Spring Ahead Blondies

 

With last Monday being the first official day of spring, I wanted to create a fun recipe to welcome the new season! The forecast shows that temperatures are set to rise in DC and I couldn’t be more thrilled! After a colder than average March, I’m looking forward to spending more time outdoors and to pack up my winter clothes for good! 

I recently started working with Barney Butter (an almond butter company based out of California) and have found myself swimming in almond butter (a very happy problem!) As a result, I’ve been thinking up creative ways to use the almond butter and thought it would be fun to develop a recipe for grain-free blondies! While the batter is both vegan and gluten-free, the M&Ms do contain dairy, so if you want to make this recipe vegan, I’d recommend using dairy-free chocolate chips and maybe adding some sprinkles for a springy pop of color!

While the ingredients in this recipe are all relatively healthy, these blondies are not low cal. As someone who loves food (of all kinds) I find that it’s important not to just eat food that is low in calories, but to allow myself to eat what my body wants. Ironically enough, when I allow myself to eat what I want (like a blondie after dinner) I find myself being perfectly content with a much smaller portion! 

I hope that you enjoy these blondies as much as I do! Happy Spring! 

 
 

Spring Ahead Blondies 

Time: 30 Minutes
Makes 12 blondies

Ingredients
1 cup almond butter ( I used Barney Butter!) 
1/2 cup coconut sugar or other sugar
1 flax egg (3 tbs water, 1 tbs ground flax) or 1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup M&Ms or dairy-free chocolate chips 

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl except for the M&Ms and mix well. Once the batter is combined, fold in the chocolate and mix well.
3. Using a spatula, spread the batter evenly across the bottom of a greased 8x8 inch pan. 
4. Bake for 25 minutes.
5. Once the blondies are cooked, remove from oven and add a few extra M&M’s on top for decoration. Allow to cool completely before cutting to ensure blondes remain intact. 

*Store in an airtight container or freezer

Nutritional Facts (per one blondie)
210 calories, 14g fat, 18g carbs, 3g fiber, 13g sugar, 4g protein 

Thank you to Barney Butter for donating product for this post! 

Hearty Irish Soda Bread

 

I’m not entirely sure why, but last week I got an immense craving for Irish soda bread. Growing up I always remember my mom buying soda bread around this time of year to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. From an early age I fell in love with the slightly sweet taste of soda bread mixed with it’s dense hearty texture. 

Since it’s been so freezing here on the East Coast over the last week, I decided to whip up a batch of soda bread last night. Despite the instructional YouTube video I watched telling me a perfect soda bread is as rare as a four leaf clover, I was amazed when my soda bread came out near perfect!

Unlike the soda bread that you find in many grocery stores and bakeries, this particular recipe from FoodWishes does not contain shortening. In fact, the bread is actually relatively healthy when you consider it’s mere 2 tablespoons of sugar and butter per loaf.

Though this is not my recipe, I got a lot of requests for the recipe after posting my baking adventure on my InstaStory and decided to post the adapted recipe with my substitutions! In addition, an instructional video from FoodWishes can be found here to aid you should you be curious to try this recipe!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

 
 

Irish Soda Bread

Makes 2 loaves 

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Recipe adapted from FoodWishes

Ingredients
3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
3 tablespoons honey or agave
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 large organic, cage-free egg
2 teaspoons orange zest (optional) 
1 cup dried fruit (I used raisins, dates, dried cranberries)

Directions

* I highly recommend that you watch FoodWishes instructional YouTube video to guide you through this recipe! I found the video super helpful as I made my bread! 

1. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Once the ingredients are blended add in the cold butter. Using a whisk, crush up the cold butter until it blends perfectly with the dry ingredients and there are no more clumps of butter.

2. In a separate bowl, combine the honey, buttermilk, egg and orange zest with a whisk. Once these ingredients are blended add them to the dry mix. Toss in the dried fruit into the batter and mix well.

3. Line your surface with flour and remove dough from the bowl. Massage the dough, allowing it to form into a ball, using flour on your hands to avoid the dough from sticking. Using a large serrated knife, cut the dough in half to create two loaves and shape each into a ball. 

4. Place the two loafs on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. As the oven preheats, use a large serrated knife to make a cross over the top of the bread, allowing it to rise before it enters the oven. 

5. Once the oven is preheated, place the loaves in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Once the bread is cooked, remove from heat and place onto a cooling rack until the breads are at room temperature and ready to cut.

** Nutritional information will depend on the size and thickness of your slice. To calculate the nutritional information, you can plug in the recipe here

Avocado Eggs Benedict

 

Last week I went on spring break with my boyfriend and parents to visit my brother and his wife in Northern California. We spent half the week in Carmel and half the week in San Francisco. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying new foods. I am always interested to try dishes inspired by local culture and ingredients. At our hotel in San Francisco we were lucky enough to have complimentary breakfast each morning. They had an extensive breakfast menu of all of the dreamiest breakfast foods a girl could think up, including various iterations of my breakfast favorite: poached eggs. 

After returning from vacation, I woke up no longer satisfied from my daily breakfast bowl, I craved something more: poached eggs on toast. Instead of going for a traditional eggs benedict,  I decided to get creative with the ingredients I had at home. I whipped up an avocado sauce with avocado, lemon juice, salt and pepper for my glorious poached eggs and moved on to creating the rest of my masterpiece.

4 eggs and 5 youtube videos later, I finally successfully poached my first egg.

If you’ve never poached an egg, don’t be scared, but do expect to fail your first time. It’s definitely not as easy as it looks, but here are a few tips I gathered from watching far too many YouTube videos on the subject: 

  1. Use fresh eggs (I like to use organic, cage-free!) Obtain the freshest eggs from the grocery store by going to the back of the shelf. 
     
  2. Use room temperature eggs only - place the eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so until they reach room temperature.
     
  3. Bring your water to a boil and then simmer on low heat.
     
  4. Stir the water in a circular motion to create inertia (hey physics) before dropping the egg into the water.
     
  5. Crack the egg into a smaller bowl and transfer into the pot of hot water. 
     
  6. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes or so. If you’re really going for that yolkporn, place your egg in a bowl of ice water to stop the egg from cooking once removed from heat. 
     
  7. To remove the egg from the water use a slotted spoon, it makes life easy and keeps the egg intact. 

So those are my tips, however I highly encourage (basically I insist) that you watch some YouTube videos before trying this recipe by searching “How To Cook a Poached Egg” on YouTube. 

 
 

Avocado Eggs Benedict 

Time: 10 minutes
Makes 1 Serving 

Ingredients
1/4 avocado, pitted and peeled
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon filtered water
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of toast
2 organic, cage-free eggs

Directions
1. Submerge your eggs in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 5 minutes to bring them to room temperature. 

2. Place the peeled and pitted avocado quarter into a small food processor or blender, alternatively you can do the same in a small bowl as long as you mash hard enough. Add the lemon juice, water, salt and pepper and mix to combine until a light sauce forms.

3. Poach your eggs by following the instructions on YouTube (I found this video the most helpful)

4. Once the eggs are poached, remove from heat and place on a slice of toast. Pour the avocado Hollandaise over the toast and enjoy! 

Nutrition Facts (per 1 serving)
398 calories, 20g fat, 39g carbs, 7g fiber, 3g sugar, 19g protein

Cherry Garcia Morning Oats

 

It’s funny that the most popular recipe on my blog happens to be a blend between a classic Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor and a bowl of morning oats. Growing up overweight, I don’t remember ever eating regular ice cream as a kid. In fact, I never even tried Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream until I was in my early twenties! What I do remember is feeling like an outcast for always asking the ice cream parlor for frozen yogurt when all of my friends were eating mountains of cookie dough and mint chocolate chip ice cream. It wasn’t until I tried Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt that I even knew frozen yogurt could taste as good as ice cream.

Thanks to my friends at Ben and Jerry’s for inventing one of my favorite flavors ever, I decided to play off my Chunky Monkey Morning Oats and develop a recipe for Cherry Garcia Oats. This recipe is incredibly easy and sweetened by organic frozen cherries found at Whole Foods. I love how subtly sweet these oats are, especially when combined with the melted chocolate chips. If you do like your oatmeal on the sweeter side, try adding more frozen cherries on top or drizzling honey or agave over the oats.

 
 

Cherry Garcia Morning Oats

Serves 1
Time: 5 Minutes

Ingredients
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup of frozen cherries
1 cup filtered water
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 tablespoon of chocolate chips
Optional: Honey

* For allergy friendly alternatives use dairy-free chocolate chips + gluten-free oats

Directions
1. Place the old fashioned oats, frozen cherries, water and chia seeds into a small pot and bring to a boil. Once the oats begin to boil, lower to simmer and stir often until the oatmeal thickens.

2. Once the oatmeal has thickened, remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Top with chocolate chips. Feel free to add additional cherries and/or drizzle honey if the oats aren’t sweet enough for your taste.

[a tip or two for you]

* Make this recipe vegan by using dairy-free chocolate chips. 
** Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free oats
*** Take this recipe on-the-go by refrigerating the oats overnight in a tupperware container

Nutritional Information (per serving)
295 calories, 11g fat, 50g carbs, 11g fiber, 25g sugar, 8g protein

 

Ten Minute Thai Bowls

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There’s nothing that I love more than an easy dinner recipe that can be whipped up in all of ten minutes, especially when it involves ingredients beyond lettuce. After reading several books about plant-based diets in college, I decided to make it my mission to eat one salad a day. And not just any kind of salad, a big ass salad. As a generation conditioned to eat packaged foods, I set out to pump my body with as many plants a day as possible. While, I'm not vegan or vegetarian, I aim to choose plant-based products as much as possible, leaving animal products like wild caught fish and organic meat and eggs as a protein source to enjoy a few days a week. 

As I develop my skills in the kitchen, nothing pleases me more than creating plant-packed recipes that are satiating, allergy-friendly and customizable to diets of all kinds. Enter these Ten Minute Thai Bowls, complete with gluten-free brown rice noodles, fresh bell pepper, scallions, shredded carrots and snap peas, all covered in spicy peanut sauce! 

To help with portion control I used individual