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Vegan Pesto Butter

18 Jul

Disclosure: I received products from Sweese in exchange for a review. Opinions are 100% my own.

I have a confession. In early March, I stopped eating dairy entirely. I determined that something was causing distress in my stomach and through some minor experimentation, deduced that dairy was to blame. My love affair with Wisconsin cheeses, Greek yogurt, salted Amish butter, and cream cheese had to come to an end. No more whipped cream, no more cheese platters, no more cheesy pizza!

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

At first, it was nearly impossible. Cheese and all manner of dairy products had been engrained in my life since the beginning. I’m a Wisconsinite, so naturally, dairy is one of the biggest food groups here, following beer and preceded by bratwurst (of which I now only eat the meatless varieties). Buttered toast, yogurt parfaits, and creamy frostings quickly became a thing of the past. I had to learn how to navigate ingredient lists to ensure no dairy resided in the products I was used to buying. And more importantly, I had to learn how to be around others who still enjoy all the dairy goodness that my state has to offer (looking at you, boyfriend).

Yes, at first, it was hard. It took about two months for my incessant cravings to subside. I played around with dairy-free alternatives to cream cheese (YUM), block cheeses (gross), shredded cheese (passable), and coffee creamer (took a while to find one I like). I have been using Westsoy Soy Milk for a few years now, so at least that wasn’t difficult. And I know how to substitute coconut products for dairy rather well (thanks to canned coconut milk and coconut oil!!).

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But the one thing that never left my cravings: buttered toast. It’s simple, comforting, quick, and cheap. Carbs + fat = super satisfying for a pre-run breakfast or even a snack. Sprinkle on some cinnamon, and you’ve got a sweet tooth fix. However, the dairy-free butter alternatives are LOADED with gross chemicals and coloring agents and who knows what else. Yes, I bought a small container of the stuff, and yes, I used it all up, but I swore that once it was gone, I’d develop a homemade alternative that I could feel good about eating, and that would TASTE good.

And, serendipitously, I was contacted by Sweese around the same time. This company makes home and kitchen essentials that are functional AND stylish. Designs are simple and sleek, and pair form with function. Sweese kindly sent me a butter keeper and mortar & pestle set for testing, review, and GIVEAWAY.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So, of course, I developed a recipe to put them both to use! Adorably, the porcelain butter keeper’s cork lid states “Alles in Butter,” which translates from German to mean “everything is ok” or “smooth sailing.” With my German heritage, this greatly appealed to me! The porcelain mortar is beautiful in its pristine whiteness, and the wooden pestle fits perfectly in my hand.

What better way to put both of these items to the test than to make VEGAN pesto butter?! Yes, non-dairy butter that’s blended with a vegan version of pesto! I cannot tell you how ABSOLUTELY SCRUMPTIOUS this is. It’s salty, savory, creamy, and fatty. Everything you want in a spread to make your toast extra delicious.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

It’s also crazy-easy. The vegan butter is made up of three ingredients, which I know you have on-hand already. And the pesto simply requires a bit of elbow grease and some fresh ingredients. In no time, you can have a healthy, dairy-free, melt-in-your-mouth spread that’ll keep well in this porcelain butter keeper (or really, any airtight container).

If you want YOUR OWN butter keeper, be sure to enter the giveaway! Just a few steps and you can be in the running to win. But don’t wait to make this recipe – your toast, bagels, and all manner of foods need this vegan pesto butter!

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This giveaway is open to everyone in the US, ages 18 and up. Giveaway closes at midnight on July 25, 2017. Complete all three steps to be entered to win:

  1. Comment on this blog post telling me what you’d like to keep in this porcelain dish.
  2. Pin this post and follow me on Pinterest.
  3. Tweet this post and follow me on Twitter.


Vegan Butter,
from Bare Root Girl

Makes about 1 cup of vegan butter

  • 1/2 C unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Measure ingredients into a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave until the coconut oil has melted completely. Stir to combine. Pour into the bowl of your stand mixer, and refrigerate for about an hour. You want it to turn opaque, instead of looking transparent.

Once this has set in the fridge, use the balloon whisk on your stand mixer. Turn it on low speed and whisk for 30 seconds. Then turn it up to high speed and mix for 1-2 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in volume.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Vegan Pesto, recipe adapted from Food52 and method from Italyum

Makes about 1/2 C pesto

  • 1/2 C tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3 tbsp walnut halves or another nut of choice (pine nuts and almonds both work)
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (I like Kal brand)
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Layer the basil, nuts, garlic, and salt in the mortar. Use the pestle to press and grind the ingredients together until a paste begins to form. This will take some elbow grease! Be sure to thoroughly grind down the nuts and garlic – you won’t want large chunks of these in the final product.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Add the lemon juice and nutritional yeast and continue using the pestle to grind the mixture completely. Pour in the olive oil and use a spoon to stir and combine well. Taste the pesto (on bread or a pita is the best way) to make sure the ingredients are balanced to your liking. Adjust as necessary.

Vegan Pesto Butter

Stir the pesto into the whipped vegan butter until completely incorporated. Transfer to your favorite butter dish or any container that has an airtight lid. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours. Keep the vegan pesto butter stored in the refrigerator and enjoy!

This butter tastes great simply slathered on bread or a pita, used on sandwiches, or mixed into pasta for a twist on “butter noodles.” Use it on savory pancakes or even roast potatoes with it! The possibilities are endless.

Vegan Pesto Butter | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches

9 Jun

I received free samples of Breton Crackers mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Breton Crackers and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

I’ve become somewhat of a weather-app-checking freak every time I set out to train for a race. Will the weather be good enough for my long runs? Will I get caught in the rain? Do I need to wait or go sooner to avoid high temps or bad storms? My weather app is probably the most-used app on my phone as a result!

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Which is why, when planning this weekend’s running, I was disheartened to see 90 degree highs for Saturday through Tuesday. Wisconsin seriously has something against spring time, because I swear we jumped from winter to summer overnight. It’s ridiculous.

I don’t like running super early in the morning, but it looks like it’s either that or I suffer through the heat! Luckily, as I think about the half marathon that is just two weeks away, I know that it’s an early start time, so in most cases, we should be fine.

Speaking of hot weekends, it’s just about time to start whipping up allllll the nice cream for easy scooping to beat the heat. If you haven’t jumped on board the nice cream train, let me give you the low-down.

Rather than sugar- and fat-filled ice cream or frozen custard or froyo, nice cream is simply made by pureeing frozen bananas with a splash of milk and flavoring agents of your choice. In the mood for a protein boost? Chocolate protein powder tastes great as an addition. Want something fruity? Throw in a handful of berries. Going for a classic ice cream flavor? Toss in the toppings of your choice and drizzle with homemade date caramel or magic shell (melt coconut oil with cocoa powder, stir, and cover your nice cream- the oil will solidify on contact with the cold nice cream!). It’s a wonderful dessert that you will always feel good about.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So when I was eating some of these Breton Artisanal Sweet Potato and Ancient Grains crackers on their own, I was totally inspired! Why not use these as the “sandwich” part to a nice cream sandwich? These crackers are pretty magical. They’re made of ancient grains, like rye and quinoa, have sweet potato baked right in, and are still somehow light and flaky. Sure, plain vanilla nice cream could suffice, but I wanted to kick up the flavor party with the addition of strawberry and chocolate layers. The resulting Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches are a hearty, healthy dessert that perfectly join together the slightly salty, crispy crackers with a guilt-free filling. A wonderfully satisfying snack or appetizer on a hot day!

I’m super excited about these. Make them now – you’ll thank me when it’s 90 degrees in your neighborhood!

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches

Makes 15 sandwiches

Line a 9×13″ baking dish with plastic wrap. Lay half of the crackers bottom side up on the sheet, making sure they touch each other but do not overlap.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In a food processor, puree all the bananas with the nondairy milk and vanilla. Remove 1/3 of the banana mixture from the food processor bowl and spread this on top of the layer of crackers, being careful not to break the crackers. Place in the freezer to firm up.

From the remaining banana mixture, remove half to another bowl; set aside (this would be another 1/3 of the original mixture). Into the food processor, add the quartered strawberries and puree again until completely smooth. Spread this on top of the frozen vanilla layer. Place in the freezer again.

Wipe out your food processor bowl and blade with a clean cloth and then place the final 1/3 of the banana mixture back in, along with the sea salt and cocoa powder. Puree together until incorporated. Spread this mixture onto the vanilla and strawberry layers. Place the other half of the crackers on top, following the same pattern you did for the bottom layer. Make sure these crackers face up.

Freeze the nice cream sandwiches for at least an hour, or until firm.

Remove the pan from the freezer, and let sit out a few minutes to allow the nice cream to soften a bit. Use a sharp knife to cut out the sandwiches from the layer of nice cream, again being careful not to break the crackers.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Transfer sandwiches to a plate and place them back in the freezer to harden again.

Serve cold and enjoy! Leftovers can be transferred to a freezer-safe container and eaten one at a time.

Neapolitan Nice Cream Sandwiches | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

11 Mar

I received free samples of Toufayan Pita mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Toufayan Bakeries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Upon taking up a healthier lifestyle, all the sugary, nutrient-empty breakfast dishes had no place in my diet any longer. Donuts, cereals, traditional pancakes doused in syrup, breakfast pastry, French toast – it all had to go.

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But those tasty items don’t need to become completely obsolete! Using Toufayan Whole Wheat Pita, which are made free of cholesterol and trans fats, and only contain 2 grams of sugar per pita loaf, I created a savory version of an old favorite.

The salty Parmesan in the French toast liquid pairs perfectly with the whipped walnut pea puree for a breakfast (or lunch or dinner) that will satisfy all your nutrition and taste buds’ needs!

And, if you’re looking to buy some Toufayan Pita, just check out their site for a complete map!

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

Serves 4

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C nondairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
  • 4 Whole Wheat Pita breads

Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

  • 3/4 C frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 C walnut halves
  • 1/4 tsp roasted dried garlic (regular granulated garlic will work as well)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp nondairy milk
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a shallow, flat-bottom baking dish that’s big enough for the pita breads. You may need to use two dishes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Whisk in four tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan. Place your pita loaves in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish. Pour the mixture over the pita breads and lift them up to make sure the egg can coat the bottoms as well. Set aside to soak while you make the puree.

Cook the frozen peas in the microwave, following package directions. Drain out the water and transfer to a mini food processor. If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can use a fork and a bowl, or mortar and pestle.

Add in the walnuts, garlic, olive oil and one tablespoon of milk. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add more milk as necessary to reach desired “whipped” consistency.

Transfer the puree to a small serving bowl.

Now that the oven is hot and the pita loaves have been able to soak, transfer the pitas to the prepared baking dish(es), pouring any remaining egg mixture over the pitas. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, turning the dish around halfway through.

Remove from the oven and carefully transfer pita breads to plates. Top with a scoop of of the whipped puree and more freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy hot for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com
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