Chickpea Salad

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Earlier this week we had a hint of fall weather – or at least temperatures just under 80.  After the past few weeks of 100+ heat with humidity, it was a welcomed break!  I know I say this all the time but fall rocks.  However, we’re not quite there yet and the temperatures are steadily creeping back up into the mid to upper 90’s.  *Sigh* I guess we’ll have to wait a few more weeks.  Until then I’ll probably stick with my rule of at least one smoothie a day (seriously necessary cool-down and super delicious) as well as giant salads and anything that does not involve turing the oven/stove on.  Enter this chickpea salad.  Quick, easy, COOL, and does not require any sort of heated surface to prepare.  Checks all the boxes, and it’s also delicious!  But some things should go without saying :)

I have to admit, I haven’t been buying bags of dry beans, soaking, and cooking them in bulk like I usually do.  Like I said, I don’t want to turn the stove on.  So I’ve been cheating and buying canned beans.  Shhhhhh!!! In all honesty, can you blame a girl?  I plan on going back to my bean prepping process as soon as the temperature stays steadily under the boiling point.  Until then I’ll enjoy the rest of summer by going on walks/runs in the sunshine, coming home from work at 8 and still having some sunlight, and most importantly, eating all the delicious seasonal produce with minimal cooking preparation.  Who’s with me 😉

 

Chickpea Salad 

Who needs chicken…this chickpea salad is every bit as delicious and packed with all the added benefits of eating beans.  It takes less than 5 minutes to throw together so I recommend doubling the recipe and sharing it with friends and family, or simply having leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.  

2 cans chickpeas or 4 cups cooked chickpeas

1/2 cup diced sweet pepper

1/4 cup diced celery

2 Tbsp chopped chives

1 clove garlic, minced fine

1 Tbsp spicy brown mustard

1/3 cup mayo*

salt and pepper, to taste

optional additions:

1/2 cup diced grapes

1/4 cup toasted pecans

 

*use vegan mayo to make this entirely plant based

 

Directions:

  1.  Rinse and drain the chickpeas.  Gently dry by spreading out on a paper towel or dishtowel and gently rolling the tops with another towel.
  2.  Crush the chickpeas with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon.  You want them roughly crushed, not totally flat.
  3. Add all the ingredients to a bowl, and mix until combined.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

 

Spicy Refried Black Beans

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I’m a huge fan of Mexican food: burritos, tacos, fajitas, I love it all!  Growing up I used to hate Mexican night, just because it always meant I had to wash a million different bowls for all the different toppings.  We had a dishwasher but my mom always insisted on using nice pottery bowls to put the various ingredients in, meaning lots and lots of washing.  Now I make a point to use dishwasher safe plates and utensils on Mexican night and I’m one happy girl!

Besides the heaps of dirty dishes, I never liked canned refried beans.  They always tasted like tinny gruel to me.  Luckily I’ve discovered the perfect refried bean recipe that is easy to make and will blow any pre-made refried beans out of the water. I created this recipe out of desperate need to find uses for all the hot peppers growing in my garden.  This year my dad went a bit crazy, planing over 4 varieties of spicy peppers and they are producing like crazy!  I love the spice of these beans with sweet corn, grilled and cut off the cob 😉

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Spicy Refried Black Beans

2 cans black beans, or about 4 cups cooked black beans + 3/4 cup black bean cooking water

4-6 spicy peppers of your choice (depending on how much heat you like)*

1 yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

* make sure you taste a small piece of the peppers you are using to see how hot they are.  The heat of a hot pepper is determined by the conditions and soil that they are grown in, so even the same type can have vastly different heat levels.

Directions:

  1.  Carefully dice the hot peppers, trying to avoid touching the seeds.  If the peppers are super hot, the seeds will burn your hands.
  2.  Add the oil and diced onion peppers to a pan and saute until onions are translucent.  Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
  3.  Add the black beans, juice from the can and all if using canned beans, and bring to a simmer.  Stir in the cumin and salt.
  4.  Cook at a simmer uncovered, stirring every few minutes, for 40-50 minutes, or until most of the water evaporates and the beans have a thick consistency.

 

2 Ingredient Chocolate Soft-Serve

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With temperatures in the upper 90’s the past week, I’ve been eating smoothies like a fiend.  Sometimes I’ve been having 2 a day!  There’s nothing better in the heat than diving into a giant, cold, refreshing smoothie.  Lately I’ve been making a watermelon cherry chia smoothie with homemade almond butter that’s to die for.  If you’ve never tried freezing watermelon and using it in smoothies you need to asap.  It’s my secret to making creamy, frosty, vanilla-y shakes that are out of this world!  Why watermelon adds a vanilla flavor to smoothies I don’t know, but I just go with it.  Or maybe it’s because I also add vanilla extract.  Whatever.  Point is frozen watermelon is delicious and you should get on that trend.

Now that I’ve gotten totally off topic, let’s go back to what this post is really about.  Because as it turns out, there IS something better (or at least on the same level) as diving into a giant, cold, refreshing smoothie in the heat of summer.  Chocolate soft serve.

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I have yet to meet someone who does not like ice cream.  Now I love all kinds of ice cream, hard, soft, and blended in milkshake form.  Today is all about soft-serve, and how you can whip up this delicious treat with only two ingredients.  You read correctly, two ingredients.  It’s fast, easy, and super healthy.  To spare you the suspense this frozen dessert is made with frozen ripe bananas and cocoa powder.  That’s it!  What’s the trick?

  1.  Make sure you are freezing super ripe bananas.  You want those banana peels to be very spotted, almost black, before freezing so they are super sweet.
  2. Choose a high-quality cocoa powder.  Because there are only two ingredients in this recipe, make them count!  The cocoa really shines here so choose a brand that delivers in the flavor department.
  3. Use a high-speed blender.  I know all of you don’t have a high-speed blender, but it really makes a difference.  I use my vitamix at least once a day and can’t imagine my life without it.  You can use a food processor, however you won’t quite reach the utter smooth, creamy, light texture that a high-speed blender achieves. (don’t get me wrong, it will still be amazing :)

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That’s it!  You don’t have to be a gourmet chief or cheat on your diet to enjoy this treat!  Personally I hate “diets”.  This ice cream is my diet.  Get on my level!!!

 

Two Ingredient Chocolate Soft Serve

serves one

2 frozen, super ripe bananas

2-3 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

Add everything to the base of a high-speed blender and starting on the lowest setting, blend using the stick to move everything around.  Slowly increase the speed until a smooth, even consistency is achieved.  Pour in your favorite glass/bowl and enjoy!

Grain-free Pesto Pasta and Meatballs with Sauteed Garden Veggies

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Have you seen the zoodle craze going around the food blog world right now?  This popular trend of taking a zucchini and using a spiralizer or peeler to make long, thin “noodles” as a healthy low-carb alternative to pasta seems to be just about everywhere.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love myself a good plate of zoodles.  I even have multiple recipes for zoodle dishes!  However, when you crave pasta, don’t think a big bowl of spiralized zucchini is going to cut it.  Because at the end of the day, they are simply zucchini; tasty in their own way, but not worthy of filling the pasta stomach pang.  Enter garbanzo bean noodles.

I found this brand of pasta, Banza, made out of garbanzo beans a few months ago.  It was love at first bite!  Here is a grain-free, low-carb, high-protein alternative to pasta that actually has the taste AND texture of regular pasta.  Winning!  The first time I made this past winter, I whipped it up with some meatballs and opened a jar of my homegrown, homemade sauce from last summer.  The dish was everything you want out of a pasta bowl and more!

Now that it is summer (and I am currently out of my jarred sauce from last year and impatiently awaiting my tomato plants to start producing!), I opted to whip up a batch of pesto from my rapidly growing basil plants and sauté some garden-fresh zucchini and farmers market tomatoes.  Of course I lined my plate with fresh cut chard and kale from my garden before piling up the pasta, which you don’t have to do.  But let’s be real…we everything tastes better with kale 😉

I promise that when I say “swap your regular wheat pasta with this healthy low-carb, high-protein bean pasta – you won’t be able to tell the difference”  I mean it! This stuff is the real deal, and when combined with my pesto, meatballs, and sautéed garden veggies – you got yourself a total show-stopper meal!

 

Grain-Free Pesto Pasta and Meatballs with Sautéed Garden Veggies

serves 4

1 box Banza pasta

1/2 batch basil-hemp pesto (recipe follows)

8 classic meatballs, heated (recipe follows)

1 recipe sauteed garden veggies (recipe follows)

chopped raw kale and chard, or greens of choice for plating – optional

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to instructions on the box.  Drain and return to the pot.  Add the pesto and meatballs, stir well.  Plate the pasta and meatballs on greens if desired, then top each plate with a healthy portion of sauteed garden veggies.  Enjoy!

**I was not paid to advertise for Banza, all opinions are my own.

 

Basil-Hemp Pesto
2 cups loosley packed basil leaves

1/3 cup hemp seeds, toasted*

2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil + more as needed

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup pecorino romano cheese

*to toast the hemp seeds, line a baking pan with tin foil and spread the seeds out flat in one layer.  Bake at 350 for 5-7 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until seeds are golden brown.

Directions:

Add the basil, hemp seeds, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil to the base of a high speed blender and process until smooth.  Add the cheese last and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add more oil if a thinner consistency is desired.

 

 

Classic Meatballs

1 lb free-range ground beef

1 lb free-range ground pork

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese

2 large eggs

1/2 cup breadcrumbs*

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

*I make my own breadcrumbs from two slices of sprouted bread.  I simply bake the bread until it is dry, then break it up and add it to a food processor to turn into breadcrumbs.  For a grain-free version you can sup almond flour for the breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line a rimmed baking pan with tin foil.

Add all the ingredients to a large bowl and mix by hand until just combined.  Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls either by hand or with a melon scoop.  Place in the lined baking pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before storing the leftovers.  These keep in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

 

Sautéed Garden Veggies

2 small green zucchini, organic skin-on

2 cups organic cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley

1 Tbsp fresh chopped oregano

1 Tbsp fresh chopped chives

Directions:

Add the oil and onions to a pan and saute over medium heat until onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about a minutes.  Add the zucchini and tomatoes, turn the heat down to medium low, and cover the pan.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes or so until veggies are tender.  Add the fresh herbs and cook another minute, then season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm.

Grain-free Spring Primavera Pasta with Almond-Chard Pesto

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It’s finally feeling like spring!  The trees are in full bloom and the temperature has been getting over 60.  Not every day, but the important part is winter has officially ended. Of course this morning I had to scrape frost off my windshield, but minor detail.  If my kale seedlings can handle the weather (little guys are sitting on my deck getting ready to go in the ground tomorrow!!), then I’m ok with it.  Gardening season is right around the corner which means fresh home-grown produce is within site.  I seriously LOVE gardening and vegetables.  Of course my jobs get in the way of my gardening time.  Maybe I should have my clients help dig up the garden, carry bags of dirt, and plant for their workouts?  It’s probably one of the best workouts around AND super productive!  As a fitness professional, I’d say that’s a win-win :)

 

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So back to this dish.  Pure heaven.  Green goddess pasta. Food for the soul.  There is something super comforting about pasta, and ever since I gave up your traditional wheat pasta there has been a void in my life that I haven’t been able to fill.  I recently started eating sprouted grains, therefore sprouted flour pastas, but I found they are not quite the same as your regular pasta.  A few weeks ago I discovered Banza pasta and haven’t looked back!  It’s a pasta made out of garbanzo bean flour making it high protein and high fiber, so nothing not to love.  And to my delight it has the perfect pasta texture!  I swear you could fool anyone with this stuff.  It looks, feels, and tastes like regular white pasta but it’s so much better for you.  Yes, I’m a bit of a health freak 😉

Not only is the pasta itself super healthy but it’s filled with all my favorite spring veggies; asparagus, peas, broccoli, and mushrooms, while dressed in a tantalizingly delicious almond-chard pesto.  Using swiss chard to make pesto yields a very light, slightly sweet sauce that I love to use when I want the flavors of the actual dish to shine through.  Basil pesto, kale pesto, and others I make have a much stronger flavor that are delicious in their own right, but tend to mask the brightness of the fresh seasonal veggies.  Also it’s sortave badass to say you made pesto out of swiss chard.  One of the best conversations starters, you’re welcome.

 

Grain-Free Spring Primavera Pasta with Almond-Chard Pesto

1 box banza pasta (or 8oz pasta of choice)

1 lb broccili florets, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 lb baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thin

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 cup spring peas (frozen or fresh)

1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces

olive oil

salt

pepper

1 recipe Almond-Chard Pesto (recipe follows)

 

Directions:

  1.  Add the onion and about a tablespoon of olive oil to a pan and saute over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and a dash of salt.  Saute, stirring often, until the mushrooms sweat out and all the liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.
  2. While the mushrooms are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add the banaza pasta and cook according to directions on the pot.  With 3 minutes left in the pasta cooking, add the broccoli, asparagus, and peas to the water.
  3. Drain the contents of the pot then add them back into the same pot and stir in the mushrooms and pesto.  Serve warm.

 

 

Almond-Chard Pesto

2 cups chopped swiss chard leaves

1/2 cup almonds, toasted

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/8 tsp sea salt

dash cayenne pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

 

Directions:

Pulse the almonds and garlic in the base of a food processor or high speed blender until a crumbly texture forms.  Add the lemon juice, swiss chard, and olive oil. Blend until smooth.  Add the salt, pepper, and cheese last and blend until just incorporated.

 

Sprouted Soda Bread

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Hello friends!

Today is the day I launch soda bread from a traditional St. Patty’s day food that is only made in March to a year-round staple.  Because in all honesty, this bread is freking delicious and should be enjoyed year round and not only for one month.  Growing up I was always super pumped for St. Patricks day solely because of soda bread.  Sure as a kid I loved the idea of magical leprechauns and shiny green hats (yes I was strange), however the crowning jewel of this holiday was Irish soda bread.  I would eat it as often as I could for the few weeks leading up to the holiday because I knew once March 17th passed there would be no more.

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To this day I associate St. Patty’s day with soda bread.  This year was a bit nutty and I actually made my first loaf AFTER the holiday.  Crazy I know!  It got me thinking that something this good should be all the time.  The real reason was I started slicing it thin, toasting it, slathering it with homemade orange turmeric hummus, adding a generous amount of beet greens and topping the whole shabang with a fried egg and some chives. And I kindave became addicted. So one loaf became two and so on.  Slathered with pasture raised butter or coconut oil is also a delicious option.  Just saying.

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So why sprouted?

Sprouted grains is by far the best (and I believe only) way to eat them.  First of all, sprouting grains helps get rid of the naturally occuring phytic acid that is found in all grains and causes digestive discomfort.  This acid is naturally occurring to prevent the grains from growing before it is their time and also to deter animals from eating the seed.  Not only does sprouting remove the phytic acid, but it also increases the  nutrients inside the grain, making them little powerhouses of vitamins and minerals that you would not gain from the regular dry grain.  Think about the chemical reactions that occur when a seed sprouts.  It is going from a dormant material to providing life and growing into a plant!  There’s some serious nutrition involved in that process and by eating the grain in that state you are gaining all the benefits.

I buy my flour sprouted because I currently don’t have a system to sprout, dehydrate, and grind my own, however eventually I hope to make my own. You can make this recipe with regular wheat flour, but remember all the added health benefits of sprouted flour!  Get excited about your health; it can be delicious.  And pass the word…soda bread is in year round :)

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Sprouted Soda Bread

2 1/2 cups sprouted flour of choice *

1-1/4 cups milk of choice (organic dairy, almond, coconut, your choice!)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

*I used a mix of sprouted khorasan flour and red fife; that’s why the bread is marbled.  Any variety of sprouted wheat flour will work, as well as regular flour

Directions:

  1.  Mix the milk with the lemon juice.  Stir to combined then let sit for 5 minutes to curdle.  Get over how gross that sounds and know it’s going to make delicious bread.
  2.  Sift the flour then gently mix in 1 cup of the buttermilk.  You want a wet batter, however one that holds together.  If the batter is too dry add more milk one tablespoon at a time.
  3.  Allow the dough to sit covered for 4-24 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 F.  Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  5. Fold or knead in the baking soda and salt.  If the dough is to wet, add a pinch of flour while kneading.  If too dry, add a tablespoon of milk.
  6. Form into a round loaf and place on the parchment paper.
  7. Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 F for another 25-30 minutes.  The bread is done when it is golden brown.
  8. Cool completely on a wire rack and enjoy!

Flourless Chocolate Cake (with a secret ingredient!)

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Today I give you chocolate cake.  Because as far as I’m concerned it’s necessary.  Everyone needs chocolate cake with chocolate frosting in their life every once and awhile, and this cake is rich, decadent, and super chocolaty.  You’re welcome.

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For Valentine’s Day this year I decided I wanted to make a classic chocolate cake.  As much as I love my raw chocolate cheesecake, this year I wanted a baked cake slathered in way to much frosting.  I’ve always loovvvveed frosting.  I was that kid at birthday parties fighting for the end piece with the most frosting roses!  Ironically now I can’t handle eating tons of sugar at once, but every once in a while the cake and frosting craving hits.  Hard.

I went out on a limb with this cake, deciding I wanted to make it out of beans.  Hey, I’ve made cookie dough dip out of garbanzo beans and flatbread out of red lentils so why not a chocolate cake out of black beans?  While I knew it was a stretch I gave it a go anyway.  Somehow I nailed it on the first try and Nick and I had one hell of a Valentine’s Day dessert!!

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Since then I’ve made this cake a few more times and every one was devoured without my friends and family knowing this cake is totally flourless and made of beans. Only after everyone raved about how tasty it was did I tell them my little secret.  Nobody could believe it!  Healthy meets happy in every slice of this cake and it will leave you totally satisfied, chocolate craving cured and your kick-ass cake filling met.  I already have one of these bad boys made, sliced, and frozen ready for easter this Sunday.  I love cooking and baking in advanced when I know I am super busy before a holiday, and this cake freezes well.

Wether you are looking add some healthy treats to your diet or simply want to spice up your cake collection, try this flourless chocolate cake!

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Flourless Chocolate Cake

makes 2 6″ cakes

 

2 cans black beans, rinsed or about 4 cups cooked black beans

6 eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup maple sugar or coconut sugar*

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

 

1 recipe raw fudgey date frosting

 

*add an additional 1/4 cup sugar if you like your cake super sweet

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Line two 6″ baking pans with parchment paper and lightly grease them with coconut oil.
  2. Add the eggs, black beans, maple sugar, vanilla, and coconut oil to the base of a high-speed blender and process until smooth.
  3. Add the unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and blend until smooth.
  4. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  6. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before frosting.

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Raw Fudgey Date Frosting

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This past Friday I came down with the flu hard.  It started out innocent enough; I woke up feeling slightly off, but nothing crazy so I went to the pool and swam two miles (which is normal for me).  I finished, showered, and went to the gym and trained clients for a few hours before meeting my friend for lunch.  The whole time I still felt slightly off, but again nothing terrible like I’m-going-to-die-right-now sick.  Everything was fine until I got back from lunch.  I got to the apartment had coffee and one of my amazing raw brownies topped with RAW FROSTING  (hell yea!!) with Nick who was working from home, then passed on the couch unable to move.  Seriously I was hit all at once with all the symptoms.  Headache, sore throat, congestion, cough, fever, body aches, and zero energy.  Yuck!  I haven’t been that sick for years.  Years!!

Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday were terrible.  The worst part was Nick went upstate to go skiing with his cousins on Friday night so I was left alone and defenseless!  It’s pretty pathetic when you can’t get off the couch to get a glass of water.  Anyway, in Nick’s defense I pushed him to go because he wanted to stay.  I said I was fine, which was before I took my temperature that registered at 101.2 after taking two advil.  Somehow I always think things aren’t as bad as they actually are.  I blame competitive running for that.  My training and years of racing taught me to push through everything and mind over body.  That only works to a point…I’m thinking I had a slight fever when I went for my two mile swim which was probably not the brightest idea :)

I bet you’re wondering what my sick story has to do with this recipe for this raw fudgey date frosting.  Well, not much.  However I did have one of my raw brownies topped with this frosting the past three days of sickness and it is frekin’ delicious!  The only ONLY good part about this flu was my stomach was not upset so I was able to eat normally.  Even though I was incompassicated and intense pain, I could have a grassfed guacamole raw cheddar burger for lunch and brownie treats.  Again, good food makes everything better!!

As I write this post I’m still pretty sick.  Still running a slight temp and have a killer soare throat, congestion, body aches, and basically no energy.  I’m hoping tomorrow I wake up much better because I’ve already had to take 2 days off work and really don’t want to miss any more.  It’s out of my control, all I can do is rest. Rest and eat this icing atop everything.  Really amazing!! My excuse is I’m sick and need energy.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 😉

 

Raw Fudgey Date Frosting

8 oz raw unsweetened coconut

21 medjol dates, pitted (about 2 cups)

1 cup cacao powder

1-1/4 cup boiling water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch sea salt

 

Directions:

Add the coconut to the base of a high speed blender or food processor and blend until the coconut changes into coconut butter.  Add the pitted dates, cacao powder, 1 cup of boiling water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt, and blend until a smooth thick frosting consistency is achieved (add more boiling water as needed).  Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours before using – the frosting thickens as it cools in the fridge. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Take out 20-30 minutes before ready to use.

Sprouted Quinoa Crust Pizza

 

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Lately, things have been as crazy as ever.  I feel like I’m trying to do a million different things and can’t quite keep up.  Does it ever get easier?!  Why couldn’t I be like everyone else and get a normal job after I graduated college?!?!  Not only would a desk job not be my thing (been there, tried that), I know that I’m on a path to finding a career that truly makes me happy every day, however it’s exhausting.  Any other artist types out there know my struggle!

For the time being, I’ll just keep full steam ahead following my passions and hopefully reaching my dreams.  Ultimate dream?  Writing a cookbook.  That would be sick – and totally make young Margaret smile.  I love personal training and think it will always be a part of my life.  There is something truly awesome and fulfilling about helping other people change their lives, feel better, and gain confidence.  As for real estate, damnit I just want to sell ONE house.  Enough with rentals and just let me feel like I accomplished my job by selling one house!!!!  Or getting a listing.  Preferably a million dollar listing, or sale.  But I’m not picky 😉

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Enough about my lame struggles.  Let’s talk about this pizza!!  I loveeee me some pizza.  Growing up I was all about pasta pizza; although I did go through a pepperoni phase as well as a white pie phase.  Point being pizza is delicious and should always be a part of our lives.  I do turn my nose up at regular crust pizza however, as I prefer to eat my grains sprouted – or sub veggies for my crust (hello cauliflower crust pizza!!). Currently I’m all about this sprouted quinoa crust.  I’ve been making it more than my beloved cauliflower crust because it’s much easier to make and tends to hold toppings better.  Let’s be honest; I’m all about convince (yes I can be extremely lazy even though I cook just about everything I eat) and it doesn’t get easier than throwing quinoa in a blender and spreading it out over a pan.  Seriously it’s that easy!

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Sure you have to soak the quinoa first.  But how long does it take to throw dry quinoa in a bowl with water?  Just takes a bit of planning ahead as the soaking and sprouting process takes about 48 hours.  You can just soak the quinoa overnight and be ready to go; I like allowing the quinoa to sprout for the added health benefits.  I also find it really helps with the digestion of grains and legumes in general.  If you have never tried sprouting your grains before, I highly recommend it! When you look at the ingredients, you will see that you add apple cider vinegar and salt to the soaking water for the quinoa.  Why?  This is to help rid the quinoa of it’s phytic acid and make it easier to digest and able to sprout.  Phytic acid is found in grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes.  It is the plant storage of phosphorous that humans cannot fully digest and often leads to stomach troubles and, you guessed it, gas.  Physic acid protects the seed from prematurely sprouting as well as deters animals from eating it.  To rid our grains of this unpleasant compound, soaking them in water with vinegar helps break it down and the salt draws it out.  That’s why you have to soak grains before sprouting them!  Or at least before eating them.

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My favorite way to top this bad boy is with my homemade and homegrown heirloom sauce, tons of dried garlic, onion, parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper, whole milk mozzarella, red onion, and organic and free-range sausage.  Plus a generous sprinkling of arugula once it comes out of the oven…I don’t joke around with my greens!  Sometimes I add spinach or kale under the cheese before baking, however I usually always additionally top my pie with something green.  I’m just that kind of girl 😛

However you choose to top this crust, meaty, meat-less, cheesy, cheese-less – you can’t go wrong. Upgrade your pizza!!!

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Sprouted Quinoa Crust Pizza

 

yield: one 24″x12″ rectangular pie, about 3 servings (2 slices each)

 

1 1/2 cups dry quinoa, rinsed

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

water

 

sprouted quinoa (or soaked quinoa, see note*)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

 

Directions:

  1.  Rinse the quinoa.  Add the quinoa, vinegar, and salt to a bowl and add enough water to cover the quinoa by about 3 inches.  Briefly stir and a then cover and let sit for 6-8 hours or overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the soaked quinoa then place it in a fine mesh strainer, cover, and allow to sit out for another 24-36 hours before making the crust*.  Rinse every few hours to keep it moist.  When you see the white sprouts (looks like white tails), you know it is actively sprouted.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.  Lightly grease the parchment paper with olive oil.
  4. Rinse and drain the sprouted quinoa.  Add to the base of a high-speed blender (or food processor). Add 1/2 cup of water, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.  Blend from low speed to high until a smooth batter is achieved.
  5. Using a spatula, pour the batter onto the prepared pan and gently spread it out so it is in one even layer, about 1/4 inches thick.  Make sure there are no holes.  I used a rectangular baking pan, but you can spread it over a circular pan for a classic round shape.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges are browned.  Remove from the oven and flip over, then return for another 5-10 minutes.  Add desired pizza toppings then return to the oven until your desired pizza doneness is achieved.

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*you do not have to sprout the quinoa for this recipe to work.  Simply follow the first step, skip the second, and complete 3-6.

Savory Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

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I’m not a huge snacker.  Ok, that’s a lie.  I try not to be a huge snacker.  If you couldn’t already tell, I’m a huge foodie.  I’m always craving a brownie, mac’n’cheese, or some other delicious dish.  Most days I’m super busy and don’t have a ton of time to munch, however I need healthy options on hand that will satisfy my hunger and taste delicious.  Lately I’ve been making these savory spiced roasted chickpeas and they are perfect!  Bursting with flavor, they are naturally packed with protein and fiber not to mention iron and potassium.  The beauty of making roasted chickpeas is they are a blank canvas for flavor; you can go sweet or savory. I’m all about savory snacks and the combination of the spices I use is addictive!  So instead of popping open a bag of chips, or eating an entire cup of nuts (or nut butter…I’m so guilty!), make a big batch of these chickpeas and snack smart :)

 

Savory Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

yields about three cups once roasted

4 cups cooked chickpeas (or about 2 cans drained and rinsed)

2 tsp coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 tsp turmeric

1 1/2 tsp cumin

1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like things)

 

Directions:

  1. Gently pat the chickpeas with a towel to dry them.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the chickpeas on the baking sheet and drizzle the oil over them, gently rolling them around to evenly coat the beans.
  3. Mix the dry spices in a small bowl until combined, then sprinkle over the chickpeas.  Gently roll to coat.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then stir them around and place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes.  The beans will be golden brown when done.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  They will harden as they cool.
  5. Store in an air-tight container once completely cool.  You can leave them out for up to 8-10 hours before storing them.

 

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