Ginger Spice Cake with Lemon Frosting

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I remember these delicious ginger sandwich cookies with lemon creme in the middle that we would eat on roadtrips ‘for nausea.’ I really like that combination of flavors, so I took this recipe and changed it up a bit. This is a great recipe, and the basic components make it practically a meal! So you can truly eat cake for breakfast and not feel bad about it. The original recipe is really good, although a bit spice-heavy, so I toned it down a notch this time. I know I’m going to keep coming back to this recipe when I want a foolproof cake. I look forward to changing up the flavors and tasting the results.

Cake Ingredients

1c canned pumpkin

1c almond butter

1/3c cocoa powder

2 eggs

1/4t salt

1/2t baking soda

1 1/2t baking powder

2t vanilla

2in fresh ginger, grated

1/8t cloves

1/2t cinnamon

1/2t ginger

1/4t allspice

1/4t nutmeg

dash fresh ground black pepper

6 packets stevia (~5T sugar)

Frosting Ingredients

1c sweet potato puree

2T coconut oil, melted

2 packets stevia

1t vanilla

zest and juice of 1 lemon

Combine all cake ingredients in a bowl and stir till thoroughly mixed. Pour into a greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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To get sweet potato puree, bake in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. Peel, and run flesh through a food processor till smooth. (Eat that peel! It’s got the good stuff in it.) Add other frosting ingredients to the food processor and mix. Adjust sweetener and lemon juice to taste. I like mine really tangy, but you may want less lemon juice.

While frosting is warm, spread it on the cake. It will set up once its cooled. Either serve immediately or wait, if you can.

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The cake is dense and moist, and the bright citrus flavor is a nice contrast to the spices. Don’t be worried about the frosting tasting like potatoes, because it just tastes sweet and lemony. I can’t help sneaking bites of this out of the fridge…

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Chocolate Caramel Brownies with Coffee and Sea Salt

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There’s a really great combination of flavors in this easy dessert. The hints of coffee and bits of salt keep you coming back for more. Recipe taken from here.

Brownie layer:

12 dates

1/2c almond butter

1/4c Unsweetened shredded coconut

2T honey

4T cocoa powder

1t cinnamon

Caramel layer:
12 dates, soaked in water for an hour and drained
1/3c coconut milk
3T water
1t vanilla
dash salt
 
Chocolate topping:
1c chocolate chips
1/4c coconut milk
2t fresh coffee grounds
coarse sea salt for sprinkling
 
Brownie layer: mix all ingredients in food processor. Press into a loaf pan to form the crust. Note: my 9×9 pan was a bit too big, but it worked out since I lined it with parchment paper to prevent any sticking.
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Caramel layer: Make your caramel in the food processor, adding the water as you blend. You may not need much, depending on how you drained the dates. Err on the thicker side, as the caramel will not set any once you’ve finished. This should take about 3 minutes of processing. Spread caramel evenly over the brownie crust.
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Chocolate topping: Melt chocolate chips and coconut milk in a double boiler or microwave. Once it’s melted evenly, add coffee grounds and stir. Spread chocolate gently over the caramel layer and sprinkle with sea salt. Allow chocolate to harden in the fridge or freezer, cut into squares, and enjoy! I think this dessert is best served at room temperature, but who really wants to wait for it to warm up?
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Buffalo Quinoa and Corn Fritters

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My only previous experience with buffalo sauce was the Buffalo Chicken Pizza with Ranch that we made at the dining hall. UGA students ate that stuff UP! The ranch helped temper the spiciness of the buffalo sauce, so you could basically stuff your face. Those joyful Freshman year memories encouraged me to try out this recipe.

Ingredients

2 cups cooked quinoa (tricolor or white)
1 cup cooked sweet corn
4 scallions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1t dried cilantro
1/3 cup finely grated romano cheese
1/4 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons oat flour
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons buffalo wing sauce + more for topping
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Coconut oil for frying
4 ounces white cheddar cheese for topping

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, adding eggs and sauce last. Mix with your hands and form small patties.

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Heat oil in a skillet and cook patties over medium heat for about 4 minutes on either side. I was worried they’d fall apart, but if you let them cook long enough, you should have no problem flipping them.

Place a slice of cheese on top and place under broiler for 1 minute. Serve with more sauce, if desired.

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Serving suggestions: On a bun or on a bed of spinach; without cheese, or with another type, such as bleu cheese; make the patties bite sized and serve at a party with buffalo ranch dipping sauce; omit the buffalo sauce entirely and they’re still really good!

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Easy Autumn Breakfast Ideas

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the change in the weather that allows me to keep my windows open at night, to wear sweaters and thick socks, and to overeat warm, filling meals. Since today is October 1st (where did September go??), and it definitely feels like a new season, I think it’s an appropriate time to bring out the pumpkin flavors! When shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day, I resisted the siren song of their pumpkin bread mix (the best), but left the store with a jar of their pumpkin butter and pumpkin spice coffee.

Every morning needs a hot cup or two of fresh coffee. I often find flavored coffees to be overwhelming, so I like to mix the flavored grounds with my basic Folger’s in a 50-50 ratio.

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Into my Greek yogurt I mixed a generous spoonful of pumpkin butter and topped it off with my homemade nut granola. It was nice and tangy with a spicy flavor. The pumpkin butter ingredient list is surprisingly short, so I’d like to try making my own some time without the added sugar.

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I stirred a small spoonful of pumpkin butter into my oatmeal, made with coconut oil and chia seeds, and topped it off with cinnamon. It was very sweet, so you shouldn’t need any additional sweetener.

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There you go! Just a few simple ideas to help you embrace Autumn! I wouldn’t recommend eating all three at the same meal, however. Too much of a good thing, and all that.

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Indian Tuna Cutlets

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I’m so glad to have this recipe again! One of my college roommates made these once or twice and I loved them. She might have written her mom’s recipe down for me, but I don’t have it anymore. So this blog post was a welcome find. I made the cutlets with tuna, since that’s how my roomie made them. You could probably use any kind of ground meat and potatoes. Next time I make these I want to try beef with white potatoes.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and boiled

2 cans tuna, drained

1cup chopped yellow onion

2 serrano peppers, minced

1inch ginger, minced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2t garam masala

1/4t cayenne

1/4t turmeric

1/2t pepper

1 or 2 eggs, beaten, for dipping

1 1/2c almond meal for breading (or Panko)

Coconut oil for frying

Mash cooked sweet potatoes and let cool. Stir-fry onion, peppers, ginger, garlic over low heat with a bit of oil. When onions look soft, add tuna. Add mashed sweet potatoes to the mixture and remove from heat. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, form flattened patties about the size of a large egg. Put patties (cutlets) onto a plate and let them rest in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so that they hold their shape better.

Dip cutlets in egg and then coat in almond meal and shallow fry in a skillet, flipping once. Let excess oil drain by placing them on a paper towel after frying. Serve immediately or enjoy cold the next day.

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Chicken Tikka Masala

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This is a dish that I love, and I was excited to make it myself. It’s a combination of mild spices that I don’t use often. I followed this recipe over the long weekend. While flavorful, it wasn’t very spicy, so I would suggest to go heavy on the seasonings.

Ingredients for the Marinade:
1 lb Chicken, cut into cubes (I used whole thighs)
1 cup Yogurt
1 tbsp Cumin powder
1/2 tbsp Coriander powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
3 cloves Garlic

1/2 inch Ginger, diced
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Chilli powder

Ingredients for the Sauce:
1 medium sized Onion, diced
1/2 roasted Red Bell Pepper
1 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Coriander powder
1/8t Cloves

1/8t inch Cinnamon

1/8t Cardamom
1 tbsp Fenugreek
1/4 cup coconut Cream
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup (I used pasta sauce)
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp of Chilli powder, or to taste
Salt to taste

 Now, since I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl, I mixed up the marinade and smeared it on the thawing chicken thighs and let them sit overnight in the fridge.  The marinade didn’t penetrate as much of the meat because it was still on the bones, so if you want to cook your meat differently or in smaller pieces, it might be more flavorful overall.

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I baked the thighs at 350 for 1hr and 45 minutes. The chicken was beautifully juicy and delicious when it came out of the oven.

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Have you a bite of that crispy skin. Yum! Remove bones and cut meat into 1inch cubes.

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Give bones to menfolk to nibble scraps from.

Lightly sautee onions with roasted red pepper and then puree.

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In sautee pan, heat butter and oil and warm the spices in it. Add pureed mixture, ketchup, and cream to the buttery spices and mix. If you want a thinner sauce, add more coconut milk or water. Add chicken cubes to the sauce and adjust taste with salt or more chili powder. Serve with rice and stifled tears from the absence of naan at your table. Enjoy anyway :)

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Zucchini Ravioli with Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce

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Ravioli are one of my favorite foods. The possibilities for fillings are practically endless. I found a recipe here for paleo ravioli that I tried last night. The yellow squash at my Publix were pathetically short, so I made it with zucchini instead.

*Warning: I would not suggest making this recipe unless you have a mandoline to slice the squash with. I used a knife and it was incredibly difficult to slice thinly enough. Everything tasted great together, but I had few identifiable ravioli and lots of filling left over. I made a haphazard lasagna with the thicker zucchini slices, meat filling, and Alfredo sauce. Baking it in the oven dried out the zucchini noodles nicely. But if you’re brave, here we go!

Ingredients for Ravioli:

4 zucchini (choose long, straight ones)

1/2lb ground beef

1t salt; 1t pepper; 1t oregano; 1/2 yellow onion, diced; 2 cloves garlic

4 handfuls kale

1C ricotta

1 can diced tomatoes, drained

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Using a mandoline, slice zucchini length-wise as thinly as possible.

Steam kale.

Cook ground beef with onion and spices in a skillet.

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Add cooked beef, kale, ricotta, and tomatoes to food processor and blend til a paste forms. You can imagine what a meat paste looks like, right? Ok, good.

Take 2 zucchini slices and form a cross shape with them. Spoon about a tablespoon of filling onto the crossed part, fold zucchini over the filling, and use toothpicks to secure. Gently place ravioli into a steamer basket and steam for about 4 minutes. Serve with tomato sauce, pesto, or cauliflower alfredo sauce (recipe below).

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I essentially tripled this recipe for the Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce because I wanted to have it on hand for later. I do have another recipe for this sauce that I plan to try out in the future. Below is the tripled recipe.

Ingredients for Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce:

1 head cauliflower

2t garlic powder, 1t salt

2T butter

3c almond milk

squirt of lemon juice

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Put all ingredients in a big saucepan and boil for 20 minutes, or til cauliflower is tender. Puree til smooth. Top ravioli with sauce and enjoy!

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Almond Butter – Savory and Sweetened

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Peanuts (legumes) are verboten on my diet. Thankfully, I love almonds. Almond butter is easy enough to come by, but it is expensive, so I made my own.

Savory Almond Butter Ingredients:

2C almonds (I used roasted, salted)

4T coconut oil

1t maple syrup

Blend almonds in food processor, stopping frequently to scrape it down. Blend til it balls up, then add oil and syrup. You may want to add more oil if you want a runnier consistency. If you used raw almonds, add salt to taste. Enjoy!

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Since I’m always looking for a sweet bite that isn’t unhealthy, I wanted to make a sweet version, too. I halved the batch I just made and added to it.

Sweetened Almond Butter Ingredients:

Half batch of savory almond butter

1T maple syrup

1/4t cinnamon

1/4t allspice

1/4t vanilla extract

I just added the ingredients to a jar and stirred them into the butter. Use a food processor for easier mixing.

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This batch thickened up considerably, which is fine for my purposes (spoon-eating), but if you intend to spread it on anything, add more coconut oil. It’s really delicious, almost like fudge, and melts in your mouth a bit. It’s so good that I might need to make more soon…

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Coconut Mango Sorbet with Ginger

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One night after dinner I wanted something sweet and fruity, so I threw together this incredibly simple sorbet. Mango is perfect for sorbet, since there are no pesky seeds or skin to worry about.

 

Ingredients:

2c frozen mango chunks, thawed in water for 5 minutes, then drained.

3T coconut cream

1/2 inch of fresh ginger

shredded unsweetened coconut to garnish

 

Puree mango in food processor with ginger; add coconut cream and blend. Serve in vintage champagne coupes if you’re feeling fancy. Garnish with shredded coconut. Makes 2 servings. (Or 1, if we’re being real, here…)

 

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Parmesan and Pesto Tilapia with Quinoa and Kale

Sadly, this post has no photos. I was a little overzealous in tidying up my phone, so the pictures got deleted. You’ll just have to make this yourself to see what it looks like!

 

I don’t have much experience cooking fish. The one time in college I baked a salmon filet, I left it on the counter all night and couldn’t eat it the next day.

When I joined Sam’s Club last weekend, I picked up a bag of tilapia filets, and I’m excited to have found some yummy ways to cook it. Dinner was inspired by this basic recipe.

4 4oz tilapia filets, frozen

4T basil pesto

3T grated parmesan cheese

Lemon juice, salt and pepper (optional)

Arrange filets on foil or parchment on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cheese and pesto. Shake lemon juice and spices on top, if desired. Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or til fish is flaky.

In the meantime, cook 1c quinoa on the stove, and saute 2 large handfuls of kale in olive oil. Kale takes a while to get soft like this. You may want to begin cooking it before the fish.

When the fish is done, you could certainly top with diced tomatoes or more cheese, but mine was delicious right out of the oven. I liked the saltiness of the cheese with the fish without it being overpowering.

Check back soon for more ways to cook tilapia! (With photos, I promise!)

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