Apple Pie Peanut Butter

Apple Pie Peanutbutter

Ok. This stuff is delicious. Like eat-it-straight-out-of-the-jar-with-a-spoon delicious. After making the crispy apple chips, I dipped a few in peanut butter and it was gooooood. So I figured, why not mix the the two and make magic! You can make this two ways, crunchy or… chewy (for lack of a better description). The chewy version, using apple rings packs a bit more apple-y punch, but the crunchy is my favorite. I’m a big texture person, and I love the crispy crunch that the apple chips give it.

Apple Pie Peanut Butter (many ways)

  • 16 oz honey roasted peanuts OR
  • 16 oz dry roasted peanuts and 2 Tbs brown sugar OR
  • 16 oz natural peanut butter and 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 4-5 oz Apple chips (about 2-3 cups crushed chips or 2 bags apple chips)
  • OR 10-15 apple rings, chopped into raisin sized pieces
  • 2 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

If using pre-made peanut butter, mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

My favorite things about my Blendtec so far has been that it is SO easy to make nut butters. In about 5 minutes I can turn a pound of peanuts into a pound of gold creamy peanut butter! This can also be accomplished with another high-speed blender such as the Vitamix, or a food processor. I’ve even heard of people using a masticating juicer to make nut butters!

First, pour 16oz of peanuts into your blender:

Peanuts in the Blendtec

Blend on medium-low until the nuts have moved up onto the sides of the container. Stop the blender and pack the chopped nuts down tightly.

Peanuts in the Blendtec

Blend on medium to high, stopping occasionally to scape down the sides. Once the peanut butter begins to warm up, it will be easier to blend, and I usually blend on high to get it creamy. You can stop before this if you want a chunkier texture. When your peanut butter is the texture you want, add crushed apple chips to the butter. Pulse a few times to get it mixed in, but do not over mix or you will lose the crunchy texture.

Apple Pie Peanutbutter

Maybe not the most appetizing photo?

Spread onto warm toast and enjoy!

Apple Pie Peanutbutter

My New Love: Coconut Butter

Ever since getting my beloved Blendtec, I have been making nut butters like crazy. It’s just so gratifying to be able to pour in a pound of peanuts, and five minutes later have rich, creamy peanut butter. I think we’ve been going though about a jar a week, eek!

Then we *gasp* ran out of peanuts. How would I survive without my peanut butter and banana sandwich?!? Luckily I found a bag of unsweetened coconut in the back of my fridge, and a new love was born.

Coconut butter.

Seriously, why did no one tell me it was this good? If I had known you could literally spread coconut onto your food, I would have looked into this sooner! And making it is easy as pie. Actually, much, much easier than pie…

Place about 4 cups of coconut flakes or 3 cups shredded coconut in your blender or food processor.

Coconut Flakes

Begin blending on low speed, scraping the sides as you go. At first, the coconut will start to look more like coconut flour. As you keep blending, the oils will warm and the coconut will start to stick together. If this isn’t happened, you may need to add some coconut oil to facilitate the process.

Continue to scrape the sides, and increase the speed as you go. After about 10-15 minutes of blending, the coconut butter should be extremely runny. Pour into a glass container and store at room temperature.

Coconut Butter

The coconut butter will solidify as it cools down to room temperature. If you keep your place chilly, you may need to warm it up a bit to make it spreadable.

So what do I use coconut butter on? So far I’ve made coconut butter and banana sandwiches, melted or massaged it into kale salads, made a ‘fudge’ and added it to smoothies. Poor Mr. Peanut Butter hasn’t seen any action all week. Ha!

Green Smoothie vs a Meal: a comparison

As I mentioned earlier, I have had a hard time getting into the green smoothie craze. I love all the ingredients, but I have a hard time enjoying ‘thick’ food. I also have had trouble with getting strange headaches right after drinking them, like I’m having a sugar rush.

This weekend I decided to try an experiment. I made a green smoothie on Saturday, and on Sunday I made a meal using the very same ingredients. Here is my comparison.

The ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 kiwi
  • 1/2 banana
  • 3 large leaves of kale
  • 5 cashews
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp coconut butter
  • 1 Tbs flax seed meal
  • 5 cashews
  • 1 cup almond milk

For the meal, I chopped up the fruit, and tossed it with the lemon juice. I used the coconut butter and made a massaged kale salad, and sprinkled the flax seeds on top.

Ease of preparation:

The smoothie wins hands down. With my trusty Blendtec, I barely had to chop the fruit. I just threw everything in the container, pressed the smoothie button and presto! smoothie done. The meal took about 15 minutes to make, with all the chopping and massaging.

Green Smoothie

Flavor and Enjoyment:

Due to my ‘thick food’ aversion, it’s pretty easy to guess that I enjoyed the meal more. The fruit salad was of course delicious, and the massaged kale salad was better than expected, but not something I’d ever crave. The almond milk was enjoyable as usual, and I really relished munching on the cashews. The smoothie on the other hand, was pretty much right down the middle of the two in flavor. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, just not fruit salad good.

Satiety:

I drank the first half of my smoothie rather quickly, and it was very filling. I first felt heavy and full, then the usual light headed feeling and slight headache kicked in. However, I sipped the second half slowly, and the feeling quickly dissipated. I wasn’t hungry, but I did have the nagging desire to chew on something, out of sheer habit.

The meal took longer to eat than the smoothie, so didn’t have any trouble with a “sugar rush”. It’s definitely something that I could eat on a daily basis, it I had time. I was able to wait for my next meal, just the same as with the smoothie.

Green Meal

The Verdict:

I think I still prefer to have a meal for breakfast, but the smoothie was pretty good. You can’t beat the ease and speed of the prep! As long as I drink the smoothie really slowly, I think I can prevent the ‘weird’ feeling. In the mornings during the week, I barely have time to brush my hair, let alone massage some kale. I think I may have to same a meal like this for the weekends. The smoothie, I might give another chance. The key is, make it fast, drink it slowly!

 

Toasted Flax Seeds

Toasted (or roasted) Flax Seeds

I love flax seeds. Those little itty bitty seeds are so packed with nutrition and flavor. They are rich in B vitamins, magnesium, manganese, and are loaded with fiber. But most of all, they are rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are anti-inflammatory, and can’t be synthesized in the human body, so it’s important that you consume them as part of your diet.

While the best way to maximize the nutrition of flax seeds is raw and ground, there is more to life than just nutrition, right? Toasted (or roasted) flax seeds are incredibly flavorful, like a cross between sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. It takes just a few minutes to toast the seeds, and you can use these crunchy delights in an infinite amount of ways. Sprinkle them on yogurt, oatmeal, peanut butter toast, ice cream, hummus, the list goes on. I even may have started to eat them by the spoonful… Just maybe.

Toasted Flax Seeds

When toasting, the seeds will begin to crackle and pop, much like popcorn

Toasted (or Roasted) Flax Seeds

  • 1/2 cup flax seeds

Heat up a non-stick pan on medium heat. Once hot, pour flax seeds into dry pan. Stir seeds continuously for 3-5 minutes. Seeds will begin to crackle and pop, much like popcorn. Continue stirring until seeds are fragrant.

Remove from heat and pour into a heat-safe dish. Stir seeds as they cool down. Enjoy!

Toasted Flax Seeds

Bean and Tofu Quiche

I’m still whittling away at the giant bag of greens I got this weekend, making something new each night. I’ve been trying to eat the greens from most perishable to least, and so far, nothing has gone to waste (but it’s a bit early to start patting myself on the back just yet!). It’s been a delicious adventure, trying all these new flavors.

Today’s greens are beet greens. These are quite similar to swiss chard in both texture and flavor, so I decided to turn to one of my favorite easy recipes: Fat Free Vegan’s Savory Swiss Chard Pie. However, I was lacking both half of the tofu and the onion. In the spirit of using what you have, I decided to sub a can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans) for half the tofu, and it worked beautifully! The beans made it taste even more savory, and added a buttery richness that just the tofu lacked. Tofu is just a processed bean anyways, so why not! This technique is now my go-to for using up leftover tofu, since I think it’ll work in nearly any proportion (and I always have a can of beans around).

I love the ruby red color contrasting that bright green!

The ever difficult "self pouring snapshot"

The top of the pie did shrink and crackle more than when I’ve made it with tofu only, but it looked quite neat.

‘Oops, not enough Tofu’ Pie

Adapted from Fat Free Vegan’s Savory Swiss Chard Pie

  • 12 ounces beet greens (or combination beet greens + other greens)
  • 4 large green onions, white part separated from green tops
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6-8oz leftover tofu (ideally silken), drained
  • 1 can cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbs cornstarch
  • 1 heaping Tbs cashews
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried)

Preheat over to 375.

Chop the white base of the green onions and the stalks of the beet greens. Saute the stalks and onions on medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.

Chop the beet green leaves and the tops of the green onions into bite sized pieces. Add garlic and the leaves to pan, stir well and cover. Let cook until mostly wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove lid and let the excess water cook off while leave continue to cook.

Meanwhile, add the rest of the ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.

Evenly spread the cooked veggies into a pie pan sprayed with oil. Pour the tofu-bean mixture over the veggies. Using a spatula or fork, gently push the tofu mixture down though the veggies, so that it is incorporated, but not mixed.

Bake for 30 minutes, then let cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

Garlic-Turmeric Roasted Veggies

Garlic-Tumeric Spice Mix

Often during weeknights, I am far too tired to put together a “proper” meal. When I get home, I either want food NOW, or I want it prepared magically while I melt into the couch. I usually employ shortcuts such as cooking rice on the weekend and freezing into 1 cup batches. This effortless meal is something I learned from my mom, and I probably make it at least once a week.The spice mix is my favorite part, especially since the three main ingredients are anti-inflammatory.

I learned the incredible benefits of turmeric by chance when I mistakenly tripled the spices in a meal (don’t ask). I was starving so I forced myself to eat the unpalatable food. About 20 minutes later my back and head felt better than it had in years! The only unfamiliar ingredient was turmeric, and after learning about its anti-inflammatory properties, I have been eating it daily to help ward off my migraines. Good for me and delicious too!

For this ‘shortcut’ meal, all you need is a bag of pre-cut, pre-washed veggies, 1 yam or potato, olive oil and the garlic-turmeric spice mix (recipe at the bottom):

The ingredients

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the yam or potato into bite size pieces. The smaller the pieces the faster it will cook.

Cubed Yams

Grab a few handfuls of vegetables from the bag, cutting large pieces so they are all about the same size. Toss the veggies in 1-2 Tbs oil and spread evenly in a pan, about one layer deep.

Veggies in a pan

Shake the spice mix very generously over the veggies. I about 3/4 Tbs for a 7×11 pan worth of veggies. Shake veggies to coat.

Spice coated veggies

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until tips of broccoli are crispy. Enjoy!

Garlic-Tumeric Roasted Veggetables

A 7×11 pan makes about 2 small servings.

Garlic-Turmeric Spice Mix

This is measured in ‘parts’ but I usually use 1/2 tsp for each part, which makes a little over 3 Tbs

  • 4 parts turmeric
  • 6 parts garlic powder
  • 2 parts black pepper
  • 5 parts sea salt or seasoned salt
  • 2 parts nutritional yeast (optional)

Mix all together and store in an airtight container

Sautéed Mizuna and Yams

I am not the most adventurous person when it comes to grocery shopping. My fiance and I have our grocery run down to an art; we take the same route and the same amount of time each trip. This means, however, that I often get the same produce over and over, since I know I’ll have the ingredients to use with it. In an attempt to get out of my veggie-rut, I bought a ‘mystery’ CSA box. I didn’t know what I was going to get until I picked it up. What I received was a HUGE amount of greens, most of which I’ve never heard of.

I am working through my greens, in order of least perishable to most. Today’s greens are Mizuna, which is a mild Japanese mustard green. After googling it, I learned that it can be used in place of spinach or other mild greens. I sauteed it with some onion and yams, and it was incredible. In my fiance’s own words, “this is restaurant quality!” The mild spiciness mellows even more once cooked, but it adds a depth of flavor that spinach often lacks. I’m going to be bold here and say it’s my new favorite green.

Sauteed Mizuna and Yams

We ate the meal so fast I only had time to take a picture of the wee bit of leftovers before it was gobbled up! This is definitely going in my “make again (and again) recipe box.

Sauteed Mizuna and Yams

Adapted from Martha Stewart online

  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 large yam or sweet potato, cubed
  • 1/2 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 lb Mizuna or other mild greens (about 5 cups tightly packed)
  • 1/2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Rinse greens well and let drain.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Toss in yams and sliced onions. Cook until yams are slightly tender, about 10-12 minutes. Add in green onions, curry powder and water. Cook until water evaporates, about 5 minutes. Add mizuna or greens and stir well. You may have to spit the greens in two batches. Cook until greens have wilted, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.

Serves 2.


Nutritional Info: per serving: 160 cals, 7g fat, 4.5g protein, 5g fiber

Cranberry Pear Sorbet

Our view while we enjoyed a cold treat

I love the weather is San Francisco. It’s like the sky spins a giant Jeopardy wheel each morning to pick the weather (sometimes even two or three times a day!). Just last weekend it was miserably cold and foggy in my neighborhood. I didn’t even leave the apartment on one of the days, because it looked just too icky outside.

Then the sky spun that great big wheel again, and it must have landed on “summer”. Well, “summer” for San Francisco, that is… It has been bright, sunny and warm during the day, and the evenings have been those balmy nights that make you want to sit outside with friends, sipping iced lemonade and enjoying a cold treat while you watch the sunset.

I prepared this sorbet in the morning using ingredients I had on hand, so so my fiance and I could enjoy it later in the evening. It was the perfect refreshing treat we had been craving, so I thought I’d share it. According to the bottom of this page, this recipe is actually a sherbet, but it tastes much more like a sorbet to me, so I’m sticking with it:)

Cranberry Pear Sorbet

Cranberry Pear Sorbet

  • 2 ripe pears
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 Tbs maple syrup or to taste
  • 2 Tbs spiced rum OR 1 extra Tbs maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until cranberries are pulverized and mixture is frothy. Pour into a container, preferably with a wide bottom, and freeze 2-4 hours until firm.

Once frozen, break into chunks and place in blender or food processor. Process on low until creamy. Serve immediately.

Makes 3 servings


Nutritional Info: 125 cals, 6g fiber, 16g sugar

Super Green Kiwi-Limeade

Super Green Kiwi-Limeade

Ok. I have a secret. It’s quite unsavory, and many will disagree heartily.

I don’t really like smoothies.

Yep. I don’t dig those sweet, cold, frothy, drinks that everyone is raving about. You’ll never find me at a Jamba Juice, and while I’ve tried to have green smoothies for breakfast, I can never stick with it. It’s not that I don’t like the flavor. I love all the ingredients that go into a smoothie, and the endless combinations you can make. It’s the texture. I just don’t like thick anything . My oatmeal has to be so milky it’s drinkable, my peanut butter MUST have a crunch to offset the texture, and don’t get me started on ice cream that’s on the “too creamy” side.

So when I discovered whole juices, I fell in love. You get all the flavor, nutrients and fiber like a green smoothie, but the drink-ability of a cold glass of juice. Today’s favorite is a tangy kiwi-limeade that reminds me of spring, relaxing on my front porch, watching life go by.

Super Green Kiwi-Limeade

Super Green Kiwi-Limeade

  • 2 ripe kiwis, peeled
  • 2 cups mild greens, such as spinach
  • 1 medium carrot, broken into pieces (for sweetness and to mellow the flavors)
  • 2 Tbs lime juice, or juice of 1 one lime
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 cup ice (about 6 cubes, for me)

Combine ingredients into high-speed blender in order given. Blend on high until well blended (Blendtec users press the “Whole Juice” button). If using a regular blender, chop greens and carrots into small pieces before blending.

Makes 3 large servings or 4 small.

Nutritional Info: 1 of 3 large servings: 42 cals, 1g protein, 6g sugar, 2g fiber, 75% vit A, 90% vit C

I actually prefer this recipe with one kiwi, since I like things tart, but my fiancé preferred the sweeter, 2 kiwi version by far. Enjoy!

Crispy Apple Chips

Baked Apple Chips

Mmmm, sweet and crispy

Last Sunday I discovered that my neighborhood has a small (tiny!) Farmer’s Market just a few blocks away. Serendipity! One of my favorite finds was a big bag of “cosmetically challenged” apples. These apple were funny shaped, scarred or small, but were still loveable. I couldn’t resist, especially since a large bag was about the same price as two apples at my local big-box grocery store.

But what was I to do with all those apples? I ate most of them raw (with peanut butter, mmmmmm), and made a few apple-kiwi-kale smoothies. But at the end of the week, I still had one big, beautifully-ugly apple left. Looking for something different, I decided it’s time to try out apple chips! I am still recovering from a Girl Scout cookie overload, so I opted to keep these simple and without extra sweetener.

Apple Slices

Hard not to eat these BEFORE baking!


Apple Chips

  • 1 or 2 large apples, rinsed and patted dry

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.

Slice apple as thin as possible. I used my beloved mandoline at the thinnest setting, but you can use a good kitchen knife too. Don’t bother coring the apple, since the seeds will fall right out, and you get an adorable star shape, too!

If you are making a large batch with multiple apples, I recommend letting the apple slices sit in a bowl of water and a squirt of lemon juice while cutting so they don’t brown. Don’t toss the water out though! You can drink it as a lovely apple-infused water while you are waiting for the apples to bake.

Lay the slices on parchment paper or a pan lightly sprayed with cooking oil. Bake for about 2 hours until dry, flipping the chips over about halfway though. The baking time will vary depending on how thin the slices are, so check after each hour to see.

Nutritional Info: 1 large apple: 100 cals, 22g sugar, 0.5g protein, 17% dv vit c