2 Ingredient Fig Newton Bites

12 Oct

I ran 11 miles on Saturday. 11 long miles on what was thankfully a gorgeous day. I’ve recently learned that on such long runs, water just doesn’t cut it. So I brought a few dates, tucked into the pocket of my running tights.

While those dates were good, it got me thinking that I need to create a (simple) snack that I could eat before or immediately after a run – one that’s unprocessed, easy to make, and tastes good. Recalling a “fig newton” bar I’d eaten a while ago, I wanted to recreate the flavor and health that it combined.

These bites are easy – they’re made of TWO ingredients: walnuts and figs. They’re loaded with healthy fats, fiber, sugars, carbs and just a little protein – the nutrients needed to fuel a run, or quickly recover while you prepare a bigger meal. What’s better: these keep well in the fridge or freezer, and taste absolutely amazing! Don’t let dried figs scare you – puree them with some walnuts, and you’ve got a wonderful snack.

2 Ingredient Fig Newton Bites
Makes 20 bites

1.5 C walnut halves
1 package whole dried figs

Use a food processor (a blender won’t work well) and pulse together the walnuts and figs. You’ll need to scrape down the bowl sides a few times, and it will take at least 5 minutes until a dough-like consistency forms.

Scoop spoonfuls of the dough into a mini muffin tin, or spread into a thin layer in an 8×8″ glass pan, lined with parchment paper, to be cut into bars.

Freeze the bites (or bars) for a few hours, but overnight is best. Transfer to a container and keep refrigerated, to maintain shape.

Eat one or two before a workout, or as a midday snack.

Triple Pepper and Tempeh Stir Fry

7 Oct

A lesson from six days into October #unprocessed this year: most sauces are filled with sugars, chemicals, salt, and unnecessary fats.

I was craving an Asian-themed dish for dinner, and decided a quick stir fry was perfect for the evening’s plans. Most of the recipes out there, however, require a variety of store-bought sauces: hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce, teriyaki sauce, etc. But all of these contain the worst possible ingredients!

Still in the mood for a stir fry, I took a second look at the bottles’ ingredients, and decided I could replicate the flavors from simple ingredients in my pantry. In fact, it’s pretty darn simple to make your own sauces, be they for barbeque, stir fry, marinade, dressings, or dipping!

Triple Pepper and Tempeh Stir Fry | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

A combination of from-scratch stir fry sauce, THREE types of peppers, and protein-rich vegan tempeh make this a dinner to please everyone. It’s also super quick to make, so you can enjoy it on even the busiest night of the week!

Triple Pepper and Tempeh Stir Fry
Serves 4

  • 1 C quinoa
  • 2 C water

Stir Fry Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp Bragg’s amino acids
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Triple Pepper & Tempeh:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 package organic tempeh, cut into small cubes, such as Westsoy Tempeh
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 2 sweet orange peppers, diced
  • 1/2 C diced roasted poblano pepper

Combine quinoa and water in a rice cooker, or cook over the stove, according to package directions.

Mix the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook the cubed tempeh for a few minutes, stirring often to brown it.

Add a bit more oil if you need it, and toss in the onion and peppers. Turn the heat up and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. When the veggies reach a consistency that’s cooked but still crisp, pour over the sauce. Stir to coat and let it cook down for a minute or two.

Serve cooked quinoa into bowls and top with the stir fry. Enjoy hot!

One Month, Two Challenges and Vegan Chorizo Enchilada Soup

1 Oct

Today marks the beginning of two things for me: October Unprocessed and the final month of my half marathon training. It’s serendipitous that the two should overlap: one deals with eliminating all processed food from my diet for 31 days, and the other will push me further in mileage and running dedication than I have ever before experienced.

And let me tell you something: I’m scared. Scared of giving up those products which I’ve relied on to fuel my long runs. Scared of not eating & drinking enough to replenish my body’s stores. Scared that the time it takes for me to train on a weekly basis will compete with the amount of time needed to make more of my meals and snacks from scratch, and the time of having an actual life. And overall: scared of failing myself.

I’ve been working really hard to train for my first half marathon over the past 14 weeks. I’ve stuck to my plan, put in the miles even when I didn’t want to, and foam-rolled the heck out of my legs. I’ve logged more than 200 miles in training!

And over the past couple years, I’ve implemented all that I’ve learned from October Unprocessed: new fruits and vegetables are now part of my normal diet. Ancient grains are no longer foreign to me. I read ingredient lists to ensure I consume as few chemicals and additives as possible. Recipes prompt me to alter ingredients so they’re better for me and my loved ones. And I put so much more effort into nutritional intake & value.

But I’m not one to turn down a challenge. In fact, bring it on! Here are a few of the foods I’m going to prep:

  • Pumpkin, fresh from the garden: for baked goods, coffee, risottos, stews, chili, and breakfast hashes
  • Corn, from the cob: for soups, cornbreads, omelets and casseroles
  • Dried Beans: for soups, enchiladas, dips, and egg scrambles
  • Muffins & bars: for weekday breakfasts, post-workout snacks, and late night munchies
  • Breads: using spent grain from my homebrew beer to make a protein-rich bread that’ll hold me over through my training runs
  • Veggie Frittatas: for grab-and-go dinners on busy nights
  • Soups: the ultimate fall meal, which can be a complete nutritional meal in one bowl!

And speaking of soups, here’s a great one I’ll be making again. In one pot, it captures all the Mexican goodness of enchiladas, protein-filled ingredients, and ease of a weeknight dinner. It’s also vegan and gluten free! I paired this with my jalapeno hummus biscuits for a tasty dinner.

Vegan Chorizo Enchilada Soup | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Chorizo Enchilada Soup, adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Serves 8

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 diced yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C masa harina (corn flour)
  • 2 C vegetable stock
  • 1 C hot water
  • 2 9-0z tubes of soy chorizo, thawed
  • 1 1/4 C homemade red enchilada sauce
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • kernels from 2 ears of corn
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more/less to taste

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Cool onion until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the corn flour and cook 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Now stir in the veggie stock, mixing well. Add the water, chorizo enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, corn and spices. Let the soup come to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve into bowls and pair with your favorite biscuits, buns, rolls, or slice of bread. Keep leftovers in the fridge, up to 5 days.

Falafel Waffles

22 Sep

This month’s theme on The Recipe Redux is “fantastic freezer meals.” With summer coming to an end (say it isn’t so!), it’s time to layer on a sweater, whip up something pumpkin-flavored, and use the last of the summer crops’ spoils. Fall also conjures up crazy busy schedules, so having a healthy meal that can be pulled out of the freezer whenever necessary can be a real day-saver.

When challenged with this theme, I thought to myself, how great are frozen waffles? Back in my childhood, we often relied on the breakfast pastry for those mornings when we just wouldn’t get out of bed. I think I was also hungry for Middle Eastern food while conjuring up recipe ideas, which prompted…

Falafel Waffles!

Ok, so I’m big into rhyming and goofy things (thanks, mom). Say it out loud: Falafel Waffle. I dare you not to grin at that! And how perfect a meal for any busy family on the go. Make a batch and throw all of them in the freezer, or double up so you can eat dinner today, and save half of them for another packed night. Oh, and these are super healthy: vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free, and full of tons of protein and fiber!

Falafel Waffles
Makes 8 waffles – 4 for dinner, and 4 for the freezer

  • 2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil mixed with 2 tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1/4 C oat flour
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp water

Rinse chickpeas well and let drain thoroughly. Add them to your food processor along with the chopped onion. Pulse to break up and begin mixing.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until nearly smooth. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.

Let the falafel mixture sit while the waffle iron preheats.

Turn the waffle iron onto its highest setting – mine goes to 450 degrees.

Once hot, spray both waffle plates with PAM. Spoon about two tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the center of each quarter of the plate. Close the lid and set your timer for 10 minutes.

Carefully remove each cooked falafel waffle with a fork to a serving plate. Repeat with the mixture until you use all of it up. I was able to make 8 waffles.

While the waffles cook, mix up this tasty avocado and cucumber relish for a topping:

  • 1 cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the cucumber and avocado into small, same-sized cubes. Mix together in a bowl with vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s it! (Don’t freeze this, please – cucumbers were meant to be eaten fresh!)

To serve, place a falafel waffle (or two!) on a plate and garnish with the relish.

Tips for freezing: Let the waffles cool thoroughly before putting them in the freezer. Lay them in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet and freeze like that for at least an hour. Transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag and eat within a month. To eat: heat a frying pan and grease lightly. Cook until warmed through.

Blonde Blondies {Beer and White Chocolate Blondie Bars}

18 Sep

Beer, blondes, and baked goods…what could be better?

I’ve always loved baking, but only as an adult did I come to understand how much more fun it is to bake with booze! Aside from the “one cup for the recipe, one glass for me” approach to baking with alcohol, even a tablespoon of liquor can add amazing depth, flavor and sometimes even texture.

In preparation for this weekend’s game (English football, that is), I knew to please the crowd, I’d have to kick it up a notch. The bottle of Guinness Blonde lager in the fridge was too enticing not to bake with, so I whipped up these scrumptious beer & white chocolate  blondies. A pinch of spices and a spoonful of molasses lend a hearty autumn flavor to these treats, still letting the taste of the beer peek through for my friends to enjoy as we cheer on Arsenal.

Blonde Blondies {Beer and White Chocolate Blondie Bars} | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Whether American or European football, make these for your next game-day party – you’ll have everyone cheering for more!

Blonde Blondies

Makes 16 bars

  • 1-2/3 all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 9 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 7/8 C granulated sugar
  • 1/8 C molasses (2 tbsp)
  • 1/3 C blonde beer, such as Guinness Blonde American Lager
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 C white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8″ pan.

In a small bowl, combine all dry ingredients; whisk together.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine melted butter, sugar and molasses. Use the paddle attachment and beat on medium until mixed, about 3 minutes.

Add the beer, yolk and vanilla and beat on medium speed until combined.

Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread blondie batter into your prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 bars.

Blonde Blondies {Beer and White Chocolate Blondie Bars} | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

I dare you to stop at just one bite! I definitely gobbled up that piece after the photo :)


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