Chocolate Pumpkin Chia Breakfast Parfait

This fall I have seen pumpkin-spice lattes, pumpkin-spice butter, pumpkin-spice Pringles, pumpkin-spice vodka, pumpkin-spice shower gel, and now…. I have come up with my own pumpkin-infused creation.  Pumpkin chia breakfast parfait.  Maybe not as ground breaking as pumpkin-spice shower gel, … Continue reading

Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

A long, long time ago, I was in a serious relationship with pasta.

Spaghetti, penne, tortellini, ravioli, fettuccine, and any other type of noodle that I could get my knife and fork on… I devoured it in a mere blink of an eye. This relationship never wavered or faltered. It was an utter devotion to the infamous carb and grew stronger as each year went by.

My relationship with pasta peaked as I discovered Noodles & Company, along with their delicious array of pasta dishes from different parts of the world.  I would frequent Noodles & Co. at least twice a week, usually selecting the classic mediterranean penne rosa or the asian pad thai dish, depending on which region’s cuisine I was craving at the time. Looking back on this relationship, I think it may have been one sided (on my part), because the endless helpings of pasta didn’t exactly gift me with a chiseled physique. However, with every relationship, you remember the good times, you learn from your mistakes, and you move on.

Fast forward about 8 years, and I would like to think that my eating habits have changed a bit.  I am now in many different culinary relationships. From kale and coconut to avocados and salmon… I get around.  However, these new culinary relationships are definitely two-sided, satisfying my taste buds while also improving my health. Overall they’ve been fairly stable relationships and I do not have any urgent complaints. But even so, I still get that occasional urge to hop in my car, speed to Noodles & Co., and chow down on a heaping plate of pad thai.

Enter: Pad Thai Quinoa.

I know what you’re thinking. It will never work. But believe me, it really, truly does.

I found a recipe online last week and with my family’s approval, I made a Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing for dinner one night. It was delicious! My dad even told me I could make it every week if I wanted.  And most importantly, it took me right back to my pasta-feasting days, minus the gluten and the 830 calories (thanks, Noodles website).

Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing

Pad Thai Quinoa Salad with Ginger Peanut Dressing It’s perfect for summer because you can serve it cold and you can even add some grilled chicken or shrimp if you want! (I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, but everything else I kept the same as the original recipe). I will definitely be making this again when I get those carb-loaded cravings that are bound to occur. But I don’t even feel like slightest bit of guilt about it.

Some people say you can’t eat healthy and still enjoy your favorite foods.

But I say… I’m pretty sure that’s just an excuse for you to not cancel your Noodles & Co. order that you already made for tonight.

Mint Brownie Ice Cream

I’m going through Spain withdrawal.

I miss the beautiful beaches of San Sebastian, the narrow, winding city streets of Sevilla, and the outrageous architecture of Barcelona.  And as surprising as it may seem, after my less than appetizing diet while studying abroad in Sevilla, I actually miss the Spanish food.  More specifically, the helado. (Ice cream, for you non-spanish speakers).  I’m pretty sure I had a cup of helado every day while I was there, sometimes substituting it as my lunch or dinner.  It was a fantastic meal plan. The epitome of clean eating.

But now back at home, I’ve tried to avoid the ice cream and get back to my usual healthy diet of green smoothies, omelettes, and colorful salads.  I’ve been doing pretty well, but over the last few days I have been yearning for a rich, creamy cup of helado.  At first I tried to suppress the cravings, but I knew it was only time before I caved and bought the tub of Ben and Jerry’s.  Then, Friday night, came a great realization.

I have an ice cream maker.

I’m not exactly sure how I let this ice cream maker sit idly in my house for the past 5 years, but it has been there – lonely and cold.  And maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t capitalize on its existence five years ago, because who knows what my current state of health would be.  Nonetheless, once I remembered its fine presence, I took complete advantage of the opportunity to make my own ice cream (a healthy version, of course).  And I know you probably won’t believe me, and you will think I’m really exaggerating its success, but this dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, vegan ice cream was AMAZING. It actually tasted exactly like the real thing and was easily comparable to my helado in Spain.  So for you nonbelievers who adamantly insist that a “healthy” ice cream could never taste good, much less as good as “normal” ice cream, I challenge you to try out this recipe and taste for yourself.  I have a feeling you’ll be helping yourself to a second scoop.

Vegan Mint Brownie Ice Cream

Photo Jun 28, 1 16 03 PM
Instead of the 1/4 cup of cane sugar that the original recipe calls for, I used a small spoonful of coconut sugar. This less sugar-intense version was definitely sweet enough for me.  Even if you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the batter and eat it as ice cream, it just probably won’t have the same smooth ice cream texture.

I have a feeling that there will be many more ice cream posts coming in the near future.  But who can blame a girl? It’s summer. It’s hot. And the ice cream maker is calling my name.

 

 

Cinnamon Pecan Granola

This past week I finally reunited with the lovely Jen Fields to start training again! I had desperately missed her immobilizing workouts from junior year and with the craziness of my last semester, I knew I needed all the motivation I could get to make me workout – especially since I conveniently forgot I’ll be in the Bahamas for Spring Break in less than 3 weeks. (When I finally acknowledged this exciting/frightening reality last week, I immediately started and successfully completed another 3-day juice cleanse.) 

While we were training, Jen told me she had recently decided to go Paleo and immediately began to gush about all of the amazing grain-free recipes she had perfected. While I’m not a Paleo, I tend to follow a diet that’s fairly similar to what they recommend (meats, veggies, fruits, nuts) so I was excited to try some of her new favorite dishes…… And once I tried this granola, I was already planning my trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients before I had even left her apartment.

She posted her own recipe on her new food blog, but I substituted a few of the ingredients – so my version is posted below. 

IMG_5193

Grain-Free Cinnamon Pecan Granola

Ingredients:

  1. Handful of Cashews
  2. Handful of Pecans
  3. 2 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  4. 2 Tbsp Honey
  5. 1-2 Tbsp Almond Butter
  6. Cinnamon to taste
  7. Nutmeg to taste
  8. 1 tsp Vanilla

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse cashews and pecans in food processor a few times just to chop them into smaller pieces – don’t blend for TOO long!
  3. Gradually add the rest of the ingredients while slowly massaging the mixture so that it develops an even consistency and begins to stick together.
  4. You may need to adjust the amount of honey/almond butter depending on how many nuts you use and the type of granola you would like.
  5. Spread mixture evenly across baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 10-15 minutes – keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
  7. Let cool and harden.

I paired the granola with unsweetened almond milk and sprinkled some shredded coconut on top for a post-dinner snack last night and also for breakfast this morning. But because I seem to have demolished this batch in just two servings, I will definitely double the ingredients next time so that it might last longer than a day…

However, if you have any normal amount of self control, you can probably make it last a little longer than I did.

Enjoy!

Warm Sweet Potato and Pear Winter Salad

While many of you may have finally ventured out into the snowy conditions today, I’m assuming there are still quite a few of you curled up on the couch who refuse to bundle up, shovel off your cars, and brave the questionable roads.

Even though snow days were the highlight of our childhoods, they don’t hold the same excitement in adulthood. You are quarantined inside your house, forced to perform excessive manual labor if you want to flee, and will most likely end up getting snow in unwanted places, no matter how many layers you put on before heading outside.

And although sometimes it’s nice to lay around all day and have nothing to do, those of us who are trying to keep ourselves away from the pantry/kitchen/cookie jar are challenged to practice much more self control than we were originally prepared for.  Because even though you can’t go to the gym, run your errands, go out shopping, or meet a friend for lunch on a snow day, you CAN microwave some popcorn, make some chocolate chip pancakes, boil a box of pasta, and bake a multi-layer cake on a snow day.

On lazy days like these, our bodies all of a sudden become infinitely more hungry, asking for more food just moments after finishing a meal.

It’s 1pm and I have no plans for the rest of the day. There’s nothing good on TV and no matter how many times I click refresh, my Facebook newsfeed is still the same. Well, I guess I’ll make something to eat so I can pretend I’m being a productive human. 

Next thing you know, it just reached noon and you’ve already had breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And now you’re planning dessert.

What’s worse is that none of these meals consist of healthy, crisp salads. Because who craves a mix of cold vegetables during weather conditions when there could potentially be a wooly mammoth living in your backyard? So instead, you turn to your next best option – a nice, big bowl of warm pasta with steaming tomato sauce and maybe a side of fresh mashed tomatoes topped with melted butter. Basically the same as a salad right?

Lucky for you, I have a healthy, warm recipe for you to make tonight (assuming you didn’t already eat your dinner in your boredom-infused eating frenzy).

Warm Sweet Potato and Pear Winter Salad

Ingredients: 

  1. 1 sweet potato
  2. 1/2 head of broccoli
  3. 2 large handfuls of spinach
  4. 2 handfuls of baby bella mushrooms or 2 sliced portabellos
  5. 1 sliced pear
  6. 1 sliced red onion
  7. 1 handful of walnuts
  8. 2 handfuls of mixed greens
  9. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  10. 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  11. 1 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Slice the mushrooms, onions, sweet potato and pear and put into glass baking pan drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
  2. Place pan into preheated oven at 425 degrees and roast for about 15 minutes, until vegetables/pears are tender
  3. Spread spinach over top of roasted pears/vegetables and mix so that it will slowly wilt
  4. Cut broccoli and steam in microwave for about 2 minutes, until tender
  5. Toast walnuts
  6. Whisk olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup into a dressing and drizzle over mixed greens
  7. Add roasted vegetables and pears, steamed broccoli, and toasted walnuts to the bed of mixed greens and divide salad onto 2-3 plates

warmsalad

The roasted pears and toasted walnuts are a perfect complement to the other warm vegetables and all together they provide a delicious, healthy snow day dinner.

2 Drinks That Won’t Ruin Your 2014 Resolutions

So it’s almost 2 weeks into the New Year.  You’ve been cooking lightly, exercising daily, and are feeling better than ever. You can definitely keep this up for 50 more weeks – easy.  You laugh in the face of those … Continue reading

No-Bake, 10-Minute Chocolate Heaven

Finals week has unfortunately, and quite abruptly, arrived.  All of a sudden, your life consists of hot Starbucks, carefully crafted Pandora playlists, comfy leggings and sweatshirts, elaborate Google Doc study guides, never-before-opened textbooks and… an empty refrigerator.

You finished the last of your groceries a few days ago and vehemently refuse to brave the grocery store for a restock. You will being heading home in less than a week – why waste the time? You’ll just eat out for the next six days.

Except, a tiny problem presents itself. Your refrigerator isn’t the only thing that college sucked dry. A brief peek at your desolate bank account reminds you about that pre-finals, de-stress shopping spree you gladly took part in. And that pre-finals de-stress happy hour adventure…. Uh oh.

Now you’re peering into the dark abyss that is your pantry shelf, surveying the unfortunate meal options you have to choose from. A slimy, black banana that you obviously forgot to eat, some mini boxes of raisins, a bag of mixed nuts, and… vanilla powder? ‘Why did I even buy vanilla powder?’

You get a little more stressed, quickly yearning for a decadent dessert to ease the tension.

Well, my friend. YOU are in luck. In just ten minutes, you can indulge in this nutritious, yet exceptionally delicious dessert that miraculously only requires your pitiful pantry leftovers… (plus a few extra add-ins). It’s vegan, raw, gluten-free, and finals-ready.

Chocolate Caramel Delight

IMG_4705

I would choose to eat this treat over a traditional piece of chocolate cake any and every day. I made it twice within a single week and plan to continue this trend over winter break. It’s roommate-approved and family-approved, meaning it tastes like the real thing.

So go ahead and whip this up as a post-finals reward or a pre-final energizer. It’s easy!

Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Now that the time has come where I can’t even venture to my mailbox without a huge winter coat, scarf, boots, and gloves, I have found myself craving some of my favorite comforting, carb-loaded dishes.  But seeing that I would have to rename this blog to A Bigger Bite if I wanted to include these beloved recipes, I decided to craft a lighter version of one of my all-time favorite meals.

Ever since I can remember, a heaping plate of pasta topped with pesto has been my go-to indulgence.  (Just see Dinner with Grandma to find out why…) So since spaghetti squash seems to be the new trend this fall, my roommate and I decided to join the band wagon and indulge, while still adding our own flare to the meal.  I bring you…

Caprese Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto

INGREDIENTS:
Spaghetti Squash:
  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1 Tomato, chopped
  • 6 Oz Fresh Mozzarella (omit for vegan alternative)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Pesto:
  • 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 handful of fresh basil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of sea salt
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Lightly grease pan
  3. Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds (You can save them to roast later!)
  4. Place squash face down on pan and cook 30-45 min, until soft
  5. Put all ingredients for pesto in food processor and pulse until smooth, pesto consistency
  6. Let squash cool enough to touch, and then scoop out “spaghetti” with a fork
  7. Toss with mozzarella, tomato, and salt and pepper
  8. Top with pesto and voila!

*Serves 2

IMG_4632

 

Roommate-Approved, Pumpkin Pie Dip

After a two-week long hiatus from A Smaller Bite, I am back and ready to share with you my new culinary adventures in College Park. It’s been a jam-packed few weeks of reuniting with old friends, getting settled into a new house, … Continue reading

The Perfect Paleo Pancakes

This weekend, I finally achieved pancake perfection. Fluffy, heavenly, delightful, pancake perfection.  But before I share the secret recipe with you, I will quickly detail the events leading up to this delicious discovery.

This past week was filled with work, job interviews, school preparation, workouts, and overall stress. But the one thing getting me through it all, was knowing that on Friday night, I could climb into bed and turn off my alarm.  Finally, a morning where I could sleep past 8am – maybe even 9am if I was feeling adventurous. This sleep-in excitement must have gotten the best of me, though, because at 6:45 Saturday morning I found myself lying in bed, wide awake, going over my plans for the rest of the day in my head.  So my hope of a sleep-filled morning was an ultimate fail — but I wasn’t going to allow the rest of the day to be! My early rise quickly led to a beautiful morning hike with my mom at Soldier’s Delight, and a chance to finally prepare the proper breakfast that I had been waiting all summer to make, pancakes. 

I found a pancake recipe in a paleo cookbook that I had checked out from the library (surprise, right?), and decided to give it a try. Although I don’t follow a paleo diet, there are many aspects of the “caveman diet” that I agree with, and I thought that looking over the book would be a great way to find some simple, healthy recipes to cook while at school this semester.  And naturally, the pancake recipe needed to be my first paleo experiment. Since I didn’t have all of the ingredients that the recipe called for, I decided to take a chance and add my own twist to these plain pancakes — and the result was definitely worth it. Also, despite the elaborate alliteration you will discover in the title, this recipe was very simple and only took a total of 15 total minutes in prep and cook-time.

Paleo-Pecan Pancake Perfection

  • 1 cup of almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • large handful of whole pecans
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

And because my creative juices continued to flow, I added a sauce to drizzle over these awesome cakes…

Peach-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 peach
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Combine almond meal, flax meal, salt, baking soda, and pecans in food processor and pulse
  2. Add eggs, vinegar, agave, and coconut oil to mixture in food processor and blend until thoroughly combined
  3. Spread spoonful of coconut oil over griddle or stove-top pan on medium heat
  4. Use 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake
  5. Flip ’em
  6. Make Sauce (combine all ingredients in blender)
  7. Plate 2-4 pancakes and drizzle sauce over top!

ImageImage

I added some shredded coconut, extra blueberries, and peach slices to top off my pancake masterpiece, so feel free to be creative. The recipe makes about 12 good-size pancakes, depending on how big you prefer them. There is also plenty of sauce to save for later that you could drizzle over a parfait or cereal. Or you could just pour it in a glass and drink it like I did this morning.

I am already dubbing this pancake recipe as a staple in my college diet because, for some reason, I feel like pancake brunches on our lazy weekend mornings might be something that my roommates will approve of? Just a guess. I only have one more week until I go back to school, so I need to perfect my cooking skills before then… and I think this was a good start!