Baked Apple and Tempeh Stuffed Squash

Fall is the season to stuff things.

Stuff your grocery cart with yummies.

Stuff your turkey with stuffing.

Stuff your face with pumpkin.

Acorn squash is one of my favorite fall eats because it doesn’t require an intense arm workout when you hack it open. It also tastes delicious and the seeds are fabulous when roasted.

Usually I just slice it in half, add a dab of butter + a hefty dose of cinnamon and maple syrup and bake it.  But since it looks like a bowl, I figure I should use it as such and stuff it with some crispy tempeh and baked apples.  Because why not? Sweet, salty, savory.

Go ahead, stuff your squash with tempeh.  Your jeans won’t mind a bit.

Baked Apple and Tempeh Stuffed Squash

-serves two (tempeh inspired by Post Punk Kitchen)

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 8 oz package of tempeh
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried  fennel (ground)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice your squash in half  and scoop out seeds. Place in a glass baking dish filled with 1/4 inch of water (so squash doesn’t burn).
  2. Fill each half with a small spoonful of butter or coconut oil, cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup or brown sugar.
  3. Bake for an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, dice apple and spread onto a sprayed baking sheet. Toss with cinnamon and maple syrup.  Bake for about 15 minutes (you can bake the apples while the squash is baking as well).
  5. While the apples and squash are cooking, heat a bit of oil in a medium pan over medium heat.  Crumble tempeh and add to pan.
  6. Add in all the rest of the tempeh ingredients and sautee for about ten to twelve minutes or until browned and fragrant.  Add in apple mixture and stir to combine.
  7. Once squash is done, fill each half with tempeh apple mixture.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

Stuff your jeans with your big happy belly.

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WIAW + Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa

I love cooking up a bunch of stuff on Sunday so I can be lazy all week and pack my lunch without having to think.  Blissful mindlessness.

This week I made pumpkin chilli, pumpkin cornbread muffins, greek quiches, and pumpkin mac and cheeze.  I went a little pumpkin overboard this week, but not really since I am OBSESSED with pumpkin and really don’t get tired of its healthy deliciousness.  Breakfast was a couple quiches and some fruit, lunch was chilli + a muffin + an apple, and dinner was something quick I threw together at home.  The prep on Sunday really proves to be worth it when you come home from work or class too drained to make dinner let alone think about packing breakfast and lunch for the next day.

Breakfast

Mini greek quiches with strawberries on the sides + coffee with soymilk and honey.

Lunch

Pumpkin chilli with a pumpkin cornbread muffin + an apple.

Snack

Plain greek yogurt with strawberries and granola.

Dinner

Sweet potato pesto and cheddar pizza on a chickpea flour crust. Deeeeevine.  Recipe on Thursday!

Then I snacked on, or ate a fourth of, this attempt at a pumpkin bread pudding/french toast bake.  It wasn’t quite sweet enough when I took it out of the oven so I tucked a chocolate chip or two or eleven here and there and shoved multiple forkfuls into my mouth.

Aaaaaaand it’s 10:30pm and the tummy’s growling so I will probably eat hummus with some vehicle within the hour.

Or maybe pumpkin spice hot cocoa.

Since you probably have an awkward amount of pumpkin left in a Tupperware in your fridge due to all the pumpkin recipes I’m forcing upon you, I present you with a delicious little seasonal drink in an effort to get rid of that last tablespoon.  I actually drank this Sunday night, made it again Monday morning and then added it to a cup of coffee to make a pumpkin latte.

It was a really, really good idea.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Cocoa

-serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • ½ tbsp chocolate chips
  • ½ – 1 tsp pure maple syrup (or sugar)
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of salt

Directions:

  1. Pour milk into a microwavable mug and heat for about 90 seconds.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir very well to combine.
  3. Sip and enjoy.

I wonder if my skin will start to turn slightly orange.  I really wouldn’t mind that one bit.

Crispy Tofu Fingers

Sweet baby cheezus these are tasty.

Suuuuuper tasty.

I was in a serious pickle trying to name these.

Tofu cutlets?

Tofu nuggets?

Tofu fingers?

Tofingers?

Toes and fingers with tofu?

All I know is that they’re chock full of healthified crispy deliciousness and you should probably buy some ‘fu and make them ASAP.

Try them with chicken if you’re feel carnivorous.

Crispy Tofu Fingers

-serves 2-3

Pinned Image

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of tofu, drained
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup egg whites (or a couple eggs whisked together)
  • Whole wheat Italian bread crumbs (recipe below)

Whole Wheat Italian Bread Crumbs:

  • 2 slices of whole grain bread, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • pepper to taste

First, let’s clarify how to drain tofu in order to achieve that fabulous chewiness. Draining tofu helps to remove the moisture that makes tofu mushy.  The more water drained, the more flavor and chewiness.

1)  Drain the water out of the pack of tofu.  Wrap the tofu in a layer of paper towels/dish cloth and place on a plate.

You will probably have to change out the paper towels two or three times (maybe every 30 minutes to an hour) to get out as much water as possible.

2) Put another plate upside down on top of the tofu. Place a few heavy objects on top of the plate. I used a heavy pot with tomatoes inside.

Directions:

  1. Drain and press tofu (see above for tutorial).
  2. Make bread crumbs: Toast bread.  Place toasted bread in food processor/blender along with garlic powder, salt, basil, oregano, and paprika.  Blend until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  3. Set up your dredging assembly line.  Place whole wheat flour, egg whites and bread crumbs in three separate large bowls.
  4. Slice tofu into 1/4-1/2 inch slices.
  5. Heat a large skillet with a tbsp of oil over medium heat.
  6. Dredge tofu in flour, then egg whites, then bread crumbs. Make sure to really press on those bread crumbs on both sides!
  7. Once pan is hot, add tofu slices.  Cook a few minutes on each side, until brown and crispy.
  8. Add more oil between batches to ensure even crispiness.

Dip in pesto or my favorite Trader Joe’s organic ketchup.

If you think you don’t like tofu, I really think these may make you a believer. But I’m sure these would be awesome with shrimp or chicken as well.

I love love love these tofingers with spicy sweet potato fries.  I discovered that it’s actually possible to make crispy ones, which is rather-earth shattering.

More on that later this week!

Coconut Pancakes for One

My mouth was exploding with happiness tonight.Seriously, people.  Exploding.

I had an awkward amount of coconut milk left and I’m not one to let all that deliciousness go to waste.  I wanted something sweet and coconnuty and man, these delivered. 

 They taste like coconut cake doughnuts with a warm crispy crust. Complete and utter perfection.  This is actually my favorite recipe on the blog to date.  Whole wheat, vegan, and nothing short of fabulosity.

Pretty please go to Trader Joe’s and get coconut oil.  It’ll only set you back six dollars.  Plus, you can use it as a natural moisturizer, eye makeup remover, and high heat cooking oil… pretty much the best six dollars you’ll ever spend.

Topped with toasted coconut, nutmeg and maple syrup, these pancakes are heaven in your mouth.

 I only ask of you three things:

Don’t skip the coconut oil.   Don’t nix the nutmeg.   Don’t change a thing. 

 We don’t want to mess with perfection now, do we?

Coconut Pancakes

-serves one

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour/whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 packet stevia (or 1 tbsp sugar)
  • 1 tbsp shredded coconut + more for toasting and garnish
  • dash of sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg + more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup lite coconut milk (from a can)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • coconut oil for cooking*

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat.  Melt about a tsp of coconut oil in the pan.  *This gives that fabulous crispy coconutty crust, but if you don’t have any coconut oil, then butter or cooking spray will do.

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Pour in wet ingredients (including the tsp of melted coconut oil) and stir until just combined.  Spoon batter onto pan, forming three pancakes.   If the batter doesn’t sizzle, then the pan isn’t hot enough!  Cook until pancakes begin to slightly bubble and lift from pan.  Flip and cook about a minute or so longer, but don’t overcook!

After you remove the pancakes, add a small handful of coconut to the pan.  Toast for about a minute, stirring frequently to avoid burning.  Remove from pan once golden brown.Generously sprinkle some nutmeg and coconut onto the plate and then add your pancake stack on top.  Top with more toasted coconut and maple syrup.

The last bite on my plate was really a low point in my life.Who needs pina coladas on the beach in 80 degree weather when you have warm coconut pancakes at your fingertips?

Okay, I wouldn’t mind the beach.

Once upon a hummusapien

It all started when I was sitting at Organic Energy  (aka the best thing that ever happened to Solon, Ohio) with my dad whom I affectionately call Faj (think pasta fajioli).  I ordered the…

  1.  Swamp Monster Juice:  pear, carrot, beet, apple, kale. Or simply, green greatness.
  2. Protein Salad: chickpeas, grape tomatoes, cucumber, sunflower seeds, currants, alfalfa sprouts, grilled tempeh on baby spinach with creamy cilantro lime dressing.  I could rave for a page, but I’ll spare you.
  3. Vegan Coconut Cream Pie.  Sold out, obviously.

Fajol ordered bean and cabbage soup—sounds boring, tastes pretty divine.

 When I really enjoysomething, I usually say “Oh my god; this is divine.” But calling that salad beast and fresh juice merely divine would be a grave injustice.  The array of organic veggies and their ridiculously creamy partner in crime were the epitome of divine, thus the classic, “Oh my god; I’m dying,” was in order.  But I actually didn’t die. 

Something happens when I eat something that is beyond good, and it would be a lie to say that a little part of me isn’t happier after each bite.  If a cat has nine lives and a homosapien has one life, then a hummusapien has about a million, considering that I nearly die every time I eat something amazing.  Take the Whole Foods hummus quartet, for example.  When the adorable kiddies that I babysit showed me this goldmine hiding from me in their fridge, I nearly passed out .  I thought, wait–what could be better than Whole Foods black bean hummus? Whole Foods black bean, roasted red pepper, original, AND garlic hummus!!  Humbelievable, I tell you.

My passion in life is all things nutrition, health, and whole foods (the real ones and the store).  I love eating about as much as I love being healthy, so when the two come together, you can imagine the near death experience.  I don’t live for food and nutrition—I die for it.  At least twice a day.

 This day is not only important to me because it marks the day that I  finally start the blog I’ve always wanted to start, but also because it is the day that the Peas and Thank You cookbook is released.

After a quite haphazard parking job, I arrived at Barnes and Noble armed with my tall Starbucks iced coffee- light ice-skip the sweetener-add soymilk at 10:00am sharp to get my hands on the book of all books. Yes, I already pre-ordered one a month ago, but according to Amazon,  it won’t arrive until tomorrow… and let’s be serious, I had to read one today. Mama Pea is my all time favorite blogger, not to mention an inspiring mother/chef/yoga-er/Trader Joe’s connoisseur. Her inexpensive, meatless, straight-up delicious recipes have long inspired me to start my own blog and help my friends and family see how fun it can be to give veggies a little love here and there.  So gracias, Mama Pea!  Honorable mentions go to an extremely hungry Hippie, a glowing gal and Kwirky Katelyn.  You all rock my socks off post after post and cause me to utter those words-that-shall-not-be-named waaaaaaay too often… Dare I say it?

“Oh my god… I’m dying.” 

 I was so excited to start the blog and read Peas and Thank You that I nearly forgot to eat my beautiful-babysitting-toasted oat bran-overnight oats! They sat there in all their delicious glory, accidentally covering the face of a woman who believes in “one easy move to SLIM all over!”  Hmm, sounds familiar. Just like when I  consider telling the babysitting kiddies, “The tooth fairy is real! She’s just a very busy lady.” Believe what you will.

 A million and a half healthy food comas later, here I am, beginning my life long journey loving and talking about all things healthy, humbelievable and dee-vine.   I hope to inspire you all to embrace your inner hummusapien, avocado-sapien, chocolate-sapien…or whatever divine delicacy that defines you.  Because hey, you may die every time you eat double chocolate-single chin brownies, but you only live once!