Winter Stew

photo (2)I woke up this morning to a lot of rain, so I decided to switch up the menu at work today and offer this winter stew. I didn’t have a recipe this morning and wasn’t planning on posting it, but a few people asked for the recipe. So here is a rough sketch of what I created this morning. I would love to hear if you make it or add anything to it. Hope you’re all staying warm and cozy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 shallots, sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 garlic herb chicken sausage links or vegetarian sausage links, cut into cubes

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 can of cream corn

4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock

½ tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp dried thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 Tbsp butter

3 Tbsp flour

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

salt and pepper to taste

bread for dipping

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a stock pot. Add shallots and cook for 3 minutes. Add bell peppers, garlic and sausage and cook for about 8 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Next add the chickpeas, cream corn, chicken stock, red pepper flakes, dried thyme, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. Bring to a rolling boil and keep it there for 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and stir. In a separate small saucepan whisk butter and flour over low heat until well combined. Whisk in ½ cup of soup liquid into the roux. Add the roux into the soup pot and mix well. Cook soup on medium low for an additional 25 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 365 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cheddar cheese into a very thin layer on the baking sheet, leaving some holes because the cheese will spread. Bake until golden and crisp, about 7-10 minutes. Let cool completely and break apart with hands to top soup.
  5. To assemble soup, Scoop out into bowls, top with toasted bread, fresh thyme and crispy cheddar.

Shaved Carrot Salad w/ Broiled Salmon

shaved carrot saladSometimes when I look at my blog posts or my Instagram feed I think to myself, “people must think all I do is eat dessert and pizza”. Although I love those things, the truth is, I love my veggies and work hard to have a balanced diet. But desserts look so pretty and I bake a lot at work, so you end up seeing only part of my diet. My other confession is that I don’t follow recipes strictly when it comes to savory foods, which makes it harder to write up a recipe after I figure out I like something. IMG_9368My birthday was this month. I’m over the hump of being a quarter century old. An occasion that was met with more bills, more conversations with my mother about starting an IRA, trying to figure out when I should start using eye cream to prevent wrinkles, settling into a new apartment!, wondering what I should do next, daydreaming about travel, celebrating (about 5 times) with family and friends, appreciating that hopefully I’m getting wiser and smarter. Oh and telling people how much they mean to me. Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate my birthday!shaved carrot salad 2This salad is great on its own or you can add some salmon for protein to round out the meal.IMG_9456Shaved Carrot Salad w/ Broiled Salmon: serves 2

Ingredients:
2, 6 oz. salmon fillets
3 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. curry powder
1/3 cup loosely packed mint, washed and dried
1/2 cup loosely packed curly parsley, washed and dried
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch of salt and pepper
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
2 large carrots
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 green onion
2 Tbsp. dried sweet cherries
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
Directions:
1. Preheat oven broiler. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place salmon fillets skin side down on baking sheet.
2. In a small bowl mix coconut oil, brown sugar and curry powder. Rub top of salmon with coconut mixture and place under broiler for 8 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, wash and dry mint and parsley. Blend mint, parsley, lime juice and olive oil in a food processor.
4. Scrape down sides of processor and add salt, pepper and pistachios. Blend for 1 minute.
5. Shave carrots with vegetable peeler. Cut sugar snap peas into thin strips. Cut green onion into thin strips.
6. In a large bowl, mix carrots, snap peas, green onion, cherries, sunflower seeds and half of pistachio pesto.
7. Plate salmon fillets with a side of shaved carrot salad. Cover the pistachio pesto and keep in fridge for other uses!

Shredded Kale Salad w/ manchego, almonds and nectarine

ShreddedKaleSalad-1Blog - 358A co-worker saw me eating kale the other day and thought he would tell me a funny story about a client and kale. He said this client ordered a kale salad for lunch one day. This client took one bite of their salad, put the fork down disappointed and exclaimed rather frustratingly that their kale was not massaged. My co-worker started laughing hysterically once he finished the story and I…. well I was thinking, damn I really hate when my kale isn’t massaged too. Blog - 359I mean, come on. It’s not like I would send my kale salad back to the kitchen. But my general frustration with restaurants is not doing vegetables well and this falls under the umbrella of having so much potential and falling short. Personally, I enjoy kale so much more when it is massaged. Yes, it sounds hilarious, but it is so much less bitter. Hence, a massaged kale salad for you today.ShreddedKaleSalad-2Laugh at me all you want until you massage your kale and realize you will be THAT person at a restaurant asking if the kale salad is massaged because you’re hooked.

Shredded Kale Salad w/ manchego, almonds and nectarine: serves 2

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
6 oz tempeh
1 bunch lacinato kale
2 green onions
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
Pinch of salt and pepper
4 cups spinach
1 nectarine
1/3 cup shaved manchego cheese
2 Tbsp. toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

1. In a medium skillet heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium high heat for 30 seconds.
2. Crumble tempeh into skillet and cook for 3 minutes. Set aside.
3. Wash kale and remove stems. Stack kale and cut into thin strips.
4. Wash green onions and thinly slice.
5. In a small bowl mix apple cider vinegar, honey and salt and pepper.
6. Slowly whisk in 3 Tbsp. olive oil into the vinegar until well combined.
7. In a large bowl mix kale, green onions and half of dressing. Massage kale with hands for 1 minute.
8. Add spinach to kale and toss.
9. Wash nectarine and slice. Add nectarine, tempeh, manchego, almonds and remaining dressing to the salad and mix well.
10. Salt and pepper to taste.


Coconut Quinoa + Roasted Vegetables + News!

Coconut Quinoa 1I recently asked my friend Becky Reams if I could help out as her sous chef for her awesome pop up brunch, Bang Bang Brunch. It was so refreshing and fun to work alongside another chef and see their work flow, their vision and execution. I say this mainly because even though I work with people, I am the only chef at my company and sometimes it can get lonely when no one else is nerding out about the organic produce box that came in or my new kitchen tools. You should really check out Becky’s pop up brunch if you are in the L.A./Pasadena area. The location changes each month and is always in a cool space!

In other exciting news, I taught a cooking class this past Sunday to some of Daniel’s awesome co-workers! We made a 4-course brunch + hibiscus and grapefruit mimosas+ sparkling herbal tea and it was so fun. I love sharing my excitement for food and helping people feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen. This class made me realize how much I miss teaching, in particular, teaching cooking classes. I used to teach high school students when I was working for HealthCorps and I think it’s the best way I know how to connect to people. So my friends, I will be teaching more classes in the near future! If you are in the L.A. area and want to know more, e-mail me or send a message via my contact form.

This quinoa recipe is an example of the way I like to eat: healthy grains+lots of veggies+fresh herbs+interesting sauce. I will make something like this for dinner and then it makes excellent leftovers for lunch either as a cold dish or reheated.

Coconut Quinoa + Roasted Vegetables: makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 cup red quinoa (or any quinoa you can find/have) + 1 Tbs of coconut oil, 1/2 tsp ground cumin and 2 garlic cloves (peeled) in the water. Cook according to package directions

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into big chunks, discard most of the stem

1 red bell pepper, cut into 4 big pieces

8 oz tofu drained

2 Tbs olive oil

Coconut oil spray or olive oil spray

1 large bunch of curly kale, cut into big pieces about 2″ in size

1 can of butternut squash soup (I used Amy’s organic brand)

1/4 cup of half and half

3 large handfuls spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1Tbs coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh herbs to garnish + avocado (I used basil and parsley)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay cauliflower, bell pepper (cut side up) and tofu on the sheet. Drizzle 2 Tbs of olive oil over the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the vegetables  halfway through.

2. Cook quinoa according to package directions + the coconut oil, cumin and garlic. Set aside with lid on top to keep hot. Discard the two garlic cloves.

3. Once the vegetables are done cut the tofu into cubes and the bell pepper into strips. Then lower the oven temp to 350 and place kale on the parchment paper. Spray with coconut oil spray and bake for 10-15 minutes until the kale gets a little crispy.

4. In a small saucepan, heat the butternut squash soup, 1/2 tsp cumin, salt and pepper, half and half and spinach on low heat until the spinach wilts a little and the sauce is hot.

5. To assemble in a bowl, put a base layer of quinoa. Layer the cauliflower, bell pepper, tofu and kale on top. Spoon about 1/2 cup of sauce over the vegetables. Garnish with fresh herbs and avocado.


Roasted Garlic Dressing + Lentil Salad

garlic dressingJust to prove that I actually do eat salads at work in between the buttery scones and chocolate….

Most of the time I just put olive oil and balsamic vinegar on my salads and call it a day. But I also see the benefit in making different salad dressings and not getting bored. This week I had a lot of leftover garlic, so I wanted to use it up before it went bad. I was also craving a healthy, crunchy and filling salad that day. garlic dressing2

Roasted Garlic Dressing + Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 whole heads of garlic, tops cut off to expose each clove

1/2 cup + a few teaspoons of olive oil, separated

salt & pepper

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup water

2 Tbs of apple cider vinegar

For the salad:

2 cups cooked lentils (I like to cheat and buy cooked lentils at Trader Joe’s)

1 1/2 cups raw broccoli florets, chopped

1 cup raw shredded carrots

1/3 cup roasted garlic dressing + more depending on how heavily dressed you like it

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil over the cut tops of the garlic and rub it into each clove, keeping the whole head intact. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on top and wrap each head in a piece of tinfoil, completely covering it. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, until tender. Allow to cool and pull out each clove with a fork or knife and set aside. Discard all the garlic skins.

2. In a blender put the water, 1/2 cup of olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, pinch of salt and pepper, apple cider vinegar and all of the garlic cloves. Blend until creamy. About 30 seconds- 1 minute. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

3. If you want to make the salad, toss the lentils, broccoli and carrots in a large bowl with the dressing. I like to eat this salad as is or over a bed of mixed greens with a side of grilled bread :).


Swiss Chard and Mushroom Galette

Mushroom GaletteI stumbled upon this recipe while browsing for vegetarian savory galette recipes and this caught my eye immediately. I loved the idea of using mushrooms and fresh herbs. I tried this recipe out at work and served it as an appetizer. I found that if you cut too small of pieces, the crust falls apart a little bit in the middle, so I suggest cutting it into 8 pieces or less. I also highly recommend letting it cool down so that the whole galette firms up and can truly be a handheld snack.

Swiss Chard and Mushroom Galette barely adapted from Bon Appétit. Serves 4 for dinner or 8 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Dough

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (I didn’t have on hand, so omitted it)

Galette:

1 cup ricotta (I wanted to add some more, so I used 1 1/2 cups total)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 oz. crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 bunch large swiss chard, ribs and stems removed leaves cut into bite size pieces

All-purpose flour (for parchment)

1 large egg, beaten to blend

1 cup mixed fresh tender herbs (such as flat leaf parsley, cilantro, dill and/or chives. Personally, I went with parsley, dill and chives, but only used about 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

Directions:

For the Dough:

1. Pulse all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and salt in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining.

2. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; drizzle with vinegar and ¼ cup ice water. Mix with a fork, adding more ice water by the tablespoonful if needed, just until a shaggy dough comes together; lightly knead until no dry spots remain (do not overwork). Pat into a disk and wrap in plastic. Chill at least 2 hours.

3. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

For the Galette:

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Season ricotta with kosher salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; season with kosher salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in same skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add half of chard, season with kosher salt and pepper, and cook, tossing, until slightly wilted. Add remaining chard and cook, tossing occasionally, until completely wilted, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat; season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Roll out dough on a lightly floured sheet of parchment to a 14” round about ⅛” thick. Transfer on parchment to a baking sheet. Spread three-fourths of ricotta over dough, leaving a 1½” border. Top with reserved chard, then mushrooms. Dollop remaining ricotta over vegetables. Bring edges of dough up and over filling, overlapping as needed, to create a 1½” border; brush with egg. Bake galette, rotating once, until crust is golden brown and cooked through, 35–40 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheet.

5. Toss herbs with lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl; season with pepper. Top galette with herbs, zest, and sea salt.


Caprese Salad w/ Balsamic Reduction

IMG_6276I’m going to hit you with a proud mama bear moment. As many of you know, I do not have kids of my own, but I consider my students to be my kids for now. I teach an after school cooking club at my high school and last Saturday our team competed in a culinary competition at a community health festival. We had prepared for weeks leading up to the event: testing recipes, practicing team work and communication, running through their presentation, checking and double checking safe knife skills.

We chose a Caprese Sandwich w/ Balsamic Reduction as our final recipe to submit for judging, which I could not have been more thrilled about. The flavors of fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil are perfection. To add a few unique twists to this classic combination, we used basil in the form of fresh pesto and balsamic reduction to add a little sweetness. Proud mama bear moment came when my students were announced as the winners of the cooking battle!

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The funny thing is that I tried to get into Home Ec class in high school, but it was full. I begged the teacher to let me in and told her about how crazy passionate I was about food and still, nothing. In my small town there was no after school activities dedicated to the culinary arts, so I was left to my own devices to experiment in my kitchen. I feel so blessed and honored to be able to provide a space and community where students can come to learn more about food, become confident in the kitchen and use the kitchen as a creative outlet.The inspiration for this post were the two left over packages of fresh basil I took home after the event. So this post is dedicated to my wonderful students who inspire me to be honest to who I am and relax more in the kitchen.

Caprese Salad w/ Balsamic Reduction: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups lightly packed spinach, washed
  • 8 large red lettuce leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh pesto dressing (recipe below)
  • 2 tsp balsamic reduction, separated (recipe below)
  • 10 cherry or small pearl tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 small mozzarella balls (ciliegine), quartered

Directions:

  1. Make your balsamic reduction and pesto (if you are making from scratch).
  2. Place spinach and red lettuce leaves in a large bowl and toss with the fresh pesto, making sure everything is well coated.
  3. Next add 1 tsp of balsamic reduction and toss.
  4. Add 3/4 of the tomatoes and mozzarella (save the rest for the topping) and lightly toss.
  5. Place salad on a large plate, sprinkle remaining tomatoes and mozzarella then drizzle with the last tsp of balsamic reduction. I like to add fresh cracked pepper too!

Fresh Pesto Dressing:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup walnut halves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 1/4 tsp of salt & pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, process the walnuts and garlic for about 1 minute. 
  2. Add the basil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Process for about 30 seconds and scrape down the sides.
  3. Next add the olive oil through the top as the processor is on. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides, but process until smooth and well mixed (about 2 minutes).

Balsamic Reduction

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan bring the balsamic vinegar and honey to a very light boil. As soon as you see it begin to boil, turn it down to a very low heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until it begins to thicken, stirring every few minutes. If you keep it at too high of a heat, it will become rock hard when it cools. Take it off heat and let cool while you prepare the salad. The reduction should resemble a syrup consistency.

 

 


Guest Post: Fresh Chopped Dijon Balsamic Salad

Dear readers,
It is finally here, the first guest post by my wonderful boyfriend, Daniel. Daniel is an official contributor now and you can expect to see some great recipes from him. If you want to know more about him, check this out: Contributors Page. Also, he is easy on the eyes…
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Ok, back to the food. Here is Daniel’s first post.
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Last night, I had a big urge for something fresh and green, but also wanted a little kick to it. Like most nights, time was short and I was hungry. I’ve been kicking around a dijon-balsamic combination for salads – a good mix of honey, coarse dijon, balsamic and fresh lemon (picked right from my parents’ garden!) – and I used it to dress up a fresh salad.
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After five minutes chopping avocados and bell pepper, mixing in a little tuna and throwing it all on some mixed greens, I came up with a delicious option for those week nights where you want to get in your crisp, savory greens for the week and don’t have an hour to spend on dinner.

Fresh Chopped Dijon Balsamic Salad: Serves 2 or 1 really hungry guy
Ingredients:
4-6 cups mixed greens
1 whole avocado, peeled and chopped
2 small bell peppers, chopped (I used red and yellow)
1 can albacore tuna
Dressing:
1 tablespoon clover honey
1 tablespoon coarse dijon mustard
1 tablespoon smooth dijon mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Directions:
1. Prepare dressing by blending honey and both dijon mustards in a small bowl with fork until mixed well. Drizzle in the balsamic and mix until the dressing is dark brown. Squeeze the half lemon and add salt and pepper to taste.
2. Layer mixed greens, chopped peppers, avocado and tuna in a large bowl.
3. Mix well with dressing.

Olive Oil Tasting in Ojai, California + Lemon Garlic Pasta w/ Swiss Chard #Ojai #sistertrip #olivegrove

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*Pictures from the Ojai Olive Grove were taken by my sister, the photographer behind Sorella Muse Photography and I took the pasta pictures. Don’t forget about the pasta recipe at the end of this post.

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I can’t recall where it came from or how it started, but recently, I have had this inexplicable desire  NEED to visit an olive grove. I had been dreaming of traveling to Italy or Spain and spending time on an olive grove to learn all about the production of olive oil, a product I can’t get enough of. Anyways, Italy and Spain are out of the question for right now as I can’t leave work and I need to save up money. But with a little research I found out I could fulfill part of this need with a local trip to Ojai, California, just a few hours from my house.

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I suggested to my sister that we take a sister day trip to Ojai, she was excited and then asked what inspired the trip…. I said, “olive oil of course”….. she said with a laugh, “ohhhh, you’re a special one”. This was the joke of the trip, that I would ask her to drive a few hours to see an olive grove and taste olive oil (it makes perfect sense to me). Plus, we had a lovely day filled with hiking and eating good vegan food, which I will feature in my next post! My sister offered to take the photos of our day trip, she is a very talented photographer. Seriously, you should check out her photos here.

ojai sign

Back to the olive oil. We drove up to Ojai Olive Oil Company and were immediately greeted by the intense smell of the olive trees. After finding our way to the office, in the green shelter, we jumped in mid-way through the tour in the tasting room (obviously my favorite part). The tasting room had several olive oils made on site from the 9 varieties of olives they grow and really unique vinegars that they import.

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With a toothpick in hand, I reached for my bread and began to taste the Tuscan, Signature, Ladera and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oils. I fell in love with their Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Next, I went for their balsamic vinegars, trying the Cinnamon-Pear, Blackberry-Ginger, Fig, Pomegranate and Raspberry. I knew from the first taste that I had to have the Fig Balsamic.

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After tasting, we got a tour of the facility and grounds. I learned many great facts about olive oil trees and production:

#1 Color of Olives: goes from green to red to blue to purple to black. Depending on the geographical location, olives are picked at different times. Ojai Olive Oil Company picks their olives when they are black.

#2 Season: olives blossom in April/May and are picked anywhere from October- early January.

#3 Waiting Time: they wait 5 years to harvest olives from a new tree.

#4 Process: Ojai Olive Oil cold-presses their olives within hours of picking.

The people at Ojai Olive Oil Company could not be nicer, I really enjoyed the tour and highly recommend a day trip out to Ojai to experience this unique insight into the production of olive oil.

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Now I obviously had to give you a good recipe inspired by this amazing olive oil that I took home! I wanted to make a simple pasta dish that highlighted the great flavor of this oil and incorporated some vegetable of course. I played around with the fresh flavors of olive oil, lemon, and organic red swiss chard to make this beautiful dish.

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Lemon Garlic Pasta w/ Swiss Chard: Serves 2

Ingredients:

4 oz whole-wheat thin spaghetti

2 tbs good quality olive oil ( I used the Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

1 tsp dried oregano

zest of half a lemon (make sure you wash and dry the lemon before you zest it)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 large garlic cloves, minced

pinch of sea salt and black pepper

3/4 cup sweet grape tomatoes, washed quartered

3 large leaves of organic red swiss chard, washed, destemmed and sliced into thin strips

Directions:

1. In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. I  like my pasta al dente, so I cooked it for about 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. Combine olive oil, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix well.

3. In a medium saute pan, heat 1 spoonful of the olive mixture for 1 minute. Next add the tomatoes and let cook for about 3 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add the remaining olive mixture and swiss chard, cook for an additional 2 minutes.

4. Add the pasta to the sauce, mix well and heat for an additional minute, then serve.


The Perfect Gluten-Free Cheesecake & Thanksgiving Dinner

If you read my very first post on this blog, then you know that my mom is WONDERFUL. There are many great things about her, but for now, I will highlight her instinctual ability to choose DELICIOUS dessert recipes! We decided to do a completely gluten-free Thanksgiving meal this year to make sure everyone could happily try all the food. The best part of the entire meal? The Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap-Walnut Crust from EatingWell that my mom chose.

Menu: Turkey, Orange Cranberry Sauce, Brussel Sprouts, Apple-Sausage Cornbread Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Wine, Champagne, Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap-Walnut Crust, & Sweet Potato Pie

Wednesday morning I woke up with a smile on my face, anxious to begin baking. But I always have to remind myself to slow down and make baking an enjoyable experience, which means making a cup of tea or pouring a glass of wine (depending on the time of day), putting some great music on, and ALWAYS reading the recipe again so that I avoid the disastrous situation of “how much of this was I supposed to put in again?”. I was intrigued by the use of cottage cheese in this recipe and I must say, a little skeptical as well, but I was thrilled that this recipe was a lower-fat and healthier version of the original cheesecake. I was holding my breath from Wednesday afternoon to our Thanksgiving meal, hoping that this lightened-up version did not sacrifice flavor. The verdict was a resounding, “OMG, are you kidding me?! This is AMAZING”. Not only could I breathe again, but I was delighted by the creamy, delicious, perfectly pumpkin-spiced and ginger crunch experience in my mouth. Seriously, I still can’t get over how good it is. This cheesecake is destined to become a holiday tradition.

I was so excited to start eating that I forgot to take pictures of all the food on my plate!

mmmm….. finally!

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for everyone in my life.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap-Walnut Crust: From Eating Well

Serves 12

My notes:

  • Wrap the bottom in tinfoil VERY tightly and make sure there are no holes! I found a small hole in my tinfoil, so some water leaked in and got the perimeter of the crust soggy. However, don’t fret if this happens, it still tastes amazing.
  • I used 1/2 cup raw cane sugar instead of refined white sugar.
  • I toasted the walnuts for the topping and personally think candied walnuts would have been a little too decadent, but it depends on how sweet you want it.