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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Almond Joy Bars

If you’re anything like me, you’re probably chowing down on banana coconut muffins twice a day like they’re going out of style.   I’m guessing you’re in need of a new treat.

You probably want almond meal meets chocolate chips meets toasted coconut.

You probably want something that tastes like a candy bar since us health nuts are all so the candy bar eating type.

Okay, maybe we’re not the candy bar eating type (unless we’re talking peanut M&M’s). We’re the type that take the idea of a candy bar and make it into something socially acceptable for breakfast. Almond Joy oats.  Pay Day oats. Reese’s peanut butter cup baked oatmeal.  Whole wheat Twix muffins.   I rest my case.

Ummmmmm is it Halloween yet?

No, not yet.

Till then, there’s these.

Almond Joy Bars (gluten-free)

-makes 16 small bars, adapted from Daily Garnish’s Morning Mueseli Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 5 dates, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp canned coconut milk (or regular milk)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8 x 8 non-stick baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Place coconut on a microwave-safe plate and heat for about 1 minute and 30 seconds (stirring every 30 seconds), until golden.
  4. In a large bowl, combine almond meal, oats, cocoa powder baking soda, salt, cinnamon, almonds, coconut, chocolate chips and dates.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together egg, coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract.
  6. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir to combine.
  7. Press  down mixture very firmly into baking dish so the bars don’t crumble after cooking.  You can line the dish with parchment paper if you have it.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow them to cool completely before cutting.

Sweetened with a bit of maple syrup, dates and chocolate chips, these could be breakfast or dessert.  Or both.  Or dinner, because chocolate for dinner is all the noise right now.

My favorite thing about these bars (besides the awesome taste of course) is the soft center, just like the real candy bar version.

In workout news….

I did three rounds of this workout from pinterest with some tricep dips added in.  I definitely broke a sweat even though it was pretty short.  This quickie is great if you’re in one of those “the last thing I want to do is workout” moods but you want something fast and effective.

* * *

3 rounds of:

50 jumping jacks

5 pushups

20 crunches

20 mountain climbers

30 second plank

7 burpees

* * *

Then the roommates and I finished off a row and half of almond joy bars and that was that.

Banana Coconut Muffins (gluten-free)

Lately when I wake up in the morning for work I’m faced with a serious choice.

Like do I take the time to sit down at the table and eat my eggy oatmeal with hot sauce or use that time to tame my lion’s mane that we call hair?

Do I slap on a band-aid, embrace the blisters and sport the cute cheetah flats?

Do I take the time to dump pumpkin, soymilk, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg into my not-yet-brewed-coffee when I’m already ten minutes late?

Um… yes to the first, second and third question.

The bottom line is that even if I wake up an hour early, I’m never ready on time. This morning I ate my oatmeal in the car in between red lights.  There may or may not have been Frank’s on the dash.  And my chin.

The bottom line is that if I don’t have mini greek quiches or pumpkin pancakes all cooked and ready to go when I wake up, breakfast is a scramble. And if it’s not eggs, I don’t want to scramble. So here is a mildly fabulous muffin recipe that you and me can grab and go for breakfast.

These muffins are super moist, packed with nutrition, low in added sugar and DELICIOUS.  Each muffin has about 165 calories and nearly 5 grams of protein.  You can get almond meal for $3.99 at Trader Joe’s and you can make oat flour by simply blending oats in the magic bullet or food processor.

Cheers to gluten-free goodness.  And getting to work slightly on time.

Banana Coconut Muffins

-serves 12, adapted from this banana bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter), melted
  • 1 tbsp applesauce
  • 1 cup mashed, overripe bananas
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:

  • 1/2-1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
  3. Toast coconut by microwaving it on a plate for 1.5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent burning.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together maple syrup, eggs, melted coconut oil, banana and vanilla.
  5. Add in dry ingredients (including toasted coconut) and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into muffin tins and top with a sprinkling of brown sugar and coconut.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean!

Banana and coconut are a seriously underrated combination by the way.

While we’re on the subject of delicious, does anyone remember that one guy from NSYNC that wasn’t really anyone’s favorite?  The one on the left?  The roommates and I are on a quest to find out his name.

Pizza Night

Dinner tonight was courtesy of Dewey’s pizza.  I always loved Dewey’s salad, but I wasn’t always obsessed with the pizza.

Until tonight.

Half buffalo for him and half caprese for me.  The crust had an amazing light fluffiness while maintaining that perfectly crispy bite. I really enjoyed the pizza tonight.

I also got a Greek salad that was waaaay bigger than it looks in the picture.  It was by far the best $7.95 salad I’ve ever laid mouth on.  Complete with cloves of roasted garlic, kalamatas, feta, cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes and a homemade greek vinaigrette   You know how I feel about Greek food…

I finished off the entree-sized salad along with two pieces of pizza and maybe some chocolate chips and strawberries when I got home.  Maybe.

It doesn’t get much better than whipping out the phone at the dinner table for a blurry iPhone picture, huh?

I came home to find a package I had been anxiously waiting for… the do-it-yourself granola I won from Lauren’s giveaway! I’m super excited out this because it’s the first giveaway I’ve won.  I’m the kind of person that never wins anything. The granola is filled with awesome ingredients like organic oats, almonds and coconut.  All you have to do is add a bit of honey and bake it.  There will be several apple granola crisps in the near future.  Thanks, Lauren!

source

Nice.

Hope you all have a fab weekend!

Greek Mini Crustless Quiches

Step aside, Mr. Broccoliandcheesequinoaquiches.

There’s a new quiche in town.  And I don’t want to cause any drama, but these bad boys juuuuust might be better than you.  Ouch.

Now don’t get me wrong– the combination of buttery broccoli, freshly grated cheddar and browned onions with the sneaky superfood quinoa is definitley delicious.  I had three for breakfast every day until they were gone.  Tears may or may not have been shed.

As soon as I made the broccoli cheese ones, I knew I would want to make about a hundred variations, give or take.  Greek food is very close to my heart.  No, I’m not Greek.  While we’re on the subject, nor am I Arabic, Italian, Mexican, Indian and any other ethnicity that I’ve been mistaken for. Even though I’m not Greek and I can’t spell the word Mediterranean without going to Microsoft Word to type it out and spell check it fist, it’s by far my favorite cuisine.  If there is a Greek salad, Greek pizza, or Greek sampler platter on the menu, there is a more than good chance I’ll order it.  Same goes for anything involving hummus, baba ganoush, tabouli and falaffel.  Aladdins and Mazzah are a couple favorites. Moral of the story: If it has feta, kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions and spinach, I’m IN.  ALL IN.

P.S. If you are at work, do not click on the Aladdin’s link.  It will play an awkwardly loud ethnic tune that will overide your Pandora and make everyone stare at you.

The debacle is that you can’t really have Greek salad for breakfast.

Until now.

Have you ever tried Trader Joe’s feta with Italian herbs? SURPRISE…It’s amazing.  Greek AND Italian…aren’t we so diverse today?

These perfectly eggy, dare-I-say-MOIST, muffiny, vegified quiches of Greek heaven are one of those recipes that you need to make ASAP.

Easy? Check.

Just under 90 calories a pop? Check.

Utterly delicious? Check PLUS.

Greek Mini Crustless Quiches

-makes 12

Ingredients:

  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 packed cups of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ cup milk (I used soymilk)
  • ¾ cup feta cheese
  • 12 kalamata olives, chopped
  • ½ cup tomatoes, diced
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
  2. In a large pan over medium heat, sautee onion in a bit of oil for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and spinach and sautee for a couple minutes or until the spinach is wilted.  It will look like a giant mound of spinach but it’ll shrink down to nothing. Remove pan from heat.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.
  5. Add in cheese, olives, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Stir in onion-spinach mixture.
  6. Pour into muffin tin using a 1/4 cup measure.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, allow to cool for a bit, and devour.

Is it weird that I actually think these are ridiculously good-looking?

Nahhh, it’s normal.

* * *

In the news: Multiple brands of peanut and almond butter have been recalled due to a Salmonella outbreak. Check your cabinets and get the full list of contaminated brands here!

 

Pumpkin Chili + Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

Today I went to Cincinnati to see my sister, her hubby and my adorable nephew, Ethan.

It is beyond unbelievable that my little bundle of cuteness is already two months old.  It feels like it was yesterday that I found out he was a boy and burst into the hospital room crying over his perfection.

I left Cinci in a legitimate sugar coma.  I definitely experienced the crash they talk about after eating multiple cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, white chocolate peanut butter popcorn and dark chocolate covered oreos.

We must not neglect the humongous bowl of fruit. It was obviously a healthy kind of day.

I love this little pumpkin with all my heart.

That little guy isn’t the only pumpkin I love.

Fall is finally here and I’ve finally restocked my pumpkin stash.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to pack for lunch this week and I couldn’t get chili and pumpkin pie out of my head.  I already made a pie with the girls after school so pumpkin was out.

…Or not. My pumpkin craving was far from satisfied.  I wanted it in my coffee, my oatmeal, my muffins, my book-bag, under my covers….

Oh and in my chili, too.

Pumpkin, meet chili.  Chili, meet pumpkin.  You two really are a smokin’ hot couple.

Pumpkin Chili

-serves 4 (can easily be doubled)

Ingredients:

  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ large zucchini, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can great northern/kidney beans (rinsed/drained)
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes in juice (not drained)
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½  tsp chili powder
  • 1  tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, sautee onion, pepper and zucchini in a bit of oil for about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add in garlic and sautee for a couple more minutes.
  3. Add in drained beans, tomatoes in juice and pumpkin.  Stir to combine.
  4. Add in spices and maple syrup.
  5. Bring to a low boil and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer, covered for about a half hour.

This hearty chili is deliciously sweet, spicy and comforting.  The pumpkin  is by no means overwhelming– it compliments the spices perfectly! It pairs especially well with a warm, buttered pumpkin cornbread muffin.

Speaking of pumpkin cornbread muffins…

Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins

-makes 6 muffins (can easily be doubled), inspired by these

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons whole grain cornmeal
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water (or 1 egg)
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp sugar + more for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp applesauce
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin liberally with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare “flax egg” by combining 1 tbsp ground flaxseed plus 3 tbsp warm water in a small bowl.  Set aside to gel.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, vanilla and “flax egg.”  Stir to combine.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  6. Pour batter (it will be thick) into muffin tins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with a bit of sugar for extra crunch.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes.

You most definitely must eat these warm with a dab of butter.

I’m so blessed to have so much pumpkin in my life.

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!