Sugar-free, Vegan Chocolate Mousse

When one imagines the many ways they might spend a rare, few hours of free time — catching up on trashy reality T.V., perhaps; exploring a new neighborhood; sitting at a coffee shop while people-watching and reading the paper — I suspect spending an hour-and-a-half at the DMV in midtown Manhattan is not one of the things that first comes to mind. Nevertheless, that is precisely where I found myself this morning, looking to exchange my expired Michigan license for what has turned out to be quite the elusive New York card. First, it was the realization that New York requires — no exceptions — a valid, original social security card. I couldn’t find mine (thankfully, it’s since been recovered. Phew!) Then it was the quite demoralizing rejection when I finally reached the front of the line this morning, where I was informed that that I need a letter from Michigan confirming the date my first license was issued, since Michigan doesn’t have a date of issue on the actual license. Ugh. Fighting back tears (yes, real tears — I take my free time very seriously these days) I sighed and walked out with my head down, both frustrated and defeated.

While it was only a minor hurdle in an otherwise good day (I found out that my grandpa — Opa — was free to go home from the hospital today. Yay!) it was nevertheless enough to make me want to run to the nearest ice cream shop (in my case, the nearest vegan ice cream shop) and pig out. That’s what us girls do when we’re stressed, right? (To be fair, I suppose there are guys who do so, too, though I know Gennaro would reach for a beer rather than an ice cream in such situations. Then again — to be fair — I suppose there are girls who would go for the beer, too. But me? I’m all about the pity party ice cream).

Then I heard Jillian’s voice in my head again (see: crushed lentil soup post). I could feel her shaking her head at me as I was en route to Stogo (the aforementioned vegan ice cream shop). You finally get to see what your ab muscles look like and you’re going to throw it all away because of a botched trip to the DMV? I could hear her talking me out of it (not only am I near-crying in public places now, I’m also having internal dialogues with a trainer I’ve never met. Yep, in case you were wondering, studying for the bar really will make you crazy). But ohhhh, how wonderful a big scoop of chocolate ice cream sounded — how could such a wonderful indulgence not melt all my troubles away?

After a few more minutes of crazed internal dialogue, I made a compromise by deciding to tackle an at-home mousse — a sensible solution, don’t you think? Perhaps I’m not going crazy after all…

Chocolate? yes. A little (healthy) fat? Yes. But sugar and carbs were not invited to this party. My newfound friend, NuNaturals vanilla liquid stevia is the star of this show. And, since I’ve been craving cherries for some reason lately, I topped it off with a few fresh slices (and a few toasted almonds, just ’cause). It’s all very “Cherry Garcia” — without the wrath of your personal trainer (or not-personal celebrity trainer you’ve never met), that is.

Serves: 2-3 very comfortably; double for a crowd (or for a really bad day)

Vegan Chocolate Mousse:

1 12-oz. package Mori-nu extra firm silken tofu at room temperature*

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified

1/4 cup good cocoa powder, unsweetened

1/2 teaspoon NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia**

Directions:

1. Over a double boiler, heat coconut oil, cocoa powder and liquid stevia until warmed through and shiny.

2. Add mixture to a blender with silken tofu and blend until smooth.

3. Pour mixture into a bowl, cover, and let set in refrigerator for at least an hour, the longer the better. Serve alone or topped with your favorite fruit, nut or other healthy treat.

* It’s important you use this brand because — as far as I know — it’s the only brand that’s packaged so that the tofu is safe to be out at room temperature. It’s equally important that you use room temperature — rather than cold — tofu because otherwise the coconnut oil will harden before it’s blended into the mousse, which is never a good thing, unless you want chocolate chip mousse.

** Use NuNaturals. My mom reported the dreaded “stevia bitterness” after using a different brand.

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Crushed Lentil Soup

Jillian Michaels has been kicking my butt. Every morning. I hear her voice as my alarm clock goes off, her signature “don’t phone this one in” line reverberating as I contemplate pressing snooze. I don’t; instead dragging myself out of bed, mentally preparing for what is sure to be another grueling workout ahead.

Of course, all this torture is self-inflicted. I’ve made up my mind to do at least a little something for myself this summer, given that the majority of my day these days are spent sitting behind a desk, studying, with a rare break to eat or walk Woodley. But I must say, I’ve become slightly addicted to Jillian’s workout DVDs. I now own all of them, after discovering — via exercise T.V. — that the full, 40 minute version of “Banish Fat, Boost your Metabolism” (they’ve since cut it down to a meager 25 minutes — not nearly as hard) was more challenging than any gym boot camp or personal training session I’ve ever done. But perhaps even more shocking was that I wasn’t bored while doing it, despite feeling like I might die. Despite having to break out my emergency-only “breathing machine” once (“emergency-only” usually meaning an asthma attack, which I may or may not have had during the workout). Despite sweating enough to wring out my shirt afterward. Despite all that, I actually find myself enjoying working out these days. In the comfort of my own home. With Jillian Michael’s no-nonsense attitude motivating me perhaps only half as much as her perfect abs staring back at me on my T.V. screen. Maybe that’s just because anything is less boring than studying for the bar exam…

So, what does any of this have to do with crushed lentil soup? Well, I realized that I don’t really want to be one of those people who kills themselves for an hour only to throw it away on a high-carb, high-fat meal afterward. Still, my appetite has been a bit more voracious these days, given my early-morning calorie expenditures. This soup was a quick and satisfying solution to my newfound problem.It’s  high in fiber. Low fat. Low carb. High protein. And not too heavy. It’s great with a salad and takes only a little more than a half hour to come together. This Middle Eastern take on red lentils is a nice change-of-pace from the traditional — and also very good — Indian Dahl.

Crushed Lentil Soup:

1 medium-sized sweet onion, finely diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups split red lentils, rinsed and picked over

6 cups water

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon)

pinch of cayenne pepper

parlsey or cilantro, chopped, for topping

Directions:

1. In a large soup pot or Dutch Oven, saute onion with olive oil over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes, until transluscent.

2. Add lentils, water, cumin, coriander and salt. Stir. Cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occassionally.

3. Stir in lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Remove from heat. Serve immediately, sprinkled with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro.

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Vanilla Frozen Yogurt

The next few months are going to be an exercise in simplicity and restraint. Simplicity because I don’t have time to make elaborate — even borderline complicated or time-consuming — meals. Restraint because creating new dishes and spending time in the kitchen is my passion.

I had heard that studying for the bar exam would be like a full-time job. Somehow I thought I would be able to post as often as I’ve been posting — even cook almost as often — on the side. I’m beginning to think I was wrong. So, I’m going to try to show a bit of restraint in the coming months. I’m really trying to make this my first and last bar exam. Therefore, for the next few months, less recipe-creating and more quick, easy and healthy recipes to get me through the summer. This is one of those recipes.

This two-ingredient frozen yogurt recipe is vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. It’s a wonderful, healthy and filling summer dessert, with probiotics, fiber, protein and Omega-3s. At first I was a bit hesitant to post a recipe for yogurt that calls for two things: 1) yogurt and 2) sweetener. Can we say duh? But then again, some of my favorite “recipes” are not recipes at all but rather ideas I never thought of: the idea of strawberries stuffed with peanut butter that I found on this site, or Mario Batali’s “asparagus a la plancha,” which is really just asparagus rubbed in olive oil, cooked over a skillet and lightly salted. Next time you’re craving something slightly sweet and healthy, try this quick and simple yogurt topped with fresh, summer berries.

Frozen Yogurt:

1 24-oz. container unsweetened, plain Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla-flavored liquid stevia

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt and stevia until incorporated.

2. Turn yogurt mixture out into ice cream machine and turn on machine.

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Rhubarb Cobbler

Please forgive yet another week’s lapse in posting. I was struck — rather swiftly, actually, so the word is appropriate — with a fierce case of food poisoning. Or the flu. Or food poisoning. Or the flu. Well, I still haven’t been able to figure out what it was, and I guess I’ll never know. But the point is my kitchen got a nice break from me for the week, as I only passed through a few times a day to refill my cup of ice chips. And by passed, I mean stumbled. Yep, I was pretty much a zombie; a scary sight, indeed. But now that my appetite’s (just about) back and better than ever, I’m starting up where I left off last week. I’m experimenting with rhubarb recipes.

As a side note — and as someone who does not like waste — I must say it was quite disheartening discarding the rotting food I had bought during the beginning of last week — food that was left to waste away in the fridge, as I was wasting away in bed. Of course, I could have instructed Gennaro on how to prepare my intended meals for himself only, but that would have required energy, of which I had none.

I made this cobbler tonight for my family (my parents and grandparents are in town for my graduation). Actually, I prepared and baked it earlier today and tested some of it myself (not wanting to make my family members guinea pigs yet again). I thought it was delicious, and I’m not always easy to please with desserts. It was crispy on top and the filling was nice and sweet and flavorful. Plus, the cardamom really goes nicely with it. I was so pleased with the final result that I couldn’t wait to serve it to my family. But being that by the time we were done with dinner and getting home, it was getting a bit late for certain members of our constituency to be eating dessert. So I did something stupid. I heated the oven to 300 and stuck the cobbler in there to heat up, trying to speed up the process. When I went to check it again about 15 minutes later, it was dry and, it seemed, overcooked (as I had not undercooked it the first time around). Despite my assurances that “it was soooo good when I tried it earlier,” I feared every one’s endorsement of my new dish would be less-than-enthusiastic. Still, I received generally good remarks and thumbs-up. I guess, in the end, I figured an overcooked and dry version of the cobbler being still pretty tasty would mean the cobbler-at-its-full potential was worthy of a full posting.

Cobbler Filling:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped (about a pound, give or take a few stalks)

2 teaspoons NuNaturals vanilla liquid stevia (use 1 1/2 teaspoons if you like a more tart filling)

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

2 tablespoons potato starch

Cobbler Topping:

3/4 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/3 cup Spectrum Organic Shortening

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon NuNaturals vanilla stevia

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb, stevia, cardamom and potato starch until combined. Turn out into 2-qt. baking dish and set aside.

3. In another medium-large bowl, whish together flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cardamom. Add shortening and, using fingers, break up into flour mixture. In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk and stevia and add mixture to contents of larger bowl. Stir to combine. When topping comes together, drop in equally sized pieces, a few inches apart, over the filling.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until filling is bubbly and topping is golden-brown.

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Spinach Cashew Spread

I got the idea to do a spinach cashew spread from one of my favorite blogs, Raw Mazing. While I somewhat veered from the original recipe, I tried my best to keep the proportions similar, as I had been having a rough day of trial-and-error with my recipes. A failed strawberry clafoutis. A failed gluten-free bread. A second failed, though edible, gluten-free bread, which you can see pictured above (it made a great vehicle for this spread!). The bread was tasty, but rose no higher than an inch. I did happen to make a really nice cardamom-rhubarb ice cream (I really, really love that flavor combo), though it didn’t turn out to be all that photogenic (the color was kind of blah, and at that point I was too lazy to really style it up). So for my final test recipe, I wanted something that was as close as possible to a sure thing, but that I could still play around with a bit. I had lots of herbs on hand from my trip to the Greenmarket today — with some new potted varieties for my window sill as well. I like bringing a little bit of nature into my dingy, NYC apartment. So I omitted the sun-dried tomatoes from the original recipe and instead threw in some of my favorite fresh herbs, including some of my new window sill basil.

This cashew spread is great on bread (and can even liven up the most failed of gluten-free breads as well, as I can attest). I could also see it being nice over pasta (zucchini pasta for a raw meal, perhaps?) or even sauteed vegetables.

Cashew Spinach Spread:
Adapted from a recipe by Susan Powers at Raw Mazing

1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4 hours, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

8 fresh basil leaves

2 handfuls (about 2 cups packed) fresh spinach leaves

1/4 cup minced sweet onion

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup golden flax seed meal

1-2 tablespoons water as needed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

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Tabbouleh

Not only have I been really into fresh mint lately (see: mint chocolate chip ice cream), but I’ve also been on a bit of a parsley kick. I’ve always loved tabbouleh, but I’ve recently been enjoying parsely in cole slaw and romaine salads. To me, it’s a wonderfully fresh and detoxifying ingredient. Plus, it’s rumored to get rid of the “bloat.” I tend to buy into this rumor based on personal experience: my high school prom. Two days before, and I couldn’t fit into my dress. It wouldn’t zip. My mom’s good friend (and go-to resource for girlie issues such as these) suggested I drink some parsley tea. A few hours later, I was in my dress with no problem. Now, on the days I’m feeling like I’ve overdone it on the salty foods, I try to eat some parsley.

One healthy ingredient that I haven’t always been a fan of is celery. Maybe it’s the stringiness, or the fact that I’m just not in love with the taste, but for whatever reason, I’ve never gotten into celery. Still, every time I hear about all of its surprising health benefits, I can’t help but thinking that I’ll find some way to enjoy it. This tabbouleh actually turned out to be one of those ways. I think that it’s chopped small enough to add a nice crunch without its signature stringiness. It also lends a nice bit of flavor here.

With red pepper and celery and no tomato or bulghur wheat, this is not your traditional Middle Eastern tabbouleh. But if you’re willing to look past the authenticity issues, I think you’ll enjoy this healthy, detoxifying, gluten-free version as much as I did. Also, unlike most salads, this is one that gets better the longer it’s in your refrigerator. So feel free to make it in advance.

Tabbouleh:

1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions

1 bunch parsley, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 scallions, finely chopped (green ends topped off)

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, mix quinoa, parsley, mint, celery, bell pepper, and scallion.

2. In a smaller bowl, whisk together lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil and sea salt.

3. Add dressing to salad and mix. Add salt to taste.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Well, I’ve had my ice cream machine for a few months now and the novelty has yet to wear off. I’ve been making ice cream so much that I get antsy waiting for the bowl to re-freeze between batches. I’ve learned — and this info might be of use to others with a Cuisinart machine — that it takes over 24 hours for my bowl to freeze completely (even though the instructions say about 4-12 hours). That’s a whole day without making ice cream, which is quite the test to my patience (but probably for the best).

I know my posting has been a bit spotty lately. Trust me, I’ve been cooking, I just haven’t had much time to share my recipes. The transition from law school to the real world and wedding planning have taken on toll on my free time, which usually consists of posting here. But fear not, I have a lot of recipes in the arsenal that are waiting to be shared.

My blog posts also suffered a bit of a setback due to a broken computer. Not a broken computer as in low memory, slow performance, a damaged hard drive, or any of that. I mean, I literally opened it up one day and the screen just collapsed and parts started falling out. It had had enough, I guess. May I just add that it is not cheap to be technologically “with it” these days? A few months ago the screen on my phone shattered. A few hundred dollars later, I had a new phone and a new, more expensive plan. Same with the computer. I’m pretty sure they design these things to have a short shelf life. There must be some pre-programmed directions telling our electronic devices to break down after a certain period of time so that we have to go out and spend more money. Oh, well.

I’ve been on a mint kick lately. I just LOVE fresh mint. I’ve been putting it in my smoothies with frozen strawberries, Chocolate Greens Superfood Powder, soy or almond milk and a few drops of vanilla stevia. It’s so delicious — and a great energy boost! But the mint really makes it special. I’ve also been putting fresh mint into my salads. Stay tuned for a tabbouleh recipe with fresh mint this weekend or early next week. This mint chocolate chip ice cream recipe is made with agave, but the chocolate chips are actually made with the NuNaturals vanilla stevia in order to reduce some of the overall sugar. I’m usually try not to mix sweeteners in recipes (just one less ingredient to have to worry about), but here, I think the agave improves the texture and creaminess of the ice cream, and the stevia adds a nice hardness to the chocolate. I took a tip from Ricki Heller over at Diet, Dessert and Dogs and added some carob powder to the recipe to cut some of the bitterness of the stevia. You can always experiment with other sweeteners if you’d like.

Finally, I hope you all are enjoying the new site design. I tried to keep the general feel the same while making the interface a bit more user-friendly. I’m still working on some things (I am definitely not a coding aficionado, by any means) but I’m hoping you’re liking the look in the meantime.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream:

1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk

2 teaspoons potato starch

1/3 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup fresh mint, minced, tightly packed

Chocolate Chips:

1/4 cup coconut oil, liquified

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened carob powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla stevia

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, whish together coconut milk, agave and potato starch until starch is dissolved into mixture. Add in mint. Pour mixture into ice cream machine and turn on.

2. Meawhile, whisk together all ingredients for the chocolate chips until smooth. Set aside.

3. After ice cream has had about 10-15 minutes in the machine — or until the mixture has begun to freeze — slowly drizzle in the chocolate mixture. The coconut oil will harden the chocolate as it hits the cold ice cream, so it should break up into tiny little chips as it goes in. You may want to test with a small amount first just to make sure ice cream is cold enough.

4. After you’ve added the chocolate, continue to run machine until ice cream comes together to desired consistency. Serve.

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Falafel

First things first. Mom.  I know no one else who gives more of herself and asks so little in return, is able to laugh at the small things, and care deeply about the big things. The only reason I was able to turn my food allergy “lemons” into delectably free lemonade was because I had you to look up to, never complaining. Plus, without you, Gennaro and I would be eloping for lack of any idea how to plan our wedding. And you know it. I love you. Happy Mother’s Day.

Ok…on to the falafel. Not even my Trust and Estates exam could stop me from attempting to fulfill this craving by hand. The restaurant stuff, good as it may be, tends to make me sick from time to time. Given said exam, I didn’t want to risk it. But, because of my exam, this post is going to be short and sweet. It’s 2:30 a.m. and I have a long day of studying ahead of me tomorrow (today! eek).

Makes about 8-10 falafels (can double the recipe if needed)

Falafel:
Adapted from Susan O’brien’s recipe in Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Cooking

1 15-oz. can chickpeas, drained

2 gloves garlic

1 shallot or 1/2 small onion

3 tablespoons sesame tahini

1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

1/4 cup quinoa flour, plus more if needed

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for frying

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients except for the olive oil reserved for frying. Process until smooth and there are no large pieces remaining. Using hands, take golf-ball (or ping-pong) sized pieces and roll with hands. If mixture is too dry you may add a bit more oil; if it seems a bit wet, you may add a bit more (about a tablespoon) quinoa flour. Slightly flatten between palms. Set aside.

3. In a non-stick skillet (if not non-stick, may need a bit more oil — about 1/4 inch), heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (or enough to just cover bottom of pan) over high heat for a few minutes. Add falafels and cook until just slightly browned, about 1-2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

4. Arrange falafel on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, turn, and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until both sides are browned (as pictured — may vary depending on oven temp. and falafel size).

You can serve this falafel however you like. I enjoyed it as pictured, over romaine and topped with tahini dressing. For a quick dressing, combine equal parts tahini, lemon juice and water. Add 2 cloves of grated raw garlic, a pinch of salt, and a few dashes of hot sauce. Shake in a jar, whisk or blend. Add in more tahini as needed until you reach desired thickness.

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Strawberry Scones

As hard as this may be to believe, there was a point in my life when my sweet tooth was virtually non-existent. Sure, I’d enjoy the occassional tiramisu at an Italian restaurant, or ice cream on a hot summer day. But generally, I didn’t enjoy sweets. I was one of those savory-over-sweet at brunch people; I’d prefer to eat more for dinner and not save room for dessert. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that I probably went months at a time without eating anything sweet.

Then a funny thing happened. I was diagnosed with food allergies. Suddenly, every time I saw a chocolate chip cookie, I wanted it. Every ice cream cone taunted me, each piece of cake at a wedding. Let me tell you something: nothing kicks a sweet tooth in gear like thinking you’ll never be able to eat anything sweet again. I was desperate to re-create everything I couldn’t eat, and developed my newfound sweet tooth in the process.

Despite liking things a bit sweeter these days, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for the not-too-sweet, biscuit-like scone —  the perfect end to a meal for sweet tooths and non-sweet-tooths alike. I love just about any kind of scone, but drop scones are an easy, almost foolproof, quick baked good. These scones are also quite healthy. They’re made with whole grains, and sweetened with just stevia. I’m loving NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia for baking. When I wanted to start baking more with stevia, I bought a bunch of different varieties and have been trying them all to see what I like (since I haven’t always been the biggest liquid stevia fan). I think this brand is definitely a good bet if you’re looking for nice flavor and less bitterness than you might expect from a liquid stevia. It may seem a bit on the pricey side (and it is, compared to many refined sugars), but remember that since it’s vanilla flavored, you won’t have to worry about paying for pricey vanilla extract. And since a little goes a long way (only 1/2 teaspoon for these scones), it will last you for several recipes.

I decided to make these today to celebrate the start of strawberry season, and to celebrate my last day of law school. Ever. Which means, today was my last day of school. Ever (I’m not counting Bar review classes here, of course…because that would just be no fun).  So here’s to the beginning of a season, and the end of an era.

Strawberry Drop Scones:

Yield: 8-10 scones

1 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup Spectrum organic shortening

1/2 cup plus 2-3 tablespoons light coconut milk, shaken, plus more for brushing

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 dropper NuNaturals liquid vanilla stevia (plus more to taste)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, potato starch, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add shortening and crumble into dry ingredients with hand. Add coconut milk, stevia and lemon zest and stir with a spoon until everything comes together. If batter is dry, add additional tablespoons of coconut milk one by one until it comes together. Fold in strawberries.

3. Drop scones by 1/4 cup measurements onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush tops with coconut milk. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until golden.

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Crispy Roasted Chickpeas over Quinoa

This recipe was a bit of an accident, as I had not planned on making anything to post tonight, but was looking, rather, to make a quick dinner out of a few pantry items. I had chickpeas on hand for making Happy Herbivore’s chickpea tacos, which I tried last week and was craving again. But not feeling like dirtying up any dishes to make guacamole (which is a must with tacos in my book), I thought I’d just whip up some quinoa and throw the crispy, roasted chickpeas over that. If you’re looking for a quick and inexpensive gluten-free, vegan recipe, be sure to give this one a try (or try out Happy Herbivore’s tacos).

Tonight I also discovered a new way to prepare quinoa. That discovery happened by accident as well. Actually, it was also the result of my not wanting to dirty any additional dishes (see, laziness can pay off sometimes), so instead of cooking the quinoa in a separate saucepan before transferring it to another pan to saute, I simply sauteed a cup of rinsed quinoa on high in equal parts olive and sesame oil (about a teaspoon each, plus more as needed) until it was no longer wet in a large saute pan. Then I added a cup and a half of water, covered, and cooked until the water was absorbed (about 5 minutes). Then I grated in a large clove of garlic and added a drizzle of wheat-free tamari (I’d guess anywhere from a few teaspoons to a tablespoon). I sauteed until the quinoa was dry and crispy. Then I added a handful of baby spinach, stirred, and removed from the heat. The quinoa was crisp and light and flavorful. With the addition of crispy chickpeas, it was almost the perfect dish (and almost — just almost – as good as Charlie’s stir-fried quinoa creation).

Below is my version of the roasted chickpeas inspired by the recipe from Happy Herbivore, which is a new favorite site thanks to Twitter, which I recently joined and not sure what I did without. I used to think Twitter was the reincarnation of 8th grade AIM updates about one’s daily routine. Going to the store. Eating dinner now. So excited it’s Friday. Well, it’s that in part, but so much more. I’ve discovered so many great new food bloggers just through twittering, and it’s a great resource for a constant stream of information updates. I must admit, that after much reluctance, I’m now hooked.

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas:

1 14-oz. can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry

2 teaspoons wheat-free tamari

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Whisk together all ingredients except chickpeas in a medium-sized bowl. Add chickpeas and toss until coated. Turn out onto a flat baking sheet and bake in preheated oven until browned and slightly crisp, about 25-30 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

3. Serve chickpeas over quinoa (see above), rice or inside a crispy corn tortilla with lettuce and guacamole. Or simply let cool and eat as a snack.Yum!

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