Maca Truffles

Every year around this time I start pulling out recipes for cookies. Even though it's just the Mr. and me, I will still try to make at least a batch of cookies, gingerbread marshmallows, and fudge. I always try to make a different cookie each year and this year I decided to try something a little different. Instead of making a butter and sugar packed cookie, I went with a healthy energy truffle instead. This was my first time trying maca and I wasn't overly sure what to expect. Maca is a root (like radish) that has a lot of health benefits ranging from balancing your mood, providing energy, and even relieves PMS and menopause symptoms. I tasted the maca straight from the bag before making the truffles and it's not sweet. It actually reminds me of powdered peanut butter.

This is a super easy truffle recipe. You literally just mix everything, either by hand or in a food processor. These are not sweet truffles, they are actually kind of dry, so make sure you have a glass of milk, but they are delicious. I found that when I needed a snack halfway through the day, I would eat one of these and I'd be good until dinner time. They definitely help give you that little boost you need. Plus, they look like some fancy truffle you'd get at a shop. So if you want to make something for your health conscious friend, or want to try something a little healthy this year for your holiday treat, give these a try.

Recipe adapted from Mary Vance, NC

  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c. raw maca powder
  • 1 c. nut butter (almond, walnut, peanut, or coconut)
  • 1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • cocoa powder for dusting

  1. In a large bowl blend the nut butter, honey and vanilla. 
  2. In another bowl mix cocoa powder, maca powder, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper.  Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until combined. Taste to make sure the flavors are good. (I wound up adding a little more cayenne for more of a kick)
  3. Roll about a tablespoon of mixture into a ball. Dust with cocoa powder and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Cheddar Pumpkin Beer Bread

There is nothing better than having a freshly baked bread to go with dinner. However, bread generally takes a while to make with all the kneading and rising that's put into it. So, it doesn't get made too often in this house since I usually decide to make bread an hour or two before we sit down for dinner. Which was the case the night I made this bread. I needed something quick and delicious to go with the pumpkin chili I was making. Let me just tell you, this recipe works in a pinch.

I usually make rolls for Thanksgiving but after making this bread, I definitely plan on making it again next week for the big feast. I mean, when it comes down to it, canned rolls or fresh baked bread? Not to mention the fact that there is pumpkin beer in the recipe... which is a Thanksgiving staple. It's a win-win really. This tastes exactly like a normal beer bread would except depending on the beer you choose, your bread will have the flavor of. So make sure you grab a beer that you like. If you are not a beer drinker than any pale colored beer will work.You don't really get a huge pumpkin flavor with the bread but the beer I used isn't over powering anyways. You just get the subtle notes of pumpkin, beer, and melt in your mouth cheddar all baked into a sweet bread. There was no rising, kneading or a whole heck of a lot of work involved. I'm not going to lie though, I did the whole "One for you, one for me" when it came to adding a bottle of beer to the bread. Now of course, you don't have to use pumpkin beer, any beer would work. However, where would the fun in that be?

recipe adapted from My Recipes

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion 
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 garlic clove, minced 
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour 
  • 3 Tbsp sugar 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese 
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle pumpkin beer (or beer of choosing) 
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. 
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute.
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk; make a well in center of mixture. Add onion mixture, cheese, and beer to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. 
  4. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5–inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 tablespoon butter over batter. Bake at 375° for 35 minutes. 
  5. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon butter over batter. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until deep golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Wasabi Avocado Deviled Eggs

I'm one of those people who hates to bring the same dish to a party twice. It doesn't matter that it's not even the same party or group of people. I just love trying new recipes. So this year when the Mr. and I were invited to a Halloween party, I started looking up things that I could bring. Like a lot of recipes out there, I found this one via Pinterest.

I don't know about you but I love deviled eggs. These eggs takes that recipe and kicks it in the gonads. There's no tangy flavor here. Nope, there's a certain creaminess from the avocado and a kick from the wasabi that you just won't find in your mama's deviled eggs. Not to mention the cool purple cracked effect definitely adds to the Halloween effect. These do take some prep work if you are planning on doing the cracks since the eggs need to sit in the dye overnight. However, if you don't want the look, these are really easy to whip up. The only piece of advice I can give is to wait on mixing in the avocado filling until you are ready to serve. Avocados oxidize just like an apple and will turn brown over a few hours. So by mixing the filling last minute, you won't be showing up to a party with moldy looking eggs.

Recipe adapted from Family Spice
  • 4 eggs 
  • 1/2 avocado, seeded and peeled 
  • 1-2 tsp wasabi, paste 
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 

  1. In a medium sized pot, cover eggs with water, cover pot and bring to boil over high heat. Let eggs boil for 5 minutes, then turn off heat. Let eggs sit in the water until it becomes room temperature.
  2. Remove eggs, one at a time, and gently press and crack the shell with the back of the spoon. 
  3. Place cracked eggs in a bowl filled with water and add blue and red food coloring until you get dark purple. Place the eggs in water into the refrigerator for 6 hours or up to overnight.  
  4. Peel the eggs and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place in a bowl. Mix in the avocado, wasabi, lemon juice and salt. Adjust to you liking. (I added more wasabi) 
  5. Place avocado mix into a piping bag and pipe into the hollowed egg halves. Keep chilled.

Smoky Butternut Squash Pasta with Kale

I'm definitely not used to the gloomy weather we've been having. With the days getting shorter and the clouds all gray, I've been craving comfort food. I saw this recipe and thought that it would be a tasty fall pasta dish. However, what I got was my new replacement for macaroni and cheese. The Mr. loves homemade macaroni and cheese but with my milk allergy, I've been trying to limit the dairy I consume. So, eating a bowl of cheese isn't the smartest thing for me to do. However, I can eat this without the guilt or allergy side effects. and still feel like I'm splurging on a not-so-healthy dish. I cannot believe how amazing it is. The Mr. and I polished the entire thing in one sitting. Don't judge.

When I went shopping for the ingredients I was unsuccessful in finding raw cashews at my usual grocery store. Then later that week I popped into another local store to get a specific brand of salsa for the Mr. and they had raw cashews. I had forgotten how much I needed and walked out with about a cup and half of raw cashews not realizing I only needed a quarter of a cup. Whoops. However, I looked it up online and you can store raw cashews in an airtight bag/container for up to one year in a cool and dark place. So if you have to purchase them in a large quantity, have no fear, they will last a while. I also cheated on the recipe a little bit. I really didn't want to have to clean and roast a squash. So I went over to the freezer isle of my grocery store and bought a 12 oz bag of frozen butternut squash*. When I was ready to make the sauce I put the whole bag in a microwave safe bowl and heated it up, then followed the remaining directions for the recipe. I also used gluten-free pasta. I saw it at the store and decided to give it a try. It tastes just like normal pasta and held up really well. So if you are looking for a gluten-free dish, use gluten-free pasta. Oh and one other thing, you don't have to use yeast in the recipe but it really adds to the dish. The yeast not only adds flavor but it also thickens the sauce into more of a creamy consistency.

Recipe adapted from Oh She Glows

  • 1/4 c. raw cashews, soaked 
  • 1 (3.5-4 pound) butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced (need 2 c. cooked squash for the recipe. *See notes above for a quicker option) 
  • 3/4 c. water 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional, but highly recommended) 
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice 
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder 
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste 
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke 
  • hot sauce, to taste 
  • 1 lb mini shell or macaroni pasta (use gluten-free, if desired) 
  • 5 c. chopped kale

  1. Add cashews in a small bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for at least 3-4 hours, until soft and plump. Drain and rinse before use. 
  2. *If roasting your own squash* Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. See note about prepping squash below. Spread out chopped squash on sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for 30-40 minutes, flipping once half way through baking, until squash is fork tender. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the soaked and drained cashews, water, garlic, nutritional yeast (if using), lemon juice, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, and 2 cups of cooked squash into a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth. Now add the salt, liquid smoke, and hot sauce to taste and blend again. 
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions. 
  5. Meanwhile, saute kale in a pan until wilted.
  6. Add the drained pasta back into the pot. Pour in the sauce and kale; stir to combine. Cook over medium until heated throughout and serve immediately.

Review: Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches by Kris Holechek Peters

I was given a copy of Vegan Ice Cream Sandwiches by Kris Holechek Peters to review a while back. I was excited by the idea of a dairy-free ice cream sandwich since I'm mildly allergic to milk. I will admit that I'm not a huge ice cream fan. The Mr. can eat a tub of it in two sittings but my carton will sit in the freezer until it develops ice crystals. However, when you slap it between cookies, I'm in it to win it. So I was excited to give this book a shot.

First I made the Strawberry Italiano sandwiches which were a strawberry balsamic swirl ice cream sandwiched between to shortbread cookies. I didn't think the swirl would turn out because anytime I have to "swirl" something in, I always tend to over swirl it and end up just mixing it in. However, I'm happy to say that my swirl was perfect. Ha! The shortbread cookies don't have a lot of flavor so the ice cream is definitely the star in this one. I wasn't sure how the balsamic was going to play out in this, but you don't taste it at all.

The second ice cream sandwich I made was the Pumpkin Snickerdoodle sandwiches which are pumpkin ice cream sandwiched between two snickerdoodle cookies. Oh yeah, these are my favorite ice cream sandwiches ever. When you pair the pumpkin ice cream with the sugary cinnamon cookies, you get one amazing treat. I'm not gonna lie, it took all my willpower not to dip a cookie into the churning ice cream while it was freezing. Then, when the moment came where I could actually eat one... I ate two. And I've had one just about every night since. These are amazing and perfect for the fall.

This is a great recipe book to have on hand if you have an ice cream machine. Whether you are vegan or not, it doesn't matter, it's awesome. There are your basic ice cream sandwich combinations but then there are crazy ones like cardamom cookies and pistachio ice cream, orange zest cookies with earl grey tea ice cream, rhubarb cookies with sweet corn ice cream, and that's just to name a few. You have savory ice cream sandwiches, sweet ones, even ones designed for the season/holiday. I'd buy the book just for the pumpkin snickerdoodle sandwich recipe alone. Heck, I plan on making another batch of these babies this coming weekend because they are THAT GOOD. The next recipe I plan on making after I've had my fill of the pumpkin snickerdoodle ones is going to be the cranberry ice cream with gingersnap cookies. But if I'm being honest here, I have a feeling I will be making every single one of the recipes. Even the crazy ones.

*Oh and the best part about these recipes are that you can eat the cookie dough batter while you're waiting for the first batch of cookies to bake. I mean, it's not like I ate half a batch of the snickerdoodle dough or anything. I just... heard that you could is all.