Balsamic Glazed Gnocchi

My passion for cooking blossomed early on in my life, stemming from eating dinner on the floor with my dad every Monday while my sister was at her after school grocery store job.

Mondays were our days, and we would usually make turkey burgers and rice-a-roni while we watched 30 Minute Meals and eventually Everyday Italian.

Although I loved Rachael Ray at first, I got annoyed over the years by her voice’s varying stages of raspy-ness and her general over-the-top characteristics.

With Giada, it was the opposite. I started out not being able to stand her seemingly perfectionist personality and pretentious ways, but grew to appreciate the passion behind her style and the sheer beauty of her dishes.

I thank Giada and those Monday TV dinners for introducing me to the wonder that is Gnocchi, an Italian potato dumpling.

After some research I figured out that gnocchi weren’t all that difficult to make, even as a vegan!

This recipe is ridiculously simple, and though it does require a bit of effort, you can easily cook the potatoes ahead of time and make as many or as little as you please, freezing the dough for another gnocchi craving in your near future.

(Photos thanks to my kick ass boyfriend. Tryna take my pic game to a better level hehe).

gnocchi

INGREDIENTS:

For the Gnocchi

  • 3 Medium russett potatoes
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (sub white if you’d like), plus about 1/3 cup more for dusting/kneading

For the Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite red wine
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. fresh minced rosemary
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper to taste

Once potatoes are cooked ( I just zapped mine in the microwave), let cool and peel skin off. Cut into chunks and place in food processor or blender with 1 cup flour. Pulse blend until dough comes together in one big lump.

Dust a clean surface with remaining flour and dump dough on top, kneading until a smooth, elastic dough forms that does not stick to your hands.

gnocchiroll

Once dough is kneaded, separate into 3 separate chunks. Roll first section in your hands as you would make a playdoh snake, about 12 inches long, and 1 inch thick. Create gnocchis by cutting 1/2 inch sections of dough until you reach the end.

gnocchicut

Repeat with remaining 2 sections, or freeze the other chunks of dough (I used 2 chunks, froze 1). Once dumplings are cut, use your fork and just press lightly into each gnocchi like you would when smashing avocado into toast to make indentations. This step isn’t necessary, it just makes them look more ~profesh.~ 

Place about 8 gnocchi at a time in boiling water. When they rise to the top, they’re done! They cook in just about 3-4 minutes!

While gnocchis are cooking, heat a saucepan on medium-high with a touch of nonstick spray, water, or oil if you wish. Add minced garlic and saute for just 2-3 minutes to release the garlic scent. Add wine and balsamic, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, and add herbs and spices. Once sauce is reduced by about 1/3 and has a luxurious, syrupy consistency, it is done. 

Carefully toss cooked ghnocci with the glaze, and serve with whatever your heart desires! I just sauteed some summer veggies and made a side of corn on da cob…so good.

Make this gnocchi and impress your man/woman/parents/self with this “fancy” treat that really isn’t so fancy to make after all!

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Sweet Potato Garbanzo Burgers & Seasoned French Fries

I’m not sure if it’s the summer talking through my taste buds or what, but lately all I’ve been wanting to eat are veggie burgers slathered with spicy mustard and sandwiched between fluffy, grainy buns spread with an abundance of avocado…OMG.

And of course I couldn’t think about veg burgers without their BFF, french fries, who have also been popping up in my foodie day dreams.

Since my face is very VERY sensitive to fats, from avo to peanut butter to any kind of oils, if I eat overt fats too many days in a row, my pimple problem rears its ugly head and I wake up with a fresh cluster.

It’s cruel, really, since avocado and crunchy peanut butter are two of my absolute favorites.

Because of this fat intolerance, I’ve been leaning towards a more high carb low fat diet and only enjoy avo, nut butters, and oils once or twice per week. While eating high carb and low fat makes me feel my absolute best and allows me to eat in abundance and not feel sluggish, fats help me feel truly satisfied and are so fucking delicious.

I combined the best of both worlds for these recipes.

My burgers are chock full of carbs and are virtually fat free, while my fries are steamed then baked with NO OIL WHAT SO EVER and still end up being both soft and steamy on the inside, and crispy on the outside.

Because of the lack of fats in the actual meal, I slathered my bun with avocado and called it square.

This meal 100% COMPLETELY satisfied my veg burger and fries craving and ended up being one of the very best veggie burgers I’ve ever had.

vegburgers

INGREDIENTS:

For the Burgers (I made 2 just because I was lazy, but you could double or triple everything easily):

  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 large sweet potato, or 1 small
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp. flour
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste

Cook sweet potato all the way through in microwave or oven. Once cooled, add to food processor with chickpeas, garlic, oats, and spices. Blend until smooth and mixture is slightly wet, but not sticky. Flour your hands and form mixture into two patties, lightly coating them with a bit of flour.

Turn pan to medium-high heat, spray with cooking spray, and add patties, getting a nice sear on each. Once each side is seared (about 5 minutes on each side), turn heat down to medium and cook for another 5-7 minutes on each side to ensure middles are warm. Serve on a bun with plenty of avo and whatever condiments your heart desires!

For the Fries (again, I just made two servings, so feel free to double or triple):

  • 2 large potatoes, washed
  • 1 tsp. cajun spice
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Slice potatoes into strips, keeping them thin enough to get nice and crispy, but thick enough to hold up when being steamed. Steam sliced potatoes for about 7-10 minutes, or until fork tender. While they’re steaming, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dab steamed fries with paper towel to remove excess water and spray cookie sheet with non stick spray or coat with parchment paper. Evenly space fries on cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through and checking frequently to avoid burning.

These recipes require minimal ingredients, come together in a perfectly work-weekable flash, and prove once again that vegans miss out on NOTHING 🙂

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Mediterannean Veggie Wrap & Snack Ideas!

When I was in High School, I got up too late to make breakfast and was too lazy to pack lunch for myself.

This resulted in school days living off of Pirate’s Booty popcorn from the vending machines and binging out after school on toaster strudels and homemade nachos before dinner.

Slowly but surely as I changed my life and health for the better, I became much more of a breakfast person. Now I look forward to making a huge bowl of oatmeal or a veg scramble before work to make sure I’m fueled up and focused.

Although I’ve conquered my disdain for breakfast, I must admit, I still struggle with liking lunch.

I’ve always been a dinner girl; it’s where I have the most time to be creative and really explore in the kitchen. When it comes to breakfast, I enjoy the versatility of both sweet and savory dishes and have gotten more and more excited about making new creations in the AM.

But lunch bores me. Always has, always will.

I’ve never been much of a sandwich person, I get sick of salads really easily, and while leftovers are amazing, they just aren’t quite the same as the night before.

Lately, though, I’ve really been pushing myself to like lunch more, and to put more effort into making colorful, satisfying lunches I can look forward to and get creative with.

I’m a sucker for both mediterannean food and sauces and dips, so I’ve been making lots of rice, veg, and sauce combos, and quite a bit of hummus-based wraps. Since I just devoured the wrap below, I can officially say I am on the road to lack-of-lunch-love recovery and this wrap is my savior.

wrap

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Lavash flat bread wrap
  • 1 cup frozen grilled veggies (Found mine in the freezer section at Wegman’s)
  • 2 tbsp. hummus
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, in a package, not oil-soaked
  • 2 torn leaves red or green lettuce
  • 4 leaves torn basil
  • dash of salt and pepper

Thaw frozen grilled veggies in the microwave for about a minute. Lay out wrap and evenly spread hummus. Lay veggies, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, lettuce and basil at the end of the wrap closest to you. Top with salt and pepper, and gently roll wrap up, tucking the sides in as you go.

I brought mine to work with a simple salad as a side, and always make sure I’m fully stocked with snacks to last through the day, as I tend to run better on smaller meals and lots of snacks while at work.

Since I try to consume a vast majority of my food from whole food sources, snacking poses a bit of a challenge for me. Some snacks I’ve been counting on to keep me full are:

  • Sweet potato topped with salsa and/or tahini
  • Handful of almonds and a handful of raisins
  • Carrots, cukes, and radishes with hummus
  • Carrot apple muffins by the Minimalist Baker with strawberry jam (SO GOOD OMG)
  • 1/4 cup oatmeal mixed with cinnamon, microwaved with a mashed banana
  • brown rice crackers topped with hummus, tomato, and spinach
  • Beet, orange, carrot, apple, lemon, ginger juice (recipe to come)

I know that it’s a tried and true statement that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I’m quickly beginning to realize that lunch may be just as, if not more, important.

Most of us are either full time workers or students, and without a good lunch and sustainable snacks, I know my work, energy, and general enthusiasm for life suffers and I become an unfocused and grumpy BETCH.

Embark on the journey towards lunch lovin’ with me, and enjoy this BOMB ASS WRAP and some satisfying snacks to keep you feeling yo’ best.

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Overnight Oats Two Ways!

HELLO BEAUTIFUL BLOGGERS!

As you can probably tell, I’ve had a bit of a creative lapse and have not been cooking nearly enough exciting, let alone new, dishes.

I’ve been quite content (obsessed) lately with just jasmine rice, stir fried veggies, and chickpeas. Legit that’s what I’ve been making myself about 4 days a week and for lunches to take to work.

We all know I love Asian food, but c’mon tastebuds, I don’t want to get boring now!

I decided that since I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to lunch/dinner, I’d post a breakfast recipe!

While I love breakfast, I’ll always be a devoted dinner junkie 4 lyfe so this is a rare post, people!

My boyfriend just got a new job as a Horticulturist and has to be to work at 6 AM every day, which makes for an even groggier, spacier boy than his usual absent-minded self. Since he now has to think about eating breakfast and make sure he eats enough, he asked me to teach him how to make overnight oats, one of my favorite weekday breakfasts.

I whipped some up last night for the both of us. I have been craving cinnamon rolls, so I made a cinnamon raisin concoction for myself, while I made an almond variety for Collin. Both have blueberries though, seeing as our CSA share is giving us hella good summer fruit.

While I used steel cut oats, since that is all I had on hand, this recipe is obviously just as good (or even better…I’m a classic old fashioned rolled oats girl myself) with regular rolled oats. With steel cut, I do recommend the extra step of microwaving it to partly cook the oats to ensure they are deliciously soft in the AM.

Without further ado, here are two varieties of the pinterest supastar: Overnight Oats.

oats

INGREDIENTS:

Base Recipe (Serves 2):

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats, pre cooked for 5 minutes in the microwave with 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup plain, unsweetened coconut yogurt
  • 1 banana, mashed into mixture
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. coconut sugar or brown sugar

Pre cook steel cut oats in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes. Once oats are partly cooked, add all remaining ingredients and mix until combined and just slightly lumpy. You can either gently fold in the blueberries, mash them along with the banana, or omit them all together.

Separate mixture into 2 mason jars.

Blueberry Almond:

  • 1 tbsp. crunchy almond butter
  • an extra tbsp. blueberries
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Cinnamon Roll:

  • 1 tbsp. raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. coconut shreds

Top Blueberry Almond jar with almond butter, blueberries and coconut shreds.

Top Cinnamon Roll jar with raisins, cinnamon, and coconut shreds.

These babies can either be enjoyed cold or hot, but I recommend heating them through in the morning. That way you get the melty dates in the center, the gooey almond butter, and the irresistible scent of cinnamon.

Make your morning worthwhile and treat yoself with one of these babies.

Enjoy!

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Lentil Bolognese!

Picture this…

A stormy Friday afternoon…you’re drenched in sweat from a hard run, and make your final dash to the liquor store to pick up a bottle o’ red for a fabulous night in…then you’re stuck in traffic due to a downpour and arrive home HANGRY as hell.

I’d say that calls for some pasta.

I must admit, I am not much of a pasta person and I don’t really enjoy Italian food all that much, aside from the random cravings like the aforementioned one.

I’m a rice girl through and through, and would take a giant bowl of rice and veggies over pasta and sauce any day. But, on an occasion where all you want to do is be cozy, drink wine, and have a huge piece of crusty bread involved in your meal, there’s no denying that the only cure is pasta.

Hence, this lentil bolognese.

lentil

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 container of mushrooms, diced (any kind will do, but I used baby bellas)
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt & pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and zucchini, and cook until softened, around 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic, and cook 5 minutes more. Once the veggies are softened, add the lentils and toss to coat with vegetables. Next, add veggie stock and both cans of tomatoes, and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, simmer over medium heat until lentils are mostly done, but have a little bit. Add the wine, rosemary, and seasonings, and simmer for about 15 minutes more.

Adjust seasonings to taste, add to pasta, and top with fresh basil. Best served with a giant slab of crusty bread with balsamic, tomatoes, and olive oil.

This is a perfect rainy day meal that has the body, texture, and flavor of a “meat and potatoes” type of meal. Plus, it’s pretty damn easy and tastes even better the next day!

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May I present to you….The World’s Best Buddah Bowl

I have an issue.

I want ALL the food when I have a meal.

I don’t just have broccoli, I have broccoli and eggplant and peppers and spinach and kale.

I don’t just have oatmeal with banana, I have oatmeal with banana and blueberries and strawberries and dates and every kind of crunchy topping imaginable.

With this kind of wild imagination and simultaneous desires, it’s no wonder why I’m a huge fan of buddah bowls. It’s basically an excuse to throw everything I love in one bowl and douse it all in a dressing of some kind. And don’t even get me started about the toppings…oh the toppings.

I’ve made asian style, mediterannean style, and mexican style, but this latest asian version is honestly the best concoction I have ever spontaneously thrown together.

I know the recipe may seem involved and there are many steps to creating the bowl, but it’s worth it, and most things can be substituted with whatever you may have on hand!

buddahbowl

INGREDIENTS:

For the Tempeh:

  • 1 package organic tempeh, sliced into strips
  • 1 tbps. hoison sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sriracha

Combine all ingredients in large bowl, and add tempeh, making sure the strips are coated completely. Let the flavors make love for at last 15 minutes while you prep the other parts of the bowl.

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce, if you have it on hand
  • 1 thumb grated ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Whisk ingredients together and set aside to pour over top of entire bowl.

Remaining ingredients:

  • 1/2 package rice noodles, cooked according to instructions
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced into medallions
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced into medallions
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cooked in microwave or oven beforehand.

Preheat over to 425 degrees. Bake eggplant, zucchini, and broccoli on a greased or lined cookie sheet for about 20 minutes, flipping every 7 minutes or so. While veggies bake, cook rice noodles and sweet potatoes.

Once the veggies have been baking for about 10 minutes, put tempeh in a baking dish and bake until hot and crispy, about 10 minutes.

Once everything is ready, assemble bowl! Put noodles on bottom, followed by tempeh, sweet potato, veggies, and dressing!

Top with whatever you like, but here is the (DELICIOUS) combo I used.

-Kimchi

-A sheet or two of nori seaweed

-Scallions

-Sesame Seeds

-Sriracha

-Fresh Parsley and Cilantro

This shit is gold, you guys. I promise if you give it a try, you will crave this exact bowl fo eva eva.

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Spaghetti Squash Pesto Mac & Cheez!

I guess I must have forgotten that Fall and Winter are now behind us when I scooped up a giant spaghetti squash at the store last week in my grocery shopping frenzy.

I immediately regretted it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love squash in all its forms, from butternut and acorn to zucchini, and summer squash. But, I truly squashed myself out throughout the cold months, and even looking at the daunting spaghetti squash sitting quietly in the corner of my cupboard made me feel guilty/resentful of the stupid thing.

Usually when I look at my fridge or the ingredients around me, I feel inspired, my creativity sparks immediately, and I’m already cooking up a concoction in my mind.

I just couldn’t catch the creativity bug with this damn squash.

Since I’ve been short on cash lately, I’ve been avoiding larger shopping trips to try and use up all of what’s in my kitchen, and the time finally came for me to bake that motherf***er.

Since I had basil on hand, I thought I wanted to make pesto to go with it, but wanted something less oily and more comforting.

So, I threw together a pesto mac and cheez sauce from what I had on hand, roasted up some broccoli, and made a meal that made me grateful for that stupid squash and comforted by the fact that I could make something tasty even when my culinary juices weren’t exactly flowing as usual.

spaghetti

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large spaghetti squash, sliced down the middle, seeds removed
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used rice milk)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 peppadews (I didn’t have bell peppers on hand so I used these…so good!)
  • 1/4 tsp. tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Possible Toppings: Roasted broccoli or any other veggie, wilted spinach, pan fried tempeh.

For the Squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash halves skin side up on a greased cookie sheet. You can add oil and seasonings if you like. Bake for about 45 minutes or until halves are fork tender and filling is soft and string-able.

For the Sauce:

In a blender, combine chickpeas, nooch, garlic, basil, peppadews, tumeric, mustard, lemon juice, rice milk, and salt & pepper. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. It took me about 4 turns through my blender to get everything smooth and blended.

Head a large pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle a little olive oil in the pan and use a fork to shred squash into the pan. Top with the sauce and mix until everything is coated. Stir until squash and sauce are hot. Top with whatever you like!

This dish is surprisingly easy and quick, especially if you cook the squash the night before! It’s comforting, healthy, and filling, and an excellent way to get rid of any cold season squash lingering in the depths of your cupboards.

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