Brownie Energy Balls

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Every Friday this summer, Jack and I will be leading a hike with Hike It Baby. Since toddlers (and mamas) get hungry when working up a sweat, I decided to make treats to take with us. This week I made a variation of the recipe I came across called Five Ingredient Ginger Brownies.  I changed the recipe based on what I had in the house and what Jack likes. The peanut butter and almonds are great protein and energy. The ginger gives it a little zing for a pick-me-up. And who doesn’t love a bit of good dark chocolate!

Brownie Energy BallsIMG_4445

7 ounces of pitted dates
2 tbs almond flour
2 tbs smooth peanut butter
1 tps minced ginger
2 tbs cocoa powder
Unsweetened shredded coconut 

Blend everything but the coconut in a food processor until it comes together. It will make loose dough ball when ready.

Roll into any size ball you desire. I went with bite size.

Sprinkle as much shredded as you like onto a plate. Roll the balls in the coconut to coat.

Eat them now or place in fridge for a hour if you want them firmer.

15 - 1 (3)

Pop them in a bag and enjoy them out on the trail! Or your couch….no one will know 🙂

Chai Chaos Smoothie

Chai pumpkin, vanilla, and strawberry? I know that sounds weird, but that is what I wanted this morning (hey, I’m pregnant, give me a break). It was actually really good! I am in love with smoothies right now. Michael found a NutriBullet on a special sale at Target (they were out of some toaster so they restocked it with a NutriBullet for that price, making it around 40% off). I am in love! It’s so much easier to use than blender and cleans way easier than my food processor.

Even if you don’t have a NutriBullet, try this smoothie, no one flavor over powers the other.

This make one of the tall NutriBullet cups, could be a meal for one or a snack for two (Michael and I shared one on the way to work).





Chai Chaos Smoothie
4 tbs of Tazo Chai Tea Pumpkin Pie Concentrate 
1/2 frozen strawberries
2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder (I used Trader Joe’s brand and any type of plant-based powder is fine)
2 cups soy milk (any non-dairy milk is fine)

Add all ingredients into the your blender or NutriBullet, and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass or twist on your lip rings.

Now enjoy the spicy sweet, and creamy treat! Makes a great wake-me-up on your way to work.

Roasted Chickpeas

Being pregnant does not mean eating for two. And it is not an excuse to eat whatever you want. In reality, for a healthy single pregnancy, you do not need any extra calories the first trimester. The second about 300 more. And the third about 500 more.

So being 16 weeks, I need an extra 300 calories a day right now. This equates one extra snack.  I was having a glass of soy milk and a piece of fruit, but I was getting bored with that everyday. I wanted something crunchy and salty—like potato chips, but not as much fat. Plus I wanted more protein. Then I saw something on Pinterest about roasted chickpeas and knew I had to make them. I decided to just make up my own version to suit my taste. So feel free to change the spices to suit your tastes!
This recipe makes about 15 servings.
Roasted Chickpeas
1 bag of dry chickpeas
Water
4 tbs Olive Oil
Salt
Smoked Paprika
In a large bowl, add the dry chickpeas and cover with water.
Let for at least 6 hours, overnight is possible. Side note, the chickpeas making a popping noise as soak up the water. Took an hour for my husband and I to figure out where the noise was coming from…
Drain the chickpeas.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
Coat with the olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika.
Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Baked for one hour. Give them a stir or shake occasionally.
Let them cool and enjoy!
These are even better than I hoped! I am one happy expecting mama!

Jack-O-Latern and Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

I love Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday. Like I said in my Halloween Taco Rice Bowl post, I am named after Elizabeth Montgomery’s character Samantha from the TV show Bewitched, so this holiday is pretty much made for me. If I could get away with it, I’d still go trick-o-treating (and don’t pretend like majority you wouldn’t too!) As fun as dressing up and getting free candy was as a kid, my favorite part was actually carving pumpkins. It was good quality time I got to spend with my family while having fun and being creative. Those are some of my most cherished childhood memories. What kid doesn’t love to get messy and throw pumpkins guts at their brother? And, there was always the delicious toasted pumpkins seeds afterwards too. I haven’t carved a pumpkin in several years sadly. Now that I am not living in the dorms anymore, I decided it was time to carve and toast seeds again.  I also decided that I would spiced up my seeds this year, ya know be a little more adult. I divided my seeds in two in order to make some savory and some sweet.

You don’t have to carve your pumpkin like I did, you can just cut it in half length wise and scoop out the seeds. But what fun is that?

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
1 large, ripe pumpkin
Oil or cooking spray
Savory Seasoning
1 tsp curry
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic salt  powder
Sweet Seasoning
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp ginger
1 tsp black strap molasses

Setting up to carve on my balcony. 

First thing, carve your pumpkin. Since this can be get messy, I decided to do this on my balcony. You will need two bowls, a big knife, a smaller pairing knife, a spoon or ice cream scoop, and a dish towel to wipe your hands.

Draw the desired design on your pumpkin while it’s still whole.

Cut a circle around the stem, clean off the gunk and set aside.

Ew, slimy.

Scoop out the membranes, but separate out the seeds. The little tiny ones can be discard though.

Carve the design. I am not the best artist, but I like mine cock-eyed and crooked-toothed. I named him Igor.

Meet Igor. 

Clean up the edges and put the stem back on.

Put your beautiful pumpkin on display for everyone to enjoy.

Now for the seeds….

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Rinse the seeds very well and get all the gunk off.

Dry them well too.

You can either oil or spray a baking sheet. Oil can give the seeds a bit more flavor but adds more calories. I just spray mine.
Spread the seeds into a single layer.

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once they are lightly golden, they are done.

Combine all the savory seasonings a bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Combine all the sweet seasonings in another bowl and add the seeds while still hot. Toss together to coat.

Now you have a lovely jack-o-latern and delicious pumpkin seeds.

But, there is more a simple pumpkin can yield. Those slimy, nasty membranes can be added to a compost pile to give nutrients to your garden (assuming you have one). The pieces you cut out can be roasted in the oven and make a tasty addition to your dinner.

Baked tofu, pesto smashed potatoes and a side of roast pumpkin

Go Ducks: Yell-O and Green Nachos

For the past 6 years of my life, every Saturday from September to December is taken over by Oregon Duck football. I am proud graduate University of Oregon and needless to say, I bleed green and yellow. I loved going to the games with my sorority sisters and yelling “O” until we went hoarse. I have sadly had to spend the past seasons and this one cheering from Hawaii. But just because I am in the middle of  the Pacific doesn’t mean I don’t get all ducked-out. I either go to a local sports bar or watch from home, but regardless I have my jersey on and shout like a maniac.

Today the Ducks face off against LSU, a game that will sure deserve a special blog post. So I decided to make something green and yellow (U of O colors), and finally settled on nachos. I made queso sauce from nutritional yeast and used salsa verde for the colors. Plus some jalapeños for some spice and because they are little O’s. I wanted to top it all off with some vegan sour cream, but my store was sold out.

I just realized this is also fitting because our coach is named Chip.

Yell-O and Green Nacho
Queso sauce:
4 tbs vegan butter
1 and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, divided

3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk

1/2 tbs garlic powder
1tps cumin
1 tps parkia
1 tps chili powder
1/2 tsp pepper
The rest of the stuff:
1/4 medium onion, chopped
1 cup soy” beef” crumbles (I used Smart Ground)
Tortilla chips
Salsa verde
Jalapeños
Vegan sour cream

To make the queso sauce, add the vegan butter and 1 cup of the nutritional yeast to saucepan over medium/low heat. Incorporate the two together to make a sort of roux. It should clump together and get a little golden.

Add the vegetable broth and soy milk. Whisk together so there are no lumps.

Add the garlic powder, cumin, paprika, chili powder and pepper. You can add salt if you like, but mine didn’t need it. Mix together well.

Reduce the heat to low. Let it reduce and thicken, stirring frequently. Taste it after awhile, if it need more “cheese” flavor, add some more nutritional yeast.

In skillet, lightly brown the chopped onion. Then add the soy crumbles. Cooked until heated through.

Once the queso sauce is smooth and thicken slightly, it’s time to assemble.

On a large plate or platter, scatter desired amount of chips. There is enough sauce for at least 5 serving so be generous.

Next sprinkle on the soy crumble mixture.

Now pour on the queso sauce.

Now add the desired about of salsa verde.

If your store didn’t run out of sour cream like mine did, add a few dollops.

Top with desired about of jalapeños so your nachos are yelling “O”.

Turn on the Ducks game, open a Widmer (or any other fine Oregon brew) and get ready to cheer! Win the days boys!

Guacamole 3 ways

I’ve lived in my new place all summer now and apparently never bothered to look up when I walked out the door. My friend Shane last week mentioned there was an avocado tree right outside my door and I was surprised. He picked a whole bunch of them for me and I’ve been patiently waiting all week for them to ripen.

I decided to make 3 types of guacamole: basic, mango, and hot roasted pepper. The basic is just the traditional with some tomatoes, onions, garlic, and lime juice. The mango is the same, just add some chopped mango. The roasted pepper obviously has a roasted bell pepper, and for some kick, some Serrano hot peppers.

Basic Guacamole
1/4 cup onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium tomatoes 
2 large ripe avocados
Juice of 2 limes 
Pinch of salt

Chop the onion and garlic into desired sizes. I like my a little guacamole a chunky so I did mine into small chunks. Add to a large bowl.

Cut the tomatoes into about the same size the onion. Add to the bowl.

Avocados aren’t hard to cut up, but they can be messy. Alton Brown explains it better than I can, so watch from minutes 2:50 to 3:40 of this clip if you don’t know how.

 

Chop the avocado into equal size pieces to the onion and tomato and add to the bowl.

Now squirt on the juice from the limes and sprinkle on the pinch of salt.

Mix it all up, breaking up the avocado chunks a little bit as you go and now you have yummy basic guacamole!

Mango Guacamole
1/4 cup onion
1 clove garlic
1 cup mango
1 medium tomato
2 large avocados
Red pepper flakes
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of salt

 
Peal and chop up the mango into desired chunks.

Follow all the directions above for the basic guacamole, but just add the mango and some red pepper flakes. I add the red pepper in this one because I like the contrast with the sweetness of the mango.

Hot Roasted Pepper Guacamole
1/4 cup onion
1 clove garlic
1 medium tomato
1 bell pepper, roasted
2 ripe avocados
2 Serrano peppers
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of Salt

I decided to puree this version because I thought the flavors would mesh together better. This is my new favorite way to make guacamole now!

You can buy the jarred roasted red peppers if you like for this, but I roasted my own. Just spray a pan with cooking spray and the pepper as well. Place under the broiler until the skin is charred black.

Once it is cooled (unless you like burning yourself on hot vegetables), peal off the brunt skin and chop into chunks.

Follow the steps for the basic guacamole, but this time throw everything, including the roasted pepper but not the Serrano pepper, into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.

Next chop the stem tops off the Serrano peppers. Then cut in half lengthwise. If you don’t like it hot, you can tone it down by scraping out the seeds.

I like it hot so I so i added the whole thing to the blender. Blend until it is incorporated.

I topped some homemade black beans with the basic guacamole for lunch today.

Good thing I like guacamole because I’ll be eating the rest of the week now!