morning, so I guess I should eat potato soup for breakfast? Um, okay nevermind.

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This soup has so much great flavor, with so few ingredients. Just the way I like it. You have potatoes, a little vegetable stock, milk, garlic, spices, and then some fun toppings like bacon, mushrooms and green onions. Like I said, so. much. flavor.

How can you go wrong when you start with butter and end with bacon? Wow, that statement sounded so unhealthy. Let me explain. I used vegan butter because I’m sensitive to dairy, and only a little bit of high quality bacon for each serving. Sound a little better? I think so. If you use a really good, high quality bacon without a ton of fat, then a little goes a long way.

Creamy Potato & Onion Soup

I love creamy soups like this because they are filling but still pretty light at the same time. I used a pretty good amount of liquid, so it is not overly thick verging on mashed potatoes. You can get crazy with the toppings if bacon and mushrooms aren’t really your thing.

Creamy Potato & Onion Soup

I foresee so much more of this soup in my future during this year’s winter.

 

Creamy Potato & Onion Soup

Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes (or you could use yukon gold)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups non-dairy milk (or milk of choice)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • pinch of salt and black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter (I used Earth Balance vegan butter)
  • Toppings
  • 4-5 pieces of bacon (or turkey bacon)
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb mushrooms
  • red pepper flakes (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat a large stock pot over medium heat. Peel the potatoes and chop them into small pieces, trying to keep a pretty consistent size so they all cook evenly.
  2. Add the oil and butter to the pot and then add in the onion and garlic. Stirring occasionally, let the onions cook for about 2-3 minutes, until they start to get soft.
  3. When the onions start to get soft, add the chopped potatoes, vegetable stock and milk. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, turn the heat up to high, cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat back down to medium and let the potatoes simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. It could take more or less time depending on how big you chopped the potatoes.
  4. When you are able to easily stick a fork through the potato, it is done cooking. Turn the heat off and add the cumin and more salt and pepper if needed. Season to taste.
  5. Carefully transfer the cooked potatoes and all of the liquid to a blender. You may have to work in batches for this part. Blend until the soup is completely pureed and creamy. Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and set aside.
  6. Now prepare the toppings. Chop the bacon into small pieces and saute in a small pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the bacon is brown and crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
  7. Remove the stems and quarter the mushrooms, saute them in the same pan for 3-4 minutes, until they become brown, season with a bit of black pepper.
  8. To assemble the bowl, pour the soup into a bowl, top with a couple of tablespoons of bacon, mushrooms and green onions. You could also sprinkle a few red pepper flakes if you want to add a little kick.
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Thursday Things

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– Fall foods are in full swing in our house right now. I’ve been roasting tons of winter squashes, making pumpkin recipes and eating oatmeal that tastes like legit apple pie.

– Our Texas Tech Red Raiders are playing West Virginia this weekend, send some good vibes our way! Please and thank you Smile

How to live a more minimal life. I love this, I’ve been trying to transition into being more of a minimalist over the past year or so, and I love the feeling of decluttering and not keeping or buying things just because.

– I need this Maple Spiced Almond Milk in my life. With a hint of pumpkin? Heck yes.

Apps that make your everyday life easier. Some of these are actually kind of cool.

This salad screams fall and I’m totally making it this weekend.

– Tips for creating a grocery budget.

– Ways to eat clean even when you’re busy.

– These southern burrito bowls need to get in my belly, asap.

– The next time I’m in Austin, I have GOT to take my friend, Lindsay’s, functional fitness bootcamp. Do you think that will give me arms like hers? I’m hoping Winking smile

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Raw [Vegan] Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Y’all, this is my first pumpkin recipe of the season. For shame! Apparently I’m a bit behind because I’ve been seeing pumpkin everything since basically September 1st. But, better late than never, I guess.

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

I’m making up for it with these cute little pumpkin cheesecake bites. They are completely, vegan, and made of only whole food ingredients. I actually got the idea for this recipe from Dana over at Minimalist Baker. Isn’t she awesome?! If you haven’t seen her blog (which I’m sure everyone has), you have got to check it out. She is a genius, and when she made these ah-mazing looking peanut butter cup cheesecakes, I couldn’t stop drooling, so I knew that I had to recreate them in some way.

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And what better way than with pumpkin?! ‘Tis the season…

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

These seriously taste like little pumpkin pies. They are cold, creamy, sweet, pumpkin-y and SO simple to make. Heaven in your mouth, for realz.

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

The ingredients list for these little guys is not too long, and with only 2 layers, they are quick to put together. Just pulse the 2 crust ingredients, form in the muffin tin, blend the filling ingredients, pour, swirl some pumpkin, freeze. Voila. You have yourself some cheesecake. I even took Dana’s advice by used the little parchment strips, and it worked like a charm.

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Raw Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

You are really going to impress your friends with this one. I would take one of these over regular pumpkin pie any day. Hurry, go buy all the pumpkin so you can make these.

 

Raw [Vegan] Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites

Yield: Makes 12

Ingredients

    Crust
  • 1 cup medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • Cheesecake Layer
  • 1 1/2 cups cashews (soaked for 4-6 hours)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • Pumpkin Swirl
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1-2 tsp real maple syrup

Instructions

  1. If your dates are not soft and sticky, then soak them in hot water for about 15 minutes. Once softened, combine the dates and almonds in a food processor, and pulse until the mixture starts to come together and look a little bit like a dough. It should stick together when you press it with your fingers.
  2. Before you form the crusts, cut out little strips of parchment paper and place them in the bottom of the tins. This is optional, but it will make it easier to pop them out at the end.
  3. Form the crust by taking a heaping tbsp of the mixture and pressing it into the bottom of a muffin tin with your fingers.
  4. Next, make the cheesecake layer by adding the soaked cashews, lemon juice, coconut milk, oil and syrup into a blender and blend until smooth. You may have to scrape the sides a bit, just keep blending until creamy.
  5. Carefully pour the cashew mixture into the muffing tins until they are almost to the top.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup, then take about 1 tsp worth of the pumpkin and gently dollop it on top of the cheesecakes. Swirl with a knife or toothpick.
  7. Place them in the freezer for a couple of hours so they can harden. When you want to take them out of the muffin tins, just run a butter knife along the outside and then gently pull up on the parchment strips. You can eat them right out of the freezer, or keep them in the fridge for a softer consistency.
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