VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS + EASY PEANUT SAUCE

VEGETARIAN SPRING ROLLS + EASY PEANUT SAUCE

This method of "roll up a bunch of tasty fresh veg and dip in something delicious” is great for summer time eating, when the produce is abundant and spending time in the kitchen is less savory. I also love "rolls" for camping or big family gatherings, because it's fun to make and eat outside, and you can get everyone in on the roll up fun! I find this can be especially good for picky eaters, young or old. Kids that are picky eaters like to have some authority over their food. Allowing them to pick the fillings will give them a connection to their food that will get them excited about eating their creations!

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Bangin' Breakfast Cookies

If there is one moment in the day, just one precious moment I love above all the rest, it is that first sip of strong, hot coffee! I'm a sucker for it. And I have come to realize it is about way more than the coffee. The coffee is very important mind you, it needs to be super strong, drip brewed with a touch of cinnamon, and just a splash of creamy stuff to soften. It needs to be hot, but not too hot. It's a ritual that has steps before, during and after: Coffee needs to follow a teeth cleaning and enough lemon water to rehydrate so that the coffee is not trying to quench a thirst. I need to be awake enough so that I don't NEED the coffee to wake up, but so that it compliments being conscious. I need to be able to enjoy it quietly, pre-dawn, or if I'm really lucky--right at dawn -- (the best!). I need to be sitting cross legged and draped in a ridiculous sweater. I like to write while I drink and take long dramatic pauses between sips and scrawls. It's such a perfect time, I look forward to it everyday.

Now, I have to sound pretty self-indulgent to you, and I'm ok with that. I feel it too, more so knowing I could go on for pages. But I think it is important to recognize these tiny moments in a day - the ones that you could easily let slip by, or take for granted, or not prioritize. But, when you get down to thinking about what makes a moment, a day, a lifetime, really special - you realize it is the little, teeny, tiny things that make it shine. And with that, maybe, it's easier to believe that everything is going to be ok. I hope my narcissistic affection for coffee can inspire you in some bizarre way to notice the teensiest little things you love---and free you to love them---a lot.

Anyhoo, one thing that makes all that jazz above a bit better, is a cookie. And even better than that? A breakfast cookie. What makes a breakfast cookie you may ask. I say, it can't be too sweet, it should have a bit of nutrition, and it should pair well with coffee. Hahaha! Alright, enough.

This cookie, kind of sort of followed a recipe, but then I riffed on it a bunch based on what I had on hand. They turned out so totally banging, that now they are the go to recipe. I love, love, love the sweet potato mixed in. It makes the cookies a great orange color and totally moist. I also try to have some cooked sweet potatoes lying around the refrigerator for quick snacks, so they were on hand. Bonus!

I encourage you to play around with the mix in ingredients. I would keep the same number of ingredients, and the same quantities, but play around with different flavor combos! Chia seeds and cacao nibs would be awesome. Some coconut flakes or toasted nuts would be really good too. As would dried apricots or mangos. Mmmmm! Go wild!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick oats (NOT whole oats)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup peanut butter, or your favorite nut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup smashed cooked sweet potato
  • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)

Mix ins:

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup raisins, golden and purple
  • 1/8 cup flaxseeds, could use ground flaxseed (cookies would bind a bit better with ground)
  • 1/8 cup sesame seed

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients (mix ins too) into a large bowl. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined, I like to use my hands to mix, but you could be civilized and use a mixer. The dough will be quite stiff.
  3. Take a big spoonful of the dough, approximately 1/4 cup, and drop onto prepared cookie sheet. Slightly flatten the tops to the desired thickness. The cookies will not spread in the oven.
  4. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheets completely.
  6. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week. Cookies can be frozen up to 3 months.

Note:

If you do not have quick oats, you may use rolled oats, but you will need to pulse them in a food processor a few times to break up the oats. If you are looking for quick oats,  look in your bulk foods section near the rolled oats, you will probably see quick oats as well. They are more finely ground up whole oats, so they are a bit powdery.

I hope you enjoy the cookies! I just love tossing them together and having a nice big batch to last the week.

I also hope you take a moment to think about a tiny thing you just love, and find a way to work it into your day.

You deserve it!

 

To love, light, and the perfect cup of coffee!

 

 

 

Simply Sweet Cranberry Pear Tart

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Full disclosure, this recipe is highly inspired by this recipe, contributed by a reader of my  f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e  food blog My New Roots. It is a beautiful site with incredible recipes that are nutritious, clean, and delicious to boot! Much love to My New Roots.

I did take a few liberties with the recipe and I want to share it here now because it is an incredibly simple dish to make for the holidays that is:

  • Not loaded with sugar.
  • Packed a nutritional punch. (Thank you chia seeds and cranberries!)
  • Stunning to look at.
  • Really delicious—for days.

I first tried this recipe this Thanksgiving. Unable to make it back home for the holiday, my husband and I ventured to the mountains of Asheville, NC and stayed at a charming Airbnb that had an ample, light-filled kitchen. It was a pretty dreamy time, exploring Asheville and the charming mountain towns all around. It was crisp, clear and cold outside, and the light was divine. This little tart was a great ending to our simple Thanksgiving meal, and it held up quite nicely on our drives through the mountains. Yes, we ate it straight out of the pan in the car after a long hike—and it tasted better than ever! I think from now on a pie will accompany us on all road trips! Decadence!

The greatest bit, was that the ingredients were so portable. So this little tart would be great to whip together if you have limited time or resources and you want to make something that will really stand out for an upcoming holiday get together. I packed all the crust ingredients together in a ziplock bag, brought along a pint of cranberries, two pears, a few satsumas, a baggy of chia seeds, and a jar of coconut oil. Not too shabby.

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Oh-and I have to give a little shout out to this crust. It is awesome. It is vegan, if that is important for you, and it tastes like the most delicious little shortening cookie, but whole pie sized.

Not to mention, it is so easy to make. Pies everyday!

And now, to the tart!

For crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can be white,  pastry, whole wheat or sprouted wheat or combination. I used 1 cup pastry flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (approximately juice from 1 satsuma orange)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional—but REALLY good)

For the filling:

  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 6 T orange juice (approximately juice from 2 larger satsuma oranges) or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I used ground vanilla bean—decadent!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • A bit of orange zest

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine the chia seeds with the water or orange juice and set aside until a gel forms.

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3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix. Dough should be fairly thick, but moistened all the way through.

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4. Grease a 9” pie pan with a coconut oil and press crust evenly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.

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5. Place slices of one pear in a layer on top of the crust.

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6. For the remainder of the filling,  mix the cranberries with remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the chia seed gel and fold it into the mix. Pour filling on top of crust and pear layer and spread evenly.

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7. Slice the remaining pear to top the cranberry mix. (Note—if you use the whole pear, it will likely cover the tart—which is just lovely. I may have been snacking on pear while I was cooking~oops~ so mine is a bit skimpy on top. It was worth it! )

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8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow tart to cool completely before removing from pan.

Beautiful right! Who knew that cranberries were so magical? I want to use them everywhere now.

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And, to get in the spirit, a little festive tune (or two or three!!)

I have to admit, I LOVE the She and Him Christmas album—inventive but not too far away from the Christmas songs I know and love. Here is a favorite from their album (I am digging the role reversal).

How about one more from those two,  Christmas Day.

And finally, my all time favorite, Pat a Pan.

Nothing is better than the sound of voices singing together. It always makes my heart sing.

A happy holiday to you and yours,

Enjoy!

Simply Sweet Cranberry Pear Tart
Recipe Type: Sweets
Author: Denise
A delicious, low-sugar, tart. A feast for the eyes!
Ingredients
  • For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (can be white, pastry, whole wheat or sprouted wheat or combination. I used 1 cup pastry flour and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T Cane Sugar
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice (approximately juice from 1 satsuma orange)
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped (optional—but REALLY good)
  • For the filling:
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 T chia seeds
  • 6 T orange juice (approximately juice from 2 larger satsuma oranges) or water
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (I used ground vanilla bean—decadent!)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 inch grated fresh ginger
  • A bit of orange zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine the chia seeds with the water or orange juice and set aside until a gel forms.
  3. Combine all of the crust ingredients in a bowl and mix. Dough should be fairly thick, but moistened all the way through.
  4. Grease a 9” pie pan with a coconut oil and press crust evenly into the bottom of the pan and up the sides.
  5. Place slices of one pear in a layer on top of the crust.
  6. For the remainder of the filling, mix the cranberries with remaining ingredients and stir until well combined. Add the chia seed gel and fold it into the mix. Pour filling on top of crust and pear layer and spread evenly.
  7. Slice the remaining pear to top the cranberry mix. (Note—if you use the whole pear, it will likely cover the tart—which is just lovely. I may have been snacking on pear while I was cooking~oops~ so mine is a bit skimpy on top. It was worth it!)
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow tart to cool completely before removing from pan.