Nourishing Flourishing

Tag Archives: High Protein

Sunday Morning (GF Almond Flour) Pancakes

18 Mar

Hello! It’s a beautiful day here in Boulder, Colorado — the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the squirrels are peaking into our window, and… people are stumbling home wrapped in nothing but a blanket. It’s the day after St. Patrick’s, so you better believe our university town is pretty hungover this morning. Thankfully, I’m only nursing a reaction to all the Benadryl I had to take yesterday — Spring is lovely, but a bit of a transition, immunologically, for some of us!

I must say that Sunday is, now, without a doubt, my favorite day.  While they used to be a source of great anxiety, I feel like I’ve finally grown up a little, and now I look forward to Sundays with joy. At last I’ve realized that a necessary component of “success” in my endeavors, is to set boundaries for myself, and to commit to making time for rejuvenation. Because Sundays were such a stressful time for me in the past, I chose to implement them as a day devoid of all pressure; I do only what I want to do on Sundays, insofar as it is possible.

Today, I wanted to drink strong coffee (usually a once-a-week treat for me), make a special breakfast, and linger over it with my favorite person.

So that’s precisely what I did.

And I was so utterly delighted (and shocked!) with this recipe — which I’ve been playing with for months, and only today wrote down the measurements for — that I just had to share it with you. Forgive me if the photos aren’t the best — I was so eager to post the recipe that I shot this stack on my porch as soon as they were off the griddle! It is wonderfully simple, and my husband (who is a gluten-eater) devoured two batches… Two batches!

Gluten-Free Almond Flour Pancakes
These pancakes taste just like those of my childhood, but without all the dryness that would compel me to drown them in syrup. They are perfectly moist, tender, and just sweet enough to tantalize. Delicious even without maple syrup, they would work beautifully as a quick rolled-up PB and J. Top with succulent fruit, and savor spring’s arrival! Reawaken those mornings of your youth — but be sure to serve with a more adult side of strong coffee for maximum pleasure. (That sounded like a prophylactic commercial. Sorry.)

~1 TB oil for pan
2 C. blanched almond flour  (make your own, or buy it here in bulk, like I do)
1/4 C. arrowroot powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t. salt
2 whole eggs + 2 egg whites
1/4 C. agave nectar (you can decrease this by 1 TB if you like)
1/2 C. unsweetened almond milk
dash of vanilla extract

1) Heat oil in a small cast iron skillet over medium.
2) Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3) Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl; whisk eggs thoroughly.
4) Add wet ingredients to dry. If you want to thin it out a tad more, add another small splash of milk.
5) In ~2-3 tablespoon size scoops, pour the batter into the skillet one pancake at a time. Using a fork, spread evenly to a thin layer.
6) Keep a close eye on the bottom of the cake — you will likely need to turn it down a notch over the course of cooking the pancakes, because almond flour burns easily. Once bubbles start opening on the top of the batter, very, very carefully (supporting the pancake completely with a spatula), flip the pancake. When browned on both sides, set aside on a plate. (It may take a couple tries to get the method down, but they’ll be delicious even if malformed.: )
7) Repeat until all the batter is gone.

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Top with pure maple syrup, and, if you like, fresh, organic strawberries. My husband liked a few of his slathered with a little natural peanut butter as well. They keep quite well in the refrigerator, just be sure to keep them well-covered.

Over breakfast, we chatted (amongst other things) about how reading fiction changes us (which was rooted in this interesting piece). This semester, I have achieved my goal of reading for fun again — not academic purposes — and it is a beautiful revival! I can’t seem to put my reading down at night, and I have even been walking home from classes and the gym with novel in hand (well, my novel on my Kindle in my hand, but you know what I mean). There’s so much to be learned about a good and flourishing life in works of imagination!

I’m now going to return to my novel, and pretend that I don’t have any midterms this week. Just for today. Ah, grad school — it’s one big delusion after another… I also hope to catch up on comments, which I seem to be perpetually behind on — alas. Know that I love reading them. I hope you can take some time today for a healthy and delicious treat (like pancakes!) and/or a good chapter of a novel. Nourish yourself!

What is your Sunday ritual?

Are you reading anything for fun?

Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Tart (GF, Grain-Free, + Vegan)

4 Oct


I’m back.

Sorry about the weeks-long hiatus. Life got crazy like whoa very, very quickly — pretty much as soon as my grad classes started up, and I took a new job, and so on. Enter: Katie’s Life Without Any Free Time Whatsoever. Thank you so much for being understanding and supportive while I adjusted! If I have missed an email or anything, please let me know; I’m worried that some things got lost in the chaos. : / Also. I’m going to aim for posting at least once a week from now on. Let’s hope I can manage that. I missed blogging! I missed chatting with you guys, cooking crazy things, and telling you about it. It’s true that having to take a break from the internet in general was also seriously refreshing. But I am delighted to be back. And with a very worthy recipe to celebrate!

Now let me explain — this recipe looks complicated. It looks like it will take hours to make. It looks like it has a lot of ingredients. But really, this took me about 45 minutes total, prep and cook time, and it’s actually fairly simple. Plus, doesn’t it just look and sound so classy?

Ok, I admit it; I’m a grad student who huddles around free food at lectures. And puts samples in my pockets. That have holes in them. My already questionable hygiene has taken a further hit due to studying. An apple with gobs of peanut butter suffices as a meal on (frequent) occasion. Nearly all my clothes are thrifted.

I know nothing of classiness.

I came across a photo of a Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin on Pinterest way back when, and while I wasn’t so keen on the recipe itself (especially since it had gluten in it, ha), I fell in love with the visual. I actually bought cherry tomatoes at the store every single week while I was away from the blog, vowing that I would find time to make the tomato tart of my dreams… And here we are, three or four weeks and pints of tomatoes later, with — at last! — my own gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan version of a savory tart. I knew I’d get around to it! Good thing those overripe, wrinkly, geriatric tomatoes are easily disguised by the oven’s magic. : )

Sweet and Savory Balsamic Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tomato Tart

This tart has a buttery crust that mimics a glutenous one beautifully. It is topped with sweet caramelized onions and garlic — I use red onions for a richer flavor. The touch of balsamic vinegar carries the sweetness of the onions and candy-sweet, juicy tomatoes, while also bringing the perfect amount of complexity and depth to this (surprisingly) simple, high-protein dish. It’s savory, sweet, and one of the most delicious things I have ever made.

Inspired by this Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin.


1/2 C garbanzo bean (chickpea or besan) flour
1/2 C blanched almond flour (how to make your own)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 C water
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1 small red onion (or half of a medium)
1.5 Tb extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 Tb balsamic vinegar (plus more for drizzling)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes (you might not use all of it)


1) Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
2) Add water and mix thoroughly with a fork.
3) Add olive oil and mix thoroughly.
4) Preheat oven to 350*. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, using wet hands, press dough into an even circle.
6) Using a fork, pierce the dough to create vents all over. Place in oven and begin working on topping. (You will remove the crust once it turns a light tan on the very edges.)

Tart Topping

1) As crust bakes, slice onion into thin rounds.
2) Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions.
3) Sprinkle onions generously with salt to make them sweat. Stir occasionally.
4) Chop garlic, and once onions are translucent and beginning to brown, add garlic.
5) Stir occasionally to keep garlic from burning, but since you want the onions to caramelize, you can just leave them alone for the most part. Once they turn a beautiful dark brown, turn off the burner, and add the balsamic vinegar.
6) Scrape the skillet as the vinegar reduces down and infuses the onions and garlic.
7) Your crust should be ready by now, if it wasn’t beforehand. Remove it when it is a light tan on the edges. Keep the oven on.
8 ) Spread the onion/garlic/balsamic mixture onto the crust.
9) Quickly slice the tomatoes in half and arrange on top of the onion mixture.
10) Return tart to oven. Once the edges of the tart are lightly browned (see pictures) and the tomatoes are cooked (starting to break and release their juice, or wrinkly, or swollen), remove. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and serve.

Serves two as a meal, or six to eight as an appetizer.
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We literally devoured the entire thing in five minutes. There are simply no words. None.

And since I’ve probably overwhelmed you with the apparent length of the recipe, I’ll close it down here. (Also, it is waaay past my bedtime, and I am suddenly very committed to getting a solid set of hours in each night. Amazingly, sleep makes the waking hours more productive. Who knew, right?)

Yay — I’m blogging again! Give me a day or so to catch up on comments — it’s unlikely that I’ll be able to respond as quickly as in the past, but it is still so important to me to keep up our conversation. Comments and emails will always be a priority, so don’t think I care less just because I’m posting less! New recipes are coming, friends. I have so many tasty ideas percolating that I really had to restrain myself from experimenting in the kitchen all night on Sunday, when I made this dish. This is a very good thing.

OK — what did I miss this month? How have you been?!

Any requests?


Grad School Gourmet: Bean-y Bruschetta (Vegan!)

1 Sep

So I had the privilege to meet dear, sweet blog reader Brenda before she moved away — but I got the most adorable text message from her yesterday saying she made the baked beans (one of my most popular recipes) and loved them, and when the heck am I going to post more recipes?! Well, she said it a lot cuter and nicer than that. <3 Sure, I’ve been super busy, but y’know, the time has come!

Truth is, the BFF Manfriend has been doing 90% of the cooking lately, while I’ve been scrambling. And I don’t mean eggs. In fact, this meal was inspired by the man himself. And his version actually might have been better. Also a true story. I know that you might think, Hey, this has two recipes, it can’t be fast or easy! But I promise – it’s simple, delicious, and can be thrown together in probably fifteen — tops twenty — minutes. I say this with confidence because yesterday I ran to the store down the street, and when I came back, the BFF Manfriend announced dinner was ready. Um. Yes? And you thought the mango heart was sweet.

This the perfect recipe if you (or a generous friend — thanks Ann!) have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden, getting way too ripe on your counter.

The tomatoes are strained of their seeds/juice, cooked down with a little olive oil, and seasoned as a tomato should be — with only salt, pepper, and oregano. The reserved juice and seeds aren’t wasted, though — they are added to lend some piquancy to the other layer of the meal — cooked black beans, which are seasoned with just some salt, pepper, cumin, and a touch of oregano.

Here’s what it looks like when those tomaters are all good and squeezed:

After mashing or blending the bean mixture (the Husband smashes; I blend [lazy]), you spread them on a slice of GF bread, and dollop on a spoonful of Succulent Tomato Topping. With salad on the side, this is an efficient (read: fast), high-protein, nutritious, vegan, and totally delicious meal. I like to think of it as “Grad School Gourmet” — cheap, but with a touch of class. I mean, I used “piquancy” to describe it. That’s not only a GRE word, it’s definitely made the rounds in fine cooking magazines…

NOTE: You do not have to include the strained tomato juices/seeds; feel free to omit the step of adding it to the beans and just dispose of it.

Simple, Succulent Tomato Topping

1.5 TB extra virgin olive oil
5 small to medium-sized tomatoes
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coarse ground pepper
1 TB oregano

1) Quarter tomatoes and remove seed pulp/juice (you can just squeeze them or run your fingertip along the seed line to remove). Reserve juice in a separate container.
2) Coarsely chop tomatoes.
3) Warm olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high, and add tomatoes, salt, pepper, and oregano.
4) Stir occasionally to keep from sticking; allow tomatoes to cook down (5-10 minutes).
5) Turn off heat, and, using a spoon or spatula, drain liquid into the container with the other tomato seed pulp/juice. Taste, add more seasoning if necessary.

Makes about 1/2 cup, depending on the size of the tomatoes. It should be enough for about 4 large slices of bread.

Classed-Up Quick Bean Spread

Reserved tomato juice/seeds from recipe above
1 1/4 C prepared black beans (= 1 14.5 oz can, rinsed and drained)
1 1/2 TB cumin
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coarse ground pepper
1/2 t oregano

1) Combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl and mash until combined — OR — place all in a blender and process until desired texture — OR — combine in a bowl and use an immersion blender until desired texture. Taste and adjust spicing accordingly.
2) Spread or pour (depending on consistency) over toast, and cover with Simple Succulent Tomato Topping.

Makes about 1 – 1 1/4 cups — enough to top 4 large slices of bread.

Mmm… Bean-y Bruschetta.

Like I said in the note above, the beans will be thicker if you add less (or no) juice. Also, as always, play with the spicing to your preference! These recipes are so simple that the real gem here is just the method; it’s amazing how easy it can be to just put a little bit of a different spin on something traditional, and end up with deliciousness. This felt like comfort food gone… adult.

What surprise meal successes have you had lately?

Savory Summer Squash Pancakes (aka Garden Overload Latkes)

1 Aug

If you have a garden, or know anyone who does, then you probably know what I mean when I talk about “zucchini monsters” and “squash bats.” Bats as in the baseball variety, not the animal. As in… “My summer squash is out of control and taking over my garden and growing to the size of baseball bats before I can even get to it!” Yep. That’s what’s happening ’round here. We are frantically harvesting summer squash and passing it off to just about anyone who will take it. We have a tiny plot, but we still had seven chock-full grocery bags last week. We keep showing up at all our friends’ doors with bags and bundles of the yellow gourds. Every day. Sometimes twice a day, if we’re feeling frisky. Our friends hate us. They are probably preparing to hold a No More Summer Squash protest at our little community garden plot tomorrow.

Good thing it’s completely — and I do mean completely — covered with squash plant tentacles, ready to intimidate and/or devour anyone who gets too close to all those little yellow babies it can’t stop popping out.

Anyway, as a result of this total domination of our garden, we’ve had to stretch our creative muscles. Hence, this deliciously gluten-free, vegan, high protein, and healthy spin on potato latkes. I considered spicing ‘em up more, but frankly they taste like an explosive collision of Awesome and Garden Vegetables. So. They didn’t need it. The pancakes (for lack of a better term) are crisp on the outside, and succulent on the inside. Yes, I just used “succulent” to reference vegetables. These are quite versatile, and would be perfect for a meal anytime of day! Especially if, you know…you have 100 lbs of summer squash to eat through in one week.

Keep a look out for more posts on cooking seasonally, and especially what to do with all those oppressively high-yielding crops.

2 C grated summer squash (I used yellow, but you could try zucchini —  if zucchini, I’d add an extra Tb or two of chickpea flour and squeeze out all the excess moisture you can!)
1/4 C grated carrots
1/4 C chopped/chiffonaded fresh spinach
1/4 C diced red onion
1/2 C chickpea (garbanzo) flour (you may need a dash more)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t oregano
pepper to taste
dash of cayenne (if desired)
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1) After squash is grated, wring out excess water (you can press it through a cauldron, or pat it with paper towels, etc.) — don’t omit this, or they might turn out too soggy.
2) Mix all vegetables and spices in a medium sized bowl.
3) Mix in chickpea flour. Allow chickpea flour to absorb the vegetables’ moisture for about 5 minutes.
4) Heat ~1-2 Tb oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat.
5) Drop squash mix by rounded (table)spoon into skillet, flattening and shaping with spoon.
6) After roughly 1-2 minutes, use a spatula to carefully flip each pancake.
7) Once both sides are browned, remove, add more oil if needed, and repeat until all the batter is gone.

The BFF Manfriend and our good buddy Dan came home from their lunch not too long after I made these. And so ended the existence of the squash pancakes. Also, so began the story of my husband asking me to make these for dinner every night this week.

Somehow, I think we’ll be able to swing that.

(The recipe, not the squash bat… [<-- that one was for you, Dad.])

Featured in Slightly Indulgent Tuesday at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.

Do you have a garden? A CSA?

An overly “generous” neighbor who can’t stop bringing you yellow squash? (I knocked and knocked — where were you?! P.S. I have more squash!)

What abundance of seasonal produce is taking over your kitchen?

Vegan Lentil Loaf (aka Meatless Meatloaf)

29 Jul

Ok. I am still a blogger in progress… I learn things from trial and error. Case in point: I now know that I should have spread some ketchup on the top of this to make it “pop” more in the pictures. It looks bland, it looks boring, it looks…like meatloaf. But I assure you, this loaf is not only cheap to make, healthy to eat, packed with protein, and unphotogenic — it’s also really, really tasty. I had my worries when I served it to my friends Matt and Megan; I had finally actually measured what I put into this dish, and written a real recipe down. I worry that meals don’t turn out as well when I have to use tablespoons to calculate instead of handfuls and pinches. But Matt and Megan ended up asking for the recipe to make an appearance on the blog! I figure, if Matt was comfortable saying, “This is my new favorite food! Something Loaf! What did you call it?” it can’t be that bad. This is a very tame recipe, too, so it’s a decent way to introduce lentils to someone not very well acquainted with them. I’d like to do more potent variations — strong Italian flavors, and so on. Mmm. So on.

Also… Meat Loaf is my ALL TIME favorite 80s/90s rocker. My friends and family totally know what I mean when I casually talk about “The Loaf.” In high school, I once jammed out in my little red Saturn to his best song ever (see below) with my friend Haley. As we sat parked in her driveway, Sonic Limeaides in the cupholders (forgive me), at the height of the ballad, I grabbed my car lighter and proceeded to wave it around like a “real” lighter. You know, just like you would at a concert? Yeah. One limeaide too many, apparently, because my thumb slipped… The burns didn’t go away until late college. ( = I had a circle on my fingerprint for years.) True fan devotion.

There is a fine line between “ironically” liking something (the 80s, for instance), and actually liking something. Meat Loaf was once in the blurry overlap of these categories for me. Now, I think I’ve discovered that I legitimately enjoy the doofus. He’s lovable, in a stray cat kind of way, you know? A really, really large, odd, stray cat. That likes to dress up in costumes. Bonus: I do the best rendition of “I Would Do Anything for Love” (the 12 minute version) that you will ever see. Seriously. I have witnesses.

Back to the Non-Meat Loaf… I honestly don’t remember where I first learned about the concept of a lentil loaf, so I’m not sure who to credit for initially inspiring the idea! I’ve been making these types of loaves for a year or so, and this week when I did a search to try and find out where I encountered it back then, I found that there are a myriad of similar recipes out there. That did not make sorting through them easy, and I still don’t know who the catalyst was for me. But I did find Angela at Oh She Glows’ lentil loaf recipe in the process, and Angela’s version looks wonderful, with accents of apple, raisin, and walnut. I would definitely recommend checking out her unique take on this dish if you’re looking for something a little different. Also, she used the blending method with success as well, so trust us — it works : )

1/4 C flax meal
1/2 C water
1-2 Tb extra virgin olive oil
1 C shredded carrot (I used a cheese grater…classy)
1 small onion (I always use red)
2-3 cloves garlic
1 Tb oregano
1 Tb (heaping) cumin
2 C cooked lentils (I used French; they were on sale)
1/2 C almond flour

1) With a fork, whisk together flax and water in a bowl and set aside.
2) Dice onions and garlic.
3) In a large pan, saute onions and shredded carrots in olive oil over medium heat. (I sprinkle salt on mine to get them to sweat out moisture.)
4) Add garlic after a few minutes. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
5) Remove from heat after onions become translucent. Add lentils and almond flour.
6) Place 80-90% of the mixture in a food processor or blender until it is more processed than not. (See below for pictures.) Place back in pan or a large bowl.
7) Salt (and pepper) generously, and add flax “egg” mix to lentil mix.
8 ) Press into two loaf pans (mine are the strange size of 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 2 1/4, but you can use bigger or smaller ones — the baking time will vary, however), and place in a 375* oven.
9) Check on the loaf periodically, but they will most likely take at least 45 minutes. It’s done when you tap on the top and it’s stiff, and sides are browned. Let them cool before slicing!

Some tips: I tend to put some parchment or foil into my pans before I make this (mainly because my pans are kind of…”used”). It makes taking the loaf out a cinch, so I remove it after a few minutes of cooling to speed up the process. Here is the texture I achieved when I processed the lentil mix (go a tad smoother than this, though — I liked it better that way when I re-tested):

Here’s the contrast of how the processed lentil mixture looks next to the whole mixture.

You can omit this step, but it will most likely be crumbly if you do. Just a head’s up!

We love to have these loaves on hand during the school year, especially, because they make a portable, fast lunch, and a quick, easy dinner if made ahead of time on a lazy Sunday afternoon. We douse ours in agave ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce. It sounds juvenile, but really it’s just delicious ; )

Have you tried lentil loaf before?


Easy GF, Vegan Baked Beans

30 May

Oh, hey. Just bought you a ticket to Yum Town. Ready to board?

(Awkward silence.)

Sorry. But seriously. This is beyond words. Still, I am rarely without words, even if something lies far outside the bounds of them. (= I am really annoying.) So let me attempt to explain this to you. Did you know the secret to awesome baked beans is mustard? Yes. Many of you suggested I make this dish in a GF and vegan reconstruction for Memorial Day BBQs. I must admit, I was thinking the same thing. I tried making baked beans the other day by starting with tomato paste. No dice. Too tomato-y. If I have a fail in the kitchen, for some reason it seems like a statement about the state of my life more generally. Bad batch of baked beans = Katie is the worst thing ever and has no purpose. Yep. That’s why I need to write posts like my Think This, Not That series… I am a crazy=pants. So, anyway. I (wo)manned-up, and put my big girl apron on. I tried to summon all my baked bean wisdom and experiences. There was a lot of bacon in that zone, so I tried to go a little deeper… There has to be a (non-meat) secret ingredient, right? I remembered my mom always casually just squeezing half a bottle of mustard into her baked beans. Wait, I thought. Wait just a second. I know what I’m doing wrong here. I’m trying too hard to do this on my own. Think back. Use The Force.

What now, Baked Beans? I will slay you. And no pork necessary. Suckahhh.

1 can (about 1 1/2 C) cooked white beans (I used Great Northern, but Cannelini or even Pinto would work too)
1/2 C water
extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion (I always use red, but do whatever)
1 large or 2 medium sized cloves garlic
2 Tb ketchup (I strongly suggest this awesome agave-sweetened kind by Organicville. It’s rocked my condiment-loving-world.)
2 Tb yellow mustard (prepared — not the powder)
2 Tb molasses
1/2 t paprika
1/4 t garlic powder
salt, pepper, cayenne

1) Chop onions and add them to a stovetop pan with olive oil (I used about 1 Tb evoo) over medium heat.
2) Dice garlic, and add to onion. Sprinkle both with salt, and cook until almost caramelized (browned).
3) You should have a crust of residue from the caramelizing; add just a splash (2-3 Tb?) of water to “deglaze.” Remove from heat.
4) Add rinsed, cooked beans and sprinkle with salt (important to salt the beans, especially after they’ve been rinsed). Set aside.
5) In an 8×8 pyrex baking dish, mix remaining ingredients (I added just a sprinkle of cayenne — feel free to omit).
6) Add beans, onions, and garlic.
7) Place in a preheated 350* oven. Let cook until a nice little pseudo-crust has formed on top (~20/30 minutes?), and remove.

Yum Town arrival.

I will be the first to say I think these are even better if they sit overnight in the fridge. Aren’t most things? Especially beans. Also, my husband thinks this dish would be additionally awesome with a higher ratio of beans — feel free to add more, of course! I like mine either way.

Edited to Add: Also, I would strongly recommend doubling, tripling, or quadrupling this recipe. It’s ridiculous. One person already made this and said: “Dude…those baked beans were out of control good. Only thing I would do differently is double the recipe!” So. Take the wonderful Hilary Tina’s advice. She knows what she’s talking about. : )

I was aiming for a flavor similar to the Busch’s of old, but I think I might actually prefer some extra mustard for tang. The wonderful part of this dish is that you can easily adapt it even after it comes out of the oven. Try a taste. Not zingy enough? Add more mustard. Not sweet enough? Add a glop more molasses and/or ketchup. It’s a beautiful thing, this dish. A beautiful, tasty thing.

Featured in Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

Have a great (Memorial) day! What are you cookin’ up (activity-wise, and food-wise)?

Booyah BBQ Socca Pizza

22 May

So… About yesterday. Um. My bad. Things were much crazier than I expected, and it is now 1:30am on Sunday as I get ready to finally put my post up. Yeesh. Long day much? Good thing you’re a forgiving bunch ; )

When I prepared to make the BBQ sauce the other day, I was ruminating over what exactly I would use as a vehicle for carrying this deliciousness into my mouth. Sorry, but BBQ sauce is less of a “complement” to food than a food all on its own in my mind… What can I say? I guess that’s another reason my BFF Manfriend calls me The Sauce Queen. I just love condiments. It’s a weakness.

Anyway, obviously I made some portobello burgers and topped them with this smoky, sweet, tangy nectar of the heavens, but I knew this sauce had potential. It could be so much more than a ketchup-replacement. It just needed the chance to shine. So, what do you think my first stop on the Various Sauce Uses trolley was? My other weakness, of course…


BBQ Socca Pizza.

One ticket to Yum Town, please.

If you want to see some of my other socca friends (aka meals), check out this post, and definitely this post. To learn what socca is and see yet another recipe for it, click here.


1/2 C chickpea flour
1/4 C water (feel free to add more if you want a thinner crust, opposite for thicker. Mine was the consistency of pancake batter.)
Generous salt (salt is the main flavoring, so don’t skimp!)
1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil for pan
Bring-The-Party-In-Your-B.B.(B.)Q.-sauce sauce
organic or vegan cheese
chopped onion (I prefer red, but only had white for this go)
chopped green pepper

1) Mix water, chickpea flour, and salt together.
2) Heat 1-3 Tb extra virgin olive oil on medium in a large, flat skillet/pan. (I used my beloved small cast iron.)
3) Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly with a fork if needed to achieve consistent height throughout.
4) Let the bottom crisp, and when it is sturdy flip.
5) Let the other side crisp as well, and when the texture is right for you, it’s done! (I like mine crisped nearly to a char in some places, as you might see in the photos… It reminds me of woodfired crusts!)
6) Add sauce and toppings, and place under broiler briefly for melting if needed (watch carefully!)

This is yet another wildly easy, throw-it-together-in-10-minutes-and-devour-in-two kind of meal. It puts traditional BBQ pizzas to shame; and to be frank, I think it might have something to do with the sauce. Why lie?

The best part? This is high-protein (from the garbanzo flour), high-fiber (= super satiating), grain-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, and depending on what type of cheese you use, vegan. Unlike other BBQ pizzas, you can name and understand every ingredient in here! I know, right? Best idea ever. (Worst idea ever: take pictures of it in the rain. Photos will not be up to standards. Lo siento.) Just throw some salad on the side and bask in the wonder of your efficient and delectable meal-making. Preferably while watching a Harry Potter marathon with your family, half-heartedly working. (The half-heartedly part wasn’t intentional, but you know how these things go.)

And on that note… Go get your B.B.(B.)Q.-in’ on! Trust me. You will want to have this sauce on hand at all times. It can make anything magical…anything. (I am willing to put my money on the fact that it would even be scrumptious with ice cream. Fact.)

P.S. Props to the commenter who predicted I would slather this on pizza. Total win.

Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free

Best part of your week/weekend?

Best Bangin’ Marinara and Eggplant Faux “Parm”

6 May

Welp, I know this is verrry late, but we like to drag celebrations out in our family ; ) BFF Manfriend’s birthday, as you may know, already passed. And our rule is that you get to eat whatever you like for your big day. He bends the rule and asks for at least three meals, usually… But then again, I love to cook for him (and anyone!) because — as I’ve said countless times — it really is how I show love. His “treat” request? 1) A vegetarian burrito from Chipotle. (Yes, we never eat out — why do you ask?) 2) A big cheese pizza. 3) My Faux Eggplant “Parmesan”. The Faux and quotation mark parts are due to the fact that we don’t eat much cheese, and when we do, it’s always organic (and as ethically sourced as possible) pepper jack. As in…not parmesan. And you know what? It’s about 100,000,000 times better than parmesan. The spice. The not-overpowering-amount-of-cheese. The melt. The perfectly breaded eggplant. The marinara. <– The real bam factor.

This dish is indeed a special treat, because anytime we use eggs or dairy, we try to really appreciate them, and make sure that the animals were treated well. I have been mulling over how to best turn this into a veganized dish; if you have ideas on how to get the breading to stick without egg, do let me know! (Obviously the cheese can simply be subbed with Daiya.)

Best Bangin’ Marinara

3 Tb extra virgin olive oil (feel free to use less if you so desire)
1 onion, diced (I use red)
6 cloves garlic
2 28 oz cans of diced tomatoes and/or chunky tomato sauce
1 1/2 Tb oregano
1 Tb basil
1/2 Tb rosemary
1/2 Tb paprika
salt + coarse ground pepper to taste

1) Heat olive oil in a large pot to medium. Add diced onions, and sprinkle a little salt on them. (Helps to soften them/make ‘em sweat moisture out.) Stir occasionally.
2) Dice garlic cloves. When onions become soft, add garlic.
3) Add spices, stir, and pour in tomatoes.
4) After tomatoes are hot enough to bubble a bit, turn heat to medium low. Stir occasionally, but let it do it’s thang for about 30 minutes.
5) Remove pan from heat, and allow to sit uncovered and cool. (Or set aside to use immediately.)
6) Refrigerate.

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Eggplant Faux  “Parm” with Best Bangin’ Marinara

~2-3 C almond flour
1 t salt +
2 ethically sourced eggs
extra virgin olive oil
bangin’ marinara
organic pepper jack cheese

1) Slice eggplant into ~1/2″ thick rounds. Sprinkle with salt.
2) On a plate, add 1/2 C almond flour, and sprinkle with salt. Stir.
3) Whisk 1 egg in a wide bowl.
4) Heat a pan on medium, adding enough olive oil to cover the bottom.
5) Dip eggplant completely in egg, and transfer to almond flour, covering both sides.
6) Add to pan.
7) Repeat, flipping pieces when underside browns. Remove once both sides are browned.
NOTE: Add only about 1/4 C of almond flour at a time (and don’t forget to salt), as needed. This avoids wasting precious flour.
8 ) Use eggplant slices to cover the bottom of a baking/casserole dish (I used my pyrex; I think it measures 9 x 13).
9) Cover with warmed marinara.
10) Layer leftover slices on top. Cover with marinara again.
11) Shred cheese over top (lightly).
12) Broil carefully to melt cheese.

Also Note –> When I make this, I usually have to wipe out the burned crumbs (unavoidable) a couple times. Don’t worry about it, just carefully wipe the empty pan with a paper towel if it gets burn-y up in your kitch. Add olive oil again and keep truckin’. Totally worth it.

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I’m just going to let the pictures do some talking… (It looks like we used a ton of cheese. Not so.)

We have served this to guests many times, and each time, we hear, “I actually hate eggplant, but this…this is awesome.” And there are never leftovers. Granted, I associate with really nice people… But still. Does it count for anything that BFF Manfriend was fine with not having a cake, so long as he could have this meal?

Methinks perhaps.

What’s your favorite birthday meal?

Mine is usually tapas, so I can cram as many things as possible in, while still calling it “one” meal… Sneaky.

Part of the Pennywise Platter Carnival.

Healthy Quick Crust

3 May

When my lovely parentals were visiting, I threw this crust together on a whim and crossed my fingers that it would turn out. My mom sat at the table, writing down the measurements I called out: “2 tablespoons of water….er…no, no, just kidding. Make that 1/4 cup.”  Confession: I nearly always cook intuitively — whatever feels right, I follow. It has been a challenge for me to actually measure and share my recipes, because I tend to just grab a handful of this, a few shakes of that, and so on. However, I love having so many dishes recorded now, thanks to the blog. I think it has actually made me a better cook, rather than stifling my creative energy, which I worried about. As for the crust — thanks Mamala for your neat handwriting, and continued patience with my incoherent method. <3

If you think I’m high-maintenance by being a soy-free, corn-free, white-potato-free, (mostly) dairy-free, gluten-free vegetarian…well. My dad is at least equally difficult to cook for. Not only does he have to be careful because of his diabetes, but he also is a supertaster. Which sounds Super Awesome at first, until you realize that his face puckers like a prune when he even smells a yogurt being opened. From two floors below him. If he takes a bite of anything remotely — and I mean r e m o t e l y – bitter or acidic, he looks like he is in pain. The intensity of his sense of smell and taste is crazy, and very unfortunate; it would be a shame to miss out on so many foods! I tend to eat a lot of bitter (to him) things like kale, so I needed to be thoughtful about how I might concoct something that was vegetarian and gluten-free for our sakes, but low glycemic, non-acerbic, and hearty with lots of protein for Dad’s.

Meet my little friend:

This was absolutely delicious, and a dead-ringer for the traditional glutenous crust! BFF Manfriend could not stop saying, “How does it hold together so well?!” <– He appreciates the challenges of GF baking by now ; ) The crust is very versatile; the quiche recipe below is just one of many possibilities!

Healthy Quick Crust (Vegan)

1/2 C garbanzo bean (chickpea) flour
1/2 C blanched almond flour (make your own and save)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C water
2 Tb extra virgin olive oil

1) Mix dry ingredients.
2) Add water and mix thoroughly, then add olive oil and mix again. Set aside.
3) Generously grease the bottom of a square 8×8 pyrex (you can try it in another dish, but no guarantees) with olive oil, and scoop dough in.
4) With wet hands, press the dough flat and evenly into the dish. Poke a few holes using a fork.
5) Bake at 350* until bottom and top begin to brown a bit.

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Vegetable Quiche with High Protein Quick Crust

1 head broccoli, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, seeds removed (to omit excess moisture), chopped (Note: You can sub whole grape tomatoes.)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
6 ethically sourced, cage-free eggs
2-4 TB of ethically sourced, organic cheese, shredded (optional)

1) Pour olive oil into a large pan on the stove. Turn to medium heat.
2) Add chopped onion, garlic, and broccoli. Stir.
3) After a minute or two, put a splash of water into the pan, and cover with a lid to let steam.
4) Once bright green (but still crisp — about 1-2 minutes), remove from heat. Drain of any excess water.
5) Whisk eggs and salt and pepper in a large bowl.
6) Add cheese and vegetables.
7) Pour on top of crust, and bake at 350* until cooked through (fork comes out clean in middle). It took mine about 40 minutes.

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To make a vegan version, you can easily omit the eggs and cheese, and simply add more vegetables (and possibly some vegan cheese). Just pour some sauce on top to keep things moist. It obviously won’t be perfectly “quiche-y,” but you can make it into a vegetable pie that is absolutely delicious nonetheless! : )

It took me about 10-15 minutes to prepare this meal (mostly chopping), and it was almost effortless. I made it again today just to be sure it wasn’t some miraculous fluke…

We ate the entire thing between the two of us.


Are you high-maintenance due to food allergies, other health issues, or ethical lifestyle?

If not, how do you cook for guests who are? Do you enjoy the challenge?

Cinnamon (Un) Sugar Dessert Hummus — With Sweet Potato Power!

29 Apr

Not going to lie… I meant to attempt this when I first made my other 3 dessert hummus recipes, but ultimately ran out of time and ingredients. So today, I actually followed through on my conception: something reminiscent of the cinnamon sugar toast I loved in my youth, but packed with nutrition. Dippable, dunkable, spreadable. Snack or dessert. Yum Town. It was definitely worth the wait! When I had the BFF Manfriend taste test it, he said it was like cinnamon frosting. Um…how can that be bad?! We loved it. This is perfect for topping oats (not only a boost of protein, but remember: it tastes like frosting, friends. Frosting.), toast, graham crackers, tortillas, apples, bananas, and pretty much anything that can otherwise be used as a vehicle to your mouth.

Like last time, I want to thank Evan at The Wannabe Chef for the inspiration! After I stumbled upon his dessert hummus, I knew I was in for it. As you can see from that last 3-recipe-post extravaganza — Evan…you’ve ruined me. It’s all hummus, all the time over here now. (Note: I just now saw he has since posted a snickerdoodle hummus, too!)

1 C cooked and well-rinsed white beans (if chickpeas, peel for smoother texture)
2 Tb cashew butter (or any natural nut butter, though flavor may vary)
1/2 C sweet potato puree (or pumpkin puree)
2 t vanilla
3 Tb agave, 100% maple syrup, or honey (I used a natural maple-flavored agave)
2 Tb cinnamon
sprinkle of salt

1) Place all but cinnamon into food processor (or blender) and whir it up until everything is smooth.
2) Add cinnamon (start with just 1 Tb at first if you are cinnamon-shy, adding more as you like) and continue to process.
3) Spoon into a bowl and serve. (Feel free to be real classy like me and drizzle just a little agave on top, and dash cinnamon for garnish. The simple things… The simple things.)

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More flavors coming soon…obviously. ; ) And do I need to tell you how healthy this is? Hellooo Protein!  Oh, and hey Fiber — didn’t see you there in all that deliciousness. Yo! Antioxidants! Didn’t know you were coming to the party — so glad you could make it! Cinnamon, you old anti-inflammatory, how you doin’ these days? (….Annnd SCENE.)

But seriously. This is awesome. If you’re wondering about the sweet potato puree, you can either nuke a sweet potato in the microwave (I don’t have one), bake it in the oven, or boil it on the stove. I boiled mine and processed it before adding other ingredients — it ended up being 1 small tater. Easy peasy!

(Part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesday)

What are you doing to celebrate TGIF
(other than wishing ABC would bring the real TGIF back)?