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Foodist Approved: Maple Pecan Nut Butter

by | Mar 4, 2015
maple pecan nut butter

maple pecan nut butter

I have an affinity for nut butters. My freshman year of college, when I was running an insane amount of miles and living in the dismal dorms, I used to keep a jar of peanut butter by my bed. My roommate, to this day, still teases me about my by-the-spoonful, middle-of-the-night peanut butter snacking habit.

Years later when I worked in Geneva, Switzerland I kept a jar of almond butter in my desk drawer at work. Once again my nut butter snacking habit provided much entertainment. My co-workers thought it was hilariously odd that I ate almond butter imported from the US slathered on apples. Lucky for me, I never had to share, and they had no idea what they were missing out on.

Despite the ridicule over the years, nut butter spread on fruit or swirled into yogurt remains my beloved afternoon snack. After discovering that I could make a better butter at home, I’ve been experimenting with endless flavor combinations.

Compared to store-bought ones homemade nut butters have a richer nuttiness and deeper flavor, all of which adds up to some serious snacking satisfaction.

This Maple Pecan Nut Butter of mine is my new love. It only takes a small amount of maple syrup to bring to life the innate sweetness of the pecans. Adding almonds to the mix saves on cost without taking away from the butter’s better-than-pie goodness.

Serve it anyway you like: mash into a baked yam (trust me on this one!), swirl into whole milk yogurt, serve on top of baked apples or poached pears or simply slather on bananas, apple slices or thick slices of toast.

Homemade is more perishable than store-bought, so it’s best to make in small batches. Or better yet, make a large batch and freeze any amount that you can salvage from immediate consumption.

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Foodist Approved:  Anytime Frittata with Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

by | Feb 11, 2015
fritatta sweet potato and spinach

fritatta sweet potato and spinach

Word is out. I’m co-authoring a cookbook for runners with Shalane Flanagan, Olympic medalist, world-class marathoner and world-class friend.

I could not have envisioned a better partner in crime for my first book. Shalane has been an inspiration to me since I met her 14 years ago at our first day of cross-country practice at UNC. She’s one of the toughest women I know and also happens to have an incredible approach to eating for nourishment and enjoyment.

The ironic thing about writing a cookbook is that I too have days when I just don’t have time to cook. You’d think I’d be swimming in amazing meals, but the truth is I have weeks where I’m testing five variations of the same energy bar day after day.

On those days, I revert to dinners that can be prepped in 15 minutes max.

A frittata packed with seasonal veggies is one of my quick go-to’s. This hearty frittata, loaded with sweet potatoes and spinach, has saved me on many late nights.

I’ll admit, last week I ate it for lunch and dinner followed by polishing off the remaining slice for breakfast the next day. Hence the name Anytime Frittata. Enjoy!

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Foodist Approved: Maple and Spice Baked Apples

by | Jan 28, 2015
baked apples

baked apples

I can’t decide what wins me over more, the aroma of apples baking or the first steaming bite of a bursting baked apple. When it comes to these Maple and Spice Baked Apples both are equally mesmerizing.

If you’re hunkered down due to the snow and rain slamming much of the country, here’s a heartwarming sweet treat guaranteed to turn this winter slog around. This dressed up version of classic, whole baked apples calls on browned butter, sweet spices and maple syrup.

Follow the recipe below or get creative and stuff your apples with whatever variation of nuts, dried fruit, chocolate or nut butters you have on hand.

Bonus: you have our full permission to eat the leftovers for breakfast—simply warm and serve with a spoonful of whole milk yogurt.

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Foodist Approved: Grain-Free Tabouleh Salad

by | Jan 14, 2015
grain-free tabouleh

grain-free tabouleh

This grainless variation of a Lebanese classic was specially requested by Darya’s husband, Kevin. Kevin came across a tabouleh salad made with cauliflower instead of bulgur while on a work trip and has been craving it ever since.

Because just about everyone can benefit from more veggies and many of us are sensitive to grains, it seemed like a genius substitution.

I love how much the roasted cauliflower resembles couscous once pulsed a couple times in the food processor, only sweeter and fluffier. A definite keeper!

Tomatoes in the wintertime remind me of soggy cardboard—flavorless and mealy—so I used reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes. Of course come summertime, feel free to swap back in fresh cherry tomatoes.

Thanks for the inspiration, Kevin!

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Foodist Approved: 4-Ingredient Silky Butternut Soup

by | Dec 31, 2014
butternut and leek soup

butternut and leek soup

I’ve got a feeling that 2015 is going to be a good year for you. Why? Because you’re finally going to learn to cook—and cook well.

So well that eating out just won’t impress you much anymore. Once you start donning that apron, you’ll find yourself thinking, “I could have made this better myself.”

This realization is kind of a bummer every time you eat out, but it’s definitely good for the wallet and waistline.

To get you warmed up (resolutions never last unless you ease into them), here’s a foolproof recipe for Silky Butternut Soup.

This flavorful wholesome soup requires just four ingredients and a few basic seasonings that are probably already sitting on your spice rack. The creamy richness you’re about to indulge in comes from the tahini, no dairy needed.

An immersion blender (stick blender) is a useful tool to have in your kitchen for pureeing soups and sauces.

To dress this soup up for a dinner party, top it with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a handful of toasted pecans.

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Foodist Approved: Veggies for Breakfast

by | Dec 3, 2014
veggies for breakfast

veggies for breakfast

I went an entire day without eating a single vegetable––and to think I claim to be a healthy eater. But between working and caring for a 5-month old, it just happened.

(OK, there was something resembling a vegetable on the takeout pizza we had for dinner, but I don’t count that.)

I definitely felt off without my beloved veggies. Maybe it was all in my head, but the next day I found myself craving green things for breakfast.

So then I had a breakthrough. Why not eat vegetables for breakfast?

Lucky for me I had a bowl of colorful leftover roasted root veggies waiting in the fridge. I warmed them up and lightly fried two eggs, making sure to keep the soul-satisfying yolk runny. Then I flipped the eggs on top of the veggies and added a couple grinds of salt and pepper.

It ended up being the most deliciously satisfying start to my day––and definitely worthy of sharing with you. Hopefully you’ll be roasting a big tray of your favorite roots this winter––and if you’re extra lucky there will be leftovers that you can salvage for breakfast.

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Foodist Approved: Toasted Turmeric Pumpkin Seeds

by | Oct 29, 2014
turmeric pumpkin seeds

turmeric pumpkin seeds

Boo!

It’s finally time to carve that giant pumpkin that’s been hanging out on your front steps for the last couple of weeks. I know I’ve been anxiously awaiting this moment, not because I can’t wait to carve a scary face (my carving skills are seriously lackluster), but because I can’t wait to get my hands on those slimy seeds.

The best part about carving pumpkins has gotta be the seeds. They’re a gooey, stringy mess coming out, but with a little love they can be transformed into a crunchy, crave-worthy salty snack. If you overdo it with sugar on Halloween night, they’ll provide some much-needed balance.

And here’s one more reason to not toss your seeds: pumpkin seeds are high in zinc, a mineral we could all use a little extra boost of this time of year. Zinc helps your body fight off nasty cold and flu viruses.

Happy carving!

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Foodist Approved: Curried Roasted Roots with Chickpeas

by | Oct 15, 2014
curried roasted roots with chickpeas

curried roasted roots with chickpeas

Roasting vegetables is one of those magical techniques that require very little work to bring out the best of flavors. This time of year just about any hearty vegetable you find at the farmers market, from comforting roots to delectable squash, will shine brighter with a little roasting love.

Line a tray with parchment paper, pile onto it colorful chopped vegetables, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle on your favorite seasonings including a generous toss of salt, let your oven work its magic and you’ve got a culinary masterpiece in the works.

In this curried roasted vegetable recipe, I pair two of my favorite roots, rutabaga and beets, with sweet fennel and onion. To make it a meal, I like to toss in a can of chickpeas and serve it with quinoa and a dressing to enhance the earthy spices.

Moos, oinks and quacks won’t be missed in this hearty vegetarian meal. Make it even more filling by tossing with quinoa or other favorite grain.

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Foodist Approved: Gluten-Free Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins

by | Sep 17, 2014
maple zucchini nut muffins

maple zucchini nut muffins

I typically don’t condone eating muffins for breakfast since they’re usually just a minuscule step up from a cupcake. Even the wannabe bran muffin is loaded with sugar and unhealthy oils, and will leave you feeling drained and hungry with lunch still hours away. But the illustrious muffin is a convenient food for busy mornings when you just need something to grab, so I set out to create a Foodist-approved muffin recipe.

The winner of my muffin escapades in the kitchen were these Maple Zucchini Nut Muffins. They’re the perfect balance of hearty and healthy. My zucchini muffins are free of refined sugars and flours (the gluten-free crowd will love ‘em!) and are loaded with protein and healthy fat from the nuts, oats, flax, eggs and organic butter.

Best part—counts as eating veggies for breakfast!
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Foodist Approved: Tempeh Tomatoes Farcies (aka Stuffed Tomatoes)

by | Sep 3, 2014
Tempeh Stuffed Tomato

Tempeh Stuffed Tomato

I’ve got the post-Labor-Day blues. Summer has once again flown by and I’m not ready for the amazing Portland weather to end. Thankfully I think we can at least squeeze in a couple more good summer recipes before its bounty comes to an end.

This recipe is inspired by my French mother-in-law’s tomatoes farcies, or stuffed tomatoes. Her delicious stuffed tomatoes are made with sausage or ground beef, but I decided to up the ante and make a healthy vegetarian variation stuffed with tempeh, broccoli and mushrooms.

My husband at first was skeptical, but after going back for seconds, he proclaimed the vegetarian version a success. The tempeh turned out so flavorful, you could probably pass it off as a sausage filling.

Serve with a crusty baguette to soak up all the juices!
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