Spinach Mushroom Tacos


Spinach Mushroom Taco

Spinach and mushrooms is one of those combinations that tastes good in almost anything.  My Hungry Harvest box contained reclaimed mushroom bits (stems, slices, broken pieces), which I’m so happy about- why waste good vegetables!?  After chopping them up and cooking them, you’d never know they weren’t perfect-looking mushrooms.  =)  I was on a taco spree, so I made these into tacos last week.  But, if you are an enchilada person, this filling also makes awesome enchiladas!

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Roasted Acorn Squash – Kale Tacos


Acorn Squash Kale Tacos

These tacos were also the result of a huge bunch of kale that came in my Hungry Harvest box.  I usually just saute kale with spices (Kale with Ancho Pepper), but I was trying to do something a little different this time.  So, I built on the sauteed kale recipe by adding acorn squash (sweet and creamy) and pumpkin seeds (spicy and crunchy), and then putting all of it in a taco.  I really like how it came out!  I had some extra filling left over, so I ate it plain and it was so good!

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Roasted Acorn Squash


Roasted Acorn Squash

Roasting acorn squash is a simple, basic preparation that really brings out the flavors in the squash.  As a bonus, acorn squash isn’t nearly as hard to cut as butternut squash or pumpkin.  Once you roast it, you can stuff it (Stuffed Acorn Squash), use it other dishes like salads, soups (Acorn Squash Soup), and pasta, or just eat it plain.  I used mine to make Roasted Acorn Squash – Kale tacos.

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Blackened Broccoli Tacos


Blackened Broccoli Taco.jpg

My Hungry Harvest box last week came with all kinds of goodies- including 4 heads of broccoli!  So, I decided to have taco week for the first time with a variety of different fillings.  The Blackened Broccoli was definitely the favorite!  It’s amazing how much flavor you can pack into a few small bites- savory and char from the broccoli, tangy and creamy from the avocado spread, complemented with the freshness of the cojita cheese… enjoy!

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Blackened Broccoli


Blackened Broccoli

I made these in preparation for Blackened Broccoli Tacos, but it’s such an easy process that I think I will make it much more and toss it in salads and wraps. Blackening the broccoli totally changes the taste of the broccoli into a savory, flavorful snack- it’s incredibly satisfying.  I’m guilty of snacking on a whole handful while prepping the rest of the taco fillings…. next time I’ll make a double batch!

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Savory Low Carb Crepe


Low Carb Crepe

Sometimes, on a low-carb diet, I really crave carbs for brunch… and I haven’t had the most success with making low-carb breads that don’t have a weird texture (but I’m working on it!).  However, this recipe was perfect for brunch this weekend.  This savory crepe makes a great vehicle for fillings.  Pictured are plain crepes with a little butter on top.  Sometimes, I spread a little creamed spinach or mint chutney inside for variety.  For lunch today, I used the same batter below, and sprinkled a little cheese on top after it was done cooking, but before folding it up.  It’s a versatile recipe, so you can tweak the seasonings to suit your taste.

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Miso Spread for Roasted Veggies and Tofu


Miso Spread
There’s something about the combination of miso and sesame that is incredibly satisfying.  A few weeks ago, I made a big batch of this miso spread and was using it on top of all kinds of things.  My favorites were tofu, eggplant, and mushrooms (pictured is tofu slabs and baby eggplant halves).  The spread stays good in the fridge for weeks, and only adds a few minutes to the cooking time, making it a great way to add variety to meals.  It’s not the most attractive spread, but the flavor it packs is amazing!

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Spicy Green Beans


Spicy Green Beans

I got green beans in my Hungry Harvest box this week.  Last time I got them, I made Coconut Green Beans.  But it was flurrying outside this weekend, and I was in the mood for something spicy to warm me up.  The recipe below took me less than 10 minutes to make, and was really satisfying as a side dish for my miso-glazed tofu (post coming soon!)

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Eggplant Caponata


Caponata

This is a multi-purpose, make-ahead staple that’s perfect year-round since it can be served hot or cold!  I make large batches of caponata because it can be used so many different ways.  I’ve tried numerous recipes over the years, and the one below contains elements from the different recipes that make it my favorite. Pictured are wanton shells filled with chilled caponata and topped with herbed goat cheese.  Other ideas for cold/room temperature dishes: spread on top of crostini (sprinkle crumbled feta on top), as a sandwich spread, in a wrap, and as a dip.  Ideas for hot dishes: use it as a chunky pasta sauce (topped with Parmesan of course!), place a spoonful on top of small squares of puff pastry and then bake,  serve hot over quinoa/cous cous.  In fall, when tomatoes are not very good, I replace them with butternut squash and it’s amazing!

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Radish Soup


Radish Soup

My friend gave me a pound of radishes to play with- a whole pound!  One of my favorite ways to eat radishes is sliced with butter and salt.  But, in this cold weather, I really crave something hot.  This soup is my take on sliced radishes with butter and salt for winter days.  In the picture above, I topped the soup with everything bagel seasoning, radish matchsticks, and scallion greens.

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Italian Seasoning


Italian Seasoning

Over the years I’ve tried many, many, many Italian seasonings and each one was different.  After I finished the last one in my pantry, I decided that if all these companies could make up their own Italian Seasoning blend, why shouldn’t I?!  Most of the blends included basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary.  Some blends also included parsley, cilantro, marjoram, sage, garlic, and black pepper.  Different spices and different quantities of the spices led to totally different flavor profiles.  I played around with the spices and settled on the blend below.  I intentionally left out the garlic and black pepper because I like to add fresh garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.   I also opted for parsley instead of cilantro since I associate cilantro with Indian and Mexican food and parsley with Italian and French.

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Winter Dark Chocolate Collection


2017 Winter Choc Box

Happy Winter! There’s something so indulgent and satisfying about chocolate. So, instead of cookie boxes, I decided to make chocolate boxes this year for friends and family.  Pictured above (from left to right):
* Marzipan Stuffed Figs (no link for this one yet)
* Peanut Butter Buckeyes
* Bourbon Truffle Squares
* Candy Cane Truffles
* Butterscotch Pretzel Crunch

Butterscotch Pretzel Crunch


Butterscotch Caramel Crunch 1

Sweet, salty, nutty, crunchy, chewy… a constellation of different flavors and textures packed into one tiny bite makes these treats incredibly addictive!  The savory pecan and pretzel provides a nice balance for the sweet chocolate and butterscotch.  Honestly, the hardest part is finding the mini pretzels and chocolate covered butterscotch (see picture below for what I use).  If you can’t find the chocolate covered butterscotch, you can use chocolate covered caramels.

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Candy Cane Oreo Truffles


Candy Cane Truffle

I made 100 of these minty, chocolaty truffles last year for a holiday party, and they disappeared in minutes!  They aren’t true truffles since the inside is more like a moist cake than a silky ganache, making it have an unexpected texture inside.  For the relatively few ingredients and simplicity, they make a great festive treat! If you are running short on time, roll it in cocoa powder instead of giving it a dark chocolate coating.  However, if you do a dark chocolate coating, you can decorate them!  Some decoration ideas are: crushed candy cane, edible glitter, a pinch of the cookie crumbs, chocolate drizzle, mint leaves, etc.

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Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Pots


Chocolate Pot

I LOVE this dessert- it is so rich and velvety and indulgent.   These chocolate pots are a staple because they only require 5 ingredients, which I usually have at home.  As an added bonus, it’s easy to adapt the chocolate pots to suit the season or occasion (see variations below the recipe).  The most important thing is to make sure you use really good chocolate.  Since the recipe is so few ingredients, the chocolate really stands out.  The recipe I have below is for two servings (making more is dangerous for me!), but just scale up the recipe if you need more.

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Cherry Ice Cream (eggless)


Cherry Ice Cream

It’s surprisingly hard to find cherry ice cream without eggs, colors, stabilizers, and artificial flavors in the grocery store.  I like the recipe below because you still get a pretty pink color, but you aren’t adding any artificial things to the ice cream.  If you are lucky enough to get cherries in a light syrup, you can use that to replace the cherry juice and sugar (I use Trader Joe’s Morello cherries in light syrup).

Variation:  In Step 5, when you add the cherries, also add toasted almond slivers and grated dark chocolate.

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Sparkling Candied Cranberries


Sparkling Cranberries

These cranberries are sweet, tart, crunchy, and unbelievably addictive- a perfect autumn snack!  In addition to just snacking on them, I think they pair really well with cheese boards.  They are also a fun alternative to cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving spread.  You have to plan a bit in advance since the cranberries sit in simple syrup overnight, but the actual cooking time is short.

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Garlicy Roasted Mushrooms


Garlic Roasted Mushrooms

One of the few things from Costco that I don’t need help going through is their 1.5 lb box of cremini mushrooms.  Roasting the mushrooms seems to concentrate the flavors and make them extra satisfying.  I like this recipe because its easy and uses ingredients I usually have in the house.  A pound and a half of mushrooms sounds like a lot, but they seem to disappear quickly!  There are so many ways to use these garlicy roasted mushrooms (e.g., as a side dish, with mashed potatoes, chopped up in wraps or a pasta dish, tossed in omelettes, plain, etc.)

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Pineapple-Ginger-Thyme Shrub


Pineapple Ginger Shrub

This is my year for playing with shrubs (fruity vinegar concentrate that can be mixed with water / sparkling water / alcohol to make a super refreshing drink).  I love this shrub since it uses something you normally throw away- pineapple core!  You can also use the pineapple chunks if you don’t have the core.  There is a difference if you use pineapple chunks vs pineapple core- the chunks yield a more pronounced pineapple flavors, whereas the core yields a more pronounced ginger flavor with a hint of pineapple.  I like the sweet, spicy, herby combo either way, which tastes even more fun when you dilute it with sparkling water.

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Garlic Spread


Garlic Sauce

Velvety and versatile.  I’m totally addicted to this spread- it’s so simple and adds an interesting dimension to dishes when you use it.  Although the ingredients look basic, the end result it truly greater than the sum of the parts, with no one flavor standing out.  Trader Joe’s sells a similar spread, but they use canola oil, so I wanted to make a healthier version.  I used avocado oil since I’ve been trying to incorporate more of it in my diet, but you could use any neutral tasting oil.  Note:  This spread does not heat well since it is mostly oil.

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Strawberry-Pepper Shrub


Strawberry Shrub

If you haven’t had a shrub before, it’s basically a fruity vinegar concentrate that can be mixed with water / sparkling water / alcohol to make a super refreshing drink.  I have also used this strawberry shrub to make a light vinaigrette dressing for a strawberry-baby spinach-candied pecan salad.  I’m sure there is a proper way of making it, but I like the method below because it is easy. You can let it sit longer or shorter in the fridge prior to straining depending on how strong you want the flavors to be. I wait until the strawberries look washed out and have lost some of their color.

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Baked Sriracha Lime Tofu


sriracha-baked-tofuI tried Trader Joe’s Baked Sriracha Tofu a few weeks ago and loved it!  It’s so versatile and totally changes the flavor of salads, sandwiches, stir fry, etc.  Some days, I just end up snacking on it straight.  However, I found myself adding a little more spice and sesame oil to the dishes I used it in… so why not make my own version at home?!  The recipe below has become a staple in my fridge since it’s so easy to prepare in a big batch and use throughout the week.  As an aside, I use the marinade left over from this recipe to make a stir fry sauce by dissolving 1/2 tsp of cornstarch in it and then cooking it on medium heat until it thickens and doesn’t have the whitish color from uncooked cornstarch.

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Chocolate Hazelnut Spread


choc-hazelnut-butter

As a kid, Nutella used to be one of my favorite spreads- on toast, on crackers, on cookies, in a spoon…  But I’m far more conscious about ingredients and nutrition now, and the fact that Nutella is so loaded with sugar and palm oil somehow makes it less appetizing.   On my quest to find a healthier chocolate hazelnut spread to satisfy my Nutella craving, the options seem to fall short.  “Sugar-free” appears synonymous with “sugar substitute added” (and I don’t like the aftertastes).  Raw and organic options were gritty instead of creamy.  Some options had too many extraneous ingredients…  Eventually, I figured I should just try making it at home to suit my preferences.  Four ingredients and 3 batches later… I settled on a recipe that I love!

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Marinated Hearts of Palm


hearts-of-palm

I know you can buy marinated hearts of palm in a jar, ready to eat, but I just don’t like the flavor as much as marinating them myself at home (sans preservatives!).  The recipe below takes about 5 minutes, and is totally worth the effort.  I make the marinade so that I can use it as a salad dressing.  A quick lunch idea is to chop up romaine, add a handful of nuts or pumpkin seeds and these marinated hearts of palm (without draining them).

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Keto Pumpkin Cheesecake


 

keto-pumpkin-cheesecake

This has been my breakfast for the last week- and I’ve loved every bite! It’s perfect for the season, and all the spices and flavors totally make up for not adding sugar.  I really dislike the idea of using synthetic sugar substitutes, and I don’t enjoy the aftertaste of the ones I tried. That’s why I am always trying to come up with sweet recipes that don’t require sugar at all.  The flavors and textures in this cheesecake, combined with the natural sweetness from the pumpkin and dairy, make this satisfying enough that I don’t miss the sugar.  If want to add sugar, I’d go with a little maple syrup or brown sugar.

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Pumpkin “Hummus”


pumpkin-hummus

It’s pumpkin season!!!  This is a quick, easy recipe for pumpkin “hummus.”  I’m calling this hummus even though there are no chickpeas because the texture resembles hummus. The milder bean allows the pumpkin and spices to shine. I may be partial, but I think the Indian flavors complement pumpkin well to make a warm, autumny dip/spread.  I served the pumpkin hummus at party this weekend with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Soup Crackers. It seemed to vanish, so I’m not fussing with the recipe any more! =)  You can make this a day or two ahead of time, and it will actually be better since the extra time will allow the flavors to meld better.

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Chocolate Avocado “Mousse”


avocado-chocolate-mousse

I’ve been really craving a chocolate dessert lately.  I was walking around town, and none of the restaurants had chocolate desserts that were sugar-free (including no sugar substitutes) and gluten-free.  So… I decided to play around with making one at home.   Based on what was in my pantry, I came up with this super-easy “mousse.”  I poured the mousse into these Hazelnut Coconut crusts.  The final product is a rich, decadent, thick filling in a thin, nutty crust.  As you can see in the photo, it sliced beautifully.  I added a small amount of vanilla whipped cream before serving to lighten it up.  As a result, one small slice was so incredibly satisfying =)

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Hazelnut Coconut Pie Crust


nut-coconut-crust

This is a quick and simple crust that I use as the base for tarts/pies.  I love the texture because you can press it thin, and when it’s finished,  it still holds together, but is crumbly and easy to cut with you fork/spoon.  It’s also neutral (no sugar, pinch of salt), so it can be used for both sweet and savory tarts.  You can also add flavors to the crust if you want (cocoa powder, Italian seasoning, etc.).  The recipe below makes a thin crust for 2 4-inch tart tins or a medium thick crust for 1 6-inch tart tin.  You can scale up as needed for bigger tarts.

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