Sweet Potato [Turkey Shaped] Bread

This month’s challenge for The Recipe Redux was to re-do a recipe that we remember as a traditional Thanksgiving dish, but make it a little healthier. At first, I had a hard time thinking of anything that specifically stuck out to me as “special” or specific or in need of a re-do. When I had Thanksgiving at one side of the family’s house when I was little, I couldn’t think of anything out of the ordinary that stuck out as a unique dish. Then, when we had it at the other side of the family’s, everything was Italian-ish and already super healthy (like roasted veggies and salads).

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Hmm, sigh. As I’m normally such a nostalgic human, I was a bit shocked that nothing immediately stood out to me. Then, out of no where, I remembered TURKEY BREAD and could not believe that I had forgot this beloved carby pillowy fluffy wonder of the world. This is something my mom would make with us when we were little almost every.single.year. I can recall once in high school hearing there were no plans of turkey bread on the menu and being a demanding little diva and insist it got made. It did. (insert emoji hand flip girl here).

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So what is turkey bread, exactly? Well, I feel like I should preface that there is no turkey or traces of turkey in this bread. It’s a brioche-type soft, fluffy bread that we always shaped into a turkey, you know, to be festive. [Read: my mom said we were driving her crazy and wanted to give us a hands-on project]. But now vegetarians and vegans can have a piece of turkey (bread), too ;-).

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This version of the bread is made healthier and even more festive via use of a sweet potato to provide softness and tenderness that was provided in the original recipe by egg yolks. So yes, I made brioche-inspired bread with no egg yolks, eggs, or butter, and yes, it turned out soft and fluffy and wonderful. In fact, I enjoyed the additional sweetness the sweet potato provided.

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This bread is super fun to make and serve and everyone will love it. As long as you plan ahead with ample time to let the dough rise, it’s pretty easy to make, as well. The assembly is also much easier than it looks if you glance at the directions. Honestly the easiest way to do it is to just look at the picture and try to copy the shape. It seems to work best. Or make your own shape! It’s really up to you; I just hope you do make it and enjoy it!

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I genuinely hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving and long weekend! It’s honestly one of my favorite times of year because matter your religion or background, everyone comes together to celebrate delicious food and family. What is better than that? Have a good one and eat all da noms ! :-).

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Prep Time: At least 4 hours (to allow ample time for yeast to rise)

Bake Time: 20-30 minutes

Level: Medium

Yield: 1 medium-sized turkey bread that would probably be enough to serve as a side for 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1/2 a pound or 8 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (can also use other vegetable oil, or non-dairy spread or butter)
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 1 1/4-oz package dry active yeast (~2.5 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry (can sub all all-purpose flour or oat flour if desired)

Directions:

1. Cut sweet potato into small cubes (about 1 inch pieces) and place in a small sauce pan. Cover potato cubes with about 1″ water above the potatoes. Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer until the potato cubes are tender, about 15-18 minutes.

2. While potato is cooking, melt coconut oil in a second small saucepan and add almond milk and stir for about one minute.

3. Remove potato from heat. Strain the potato cubes, but KEEP THE POTATO LIQUID aka the water the potato pieces cooked in. I repeat, do not throw it away. Set it aside. This water has starch in it and you will use it to make your bread extra luscious and soft. Also, it’s basically #reclycing. #ecofriendly.

4. Take potato pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. Mash it and add stir in milk mixture and 1 tablspoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Take 1/3 cup potato water and place in a microwave safe bowl or pyrex and heat to 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Actually take the time to use a food thermometer and check to make sure you’re in this range, or you can kill or under-activate the yeast and all your efforts will be lost! Once it’s in this range, add 1 tablespoon sugar and the sea salt and allow to sit until foamy, at least 10 minutes.

5. When foam is formed, transfer yeast mixture to potato mixture and stir. Add all the flours and mix with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough has formed. Knead for 5-10 minutes until dough is elastic-y and you have all your frustrations worked out. Then transfer to an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a rolling surface with a small amount of flour or plastic wrap and grab a rolling pin. Punch down the dough (this redistributes the yeast #foodscience) and give it a few good kneads. Then, remove about 1/5th of the dough to make the bird’s body. Set this aside. Roll the rest of the dough into a ball, and flatten with a rolling pin into a giant circle.

7. To make the feathers: cut the dough like you would a pizza into small triangles. Flatten each triangle with a rolling pin, and roll, from narrow tip to thick side (if each were a pizza crust, from the tip to the crust) to form rolled cylinders. They can and should vary in size, as they are wings, and you need a variety of sizes!

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8. Take the 1/5th of dough you set aside. Roll about 80% of that into a small ball for the body of the turkey. Roll out the other small piece into a cylinder, and twist and shape one end of it into a head, with a beak, and add a small bead for an eye. Place onto the body of the turkey, and wrap the neck as desired. Move body onto parchment paper on a baking sheet and begin to assemble.

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9. Assemble feathers onto body by gently pressing the cylinders you rolled out into the body from behind. Place shorter cylinders towards the end, and the longer ones on top. If you need to cut and shape and re-roll a few, do it. Honestly this whole thing is easier to just look at the pictures and try to recreate the shape. Just pretend the dough is delicate play-doh I guess. Okay I spend too much time working with children and playing with play-doh.

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10. Cover turkey with a towel and allow to proof for at least an hour. Don’t skip this step. According to everything I learned in food science, the second rising is more important than the first.

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11. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 22-28 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges and puffed. When you lift the bread’s edges, the bottom should be slightly browned. And/or tap on the bread, and it should sound hollow. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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12. Serve alongside your other favorite Thanksgiving noms and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving :-D.

For more healthy takes on classic Thanksgivng dishes, click around below for awesome ideas from fellow members of The Recipe Redux !

30 Surprisingly Vegan Foods [Via Spoon University]

As you probably know, I write for Spoon University as a national contributor.

I LOVE IT. Anyways, I don’t always share my Spoon stuff on my blog (if you want more Spoon, I usually do archive my pieces under the “Published” tab), but I really think this is a fun quick piece on 30 Foods that Surprisingly Vegan. You can read the piece published on Spoon here, or you can poke around below. Enjoy !

ALSO – For 103 Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up I helped put together, click here!!!

1. Oreos

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com

Photo courtesy of wikipedia.com

America’s Favorite Cookie is vegan-friendly!

2. Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Frosting

Photo courtesy of duncan-hines.com

Photo courtesy of duncanhines.com

The Home-Style Butter Cream, Caramel, Classic Chocolate, Vanilla, Coconut Pecan, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Lemon Supreme and Strawberry Cream varieties are all vegan. Cheers to vegan buttercream! Now hand us the spoon.

3. Duncan Hines Cake Mixes:

Photo courtesy of duncanhines.com

Photo courtesy of duncanhines.com

In Classic Carrot, Moist Deluxe Butter Golden, Classic Yellow, Dark Chocolate Fudge, Devil’s Food, Fudge Marble, German Chocolate, Red Velvet, Swiss chocolate, Coconut Supreme, Lemon Supreme, Pineapple Supreme AND Strawberry Supreme all contain no dairy or eggs. Some people may get finicky about food dye sources, but for most, all of the above are vegan-friendly. Swap out the eggs and butter/oil for a can of soda or sparkling water and you’ve got yourself the fluffiest vegan cake you could ever want.

4. Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix

Photo courtesy of jello.com

Photo courtesy of jello.com

Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio, and Banana Creame are all vegan! Add your favorite non-dairy milk and you’re good to go.

5. Smucker’s Marshmallow Ice Cream Topping

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Photo courtesy of smuckers.com

As marshmallows contain gelatin (made from cow hooves), lots of vegans pass them up. But now vegans can rejoice – Smucker’s has made a gelatin-free version AKA vegan marshmallow fix is possible.

6. Taco Bell’s Bean Burrito (minus the cheese)

Photo courtesy of tacobell.com

Photo courtesy of tacobell.com

No lard in these beans, bitches!

7. Taco Bell’s Cinnamon Twists

Photo courtesy of tacobell.com

Photo courtesy of tacobell.com

For after the lard-free burrito.

8. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup

Photo courtesy of hersheys.com

Photo courtesy of hersheys.com

For your soy milk, almond milk and non-dairy ice cream delight.

9. Chipotle Sofritas

Photo by ABC News

Photo by ABC News

Which honestly everyone should try.

10. Betty Crocker’s Bac-O’s Bacon Flavor Bits

Photo courtesy of bettycrocker.com

Photo courtesy of bettycrocker.com

We’re not sure if this is something to celebrate or be very, very afraid of.

11. Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Photo courtesy of pillsbury.com

Photo courtesy of pillsbury.com

Ahh, the buttery taste of vegetable oils.

12. Ritz Crackers

Photo courtesy of ritzcrackers.com

Photo courtesy of ritzcrackers.com

Another food that prides itself on butter flavor, yet has none. Pass us a sleeve with some soy cheese, please!

13. Unfrosted Pop-Tarts

Photo courtesy of kelloggs.com

Photo courtesy of kelloggs.com

In Brown Sugar, Blueberry and Strawberry. Because Pop-Tarts are important.

14. Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets

Photo courtesy of puffpastry.com

Photo courtesy of puffpastry.com

A great shortcut to a delicious vegan dessert or appetizer.

15. Lindt Excellence Cocoa Bars in 70%, 85% and 90%

Photo courtesy of lindt.com

Photo courtesy of lindt.com

Chocoholics rejoice.

16. Famous Amos Sandwich Cookies

Photo courtesy of walgreens.com

Photo courtesy of walgreens.com

In Chocolate, Oatmeal Macaroon, Peanut Butter and Vanilla.

17. Goya Flan

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Yeah, another thing we’re not going to try to explain.

18. Nutter Butters

Photo courtesy of walgreens.com

Photo courtesy of walgreens.com

Hollerrrr.

19. Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars

Photo courtesy of naturevalley.com

Photo courtesy of naturevalley.com

In Apple Crisp, Cinnamon, Peanut Butter, Pean Crunch, Roasted Almond AND Maple Brown Sugar. We are so darn excited it hurts. Bring on the crumbs!

20. Nabisco Original Graham Crackers

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

We suggest you pair these with some of that chocolate frosting mentioned above. #yum

21. Krispy Kreme Fruit Pies

krispy-kreme-cherry-pie1

Photo courtesy of vegincowcountry.wordpress.com

In Apple, Cherry and Peach. PIE ME.

22. Thomas’s New York Style Bagels

Photo courtesy of thomasbreads.com

Photo courtesy of thomasbreads.com

In Blueberry, Cinnamon Swirl, Everything and Plain. Because carbs. And tofu cream cheese.

23. Super Pretzel Baked Soft Pretzel

Photo courtesy of superpretzel.com

Photo courtesy of superpretzel.com

Glorious, glorious salty carbs.

24. Chocolate Chip Teddy Grahams

Photo courtesy of target.com

Photo courtesy of target.com

Delicious and vegan. And so darn cute we can BEARly stand it.

25. DQ Star Kiss Bar

Photo courtesy of dqonmarket.com

Photo courtesy of dqonmarket.com

A non-dairy ice cream bar at Dairy Queen. Paradoxical, but we dig it.

26. Sara Lee’s Frozen Pies

Photo courtesy of saraleedesserts.com

Photo courtesy of saraleedesserts.com

In Cherry and Apple. We’ll take both.

22. Mast Brother’s Chocolate

Photo courtesy of mastbrothers.com

Photo courtesy of mastbrothers.com

No dairy in most varieties. WIN. WIN. WIN.

27. Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookies

Photo courtesy of traderjoes.com

Photo courtesy of traderjoes.com

Spicy sweet perfection. Pro tip: dip in almond butter.

28. Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Chocolate Bars

Photo courtesy of sweets.seriouseats.com

Photo courtesy of sweets.seriouseats.com

Dark Chocolate, 72% Dark Chocolate and Bittersweet with Almonds. We love you Trader Joe’s.

29. Trader Joe’s Soft-Baked Snickerdoodles

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Photo courtesy of amazon.com

Again, we love you Trader Joe’s.

30. Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix

Photo courtesy of ghiradelli.com

Photo courtesy of ghiradelli.com

Just sub an egg substitute like a tablespoon chia seeds and some almond milk or a few tablespoons of apple sauce and you’re seconds away from gooey vegan brownies.

Olive Oil Grape Cake

Once upon a time a few years ago I randomly saw someone on TV make a grape cake. It was a quick, mini-cooking segment on a morning talk show. I can’t even remember who was hosting the show, who made the cake, or where I was when I watched it. All I can remember is that for years, the idea of making a cake with grapes has appealed to me. <— [unintentional pun]

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This happens a lot. I have a hugeee baking bucket list. I’ll want to make something for years sometimes before it actually happens. For example, I wanted to make rainbow cookies for probably 3 year before it actually happened. But then it did. And it was awesome.

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Anyways back to grape cake. It’s been on my baking bucket list for years. I believe the original one that I saw had ricotta and eggs and stuff. But I wanted a light, fluffy cake you could eat for breakfast. So I did my own lil twist on the grape cake by adding the lovely flavor of ALMONDS.

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I added almond extract, which I believe was a solid idea. In fact, I think this makes the cake. I went a step further by adding some leftover almond flour I had. This gave it a heartier texture of sorts. I dug it. If you’re not really into almonds, don’t have almond flour, or just want a plainer, simpler cake, feel free to omit either the almond extract, flour, or both. For those of you who are as nuts about nuts as I am and want them in this cake, go ahead and add.

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The grapes in the cake were very interesting. They got all cooked and juicy and played the same textural component chunks of apples do in apple cakes. Except it was a nice different surprise with a grapey flavor. Warm grapes are delicious, as it turns out (at least they were when I ate this fresh out of the oven and/or when I heated the cake up in the microwave later. Another thing I highly recommend).

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Instead of butter or non-dairy butter, I decided to use olive oil as my fat, to give it a luscious flavor and super moist texture. One of my favorite cakes ever is this Lemon Olive Oil Cake I made a while back for my sister’s bridal shower. Fun fact that post is my most-viewed post on kbaked.com. Dang now I want that cake. [Whispers to self, “Soon, my pet, soon.”] <—-did I just talk to myself on my blog? #awkward.

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In other news, you can and should make this cake. As far as cake-making goes, it’s super fast and easy. And it’s something different. Like DQ. Except DQ isn’t really that different. In fact, it’s pretty commercial and standard. Still delicious though. But not as #trendy or fun to talk about or healthy as this cake.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

makes one 9 inch round cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour (can make in food processor with raw almonds) or 3/4 cup more all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup fresh grapes
  • powder sugar for dusting as garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar. Allow to curdle for at least 10 minutes. This is your pseudo-buttermilk.

3. In a large bowl, whisk olive oil and sugar. Set aside.

4. In another bowl, combine flours, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together until well combined. You can also sift if you’re fancy / your heart desires.

5. Add half of the flour mixture to the bowl with the olive oil & sugar mix. Fold in gently. Add half almond milk + vinegar mixture, orange or lemon juice, and almond extract. Fold gently until well combine. Add remaining half flour mixture and mix again until just combined.

6. Wash and dry grapes well. Pick them off the stem. I suppose you could leave them on the stem, but that would be a hassle later on.

7. Pour batter into one round 9 inch pan. Sprinkle 3/4ths cup grapes evenly on top of batter, leaving the other 1/4 cup aside. Place in the oven for 20. Add remaining 1/4th cup grapes by gently pressing them into semi-cooked batter. This step is optional, but will give you some grapes peeking out of the cake instead of having all of them sink. If you want them all to sink, that’s cool too. All up to you!

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8. Bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the cake is fragrant, has browned, and a toothpick comes out clean upon removal from the center of the cake.

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9. Dust with powdered sugar if you’d like. Eat and enjoy the grapey olive oily goodness !

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Peanut Butter Graham-Bams [Peanut Butter Graham Cookies]

Sometimes I like to name my creations. Don’t ask me how I came up with Graham-Bam, it just came to me while I was making and eating these delicious little babies. It seemed fitting for the excitement and happiness that went into making/eating them, so Graham-Bams it was.

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I came up with the idea because I love love love peanut butter on graham crackers as a snack. I have since I was little. It’s just the perfect combination of carby crunchy sweetness with smooth peanut butter goodness on top. Ugh. Perfection.
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So then it hit me that it was possible and definitely the best idea ever to grind up some graham crackers into a flour using a food processor. I mean, why the hell not? It adds a great texture and sweetness, and that distinct graham-y flavor we all know and love so much. MmmmMmMmMmm. I added some oat flour to give them a little more bounce and fluffiness, and the rest is history.
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I’d like to take a moment to clarify that I do, indeed, drink almond milk out of mason jars and that I didn’t just do it for the photos. I went to NYU after all. What do you expect? #hip. Back to the cookies, these babies are soft, fluffy little nuggets of joy with a strong peanut-butter-graham-and-flavor. Exactly what I wanted. Simple and delicious. I almost added chocolate chips at the end, but then opted to not. You could if you want. It would be a great idea. But sometimes, just sometimes, I want a straight up softy peanut butter cookie with the criss-cross hatch marks like I had when I was growing up. And if you’ve read my blog or have known me for more than a week, you know I’m a sucker for nostalgia.
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So this morning, I whipped these up. They are fast. They are easy. They are one-bowl and require no fancy equipment or ingredients. Aka cookies go from non-eexistent to fresh out of the oven / into your face while still all warm and gooey in less than 40 minutes. Which is sometimes, in a complicated world, the most perfect thing you could ask for.
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If you love peanut butter and graham crackers as much as I do, you need to make these. If you don’t yet love it as much as I do, you need to make these so I can change your mind about one of the world’s most perfect pairings. Happy eating!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup graham cracker flour (made from approximately a sleeve and a half of graham crackers in food processor)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats (or 3/4 cup oat flour)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
  • granulated sugar for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, place almond milk + vinegar together and allow to sit/curdle for at least 10 minutes. This is your pseduo-buttermilk.

2. In a food processor, break up about a sleeve and a half of graham crackers and pulse until a flour forms. You may need to push down crackers/mix with a spoon halfway through. Place in a large bowl, measure one cup, and set aside.

3. If you don’t have oat flour, make some using rolled oats. Place in food processor and pulse until a flour forms. Measure 3/4 cup and add to graham flour.

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4. Add baking soda, salt, brown sugar, peanut butter and almond milk + vinegar mixture. Mix until a cookie-dough like dough forms. It may be a tad bit sticky. If it is, add a dash more oat or graham or regular flour.

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5. Scoop small balls (approximately one inch in diameter) onto an ungreased baking sheet. Press a cross-hatch pattern into each cookie using the back of a fork.

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6. Pop into the oven and back for 8-10 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edges and puffy. Allow to cool slightly before trying to eat. If they are too hot your impatience will be a hot beautiful mess in front of you:

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7. Sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired. EAT!!

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Sweet Potato, Parsnip & Sweet Pea Samosas

[ Disclosure: “I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.” ]

I hope you’re sitting down, because these may actually might be one of my favorite creations ever. They are everything. EVERYTHING! Why, you may ask? Well, they combine several of my favorite things in a healthy, carb-covered, veggie-filled, spicy delightful way. Drooling yet? I am.

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Allow me to explain: the utter mention of the two beautiful words, “sweet potato” make me perk up in the same way my dog Millie does when I say the word “treat.” Suddenly my posture straightens, my body is alert, awake, and ready to move to wherever the sweet potatoes may be. Must eat.

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Then if you add parsnip, it’s like telling me I won the lottery. Because parsnips holds a top spot on my favorite foods list. It was love at the first bite. The nutty, woody, carroty-sweet flavor is unique and something I simply adore.

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Cook both these veggies with spices and cumin and curry and ginger and you’ve got an Indian-food inspired dish, or sorts, full of delicious root vegetables whose flavors have been lovingly coated, accented, and highlighted by the spices and seasonings that hug them.  Samosas may sound a bit intimidating (like, “too much work”) but allow me to assure you that using a pre-made pizza dough was a major shortcut I took, and it truly worked well! I was delightfully surprised at how perfectly soft yet crispy these babies baked up, and made the whole cooking process fast and easy. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.24.40 PM

What ties this filling all together, though, is what’s added at the end. Peas from Libby’s add a sweetness and a softness to the other spicy, earthy veggies, and the fresh cilantro and lemon juice add a sparkle and freshness that seals the deal. The folks at Libby’s sent me some samples of these tasty Sweet Peas, which came in a handy pouch that could fit into even the most cultured space-crunched pantry, were easy to open (no can-opener needed hooray!), easy to use, and tasted as fresh as canned or frozen.

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This is also a major win for someone who lived in Manhattan only a mini-fridge for a year, and was unable to use frozen veggies. So I really appreciate this new pouch concept. Way to go, Libby’s! These are things that New Yorkers worry about. Amongst other things like bedbugs, lice, and broker’s fees. Screen Shot 2014-10-26 at 9.22.42 PM

These samosas won’t fix bedbugs, lice or broker’s fees, but they can totally turn around hunger pangs, unhappiness, and boredom with the usual side dish or party snack. I beg you, please make these. Wrap up all these hearty and sweet, spicy vegetables, stick them in something doughy, carby, and delicious, bake them, and you have pockets of pure healthy joy, fresh from your oven. Dip in cilantro chutney if you desire, or eat plain. They make a great side dish to an Indian feast or a unique and tasty appetizer. Happy eating! :-)

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Makes 6-8 samosas, serving 4-6 as a side dish 

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat pizza dough (you can use a st0re-bought one, which I did, or you can make your own!)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 large parsnips
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup Libby’s Green Peas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon roasted red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond, soy or coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Cilantro Chutney (optional):

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave, or honey (if not vegan)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Peel sweet potatoes and parsnip and cube into bite-sized pieces (roughly 1/4th inch cubes) and microwave until just tenderized, about 1 minute. You just want to soften them a bit, but they should still be somewhat firm.

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3. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Mince garlic into a paste and add to warm oil. Chop onion and add to oil and garlic and allow to simmer on low heat until the onions are translucent. Add ginger, curry powder, cumin, tumeric, salt and pepper and continue to simmer. Add cubed parsnip and sweet potato cubes and continue to cook over low heat. Add lemon juice and almond milk and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetable cubes are all coated in spice mixture and the liquid of the lemon juice and almond milk has reduced to a lightly coating on the vegetable. You do not want a wet mixture, just enough moisture to transfer the spices to coat the vegetables without drying.

4. Remove pan from heat and fold in Libby’s peas and chopped cilantro. This is your filling. It’s delicious, even on it’s own.

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5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out whole wheat pizza dough until very thin. Using a pizza cutter, kitchen shears, or sharp knife, cut into right triangles, roughly 4 inches x 4 inches x 5.5 inches. Place two spoonfuls of the filling on each triangle. Fold each triangle in half, covering filling, and fold over each edge gently, sealing each by pressing gently with fingers.

6. Place samosas onto baking sheet and place at the oven for 20-25 minutes, until pizza dough has browned and the samosas sound hollow if tapped lightly with finger. Enjoy with cilantro chutney, your chutney of choice, or any other delicious dips or goodies you can think of! Happy and healthy eating :).

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7. To make cilantro, combine cilantro, lemon juice, ginger, syrup, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a food processor or blender and puree until liquified. Serve in a small bowl with samosas.

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 Click around below to see what other cool recipes you can make with Libby’s Table products from fellow members of the Recipe Redux ! Happy eating ! :-)

Maple Cranberry Corn Muffins

[ Disclosure: “I received free samples of Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Libby’s and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.” ]

True fact: I used to not be crazy about corn products. Even 6 months ago I turns my nose up at polenta and even at corn tortillas. Then all of a sudden I realized how amazing they are and now I’m corn crazy. For some reason though I’ve always loved corn bread and corn muffins. This has never changed.

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Corn is very Wisconsin. Wisconsin is my homestate. I love Wisconsin and fall in Wisconsin is one of the most beautiful things ever. So. many. colors. You know what is is very Wisconsin and very fall-in-Wisconsin? Fresh cranberries. MmmMm.

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I believe Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries in the US. #gowisconsin. They sell them in bags at every grocery store around. I adore them. I actually will pop them raw, like grapes. People think this is weird. Just like how I love to eat bananas with sea salt and canned pumpkin with cinnamon, sugar and a spoon. I’m okay with people judging me, as long as I’m enjoying myself.

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Maple syrup is also very Wisconsin. We have lots of syrup-makin’ trees, apparently. It’s also very fall. And these muffins decided to make themselves fall Wisconsin-themed muffins thanks to the inspiration from the corn. I used Libby’s new Vegetable Pouches corn. The lovely folks at Libby’s were kind enough to send me some samples of three pouches: corn, green beans, and peas.

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The pouches were super convenient, flexible, and fit well stuck into random corners well in my crammed cabinets. I also dug that the pouches are eco-friendly, easy to open (no can opener required!) and the vegetables were all fresh tasting.

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So why not combine all things #wisconsin into one epic corn muffin? I could think of no reason not to, so that’s just what I did. These are great. They’re super corny (lol), and the oatflour makes them fluffy and soft and coincidentally gluten free. These are wonderful muffins that are neither too sweet nor savory in a way that can be enjoyed for breakfast, or alongside something savory like a salad and/or a hearty fall stews.

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Pureeing corn into a paste adds moisture and substitutes for some of the large amounts of oil often found in corn muffins the same way applesause would. Whole kernels in cornbread/muffins have always been a thing in our household, and I suggest that if you have not yet incorporated this concept into your corn baking ways, you do so immediately. Corn is a whole grain, so you can eat these delicious fluffy tangy little babies while knowing you’re doing something nice for your mind and body. Bonus: they’re vegan, nut free, and gluten-free aka allergy-friendly! Enjoy!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Level: Easy

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup oatflour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup Libby’s corn, divided [1/2 cup pureed, 1/2 cup left as whole kernels]
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine almond milk/soy milk + vinegar in small bowl and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes. This will be your pseudo-buttermilk.

3.In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, oat flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

4. In a food processor or blender puree 1/2 cup corn until a smooth paste.

5. Add corn puree, vegetable oil, and almond milk mixture to dry mixture. Mix gently until just combined. Add corn kernels, cranberries, and maple syrup and mix gently again.

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6. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners or grease well with vegetable oil. Fill each tin with 3/4 of the way full and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden, fragrant, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean upon removal.

7. Allow to cool and serve with maple butter or alongside a hearty bowl of soup. :) Eat!

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Check out more Libby’s Recipes below!!

Blackberry Fruit Dumplings

The Fruit Dumplings from East Side Ovens are things of beauty. It’s this little pocket that sort of looks like a rounded out star / mini hand pie, filled with delicious, sweet, fruity goo in the most perfect flakey crust. It’s what dreams are made of.

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East Side Ovens sells them in local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. They don’t advertise themselves as being vegan at farmer’s markets, but after stumpling into a sampling promotion at the Health Hut last month, I learned that all of their products are totally dairy free! #win. I wonder why they don’t advertise this way at markets. My guess is so that people who aren’t particularly open-minded about vegan baked goods don’t automatically skip over their delicious goodies. Which I’m sure, sadly, a lot of people would. But no one does! These babies sell like HOT CAKES every place they’re available. Which is awesome for the little local business, and proves that if people aren’t told any different, many don’t even know they’re eating something vegan when secretly they are. #tricky

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Last Monday I was having a good day, even after work. I was in a happy pants mood and wanted to celebrate so I popped on into Health Hut to celebrate. Because I reward myself with health-food grocery shopping because it’s like my favorite hobby. I know, right? I’m the coolest and most exciting human you’ve ever met.

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I bought these cherry dumplings from East Side Ovens while I was at the Health Hut. They also have really good rhubarb ones. And many other kids. But last Monday, all Health Hut had was cherry. And cherry is one of my top 5 favorite fruits of all times. So cherry it was!

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I brought them home and ate one that night. I saved one for Tuesday and looked forward to it allllll afternoon while I was working. I could not wait to get home and make coffee and have my cherry dumpling. So I got home from work and got my coffee going and put my dumpling on the counter. Then I went upstairs to pee and get my phone charger. Five minutes later I return downstairs. And like, certainly more than half of my fruit dumpling had mysteriously vanished. I’m not pointing any fingers but I’m 100% certain it was Pita. OOF.

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I was sad, but still savored what was left of my little dumpling. Actually, in retrospect, I’m lucky she didn’t eat the whole thing. And like honestly, if she did, I couldn’t have blamed her. They’re just so yummy. Perfect combo of crunchy/flakey crust, gooey sweet fruity filling, and sweet crunchy frosting glaze white stuff. Heavenly. I made her promise we return the the Health Hut soon to get more and just to go gawk at the Health Hut because it’s so beautiful and has so many fine, healthy, delicious food products. Wow I love grocery shopping. I really need a social life.

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Anyways, this event also sparked me to want to make my own fruit dumplings, so on Sunday Funday I gave it a whirl and whipped up these babies. I used blackberries, because we had leftover frozen blackberries in the freezer from when I made these wonderful wonderful Blackberry Cornmeal Pancakes (seriously, make them). You can use whatever berry or fruit you’d like. Frozen berries worked really well in this dish, as you cook ‘em down anyways.

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The end result was much like the Fruit Dumpling experience from East Side Ovens, with a few differences: you still get the crunchy meets gooey/fruity/sweet. Except these are a little less, puffy, I guess you could say. Next time I’m going to try layering the dough to make it puffier and flakier. We’ll see. These are more like a crispy tart. Still wonderful and delicious in its own right, just a slightly different crust texture than the OG. But cooking is all about making things your own anyways! So next time you want something delicious that will fill your heart and soul with joy and your kitchen with wonderful wafts of fruity pies, whip up a couple of these babies. Not only do they sort of look like stars, they taste like them, too. ;-) #cheesy #corny #gowithit

xoxo, kbakes !

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Level: Easy

Makes 2 small fruit pies [serves 2]

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 1/4 cup cold coconut oil or non-dairy spread such as Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3-1/2 cups cold water

Ingredients – Filling:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blackberries (or any berries/fruit!)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanila extract

Ingredients – Glaze:

  • Either drizzle 1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk yogurt (that’s what I did)
    • OR combine 1/4 cup nondairy spread at room temperature (such as Earth balance) with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar using a hand mixture or kitchen aid mixture until well-combined. Add almond milk and/or more powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a food processor, combine whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, salt, and sugar. Pulse until mixed well. Cut up coconut oil or non-dairy spread into pieces, sprinkle into the food processor, and continue pulsing until well slightly combined. Add 1/4 cup cold water and pulse until a loose crumbly dough begins to form. If needed, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

3.  Removed dough from food processor and form into a ball. Wrap or place in a small bowl and place in the refrigerator.

4. Meanwhile, combine blackberries, sugar, flour, vanilla, and lemon juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the fruit mixture is the consistency of a loose jelly.

5. Remove dough from refrigerator. Cut in half. Roll each half into a thin circle.

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6. Place half of fruit mixture in the center of each circle of dough.

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7. Fold over one edge of the circle like an envelope so that the crust covers about 1/4 inch of the fruit, but the majority is still in the center. From the top of this fold, fold over the two sides diagonally to make an obtuse angle covering the right and left corner of the top fold.

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8. Repeat at the bottom; this time fold the dough inwards so that the center is exposed but the edges are framing the fruit. Press down dough to seal any potential points of leakage (such as the edges) as necessary.

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9. Repeat with second circle. Place dumplings onto a parchment-paper lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 22-30 minutes until the crust has browned and the bottom easily releases from parchment paper if you try to peak at/lift up a corner. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

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10. If desired, add as much or as little glaze or icing as you’d like. Enjoy ! :) I used coconut yogurt, but if you want to make a vegan buttercream, simple combine 1/4 cup non-dairy vegetable spread with 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar using a hand mixture or kitchen aid mixture until well-combined. Add almond milk and/or more powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached. Decorate to your heart’s content.

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Autumn Black Rice Salad [with Pomegranate, Coconut & Sweet Potatoes]

This morning I had this odd, sudden realization that I haven’t made or eaten black rice in a while. Actually, it wasn’t that sudden or odd. I thought about it after Beyond Sushi Instagramed this. And then I cried and sobbed because I wanted Beyond Sushi, because as we all know it’s my favorite thing on earth.

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Then I thought fondly back to my beloved Rainbow Black Rice Salad. I love love love that dish. It’s flawless in my opinion. Crunchy, fresh, bright, flavorful and satisfying. Ahh, yes, I’ve eaten that black rice salad many-a-times and never been let down.

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After a few minutes reminiscing over all the good times I’ve eaten said salad, I decided that lunch today was going to be a black rice salad, of sorts. Except I didn’t have those ingredients and I was feeling like something a bit more fall-ish since the Rainbow Black Rice Salad is a bit summery. I consulted my fridge. Half a pre-cut/seeded pomegranate. Awesome. I was instantly inspired by how bright the red would look against black rice. Step one towards recipe creation/greatness. I decided to work from here.

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Next stop: pantry. Sweet potatoes are never NOT in my pantry, and today was no exception. Grabbed a big one, and got chopping. While I popped those in the oven, I debated what else would pop on the plate with red and orange. As I did so, I reached for more ground coffee, which happened to be next to some coconut shreds. Coconut + black rice is also a favorite combo of mine (it worked amazingly in this black rice pudding) so those went in, as well. Upon assembly, I added some cilantro. Initially I thought this flavor combo would be weird, but it somehow pulled everything together. The clean note of the cilantro worked well with the earthy black rice, the tangy crunchy pomegranate seeds, and the creamy, hearty sweet potato cubes. The dish came together so well, my mom even decided she liked it better than the Rainbow Black Rice Salad. Personally I love them both, and think both are beautiful and satisfying for any event depending on your current taste mood.

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The tanginess of the pomegranate seeds removes the need for an acidic dressing as in the Rainbow Black Rice salad, and really all this salad needs is a drizzle of good olive oil, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. This is another keeper, I tell ya. Make a big batch and serve as a side dish, entree, or pack for lunch. Eat up!

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

Serves 2 as entree or 4 as side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup black rice
  • 1 pomegranate, cut and seeded
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup coconut shreds or chips (sweetened or unsweetened depending on preference)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, cook black rice on the stovetop according to directions on the package.

2. While the rice is simmering, peel and cube sweet potato into bite-sized pieces and place in the oven. If you’re short on time, you can also just microwave these for 3-4 minutes until tender.

3. Cut and seed the pomegranate and set seeds aside. Dice cilantro.

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4. Cool rice and sweet potato cubes. When they are cool, pour rice into a bowl, and mix 3/4ths of your sweet potato cubes, your pomegranate seeds, your coconut, and cilantro (saving the remaining 1/4th for garnish).

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5. Drizzle olive oil onto salad and add salt and pepper and mix.

6. Serve rice salad in a bowl or plate, topping with remaining sweet potato cubes, pomegranate seeds, cilantro and coconut. Add more salt & pepper if desired. Enjoy~!

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Chocolate Bark with Anise, Figs, Pistachio & Sea Salt

Chocolate is a food group. Or so says my mother. I tend to agree.

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And in addition to being a welcome addition to your tastebuds and mental sanity, chocolate can be a healthy addition to your lifestyle if you head on over to the dark side and select one that doesn’t have too much added sugar or icky preservatives. I believe that once you get into dark chocolate you don’t go back. It’s just richer and more satisfying. Maximum “mmm” per bite sort of thing. My favorite chocolate EVER is Mast Brothers. That stuff is on another level. It’s $8-9 a bar. And before I tried it I wondered why people would spend that much on one bar of chocolate. After a single bite I instantly understood why they did such a thing and became one of them.

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I don’t think I go a single day without eating chocolate. I always need a fix after dinner. And dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and has even been shown to improve blood flow and circulation. Which is important as the weather gets colder and colder around these parts.

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Not to mention that chocolate goes well with basically everything. My favorite is with nuts. And dried fruit. But sometimes it’s also fun to do something a little different with chocolate and taste and appreciate it in a new light. So when presented with the October challenge for Recipe Redux to create a recipe that incorporate a spice that tends to sit around in cabnets without frequent use, I instantly thought of this chocolate-anise bark that my mom made around the holidays last year. It was epic; not so epic is when Sasha tried to eat it. Luckily she survived, as did the legend of the marriage of chocolate + anise.

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Anise is plain awesome in my opinion. I feel like it’s one of those flavors you either love or you don’t. I’m on team love. It tends to show up here and there around the holidays, but it’s licorsey, spicy/sweet taste is really one to be celebrated all year long. I encourage you to peer all the way back into your spice cabinet, blow the dust off your anise shaker, and make this bark. It’s incredible.

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The anise adds the most terrific flavor pop to dark chocolate, and the figs bring an element of chewiness and sweetness, not to mention some fiber, vitamin B6, and potassium. Yay nutrients! If you know me, you know I’m crazy about textures in my foods. The more interesting textures going on the better. Which is why the crunchy pistachios are an amazing contrast to the gooey figs. Ugh. It’s so perfect. Not only do they add a burst of bright green color, they provide some protein, healthy fats, and even more fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. And then there’s the anise, which adds a fragrant spicy note of tongue, that keeps you going back for more, along with a dose of antioxidants, calcium and copper. So yeah. Basically this bark is almost health food. ;-).

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Truly though, this bark is extremely satisfying for a sweet/chocolate tooth, a lot less junky than a candy bar, and makes an awesome and beautiful gift or addition to a party spread. Not to mention, it’s super easy to make. Just chop the toppings, melt the chocolate, pour and cool, and just like that you have a beautiful tablet of bark before you. Break into squares as large or small as your heart desires and share as gifts or simply gift it all to yourself. Because you’re worth it. :)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes (but needs at least 30 minutes to chill)

Level: Easy!

Ingredients:

  • 24 ounces high quality dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips, chopped {2 bags chocolate chips}
  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds (optional)
  • 3/4 cup figs, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon anise
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside. Chop pistachios, figs, and anise.

2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler on the stovetop over medium heat or in the microwave by placing chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, heating in 30 second increments and stirring after each increment, until chocolate is melted.

3. Sprinkle about half the pistachio/fig/anise mix into the melted chocolate and mix gently. Pour melted chocolate into baking sheet and spread evenly with a spatula.

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4. Evenly sprinkle remaining pistachio, figs, and anise over the melted chocolate. Gently pat down toppings into chocolate. Sprinkle with sea salt.

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5. Place bark into the fridge until chocolate sets and is solid, at least 30 minutes.

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6. Break bark into pieces using your hands or a knife and enjoy. :)

To check out more creative uses for neglected spices, click around here!:

Pumpkin Sunflower Seed Granola Bars

I have a granola bar addiction. There’s something so wonderful about these tiny squares of oats loaded with other goodies that I can never get enough of.

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I think my granola bar obsession peaked in college because granola bars became “special treats.” Let’s face it: groceries in New York can be expensive. As in a box of 5 Kashi bars is literally $7.99 at Duane Reade. Unless I bought granola bars at Trader Joe’s which I find a leeetle bit too sweet sometimes, granola bars became occasional treats I would buy only when they were on sale or when I was home on breaks. And then on breaks I’d go to Target and buy like 10 boxes of granola bars and pack them all in my suitcase and bring them back to school with me. I’m sure if my luggage ever got searched it was a lol to TSA.

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My dream granola bar is chewy, full of big chunks of nuts and lots of textures, and loaded with dried fruit, and a healthy dose of chocolate. Most of the time. Other times I want something a little simpler and more like a not-sweet snack that will keep me going in the afternoon. That’s right folks – sometimes I want things that aren’t too sweet. Gasp. I know. The nice thing about cooking/baking is that if you want these babies sweeter, you can add as much sugar as you like and make ‘em to your liking. Making things from scratch is great, isn’t it? Thought so.

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These bars have a nice, deep earthy flavor thanks to the pumpkin + sunflower combo. Grinding up the nuts into a nut butter not only binds the oats together, but gives them a hearty texture and some staying power thanks to all the healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats they have to offer.

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I honestly liked these more than I expected to. They’re chewy but hearty. And they have this distinct deep savory-sweet flavor that keeps you wanting to nibble. They’ll grow on you with every bite. Prep time is minimal, and one batch gives you a whole pan / week’s worth of snackies. I suggest you mix up your usual granola bar routine and give these a whirl. Make your days be full of peace, love, and excessive amounts of granola goodness. :-)

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shelled sunflower seeds [or, if you have it, 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter + 1/2 cup sunflowers]
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup – 3/4 cup brown sugar, depending on desired sweetness
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional, but recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place 1/2 cup sunflower seeds in a food processor and puree until the seeds reach a smooth nut butter paste. Add canned pumpkin and continue to puree until well mixed.

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3. In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar. Mix well.

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4. Add pumpkin/sunflower seed butter mixture to the oat mixture. Mix until well combined and all oats are moist. Add the remaining 1/2 cup sunflower seeds and mix again. The mixture will be thick and cookie-dough like.

5. Line a 9×9 baking sheet with parchment paper or grease well. Pour dough into pan and press down using a spatula or your hands.

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6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until browned and fragrant and edges begin to pull away from the sides slightly. They make seem a little gooey when you take them out of the oven but they will continue to set as they cool.

7. Cool completely and cut into whatever sized bars you want. Store in an airtight container or bag for up to a week.

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