Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie

The other night I had a crazy wild fun dream that I made a mini pie. As a result of this magical dream, I couldn’t stop thinking about a mini pie for a full 36 hours, which prompted me to go to Crate and Barrel and buy not one, but two mini pie dishes. Hashtag why buy one mini pie dish when you can have two?!

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

I mean, how could I not? JUST LOOK AT THEM. I even took an iPhone foto to document the cuteness/brag about my purchases.

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This pie trip was actually super appropriate and justifiable because 1) I love pie and mini things and 2) The Recipe Redux challenge for the month of June was “Pie Love.”

I love me a good pie. I mean, really, who doesn’t like pie?Pie is for everyone; it is truly a food for the people. And pie can be oh so many different things – sweet or savory, fluffy or dense, chocolatey or fruity, or even veggie packed and dinner-appropriate. Pie is a food of many hats, you could say.

Papaya Mango Tropical Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free!

I wanted to make a sweet pie because sweet I’m a dessert queen. At first I was going to make a fruit-filled pie. And then I did. It was peach and blueberry with a crumble topping. It was great. I ate it all in 24 hours. It’s likely that it’s recipe will pop up soon right here on kbaked.com. But then I next had a hankering for a cream pie. A fluffy, wonderful pillowy refreshing pie for summer. One you could hypothetically place your head down to sleep on, should you desire.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

Cream pies are a little bit less common for those who are dairy-free to come across. So I also enjoyed the additional challenge of dreaming one up and executing it. I used canned coconut cream as a substitute for heavy whipping cream. This works magically. There are a million recipes for coconut whipped cream on the internet, so I”m not going to pretend like I made it up. If you’ve never had coconut whipped cream, you should give it a whirl. Google “coconut whipped cream” recipe and make some. Side note: it’s delightful with berries.

Papaya Mango Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free

I bought my coconut cream at (surprise surprise) Trader Joe’s for $1.49. Damn good deal. Also a good deal is the $2.99 papayas we have had in recently. Papayas have been such a nice change of pace for me as far as fruit goes. It’s like this creamy buttery mellow flavored tropical melon. Gimme.

Papaya Mango Tropical Coconut Cream Pie - Vegan & Gluten Free!

Papaya basically has the word “pie” in it, so I figured why not put it in a pie. And then I decided to add some mango for extra sweetness and a tropical flavor punch. The result is a wonderful fluffy and refreshing pie which is light and airy and fluffy and reminiscent of sitting on a beach in Cabo or something. Or sitting on your porch in Suburbia, WI. Basically the same thing right? right.

Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie. Vegan.

If you need something to lighten your spirits, tantalize your taste buds, or just something plain different to mix up the summertime dessert routine, I suggest you make this pie. Pro tip: tastes great with a whole lotta berries and a little extra crushed up graham cracker on top. Enjoy 🙂

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: at least 1 hour
Level: easy

makes one pie serving 6-8, easily halved for a mini pie

Ingredients – Crust:

  • 10 graham crackers (about 1 + 1/2 sleeves) –> for gluten-free, use gluten-free graham crackers or other plain crispy cookies
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Ingredients – Pie Filling:

  • 1 can coconut cream refrigerated at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. —> (coconut cream is available at Trader Joe’s. If you do not have a Trader Joe’s in your area, simply take a can of full fat coconut milk and place in the fridge overnight. remove solid fat portion from can for pie)
  • 1/2 large papaya (about 1.5-2 cups cubes)
  • 1 cup cubed mango (frozen or fresh)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers into crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, place in a ziplock bag and smash with a wooden spoon or rolling pin until crumbs form. Pour into a medium bowl and add sugar. Mix.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie

2. Melt coconut oil and add to graham crumbs. Mix well. Pour graham mixture into a pie dish and press into bottom and edges. Place in the refrigerator to set.

Coconut Whipped Cream  - Vegan

3. In a food processor or blender, combine cubed papaya and mango. Puree until smooth. Add sugar and puree again.

Vegan Papaya Mango Coconut Tropical Cream Pie.

4. In a large bowl using an electric beater, whip solid coconut fat from a can until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gently fold in papaya and mango puree mixture until just combined. Pour into pie dish with graham crust. Garnish with shredded coconut if desired. Place in fridge to chill for at least an hour. Enjoy :-D.

For more Pie Love from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below:

Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola

Homemade granola makes me so happy. It’s so easy and fast and sounds impressive, but is a super quick thing to throw together and munch on all week long.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

I would categorize granola as something that definitely is worth making at home. There are certain things I think are definitely easier to buy. An example of this would be hummus and almond butter. I try my best, but I can never get the texture as good as the ones from Trader Joe’s. I’ll keep working on this. In the meantime, I’ll keep cranking out granolas by hand, whether they be of the Puppy Chow variety, Nutty Gingerbread Granola, or Carrot Cake Granola. Or, in this case, Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola:

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

But homemade granola is noticeably better than store-bought. First off, it just tastes so darn fresh and wonderful. It’s also easy to customize. I like that I can add a boatload of nuts because I like a  boatload of nuts in my granola. I can also make it extra-cinnamony and not-too-sweet. And it’s wonderful and perfect and has a magnificent crunch and makes the house (or studio apartment) smell absolutely wonderful. It’s actually a staple of mine to snack on and keep around the house, which is why when the Recipe Redux challenge for May was to share a DIY household kitchen staple, I knew I had to share a recipe for granola. Easy to make, more than worth the effort, and always a delightful snack to have on hand. Yums.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free

Today I was running very low on maple syrup because my mom used like, all of mine without my knowledge. I try to remind myself that she paid for my food for 18 years of me growing which couldn’t have been cheap. But then I’m usually still sad because I am emotionally attached to all of my foods. Regardless, I ended up trying to use applesauce to replace some of the syrup. I actaully really liked the result. It gives it a nice texture and good clump-age (sounds sexy, right?) and acts as a wonderful binder without giving too much sweetness to the stuff. I’d do it again.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan and Gluten-free!

So in a way it ended up being a good thing that I was low on maple syrup. Except then I ended up at Trader Joe’s on an off day (again) which is getting embarrassing. Sometimes a girl just needs to get her homemade granola fix.

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan && Gluten-free

So here we go with this Cherry Almond Vanilla Granola. It’s a great combination of flavors. I really love almonds and cherries and they pair together quite well. Vanilla adds a warmth and sweetness to tie it all together.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups almonds  (I used slivered, because it was what I had, but you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (can sub honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a large bowl, combine oats, optional coconut shreds, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, apple sauce, brown sugar, vanilla and maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until well combine. The oats should all be a little wet. Transfer to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until nuts and oats have browned. Add cherries and almonds about 15 minutes into baking and mix well (this is optional, if desired you can add them from the get-go, I just prefer my nuts and dried cherries a little less toasted, especially if the nuts are slivered, but you can easily add them before baking). When it is done, it will still be sticky. Take it out of the oven anyways. It will harden as it cools. Enjoy 🙂

Vanilla Cherry Almond Granola. Vegan & Gluten-free!

For more DIY Kitchen Staples from fellow Recipe Redux members, click around below:

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies

Cookies equal thumbs up, at least in my book. And thumbs-up make me want thumbprints, which is a wildy appropriate cookie equivalent to match the motion I instinctively make when someone mentions cookies. So why not make Thumb Print cookies and give those the thumbs up. Am I getting too meta over here?

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies made with California Dried Plums. Vegan and Gluten-free

Moving on. I should stop playing puns and starting playing some seriously perfect cookies. I would categorize these cookies as breakfast or tea cookies. Not too sweet, filling and substantial, and satisfying without a crazy sugar buzz or gross feeling post-consumption.

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies. Vegan and Gluten Free. made with CA Dried Plums

These are super easy to make and come together quite quickly. The almond flour give them a hearty texture and lots of nutty flavor to pair nicely with the California Dried Plum filling.

California Dried Plums Almond Thumbprint Cookies. Vegan & Gluten-free

I used California Dried plums as a healthier substitute for overly-sugary jelly or jam. I honestly really love plums, and not only do they provide a wonderful plum flavor, they also bring a lovely natural sweetness to dishes as well as a nutritional boost. One serving (about 4-5 plums) provides 3 grams of fiber, a healthy dose of potassium, magnesium and more vitamin K than any other fresh or dried fruit. Got that? K great. Lol that was a terrible pun.

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies made with California Dried Plums. Vegan and Gluten-free

Fun fact, California Dried plums have also recently been shown to support healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis. I actually care about this sort of stuff because as you may or may not know, I have osteoarthritis like that of an old woman. Shout out to good shoes and physical therapy for making my daily life tolerable, but I must say I’m doing all I can to strive for good bone health, making CA Dried Plums the perfect addition to my diet.

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies made with California Dried Plums. Vegan and Gluten-free

These are super easy to make and come together quite quickly. The almond flour give them a hearty texture and lots of nutty flavor to pair nicely with the naturally sweet filling.

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies made with California Dried Plums. Vegan and Gluten-free

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 10-12 minutes
Level: easy

makes 12 small thumbprint cookies, easily doubled

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond butter (can sub other nut butter)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oat flour (can make by processing rolled oats in a food processor or blender)
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed or chia seeds + 2 tablespoons almond or soy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried California Dried plums
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small dish combine ground chia or flax seed with soy or almond milk and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine nut butter and brown sugar and mix until well combine. Add oat flour, almond meal, salt, and flax and soy milk mixture. Mix well. If mixture is still dry, add an additional tablespoon of nondairy milk.

3. For best results, allow dough to chill int he refrigerator or freezer until cold.

4. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine dried California plums, dried cherries, and water. Puree until well combine until a smooth jelly-like consistency is achieved.

5. Removed chilled dough from refrigerators and roll into 1″ inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Press a small, round indentation with your thumb in the center of each cookie. Fill each indentation with a small scoop of California plum mixture (about 1 teaspoon). Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Allow to cool and enjoy. 🙂 Thumbs up, and cookies to the face!

Almond Plum Thumbprint Cookies made with California Dried Plums. Vegan and Gluten-free

For more scrumptious recipes made with California Dried Plums, click around below:

Soba Noodle Asian Kale Salad with Soy Ginger Dressing

The April Recipe Redux challenge was to make a dish, and repurpose the leftovers of that dish for another meal. It’s like double the yummies with one grocery trip. Win.

Soba Noodle Salad Edamame Vegan

I’ve been wanting to play with Soba noodles for a while now. There’s something I love about the idea of a cold soba noodle salad.  I also love anything covered in gingery-soy dressing. Which is why I go to half price sushi every week with my mom and order a salad just so I can DRINK the ginger dressing they put on top. And then when the server comes to clear my bowl I hoard my bowl like “NO! I NEED THAT DRESSING!” so I can dip my sushi into it and soak up every last drop. I’m boarderline insane. Or just really weird. Or both. Anyways, SOBA:

Soba Noodle Salad  Vegan

I used my leftover Asian Kale Salad, added it to some cooked soba noodles, used the same dressing, and threw on some tempeh (could sub tofu or omit completely), and viola! Meal 2.0 was born, drenched in soy gingery goodness.

Asian Kale Salad Edamame Soy Ginger

Okay so I need to relax about my dressing obsession; regardless, this is a healthy, refreshing, yet filling and nourishing meal. The soba noodles were a welcome change of pace for me. I actually really loved the unique buckwheat flavor. They have a bit of a heartier feel to them than regular noodles, yet all the slippery slidy mouthfeel. Another bonus was that they cooked in 4 minutes are a source whole grain. Yay whole grains! #carbs5ever

Soba Noodle Salad Edamame Vegan tofu

Combine with the crunch from the Asian Kale Salad, the edamame, and the tofu, it makes for a power-meal that will keep you going for hours wtihout feeling icky or weighed down. This is like a bowl of power noodlez, y’all.

Soba Noodle Salad Edamame Vegan

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-5 minutes
Level: easy

serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups soba noodles, cooked (about 4″ in diameter, uncooked)
  • 1 cup Asian Kale Salad
  • 1/2 cup Sesame Soy Ginger Dressing
  • 3/4 cup tempeh or tofu, cubed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro or green onions (optional)
  • hot sauce or Sriracha (optional)

Directions:

1. Cook soba noodles according to direction on package. Drain and allow to cool. Transfer to bowl.

soba noodles

2. Pour 1/2 cup Sesame Soy Ginger Dressing on noodles and stir until noodles are lightly coated. Add Asian Kale salad and toss again.

Soba Noodle Salad  Vegan

3. Cube tempeh or tofu and use to top noodles. Chop cilantro or green onions and add to noodle bowl. Add hot sauce or Sriracha as desired. Enjoy~!

Soba Noodle Salad Edamame  Vegan

For more make one, eat twice ideas, click around below! Happy eating :-).

Black Rice Black Bean Beet Burgers

[Disclosure:  “I received a gift card to purchase the rice used in the development of the recipe in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by USA Rice Federation and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”]

Black Bean Black Rice Beet Burger 1

Lately I’ve been HUNGRY. Long days make a girl want to eat eat eat until the cows come home. Actually what keeps happening is I won’t think I’m hungry until I actually sit down and start eating. Then once I’ve finished a normal amount of food my body goes, “omg. i’m starving. keep feeding me plz.” and so I oblige and munch the night away.

Black Rice Black Bean Beet Burgers Vegan kbaked

So on nights like those nights – after a long work day or maybe a day I went on a run (which hasn’t been in a while but whatevs), I want something to fill me up for more than 10 minutes, which isn’t always an easy task. I tend to be a nibbler and grazer as apposed to what biology refers to as a “bulk eater” but every so often I just need a burger, ya feel me? And since I don’t eat meat and/or dairy, the word “burger” has a slightly different meaning than it may to another human being.

BLACK BEAN BLACK RICE BURGERS BEETs

To me, burger means a (meatless) hearty, spicy, nourishing and satisfying tasty savory thing that tastes good with hot sauce and ketchup. Those are my only requirements. Other than that I’m pretty open to many different types of veggie burgers. I grew up eating lots of frozen veggie burgers and always loved them for taste and convenience reasons, and recently, I’ve been more and more curious about experimenting with making my own.

BLACK BEAN BLACK RICE BURGERS BEETs 3

I think one of the keys to a good veggie burger is the addition of some grains of goodness. And y’all know by now that black rice is one of my FAVORITE grains of all times. I love Black Rice Salads, like the Rainbow Black Rice Salad and this Autumn Black Rice Salad, as well as in pudding, so today, I decided to put it in a burger.

Black Bean Black Rice Beet Burger 9

Black rice is not only full of protein and fiber, it is naturally gluten free, convenient, and has been shown to lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease when part of a healthy diet. It’s no secret that I adore healthy carbohydrate sources, and black rice is such a powerhouse I can fully endorse others to Think Rice when looking for a nourishing grain option. I especially love black rice for it’s unique nutty taste and al dente texture, and gorgeous purply hue. In fact, this huge inspired me to pair it with beets to make a 50 shades-of-purple-type burger, and rounded out the root veggies and rice with some hearty black beans for an added boost of protein, fiber, and flavor. I used U.S. grown rice for this recipe.

BLACK BEAN BLACK RICE BURGERS BEETs 2

The result? A delicious, hearty, healthy veggie burger that is sweet, spicy, and satisfying. The recipe makes about 6 veggie patties, making it the perfect meal to make for dinner one night and have leftover lunches ready to go for the next few days. That is, if you can prevent yourself from eating all 6 at once.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour (includes cooking rice and baking burgers)
Level: easy

makes about 6 burgers, serving 3-6 depending on hunger level 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked US-grown black rice (approximately 3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked beets
  • 1/2 onion or 1 scallion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, almonds, or pecans (or other nut, I used walnut)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (reduce or omit if you don’t like spice!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (reduce or omit if you don’t like spice!)
  • 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon Sriracha or other hot sauce based on personal spice level preference

Directions:

1. Cook black rice according to package. I usually use a 2:1 ratio of water:rice and cook for about 30 minutes until al dente. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Chop onion or scallion and rinse and drain beans. Cook beets if needed as desires (can be cubed and roasted at 425 for about 25-35 minutes and/or boiled whole for 45-60 minutes). Peel beets. Personally I just used a steamed peeled package from Trader Joe’s. Canned would also work). Once beets are cooked, process in a food processor or blender into fine pieces.

3. In a food processor or blender pulse walnuts into a crumbly meal. Stop before it becomes the consistency of a nut butter.

3. In a large bowl combine cooked rice, beet shreds, beans, onion, flax, walnut meal, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and Sriracha. Mash slightly (I like my beans a little chunky in the burgers still, but it’s up to you!) with a potato masher and/or whisk and mix together until well combine.

Black Rice Black Bean Beet Burgers Vegan kbaked 3

4. Using your hands, take about 1/4th to 1/3rd cup mixture at a time and shape into a patty, about 1/4th inch thick. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with rest of mixture.

5. Bake on a middle rack for 30-40 minutes until crisped lightly on edges. Remove from oven and enjoy on a delicious bun with toppings of your choice, or as is.

 Black Bean Black Rice Beet Burger  3

For more Recipes to Inspire you to Think Rice, click around below:

Chocolate Nut Clusters with Sea Salt & Raw Sugar

Chocolate with nuts is my absolute favorite chocolate combination EVER. As both a chocolate addict and a nut lover, when they collide, I am euphoric. You may as well call me powerless before a bag of dark chocolate covered almonds. Specifically the ones from Trader Joe’s.

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And as far as sweet treats go, chocolate and nuts aren’t such a bad thing. Nuts are full of healthy fats essential for brain function and dark chocolate has all sorts of antioxidants, as well as more fiber, protein and iron than you’d expect, which is why I feel no remorse enjoying a daily cup of hot cocoa.

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That’s why when the Recipe Redux challenge for February was to share a recipe involving your favorite chocolate pairing, while I could think of a million chocolate combinations I enjoy, none could trump chocolate and nuts.

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Take that a step further with chocolate covered nuts with salt. That extra punch brings out the best of both worlds, and you can bet your bottom dollar I will buy anything with the words “chocolate” “nuts” and “salt” in the title. Done. Sold. Gimme.

Here I add another element of crunch and intrigue with some raw sugar. It has the same gritty yet pleasant textural appeal as salt, but adds another depth of flavor to the treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Pound Plus chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts of choice (I used a mix of equal parts pecan and walnut)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (can also use butter)
  • 2  tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt

Directions:

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Chop nuts and place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, microwave coconut oil until melted. Add maple syrup and sti. Pour onto nuts and mix until nuts are evenly coated. Sprinkle raw sugar and mix again. Allow to sit until coconut oil has cooled and sugar is sticking to nuts, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, microwave chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until melted. Allow to cool slightly, about 3-4 minutes. Pour chocolate over nut mixture and mix well until nuts are covered with chocolate.

3. Using two spoons or a small ice cream scooper, transfer small amounts of nut mixture onto baking sheets in clusters of desired size. Before chocolate has set, sprinkle more raw sugar and raw sea salt over the top of the clusters.

4. Place clusters in the fridge and allow chocolate to set, at least 15-20 minutes. Remove from fridge and enjoy!

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For more Chocolate Goodness from other members of the Recipe Redux, click around below!

Spicy Apple Jicama Salad

Some of the best food inventions are a results of accidents. I stand by this theory. Like this Puppy Chow Granola that came about on a long day after a cookie fluke. I swear some of the craziest food combos are created when people drop things or try to make due with what they have around.

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This salad is no different. It’s a creation inspired by happenstance. Allow me to explain. My sister is obsessed with making this salad with roasted shredded Brussels sprouts, lemon juice, apples, and dried cranberries. When I was at her house last week, she was slicing some lemon for the dressing. I then used the same knife to cut the apple. Then I nibbled on some apple. And I realized how delicious citrus juice tastes on cold, crunchy apple slices. Tangy, sweet perfection.

 Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.03.08 AM

This lovely flavor combination inspired me to start rubbing leftover limes (I made a key lime pie for my bday on Saturday) on all my apple slices. Delicious. It’s a mash up that tastes refreshingly tropical.

While I was munchin on this for lunch a few days ago, I was also brainstorming what I should make for the January Recipe Redux challenge, which was “Start Smoking in 2015,” which is a pretty punny way to say we were encouraged to create dishes with smokey or spicy undertones. I decided to try the apple/lime combo with a variety of spices. I tried smoked paprika, spicy paprika, turmeric, curry, Sriracha and even taco sauce just to place with the whole spicy lime apple flavor palate (also, I’m weird and put hot sauce in many places it shouldn’t be). Anyways, chili powder was the standout winner. It adds an unexpected contrast to the sweet yet tangy Pink Lady apples. It’s kind of like those ladies who sell sliced mango with chili powder and hot sauce in Union Square. Except in the comfort of your own home and no hassle of carrying a zip-lock baggie of juicy drippy messy mangos down the street and/or awkwardly trying to consume them on the subway.

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.39.05 PM

I reasoned that jicama would make a *~*delightful*~* crunchy companion to the apples. Next I threw in a little arugula for a pop of color, and some roasted sunflower seeds for an earthy flavor to balance the other taste elements going on, and and because in general I love nuts in salads (and everything). #nutcrazy. The salad ended up being a delicious, sweet, tangy, crunchy, spicy, and intriguing side dish that is totally addicting. It’s one of those things you want to just keep eating to try to figure it out. It’s a bit infatuating. Much like scrolling through pictures of your puppy on your cell phone.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.01.16 AM

I highly encourage you to step outside of your usual side-dish / salad comfort zone and give this recipe a go. It’s the ultimate combination of flavorful fruit, vegetables, seeds, and spices, and the flavor combination will inspire you to try new things. Enjoy!

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 8.38.25 PM

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Level: Easy

serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup jicama, cut into matchsticks (1 small or 1/2 a large jicama)
  • 1 1/2 cup pink lady apples (about 2 apples)
  • 1 cup arugula or baby kale
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

1. Chop jicama and apples into match-stick pieces of roughly even size. Place in a bowl. Juice limes and add lime juice. Sprinkle with chili powder and toss until all pieces of jicama and apple are evenly coated with lime juice.

2. Add arugula and sunflower seeds. Toss again. Sprinkle with dried cranberries if desired. You can also drizzle a bit of honey, agave, or maple syrup if you want to bump up the sweetness a bit.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 12.09.27 AM

3. EAT ! 😀

For more smoky, spicy dishes to heat up your January, click around below !

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Walnut Butter Brownies with Cherries

The other day I took a first attempt at the brownies that #broketheinternet: The Black Bean Brownie. I made mine Almond Joy-ish. They were good, but I still prefer my brownies bean-less. That said, they were still nommy, I scratched something off my enormous baking bucket list, and now I’m on a brownie kick. Giddy up.

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So less than a week since then, I have another biggg yummy batch of brownies at my disposal. This batch was inspired by two things: 1) The December Recipe Redux Challenge. 2) My favorite brownie combo of all times (chocolate + cherry + walnuts).

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This month The Recipe Redux turns 42 months old. Congrats ! So their challenge was to “Grab a book and Cook,” meaning grab the closest cookbook, open to page 42 or 142 and redux the recipe. Pretty fun, huh?! Well, while searching for ornaments from the depths of my basement, I came across some of my grandma’s ancient cookbooks. I was also lucky enough to uncover some of her notebooks full of her own recipes, which are so invaluable I could cry. She was a brilliant innovator, cook, and creator, with ideas and food hunches far beyond her time. More on this in another post. Anyways, I picked up and was immediately amused by her yellowing, original Betty Crocker Cookbook. Oh my gosh, it has all the classic, unhealthy butter old-school desserts you could ever want as well as some comments that would probably offend most working women of this generation. When I hit page page 42, a recipe for “Cocoa Brownies with Walnuts” stared me back in the face.

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I have to admit I was thrilled to have an excuse to make another batch of brownies. Making them the other day really reminded me how much I love them. The brownies in the Betty Crocker Recipe were full of butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and refined white flour. Mine are a bit revamped and given a modern, semi-sophisticated twist by using walnut butter as a fat, which I made by pureeing walnuts into a nut butter in my food processor to avoid spending $14 on a jar of walnut butter. #win #DIY.

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The walnut butter provides healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats, as well as all the Omega’s you could ever want or need from a brownie. You know how much I love those #MUFAs and #PUFAs baby. I also reduced all the eggs/excess sugar/refined flour in the original recipe, replacing white flour with oat flour, and lowering the sugar without loosing flavor. Melting Baker’s chocolate is the KEY to delicious brownies, and adds a ton of flavor and a delicious fudginess that simply can’t be beat, so I added that to the original recipe, kept the cocoa powder (because as I discuss here, it’s practically a superfood), and added chocolate chips for more chocolate goodness and texture, and more walnuts and dried cherries, for flavor, texture, and simply because chocolate + cherry = one of my all-time favorite combinations.

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The end result was a fudgy, delicious, gluten-free and vegan brownie that could satisfy any chocolate craving in a single square, but won’t leave you feeling icky or gross. I really ended up loving the walnut butter as the fat, as it gave it a nice, nutty flavor that made the brownies intriguing to the palate, and feel super grown-up and fancy without tasting like it was trying too hard.

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These wonderful chocolate nuggets are perfect for the holidays, or really anyday. Because Katy Perry says you should make it like your birthday *~*everyday*~* and I have to say I totally agree with her. My mantra as of late has been “be as nice to yourself as you would to your friend.” So #treatyoself with yummy, healthy food every day, and do things that make you happy. Today for me this means, brownies, hot chocolate, my pups, and watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay on YouTube. Hope your day is as awesome as mine. Happy holidays and happy eating!

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Level: Easy

makes on 9″ square pan of brownies, roughly 12 servings 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts, divided into 1 1/4 cup to make butter and additional 1/4 cup to mix in
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4-6 ounces Baker’s chocolate (depending on desired chocolate-y-ness)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds or flax seeds
  • 1 cup oat flour or other flour (I make oat flour by processing one cup rolled oats in a food processor until a powder forms)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place 1 1/4 cup walnuts and a tablespoon of water in a food processor or blender and puree until a thick nut butter forms. When it looks like peanut butter, it’s done. Transfer to a large bowl and add brown sugar. Mix well.

2. Cut Baker’s chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl and melt in the microwave by heating in 30 second increments, mixing between each increment, roughly 1-2 minutes total, until smooth and melted. Set aside and allow to cool to cool slightly.

3. Place almond milk and chia seeds or flax in a cup and allow to thicken, at least 10 minutes.

4. In a large bowl, combine oat flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Whisk together well.

5. Once chocolate has cooled slightly (lukewarm is fine), pour into the walnut butter and brown sugar mix and mix well until chocolate is well combine. Add flour/cocoa mixture to the bowl and slowly add the almond milk mixture. Mix gently until well combine into a batter.

6. Add chocolate chips, dried cherries, and additional 1/4 cup walnuts. Pour into a lightly oiled or parchment lined 9″ baking pan.  Top with even more walnuts if you’re as walnut crazy as I am.

7. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted and removed in the center of the pan. EAT.

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For more Page 42 challenge posts from fellow members of The Recipe Redux, click around below !

Oatmeal Raisin Cinnamon Roll Cookies

[Disclosure]: “By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Raisin Marketing Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Truth time: the first time I attempted to make these cookies, I totally forgot I had them in the oven until I smelled a lovely wafting burning scent making its way into my shower, approximately 45 minutes later. As I was shampooing my dreadlocks, I wondered what smelled like burning. Couldn’t figure it out. Continued to take my leisurely shower.

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Then, halfway through my conditioning routine, I remembered: THE COOKIES! THE RAISIN CINNAMON ROLL COOKIES! That was what was burning. Oops.

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So yes, my first batch was totally, shall we say crispy, but burning the first batch gave me an opportunity to bake again and eat more cookie dough. So I guess I can’t even be that mad about the whole situation. Because who doesn’t love more cookie dough to eat? No one, that’s who.

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 These cookies are a play on oatmeal raisin cookies. Which I love dearly and think are terribly neglected and underrated. Yes, I love chocolate and chocolate chips. But there is also something about an oatmeal raisin cookie that I simply adore. Squishy sweet raisins and soft and chewy oats. It pleases every square centimeter of my textural-contrast-loving-mouth.

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So when presented with a Recipe Redux challenge to make something naturally sweet using California Raisins, I instantly thought of oatmeal raisin cookies. Being me, I wanted to give them a twist and had happened to see many drool-worthy pictures of cinnamon rolls on Instagram that morning, sparking an idea to make a rolled-up-log of cinnamon roll cookies, slice them, and make cookies that are sort-of look like cinnamon rolls.

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The California Raisins add such a wonderful juiciness and natural sweetness that the cookie dough truly doesn’t need much sugar.  The dough itself is quite good with almond butter or coconut oil (I made them both ways, and loved them both) and full of oaty goodness to fuel you up and provide plenty of mouthfeel. These cookies feel satisfying, not junky, and are the perfect little treat as an afternoon pick-me-up, dessert, or even breakfast. Also, they’re pretty fun to make, and a unique little twist if you feel like mixin’ up your routine of traditional oatmeal raisin cookies. They are also vegan, gluten-free, far less sugary and more nutritious than your average cookie, full of fiber, potassium, and iron courtesy of the California Raisins. Extra bonus: raisins are cheap, and you know how I love a deal. These cookies also have some quality healthy fats, and a substantial dose of one of the most important nutrients: Vitamin Y (yum).

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That may have been my worst joke yet, so I’m going to sign off now. Have a lovely day and make some cookies, and may you remember their presence in the oven before filling the house with the scent of burning carbs.  Peace, love, and raisins, from your friend at kbaked.com.

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Prep Time: 2 hours (includes chilling dough)

Cook Time: 12-15 minutes

Level: Easy

Yields 16-20 cookies

Ingredients – Cookies:

  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour (can make using 1 1/4 cup rolled oats processed into a flour in food processor or blender)
  • 1 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter, peanut butter, coconut oil, or nondairy butter spread or butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (or one single-serve) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk

Ingredients – Filling:

  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup California raisins

Directions:

1.In a large bowl, combine oat flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Mix well. Add almond butter or coconut oil, brown sugar, and applesauce, almond milk and mix again. Add rolled oats and mix until a soft dough forms.

2.Roll dough into a large bowl and chill until firm in the refrigerator, about an hour. You can speed this up by putting the dough in the freezer if you’d like.

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3.On a clean surface, roll dough into a large rectangle using a rolling pin.

4. Melt coconut oil or butter in a small microwave safe dish. In another small bowl, combine cinnamon and granulated sugar. Brush the dough rectangle with melted coconut oil.

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5.Cover dough with cinnamon and sugar mix.

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6.Cover the cinnamon and sugar layer with raisins.

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7.Roll the dough from one end of the rectangle to the other into a large log.

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8.Chill the log until firm, another 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

9.Slice dough into 1/3 inch thick slices and place on a baking sheet. Place cookies in the oven for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown and puffy.

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10.EAT.

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For more recipes made with California Raisins, click around below !

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 ! 🙂