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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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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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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Nut crackers (vegan, gluten free)


nut-crackers

One of the biggest challenges to a high-fat low carb diet is not having the bread and crackers to snack on, use to dip, or round out a meal.  Sometimes veggie sticks and cabbage leaves just don’t cut it!  I love these crackers because they at fairly easy to make, full of good fats, filling, and last for a while in an air tight container (the ones in the photo are 2 weeks old).   I have been using them to make open faces sandwiches, appetizers with flavored cream cheeses and herbs,  croutons for salad and soup, and just plain as a quick snack when I get hungry.  If you want variety, you can add spices to the mix.

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Zucchini Noodles in Light Cream Sauce


zucchini-noodles-in-light-cream-sauceThanks to my vegetable spiralizer, this whole dish took less than 10 minutes! Spiralized zucchini is an awesome substitute for spaghetti. I like it in light sauces that don’t weigh down the zucchini. The best part of this dish is that it is so versatile.  I used basil to add flavor since it’s growing on my balcony, but mint, oregano, rosemary, etc would also taste great. You can also add chopped nuts (pine nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc) if you want more flavor and texture.

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Coconut Butter


coconut-butter

I feel silly even posting this recipe since it’s only one ingredient, but the end product is so amazing, it’s worth it just to have people try it!  I was very thankful to have my Vitamix for this recipe since it really works the motor.  I imagine it would work in a blender or food processor, but may just take longer or be grittier.  Also, I made it unflavored so it can be more versatile, but feel free to add vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon, sea salt, etc. to make whatever flavor you want.

Side note: I couldn’t bear the idea of cleaning out and wasting the coconut butter stuck to the sides of the blender container, so I made this Almond Milk right after the coconut butter in the same blender.  The residual coconut butter resulted in a slightly thicker and sweeter almond milk- delicious!

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Quinoa-Tofu Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


Stuffed Cabbage RollsMy Hungry Harvest box this week contained a gigantic, healthy head of cabbage. I couldn’t bear the idea of shredding it, so I decided to try making cabbage rolls. In my ongoing quest to avoid carbs, the giant cabbage leaves made a perfect wrapper for one of my favorite quinoa fillings.  The recipe below looks labor-intensive (and it it is!), but it’s also easily modifiable to make a quick weekday dinner.  I’d consider the recipe below more of a technique than a hard-and-fast recipe.  You can use your favorite tomato sauce instead of making the one below.  You can also stuff the cabbage rolls with leftovers!

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Fennel Vodka


Fennel vodka

A few weeks ago, I made this Apple, Fennel, Manchego Salad.  I used the fennel bulb in the salad, but was left with a whole cup of fronds.  I couldn’t bear the idea of throwing them away, so I thought I’d stick them in vodka and see what happens.  It’s delicious!  It has a light, fresh taste and the pale green is so summery- it’s perfect for this weather!  Today, I added a spoonful to sparkling water and it was really refreshing.  Next, I plan on playing with a fennel-cucumber drink… stay tuned!

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Grilled Squash Protein Bowl


Grilled squash and nutrela

I was traveling for work the last few weeks and totally in withdrawal from not being able to cook.  Luckily, my Hungry Harvest box this week had some awesome fresh ingredients like yellow squash, tomatoes, cilantro, and green bell peppers.  They looked so tender and colorful, that I wanted to use them as soon as possible.  To make the dish more balanced and filling, I added edamame and soya flour chunks (Nutrela).

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Kiwi Basil Sorbet


Kiwi SorbetIn this unbelievably hot weather, we were in the mood for something tart and refreshing.  Homemade sorbets are amazing because you can taste the freshness.  As a bonus, you can also control the sweetness (I often find store sorbet too sweet).   This kiwi basil sorbet really hit the spot in 90+ degree weather!   I left the seeds in for the crunch and because it looks pretty, but if you want a smooth sorbet, you can strain them out.

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Baked Savory Zucchini Cakes


Savory Zucchini CakesLast week’s Hungry Harvest box contained a ton of zucchini.  After using some to make a Veggie Lentil Loaf, I still had two zucchini left to use, so I made these cute savory zucchini cakes.  They are so simple to make, and the best part is that they freeze well so it makes the perfect after work snack!  Being a Marylander, I couldn’t resist using Old Bay to flavor them. You can also pan fry them, but I bake to keep things healthier.

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Pickled Watermelon Radish


Pickled Watermelon RadishMy Hungry Harvest produce box this week came with 1 pound of watermelon radishes. If you haven’t had them before, they are tons of fun. The outside looks so boring- usually white or pale green, but then you slice it open and see bright pink/red! I find the taste is mildly peppery and slightly sweet. I usually just slice them thinly and put a little salt, pepper, and sometimes even butter for a fun snack. This time though, I wanted to make the 1 pound last for a while, so I pickled it. This pickle is great on a cheese board, in sandwiches, mixed into salads, or even just to munch on. I used a spiraler to get thin slices, but you can also just cut them by hand into thin slices.

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Tahini, Thyme, and Cumin Roasted Carrots


Tahini CarrotsOne of the best things about getting fresh produce boxes is the surprise of finding what is inside and thinking of how to combine them in new ways.  My food box this week contained a ton of fresh thyme and a pound of rainbow carrots so I decided to make some savory roasted carrots to use in dishes throughout the week.

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Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Soup


Red pepper tomato soup

This is an easy soup that has lots of flavor and really lets the ingredients shine.  That being said, use good quality, fresh produce- it makes all the difference!  If you are short on time, you can roast the veggies ahead of time and blend it later.  The photo shows the soup topped with my attempt at a basil foam, but usually I just top it with basil ribbons.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice


Pumpkin Pie Spice

Why did I ever buy pumpkin pie spice when it is this easy to make?!?!  I ran out today as I was making some muffins.  After panicking for a minute, I realized that I had all the spices that go in to pumpkin pie spice at home.  So I played with mixing the spices in varying proportions (it was very scientific!).  The recipe below is what I settled on.  I listed everything in teaspoons so it is easy to scale up if you want to make a larger batch.

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Espresso Vinaigrette


Espresso DressingI made this dressing for my dad’s birthday a few days ago (you’ll be seeing a few more posts from that dinner soon).  I wanted to make something with coffee since he loves it.  Since this was my first time making this, I kept adding ingredients and changing quantities till I got a taste I liked- meaning I ended up with a lot of extra dressing- I’ve made a few different salads with it, and will post my favorite next: Pear Cocoa Nib Salad.  The dressing has just a hint of espresso, so it actually is more versatile than you’d imagine.  I normally use honey in dressing, but used sugar in this one because honey was interfering with the espresso taste.

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