Tag Archives: healthy

balila hummus.

Remember my obsession with my neighborhood Lebanese restaurant? Seriously, I miss it already, and I haven’t even left yet. But one of the things I can take home with me is my newfound love of Lebanese food.

Along with the moussaka, this is our favorite tapas dish to order there. Whenever we order it, the owner always asks, “Do you know what this is? Because often people order it and are surprised when they get it.” Of course, at this point, we know what we’re getting. And it’s great.

It’s not your typical smooth, creamy hummus. Consider it hummus, deconstructed, and served warm. So basically, it’s a hot dip of mashed chickpeas, cumin, and toasted pine nuts. Sounds basic, but trust me, it’s awesome. We like to have potluck parties here, and my homemade version of this dip has become a staple. Serve it with warm pita and/or veggies, and you’ve got a hit on your hands.

Balila Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, undrained
  • 1 tbsp plus 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • juice of half a large lemon (or one small)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until shimmery.
  2. Add garlic, and cook for about 10 seconds, stirring, before adding the cumin. Cook just until the garlic starts to brown (be careful not to burn it!), and add the chickpeas with liquid in the can. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, spray a small skillet with a bit of cooking oil. Add the pine nuts in a single layer, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until just browned. Remove immediately and put in a small bowl to the side.
  5. Once the liquid in the sauce pan has reduced a fair amount, add the parsley and the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and give a quick stir. Cook on low, covered, for just 1 minute more, and remove from heat.
  6. Using a fork, mash most of the chickpeas. You want to keep it chunky, so don’t go overboard, and leave some of the chickpeas completely whole. Put in a serving bowl, and stir in some of the pine nuts, sprinkling the rest on top.
  7. Serve with warm pita and fresh vegetables.

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Snacks and Hors D'Ouevres

bircher muesli.

When I was in Switzerland a few weeks ago, this was served at one of the restaurants where we ate breakfast one morning. It’s a national specialty there, and the best part about it is that it is infinitely adaptable.

It also makes a great transitional breakfast for the seasons. Hearty and filling, it’s best served cold, which is great as the days get just a little bit warmer and warmer. Consider it spring’s answer to oatmeal.

Bircher muesli is traditionally made with yogurt or cream, so in order to veganize the most traditional, original recipe, I subbed coconut cream. It was the perfect decision! The hint of coconut mixed with lemon, apple, and cinnamon makes an unexpectedly wonderful flavor combo. Since I first made this recipe a few weeks ago, it has become my go-to breakfast…. until I’m back home with my blender, that is.

Be sure to think ahead- you’ll have to assemble this the night before. But it means an extra 10 minutes sleep the next morning!

Bircher Muesli

Serves: 1-2

Ingredients

  • 2 heaping tbsp coconut cream (scooped from the top of a can of coconut milk)
  • 1/4 cup raw oats
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk (or more as needed)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • (agave or other sweetener to taste)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl or container, mix the coconut cream, lemon juice, raisins, cinnamon, and almond milk until combined. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
  2. The next morning, grate the apple (with the skin still on) over the bowl so it captures any juice as well. Stir in the walnuts and sweetener of choice to taste. Depending on desired consistency, add more almond milk as needed.
  3. Serve.

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Filed under Breakfast, Eat, Gluten Free

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

The other day, I was running an errand for work and picked up a spinach and feta wrap for one of my bosses. It smelled so unbelievably delicious that I vowed to myself right then and there to somehow create a version of those flavors for myself. So I got to researching, looking to use nuts as a base for the cheese rather than tofu. A few tweaks here and there and one roasted spaghetti squash later, success!

The feta is a little labor intensive, more so than nut-based cheese sauces I’ve made in the past (macaroni and alfredo) because feta is supposed to be crumbly, not smooth and creamy. Because of this, it had to be pressed and drained in order to work. It’s definitely worth the effort, because the texture is almost spot on and the flavor is packed.

Tossed with spaghetti squash (or pasta!), fresh spinach and mushrooms, and the result is a healthy and hearty take on an old favorite.

Vegan Feta and Spinach Pasta

Ingredients

  • +For the Feta+:
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, soaked in water for 2-3 hours
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp marjoram
  • 2 tsp miso paste
  • juice of one half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • +For the Pasta:+
  • Spaghetti Squash or Pasta of choice, cooked
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. +For the Feta:+
  2. After soaking the walnut pieces, add them (with the water they soaked in) and the rest of the feta ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  3. Lay out two layers of cheesecloth on top of each other, and scoop out the cheese from the blender, placing it all onto the middle of the layered patches of cloth. Bring all the edges together and tie tightly with a piece of twine.
  4. Gently squeeze so any excess liquid drains immediately. Then place in a small strainer over a jar or bowl (I used a tea strainer over a mason jar and it worked wonderfully) and let sit in the fridge overnight, so that any additional liquid will drain as well.
  5. When ready to use, simply remove the cheesecloth and put into a small container to use as needed.
  6. +For the Pasta:+
  7. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil onto a pan. Add the garlic and cook on low until the garlic begins to cook, stirring. Add the mushrooms, and cook until soft.
  8. Add the spinach leaves and tomatoes, and cook, stirring, just until the spinach is wilted. You may need to add a little bit of water or vegetable broth to ensure that nothing burns and the spinach steams well- just use sparingly. Remove from heat.
  9. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta or squash with salt, pepper, and cooked vegetables. Crumble some of your new feta over it at your discretion- I recommend being liberal!
  10. Toss all together once more and garnish with some black pepper and more crumbled feta before serving.

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Filed under Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes and Entrees

Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

We’ve got a squash on squash situation.

I have here one of those serendipitous recipes that just seemed like a simple idea to put together but exceeded all expectations. I was quickly reminded that cinnamon as a savory spice is unexpectedly fantastic. And guess what? Pumpkin puree makes a great marinade. Cinnamon and fresh herbs make a great air freshener. And as the chill in the air becomes more pronounced, this recipe is a great excuse to crank up the oven and celebrate the harvest.

P.S. This is already on my Thanksgiving menu.

Pumpkin Baked Acorn Squash with Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp miso
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • handful each of fresh sage leaves and fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup white mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced
  • pepper

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, broth, miso, garlic, soy sauce, cinnamon, and fresh herbs until combined.
  2. Chop the mushrooms, carrots, and acorn squash and put them in a large bowl. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the vegetables and toss, so everything is evenly coated. Transfer the entire mixture to a baking pan, laying out as evenly as possible, sprinkle with pepper, and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, checking periodically and stirring the mixture. Remove and serve.

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Main Dishes and Entrees

My Favorite Fall Recipes

It’s a chilly afternoon- even a little blustery. It’s also the first day I noticed some leaves changing color. The first official day may have actually been a few days ago, but as far as I’m concerned, today is my first day of fall.

I love inventing and trying new recipes; so much so that I often forget some good ones I’ve made in the past. This slideshow may be for my benefit as much as yours. So let’s all reminisce and get re-inspired together, shall we?

And of course, there are plenty of other great recipes for fall- and all seasons- here.

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Filed under Eat

Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Pumpkin and Earl Grey go great together. Who knew?

I whipped these up on a day that I was feeling the need to make something elegant. They’re so perfect for the season: gently spiced, but with a comforting pumpkin kick. And perfectly complimentary to a steaming mug of tea. Thick socks, blanket, and a good book are all recommended.

Pumpkin Earl Grey Tea Cakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp ground flax in 6 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Soak the ground flax in the water in a small bowl for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the almond milk with the pumpkin puree, sugar, vanilla, and the emptied tea bags.
  3. Whisk together gently, and then add in the soaked flax, and then the remaining ingredients. Whisk gently until completely combined. Distribute evenly in a lightly greased but unlined muffin tin (the tins shouldn’t be filled to the brim, but halfway or less).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.

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Filed under Eat

Kimchi Taco Salad

New Yorkers take their food trucks very seriously.

In a city of convenience (and awesome food), what’s better than gourmet on the go?

One of the favorites of the food truck world is the Kimchi Taco Truck. It’s beloved by omnis and veggies alike- it’s just so freaking good. I looove kimchi, so it was a no-brainer for me.

And it inspired this salad!

Obviously kimchi is great on its own, but the Korean BBQ Sauce just sets it over the edge. Combine it with some all-natural ingredients, and you’ve got a fresh, zesty, delicious meal.

Kimchi Taco Salad

For the salad:

tortilla strips, toasted

romaine lettuce

1/3 avocado, sliced

kimchi*

* Not all kimchi is vegan- it’s often made with fish. If you are vegan, make sure you check before you buy!

Korean BBQ Dressing:

¼ onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp miso paste

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp tahini

1 inch chunk fresh ginger, minced

½ tsp red pepper flakes

pinch of guar gum

2 tbsp brown sugar OR 2 tbsp agave OR ½ tsp stevia

1/4 tsp black pepper

Assemble the salad as you wish and pour the dressing over before you serve. Enjoy!

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Filed under Appetizers and Sides, Eat, Gluten Free, Salads

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

Who knew that nutritional yeast could be made sweet?

I went into this thinking, “Okay, this is either going to be really disgusting or absolutely amazing.” Luckily, it was the latter. And the best part? Okay, the second best part? It adds so much of a protein punch, which is often elusive for us vegans. I’ve been dabbling with some protein powders, but it’s hard to find something really unprocessed, so nutritional yeast is a great solution. This smoothie packs more than 10 grams of delicious, creamy protein. Drink up… it’s a great recharge after your morning workout.

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie

5 medium strawberries, cored

1 cup almond milk

1/5 package light firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp vanilla extract

stevia to taste

ice (optional) or pinch of guar gum, xantham gum, or 2 tsp of flax for a thicker smoothie (and more protein!)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

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Filed under Beverages, Breakfast, Eat, Shakes and Smoothies

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!

Are you spreading the love today? How about starting with breakfast? Spread it with some delicious homemade jam and cream. There’s a reason they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And in my opinion, that’s not exclusive to men. Just sayin’.

As I said before, I hope your day is a tad saucier than mine. I have a paper due tomorrow. SCORE. Seriously, professor, WHERE IS THE LOVE?

Well, I guess there’s nothing like cutesy heart food to cheer me up. And I hope it makes you smile as well.

Strawberries and Cream French Toast

¼ package silken lite tofu

¾ cup almond milk

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

pinch of stevia

2 slices whole wheat bread

walnut cream

strawberry jam

Blend tofu, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and stevia in blender until smooth. Pour into a bowl and dip the slices of bread in the mixture until coated and soaked. Heat skillet over medium heat and spray with a bit of cooking oil. Place slices on skillet and cook evenly on each side, until bread is crispier and no longer soggy. Remove from skillet. Swirl walnut cream and strawberry jam onto one of the slices. If desired, cut out heart shape in the other slice and place on top, or just place on top whole. Serve and enjoy!

Spread a little love today. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

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Filed under Breakfast, Eat, Gluten Free, Holidays

Red Velvet HippieCakes

So, a litttttllee change of plans… I know I promised a DIY this weekend as usual, but madness with packing, gathering items, etc. for my move this week has proved more time consuming than I thought. I do have some KILLER crafts for my apartment though that will hopefully be done for next weekend, so expect some fabulousness then.

In the meantime, rather than not posting of all I of course could not leave you hanging. So without further ado, here is one my favorite HippieCakes recipes that I have ever created to date! I was looking back at my earlier HippieCakes recipes and could not believe how long it’s been! Happy, healthy baking :)

Red Velvet HippieCakes

1 cup oat flour

2 heaping tbsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp ground flax in 3 tbsp water

4 medium beets (cooked)

1/2 cup almond milk or more as needed

1 tsp vanilla

1 tbsp stevia (or to taste) or agave to taste

1/4 tsp vinegar

pinch of salt

Combine oat flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour into blender or food processor and add flax egg, beets, almond milk, vanilla, stevia or agave, and vinegar. Blend until smooth. At this point, taste a bit of the batter to make sure that the sweetness is to your taste. If the batter is especially thick, add milk until it reaches a slow-moving but pourable consistency (like a thick smoothie). Pour into greased muffin tins and cook at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until firm to touch and slightly browned around edges. Let cool in tin before removing.

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Filed under Breakfast, Eat, Gluten Free, Hippie Cakes, Sweets