Fall Harvest Couscous Salad

Hi everyone! I hope you are all enjoying fall as the air is getting crisper and the leaves are finally changing colors! Today I want to share a variation of my Sweet Potato  and Quinoa Salad. Instead of quinoa, I used couscous and replaced the sweet potato with butternut squash. At first glance, they look pretty similar, but the curry gives the couscous a totally different flavor and a bit a heat. I’d love to hear what you think or which you prefer, so feel free to comment below!

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Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 1/3 cup dry couscous
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup curly parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 4-5 tsp. Penzeys Curry
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the squash in your favorite olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Spread the squash evenly on the baking sheet and roast until tender.
  4. While the squash is in the oven, prepare the couscous according to the package directions.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, maple syrup, curry, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  6. When the couscous is done, put it in a large bowl and toss it with the dressing.
  7. Add the squash, cranberries, onion, and parsley.
  8. Adjust seasonings as necessary. Serve hot or cold.
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Pumpkin Scones with Maple Nutmeg Glaze

Hi! So I’m super excited to announce that today is my family’s second annual Fall Fun Day! “What is Fall Fun Day?” you ask. Fall Fun Day is any day in the middle of October dedicated to doing every fun fall activity one can think of in one awesome day! It originated last year as my birthday celebration because I had day off school the Friday before my birthday. I decided I wanted to spend my last days before legal adulthood doing all the fall things I love, but never have time to do anymore. We baked, went apple picking, hiking, picnicking, and ended the day with a corn maze.

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Lauren and I almost had too much fun at the apple orchard last year!
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What is Lauren doing with that apple cider doughnut? That’s not clean eating! 🙂
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Hiking at Blue Mounds State Park

We had so much fun that we decided it would be an annual event, so here we are one year later with me still being a kid at heart. This year’s itinerary consists of baking these scones, going to the Dane County Farmer’s Market, hiking and picnicking at Yellowstone Lake State Park, apple picking, and ending the day with the corn maze once again. Hopefully I can follow up with some new pictures of this year’s festivities. For now, here is the recipe for these mouthwatering autumnal scones! Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Scones

  • 3 Tbs. skim milk*
  • 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar*
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. + 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 7 Tbs. cold butter
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • Mini chocolate chips (optional)

Glaze

  • 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbs. skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, stir the milk and apple cider vinegar together. Set aside as this will make a “buttermilk” after 10-15 minutes. *
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter and mix it together with the dry ingredients by hand or with a pastry blender. (I recommend using your hands as always.)
  5. Add the pumpkin and maple syrup to the “buttermilk” and then combine with the dry ingredients.
  6. When everything is well mixed, add some chocolate chips if you would like. If the dough is still pretty sticky, add some extra flour.
  7. Turn out half the dough onto a well floured surface and form it into a circle about six inches in diameter. Cut the circle into six pieces and place the scones on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. When they are cool, whisk all the ingredients for the glaze in a small bowl and drizzle over the top.
  10. Enjoy!

*Instead of using skim milk and apple cider vinegar, regular buttermilk will work as well.

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all enjoying the start of fall and looking forward to all it has to offer! Before I jump into today’s recipe of Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins, I want to give a quick explanation on a few of the ingredients. As you look through the list, you may see some strange and unfamiliar things and wonder how on Earth will these exotic ingredients turn into a decadent pastry.

The first ingredient is sucanat. Sucanat is essentially evaporated cane juice and is a type of unrefined sugar. It can be used to replace white or brown sugar in equal amounts. However, taste wise, it is more equatable to brown sugar because the naturally occurring molasses has not been removed. What I mean is that white sugar is made by refining out the molasses from the sugar cane and brown sugar is made by taking molasses-free, refined white sugar and adding molasses back in…makes a lot of sense right? And that is why I like to use sucanat. I also figured it would make the muffins a little more rich.

The next new ingredient I want to discuss is aquafaba. Aquafaba is a really awesome new egg substitute and I can’t wait to try it in some other recipes such as royal icing! Now don’t worry about having to go out and buy some expensive weird egg-replacer to make these muffins because believe it or not, you may already have aquafaba in your pantry! Literally all it is is the liquid in a can of garbanzo beans that would normally go down the drain. A can of garbanzos has about 3/4 cup of aquafaba which is perfect for this recipe. If you want to try it in other recipes, 3 Tbs. aquafaba = 1 egg and 2 Tbs. aquafaba = 1 egg white.

The rest of the recipe should be pretty self-explanatory, but feel free to comment with questions or comments! Happy baking!

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup aquafaba
  • 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbs. + 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 generous cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Shred the zucchini and set aside. One medium/large zucchini should be plenty.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the sucanat, coconut oil, aquafaba, applesauce, and vanilla.
  3. Slowly add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Be sure not to over mix.
  4. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
  5. Place the batter in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  6. When the hour is almost up, start preheating the oven to 425°F.
  7. Once the batter is adequately chilled, fill a muffin tin with muffin wrappers and fill them all the way to the top. This recipe makes enough for 18 muffins.
  8. Bake at 425°F for 6-8 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to rise.
  9. Turn the oven down to 400°F and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
  10. Insert a toothpick into the center of a few muffins to see if it comes out clean (other than a melted chocolate chip of course 🙂 ). Enjoy!

Liebster Award

Hello! Today officially marks one year since I started blogging here at Roots! I want to take a moment to thank all of my readers and followers for your continued support, but I would like to extend a special thank you to Author S of Ink Spatters Brought to Life for nominating me for the Liebster Award! It is quite an honor to be nominated for my third award in my first year.

Rules:

  1. Acknowledge the blogger who nominated you and feature a picture of the award.
  2. Answer 11 questions provided by the nominator.
  3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and notify them.
  5. Ask 11 questions to the other bloggers.

My Answers:

  1. Why did you join WordPress? I joined WordPress because my sister started a blog called LuBerry Pie. (I highly recommend stopping over to her’s.) We were talking about it one day and she thought that since I’m into clean eating and cooking that I would have a lot of content to write about, so I decided to give it a shot.
  2. Describe your writing/blogging style in one sentence. Since many of my posts are recipes, much of my writing is technical.
  3. What would you like to be able to do with your blog in the next few months? In the next few months, I would love to establish a steady following. Right now I’ve been too busy to write very much and as a result, I’m not getting much traffic. Hopefully I can get posts published regularly and start getting consistent views.
  4. If you could be anyone for a day, who would it be and why? I would be Amish for a day. I couldn’t live that lifestyle permanently, but I have always wanted to experience it. Besides, I already know how to drive horses! 🙂
  5. Is there anyone you try to emulate while writing? No, not in particular. Most of my writing is technical rather than creative, so I just write to the beat of my own drum. I do however enjoy reading other blogs to get ideas for formatting and writing styles.
  6. Are there any rules you follow for yourself and your work? The only guidelines I have is that all my content be centered around clean-eating and allergies. Sometimes it’s a little tough because I have such a sweet tooth, so I want to do posts on some of my not-so-healthy favorite treats. Maybe I can find ways to make them healthier and then add a dessert category. Stay tuned!
  7. Name three pet peeves.
    • Tailgating. No, I don’t mean grilling in a parking lot before a football game. I mean when I’m already going over the speed limit and I’m afraid the person behind me is going to rear-end me.
    • When my horse doesn’t stand still. Sure, he usually cooperates at home, but whenever we go to a show, he frantically moves around all over the place while I try to tack him up. It doesn’t help that I’m already extremely stressed out at competitions and am trying not to miss my  next class. Oh well, I love my little pony no matter what. 🙂
    • So what can you eat? The classic question I get whenever I tell people I have tons of allergies. To be honest, only 3 of my 12 allergies are foods which means there are more things I can eat than things I can’t. It really isn’t that hard to avoid things, it’s just an inconvenience at times.
  8. If you could have one question answered with complete honesty, what would you ask? I would want to know what people’s first impressions of me are. I’ve always wanted to see what I’m like from someone else’s point of view.
  9. What’s one writing weakness you have? My biggest writing weakness is wordiness. I tend to find a lot of clutter and redundancy in my writing. I need to remember quality over quantity.
  10. If you could change one thing about nature, what would that be and why? I honestly don’t feel qualified to make any objections to nature. I didn’t create it, but the One who did made everything with a purpose even if I don’t understand it. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t mind if fall was a little longer or if natural disasters didn’t happen. That being said, they happen for a reason even if it doesn’t make sense to us in the moment. Everything will work out just as it should, so even if it would be nice to have five months of fall and only two of summer, that would throw off the rest of nature. There are so many intricacies that allow it to work together in harmony that surpass all human understanding.
  11. If it was legal to have any animal as a pet, what would be the newest addition to your family? My top choice would be a zebra because they’re gorgeous and also in the equine category. Another great option (and maybe slightly more realistic) would be a capybara. Every time I see them at the zoo, I can only think about how fun it would be to have one!

Fun Facts:

  1. I’m afraid to ride bikes…due to a traumatizing childhood experience that didn’t even lead to injury. Yet I can fall off a horse any day and hop back on as if nothing happened.
  2. I started playing piano when I was three, cello when I was ten and have since picked up the ukulele and have dabbled with accordion.
  3. My favorite type of car is Cadillac, but right now I drive Chevy which is also pretty great.
  4. I love listening to country music–both modern and 80s/90s.
  5. I wasn’t asked on a date until I was 18.
  6. I’ve traveled to Canada, Costa Rica, and have been to 18 of the States.
  7. I am an olive oil/balsamic vinegar connoisseur. I love trying new flavors of infused oils and vinegar and mixing and matching them.
  8. I am a hardcore Wisconsinite which means I love cheese, brats, and snow and I know what a bubbler is. Let me know in the comments if you know!
  9. I am a student at the University of Wisconsin and plan to attend vet school where I want to focus on neonatal equine medicine.
  10. I have an obsession with boots and honestly don’t know how many pairs I have. I think it’s somewhere between 10 and 20. It’s all part of the equestrian life. 🙂
  11. I love going on mission trips and hope to do a pre-veterinary trip to Central America before I apply to vet school.

Nominees:

  1. Jazz Izzin
  2. Marvelous Day
  3. Wish to Dish
  4. The World of Fritters
  5. From Dream to Plan
  6. Living Outside the Box
  7. Julie Journeys
  8. Cosmetics for Thought
  9. World Food Blogger
  10. The Adventures of a Day Hiker
  11. 4 Radical Roadschoolers and a Fat Cat

Questions:

  1. If you could know one thing from your future what would it be?
  2. What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self?
  3. Describe an eye-opening experience you’ve had and how it changed you.
  4. Share a fun fact about your hometown.
  5. What is one food you’ve always wanted to learn to make?
  6. What is something you look forward to each week and why?
  7. What is a staple in your wardrobe?
  8. Where would your dream vacation be?
  9. If you had to choose between living on a sailboat or in an RV which would you pick and why?
  10. Describe your dream day. Imagine you have an entire day to do whatever you want. What would you do from dawn to dusk?
  11. What was the best prank you ever pulled?

Healthy Substitutions for Milk Chocolate

These days, there’s no shortage of articles about how healthy chocolate is. Don’t get me wrong, chocolate can have lots of health benefits, but only if it’s dark enough. It’s easy to be fooled by Dove or Hershey’s “dark” chocolate. Surely that must be healthy…right? In reality, big name brands like these do not use a high enough percentage of cacao for them to really be beneficial. They come with so much fat and sugar that it would kind of cancel out any goodness.

When shopping for chocolate, try to buy ones that have at least 60-70% cacao to reap the benefits. Brands such Ghirardelli, Godiva, Lindt, and Endangered Species to name a few all have varieties that are dark enough. It’s important to always read the ingredients and look at the nutrition facts to know if it truly is clean.

However, there can be an extra layer of complication to chocolate shopping if you’re allergic to tree nuts like me. Although all of the brands I just mentioned are totally clean and great options, they are processed on equipment with nuts or in the same facility with them.

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After a long search for safe, clean, dark chocolate, I finally found one that qualifies! As I browsed the chocolate section of  my local Trader Joe’s one day, I was getting discouraged as usual…that is until I stumbled upon their Dark Chocolate Lover’s Bar! It is 85% cacao and is not even made in facility with nuts! The allergy statement explains how the manufacturers are very careful about segregating allergens, but it is “made on shared equipment with milk”. The chocolate does contain soy lecithin as well, so unfortunately this wouldn’t be safe for any of my soy or dairy allergic readers.

If you’re not used to really dark chocolate, try to ease into it. When I dove head first into 85%, I’ll admit it was tough to get used to. Then again, it was my only option, so I just dealt with it and now I love it! If allergies aren’t an issue for you, try taking a gradual approach. Start with something like 50% and work your way up to 60%, 70%, and maybe even 85 or 90! (Honestly, I don’t think I could handle anything darker than 85%, but if you can, that’s fabulous!)

Overall, when it comes to chocolate, the darker it is the better. 60% cacao is about as low as you can go to still reap the benefits. As always, read ingredients and if you struggle with nut allergies (or even if you don’t), I definitely recommend Trader Joe’s “The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar”.

What are your favorite types of dark chocolate? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

 

 

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

Believe it or not, it’s suddenly the middle of August which means Labor Day is only a few weeks away! As cookouts are planned and gatherings are arranged, it’s nearly time to start thinking about what to make for clean, healthy, crowd pleasing side dish. This Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad is fresh and summery, but incorporates some fall flavors as well, making it ideal for the last barbecue of the summer.

0415171705a.jpgPreheat the oven to 425°F. Wash, peel, and cube the sweet potato and toss it with some olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to taste if you wish. To make cleanup easier, put a sheet of parchment paper down on a baking sheet before spreading the sweet potato on it. Make sure there is only one layer of potato cubes so that it roasts evenly. After about 15 minutes, they should be slightly golden and tender, but not mushy.

Meanwhile, put the quinoa and broth in a pot or saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the quinoa simmer for roughly 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. When it is done, it will be soft and fluffy and the germ ring of the grain will be visible.

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Since we’re waiting on the sweet potato and quinoa, now is a great time to start prepping the other ingredients. Chop the basil, cilantro, and scallions and set aside. Wash and juice the lemon as well.

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In a small bowl, add the minced garlic, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, and lemon juice and give in a good whisk.

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When the sweet potato and quinoa are ready, put both in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, herbs, and onions and mix in the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy warm or cold–it’s delicious either way!

 

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup tricolor quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cup reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 2 Tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 1/2 tsp freshly minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tbs garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Wash, peel, and cube the sweet potato and toss it with some olive oil. You can also add salt and pepper to taste if you wish.
  3. To make cleanup easier, put a sheet of parchment paper down on a baking sheet before spreading the sweet potato on it. Make sure there is only one layer of potato cubes so that it roasts evenly. After about 15 minutes, they should be slightly golden and tender, but not mushy.
  4. Meanwhile, put the quinoa and broth in a pot or saucepan.
  5. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let the quinoa simmer for roughly 10-15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. When it is done, it will be soft and fluffy and the germ ring of the grain will be visible.
  6. Chop the basil, cilantro, and scallions and set aside. Wash and juice the lemon as well.
  7. In a small bowl, add the garlic, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, and lemon juice and give it a good whisk.
  8. In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sweet potato, cranberries, onions, and herbs and  mix in the dressing. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Serve warm or cold. Enjoy!

Lemon Raspberry Scones

It’s finally berry season! The strawberries are fading out, but raspberries, blueberries, and black raspberries are still growing strong. Instead of eating all the berries straight off the bush, I decided I could set aside one cup of raspberries to make some amazing scones!

0701170946cPreheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. If using the buttermilk substitute, combine the skim milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. If you’re using regular buttermilk, you don’t need to do anything with it at this time.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, flax, salt, and zest if using.Cut in the butter and mix it in using a pastry blender or by hand. If your butter happens to be frozen, try using a cheese grater instead of cutting it.

0701170954c.jpgWhisk the buttermilk, applesauce, honey, and lemon extract in a medium sized bowl.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the dough has come together, but do not over mix. If the dough is still very sticky, add some more flour. Gently fold in the raspberries.

0701171012b Turn out half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a circle, roughly six inches in diameter. Using a butter knife, cut the circle into eight portions. Place each scone on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

0701171013 Bake for about 15 minutes or until the scones turn slightly golden. Test them with a toothpick when you suspect they are ready. Then place them on a cooling rack.

0701171148bWhile the scones are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, milk, lemon extract, and zest (if using). Add more sugar until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. I prefer having it a little thicker so that it doesn’t soak into the scones. When the they are cool, drizzle the glaze over the top with a fork. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

For the scones:

  • 3 Tbs buttermilk  or 3 Tbs skim milk + 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 Tbs cold butter
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 3 Tbs raw honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)

For the glaze:

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (plus some extra for thickening as needed)
  • 1 Tbs raw honey
  • 1 Tbs skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. If using the buttermilk substitute, combine the skim milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, flax, salt, and zest if using.
  4. Cut in the butter and mix it in using a pastry blender or by hand. If your butter happens to be frozen, try using a cheese grater instead of cutting it.
  5. Combine the buttermilk, applesauce, honey, and lemon extract in a medium sized bowl.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until the dough has come together. Do not over mix. If the dough is still very sticky, add some more flour.
  7. Gently fold in the raspberries.
  8.  Turn out half of the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a circle, roughly six inches in diameter.
  9. Using a butter knife, cut the circle into eight portions. Place each scone on the baking sheet.
  10. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  11. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they turn slightly golden. Test them with a toothpick when you suspect they are ready. Then place them on a cooling rack.
  12. While the scones are cooling, prepare the glaze.
  13. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, milk, lemon extract, and zest (if using).
  14. Add more sugar until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. I prefer having it a little thicker so that it doesn’t soak into the scones.
  15. When the scones are cool, drizzle the glaze over the top with a fork. Enjoy!

Makes 16 scones