24.11.13

Sweet Potato Blondies with Marshmallow Topping



This recipe may anger sweet potato purists. 

You probably know one, if you're not one yourself.  It's someone who prefers their sweet potatoes simple and unadulterated--either baked plain or roasted with a few spices. Someone who scoffs at the saccharine American Thanksgiving tradition of brown sugar drenched sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows. 


Well purists, hear me out. I happen to be a plain sweet potato lover too, but I think these sweet potato blondies catapult straight over that sweet Thanksgiving side dish and straight to the dessert table. 

I put sweet potato in your brownies. Yes, butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows are involved, but it's dessert! These things are necessary. 


These are ridiculously good. Once again, Adam "doesn't like sweet potato" but I force fed him one and he loved it. He even called them addicting. 

The blondie itself reminds me of the acorn squash cupcakes I made earlier this fall---lots of warm gingerbread-esque flavors going on with the vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. The texture is slightly more cake-like than a regular blondie, but the moisture of the sweet potato keeps that in check. 

I had a slight dilemma over whether to swirl in some marshmallow fluff like these brownies or top with mini marshmallows like these s'more bars.  (My life is full of hard decisions.)

I'm glad I went with the mini marshmallows. 

Lots of toasted gooey marshmallows = dessert nirvana.

Oh, and this would be an excellent way to use up extra cooked sweet potatoes you have lying around . . . after this Thursday, perhaps?

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, friends!

Sweet Potato Blondies with Marshmallow Topping 

Ingredients: 
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract 
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato*
1 cup mini marshmallows

*My favorite method is to pierce a sweet potato a few times with a fork and then bake on a cookie sheet at 400 for about an hour.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.

Spray a 9 by 9 square baking dish liberally with cooking spray

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl.

Combine melted butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla extract, and mashed sweet potato in a medium bowl.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges are brown and middle is set.

Set oven to broil.

Place mini marshmallows overtop of the blondies. Put back into the oven and broil for an additional minute or so, watching VERY carefullly. Remove as soon as marshmallows begin to brown.

To ease with cutting, grease spatula/knife with cooking spray.

Adapted from Our Family Eats.

17.11.13

Rice Bowls with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, Spinach & Tahini



Stop.

I know what you're thinking.

This is not the most appealing food photo you have ever seen. Black, orange, and green are not automatically what comes to mind when you think of something you want to put your fork into.

BUT, hear me out, because these rice bowls are delicious, and they have all.the.healthy.things.

Black rice (antioxidants), butternut squash (vitamins), chickpeas (protein & fiber), spinach (iron), and tahini (healthy omega-3 fatty acids).

If you're still thinking this sounds healthy but is not necessarily something you're dying to eat for dinner, let me just make one last pitch and say that the tahini/lemon/garlic sauce binds everything together into one comforting, filling, yummy dish.


I needed this comforting rice bowl today because it has been one of those weeks.

One of those weeks when you feel like nothing you're doing is ever enough. When I get stressed and have a lot of work to do, I tend to eat not-so-healthy things, which sends me into a further spiral of feeling bad about myself in general, which culminates in a big angry stress ball of angst. No good.

Thus, I'm making a concerted effort during the next month to make big batches of healthy, comforting foods that will fill me up without leaving me feeling gross.  These rice bowls fit the bill perfectly.

I'm also super thankful to have the best man around to keep me grounded and happy. My angsty stress-filled moments usually happen when he's gone.

He was in Charlotte this week working and had received some pretty pitiful texts from me.  Without telling me, he left work four hours early on Thursday and picked up pad thai from our favorite Thai place to surprise me when I got home.

Then I fell asleep on his chest and left a big drool spot on his shirt.

I'm a lucky girl.

Hope you have a lovely evening, friends.


On a side note, after ranting about vegan recipes last week, I realized I do have several vegan recipes on the blog, including this one!)

Rice Bowls with Butternut Squash, Chickpeas, Spinach & Tahini

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked rice (brown rice, black rice, or wild rice would be good!)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced; divided
1/2 tsp allspice
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt & pepper
1 15 ounce can chickpeas
1 sweet onion, diced
3 cups fresh spinach

For the sauce:
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley

Directions:
Prepare rice according to package directions.  (can be made more flavorful with vegetable or chicken stock)

Preheat oven to 425.

Arrange butternut squash on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon garlic, allspice, and salt & pepper. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and use your hand to coat the piece evenly with oil and spices.

Roast for 20 minutes or until slightly browned and soft, stirring halfway through to prevent burning.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, water, and olive oil. Set aside

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add diced onions and cook for 5 minutes or so until slightly translucent. Add chickpeas and cook for 5 additional minutes. Add squash and spinach, cooking just until spinach is just wilted. Pour in tahini sauce and heat until warm.

Serve over rice and top with fresh parsley.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's warm butternut squash and chickpea salad.

10.11.13

Kale Quinoa Apple Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette


If you had told me I would love a salad without cheese I would have told you, uh you're crazy.

Also, if you had told me I would take to stuffing my face with raw kale I would have told you, uh no way Jose.

I love cheese....(thus no vegan recipes around these parts)

I like kale cooked (see here and here) but the thought of ingesting large amounts of the raw version doesn't exactly pervade my food dreams.


Yet, of all the things I'm excited about stuffing my face with at the moment, THIS SALAD tops the list.

This salad, made of lots of ribboned raw kale, sweet apples, and protein-packed quinoa.

Okay, okay, I did toast the almonds in butter, but one's got to have a little indulgence, right?


This salad is all about texture.

Crisp apples. Crunchy almonds. Chewy quinoa. Nutritious Kale. All brought together in harmony with creamy maple almond vinaigrette. (made with almond butter, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar)

If you need more reasons to try this salad, here are two:

1. Kale is good for your brain.

2. Kale is hearty enough to withstand the dressing without becoming wilted and soggy. Thus, you can make this salad a few hours before you're ready to eat it, and the leftovers are still good the next day.


The secret to loving all this raw kale is that it's chopped up into really small pieces and coated in yummy dressing.

I've also realized that chopped salads are my favorite. There's something immensely satisfying about having all the salad ingredients chopped up into similarly bite-sized pieces. Perhaps it's the ease and rapidity with which you can get your fork to your mouth and back again? Or the fact that each bite is likely to contain a morsel of each one of the different ingredients?

Anyway, if you're ever not stoked about eating a salad, try chopping everything into uniform pieces and then see how you feel.

Right now, I'm feeling like I need another bowl of this.


Kale Quinoa Apple Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
6 cups shredded kale (Lacinato Kale, if you can find it)
1 large Honeycrisp apple, chopped into small pieces
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup quinoa (I used red quinoa for color)
1 cup water
1/4 cup minced onion
2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:
Combine quinoa, water, and onion in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Refrigerate until ready to assemble salad.
*Make a few hours, or up to a day before eating the salad.

In a small skillet, melt butter and add sliced almonds. Stirring frequently, cook for 3-4 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned.

In a large bowl, toss together kale, apples, almonds and quinoa.

In a small bowl, whisk together almond butter, maple syrup, vinegars, olive oil, and spices. Pour over salad and toss to coat.

Eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

*This recipe makes a ton and could be easily halved.

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

3.11.13

Pumpkin Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls


The two most popular recipes on this blog so far have been these paleo coconut s'more bars and this healthy pumpkin bread

So naturally I thought it would be a good idea to make a recipe that sort of combined the two. Paleo Pumpkin Cinnamon rolls. The alliteration even makes them sound good, right? 

Wrong. They were a complete disaster. In fact, they were inedible. 


This lead me to the conclusion that some things are best left un-paleo, and cinnamon rolls are one of them. 

So after throwing my first batch of cinnamon rolls into the trash, I started on these. 

The goal was to create cinnamon rolls that didn't require yeast. Ones that you could whip up start to finish in an hour, maybe on a holiday morning with lots of people over and limited time to wait for things to rise. (The day before/after Thanksgiving, perhaps?)


Luckily, I found Joy's recipe for biscuit cinnamon rolls, which I adapted slightly with some pumpkin puree and extra spices. 

These are not your traditional chewy stretchy cinnamon rolls. They're more like soft flaky biscuits that happen to be pumpkin flavored, stuffed with cinnamon sugar, and covered with icing. YUM.



I made a simple maple powdered sugar icing, but you could take things up a notch and add a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese. 

There's a good chance you have all the ingredients on hand to make these today, or tomorrow, or next weekend. Do it!


By the way, if you really want to make some paleo cinnamon rolls, try your hand at these.

Pumpkin Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
For the rolls:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch round pan with cooking spray. Prepare a clean, floured space on your counter for kneading/rolling.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin puree, egg, milk, and vanilla extract.

Cut butter into dry ingredients using a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should be crumbly.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Dough will be slightly sticky.

Pour onto prepared counter and knead 10-15 times, adding flour as needed. (up to an additional 1/2 cup).

Use a rolling pin* to roll dough out into rectangle of 1/2 inch thickness. (about 10 by 12 inches if you can)

Sprinkle with filling mixture. Starting from the long side of the triangle, roll toward the other side. (The underside of my dough was sticky here, so add a little extra flour if you need to)

Use a serrated knife to cut into 1-inch thick slices. Place in pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dough is set and slightly browned.

To make icing, simply mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Use a spoon to drizzle over warm rolls.

Devour!

*Once when I was without a rolling pin, I used an old wine bottle. Do what you have to do!

Adapted from Joy the Baker.

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