Posts tagged ‘easy recipe’

January 7, 2014

Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

almond butter cookies

I’m not much of a cookie eater these days, and while I don’t have a sweet tooth in the normal, eat-every-baked-good-set-before-me kind of way, I DO like both my green juices and my cocktails pretty darn sweet (the HH ladies can attest to that!). However, when the holidays come a knockin’, I love to buy 3 shiny, new Christmas cookie magazines and just lose myself in all the recipes and pictures. Mind you, I will only ever make exactly 1 cookie recipe out of the 100 I look at, but this process works like a mental pacifier for me. I can’t explain why I love it so much, but if you take a look at Martha Stewart’s annual Christmas cookie issue, I really don’t need to give you a reason. Her photos are so beautiful, it could be a freakin’ coffee table book!

Each season, I like to find a new go-to cookie that I can make over and over again for all kinds of occasions and gifts. This year, as I prepared for a cookie exchange party, I decided to look for a healthier cookie a bit out of the ordinary. Boy, did I find one—it’s vegan and it’s scrumptious! This little gem is wheat free and dairy free (although not sugar free*), so it’s a perfect treat for those people in your life with dairy, wheat, or gluten sensitivities.

*Note about sugar: This recipe calls for brown sugar, so I used organic brown sugar, the healthiest I could find at the store where I was. However, you might be able to substitute either stevia or coconut sugar for the brown sugar and come out with a crazy-good cookie as well. Good luck!

Vegan Almond Butter Cookies

Makes 36 cookies

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseeds or flaxseed meal
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 c. smooth almond butter
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, if needed.

2. In a small bowl, mix the flaxseeds with the water and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

3. In a large blender bowl, with the mixer on low, blend together the almond butter, brown sugar, baking soda, vanilla, salt, and soaked flaxseeds until thoroughly combined.

4. Using your hands, gather about a tablespoon of dough and shape the dough into a round ball about ¾-inch across. Place the balls on your cookie sheet about 1½ inches apart. Bake until relatively flat (not a rounded puff), about 11 or 12 minutes. These cookies are delicate, both before and after cooking and tend to crumble easily. I found it helpful to leave the cookies on the sheet for a minute or two after taking the sheet out of the oven before using my spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire cooling rack.

5. Repeat Step 4 with the rest of the dough.

6. Store your cookies in an airtight container.

(Adapted from Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies!)

I’ve shared these cookies with many friends and family members, and I have yet to find someone who doesn’t love them. Happy baking and sampling!

XO, Brooke

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November 11, 2013

Vegetarian Buffalo-Style Chick’n Pizza

Can you say yum?

Can you say yum?

Morning, Friends! Brooke here. I know it’s a bit early to be discussing dinner plans, but have I got a treat for you! This one goes out to all you vegetarians out there (it’s ok . . . you non-veggies can join in too). If you want to wake up your taste buds and impress your hungry family, you’ve got to try this recipe. Or as I like to call it—a new twist on an old favorite.

Welcome to Aggieland
An Aggieland Classic
If any of you guys are a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggies as I am (Class of ’97—WHOOP!), you will know of the greatness of Wings ‘N More, situated in the heart of Aggieland. Before I committed to a vegetarian (and much healthier) lifestyle, Wings ‘N More was a frequent stop of mine during my college years. They served chicken wings dripping in fiery Tabasco-like sauce customizable from mild to extra hot and full of garlic (yum!!), with celery and ranch or blue-cheese dressing on the side to cool the flames. And then the coup de grâce . . . razor-thin onion rings fried to a crispy golden-brown, served with tasty ketchup. I didn’t even like onion rings before then—that’s how good they were. Looking back now, my fond memories of this sweet time are tinged with horror at my eating wings and my disgust of the fried, fatty, delicious saltiness of it all. No wonder my stomach was always upset after these meals! Well, I eventually graduated and came to my senses, but that tangy, fiery sauce haunts my memories to this day.
A Healthy Reinvention
Imagine my joy when I discovered a better, blood-pressure-friendly version of that killer combination so loved long ago (in a pizza no less!). As a vegetarian, I often grow weary of the mental math of potential substitutes needed every time I find a tasty recipe that calls for meat of some kind. Really? Does everything have to include meat to be a meal? No! Thankfully, this recipe was easy for me to adapt, and even more thankfully, my non-vegetarian husband loved it. Success! Now it’s your turn . . .
Vegetarian Buffalo-Style Chick’n Pizza
• Whole-wheat pre-made pizza crust (I used Boboli®)
• 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 Quorn® Naked Chick’n Cutlets, cooked and shredded (each cutlet is equivalent to approx. 3-4 oz. regular chicken)
• 3 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
• 2 green onions, sliced thinly
• 2 Tbsp Tabasco® or other hot sauce, and another 1 Tbsp for garnish
• 4 oz low-fat blue cheese
• Dash of dried oregano, basil, or parsley for garnish (optional)
Note: This recipe makes a pretty chunky topping. If you like fewer toppings and more crust, use 2 chick’n cutlets, 2 stalks of celery, 1 green onion, 3 oz blue cheese, and (perhaps) a bit less hot sauce—your call 😉
1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
2. Put your pizza crust on a baking rack set on top of a cookie sheet.
3. Lightly brush the olive oil over the crust (for a golden finish and a bit of healthy fat).
4. In a medium bowl, combine the chick’n, celery, green onions, and 2 Tbsp of the Tabasco until everything is well coated.
5. Spread chick’n mixture over the pizza crust, leaving about 1 in. of crust uncovered around the edges. Pat the mixture evenly across, ensuring a balanced blend of celery and chick’n pieces. Crumble the blue cheese over the mixture, and drizzle the remaining 1 Tbsp of hot sauce over the top. Beautiful!
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or so, checking the crust and cheese for goldening (yes, I just made that word up!).
7. Take the pizza out of the oven and sprinkle oregano, basil, and/or parsley across the top. Slice and enjoy!
I hope you enjoy this pizza as much as we did. Have a great week and gig ‘em!
XO, Brooke

gig em ags 2

September 30, 2013

Delicious Kitchen Magic

cooking magic

The weather’s turning cooler, and there’s magic in the air! Or wait—maybe that’s dinner! When I was younger, I used to run with my dad around our neighborhood as my mom fixed supper. The times I remember most are the night runs we would do when the evenings were sharp, cold, and cloaked in darkness. And, as a teenager, I was starving right before dinner (and almost every other moment). So, when we would pass by one house in particular on our route, the most beguiling smells of dinner permeated the darkness, driving me almost insane with hunger. I was very dramatic back then! Supposedly, scents are some of the most potent conduits to our memories, and I believe this to be true. So true that I am instantly transported back to that cold winter night 20 years ago if I pick up the scent of dinner cooking as I meander around my own neighborhood.

Now You Can Do It Too!

Well, if you want to drive your neighbors crazy with the scents coming from your kitchen, I have the perfect solution for you. I stumbled upon this easy spaghetti recipe 10 years ago, and I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t love this dish. And let me tell you, it’s most assuredly the recipe that people adore, not my cooking skills. J

Reasons to Love This Dish

  1. It’s amazingly delicious.
  2. It’s packed full of heart-healthy, cancer-fighting antioxidants and healthy fats.
  3. It’s really easy.
  4. It requires pantry staples you probably already have or can easily acquire.
  5. You’ll have leftovers for days (that is, if you are without children, like we are—otherwise, you may just have 1 meal)
  6. People will think you are a much more talented chef than you really are—just enjoy it!

Spaghetti Puttanesca

Pasta

Prepare 1 lb spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair noodles as directed on package. Amount of noodles per person varies. Feel free to use whole-wheat pasta, protein-rich pasta, or even spaghetti squash!

Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can petite diced tomatoes—not drained (can be regular diced tomatoes, but I like the texture of petite diced)
  • 2 Tbsp black olives, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers (drained)
  • ½ tsp (or a nice dash) red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • dried or fresh parsley, good dash for color (most of the time I omit this)
  • parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

Serves 4, conservatively

Directions

Heat large skillet until hot, then add the olive oil to the skillet. When oil is hot (thins out like water and sizzles if you flick water at it), add minced garlic and watch it closely. This is the time your kitchen starts smelling heavenly! You want the garlic to get slightly golden-brown but not burned.

When the garlic is golden-brown, add the can of tomatoes (both tomatoes and juice) and turn heat down to medium or so. Make sure you watch your bare feet when you add tomatoes—oil tends to pop a lot until tomatoes have blended with the oil.

Then add the black olives, capers, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and stir to blend. Turn down the heat to low-medium, and allow the sauce to simmer for about 12-15 minutes—you’ll stir occasionally, and you’ll cook until most of the sauce liquid has been cooked away. Make sure sauce is not cooking at too high a heat or it will stick to the skillet. When sauce is done cooking, take off of the heat and add parsley, if desired. When I serve it, I put noodles in bowl, then a spatula or two of sauce, then some parmesan cheese over it. Yummy!!!

A Few Notes: For 4 people who love this recipe, I’d double the sauce recipe, because the sauce is pretty chunky and not runny. I also keep the noodles and sauce separated and put them together as I serve them, even as leftovers—but you can combine them if you like. As far as
noodles and sauce go, I like to prepare a bunch, so I have leftovers for a few days. And these are killer leftovers!

Enjoy and Happy Cooking!

Brooke