22 March 2012

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Goat Cheese and Lime Vinaigrette

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Everywhere I go I see ads for the hunger games.  I'm telling you what... I've got some hunger.  This is not a game.  This is real.  I've been trying to kick myself into shape by being in a constant state of muscle pain.  It hurts so good, but I'm left hungrier than usual.  Where do I go when I need real nutritional boost without overindulging and setting back progress?  Spinach.  Sweet Potatoes.  Goat Cheese.  Lime Vinaigrette.  Someone stop me!

This is a perfect salad for dinner because you get warmth from the roasted veggies and hearty lightness from the salad.

Recipe for Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Goat Cheese and Lime Vinaigrette
1 lb sweet potatoes, cut into quarters
1 large sweet onion, quartered
1/2 cup parsley, roughly ripped into pieces
1 lb raw baby spinach
1 lime
1/2 cup olive oil (1/4 cup for roasting veggies and 1/4 cup for dressing)
8 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Toss potatos, onion, 1/4 cup oil, and parsley on baking sheet and roast at 375F for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are nice and soft.  Once veggies are out of the oven, zest the lime over the potatoes and toss together gently.  Use the juice from the lime to make your vinaigrette by whisking it together with the other 1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt and black pepper.

Assemble your salad by topping your spinach with the roasted veggies and drizzling it with your dressing.  Top off with a few goat cheese crumbles and enjoy!

21 March 2012

Date Nut Energy Drops

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How many times have you read about how you need more fiber?  Or how a handful of nuts is a great snack for some quality energy?  It all seems like it takes so much planning.  So much work.  After loving the raw energy bars I made a few weeks back, I've been dying to try another version.  These are still raw, vegan, and gluten free, but they are a fruitier version of the chocolate goodness that I made last time.  I also rolled them into balls, which make them more bite sized and snack friendly.  And they took me less than ten minutes. WIN.

For the record, I've only had a few of these today and have managed to not be hungry, even after a long hike in the woods.  They're great for giving you energy, but not making you too full or tired!  A problem I definitely have.  I hate that!  Especially at work, ya know?

Recipe for Date Nut Energy Drops
3 cups dates (I used khajoor)
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup cashews
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut, for rolling

Pulse nuts in food processor until finely ground.  Add dates and vanilla and pulse until combined.  Remove and roll into balls.  Roll in coconut flakes (may have to moisten with a little water to get it to stick).

 I'm totally digging on this pure energy jazz.  Hopefully it gets me through jeans shopping this afternoon without any dressing room freak outs.

12 March 2012

banana bundt cake

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Don't let the sharp edges of this baby fool you.  She is one soft and smooth lady.  Delicate, like a flower.  A banana scented flower.  Is that real?  Now, it is.

This cake is like banana bread's wifey.  A little lighter, made up of the same molecules, but just as fast.  You can actually use this same batter for muffins (the kids!) and not skip a beat.  

Now, like every hot wifey, this baby needs some bling.  Enter: maple glaze.  OOOOOOh yeah!

Recipe for Banana Bundt Cake with Maple Glaze

2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
whisk together with fork to combine

For the cake:

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl and set aside.  Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, slowly adding in the maple syrup and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time until thoroughly mixed. Add in bananas until they are nice and smashed!  Alternate in buttermilk and flour mixture, ending with the flour.  Gently fold in the walnuts.  Pour into a greased bundt pan and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes clean.

Once cake has cooled mostly, invert it onto a plate and drizzle with maple glaze.  And.  AND.  Don't forget to treat it like a lady.

04 March 2012

coconut lime cake

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You know that feeling you get when life is moving too fast?  Suddenly it's springtime, your closet needs some serious TLC, and the beaming light through the windows is exposing every speck of dirt in your life.  I have so many things I need to do, but all I want to do is bake spring time treats and eat fresh produce.

Enter: coconut lime cake.  

This is one of my oldest recipes. Pre-pastry school.  Pre- North Carolina.  Pre- hazelnut.  It's still a favorite and gets better every time I make it.

Recipe for Coconut Lime Cake
5 egg whites
1 cup butter
5 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut

8 oz cream cheese
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lime juice
2 cups flaked coconut, for garnish

Whip egg whites in mixer with the whisk attachment until stiff peaks form.  Transfer to large bowl.  Change to beater attachment and cream together butter, yolks, and sugar.  Combine flour and baking soda and alternate adding it to the mixer with buttermilk, ending with flour mixture.  Once this mixture is almost fully mixed, transfer batter to bowl with whites and fold in with walnuts and coconut.  Pour batter into 3 buttered, 9 in cake rounds and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool and frost with cream cheese frosting and cover cake with fancy, flaky coconut.

For Icing:  Beat together cream cheese and butter, slowly adding in the sugar.  Finish by adding the lime juice and beat together until smooth.

Now that I've got this out of my system, will I find the strength to organize my closet?  Ummm... maybe tomorrow.