Kale, Cranberry and Pecan Quinoa Cakes with Honey Dijon Dressing

I love cooking with my mom.

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We are, like, kiiiinnddddd of the same person. On so many levels. There she is on the right, so pretty!!  That’s Dee, one of our very closest family friends on the left (Hi, Dee!!)

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Most importantly, we love the same food (priorities, right?). We eat healthfully, but are definitely prone to indulging every once in a while. Totes on the same page.

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Like the other night, still in our post-Basin Harbor food coma, we both wanted a light but filling dinner. I decided I’d whip up some quinoa cakes with some nice autumnal flavors and serve them on a bed of greens and add some killer dijon dressing (and the dressing was killer, really).

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These were FAB. The kale is super healthy and full of nutrients, and the quinoa is high in protein and left us nice and satiated. The flavors of the goat cheese, cranberries, and pecans hinted that fall is coming, which is always always a good thing.

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PS- Does everyone know that Dunkin Donuts is now serving Pumpkin Coffee again?!?!?Ok good, just making sure.

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This had minimal active time and came together so easily. The dressing on top was a prefect compliment to the mustard in the cakes. This may not be a man dish, but it’s a delicious dish, and I’m so lucky that my mom lets me make dinner for her every once in a while so we could try it out! These quinoa cakes will definitely be appearing in my (and my mom’s) kitchen again soon.

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Recipe

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook/Active time: 15 minutes | Total time (including chilling) : 1 hour

Serves 2-3

Cakes

  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • ¼ cups scallions, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup egg whites (or 2 whole eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing

  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

To serve

  • Spinach and kale

Place quinoa and vegetable broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer and heat until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.

In the meantime, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions and kale and cook until kale has cooked down, stirring constantly.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, kale and scallion mixture and the rest of the ingredients. Form the quinoa in to patties about 4 inches in diameter (I ended up with 5). Place in refrigerator to chill and set until ready to serve, about 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat remaining two  tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place the cakes in the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, until side is golden brown. Reduce the heat to medium low, flip the cakes and press down slightly to flatten. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes until golden brown then remove from heat.

For the dressing, simply whisk ingredients together in a bowl.

To serve, place cakes over spinach and kale and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!

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Healthy Oat Cookies {Vegan and Gluten Free}

Oh hey! Hi! You guys, I’m back!

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Oh my goodness, it feels like forever. Over a whole week without blogging! I am so sorry, but I’m also kind of not because I went on vacation to the Basin Harbor Club and it was awesome. I ate and swam and ate and kayaked and ate and paddle boarded and ate and drank. Perfection. Then I went to Burlington and spent the weekend with my best friends from college. We boated, grilled and ate pumpkin pie while wearing sweatshirts. That’s right. Pumpkin pie with sweatshirts. It felt like fall and I LOVED IT. Apple picking, cider and pumpkin baking is so so close!

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Anywayyssss. Given my moderate (ahem) overeating this last week, I thought I’d share a healthy cookie recipe with you today. After vacation, a girl still needs her cookies, but they might as well be somewhat healthy, right??

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These little bites of goodness are chewy and delicious, and you can basically add in anything your heart desires. I used peanut butter, coconut, white chocolate and strawberries. These were super yummy, but might have been even better had I used cashew or almond butter. But I cant keep that stuff in my house because the entire jar would be gone in a day. True story.

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So, if you need a healthy cookie to get you back on track after vaca, or just because you want to eat 12 cookies and once and not feel cookie guilt afterwards (cookie guilt=the worst kind of guilt), these are for you. Enjoy!

Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 10-12 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: Approximately 12 cookies

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 overripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 packets stevia
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup diced fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 350 º F.  In a large bowl, mix oats, banana, and peanut butter. Add cinnamon, vanilla and stevia and mix until combined. Fold in coconut, chocolate and strawberries. Spoon cookies on to baking sheets and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. Remove and let cool for approximately 5 minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Cake Batter Donuts

I knew it.

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I knew that once I started down the donut path with those cake donuts, the fall down the slippery slope to full on fried donuts with with crazy, delicious toppings was not far off. Totally knew it.

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But it’s totally ok. I’m 100 % fine with it. Because look at those donuts . Fried, light, airy goodness with chocolate fudge and CAKE BATTER on top. That’s right. Cake batter. No big deal.

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These were actually super easy because the donut is a fried up butter milk biscuit right from the can (no 8 hour yeast rising batter here- ain’t nobody got time for that). The chocolate topping is ice cream fudge topping, which is awesome. The cake batter flavor is boxed cake mix mixed with water and drizzled over the top. Shortcuts are fun sometimes, and completely allowed.

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On a side note you guys, this is my last post before leaving on vacation for a week to go to Basin Harbor Club in Vermont. I haven’t decided whether I’ll post or not. I may just take a completely break from life for a week, which I think is also completely allowed (just like shortcuts). It’s ok, I’ll come back:). In the meantime you can crush a couple of batches of these donuts. Enjoy and see you soon!

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Total time: 15 minutes

Yield:  8 donuts and 8 donut holes

  • 1 can refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • about 3 cups of oil
  • 1 bottle hot fudge
  • 1/2 cup cake mix
  • 2-3 tbsp water

Fill the bottom of pan 2 inches thick with oil and heat oil until a drop of water placed in oil sizzles gently. If it sounds hards and angry, your oil is too hot; just turn it down a little! When your oil is ready, flatten out each biscuit and cut out the middle with a piping tip. Drop each donut in the oil and fry each side until golden brow, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from oil and place on a cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, dip the top of the donuts in the fudge. Mix the cake batter and water until batter is thin enough to drizzle over the donuts, then drizzle it over each donut. Add sprinkles if desired). Eat up!

Coconut Mocha Cupcakes

These might be the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever made.

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I’m not kidding. I’ve never gotten more rave reviews on a baked good before in my life and I only made 12 of these pups.

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And the flavor combination was so different! One of my lovely co-workers suggested a chocolate coconut cupcake, and I was a little skeptical. I thought my trusty taste testers would be too.

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But I was wrong. Sooooo sooo wrong. I nearly had to fight off the security guard while bringing these in to my hard working friends at the hospital (a little ironic, no?).

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The cupcakes were the perfect consistency and had just the right subtle undertones of coffee. The frosting was light, fluffy and loaded with coconut flakes. The mocha drizzle and toasted coconut on top just reinforced all the flavors in the cupcake.

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I mean, really, have you ever seen a more beautiful sight that an excessively frosted cupcake chalk-full of chocolate, coffee and coconut? If you have, I want proof. Because cupcakes like this are what makes baked goods worth baking.

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Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes | Bake time: 15-18 minutes | Total time : 1 hour (including cooling and frosting)

Yield: 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/8 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Frosting

  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 2/3 cups powdered sugar + more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons of coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted (for topping)

Mocha Syrup

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons dark cocoa powder
  • 1-2 teaspoons coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 º F. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Add in vanilla, coconut milk and melted butter and combine. Sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt together and then add to the wet ingredients, mix until no lumps remain. Fold in the yogurt and finally the chocolate chips. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in to the center comes out clean. Set aside and let cool completely

For the frosting, add butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and coconut milk to a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Blend on low speed to combine them increase to high speed and mix until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Fold in the shredded coconut. Frost the cupcakes as desired and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

For the mocha drizzle, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and drizzle over frosted cupcakes as desired. Enjoy!

Tofu and Quinoa Tahini Salad

Gaahhh you guys. I can’t get enough of quinoa salads. I mean really. They’re healthy, filling and oh-so-flavorful.

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And they’re PERFECT for dinner when life gets crazy. Like right now. Life is so crazy.

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I’ve been working often and trying to squeeze in as much summer fun as possible before classes pick up again in a three weeks. Oh my god three weeks??? I can’t even. Finding time to blog in between has been a moderate challenge.

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But I digress. I made this salad, ate approximately fifty percent of it straight out of the bowl, then froze the rest in individual portions. I put one in the fridge to defrost the night before I want to eat it and then devour it when I’m ready for  dinner. It’s prefect and satisfying for those nights when I’m dining solo.

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Whether you are making this for yourself, a crowd or just because you thought it looked super yummy, I promise you’ll love it. Even you tofu haters. You’ll love it.

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Recipe

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 6 (if you decided to share).

  • 3/4 cups quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 blocks extra firm tofu (1 box)
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 small red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped fine
  • 1 cup corn, off the cob
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup water (depending on how thick you like your dressing)
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

In a medium pot, combine quinoa and vegetable stock. Bring stock  to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let the quinoa absorb all the liquid, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Drain tofu of water (I pressed out the excess water in between a few sheets of paper towel). Cut in to approximately 1/2 to 1 inch cubes.  In a sautee pan, combine tofu, olive oil, soy sauce and sesame oil until tofu is golden brown. Once tofu is cooked, add the vegetables and sautee for an additional 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the quinoa.

In a separate bowl while the veggies are cooking, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour the dressing over the salad while it’s still warm so that the grains absorb all the dressing’s yummy goodness! Enjoy!

Adapted from Meghan Templer.