After a very long, and very unnecessary hiatus, I have finally returned to A Smaller Bite. I took a brief Word Press sabbatical while I searched for jobs, moved to a new city, and settled into the dreaded life of … Continue reading
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).
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.
Now that the weather is changing and Halloween is right around the corner, more and more sweets keep popping up in my house. So naturally, I have been having less and less willpower to say no not only to sweets, but also crackers, pizza, and chipotle. And even though the season of over-sized sweaters and leggings has replaced crop tops and jean shorts, I am not willing to give up on my healthy eating grind all together just because I don’t have to worry about putting on a bikini for a few months.
Therefore, I discovered a compromise. As many people will turn to Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, and double fudge brownies this holiday season, I will shake my head (for the most part) and turn to this healthy alternative. It can be eaten as a breakfast, snack, or dessert!
These cookies, inspired by Kelly Bonnell’s recipe, are gluten-free, contain no refined sugar, and embrace the flavors of fall.
Nutty Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies
- 1 Cup Natural Peanut Butter (I would try almond butter next time)
- 1 Cup Pureed Pumpkin
- 1/4 Cup Honey
- 3 Eggs
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
- 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips/Cacao Nibs (I chopped up a 70% cocoa chocolate bar)
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
- 1/4 Cup Sunflower Seeds
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Combine all ingredients except nuts, chocolate, and oats into large mixing bowl
- Slowly stir and add in the rest of the ingredients
- Grease baking sheets and use large spoon to divide dough onto sheets at desired cookie sizes
- Note: Cookies do not spread much so you can place them close together
- Cook for about 15 minutes or until golden brown
*Makes 20-30 cookies depending on size
I had these cookies for breakfast and dessert today – so make sure to put them in a place where you won’t be tempted to eat one every time you walk by the kitchen. Beat the urge to grab the candy!