PB&J Quesadilla

 

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Yesterday I babysat for three ten-year-old boys from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and by the end I was completely exhausted. As soon as I got home, I made a cup of tea, put on my comfiest sweats, and curled up in bed for a Grey’s Anatomy marathon.

Babysitting was worth it though, considering I need to fund my Whole Foods trips and overzealous gift buying somehow. However, I am far more reluctant to part with money I’ve worked so hard to earn- causing me to be more mindful about my food budget. And that’s where this thrillingly simple recipe comes in.

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This easy quesadilla recipe is the perfect cheap, nutrition-packed power breakfast to give you energy for all the craziness in your life, be it babysitting, studying, sports, your job, or anything else that really takes a lot out of you. Although, now that I think about it- can I still call it a quesadilla if there’s no cheese?? Am I committing some sort of quesadilla sacrilege here? If you think so, you don’t have to call it a quesadilla, but you DO have to make this recipe. I’m pretty sure you and I both know you need to experience all the crispy, gooey, sweet, nutritious goodness that is a PB&J quesadilla.

PB&J Quesadilla

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup blackberries (use frozen + thawed to save $$)
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Melt coconut oil in frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Once oil is melted, place tortilla in pan.
  3. Spread peanut butter over half the tortilla.
  4. Place 1/4 cup berries on top of peanut butter and smush with a fork.
  5. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of berries, fold tortilla, and flip quesadilla.
  6. Cook about 30 more seconds, or until tortilla is golden brown and peanut butter is melty.

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Gingerbread Cake Pops

 

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When I was in middle school, Starbucks cake pops were a big trend. Having a cake pop in your snack/lunch made you by far the luckiest girl in the lunchroom, and my little sister would beg my mom for one every time we stopped into Starbucks for a hot drink.

I never quite understood the idea- why would you want just one bite of cake?? However, my sister recently requested I make cake pops for a holiday treat, and I decided to take on the challenge.

Making this recipe healthier than traditional cake pops really got my creativity going, and I’m so happy with the end result.

The (naturally!) sweet cake and creamy frosting come together for such a scrumptious, festive bite. Applesauce and yogurt sub in for butter and frosting to make these lighter and more filling than the Starbucks version, and, in my opinion, far more flavorful.

These are such a fun treat, I would HIGHLY recommend giving them as a gift or whipping up a batch for a holiday party.

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Gingerbread Cake Pops

Makes: 10 pops

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a ramekin or small baking dish.
  2. Whisk together applesauce, egg, melted coconut oil, and 1/2 tbsp molasses.
  3. Add spices, vanilla, flour, and whisk again.
  4. Pour into ramekin and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  5. While cake is baking, stir together molasses and yogurt and refrigerate.
  6. Once cake is done, remove from oven, crumble (use your hands! go crazy!), and mix with yogurt mixture.
  7. Roll into 1 inch balls, insert lollipop sticks (if using) and place in freezer on baking sheet for 20 minutes.
  8. Melt chocolate using a double boiler (use a splash of milk to thin if needed), remove cake bites from freezer, dip in chocolate, and return to freezer for 15 minutes.
  9. Store in airtight container in fridge or freezer.

 

Soothing Hot Chocolate

I’m about to head off to my last day of classes this term, but I just had to share this with you guys. I’ve struggled all winter to perfect a vegan hot chocolate recipe full of feel-good ingredients, and I finally did it!

I know this hot chocolate will give you all the good vibes, so please send me some for the last day of term!

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Soothing Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

2 cups nondairy milk (I’m loving Califia Farms Coconut Almond)

2 tbsp. carob powder (could sub cocoa and adjust sweetness as needed)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. lemon juice

pinch of sea salt

Directions

Place all ingredients in glass jar with lid, close jar, and shake well to combine.

Remove lid and microwave jar for 60 seconds.

Screw lid on tightly and shake vigorously to froth.

Pour hot chocolate into mugs and serve! If you want a smoother drink, you can pour the hot chocolate through a strainer before serving, but I didn’t and I thought the texture was fine.

Portobello Burgers

The weekend after Thanksgiving break, my family took an impromptu overnight trip to Napa. I had so much fun swimming, going to dinner, and enjoying the last warm weather of the season. One of the best parts of the trip, however, was our visit to Oxbow Market. The market is full of vendors selling local, delicious food, and the specialty grocery section of the market had all the handmade pasta and granola my heart desired.

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As you can see on my Instagram, I also enjoyed a delicious portobello burger from Five Dot Ranch. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I would need to recreate the spicy, hearty goodness at home.

Since I’m a bit of a spice wimp, my version doesn’t have quite as much of a kick as the original, but the mellow flavor of the patty pairs perfectly with creamy avocado and fresh mango.

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These burgers are the perfect fun, fresh contrast to traditional holiday meals- I can’t wait for you to make them!

 

Portobello Burgers

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Portobello Patties:
    • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
    • 2 tsp Sriracha sauce (or sub your favorite hot sauce)
    • 1 tsp maple syrup
    • 1 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 4 portobello caps, stems removed
  • Fixins:
    • 4 whole wheat english muffins
    • 1/4 cup diced mango
    • 1/4 cup diced avocado

Directions

  1. Mix olive oil, Sriracha, syrup, cumin, and garlic powder in a large, shallow bowl.
  2. Place portobello caps in sauce and marinate for half an hour.
  3. Preheat panini press and grill portobello caps until panini press signals they’re done.
  4. Toast english muffins, assemble burgers, and serve!

 

 

Pumpkin Granola

For me, the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can’t go by fast enough. I actually had to drag myself away from online shopping for Christmas gifts just to write this post. The recipe is really the star of the show here, so I’ll type it up real quick and get back to deciding whether to get my sister fancy peppermint brownie mix or a pair of earrings.

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This is probably – no, definitely – the best granola I’ve ever made. An believe me, I have made A LOT of granola. I’ve always loved granola, but the store bought kind often has some questionable ingredients, so I was thrilled when I learned how to make it at home.

Somehow, this is both the healthiest and best-tasting recipe I’ve tried, which makes me so very happy. I’ve been sprinkling this on smoothies, mixing it into yogurt, and snacking straight out of the jar for an energy-boost with healthy fats and minimal sugar.

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Ingredients:

  • Dry Ingredients
    • 2 cups oats
    • 1/2 cup walnuts
    • 1/4 cup coconut
    • 1/2 tbs minced ginger
    • 1/2 tbs chia seeds
  • Wet Ingredients
    • 1 tbs coconut oil
    • 1 tbs maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs pumpkin puree

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.
  3. Combine wet ingredients in saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Stir until wet ingredients appear smooth and creamy.
  5. Remove pumpkin mixture from heat and stir into dry ingredients.
  6. Make sure all dry ingredients are coated in pumpkin mixture (definitely get in there and use your hands, its very satisfying).
  7. Spread granola evenly across baking sheet, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until granola is crunchy and golden.

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10 Cozy Desk Lunches

Recently, my desk lunches have been pretty pathetic. I was going pretty strong with meal prep for most of September and October, but recently my organization hasn’t been so great. The result of my disorganization is cold, lackluster lunches that do nothing to warm my frigid hands, fill me up, or satisfy my cravings for all things warm and cozy.

My desk lunch dilemma has inspired me to collect this list of ten recipes for you (and me) that are delicious, comforting, healthy, and meal-prep friendly.

Healing Bowls by Pinch of Yum

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Coconut Red Lentil Soup by Vegan Blondes

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Vegan “Sausage” by Primarily Plants (me!)

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Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad by Cookie and Kate

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Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl by Minimalist Baker

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Chickpea Glow Bowl by Pinch of Yum

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Super Spinach Quinoa Bowl by Primarily Plants (!!)

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Cheezy Spaghetti Squash by Chickpea in the City

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Eggplant and Almond Butter Tofu Bowl by Minimalist Baker

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Roasted Acorn Squash Bowl by Well and Full

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Happy eating! If you have any other lunch recommendations, let me know.

Vegan “Sausage”

When I was eight years old, I was obsessed with the Animal Ark books- a series about the daughter of a veterinarian and all her animal friends. I yearned to be like her, surrounded by horses, kittens, goats, pigs, and puppies. Eventually I began to find it odd that I loved animals so much, yet still ate them.

My parents supported my decision to become vegetarian, and for about two months I stood my ground against bacon, burgers, and corn dogs. (I realize that doesn’t sound like I had great eating habits, but I promise my parents fed me veggies too!) Eventually, however, my resolve wore down, and little eight year old Katherine finally gave in to a turkey sausage one morning at breakfast.

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In recent years, I have returned to a mostly plant-based lifestyle, and sausages are actually still one of the only meat dishes that I miss. I’ve read articles and heard stories about how much junk is actually put into sausage, but that doesn’t change the fact that eggs and turkey sausage tastes amazing.

Inspired by the warm, salty-sweet, comforting flavors of fall, I set out to create a vegan “sausage” that would satisfy all my breakfast cravings.

I wasn’t sure how the recipe would turn out, but these are so good I’ve started craving them for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner. Winner winner sausage dinner!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (or sub favorite breadcrumbs)
  • Flax egg (optional, helps with binding)*
  • Marinade
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Whisk together marinade ingredients.
  2. Place mushrooms in tupperware container and pour marinade over them. Shake gently, then place in the fridge. Marinate for at least an hour, but the longer you let the mushrooms sit, the more flavor they will absorb.
  3. Pour mushrooms and remaining marinade into sauté pan over high heat. Add onion and cook until onion pieces are soft and browned.
  4. Remove from heat and place in food processor with panko crumbs.
  5. Pulse until a smooth, sticky mixture forms. There will still be some chunks, but mixture should be moldable.
  6. Remove from food processor, and mix in flax egg using your hands.
  7. Mold mixture into “sausage” patties, each about 1 inch in diameter.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to set for 15 minutes.

*Flax egg: 1 tsp flaxseed meal, 2 tsp water