Chocolate Tahini Cookies

We had chocolate. We had tahini. Buckle up for some chocolate tahini cookies, y’all.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies are Very Good

We like to take the opportunity to make food with our kids, especially when it’s fun food. Watson and Vivi love to each get a bowl full of ingredients to mix. They make an ungodly mess, but it’s adorable and who cares? You don’t have to clean the floor.

Watson has been very into Halloween lately, so he wanted to use his ghost cookie cutter to make some ghostly cookies. That didn’t work very well, since these cookies are very crumbly and fall apart pretty easily. They’re really better in a lumpy mound configuration.

Let me go on a short digression about tahini, if you will: tahini is great, you guys. It makes great sauces, it’s great in these cookies, it’s great in hummus, etc. Get some. Use it. Love it.

These are not cookies for folks with an extreme sweet tooth. They’re way more on the savory side. But they’re super tasty, and since they’re pretty crumbly, they offer a lot of delicious crumb-collecting fun once you’re done with all of the bits that hold together.

Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Ingredients:

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup almond meal
1 c flour of choice (we’ve used both spelt and rice flour with success, although the rice flour makes for a crumblier cookie)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place tablespoon sized balls of cookie dough on a lined baking sheet, and press them down flat (but not too flat) with the heel of your hand. You can try rolling them out and using cookie cutters, like Watson wanted to do, but these cookies are pretty crumbly. The thinner they are, the more easily they fall apart once they’re baked. Bake each batch for 10 minutes and let cool on a wire rack.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

I don’t like to keep coming back to the same topic, but let’s be real: tacos are the bomb. It is less well-known, but no less true, that roasted cauliflower is also the bomb. You can probably guess that I believe roasted cauliflower tacos to therefore be the bomb. You would be right. I’m probably also making it clear that my grasp of post-nineties slang is not all that and a bag of chips, as it were. Sue me.

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos – A Delicious, Healthy Treat

We got ourselves some gorgeous purple cauliflower in our Hungry Harvest box this week, and we immediately knew we were going to make tacos with it. It turns out cauliflower is perfect for tacos. The nooks and crannies of the florets soak up cooking oil and spices, and they get nice and brown and crunchy in the oven. On top of a toasted corn tortilla, alongside an appropriate set of garnishes, there’s basically nothing better.

I wish I’d known earlier in life how delicious roasted vegetables were. I wish my kids were more receptive to my trying to teach them the lessons I wish I’d learned at their age. I wish that last sentence were easier to parse (but it makes sense, I promise!).

Roasted Cauliflower Tacos

Ingredients:

Cauliflower:

Two small heads of cauliflower (we used a pretty purple kind)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp salt
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp chili powder

Slaw:

1 kohlrabi cut into matchsticks
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup mayo
Juice of 1 lime

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut cauliflower up into medium florets and toss with oil and spices. Roast on a lined baking sheet for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix all of the ingredients of the slaw together in a medium bowl. Toast a few corn tortillas lightly on the stovetop. Serve the tacos with diced avocado.

Simple Peach Pie Energy Balls

We love energy balls. Seriously, we really love them. We make them as snacks all the time. They seem small and unassuming, but they’re little dense bites of deliciousness, and they help stave off the hunger that creeps up between breakfast and lunch. As filling snacks go, these peach pie energy balls fit the bill quite nicely.

It’s also the end of summer and the beginning of fall, even if the weather hasn’t quite gotten the memo. Peaches feel like a summer food, but peach pie is what you make in the fall from all the peaches you thought you were going to eat and didn’t. These energy balls are the perfect fusion of summer flavor and fall comfort.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

This recipe really couldn’t be simpler. If you’ve got some measuring cups, a food processor, and five minutes, you’ve got everything you need to make these. When you’re getting meals ready for the week and there are three kids underfoot, it’s a small blessing to have a recipe that’s so simple. And one that doesn’t involve opening a hot oven when the kids are running around and curious.

These are also the kind of thing that makes packing lunches at 5:15 am a breeze. The more we’ve got already packed, that we can just grab and go, the better.

Peach Pie Energy Balls

Ingredients:

1 cup dried peaches
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup coconut
1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

Just dump all of the stuff into a food processor, blitz until it’s crumbly, and then make it into balls and refrigerate. Eat one for a quick, delicious pick-me-up when you’re feeling hungry in the midmorning. That way you won’t be tempted to run out for a coffee and a donut because Royal Farms has Krispy Kremes and they’re delicious. Not that I’ve ever done that. Of course not.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls with Spiked Apple Cider Glaze

I don’t have to prove my autumn bona fides to you. I mean, I will, but I don’t have to. So what’s more fall than pumpkin spice? What’s more fall than cinnamon rolls? How about pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls, the diabolical fusion of the two?

These right here are some tasty cinnamon rolls. They came together wonderfully, the glaze and filling are delicious, and they taste like autumn wrapped up in a beautiful spiral bow. Go and make them and eat them. Please. I want this for you.

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

1 small squash
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
1 1/2 sticks vegan butter (we used Earth’s Balance)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 Tsp ginger
1 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp nutmeg
1 Tsp cloves
1 Tsp allspice
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup spiced rum

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and roast until brown and soft. Scoop out and mash up the inside of the squash (it should make about 2/3 of a cup).

Warm up the almond milk to room temperature (we microwaved ours for about 30 seconds). Sprinkle yeast on top and mix. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Knead in flour, 1/2 stick of butter, honey, and salt. Let rest until doubled while you watch Inhumans because you’re curious, and looking through Netflix for something you can both agree to watch sounds exhausting.

Roll dough into a rectangle. In a food processor blend together stick of butter, spices, and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Spread the butter mixture on the dough and roll up. Cut into slices and place in a baking pan, spaced out so the rolls have room to grow. Let sit overnight. In the morning preheat the oven to 400° F and bake for about an hour, or until golden. While baking, place cider, rum, and remaining 1/4 cup of syrup in a pan and reduce until 1/2 cup or so is left. Poor over hot rolls and let sit for about 5 minutes to cool and soak up the syrup. Enjoy your amazing pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls.

Mini Vegan Frittata Cups

I tend to prefer savory breakfasts, but with our diet it’s a little hard to make savory stuff in the mornings. As a consequence we tend to just stick to oatmeal. We’re huge fans of chickpea flour omelets on the weekends however, and I knew there had to be a quick and easy way to make that happen for the the week. There had to be a way to use chickpea flour and make something like a vegan frittata portable. (Side note: this is not the only amazing thing you can do with chickpea flour)

Enter the Vegan Frittata Cup

I know what you’re thinking, and no, vegan frittata is not an oxymoron. Chickpea flour batter is not exactly the same as eggs, but it does a nice job of binding the veggies together, and it’s really tasty in its own right! These cups heat up well for a quick and easy work breakfast. The best part is that these vegan frittata cups are pretty light, so eat as many as you want with no consequences.

Vegan frittata cups

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium tomatoes
2 small zucchinis
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 cup soaked cashews
2 cup water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp everything spice (we used some from Trader Joe’s, you could also just pop in equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, poppy seeds and salt)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400° F. Sautee the tomatoes and zucchini until soft and the tomatoes have begun to break down a bit. Fill one and a half muffin tins to about a third of each cup (I used silicone cups to make this a bit neater; I would not recommend paper cups as we tried those as well and they kind of fell apart). Blend the rest of the ingredients until smooth and then pour over the vegetables, spreading evenly among the filled cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops are dry.

 

Fall Kale Salad

It’s finally started to cool down a bit here and we’re super excited to be receiving some beautiful fall fruits and vegetables in our Hungry Harvest box. The kids have been going nuts over all of the grapes, and we’ve been going wild about all of the kale, sweet potatoes, and squash. Last Saturday night for dinner we made a giant fall salad that was filling, delicious, and felt like fall in a bowl. The dressing recipe makes a lot, so save it to use on grain bowls or to top veggie burgers later in the week like we did!

Our kids aren’t generally too into salad, but we gave them some of the roasted vegetable cubes and apples along with sandwiches so they were getting some of our food. Watson takes tiny, tiny bites in order to qualify to get a treat later, if we’re feeling generous. Sometimes Vivian just eats all of the sweet potatoes she can find. Freddy is our wild card. He often eats whatever we put in front of his face, but sometimes he turns up his nose at everything. I still can’t quite get a read on that guy.

Watson and a big fall salad

Ingredients:

Dressing:

1 cup pecans
Juice and zest of two oranges
1/4 cup tamari
2 cloves garlic
Juice of one lemon
1 Tbsp gochujang

Salad:

1 bunch kale, shredded
2 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 cup chickpeas, roasted with garlic powder and salt
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 apples, cut into cubes or matchsticks
1/2 cup kumquats, sliced and seeds removed
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Directions:

Toss the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and carrots in the oil and roast at 450 for about 30 minutes, or until the cubes are brown in places.

Meanwhile, blend together dressing ingredients until smooth.

Toss kale, roasted vegetables, fruits and about 1/4 c of the dressing, or however much makes you happy. Top with pumpkin seeds and devour.

Vegan Gluten-Free Pear Gingerbread Pancakes

We first made these gingerbread pancakes during the summer and we absolutely loved them. But we decided it’d be better to roll out the recipe sometime in the fall, since they had more of an autumnal flavor profile. And remember, we love the fall, and fall recipes. Thankfully this past week we got pears in our Hungry Harvest* box, so it was a great time to revisit them!

*Affiliate link. If you click and order and use code HERO5, you get $5 off!

Gingerbread Pancakes: A Seasonal Treat

It’s hard to overestimate just how much of a treat these gingerbread pancakes feel like. They feel like eating fresh-baked cookies for breakfast. It feels like putting on a warm sweater and jumping into a pile of leaves. They feel like going on a hayride at the local orchard. They feel like pure, distilled fall. They’re just spicy and homey and wonderful.

These pancakes also reheat really well. We took them to work for breakfast one day this week, and they’re almost as delicious as they were fresh off the griddle. The bits of diced pear have a nice slight crunch to them. The gingerbread aroma drifts, tantalizing, from the top of the plate. A lot of pancakes don’t reheat well, but these ones are a star in that department.

In short, there’s no reason for you to not be making these gingerbread pancakes right now. They’re easy, they’re vegan, they’re gluten-free, they’re delicious, they’re evocative of fall, and they reheat well. Go. Make them. Live your bliss.

Vegan Gluten-Free Pear Gingerbread Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal mixed with 3 Tbsp water for 5 minutes
1 pear, diced
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp candied ginger, finely chopped

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until combined in a thick batter. Heat a griddle on medium high heat. Once hot, drop dollops of batter about 1/3 cup each onto the griddle. Cook approximately 5 minutes per side, or until done on each side. Serve with maple syrup or whatever you prefer on your pancakes.

Baked Sweet Potato with Shiitake Bacon

We got ourselves a surfeit of sweet potatoes this week. We decided to dice and roast some for adding to grain bowls, but we were still left with a few big ones. Jocelyn had the brilliant idea for a baked sweet potato recipe, covered with toppings that feel decadent but are actually really healthy.

Baked Sweet Potato: A Sweeter Take on a Classic

Turns out a baked sweet potato is just like a baked potato! People probably already knew this, but I’m slow. Don’t judge me. Anyway, we all know that what makes a baked potato isn’t the potato itself, but the toppings. We were determined to find a combination of toppings that felt rich and delicious, but was also decently healthy. We settled on some “cheese” sauce, avocados, crispy fried onions, and some shiitake bacon.

Now I, like all right thinking people, was skeptical of this whole shiitake bacon idea. Before we started eating vegetarian, I was a fan of bacon. The internet’s extreme enthusiasm for bacon in everything ever blunted my appreciation, but I still had fond memories of it. I was skeptical that making something out of mushrooms and calling it bacon would be anything but a cruel joke.

Guys? This shiitake bacon is no joke.

For real, it’s meaty and salty and smoky and just really wonderful. Much more than I could ever have imagined. So run, don’t walk, to your nearest sweet potato monger and demand several of his or her finest sweet potatoes. You’ve got a meal to make.

Baked Sweet Potato

Ingredients:

Two big sweet potatoes
One batch nacho cheese sauce
4 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tsp smoked paprika
Avocado, cubed or mashed
As many crispy fried onions as you can handle

Directions:

Bake sweet potatoes (about an hour at 350° F, or you can microwave if you’re in hurry).

While the potatoes are baking, marinate mushrooms in soy sauce, olive oil, and paprika for about half an hour. Sautée until crisp (about ten minutes). This is the shiitake bacon.

Cover the sweet potatoes with all the toppings and shove in your face.

Pasta and Vegetable Casserole

I love casseroles and I can’t get enough of ’em. I used to think I didn’t like them when I was a kid, but man, I was wrong. They’re a beautiful melange of flavors, all mixed together and adding to each other and creating a whole new experience. Ever since we started getting big boxes of delicious vegetables from Hungry Harvest*, we’ve had to find creativeways to use lots of veggies. It turns out a delicious vegetable casserole is a great place to pack a ton of healthy vegetables into a meal.

*The link above is a referral. If you click on it and order a Hungry Harvest box, you and we both get $5 off!

Vegetable Casserole: Homey and Healthy

The great thing about casseroles is that you can get a ton of flavor from just a few simple ingredients. For the filling here, we mixed our vegetables and pasta with some vegetable stock, salt, and garlic, and that was it! Reducing the stock concentrated all that wonderful flavor, and then we topped the whole thing with a sunflower seed crumble that browned nicely in the oven. The ingredients are simple and healthy, but it tastes like one of the hearty casseroles my grandparents made when I was a kid.

We used some multicolored fall pasta that our son picked out for this casserole, and I think it made it look really beautiful! It’s a shame that it didn’t make him want to try any, but we expected that.

Pasta and Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients:

2 cups pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cups vegetables (we used sweet potato, carrots, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes)
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
2 cups vegetable stock
1 15-oz can cannellini beans
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp coconut oil
Salt and garlic powder to taste (or go nuts and use Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel spice mix*)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cook pasta. Meanwhile, sautée vegetables and garlic until cooked through. Sprinkle flour on top, stir in stock and cook until thick. Add in beans and pasta and pop into an oven safe casserole dish. Mix sunflower seeds, coconut oil, and seasoning in food processor until a crumble forms, and sprinkle on top of the casserole. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

*The link above is from Amazon Associates. If you click on it and buy something, Amazon will kick back a percentage of your purchase to us!

Fried Onions, How I Love Thee

Neither Jocelyn nor I are crazy about onions. I’ve mellowed on my opinion about them over the years, but they’re still not my favorite. I love cooking with them, but that’s usually only been the case as long as they’re hidden deeply enough in a dish to be mostly imperceptible. A little while ago, we made a recipe that called for crispy fried onions, and that all changed.

Fried Onions: A Garnish Whose Time Has Come

These are the simplest things to make, and they’re basically the most delicious food that has ever been devised by man. We’re lucky if they last long enough to make it to the main dish they’re being made for, since they’re so easy to absentmindedly snack on. I honestly can’t stop going on about how good these are.

See? I’m still going on. They’re salty and crispy and a little bit sweet, and on their own they’re delicious, but they also help add a depth of flavor to all sorts of dishes. I’ve honestly got to stop or I’m going to run downstairs and devour the whole big container we made to last us all week*.

*In the interest of integrity and transparency I feel it is incumbent on me to tell you that I did go downstairs right after writing this and eat a handful of these things. I have neither pride nor shame.

We use these things on top of tons of dinners. We’re going to have a lot of veggie and grain bowls this week, and these will make a perfect accompaniment. Last night we had a baked sweet potato (about which more later), and these were just a stunner of a topping. Seriously, go find some onions, cut them up, and make these. You won’t regret it at all.

An onion, unfried Fried onions

Ingredients:

3 onions
1/3 cup brown rice flour
Generous amount of salt
Oil for frying

Directions:

Slice the onions as thin as you can make them without slicing any part of your fingers off. Toss with flour and half your salt. Heat the oil until shimmering. Fry onions until golden or darker, whatever your preference. As they cool toss with more salt. Try not to eat all of them, with the expectation that you’ll probably deliciously fail.