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
  • 3-4 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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Makes 18 muffins

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!

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

Mini Margherita Kebabs

If you’ve seen my post on Margherita Pizza, you’ll know how much I love tomato, basil, and mozzarella! Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to eat as much fresh food as possible. That’s why for my family’s Memorial Day cookout a couple weeks ago, I make some mini margherita kebabs to have as appetizers. They’re super easy, healthy, and delicious!

Makes 10 kebabs

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Ingredients:

20 fresh mozzarella pearls

10 grape tomatoes

5 fresh basil leaves

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar (optional)

Kosher salt (optional)

10 toothpicks

Directions

  1. Wash the basil and cut each leaf into four pieces.
  2. Skewer a mozzarella pearl on a toothpick. I recommend using Crave Brothers cheese if you can get your hands on it, but I’m not sure if it can be found outside of Wisconsin.
  3. Add a piece of basil, a tomato, another piece of basil, and one more mozzarella pearl.
  4. Continue with the remaining toothpicks.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Triple Chocolate Scones

For the past few weeks (or should I say entire school year) I’ve been so busy and stressed out that I haven’t had much time to bake, let alone write. However, I only have one week until graduation, so I figured I could bake something to help get me through my last couple of finals. The result was Triple Chocolate Scones! They’re perfect anytime of day whether it be for breakfast, a snack, or a healthy dessert. This recipe features whole wheat flour and a flax seed “egg” as usual and is low in sugar too! Enjoy a fresh, warm scone with a hot cup of tea or a tall glass of milk.

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The first step to this recipe is making an “egg” with ground flax seed and hot water. Heat three tablespoons of water on the stove and whisk with one tablespoon of ground flax in a medium sized bowl. Then set the mixture aside and preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

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In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Stir until everything is evenly distributed.

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When all the dry ingredients are mixed, cut in 1/3 cup of cold butter. To get it started, I used a pastry blender, but towards the end, I used my hands to make sure there were no clumps of butter left. It gets a little messy, but the best way to get a sense of dough is to use one’s hands.

Now that the butter is mixed in, add the chocolate milk and vanilla to the “egg” and whisk it well.  Then pour it into the dry ingredients. Be sure to use chocolate milk with no high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.

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Stir the ingredients the best you can–it can be a little tough since scones are by nature a little dry. Again, you may need to knead the dough with your hands. Once everything is mixed, fold in one cup of miniature chocolate chips.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. As you can see in the picture, I had a little too much flour, but if that happens, they will turn out just fine. Divide the dough into two sections and form each one into a circle, roughly two inches high. Then cut each circle into eight pieces and place them on the prepared baking sheet. If you wish, you can sprinkle each scone with some course, decorative sugar.

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Bake the scones for about 12-14 minutes. When you think they are done, test them with a toothpick. It should come out clean, but some melted chocolate chip is okay. After a few minutes, place the scones on a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Makes 16 scones

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

3 Tbs. hot water

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa

1 Tbs. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/3 cup cold butter

1/2 cup low fat chocolate milk

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Course sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flax and hot water to make an egg substitute. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter and begin combining the ingredients using a pastry blender. Then, use your hands to make sure all the butter is evenly distributed and there are no large pieces left.
  5. Add the milk and vanilla to the flax mixture and whisk them together.
  6. Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and stir until the ingredients come together. Again, you may have to use your hands to knead the dough since scones are by nature a little dry.
  7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  8. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Form each piece into a circle about two inches thick.
  9. Cut each circle into eight triangular scones.
  10. Place all 16 scones on the baking sheet and if desired, sprinkle them with course sugar.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when they are done with the exception of some melted chocolate from a chocolate chip. Enjoy!