Legumes & Nuts

Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Tabbouleh

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Is anybody else having trouble wrapping their mind around the idea that Christmas is less than 2 weeks away?! 2 weeks!! December always seems to fly by, but I feel like I was just celebrating my birthday, which was December 1st. How is it already mid-December?

I’m not sure how we managed it, but Philip and I were able to find a free weekend in December to make a trip to Illinois this past weekend to see his parents and grandparents and for me to connect with a friend in the area. We celebrated the start of a new season for him at his job, relaxed in front of the fireplace while the snow fell outside, and played a family favorite game—Rummikub. It was certainly a special weekend and it’s making me even more excited to see more family later this month!

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Today I’m excited to bring you a new recipe that is a holiday/winter twist on a traditional Mid-eastern vegetarian dish. Tabbouleh is traditionally a salad composed of the grain bulgur, parsley, tomatoes, green onions, mint, olive oil, and lemon juice. I love bulgur (whole grain for the win!), but this recipe is even easier to whip together because it involves no cooking of the grain. Instead, cauliflower takes its place and my favorite winter vegetable, sweet potato, is added in to give it a little heartiness and sweetness.

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Spaghetti alla Melanzane

Spaghetti alla Melanzane

The fall spirit is still going strong around here! The weather, once again, was gorgeous this weekend, so I hightailed it out of work on Saturday and made it just in time to spend the late afternoon apple picking at one of the many orchards in the Madison area.

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We walked away with far more apples than we probably needed, but we couldn’t not fill up the whole bag! Yesterday we spent time in the kitchen together making and canning enough applesauce to last us a year…no, I’m serious, it’ll most likely last us until next summer.

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We also picked up some pumpkins this weekend and glanced at all the gourds and winter squash at the apple orchard. Thanks to our garden this summer, we bypassed the winter squash. While our community garden plot was a little highly neglected this summer, we were still able to come away with a bunch of delicious produce, including a few spaghetti squash. Yay!

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While I have nothing against pasta (whole grain is what I usually choose), spaghetti squash is so fun and is a great way to get some added vegetables onto your plate without even really realizing it. If you’re not familiar with spaghetti squash, it’s a winter squash that looks like spaghetti noodles when it’s cooked. Just running a fork through it creates lots of tiny spaghetti-like strands. Not only is it loaded with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants, it’s also extremely low in calories (40 calories for a cup!). Spaghetti squash for the win!

Since I had small little spaghetti squash from our garden sitting on our kitchen counter, I decided to make a twist on spaghetti — Spaghetti alla Melanzane in a spaghetti squash boat. Isn’t it adorable?

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Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad

Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad

Welcome, friends! After a couple of busy weekends (doing this and this), it was nice to have a calm(er) weekend this past weekend. It was a good weekend to get caught up, I guess, because I spent my day off spending two hours at Target (yeah…you can only imagine what the bill was when I left Target, considering I can spend 15 minutes in Target and still spend too much. All that time spent and the most exciting thing I got was a new hair dryer…). And while I worked on the weekend, Philip spent another 1 1/2 hours at Farm & Fleet…yes, we are officially homeowners. :) In addition to those errands, we had grocery runs (yep, that’s plural) and a little bit of time to just kick up our feet and relax.

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What wasn’t calmer was our weather…remember how I said last week that I had fallen in love with Madison in the spring and fall? Well, except for when the weather mixes up those two seasons and the spring feels more like fall. Even though I had to break out my hat this weekend to go on a morning run, I still have faith that the weather is going to turn itself around soon. And what better way to encourage it than by turning up the heat in the kitchen with Latin Chipotle Quinoa Salad.

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Copycat LaraBar Chocolate Brownie Granola Bar

Copycat LaraBar Chocolate Brownie

The question is, are these a dessert or a healthy snack? Don’t you love it when you have that problem?

Do I eat this as a morning snack at…umm..9:00 a.m. (I eat my breakfast early, okay?) when I know it’s impossible for me to make it another three hours until lunch? Or do I count this as an after-dinner dessert, because, let’s face it, anything with chocolate in the name could and should be considered a dessert.

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Well, I’ve got some great news, because no decision making is needed for this one — it works as both healthy snack and healthy scrumptious dessert! Yippee!

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Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Protein-Packed Energy Bites

Raise your hand if you’re ready for this crazy weather to calm.down. Both hands flailing wildly in the air…ahem.

If you live around the Midwest, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, well, for the past 5+ days it’s been a full blown sauna outside…wet, heavy with humidity, and hot. Walking outside, I instantly feel my hair get 10x bigger and it feels like I’m breathing in a lake. Fortunately, I work in a super air-conditioned building and only have to experience this extreme weather for about 20 minutes each day…but still. #firstworldproblems

Before this extreme weather, I was lingering on to any bit of summer left that I could. I was dodging back-to-school talk as much as possible (which is pretty tough considering my work is talking nothing but back-to-school) and holding on to watermelon, grilling, and lazy summer days as much as possible.

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But now…now I’m ready for fall. I’m accepting the fact that school is here for most people already and everybody’s thoughts are already geared towards apple and pumpkin picking (okay, I admit, I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, too), and most of all, I’m accepting the fact hoping that cool weather will be here soon.

One recipe that always makes me think “back-to-school” are Protein-Packed Energy Bites. There are so many variations of this simple creation—all of which are probably delicious—but I’ve been making variations of this one for years.

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Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Pies with Almond Crust

Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Almond Crust

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend! My parents were able to make it into town, so it was a fun-filled weekend for me! I hadn’t seen my parents since Christmas and they hadn’t been to Madison since October, so there was lots of catching up to do. This included showing them around to the different places I’ve worked since October (don’t worry, there’s only two…and I plan on staying at my current one for awhile. :)). There’s just something about being able to visualize where somebody’s at during the day.

Plus, it was fun to show updates to our home, especially my new spring decorations I had made and put up. It’s been so dead and dreary in these parts that I finally said enough was enough and had to extend the bright colored jackets and clothes to our home decorations. I scavenged Pinterest for some ideas and on my day off last week I picked up the things I needed to spruce up our living space. Of course, after getting home and attempting the Pinterest version (and eating too many of the jellybeans that were meant to be only for decoration—who was I kidding?!), I realized it looked a lot better in my head (isn’t that always how it works?). So, I scrapped those ideas and actually used my own creative brain cells to make up my own. It made me remember what the days were like before Pinterest.

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I think they turned out pretty well! Who needs Pinterest anyway?

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Besides showing off my minimal decorating skills to my parents, I made sure to make something tasty for dinner when they arrived on Friday. Of course, dessert was the main thing I was concerned about. :) I had seen the recipe for individual pies awhile back and instantly knew I wanted to save it for my parents. My mom loves almonds, fruit pies, and is as excited as me for spring to really get here, so I knew Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Pies with Almond Crust would meet all of those criteria.

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Homemade Almond Butter

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My love for peanut butter is a big one (I hope you’re starting to catch on to this). I really don’t know how it came to be, but for some reason I can’t get enough of it. Growing up, I don’t remember feeling the urge to grab a spoon and dig into a big jar of peanut butter or the need to add it to anything and everything it could remotely go with (Cereal? Check. Yogurt? Added. Smoothies? Of course. Apples, carrots, bananas? Check, check, check. Granola? Yep. Chocolate chips, Oreos, chocolate bar? Yes, please). Sure, I had my fair share of PB & J in my lunch box in my middle school years and I loved the free peanut butter sandwiches at lunch in high school, but that’s pretty much where it ended…until sometime in college when I rediscovered the simple joys of creamy peanut butter.

 

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Easy Spiced-Up Hummus

Hummus

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a restful and relaxing weekend. Philip and I sure did and it was great. Now that I’ve been working full time, I adore the weekend and the time it gives me to rest up from the week. We kept it pretty low key around here, but I’m okay with that. Besides, it gave me lots of time to cook some things up in the kitchen…you’ll be seeing my works up here soon!

But first, I wanted to share another recipe of mine that is literally tagged as a “favorite” in my recipe app. It’s right up there with my Homemade Cinnamon Granola (I don’t make 4 batches at a time, but I do make it biweekly, on average).

Who needs a little help when it comes to eating their vegetables? (Raising hand now!) It can be tough to get the recommended daily amount of about 2–3 cups of vegetables in, but it’s so important to get all that colorful goodness into our day to help with overall health and to stave off chronic diseases. If you’re anything like me, I do better when I can dip my raw veggies into something…peanut butter (that’s a given), veggie dip, or possibly my favorite—my Easy Spiced-Up Hummus.

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