Vanilla Cinnamon Espresso Hazelnut Butter

This recipe meets all the criteria (and more) of a great nut butter. It’s creamy, salty, nutty, and a little crunchy. It’s also subtly sweet with added elements of cinnamon, coffee, and vanilla. The coarsely ground coffee is what adds the slight grainy texture and crunch, and it’s magnificent. All in all, it’s a match made in heaven. I think it might be the best nut butter I’ve ever tasted — not even exaggerating. It’s out-of-this-world good! Enjoy it straight off the spoon or spread on apples, pears, bananas, or in my sunny cinnamon sammie recipe (instead of the sunflower seed butter). It’s also delicious drizzled into plain yogurt.

Also, note that I used decaf beans in this recipe, but you can use regular as well. I don’t like to consume caffeine after 12-ish p.m. and don’t tend to eat nut butter in the morning, so opted for decaf beans. Use whatever you like.

On another note, I’m off to NYC early this morning with my close friend, Heather. We have been looking forward to this trip for months and it’s finally here! We’ve got some fun things in the works, but are leaving plenty of room for trekking and exploring. We’re kicking off our trip this evening with, Sleep No More and I’m super excited…a little scared too! Be sure to follow me on Instagram if you want to see what I’m up to (and eating) in NYC!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • Heaping 2 cups raw hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground high-quality coffee beans (I used decaf beans from a local roaster)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (use 1/4 tsp if you want it less salty)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast hazelnuts in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until fragrant and light golden brown. Give pan a shake halfway through roasting time.
  2. Once hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, remove some of the skins (doesn’t have to be perfect!). It’s up to you how much you want to remove, but less skin will result in a creamier consistency (the skins can also be bitter). You can also place the hazelnuts on a damp kitchen towel, fold it over, and rub the skins off inside the towel.
  3. Next, add hazelnuts (minus the skins) to the food processor. Blend for about 5-6 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Once creamy, add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as you like.
  4. Store in a glass jar at room temperature and use within a week. Will last a week or so longer if you store it in the refrigerator.
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Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Cups

Halloween is getting closer and I thought it best to honor the holiday with these perfectly sweet pumpkin caramel cups. And, I gotta say…these are straight up divine. The combination of sweet, salty, and pumpkin spice flavors with a delicate bite and soft center is just right. It’s ridiculous, really.

You will end up with a little extra date caramel, but luckily, there are many other ways to use it: spread onto dark chocolate squares, use as a dip for apples or pears, mix into yogurt, stir into nut butter, dollop on top of baked acorn squash or sweet potato, or simply eat with a spoon.

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters. These are another winning combo and great for Halloween as well! Watch the replay of my segment HERE. Also, if you can believe it, this month marked my one-year anniversary of going on the show!

Cheers and enjoy!

Caramel ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of sea salt

Chocolate ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
  • Dash of sea salt

Garnish:

  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

pumpkin cups and date caramel

Directions:

  1. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners and add about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate to each liner. Then, add about 1 tsp of the date caramel to each and flatten out slightly (and gently) with back of spoon. Top each cup with another 1 tsp of melted chocolate. Garnish each cup with Maldon sea salt and place in fridge to set. If you want these to set faster, you can place in freezer.
  4. Store any leftover caramel in refrigerator and use within a week.

Yields: ~21 cups

Spiced Beef Stew with Cabbage, Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato

The weather has been chillier and damp the past few days, so this hearty, tasty, fall-spiced one-dish meal has been a sufficient belly warmer. Full of butternut squash, white sweet potato, red cabbage, ground beef, and flavorful spices, it’s a winning combination. Perfect for fall, in my opinion.

Also, this probably comes as no surprise, but the flavors are even more abundant the next day and the texture becomes a bit creamy too. The creaminess is a result of the squash breaking down more when reheated and stirred. The sweet potato holds together more since it’s starchier, but probably adds a dose of its own creaminess as well. Regardless, it’s legit.

Meanwhile, catch me next Wednesday, October 18 on KATU Afternoon Live! I’ll be making my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters that I shared last week. Stay tuned!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1-2 tsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium red cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • Splash of chicken broth, homemade or high-quality store-bought
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste, if needed
  • Black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee or other fat of choice in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté a couple minutes. Then, add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes, breaking up the pieces with a spatula as needed.
  2. Next, add the cabbage and 1 tsp sea salt. Stir, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, broth, vinegar, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, remaining 1 tsp sea salt, and black pepper. Stir, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Check sweet potatoes and squash with a fork and if need be, cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust sea salt, pepper, and spices as desired.

Yields: 6 servings

 

Bean-Free Spiced Pumpkin Hummus

pumpkin hummus 2With the arrival of fall, I am turning more toward squashes and harvest produce for inspiration. As I said last week, I’m still not quite ready to dive into pumpkin spice everything, but I’m inching my way into the season with touches of cinnamon and winter squash (check out my harvest bowl recipe from last week if you haven’t). This recipe features both flavors, and makes for a lovely autumn twist on my original bean-free hummus recipe. Speaking of my other hummus recipe, I had been making repeated batches of it, but now, I’m switching it up and putting this one on repeat. It is incredibly tasty, though the other one is too!

Enjoy this hummus with veggie slices, plantain chips, grain-free tortilla chips, mixed into salads, on top of eggs, etc. There are many possibilities, so eat it however you like!

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. I went back on KATU Afternoon Live on Tuesday, September 26 and made my harvest bowl recipe that I mentioned above. Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

pumpkin hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Raw pumpkin seeds to garnish, if desired
  • Extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to garnish, if desired

Directions:

Place all ingredients except the garnishes in the food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides and blending again, as needed. Pour into bowl and garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Spanish “Rice” and Chicken Bowl

Spanish rice 2

Spanish rice is something I enjoyed growing up and a recipe I kinda forgot about until recently. My mom used to make my Great Aunt Leona’s recipe and baked it inside of bell pepper halves. I was never a fan of the bell pepper part as a kid, but loved the rice. I’m sure this recipe would work well stuffed and baked inside a bell pepper too, but I didn’t opt for that since bell peppers really do not agree with me (or my husband). You could just add some bell pepper to the pan if you want that flavor, but don’t want to bother with the baking part. Then, everything still stays in one pan!

Meanwhile, mark this recipe as an easy weeknight go-to. It’s a complete meal that comes together quickly and tastes marvelous. And, again, it’s all in one pan. I hope you enjoy this twist on Spanish rice and if you do, give me a shout-out in the comments or on social media!

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee, butter, or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 16 oz bag cauliflower rice
  • 1 cup unsweetened, no salt added tomato sauce (I used this one)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Dried oregano, to garnish

Directions:

  1. Melt ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and sauté for a couple minutes. Then, add the diced chicken, and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Continue to cook chicken for several minutes, until browned.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the cauliflower rice. Season to taste with a bit more sea salt and pepper.
  3. While cauliflower is cooking, combine the tomato sauce, chili powder, and homemade vegetable bouillon in a small bowl. After the cauliflower has cooked for a couple minutes, add the tomato sauce mixture and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Lastly, add the cherry tomatoes and stir. Remove from heat and garnish with dried oregano.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Chicken Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl

This recipe is simple good, and makes for an incredibly quick and easy meal. And, all in one dish too. It also features homemade vegetable bouillon powder and will leave you with leftovers to store in your pantry (so you can easily make this recipe again!). The homemade bouillon came about because I wanted a concentrated broth flavor, but didn’t want to add a ton of liquid. In my quest, I realized that there are no high-quality bouillon cubes/powder out there (at least not that I’ve seen), so plan B was to make my own. It is incredibly easy to make too.

In a sense, this recipe kinda reminds me of ramen noodles, mainly because of adding the concentrated seasoning to a bowl of “noodles.” I definitely ate my fair share of those back in the day, but really…who didn’t? They were super salty (and MSG-laden), brothy, quick, cheap, and yielded a huge bowl of noodles. I guess you could say this recipe is ramen noodles, but with a 360-degree, health-ifed turn! Anyway, all you need to know is that it is delicious. We ate ours with a side of steamed buttered broccoli and it was fantastic.

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and talked about my three popsicle recipes that I recently featured on here. Watch the replay of the segment HERE.

For the vegetable bouillon powder:

  • 1/2 cup large flake nutritional yeast (I like this brand)
  • 1 Tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • Black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixture turns into a fine powder. Store in an airtight container. You may have to experiment with ratios, depending on your taste, but I recommend 1-3 tsp to 1 cup boiling water to turn this into broth. Great to use as a powder for flavor too, as seen in the recipe below.

For the noodle bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 medium-large sweet potato, spiralized into noodles (or buy a package of pre-noodled sweet potato)
  • 2 leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
  • 1 Tbsp homemade vegetable bouillon powder (see recipe above)
  • Generous splash of water (about 3-4 Tbsp worth)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 green onions, chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt butter or ghee in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the sweet potato noodles and chicken. Sauté a few minutes.
  2. Next, add the homemade bouillon powder and a splash of water. Mix well to coat and sauté over medium-low a few more minutes. Add a little bit more water, if needed. Taste and season with a bit of sea salt and black pepper, if needed.
  3. Divide into bowls and garnish with green onions.

Yields: 2 servings

Dairy-Free Banana Almond Butter Popsicles

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have more popsicle recipes for you all. I’m gearing up to do a popsicle segment in a couple weeks on KATU Afternoon Live and need to have a few options to present. So, this is the second recipe of three or four. Luckily, they’re all different, but hopefully, you don’t get sick of my sharing recipes for frozen treats on a stick!

Meanwhile, this combo is incredible in a classic kinda way and SO creamy. Like, insanely creamy. No sweetener of any sort is needed either, as the banana adds enough on its own. I think these are sure to win over kids and adults alike. Between these and the chocolate mint popsicles, I’m in popsicle heaven. Each day, I look forward to grabbing one out of the freezer and enjoying it out on the deck in the sunshine. Feels good and tastes good, too.

I used these molds, which yield six popsicles, but there was enough mixture for seven (I actually have two sets of the molds too, so no issues for me there). I recommend the following options if you have extra, but are out of molds: 1). drink it, 2). pour it into a little dish or jar and freeze (then scoop out and eat like ice cream), or 3). pour into a paper cup and add a popsicle stick mid-way through freezing.

Cheers and enjoy!

UPDATE: watch the replay of my KATU Afternoon Live popsicle segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut cream (I like this brand, which has no gums)
  • 2 just-ripe medium bananas, peeled and cut in half or into thirds
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 6-7 hours or overnight. Once ready, rinse mold under hot water to remove.

Yields: 6-7 popsicles