Rosemary Chia Nut Pulp Crackers

Recently, I've really enjoyed making my own nut milk. Homemade nut milk isn't as daunting or time consuming as you may think. I wish it didn't take me so long to figure this out! There are so many different kinds of nut milks you can make; some that require straining, and some that don't. Lately, I've been making macadamia nut milk, which does require straining, and I've learned that straining creates the greatest gift: pulp! 

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Sunny No-Bake Bites

Hello, sunshine! I'm a believer that you should always have a stash of "bites" in your home. They are not only quick and easy to make, but they are perfect for a pick-me-up nibble, an on-the-go snack, a pairing to your breakfast, and of course dessert! These balls have a sunflower seed butter base {you can certainly substitute any nut butter!} and after lots of recipe testing, I found that only one date was needed to add the perfect touch of "sweet." If you like sweeter, by all means add another! I also really wanted these bites to contain protein, fat, and fiber - with this combo, they will keep you satisfied. *Disclaimer: You will likely want to double the recipe... they'll go quickly!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 large pitted date (or 2 if you like a tad more sweetness)
  • 2 Tbsp gluten free oats*
  • 2 scoops Further Food Collagen Peptides* (Use code: granolabarregirl10 for 10% off your purchase!)
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp psyllium husk flakes (I use 365 by Whole Foods!)
  • 2 tsp cacao powder*
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

What to Do:

  • In a food processor* (I love this "mini-prep" by Cuisinart!), combine all ingredients. Mixture should look somewhat dry/crumbly, but feel somewhat moist. This consistency means it will pack well!
  • Transfer to a bowl.
  • Take a tablespoon or eyeball this amount and form balls with your hands. I like them to be just a tad smaller than a golf ball. Makes about 6 bites... *Re-read the last line in the first paragraph ;-) 
  • These should last up to 1 week or so in your fridge and longer if you freeze them. I personally love them when they are frozen!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

5 Ingredient Lemon Tahini Dressing

Easy, affordable, and healthier. Three words I love to hear! Store bought salad dressings are often full of extra additives, flavors, sugar, and unhealthy oils. They might be tasty... trust me, I love dressings, sauces... you name it, but that doesn't mean these ingredients are needed. In fact, they are so unnecessary and can easily be avoided when you make your own. And that's just what I did. This five ingredient recipe will take you less than five minutes to make, and at a lower cost than the bottles already stocked in your fridge door. Now, it's your turn! 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp tahini*
  • 8 Tbsp water 
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar*
  • Juice of ½ an organic lemon 
  • Ground pepper to taste (a few twists of your pepper grinder)

What to Do:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. 
  • Stir with a spoon until fully combined. Should not be thick, but not watery either.
  • Pour into a mason jar for storage. Store in fridge, and enjoy as a dressing or dip!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Hearty Vegetarian Split Pea Soup

Soup season is upon us! Cozying up with a big bowl of warm soup, maybe some toasted artisan bread to dip... picture perfect! I prefer soups with a lot of substance, that are hearty, and are thick and creamy (without the cream!). This split pea soup is just that: full of veggies, just the right amount of spices to create a healthy flavor, and without the high sodium levels that you find in the store. You might just have all the ingredients in your pantry already too, and if not, you won't need to go to a specialty market to find them. Even though I'm not vegetarian, I wanted to make this without ham... simple as that! 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups dried split peas
  • 3 cups carrots, cut about ½ inch thick (roughly 7 carrots)
  • 2 cups yellow onion, chopped (roughly 1 medium onion)
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • ½ tsp dried marjoram
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt + pepper to taste

What to Do:

  • In a large pot, combine all ingredients except salt + pepper.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cover. With a wooden spoon, stir occasionally as it simmers.
  • After about 45 minutes you will notice the peas are tender and the mixture as a whole has thickened. Not all of the liquid should be disolved. If it has, add extra water as necessary.
  • After another 10 minutes/around the 1 hour mark, turn your burner off using an immersion blender*, purée the soup until the texture is mostly smooth.  
  • Season soup with salt + pepper as desired.
  • Carefully spoon into your favorite soup bowls, add a toasted slice of fresh seedy bread, and get cozy!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Cocoa-Coco Buddies

Are you a fan of Muddy Buddies? Maybe you call it Puppy Chow! Either way, YUM! This sweet snack is to die for.  We all know I love to explore in the kitchen, so my latest adventure was to create my own version of this all-time favorite party mix. I am a big lover, and I mean BIG lover of Eating Evolved Dark Chocolate Coconut Butter cups, and their "Classic" flavor is my go-to. The ingredients speak for themselves: Organic Coconut, Organic Cacao, Organic Coconut Sugar, Organic Cacao Butter, Himalayan Sea Salt, and Organic Vanilla Extract. I mean, you can't go wrong! I love eating them as is, but when my sweet tooth is feeling extra sweet, I spread a little almond butter on top! Talk about to die for. And thus, Cocoa-Coco Buddies were born! Wait, there's more! Instead of packaged powdered cane sugar, I whipped up my own powdered coconut sugar! So easy. I hope you will make and enjoy my take on this holiday favorite -and as far as I'm concerned, you can enjoy this anytime of the year! 

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups rice Chex cereal
  • 4 cups corn Chex cereal
  • 2 packs of Eating Evolved Dark Chocolate Classic Coconut Butter Cups (4 cups total)
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter (I also used unsalted)
  • 1 cup organic coconut sugar*
  • 1 Tbsp arrowroot starch

What to Do:

  • In a food processor or blender, blend coconut sugar and arrowroot starch until powered texture is formed. Set aside. (This is the final topping!)
  • In a big bowl, combine rice and corn Chex cereals just so that the two flavors are mixed. Then, spread combined cereals onto an un-greased baking sheet.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the Eating Evolved cups over low heat. Use a rubber spatula to move around the chocolate while it melts.
  • With low heat still on and once chocolate is melted, stir in almond butter. 
  • Slowly and carefully, drizzle ¼ of the melted chocolate almond butter sauce over the cereal, and using your rubber spatula, spread the sauce over the cereal, flipping here and there to make sure both sides of the cereal pieces are coated. Repeat until all of the sauce is used. 
  • Sprinkle or sift powdered coconut sugar over the coated cereal. (I actually did not use the full amount, but the measurements of both coconut sugar and arrowroot starch are needed to create the powdered texture.)
  • Let sit for about 15 minutes before transferring to a party bowl or tupperware container.
  • Snack away!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Turkey Butternut Squash Chili

Inspired by my mom's chili recipe that she often made for my family when we were little {and still does to this day!}, I created a new twist with the added yums of chickpeas and butternut squash. Super simple, full of flavor, and satisfying all year round. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb organic ground turkey

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz) *drain only half of the water inside the can

  • 2 heaping cups cubed butternut squash

  • ½ cup diced yellow onion

  • 2 cans no-salt added tomato sauce (15 oz each)

  • 1 ¼ tsp chili powder

  • ¾ tsp oregano

  • ¼ tsp garlic powder

  • ½ tsp cumin

  • ½ tsp paprika

  • 3-4 shakes cinnamon

  • 1 ½ tsp coconut sugar

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • I sometimes add a couple more shakes of each spice as I go! A-OK to taste test to your liking!

What to Do:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper lightly sprayed with avocado oil. Place squash cubes on baking sheet (if using a whole squash, cut it down middle and place each half cut side down). Roast for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned.

  • Over medium heat, brown the ground turkey and onions in a saucepan.

  • Add chickpeas (as noted in ingredient list, pour can of chickpeas with ½ of the water remaining inside the can), butternut squash, and tomato sauce.

  • Add all spices!

  • Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Serve in bowls as is, or I like to top each serving with a few chunks of avocado. I also like adding Siete grain free tortilla chips* on the side too!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Gingerbread Holiday Granola with Popped Amaranth

There's no other treat that symbolizes the holidays better than gingerbread. From gingerbread men cookies to houses and loaves and cakes, gingerbread creates that warm and cozy feel through its sweet spice. Put anything "gingerbread" in front of me, and I'll be one happy gal. The only thing better is pairing it with hot cocoa and sitting in front of a crackling fire. I know I can't be the only one, right?!

With all of the gingerbread goodies out there, I hadn't yet come across a gingerbread granola, and the queen of granola needs this in her morning routine! And of course, I couldn't create a recipe without making sure the ingredients were top-notch. I created this gluten-free granola with all of the traditional spices that you find in classic gingerbread recipes; ginger itself being one of them. I love ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties and also that it is a digestive aid.

I couldn't leave out molasses, organic blackstrap to be exact. Blackstrap is the healthiest form of molasses; it has a moderate glycemic load, meaning it is metabolized more slowly and does not cause as sharp of a rise in blood sugar. It contains high levels of vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium, which all help to combat stress and anxiety. I also opted for maple syrup in place of brown sugar, which is found in most gingerbread desserts. Maple syrup is refined-sugar-free and provides sweetness that is high in antioxidants and essential minerals such as potassium and manganese.

Lastly, I really wanted this granola to have added texture and for this I chose popped amaranth because of its incredible health benefits! What is amaranth? Amaranth is a superfood whole grain that is high in protein. It has been linked to lower cholesterol, boost the immune system, strengthen bones, optimize digestion (fiber), and is even connected to hair health due to its high levels of lysine.

I hope you enjoy this granola just as much as I do, particularly throughout the holiday season!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats*
  • 3 Tbsp amaranth (then popped! **see note)
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼  tsp himalayan pink salt
  • 4 Tbsp organic blackstrap molasses*
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp organic pure maple syrup

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 285° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside on countertop.
  • **How to pop amaranth: (Important to note that this is a quick process, and it requires you to pay close attention or you will easily burn the amaranth).
  • Heat a small pot over medium to high heat (closer to high).
  • Once pot is hot, add in 1 Tbsp amaranth (not all 3!), then cover with a lid and quickly wiggle the pot back and forth just above the burner. The amaranth should start to pop within just a few seconds. Open the lid after about 15 seconds, and you should see the the majority of the amaranth has turned into a white color - this means it popped correctly! (I can never get the entire amount to pop, but the majority should, so don’t worry - you can toss it all into the recipe).
  • Pour popped amaranth into big mixing bowl.
  • Place the pot back on burner and heat back up (about 15-30 seconds).
  • Repeat the popping process until all 3 Tbsp of amaranth have been popped.
  • Into the same big mixing bowl that popped amaranth is in, measure in the rest of the dry ingredients, and combine with a wooden spoon.
  • Add molasses and combine with a rubber spatula. Take your time to fully coat all of the dry ingredients. You will see the molasses build throughout the more time you take. Patience is key!
  • Add vanilla extract and maple syrup. Combine with a rubber spatula. Again, take some time to make sure the vanilla and maple syrup are evenly spread throughout the mixture.
  • Using the rubber spatula, transfer the granola mixture evenly onto your parchment lined baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  • Carefully remove from oven and let cool completely before transferring to tupperware or mason jar.
  • I like to store my granola in the refrigerator so it will stay fresh for longer. You can also store it in the freezer for extra freshness!
  • I really enjoy this flavor granola on top of plain or vanilla yogurt, paired with a warm cup or coffee or hot cocoa!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Skillet Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce Mash

There are oh so many butternut squash sauce recipes out there, but this one is a little bit different! The ingredients are so minimal that my recipe does not call for nutritional yeast, cashews, or butter, which are common components to many homemade butternut squash sauces. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with these three ingredients! In fact, I love them all, but sometimes my tummy doesn't. (Also, cashews can be expensive, and soaking them takes a long time. Am I right?!) So, in thinking that I can't be the only one with these food sensitivities, I wanted to create a sauce for all to enjoy, and I think this is one for the books. To top it off, the "skillet baked" detail really gives this dish that comfort food feel!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ½ cups uncooked Trader Joe's Red Lentil Sedanini* (or whatever pasta you wish! I used an entire 12 oz. bag of TJ's)

  • About 6 or so cups cubed uncooked butternut squash (I used an entire 32 oz. bag of Trader Joe's pre-cut butternut squash)

  • Avocado oil Spray*

  • Pinch of pepper

  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt

  • Additional ½ tsp ground black pepper

  • Additional ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt

  • ½ tsp dried, crushed rosemary

  • ¼ tsp nutmeg

  • ¾ cup low-sodium vegetable stock

  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or whatever milk you wish!)

  • ½ cup freshly grated Jarlsberg cheese (Omit if you are dairy-free or vegan. Did you know Jarlsberg is a great for a lactose-sensitive diet?)

  • Additional ¼ cup of freshly grated Jarlsberg cheese

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and evenly spread butternut squash cubes onto paper; spray with avocado oil spray, dash of pepper, and pink salt.

  • Bake squash for 15 minutes. (This step is to help get the squash tender.)

  • Meanwhile, heat water for pasta; once water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions. Very dente is best! Drain and set aside.

  • Heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with avocado oil spray,.

  • Remove squash from oven and carefully empty the cubes into the skillet. Turn oven down to 375° F.

  • Sprinkle squash with pepper, pink salt, nutmeg, and rosemary.

  • Add vegetable stock and cover skillet; cook and stir occasionally for 15-20 minutes. (You want the squash to be very soft.)

  • Remove cover and reduce heat to low. With a fork, mash the squash until all chunks are gone.

  • Pour in almond milk and Jarlsberg cheese; using a spoon, continue to mash and stir the mixture until ingredients are combined and smooth-ish. (I say -ish due to the fact that this is made without the use of a hand blender. So, the mixture will likely not be as smooth as a typical sauce. This is purposeful, and hence why I call it a sauce mash!)

  • Taste test and season with a pinch more of the spices if desired. (I always add more!)

  • Fold pasta (about a quarter of the batch at a time) into the sauce mash. Make sure each noodle is coated!

  • Top with remaining Jarlsberg cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

  • Dinner is served!

This recipe makes about 4-6 servings. It was A LOT for our family of two! Best part is that we couldn't wait to dive into our leftovers the second night. *Leftover Tip: re-heat in a skillet on the stove top and add a little vegetable stock to get the juices flowing in the sauce mash again!

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.

Creamy Slow Cooker Squash Soup {Dairy Free}

There is nothing better than curling up on the couch with a warm bowl of homemade soup, especially during the fall and winter months. Squash soup is always a favorite of mine, but it's not always easy to find a recipe that doesn't require cream. Personally, I try my best to stay away from dairy, but also, there is no need for it! Cream is not necessary to create a "creamy" texture in squash squash soup, I promise you. Nor is a non-dairy alternative. My squash soup recipe is out-of-this-world smooth and velvety. This recipe is a staple in our household, and I hope it becomes one in yours too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large kabocha squash (a good test for size is to find one that will fill both palms of your hands when you hold it from the bottom)
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash (easy to find pre-cut squash in the store!)
  • 2 cups peeled and sliced parsnip
  • 2 cups chicken -or- vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash garlic powder
  • 1 dash nutmeg
  • 2 dashes cinnamon

What To Do:

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  • Rise the rind/skin of the squash (you'll thank me later!). Carefully cut kabocha squash in half. Scoop out seeds using a fork. 
  • Place squash halves face up, and on the inside each, sprinkle a dash of pepper and salt as well as 1 tbs. of water.
  • Place each squash half face down onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake of 35-45 minutes. To check to see if squash is ready, poke a fork into the sides. The fork prongs should easily enter and exit the skin of the squash. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  • Once squash is cooled, scoop out the flesh/insides and place into slow cooker*.
  • Remember when I said you'll thank me later? You can eat the rind/skin of kabocha squash, and I personally find it so yummy! You can cut the rind into strips and store them in tupperware in your fridge for a few days. They make a great, fibrous snack.
  • Empty all other ingredients into slow cooker! Yes, it's that easy!
  • Turn slow cooker on low and let cook for 4-5 hours. Check every so often and gently stir, and maybe even sneak a taste!
  • Once squash and parsnips are soft and tender, take an immersion blender*, and purée until well-blended and texture is smooth. Add more pepper, salt, etc. as desired.

*Visit my Favorites page for my favorite brands and links to purchase.