Guest Post by Kitchin-it: Shrimp and Veggie Thai Noodles

Our next guest poster is the adorable Raquel from Kitchin-it!

Hello readers! My name is Raquel and I’m the blogger behind Kitchin-it.


Just a few days ago I was checking out Kylie’s new post on the blog when I read she was looking for a person to write a guest post. It’s funny how I always complain about how much of a stressful person I am and how I’m constantly trying to control it… but it seems like I actually love getting into stressful situations. Right now I am on the last week of the summer semester, with 2 exams, 1 presentation and 3 papers to hand in, plus I have to post recipes on my own blog, plan my boyfriend’s birthday (which is next weekend) and I’m also going on vacation really soon and lots of things need to be taken care of before I leave. But yeah…imma guest-post for her!


I was considering writing a story about my love for peanut butter…but then you were gonna think I’m weird.

So, I decided to tell you a bit of who I am and how I fell in love with food and nutrition. It’s actually funny that I say that, because when I was little (and not so little too) I used to hate food. I only liked pasta and candies.

Not until I was about 14 years old my interest for food and nutrition began to appear. I remember I used to sit with a friend and write down “diets” we wanted to follow just to look like Emma Watson. We never followed them by heart but it was definitely fun to write them down.

One year later, my family and I moved to England. I remember that back then my elective courses in high school were graphic design and hotel management. I always wonder what would’ve happened if I had stayed there. I’ll probably be writing about hotels and not food. But 6 months later, we moved back to Venezuela. That’s when my love for nutrition started to increase. I think it’s because people back there seems to be a lot into “diets” but not many people actually study it. And of course, I was attracted to what people avoided. So when all my school peers were deciding to be in engineering or medicine, I was praying to get into a nutrition program. I have to confess that I was still considering hotel management. I know…it’s not even close, but I like hotels.


When I was 18, I got accepted in a University in Montreal so I ended up moving here. With what I’ve learned so far in life and with the help of different courses, I realized that healthy food doesn’t have to be a bunch of lettuce or avoiding chocolate. Instead, there has to be an equilibrium and it doesn’t have to be boring.

Right now I couldn’t be more in love with food and nutrition. And that love keeps growing. But I think I better stop talking about my love for food and nutrition now. I don’t want you to cry or make my boyfriend jealous.

So I’ll leave you this delicious (and healthy!) recipe. I hope you enjoy it :)


Shrimp and Veggie Thai Noodles

Start to finish: 50 minutes, serves 5 to 6

  • Brown rice vermicelli noodles for 6 portions (Check package instructions)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups uncooked shrimp
  • 1 ½ cups bean sprouts
  • 1 ½ cups green beans
  • 1/2 cup peanuts
  • 3-4 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
  1. Cook noodles following package instructions.
  2. In a separate saucepan, add 2 cups of water and heat over medium-high heat.
  3. Add carrots and cook until lightly softened. Then add the bell peppers and green beans and cook for about 5 more minutes. Put aside for later use.
  4. In a wok, add the olive oil and heat over medium-heat
  5. Add the garlic and cook until lightly golden. Then add the onions and eggs. Stir constantly until scrambled.
  6. Add the shrimps and cook. When curled and pink, add the bean sprouts and broccoli. Keep stirring until ingredients are softened.
  7. Add the carrots, bell peppers and green beans into the wok mixture and mix well.
  8. Add the gluten-free soy sauce and the peanuts and remove from heat.
  9. Add this mixture to the cooked noodles.
  10. Mix, serve and enjoy!
Posted in seafood | 5 Comments

Guest Post from Buttercream Fanatic: Double Chocolate Black Bean Brownies

While I’m on vacation I have lined up some guest posts for you! First up is the talented & beautiful Nora from Buttercream Fanatic

Kylie may not realize it, but she and I have an inside joke: black bean brownies.

The first time I made black bean brownies, I loved them. The concept was great, you cannot taste the beans, and they are gluten-free, moist, and very high fiber. But, that same day, Kylie posted her Skinny Brownies, in the description of which she professes her, ahem, reservations about beans in brownies. And since my first batch of black bean brownies turned pretty great, I decided it was my mission to make her a believer (I may or may not actually have told her that, until now). So I guess our inside joke is Kylie secretly loves black bean brownies. She just doesn’t know it yet.


Listen, upfront you probably totally agree with her that this is a bizarre concept and wouldn’t blame you for doubting my credibility, taste buds, and – let’s face it – sanity right now. But think about it: black beans are relatively tasteless and take on whatever flavors they are paired with. They are starchy and moist, so they replace not only the flour (bulk) in the recipe, but also some of the fat. You see, fat provides moisture in baked goods, and since the beans contribute so much moisture on their own, the need for additional fat is significantly reduced. The chocolate chips, cocoa powder and vanilla extract provide the flavor, and the beans are pureed into oblivion so you don’t get any bean-ish texture either. These should really be called Stealth Black Bean Brownies.

These wonder brownies are also incredibly low-effort: make them in 5 minutes in a food processor and pour them in a pan to bake for 25 minutes.


So let’s recap: these brownies are fast and easy to make, gluten-free, high-fiber, nearly-fat-free, and contain very low sugar. Wait!! Don’t run away. There is no catch.

I know what you’re thinking, and they do not taste like chocolate-dipped cardboard. In fact, these easy, healthy, 30-minute brownies are delicious. They are moist, dense and deeply chocolatey throughout, almost like fudge, plus, you get a bit of creamy chocolate – from the chips on top – in every bite. No one who tried these without being aware of the, ahem, secret ingredient, had any idea what they were eating. They all thought it was a full fat, wheat-filled brownie! Trust me, you would never know they are so good for you, and certainly never feel deprived. Feel free to use these trick your friends and family into eating healthy. I won’t tell.



makes 8 browines

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + more for the top

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt*

1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

*Note: I used fat free Chobani, but feel free to use whatever you have around, as long as it is Greek and plain.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. This will take about 90 seconds to a minute on the high power setting. They may not melt completely; stir vigorously to finish melting the chips until chocolate has a smooth and uniform consistency.

Pour black beans and melted chocolate into a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue to pulse until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and pulse a few more times to make sure everything is completely incorporated.

Pour into prepared pan and smooth to level and fill corners, etc. Sprinkle remaining chocolate chips over the top. Bake for 25 minutes until the top has cracked slightly and the center has set. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into 2″ squares.

Makes 8 brownies. These are best if eaten immediately after they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


Posted in Dessert, gluten free | 11 Comments

{The Recipe Redux} Pretzel Bagels with Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seeds

I am cah-razy about these bagels.

Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Bagels (1 of 21)

Obsessed with them in the kind of way where I ate them for dinner as an egg + hummus + arugula + roasted tomato sandwich.  And then had them the next day for breakfast topped with smoked salmon + plain greek yogurt + sprinkle of dill.  And then I was just wasting away (mentally) while addressing Save the Dates so a little peanut butter + banana + chocolate chip combination ensued.  And then we decided to make breakfast for dinner so egg + sausage bagel sandwiches it was.  And then the next day I high-fived my inner child with a PB & J bagel sandwich for lunch.

Ooo just can’t get enough. Kinda like how I’m about to go wild about watermelon. Not wild like this but like ice cold triangle after ice cold triangle of watermelon…all day, everyday.

Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Bagels (3 of 21)

But back to bagels.  I’m mainly oh-so-obsessed because these bagels taste like pretzels. Yup, pretzel bagels.  Which you then turn into pretzel bagel sandwiches for dinner, and then breakfast and then lunch and then you get on instagram and the fabulous Katie posts a pictures of apple pie bagels and all you can think is bagels!  And now all I’m thinking is what else could I do with bagels. My head is about to explode with all the ideas.

Which is a good distraction from the annoyance I’m feeling because right when I finally got a Vine..Instagram is all like, “you can post videos now!” Ugh.

Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Bagels (4 of 21)

Whatev.  So gluten free batters tend to be a little temperamental.  The batter is sticky and therefore tricky to work with.  The key is to wet/flour your hands frequently.  But I tell you, they are worth it.  I mean, they taste like a pretzel!

Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Bagels (5 of 21)

Pretzel Bagels with Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seeds

makes 10 bagels

[adapted from salt and serenity]


4 1/4 cups (or 1, 22-ounces pack) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, divided
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp flaxseed, ground
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 Tbsp instant yeast
1 egg
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup warm water

Seed Topping

3 Tbsp sesame seeds
3 Tbsp sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp salt

Boiling Water Ingredients

1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking soda

Additional Ingredients

¼ cup cornmeal

Line 2-baking sheets with parchment paper and sprinkle each with cornmeal.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine 3 1/4 cup gluten free flour, salt, flaxseed, xanthan gum and yeast.  In a separate bowl, combine egg, maple syrup, coconut oil, vinegar and warm water.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir with the paddle attachment on medium for 1 minute and on high for 2 minutes.  Dough will be extremely sticky.

Using the remaining cup of flour, generously flour a large cutting board with 1/2 cup flour.  Scoop out sticky dough onto floured surface.  Divide dough into 10 even pieces.  Flour your hands and roll each piece into a ball.  Use your thumb/finger to poke a hole in the center of the ball and form it into a bagel shape.  Place bagel-shaped dough onto the cornmeal-sprinkled baking sheet.  Repeat with 9 remaining dough balls.  Cover the bagels with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make you seed topping by combining sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and salt.

After bagels have risen for 20 minutes, bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 375F.  Once the water is boiling, add sugar and baking soda to the water.  Drop the bagels into the boiling water one layer at a time.  Be careful to leave plenty of space around your bagels and don’t let them overlap.  My pot allowed me to boil 3 bagels at a time.  Boil bagel for 30 seconds before flipping to the other side for 30 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon to remove bagel from the boiling water and place it back onto the cornmeal-sprinkled cookie sheet.  Immediately sprinkle the wet bagel with the seed mixture.  Repeat with remaining bagels.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a cooling rack before slicing.

Eat within 4 days or slice and store in the freezer.

Chia, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Bagels (7 of 21)

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.) 

Posted in Bread, Breakfast, Sandwiches | 23 Comments

I made you wannabe french fries.

So I went to a spinal surgeon last Tuesday and the guy looked like Bradley Cooper.

Roasted Carrot Fries (5 of 6)

I can see him being a highly effective doctor. Seriously. I mean you just look at his face and you instantly feel better. Luckily my achy back/numb-tingly legs are feeling soo much better…but now I’m thinking I might need to feign a slipped disk or something.

Roasted Carrot Fries (1 of 6)

So I have been wanting to make avocado fries for forever and I was sure the next non-potato-french-fry-creation I made was going to be those avocado fries. But here we are, avocado-fry-less.

There are worse things than a lack of avocado. Like when you are driving to your doctors appointment and you forget that you set Siri to help you navigate your way there and after saying nothing for like 17 minutes she all of the sudden shouts out the next direction and you fah-reak out because for a teeny-tiny moment you think someone is hiding in your back seat. And then you realize it’s not a creeper…it’s just Siri. Who, truth be told, always kinda freaked you out to begin with.

Roasted Carrot Fries (2 of 6)

But then you get to your doctors appointment and spend your 2 hour wait looking at the Full House Episode instagram which is just one of the happiest things you’ve ever seen. And then, as was previously noted, your doctor looked like Bradley Cooper(!!!).

But we’ve already discussed his Bradley Cooper-ness…so moving on.

Roasted Carrot Fries (3 of 6)

Okay so have you heard about this contest with Bob’s Red Mill?! I mean we all love oatmeal so I’m thinking everyone should enter. I definitely had no idea what a “spurtle” was but now I want one. Andrew is currently trying to beat me and is constantly texting me, “#immawin.” But I’m heading on vacation at the end of this week and will have plenty of time to daydream all about oatmeal…and what delicious things to add to it. So dear fiance, #immawin.

Since I’m leaving for vacation soon, if anyone is interested in writing a guest post send me an email to The post would just need to include a healthy or wholesome recipe (with pretty, high resolution pictures of the recipe) and a fun story about you/your blog/your love for food/any random excitement in your life. In the email include your recipe idea and the name of your blog. I look forward to hearing from you!

And now back to the food. I made you Roasted Carrot Fries. They’re delicious and sweet and pair beautifully with ketchup (as does pretty much everything in life). Not that they necessarily need ketchup but without some ketchup action fries don’t really seem like fries. You know?

Roasted Carrot Fries (4 of 6)

Roasted Carrot Fries

makes 2 side servings

3 large carrots

2 tsp olive oil

scant 1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425F.

Wash, peel and slice carrots into large matchsticks. In a large bowl, toss together sliced carrots, olive oil, salt and pepper. Place a cooling rack onto a large baking sheet that has edges. Spread coated carrots onto the cooling rack so they are not touching. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip to other side and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with favorite french fry dipping sauce.


{The Recipe Redux} sponsored recipe contest: Overnight Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two

[Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by National Honey Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.]

If you add the word ‘rustic’ in front of something it’s okay if it has that whole rugged-good-looks look.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (1 of 10)

Because I totally get that these cinnamon rolls don’t look like the pretty ones that come in those pillsbury cans.  You know, the cans that claim to easily pop open but never really do?

I also used greek yogurt for icing so at this point you might be thinking, “that’s not icing…it’s yogurt!  What a total coup out.”  And if you are thinking that, I for sure hear you.  When I was grocery shopping I had powdered sugar on my list but when I was checking out I realized I forgot to grab some and venturing back into the jam-packed grocery store on a Sunday afternoon just didn’t seem worth it.

I considered making a cashew frosting for like .534 seconds but I’ve never been a really big fan.  And greek yogurt+honey is just so creamy and perfect and cinnamon roll top-able.  So greek yogurt+honey it was.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (5 of 10)

Also, these cinnamon rolls don’t unravel.  I feel like that’s a crime against humanity to call something a cinnamon roll when it doesn’t have layer after layer to slowly unravel.  You can still see the layers even if you can’t peel them open to reveal that doughy center.  I mean, you can still get to that dough center you just have to use a different medium…a fork.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (4 of 10)

Before these cinnamon rolls I would have judged you for eating a cinnamon roll with a fork but look at me now…I’m a changed, less judgmental person who is encouraging you to dig into this cinnamon roll via an Emily Post-approved means.  You could even put a napkin on your lap if you’re feeling fancy-smansy.

And you can pretty much forget all things Emily Post taught you if you ever tried to eat this sandwich because ohemmgeee.  I hope I’m not wearing white when I make a version of that.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (3 of 10)

So this recipe is for a recipe contest with The Recipe Redux that is being sponsored by the National Honey Board.  I love me some honey.  Almost as much as my little sister who keeps honey straws stashed in her purse because she loves the stuff so much (we found the straws at a farmers market one time and stockpiled them).

In this recipe, I substituted honey where I normally would have used brown sugar.  It added sweetness without making the rolls too sweet to serve as a breakfast entree.  And paired with the greek yogurt based frosting, I didn’t feel uncomfortably stuffed after eating them like I normally do after uber decadent cinnamon rolls.  Typically, cinnamon rolls seem like an unhealthy choice for breakfast but I totally would eat these again for breakfast tomorrow (and I will).  And then even have them for lunch.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (7 of 10)

Also, today is Friday which means it’s time for Ashley’s Breakfast Friday.  Be sure to tag any and all of your breakfast creations with #bfastfridayclub!

Overnight Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two

makes 6 little, cute rolls

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp water

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp almond milk

2 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp active yeast

¼ tsp dark brown sugar

In a microwave safe bowl, combine water, almond milk and coconut oil and microwave until everything is melted, about 20 seconds.  Allow to cool for ~10 minutes or until luke warm.  Add in yeast and brown sugar, stir for 1 minute until yeast and sugar are completely dissolved.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes until foamy and bubbly.

1 egg white

1 Tbsp +1 tsp honey

1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp oat flour, packed

¼ cup almond flour, packed

In a separate larger bowl, combine egg white, honey and foamy yeast mixture.  Add in oat flour and almond flour.  Mix until a sticky dough has formed (should be able to form a ball with it that holds it’s shape…if dough is too sticky/thin add 1-3 Tbsp oat flour).  Grease a separate bowl with coconut oil.  Roll dough into a ball and place it into the greased bowl.  Turn the ball once to coat with oil.   Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in a warm, draft free place for 1 hour, or dough has doubled in size.


2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tbsp cinnamon

While dough is rising, combine coconut oil, brown sugar, honey and cinnamon in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave for 10 seconds, or until honey is thinned.  Stir until brown sugar dissolves.  Cover and place in the fridge until dough has risen.

Assemble Cinnamon Rolls

1/2-1 tsp cinnamon

Flour a flat surface with oat flour and dump out the dough.  Allow the dough to rest for a minute while you remove the coconut oil filling from the fridge.  The filling should have hardened on the top and become a jel-like consistency on the bottom.  Using a knife, cut the hardened coconut oil filling into squares.

On your floured surface, roll out your dough into a long rectangle.  Evenly disperse the coconut oil filling squares around the rectangle.  Sprinkle dough with an additional 1/2-1 tsp cinnamon.  Roll up dough from the long-end or the short-end of the rectangle.  I rolled mine up beginning at the long end so I could make 6 smaller rolls.  But you could roll yours up beginning from the short end to make 4 bigger rolls.  Slice of jagged ends.  Cut rolled up dough into 4 or 6 rolls.  Place touching in a parchment paper-lined baking dish.

Now you have 2 options:

1. Cover and refrigerate the rolls overnight and in the morning allow rolls to sit outside of the fridge for 30 minutes before baking at 350F for 30 minutes (this is what I did).


2. Immediately bake the cinnamon rolls at 350F for 30 minutes.


1/2 cup plain greek yogurt

2 Tbsp honey

In a bowl, combine greek yogurt and honey.  Use to top warm cinnamon rolls.  Serve.

Rustic Cinnamon Rolls for Two (8 of 10)

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux contest entries only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Snack | 17 Comments

{Healthier} Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar

I think I want to incorporate A TON of rosemary into my wedding.

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (15 of 16)

Not in the food (necessarily), but lining the aisle in pretty bouquets with fluffy, white hydrangeas and baby’s breath.  And the boys could wear little rosemary + baby’s breath boutonnieres (definitely had to google the spelling on that one).  I found these. But with the cotton they’re just too umm southern.  And then this one is pretty but there isn’t even rosemary in it which is counterproductive.  But I’d add in rosemary and then take out the purple flowers and add in something pale pink…or nude.  Do they even make a nude flower?  I’m sure I’ll change my mind in like a week.  But for now I’m rosemary obsessed.

Also obsessed with that Taylor Swift Diet Coke Commercial where everyone is singing, “It feels like the perfect night, to dress up like hipsters”…that guy singing in the car kills me.  Love it.

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (1 of 16)Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (2 of 16)

What I don’t love is when I come out of the grocery store and forget what my rental car looks like and walk around the parking lot trying to act cool and not like someone who not only forgot where she parked her car but also forgot what the car looked like.  And the car is definitely not a minty blue.  It’s like a black-dark green-ish color.  Better than plain black but I think all rental cars should be a minty blue…think of how happy all rental car drives would be!(!!!!!)

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (6 of 16)

Soo my birthday weekend was good.  I made ribs and drank a chocolate coconut water and ate dessert out of these cute, little jars.  Sounds like a joyous combination to me.  And somewhere during my birthday dinner my dad mentioned that he’s willing to give some financial incentives to whoever decides to keep their maiden name after they get married.  I have 2 sisters so once we are all married off our last name will end with our generation.  He’s just kidding…I think.  He’s still so excited about (possibly) having a grandson named, “Dennis Mitchell,” (as in the little kid from Dennis the Menace) to actually care about me keeping my maiden name.

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (10 of 16)

Okay, onto what’s smooshed inside these jars.  It’s a fun and cute recipe mainly because it comes in this little, fun, cute jar.  Everything is more fun in a jar.  And yet again, this is one of those recipes where I make you make another recipe just to make this one…annoying (i know).  But I promise I’ll branch out and stop using that skinny brownie recipe…but first you must make these.  And this is like a super transportable dessert because of said little, fun, cute jars.

Also, this recipe has you make a date paste.  So that involves you letting the dates soak in some water for 12 hours (or overnight).  Just so ya know!

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (13 of 16)

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar

makes 9 8-oz mason jars

Crust Layer

3 cups Sunrise Crunchy Maple

2 Tbsp honey

6 T coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 325 F.

Use a food processor/blender to crush cereal into a flour.  Pour crushed cereal into a bowl.  Add in honey and coconut oil.  Stir until wet ingredients are well combined into the cereal.  You may need to use your hands.

Divide the crust mixture between 9 8-ounce glass mason jars.  Gently pack the crust down using a spoon.  DO NOT firmly press the crust mixture down because it will become WAY TOO hard and you won’t be able to eat it.  Bake gently packed crushed mixture for 20-25 minutes.  Or until beginning to turn a slightly darker golden brown than it already is.

Chocolate Layer

1 batch skinny brownies, crumbled (about 3 cups)

1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt (I used chobani)

3 Tbsp peanut butter (no added salt or sugar)

In a large bowl, mix together crumbled brownies, greek yogurt and peanut butter.  Use your hands to pack ingredients together into a dough.

Pecan Pie Layer

19 dates, pitted

2 cups pecans

Allow dates to soak overnight in 3/4 cup water.  Once soft, pour dates + water into a high powered blender/food processor and blend until smooth to create a date paste.  Scoop date paste into a large bowl and set aside while you roast your pecans.

Roast pecans by laying pecans in a single layer on a plate and microwaving for ~1 1/2 minutes, stirring after every 20 seconds.  Once roasted, roughly chop half of the pecans.  Add both halved and chopped pecans into the date paste and stir until incorporated.

Assemble Chocolate Pecan Pie

Garnish: 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt + 9 roasted pecan halves

Evenly divide the chocolate dough layer in 9 balls.  Drop the chocolate dough balls into the mason jars on top of the pie crust.  Press the chocolate dough balls into a flat layer.  On top of the chocolate layer, add the date paste + pecan layer.  Top with a scant spoonful of vanilla greek yogurt and a pecan half.  Cover and allow to chill before serving (1 hour in the freezer or 3 hours+ in the fridge).

Chocolate Pecan Pie in a Jar (11 of 16)

Posted in Sandwiches | 23 Comments

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls

I would like to tell you about the nonsense that was my Wednesday.

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (5 of 7)

I woke up and did Tina’s Run Burpee Run workout which is such a fun workout.  So that wasn’t part of the Wednesday nonsense.  Because I obsessively love that workout. So that was the day’s high point.

Okay and then I showered and put on these new shorts that are a tiffany blue color and they kinda make me feel like an Easter egg.  I can’t decide what I think of them.  I mean,  I like Easter eggs.  I also bought the exact same pair of shorts in a pastel pink color.  Just because why not.  I mean sometimes everyone wants to feel 8 years old again.  And that’s totally okay.

So then while making breakfast I somehow lost my phone.  No idea how but it just disappeared so I finished making an oatmeal mug cake and then used our landline to call my phone.  And I heard it ringing…from inside the washing machine…that I had just started 10 minutes ago.

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (2 of 7)

So I tore open the washer door and threw sopping wet clothes everywhere and ended up finding my phone wrapped up in a shirt.  Still don’t even know how the phone actually got into the washer.  Ugh.  I threw my phone in a bag of rice and miraculously, it still works.  Thank you, Mr. Otterbox.  You have redeemed yourself from the time I dropped my phone and it still cracked even though I had you on said phone.

So then I went to the grocery store and managed not to forget anything.  So I was all like thinking in my head…”what a completely successful day!” Or so I thought…because on the way home I got rear ended by a women in a Ford F-350 Truck.  Have you ever realized how big those trucks are?  I live in Texas which is full of enormous trucks (and people who don’t know how to drive them) and even I think they’re big. And when a lady rams hers into the back of your cute-little-only-6-months-old-toyota-rav-4 when you are sitting at a stoplight…it hurts.

My whole back window shattered and glass flew up to the front seat.  And I think my back door would have falled off if I would have tried to open it.  Actually, it was so smooshed that I don’t think it would have even opened.  And then the woman who hit me said (and I quote)…”I was talking to my lawyer and texting my daughter.”  I guess that was supposed to make it okay.  Not sure.  So today I got X-rays because of this pain in my lower back that has a tendency to radiate down my left leg.  And when the pain isn’t radiating my left leg just feels numb.

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (1 of 7)

One of my greatest fears (and this is gonna sound selfish…) is not being able to run.  Just knowing that there is going to be one day when I won’t be able to run (days like now) is what makes me go run on days when I don’t feel like working out.

Hopefully the pain/numbness will go away soon.  Right now i’m in the anger stage of The 5 Stages of Grief but I’m quickly moving towards stage 3 (bargaining) and i’m sure stages 4 & 5 (depression & acceptance) will follow close behind.

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (3 of 7)

But I’ll get over it.  And I’m sure I’ll be fine.  And today is gonna be faaareaking awesome because…today is my freaking birthday.  And everyone wants a rental car for their birthday, right? Right.  I hope it’s at least a pretty color rental car.  Like a minty blue color…which i’ve realized is a totally different color than tiffany blue.  Yes, because tiffany blue makes you look a little Easter eggy but minty blue just makes you look happy and awesome.

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (7 of 7)

Just in case the rental car is a depressing color like brown, I have these here cake balls to keep everything exciting.  Even though these cake balls are also…brown.  But this brown is peanut-butter-and-chocolate-brown which, we all know, is like the most artful and beautiful combination of foods in the entire world.  For real.

So make these cake balls.  They take a little work because this is one of those annoying recipes where you have to make another recipe just to make this recipe but I promise they’re worth it!

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls (4 of 7)

Peanut Butter Frosting Covered Chocolate Cake Balls

makes 12 cake balls

Chocolate Cake Balls

1 1/3 cup skinny brownies, crumbled 

3 Tbsp vanilla greek yogurt (I used Chobani)

1 Tbsp peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/3 cup peanut butter (no added sugar or salt)

2 Tbsp vanilla greek yogurt

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

2 pinch salt

Optional Topping: unsweetened shredded coconut, cocoa powder, chopped peanuts

In a bowl, combine crumbled skinny brownies, greek yogurt and peanut butter.  Use your hands to make sure everything is mixed together well.  Roll mixture into 13 balls.  Eat one! Seriously, this recipe only makes enough peanut butter frosting to cover 12 cake balls.

Put chocolate cake balls into the freezer while you make your peanut butter icing.  In a small bowl combine peanut butter and greek yogurt until smooth.  Add in vanilla, honey and salt.  Mixture will be thick (…and delicious, try not to eat it all.  But if it happens, it happens…just start back at the beginning of this paragraph).

Okay, get chocolate cake balls out of the freezer.  Grab a small amount of peanut butter frosting and roll it into a ball.  Flatten the ball into a pancake and place the chocolate cake ball into the center of the flattened frosting pancake.  Fold the sides of the frosting pancake up around the cake ball and gently smoosh/roll the peanut butter frosting around the chocolate cake ball so it completely covers it.

Now roll the cake balls in your topping of choice (unsweetened shredded coconut, cocoa powder, chopped peanuts).  Eat immediately or store in the fridge or freezer for up to a week.  I LOVED these frozen!!

And if you have been saying, “that’s what she said…” throughout this entire recipe…me too.

Posted in Dessert, gluten free | Tagged | 19 Comments

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins

I know it’s not called a yellow zucchini.*  But if I would’ve called them “yellow squash muffins” my family would have never eaten them.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (11 of 12)

Nothing like a like trickery and deception with your breakfast.

So this weekend Andrew and I did weekend-y things like eating froyo and going house hunting. I almost freaked out at Menchie’s because Andrew actually sampled a flavor instead of just immediately getting his typical tart yogurt + brownie bites (all while I sampled as many flavors as I possibly can in the 30 seconds I have until he’s standing at the cash register waiting on me).  He tried the Graham Cracker flavor and couldn’t believe it actually tasted exactly like Graham Crackers. He has so much to learn about froyo.

And just when I think I know my froyo places…this happens.

The “fast-food outlet” that I found most umm interesting (?) was the frozen yogurt place called, “Cups.” It’s supposed to be the Hooters of froyo.  I’m all for entrepreneurs so to each their own…but I think I’d rather go to Umami than Cups.  But I really love me some froyo.  So I’d probably still go to Cups.  Thoughts?

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (1 of 12)

So house hunting was just one of the most fun things I’ve ever done. We saw a gorgeous kitchen in one home but that house wasn’t in the location that we (read: I) want to live in. Andrew is trying to convince me to consider another location by bribing me with the close proximity to the grocery store.

But before we make any big decisions we always check Google Maps to see how close our nearest Chipotle would be…priorities.  His location won the close-chipotle-proximity contest but my location is just more exciting/yuppie/historical houston-y/all round freaking awesome-er.  And when we turned onto me desired street…there was the cutest-lululemon-wearing young mom walking her dog while her little boy rode his bike with training wheels.  And we’ll become friends and we can exchange baking tips and we can plant gardens together and our kids can grow up together and we can walk to the farmers market on Saturdays together and…I was sold.

AND(!!!) the exterior of my house was mint chocolate chip color.  Which automatically trumps all other colors.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (4 of 12)

Speaking of colors…my friend is pregnant so we’re planning on hosting a Gender Reveal Party for her where you bite into cupcakes and the center will be blue or pink for the baby’s gender.  I just told Andrew, “We’re throwing a Gender Reveal Party!” I didn’t really give him in background on what that meant or who it was for and he just got this really confused look on his face…it was pretty funny. He was like, “What does that even mean?”

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (9 of 12)

Other things that boys don’t really understand…Sample Sales.  BHLDN was having a Sample Sale in Houston this weekend so my mom, sisters and I went to see if we could find some bridesmaid dresses.  I was actually looking for a veil but those weren’t part of the sale…of course they weren’t.  We got there at 7 am and waited in line in the pouring rain for 1 1/2 hours until we finally got in.  Only to find…nothing.

But anyways, one girl had her boyfriend/fiance/husband with her.  How you gonna bring a man to a sample sale.  There are not enough dressing rooms and there will be half-naked girls walking around throwing on and off 80% off dresses.  Not the best environment for a guy.

We didn’t find any dresses…but we did go home and open my mom’s wedding dress which hadn’t been opened in 29 years.  And then we all tried it on.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (8 of 12)

So I made you muffins with yellow squash mainly because we just harvested about 36843 of them from my dad’s garden.  And he asks me every single day if I ate a yellow squash.  So I decided to go one step farther and put it in muffins…and then trick him into eating them.  I recommend making these muffins and then doing this to them.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (5 of 12)

*totally just googled “yellow zucchini” and there is such a thing.  Who knew?! Probably you.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins

makes 16 muffins

[inspired by Martha Stewart]

2 cups oat flour, packed

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup stevia in the raw

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup yellow crookneck squash, grated

1/2 cup banana, mashed (~1 medium to large banana)

2/3 cup almond milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup walnut, chopped + additional walnuts to top

Preheat oven to 350F and line 16 muffins tins with paper liners.  In a large bowl, mix together oat flour, flaxseed, brown sugar, stevia, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, vanilla.

Add grated squash and mashed banana into dry ingredients.  Stir until squash is coated in flour mixture.  Now add in your wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Avoid over mixing.  Divide batter among muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.  You’ll know the muffins are done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Allow muffins to cool for 30 minutes in the hot muffin tin before moving to a cooling rack to continue cooling.  If you take the paper off the muffins too soon, the paper will stick to the muffin and make the muffin look less than aesthetically pleasing.  Top with a nice spread of some peanut butter…or with this peanut butter icing.

Yellow Zucchini Banana Walnut Muffins (10 of 12)

Posted in Breakfast, gluten free | Tagged | 28 Comments

Skinny Brownies (…because bikini-time is almost here).

Putting beans in my brownies scares me.

Skinny Brownies (3 of 10)

So you better believe I didn’t do it.  Nope.  Maybe one day I’ll man-up and try one of the many black bean brownie recipes out there but the day is not today.

I shouldn’t even be wanting to bake brownies right now because it’s hella hot in Texas. Yet I somehow managed to make brownies, muffins and cake balls this week.  I’m fhhhreaking out about those cake balls.  Kinda how I’m fhhhreaking out about this bathing suit that is no longer sold.  It’s just gorgeous and perfect and everyone on my honeymoon would know me as the-girl-in-that-cute-classy-coral-one-piece.  And then I could get this cover-up and borrow some of my sister’s big sunglasses* and there we go…all set for Cado.

Actually, I’m not really feeling the back of that swimsuit, but I love V-neck one pieces.  Love, love, love.  Love them like I love oat flour.  Which is a lot, a lot, a lot.  I’ve never ever been a two piece bathing suit person.  I remember having a tankini thing in middle school and thinking I looked awesome.  Looking back, nothing quite looks ‘awesome’ in middle school.  Clothes aren’t quite made to fit the human body at that life stage.

Skinny Brownies (7 of 10)Skinny Brownies (8 of 10)Skinny Brownies (10 of 10)

My all time favorite swimsuit was this maroon V-neck one piece that was from Target.  If I ever found that swimsuit again I would stockpile like 58493 of them.  Kinda like how my dad stockpiles groceries.  You have to be very careful in replying when he asks you if you need anything from the grocery store.  The last time I asked for chicken I got 20-lbs worth of chicken breasts.  No joke…it’s all bagged up into individual baggies in our freezer now.  And then one time my little sister asked for cookie dough and we ended up with this 2 gallon bucket of cookie dough.  It was wonderful and terrible all at the same time.

Skinny Brownies (5 of 10)

But in all seriousness, I would at least get 8 of those swimsuits.  I don’t even know what happened to my first one?!  My theory is that my mom threw it away while I was sleeping.  It was probably for the best, it was pretty worn.  Worn into perfection and the optimal swimsuit fitting-ness.  Such a loss.  I’ll get over it…one day.

But not today.

But this is the day where I put oats, almonds and honey into my brownies.  All totally acceptable dessert-y things (in comparison to beans which don’t really scream dessert-y).  But these brownies are not fudgy.  They are more cake-like.  Wait, don’t go! They’re light and fluffy and they really tasted cocoa-y which I loved.  I wouldn’t say that they’re bitter, they just taste like dark chocolate.  You’re gonna wanna enjoy them with a glass of almond milk (or soy or rice or hemp or cow or coconut milk)>

Skinny Brownies (1 of 10)

*the sister who says things like “gossip girl is life.” She’s kidding…I hope.

Skinny Brownies

makes 1 8×8″ pan of brownies

2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce

2 Tbsp coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp honey

1 egg

2/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup oat flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8×8″ baking dish with coconut oil/non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla extract and cocoa powder. The mixture will be dry and clumpy. Scoop the cocoa mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer and add in the egg and honey. Use the whisk attachment to vigorously whisk together the cocoa mixture until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, oat flour, baking powder and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined (the batter will likely look a little lumpy from the almond meal/flour).

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and use a spoon to spread the batter evenly to all corners. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before slicing (like that’s gonna happen).

Skinny Brownies (9 of 10)

Posted in Dessert, gluten free | Tagged | 26 Comments

PB & J Cookies Stuffed with Banana Slices

I went to a wedding this weekend and they served polenta.

PB, Banana & Jelly Cookies (5 of 10)

I’ll let you use that as an indicator for how wonderful the wedding was. So I decided I’m totally adding polenta, along with a goat cheese + arugula + walnut salad, to my foods-I-want-at-my-wedding list. This wedding ceremony was also outside in beautiful Colorado weather. At one point a bunny hopped across the lush lawn that the ceremony was on and I was like, “could this be anymore like a fairytale?”

PB, Banana & Jelly Cookies (1 of 10)

But then, as was mentioned before, there was polenta. So yes, I guess it was even more fairytale-y. If I wasn’t having a wedding in Houston in December, I would have the wedding outside in a heartbeat. Even with the unpredictability of Houston weather in December (it could be 30F, it could be 80F), I still have this rather HUGE desire to have the wedding outside. I don’t want my guests to be freezing if it’s cold but we could serve hot chocolate and hot cider and have a speedy, quick ceremony. As much as I’m excited about grad school, having to plan a wedding/honeymoon around it is so beyond unfortunate.

PB, Banana & Jelly Cookies (10 of 10)

Other than the wedding, the other highlight of this weekend was that I finally made it to Snooze, which I have been wanting to go to for 2 years. It was everything I hoped it would be. I got the Sweet Potato Pancake…so it goes without saying that it was good. But i’ll say it anyways…it was so good. I also split half an omelet which had been stuffed with goat cheese. Houston needs a cute pancake place like Snooze. I’m gonna get on that.

PB, Banana & Jelly Cookies (8 of 10)

Until I open my pancake restaurant (half kidding/half serious), I just wanna keep making cookies. In particular, these PB & J Cookies that have been stuffed with a banana slice. They are kinda weird because they are super moist and sticky but they tasted(*) like a peanut butter + jelly + banana sandwich…which tastes like my childhood. And since we all know that nostalgia is the best flavor, you know they were good. These cookies reminded me of summer days spent at grandmas which meant eating french toast for breakfast, drinking ice-cold limeade in between hours of non-stop swimming and making pb+banana sandwiches for lunch.

These are easily my favorite cookies that I’ve made…ever. I love peanut butter. I love bananas. I love cookies. I love a little nostalgia. There was really no way they could have been bad.

PB, Banana & Jelly Cookies (3 of 10)

*past tense because they have managed to all disappear

PB & J Cookies Stuffed with Banana Slices

makes 12 cookies

[inspired by How Sweet it is}

1 2/3 cup oat flour (buy pre-ground or just grind oats into a flour using blender/coffee grinder)

1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 tsp baking powder

scant 1/4 tsp salt

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup peanut butter (no added sugar)

3 Tbsp honey

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup jelly/preserves of choice (I used strawberry preserves)

1/2 large banana, sliced into 12 slices

Preheat an oven to 350F. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, combine coconut oil, peanut butter, and honey. Melt coconut-peanut butter-honey mixture in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, or until melted. Set aside and allow it to cool slightly.

In a separate larger bowl, combine oat flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In a (yet another) separate bowl, whisk together the egg and vanilla. Pour in the melted coconut-PB-honey mixture and whisk everything together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until a dough begins to formed. Once dough has formed, gently fold in the jelly using your hands. You want to leave streaks and ribbons of jelly and not just blend it completely into the dough.

Now you’re ready to make your cookies. Take a small ball of dough and flatten it into a circle. Place a banana slice in the center of the dough circle and wrap the dough up around the banana slice. If you need to, grab a little bit more dough to make sure there is cookie dough completely surrounding the banana slice. Place cookie ball onto a non-stick baking sheet and repeat 11 more times. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. Cookies will be sticky so be sure to transfer them to the cooling rack quickly! Since the cookies have quite a bit of moisture, store them in the fridge (not on the counter) for up to a week.

Posted in Dessert | Tagged , , , , | 15 Comments