Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

We wanted the house to smell nice last night so, of course, I had to make cookies. That’s the best way! I had about half a can of pumpkin sitting in the fridge, a bag of dark chocolate chips, and a hankering for something chewy and warm. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies? Yes.

This time around I sweetened them with molasses instead of maple syrup and I switched up the spices. If I were going to go the molasses route again I’d up the ginger to make them a bit more gingersnap-esque, and I’d also like to try them with raisins instead of chocolate chips. Warming, cozy cookies at their best! These can very easily be vegan if you use vegan chocolate chips, and they have no refined sugar/flour.

Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp chai spice
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1tsp or more ground ginger, if you wish
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (1/2 a can)
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
  • dark chocolate or vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients until well mixed.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until smooth. Tip: I melt the coconut oil RIGHT before I use it so it doesn't harden again if my kitchen is a bit chilly.
  4. Pour dry ingredients into wet and stir with a spatula until fully incorporated.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Wet hands and scoop dough out, roll into a ball, flatten slightly, and place on the baking sheet. They won't spread during baking.
  7. Bake for about 13-15 minutes or until fairly set.
  8. Allow to cool and harden for a few minutes before removing from the baking sheet.

No-Bake Chocolate Protein Brownies

I’ve been on the Black Bean Brownie kick for a couple of years. I have a major sweet tooth but once I started focusing on cooking and eating for health and nutrition as well as taste, I’ve been phasing out a lot of traditional sweets. The one recipe I keep and continue to make is my Grammy’s Pumpkin Bread…I’ve modified it here and there and it still tastes great, but the original is the best.

I digress…

When I want brownies but I don’t want to have a crazy sugar rush afterward, I go the black bean route. The first ones I tried were the Chocolate Covered Katie Black Bean Brownies. I even made them for a baking contest at work. They’re delicious, fudge-y, and chocolatey. Everything you could want in a brownie, minus the feeling of eating a bowl full of sugar.

It’s no secret I love making treats with Orgain.  I’ve made protein shakes (obviously), overnight oats, cheesecake, cookies, and more with this awesome, simple, vegan protein powder. So of course I decided it was time to take the Orgain to the black bean brownies and devise the ultimate protein-bar brownie. Still chocolatey and fudge-y, a bit lighter than the original black bean brownies (no chocolate chips, no cocoa powder), and you don’t even have to wait for them to bake.

Success!

As usual, I don’t measure too carefully. I tend to eyeball most of my recipes, so feel free to modify the amounts to suit your tastes. Love peanut butter and no so keen on maple syrup? Great – add more PB and dial down the maple syrup (you may need to add more almond milk) – you get the idea.

Also: be careful with your food processor/blender. I think I actually killed our Ninja last night. I’ve had my eye on a Vitamix for a while and my birthday is coming up…anybody want to donate to the domestic cause? You will after you try these!

No-Bake Chocolate Protein Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed well
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • dash of baking soda
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 - 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 rounded cup rolled oats
  • 3 scoops chocolate protein powder (I used Orgain)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, as needed

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and process until very smooth. You may need to add more almond milk as the mixture comes together. It should stick to itself but not be runny (if it's too runny, add more oats or protein powder).
  2. Pour into an 8x8 or 7x9 baking pan and press down.
  3. Refrigerate until firm and cut into squares.

10 Easy Vegetarian Super Bowl 2017 Snacks

The Superbowl is looming ever closer, and our fridge is PACKED. Aside from the holiday season, the Superbowl is a great excuse to cozy up whilst cooking up a bunch of delicious food.

But we don’t have a TV.

We aren’t even hosting a party.

We’re planning to stream the game on our (shared) laptop, all snuggled under blankets, eating our hearts out – just the two of us.

It’s not the size of the party that matters. It’s the company…and, perhaps more importantly, the FOOD.

With that in mind, here’s a roundup of 10 delicious (mostly secretly-healthy) vegetarian recipes for your Superbowl celebration. Whether you’re hunkering down at home, hosting a party, or attending a party, you’ll find something on this list to please everyone, from starters to desserts.

QUICK SNACKS

  1. Kale Chips by Oh She Glows
    • I know we’ve all heard about kale chips, and you may have tried a batch or two without being sold on the idea. But this summer, with our abundance of kale thanks to our CSA, we perfected this simple snack. Angela’s tips on preventing burns and soggy chips will have your entire crew crunching in no time. Our batches barely made it to a plate before we polished them off. Experiment with seasonings – we kept ours simple with salt and pepper, but you can get really creative here.
  2. Cashew-less Vegan Queso by Minimalist Baker
    • Full disclosure: we have not yet tried this recipe. But you better believe we picked up an extra eggplant this week to try it out. We love cheesy snacks here but try to limit how much dairy we eat, for both health and sustainability reasons. Cheese is pretty high in calories and I could easily eat my daily caloric needs in cheese. Thankfully, I stumbled upon Minimalist Baker’s queso recipe this week, and we can’t wait to try it out. Creamy queso-y goodness, without the calories, with the added benefits of eating more veggies? Yes, please!
  3. Maple-Roasted Chickpeas by A Pastry Affair
    • I had this recipe bookmarked for months but kept forgetting to actually make it. How I “forgot” to simply empty a can of chickpeas onto a sheet and forget about it for 40 minutes is beyond me, but I finally remembered to make them, and I’m so glad I did. Much like the kale chips, you can experiment with flavors here. I’ve omitted the maple syrup and simply baked them with cinnamon and sugar too.
  4. Mozzarella-Stuffed Rosemary Pretzels by Baker by Nature
    • We made these delicious soft stuffed pretzels for the Superbowl last year. They’re soft, chewy, and flavorful, and you can customize the herbs and cheese to your liking – or omit them entirely for a plain soft pretzel. I let Travis handle all things yeast-based in our house, thanks to his years of beer-brewing, and these came out so well, we’re having a repeat performance. This year we’re using cheddar instead of mozzarella. Yum!

HEARTIER FARE

  1. Vegetarian Baked Potato Nachos by Sarah Goes Places
    • This is one of my favorite simple veggie recipes. You can use any type of potato, sliced super thin, and top with any combination of beans, veggies, and optional cheese, to create your preferred nachos. I almost always include tomatoes and peppers along with black beans, but the rest is up to you. Bake the potatoes, toss on the toppings, and bake until the cheese is melted.
  2. Easy Eggplant Pizza Bites by Sarah Goes Places
    • Another easily-customizable veggie recipe, these eggplant pizza bites are a great way to get delicious pizza flavor for a fraction of the calories. Using eggplant slices as the crust means they won’t be super crispy, and you may need a fork to eat them, but they’re still a great party option. Plus, you can make a few batches with different toppings – even including meat if you have some omnivores present!
  3. Hearty Veggie Mac and Cheese by Julia Moskin, NYTimes Cooking
    • The official title for this recipe is the decidedly-classier “Hearty Whole-Wheat Pasta with Brussels Sprouts, Cheese, and Potato,” but I think “Veggie Mac and Cheese” covers the topic just as well. It’s a warming way to sneak in a few extra veggies with a creamy classic. We made this with sweet potatoes and omitted the parmesan on top, and it was perfect for a cold winter dinner. You could also bake it into muffin cups to easily create single servings for guests.

DESSERTS

  1. Lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes by Sarah Goes Places
    • We may not all be NFL players, but we could all use a nutritional boost from a dessert that’s low on sugar and high on protein. Baking the cheesecakes into cupcakes makes them easier to serve a crowd (if you don’t eat them all first). And who doesn’t love cheesecake?
  2. Dessert Hummus by Sarah Goes Places
    • We probably make this close to once a week these days. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how often we make it, but it’s just SO GOOD! If you’re serving to a crowd, you can spoon it into shot glasses for a fancy presentation, or have fruit/graham crackers handy to scoop it up.
  3. Chocolate Brownie Breakfast Bars by Chocolate Covered Katie
    • I’d be remiss in my healthy vegan and vegetarian desserts if I didn’t include a post from Chocolate Covered Katie. I’ve tried a ton of her recipes and been inspired by many others. Her classic black bean brownies are on our regular rotation list, and the dessert hummus above is inspired by one of her recipes. These chocolate brownie “breakfast” bars are tasty as-is, although we took it a step further and subbed out the cocoa powder for chocolate Orgain protein powder to give them an extra boost.

BONUS COCKTAIL

Travis told me I couldn’t choose sides in this post, but I know my grandma reads my blog, so, for my family back in New England – where I grew up – this cocktail is for you:

Winter Tea Julep by We Are Not Martha

This Boston-based blog cooked up a cold-weather cocktail sure to keep you and yours warm whilst watching the game. You’ll need to boil some water to create the simple syrup, but, as the name implies, it’s simple. Then you just brew some tea and add the bourbon.

If you’re not in the mood for peppermint tea, I’ve had great success making Hot Toddies with ginger tea, honey, lemon juice, and bourbon too. I’ll leave the amounts up to you.

And there you have it – our 2017 Superbowl Snack Recipe Roundup. If you try any of these, let me know! GO PATS!!

 

Easy Maple-Apple Pie

I confess  I had never made an apple pie until this fall. In all my 32 years I’d made some other delicious pies (like a tofu pie that sounds weird but is really tasty and I’ll be posting shortly), but never an apple pie. This year, after the overboard-at-the-orchard weekend, I had to prove to Travis we could use up every single apple we picked. And so it became the fall of apple pies.

We don’t use much refined sugar, even in our desserts. We try to eat as simply wholesome as we can. So I dug around and found some tips for good apple pie, and now I present to you…the easiest apple pie you could possibly bake.

I fully admit I should make my own crust, but the Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust is SO good, we didn’t bother making our own after the first pie. If you’d prefer to make your own crust, that’s totally an option!

 

Easy Maple-Apple Pie

Ingredients

  • 12+ apples, any type, cored, peeled, and sliced into 1-2" chunks
  • Cinnamon
  • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 Trader Joe's frozen pie crusts, thawed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Toss apples with maple and cinnamon.
  3. Spread apples in a glass baking dish and bake for about 30-45 minutes on a center rack, stirring halfway through. If apples start to break down, remove from the oven - we don't want to make applesauce!
  4. While apples are baking, spread one pie crust in a pie dish.
  5. Fill pie crust with baked apples when they're done.
  6. Top with second pie crust. Cut a design in the top, if you want.
  7. Raise oven to 425*.
  8. Bake pie for 30 minutes at 425, then reduce back to 350* and bake an additional 40-60 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.

Dessert Hummus

I’ve been meaning to write a witty, thoughtful post for days, but work has completely fried my brain every day this week. There’s been some extra stress too – health concerns for myself and family, potential major life changes ahead…I need a massage and a vacation. Luckily, we bought tickets for Hawaii next month (woohoo!!!) and it can’t get here soon enough.

In the meantime, here’s my version of a delicious treat we really enjoy making, especially for weekend desserts. I present to you…Dessert Hummus!

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I’m not even going to make a recipe card for this. It’s too simple to warrant such formality. I don’t measure anything in it, so…have fun experimenting!

Here’s what you need:

1 can chickpeas, rinsed in warm water, skins removed (this sounds like a pain, but I promise you it ensures a smoother texture. You don’t have to do it, but you may get some chunkier bits. Rinsing in warm water helps the skins pop off. We figured out we could skin them and drop them right into the food processor to speed things up).

Smooth peanut butter – maybe 1/2 cup or so (we use Kirkland organic – it’s a nice liquid texture that blends well)

Maple syrup – maybe 1/4 – 1/3 cup? I just pour

Baking powder – maybe 1/2 teaspoon

Cinnamon – about the same

Vanilla extract – a dash

Salt – a smaller dash

Chocolate chips

Here’s what you do:

Dump everything except the chocolate chips into your food processor. Blend until it looks smooth and creamy like hummus. Scoop out, pour in chocolate chips, stir, and ENJOY! My secret ingredient is the cinnamon.

For the original recipe, check out Chocolate Covered Katie, if you haven’t already discovered her!

Lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes

I can’t believe I’m posting this recipe. Actually, I can’t believe it took me three days to post it. I’ve been too busy devouring the entire batch of my brand-new Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes.

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I saw this post on Chocolate Covered Katie for Cheesecake Cupcakes a few weeks back and bookmarked it to try. I love cheesecake and cupcakes, and I also really love most of CCK’s recipes. She’s done a fantastic job creating healthier vegan sweets and for that I’m really thankful.

Bearing that post in mind, I thought to myself, there must be a way I can add some more nutritionally-sound oomph to the recipe. There’s got to be a way I can turn this into one of my protein treats.

Enter BuiltLean and their Protein Cheesecake recipe. I liked most of it, but wanted to lighten it up a little bit and rely a little less on animal protein and stevia.

I decided to make my very own lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes without a real plan in mind. Does this make me a real food blogger? I hope so. These are scrumptious. I hope it wasn’t a happy accident. I’ll have to report back after my next batch. I used my trusty vanilla Orgain protein powder, maple syrup from the farm of a friend, and Trader Joe’s nondairy cream cheese. Just like CCK, I topped mine with black cherry jam. I’ve also topped them with strawberries and eaten them just plain.

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ENJOY!

Lightened-up Protein Cheesecake Cupcakes

Yield: 10

Ingredients

  • Graham crackers, crushed
  • 12oz cream cheese (I used Trader Joe's nondairy)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 whole eggs
  • A few tablespoons of maple syrup (to taste - the protein is flavored so no need to add too much)
  • 2 rounded scoops of Vanilla Orgain (not tested with any other protein powders - this is a plant-based powder)
  • Dash of vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Crush graham crackers and set in bottoms of 10 muffin cups.
  2. Blend remaining ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until smooth. Batter will be thick.
  3. Pour into muffin cups, shaping the tops flat with a spatula.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, then leave oven door closed and turn off heat. Leave cupcakes in the oven for about 50 minutes, then take out and let cool on the counter for about an hour. They may still look underdone, but trust me.
  5. Refrigerate cupcakes overnight and in the morning they will be ready to eat! Run a knife along the edge of the cupcakes and pop them out with a fork. Enjoy!

Notes