Nuts about you

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Hi friends!

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I have a nutty, spring-y dessert for you this weekend, perfect for Easter or whatever reason you need dessert (or no reason at all, even better).

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I get to do some awesome hiking in Marin today – I’m sure there will be pictures later! For now, I’ll leave you with tart & wisteria, since it’s gone bonkers over here. I LOVE wisteria – I know it’s not great to have it grow on houses, but it just looks so spectacular.

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This tart is awesome! Not to toot my own horn or anything, but the whole grapefruit – tahini – coconut – chocolate – hazelnut combination is quite rad, if I do say so myself. To be fair, everyone else who ate it (the fave human & parentals) agree, so it’s not just me.

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It’s also grain & gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and paleo! So if you’ve got a gathering of peeps who have varying dietary needs, it’s perfect – light, springy & delicious.

As usual, perfect for pre & post hike snacking, dessert, breakfast, brunch, and everything in between (which is how we ate it!)

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I’m on dessert duty for Passover & Easter next weekend for a few peeps, but I don’t think I’ll be making anything new – looks like it’s be a repeat of some old faves. Most likely I won’t put up a new post, so I’ll just see you guys in a couple of weeks :)

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I hope you’re out enjoying the beautiful spring weather, wherever you are! California is really doing it right and I’m about to get outside for the rest of the day. Yay! Happy weekending!

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Tahini Grapefruit Panna Cotta Tart with a Hazelnut Chocolate Crust

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free & dairy free – paleo too! Perfect for a dessert to feed an Easter crowd, if that’s your jam. Very lightly sweet, with hints of citrus and just enough chocolate to satisfy. Yield: 1 9″ tart; serves several. A Wait are those Cookies original.

For the crust:

1.75 c hazelnut flour
1/3 c unsweetened cacao powder
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
heaping 1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
6 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/4 c dark chocolate, melted

In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, cacao powder, coconut, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, maple, and melted coconut oil and stir until completely combined. The dough will look crumbly, but you’ll be able to press it together with your fingers.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a pie plate with coconut oil. Press the crust into the plate and up the sides with a spoon or your fingers, creating a smooth edge (or not, your call!). Poke the bottom with a fork a few times, and bake for 15 minutes.

Let cool for a few, then pour the melted chocolate into the bottom of the tart shell and use a spoon or a brush to smooth it out. Let cool completely to set the chocolate.

For the panna cotta:

1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
1/4 c grapefruit juice
1.5 cup full-fat coconut milk
1.5 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 c tahini
scant 1/4 cup maple
Scant 1/4 tsp sea salt

For garnish: sliced grapefruits + toasted hazelnuts & coconut

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the grapefruit juice. Let stand without stirring until the gelatin is moistened, about 10 minutes.

Pour the 1.5 cups of coconut milk into a small saucepan. Add vanilla, tahini, maple, and salt into it. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring consistently. Remove from the heat. Add the gelatin mixture and stir until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Cool until lukewarm, about 5 minutes. Pour the panna cotta mixture into the cooled tart shell. Place in the refrigerator until set, approximately 4 hours. Top with sliced grapefruits, toasted hazelnuts & coconut.

Store in the fridge – keeps well overnight and is EXCELLENT for breakfast the next morning :)

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Wait, cookies?!

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I guess it’s about time I put up another cookie post, given the name of this blog… besides which, one of these is the reigning favorite cookie in this household, so it deserves another turn in the spotlight I think.

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The other – the tahini one – is a new-to-me recipe, adapted, because ofc I can’t leave any recipes alone and I *always* add vanilla and cut the sweetener!

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Since ‘come to the dark side, I have cookies’ is such a thing too, I got to play with my Death Star plate, courtesy of Chelsea! This thing cracks me up.

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^moody, rainy day cookies

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The hills are so GREEN!!! I just can’t get enough of them – I grew up in California and have spent nearly all of my adult life here (actually, I’m a fifth generation Californian, wooooo baby) and even so, I am just in awe of how beautiful the green is. All I want to do is go run around the ridges! So I did just that, last weekend between the rains. It was a little muddy in spots but totally worth it.

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I’m keeping it short today – busy but awesome weekend with fave human, old & new friends, and relaxation.

Happy April!

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Favorite Oaty Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

A Wait are those Cookies original – the reigning favorite for C and I! We’re obsessed, sorry not sorry! Yield: around 12, if you make them large, or 16 if they’re smaller. These keep fabulously in the fridge – I love them straight out of the fridge, but you can totally leave them on the counter too. Refined sugar free & dairy free w/ a gluten free & vegan option.

1 c almond flour
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c shredded coconut
1 c whole wheat pastry flour (or 1/2 c brown rice flour for gluten free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
Flax egg or regular egg* (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water; let gel for 5 min)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 c melted coconut oil
1/4 c maple
Chopped dark chocolate

*I have made these both ways and actually prefer the flax egg – that way, they’re also vegan if you require that!

These are incredibly forgiving. Preheat the oven to 350. Toss all the dry ingredients in a big bowl & stir. Add coconut, maple, vanilla & flax egg, and stir that… then add chocolate & form into little balls. Flatten them slightly, and bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for ~12 min. They will bake longer if using brown rice flour – start checking at 12, but they can go for up to 20. They should have a slight give when you push on the tops, but not too soft.
Remove and let cool for a few on the cookie sheet, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store them in the fridge if you like them extra chewy!

Variation: add a scant tbsp of finely chopped rosemary

Salted Tahini Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free. Yield: 10-12 smallish cookies. Nutty and not too sweet! Adapted from Tasting Table, here. I used chocolate chips because that’s what I had on hand – feel free to chop a chocolate bar instead, I’m sure it would be divine!

1 large egg
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
roughly chopped chocolate or chippies
~1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

These are cookies, so they’re easy! Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir everything together except for the sea salt, making sure you don’t end up with clumps of anything in particular. The dough will be really sticky – totally fine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Roll the dough into balls, flatten slightly, and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Bake for ~10 minutes, until the tops are just slightly firm and lightly brown. Remove and let cool for a few, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely – they’re fragile when warm. Store in the fridge.

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Wait. Free time?! I’m unfamiliar with this concept.

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Looklooklook I actually had time to make something!!! Actually, I had time to make TWO somethings, because well.. the oven was already on. So obviously. I also had a super productive weekend that also included time to work out and time to sit on my butt and read. Generally speaking, I consider this a highly successful weekend. Jessie thinks so too.

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And… I made bars!

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It felt so good to bake. I swear, it’s probably been about a month and that is WAY too long. These were a product of that fun game “let’s see what’s in the fridge and what I can make with it, depending on my mood and a billion other factors, but actually depending on what food is actually present”. It’s fun, kind of like a treasure hunt in the pantry.

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And (shockingly, not), I ended up with barz! I know, I know. But they’re just so delicious and fast and easy and satisfying. So, bars. Cookies were slightly too high maintenance for this particular weekend (though I did make a tiny batch of 10 cookies, just to be thorough).

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These are great for the indecisively minded, which I tend towards when I’m baking…. usually I want five things and can’t decide which of the five to bake. Sooo…. I decided to get creative and make both, at the same time. Problem mega solved. Now I have barz AND blondies AND brownies without having a gigantic pile of baked goods staring me in the face. Winning, winning.

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Also, succulents are awesome!

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Swirled Chocolate Tahini Barz

Half blondie, half brownie, for when you really can’t decide or you’re so braindead from biostats that you just decide that deciding isn’t worth the effort. Enter the hybrid bar. The best of both worlds with a minimum of effort.

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Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free and vegan! Spread the love. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1.5 c almond flour
  • 1 c quinoa flour, toasted*
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c tahini (mine is unsalted)
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 6 tbsp water)
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup + 1 tbsp, divided
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c avocado oil
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce + heaping 1/8 c unsweetened applesauce, divided
  • 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips

*In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, stir the flour occasionally until it’s fragrant, about 5 minutes. Toasting reduces the otherwise slightly bitter nature of quinoa and quinoa flour.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan.

Make flax eggs, and set aside to gel.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond flour, quinoa flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Add in tahini, flax eggs, 1/2 c maple, avo oil, and 1/4 c applesauce. Stir until just combined — try to avoid overmixing. Take half of the batter and plop it into half of the prepared pan. Add the cocoa powder, 1 tbsp maple, and 1/8 c applesauce to the remaining batter, and stir to combine. Drop this chocolatey goodness into the other, empty, half of the prepared pan, and using a knife, swirl the middle bits together (or go crazy and do the whole thing, I’m not going to stop you!). Pop this goodness into the oven for just about 35 minutes, when the top should be mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then cover and store any leftovers in the fridge.

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Actually yes, I do eat something besides barz.

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Before you say anything, I am totes aware that the last billion recipes on here are bars. I knoooow. I’m working on that, obviously not very successfully… One day, in the hopefully not to distant future, I will get off my bar train and blog about something different. And you’ll be so shocked, I’ll have to come over there and pick you up off the floor. But until that day… Barz.

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So….. I wasn’t necessarily going to blog about these, but then I ate one and discovered how deep, dark, datey and delicious they were, and decided they were too good not to share. Besides, they’re much fudgier than a lot of my barz recently, so you know. Variety is the spice of life, right? Right. But dates and dessert and chocolate and tahini also make life spicy, so why not eat those too?

Also because spicy life = great life.

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And also because I wrote the last two sentences yesterday, and I ate a brownie last night and they only get better hanging out in your fridge, so there are really no reasons not to make them (unless of course there is no food processor readily accessible… sadly these aren’t one that you could hack, unless your by-hand mashing and blending abilities are on par with some kind of superhero. Even I, who avoids using appliances if at all possible, busted out the food processor on this one). SO! Brownies! That are phenomenally good for you and also delicious. Can’t beat that.

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Okay so further ALSO: it was a billion degrees here this past weekend, but I really needed brownies, so I stupidly ran the oven (no bake treats were just not going to cut it). I also stupidly decided that peeling an entire can of chickpeas was a good idea. I know I know, I sound like a crazy. But here’s why: I’d heard forever that peeling your chickpeas makes for smoothy smooth homemade hummus. And having been extremely put off and irritated by the grittiness of my previous batches of homemade hummus, I decided that standing in my million degree kitchen on my day off pinching the skin from each individual chickpea was a good idea. Um, just no. But I can happily report that my hummus is SPECTAC. And it has beets in it, so it’s pink…which obviously ups its superiority factor. Incidentally, I was also out of lemon juice and had to pinch hit with limes. Amazingly, it’s some of the best hummus I’ve had in awhile AND it is silky silky smooth. So unfortunately the peeling method does work. I might be convinced to do it again… maybe. Just not when it’s a thousand degrees out and all I want to do is lay on the air vent like my cat.

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And one further aside, that is completely unrelated. I (just for laughs) calculated my average fruit and veg intake on a standard work day (lunch varies; dinner varies but my overall veggie intake during the week is pretty standard each day). An article I saw sparked my curiosity — it was a pictorial essay of different combinations of fruit / veg that meet the official recommendations; and my first thought was, ‘wait. that’s IT?!’, which made me want to see what my intake looks like within the official guidelines. According to the government website calculator, I am supposed to eat 2 servings / cups of fruit per day, and 3 servings / cups of veg a day. At which point I calculated mine for the day (and it’s only 2 pm. I haven’t even had dinner yet, which will contain at least another cup of veggies, and then there are dates in my dessert)… and I’m at 3.5 servings / cups of fruit, and 4.5 servings / cups of veg. Sooooooo….. yeah. I’m basically a piece of produce. And plant-powered!

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And a bit of freehand, just cause!

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Tahini Date Brownies

Gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free and flour-free deliciousness! Whole food ingredients to show your bod how much you love it. Recipe makes one 8 by 8 pan. Inspired by Graceful Kitchen, here! In case you’re interested in this stuff, like I am, tahini is an excellent source of calcium, vitamins / minerals, and omega 3’s + unsaturated (good!) fat; dates are generally just fabulous for you (assorted vitamins / minerals / too many bennies to list); and dark chocolate + unsweetened cocoa powder = minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants. In sum… eat whole-food brownies, absorb nutrients, be happy.

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  • 1 15 oz can of white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c packed + pitted medjool dates*
  • 1/2 c tahini
  • scant 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • heaping 1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • optional…. sort of: 1 – 2 squares of chili-spiced chocolate, for a bit of subtle heat

*If the dates get hard, a 15 minute soak in boiling or very hot water usually softens them enough so that they won’t murder the food processor… Also, the date soaking water can be used in smoothies! Mmm. Or to cook oatmeal… or anywhere you need a little liquid sweet.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease an 8 by 8 pan (or use parchment. These are sticky, so if you want more evenly sliced bars, I would recommend the parchment route. Otherwise, I didn’t have a problem getting them out sans paper).

In the food processor, combine drained beans, dates (soaked if necessary; drain before adding), tahini, maple, and vanilla. Process for a few seconds, to get the dates broken up. Add cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt, and process until the batter is nearly completely smooth. I left a few chunks of dates in mine, but I draw the line at chunks of beans, no thanks. Stir in chocolate chips and chopped chocolate, and spread the batter into the prepared pan (it’s thick, so just go for the rustic look). Bake for 29-32 minutes, until the top is mostly firm and a tester comes out clean. These are very fudgy (and they’re vegan), so if you want to underbake them for super-goop, go ahead! Mine were perfect and sufficiently fudgy at 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan before slicing. Store in the fridge (I cover the pan with foil till they’re mostly gone, then transfer them to a tupperware).

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Because sardines and brownies totally go together?! Uh. No. Just go with it.

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Food prep Sunday has returned in all it’s fridge-filling glory. And actually this week I literally went from empty empty fridge to stuffed fridge. Which is exactly how a Sunday night fridge should look, because Mondays are bad enough as it is without being irked by a lack of edible things.

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I do kind of love having an emptyish fridge — it forces me to get creative and use what I have. And it is definitely not a bad thing to cook down your fridge / freezer / pantry periodically. I had some epic meals at the end of last week, all full of new veggie combinations, as I was working with what I had. There was a deplorable lack of produce after Friday night though, so today I had a glorious Sunday of yoga, grocery shopping, and several hours of food prep. Ahhh. And then dinner and movie and dessert with the purring snugglepuss. Me-time doesn’t get much better than that!

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Also, yesterday was date day in Santa Cruz with E! AND OMG I DISCOVERED CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON!

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I mean, I’d had a bacon chocolate bar and have made bacon brownies… but a piece of bacon!!!! Covered in chocolate!!!! Amazing. And simple to make for myself… but let’s not. I would eat.it.all. But anyway, chocolate covered bacon. I highly recommend it.

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Back to what I was sort of talking about in a rambly fashion — food prep Sunday! Today I did a crockpot red lentil dal with ginger and curry, which will probably last me a week (I made a literal VAT), roasted radishes for later in the week, made a new batch of nut butter and cashew meal, baked a batch of vegan spelt brownies with a tahini-maple swirl (omg.save me from myself and the whole pan), and a sardine ragu over zucchini noodles and greens. Which, depending on your point of view, could be the best thing ever or the most disgusting. Obviously, I fall into the former camp, but hey. We can’t all be the same, or this would be one boring universe.

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But even if sardines straight out the can with a little mustard (and avo) isn’t your thing (ahem. not like I do that or anything), I’m advocating for you to give this ragu a shot.

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The sardines are simmered in red wine and tomato sauce, which tames their sardine-yness. I do love them, but I’ll admit they can be a little much sometimes (I really have to be in the mood for them). But in the sauce, they’re much milder. I served the sauce over some sautéed mushrooms and zucchini noodles with greens, and shredded a little goat cheddar over the top (Redwood Hill Farms is my favorite!! Their cheese is spectacular). Highly recommended, and in my lunch for work tomorrow (because this just gets better and better as the flavors do the leftover tango). This is reason number five billion why food prep days are so spectac: Lunches for at least the first half of the week, so I can be not hangry and cranky for the start of the week.

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Enough babble. It’s Sunday night and time for bed so I can be something less than a zombie come five am tomorrow. And this post is enough of a novel already, so on that note… recipeeeez!

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Vegan Spelt Brownies with Tahini Swirl

These brownies are much cakier than my usual brownies, so if cakey brownies are your jam, you’re in the right spot. I usually like mine fudgier, but these are great for a change. The maple tahini swirl is freaking fantastic as well, so if you like halva or just sesame in general, these are right up your alley. Vegan, refined sugar free, and delicious. Yield: one 8 by 8 pan, anywhere from 6 to 12 brownies, depending on what kind of day you’ve just had. Adapted from Love Me, Feed Me, here!

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  • 3/4 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/4 c + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
  • a very full 1/4 c pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk
  • 1/3 c extra dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease (or use parchment) an 8 by 8 pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, sea salt, and baking soda. Add in vanilla, applesauce, maple, and avo oil. Stir to roughly combine. Add in hemp milk and chocolate chips, and mix until incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan. In a small bowl, stir together tahini and maple syrup. Practice your drizzle skills and make it look pretty as your pour it over the top of the batter… take a knife (or the spoon you’re currently using, if you’re lazy like me) and swirl it into the batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely, and store covered in the fridge.

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And now for something completely different….

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Sardine Ragu over Zucchini Noodles

Savory, perfectly textured, and full of healthy fats and lycopene. All good things! Gluten free, low lactose (with goat cheese), and high in antioxidants. If you can, try to eat this on subsequent days — I find that the flavor just gets better and better. Yield: 3-4 servings. Ish. Recipe inspired by Spoonshine blog, here!

  • a good glug of olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, frozen or smooshed
  • 3 rainbow carrots, diced
  • 2 cans of sardines, packed in oil (I like Wild Planet brand)
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 125 ml red wine
  • 500 ml freshly boiled water
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated cheese of choice, optional
  • spiralized zucchini + sautéed mushrooms and greens for serving, or your fave pasta

Heat the olive oil over medium in a sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add in onions, and garlic with a few twists of sea salt and pepper, and saute until the onion is translucent. Add in diced carrots, sardines (Including their oil), tomato sauce and paste, oregano, thyme, and red wine. Bring to a boil and let cook for 10 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper, and add the freshly boiled water.

Keeping the sauce at a high simmer, let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 35 minutes. It should be reduced and thicker, like the consistency of a meat ragu. Once the sauce has reduced, taste and season accordingly — add the tbsp of balsamic, plus more oregano or thyme, or salt and pepper (or all four).

Serve over zucchini noodles or your noodle of choice, with a sprinkling of grated parmesan or goat cheese over the top.

Here’s a little ommm to take into your Monday:

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:)

Free radicals are NOT invited to any of my parties

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Mmmm, sweet pohhhtayyytooeeeessssss! (You like that phonetic spelling there? Yeah, I thought so too). Hello, beta-carotene, I love you!

And then combine that deliciousness with powerful greens for a free-radical fighting snacklunchdinner (or maybe breakfast, who knows, maybe some of you are even weirder than me?!). I love love love making stuffed sweet potatoes for lunch! I started doing it sometime during my senior year of college when I discovered that sweet potato+egg+spinach makes a really cheap and wonderful combination… even more wonderful if there’s some avo lurking around as well (Who doesn’t love lurking avo?!).

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More recently I’ve been sticking with the greens+beans variety of sweet potato, probably because I like that it rhymes and who knows why I end up with random food combination obsessions; I’d be the last to know why I’m obsessed with something. Like… millet. It’s for the birds! Or is it?! Apparently it’s for me, too, and you can add that to your “Things that make Hayley even more of an-“alternative-awesome-hippie-who-eats-bird-food” list…I know you have one, don’t try to deny it…

Besides all of the inherent hippiness you get whenever you visually dine with me, this combination also happens to be an antioxidant powerhouse. Like, it deserves a cape it’s so good at saving the world (ie, your body) from the evil menace of those nasty free radicals. No one wants them invited to the party… thankfully, with this kind of dish, those free radicals get kicked to the curb by  antioxidants AND excellent dietary sources of vitamins A, C, and K, to name a few. Free radicals are NOT invited to my birthday parties…

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Side note, I made coconut quinoa porridge-pudding today! What is with this new strange pudding obsession? Is it because it’s hot? I mean, I’ve always loved rice pudding but seriously, this is getting out of hand. Three puddings in basically four days? Yep, that happened. At least I’m changing it up, this time it’s quinoa+coconut milk+cardamom+cinnamon+almond, yum yum yum. Breakfast? With almond butter? I think yes.

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Stuffed Sweet Potato with Beans and Greens

Recipe by… me! Serves 1, double or triple as needed. Simple, delicious, and comes together quickly. Perfect for a light dinner when it’s hot out, or pretty much whenever… I love it for lunch!

Scrounge and find:

  • 1 (decent sized) sweet potato
  • 1/2-1 tbsp tahini
  • olive oil
  • a good double handful of power greens (kale+chard+spinach!)
  • 1/3 c white beans, drained and rinsed
  • a squirt of Bragg’s liquid aminos, or soy sauce (whatever your preference)
  • 1/4-1/2 avocado, cubed

Wash and dry the sweet potato, and poke some holes in it so it doesn’t explode in the microwave (no one wants that…). Toss it in on the baked potato setting, until done. Once finished, slice it lengthwise down the center, and smash a bit of tahini on the inside while it’s still hot.

While the sweet potato is doin’ its thang, heat a bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add rinsed greens and white beans, and sauté until greens are wilted.

Aesthetically layer your greens and beans into the prepared sweet potato, and top with a bit of Bragg’s. Garnish (or cover liberally, your choice… we know which one I chose) with avo!

Eat hot, and revel in your simple meal that is so delicious and so good for you! Free radicals, you have no choice but to capitulate! Muahahaha.

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