Chickpea Blondies (GF)

food, healthy

It is so crazy that food and health geeks have discovered that the use of legumes in desserts is a tasty and healthy replacement for flour and oils. While all-purpose flour has little nutrition value, beans pack protein, Vitamin B-6, and potassium, perfect for all types of people, especially. If you shop smart, chickpeas are actually ridiculously cheap. At my local grocery store, the chickpeas are $1 for a 15 oz. can or $1 for a 16 oz. bag of dried chickpeas. Dried chickpeas are much cheaper for the amount you are getting so I do opt for the dried type. The recipe I made is not vegan, but I have included a substitution to where it can be made vegan.

The cons about dried chickpeas are that you must soak them and boil them, but with planning ahead, dried chickpeas have worked fine for me.

So how do I soak chickpeas? I have a water boiler that boils water in a mi. ute so I first wash the dried chickpeas under running water, then pour boiling water over the chickpeas and allow it to soak for at least 4 hours. The chickpeas are then good to go, so very little preparation is required. The longer you soak, the better, but do not soak past 24 hours otherwise the chickpeas will sprout.

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Chickpea Blondies

yield: 14-16 bars squares (baked in a 9 x 12 pan)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 c. almond butter
  • 1 large egg OR 1 flax egg for vegan option (flax egg= 1 tbsp. ground flax/chia + 3 tbsp. water)
  • 1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. liquid sweetener
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/3 c. dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  1. Grease pan or line with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Using paper towels or a clean dishcloth, dry the chickpeas and place into a food processor along with all other ingredients except the chocolate chips.
  3. Pulse the mixture until it is creamy and fully incorporated.
  4. Pour in the chocolate chips and pulse for 5 seconds until combined.
  5. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, cool for 10 minutes before cutting in and enjoying the goodness!

Bars are best when fresh out of the oven and served with a glass of cold milk. Store in an airtight container and place in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Please feel free to make the vegan option. I personally like the non-vegan version better because it was a bit fluffier, but the vegan one is delicious as well. It is more dense and more fudgy.

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Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce (Vegan)

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I am actually allergic to several foods, including tomatoes. Ugh!! I know!! How do I eat pasta, ketchup, or so many other savory dishes with tomato? Luckily my allergy is mild and I can enjoy tomatoes without too much suffering. The best thing for me is simply to avoid them as much as I can (which is almost impossible). However, I have realized that in this food era where people are making cauliflower lemon bars, chickpea brownies, and other unconventional foods, pasta sauce does not necessarily need to be made from tomatoes. When coming up with ideas, I realized that naturally red-ish vegetables are pretty much limited to carrots and red bell peppers. Some day I’ll experiment a carrot pasta sauce but I experimented with red bell peppers and the result was an absolute hit!

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Extremely creamy, flavorful, and bright with colors. It’s salty with a slight hint of sweetness from the roasted bell pepper. I am in love with this sauce and I have already made it twice since last week. I made a simple pasta dish but will use it in a lasagna recipe in the future. I cannot wait for you all to try this! Because I am not vegan, I tested out a vegan and a non-vegan version and they taste quite similar so I will be posting the vegan version due to a now-high demand for vegan recipes.


Roasted Bell Pepper Sauce

yield: 2 c. sauce

ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 c. non-dairy unsweetened milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. nutritional yeast

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 F. Rub bell peppers with 1 tbsp. olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes until the outside is charred.
  2. Remove from oven and let bell peppers cool for 5 min.
  3. In a skillet, put 1 tbsp. olive oil and saute onions for 5 minutes until transparent and lightly browned. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  4. Remove the skins from the bell peppers. They should come off very easily.
  5. In a food processor, place the bell peppers, garlic, onions, milk, salt, and nutrition yeast. Pulse until the sauce becomes incorporated and is a light red color.
  6. Remove from food processor and serve immediately with pasta OR cook for an additional 5 minutes on the stove top.

This sauce can be consumed straight from the food processor or can be cooked on the stove after. I have tried both and found that both taste great. I did like to cook mine additionally on the stove top to heat it up and slightly cook the garlic.

This sauce is a huge crowdpleaser and will satisfy all your pasta cravings! Impress your vegan friends and make this sauce right now!

Crab Rangoon Bombs

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Crab rangoons are my weakness…. There is nothing better than cheesy, ooey goodness inside a crispy fried dough. It is certainly a cheat food because all that saturated fat should only be consumed once in a while. I don’t typically make them at home because I don’t like to fry at home, so I decided to make a baked version of crab rangoons in not wonton wrappers, but in a flaky crescent dough. I experimented with biscuit dough, but preferred the texture of crescent dough.

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BEWARE. These are extremely addicting and I could not stop eating these after I made them. Please have friends around so they can eat some before you eat them all!!


Crab Rangoon Bombs

yield: 10 bombs

Ingredients:

  • 1 can crescent dough
  • 6 oz. chopped imitations crab meat
  • 6 oz. softened full-fat cream cheese or neufchatel
  • 1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tbsp. chopped green onions
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Furikake or Japanese rice seasoning for garnishing (optional, but highly recommend)
  • 1 beaten egg or 1 tsp. melted butter for egg/butter wash (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, crab meat, mozzarella, green onions, 1 tbsp Furikake, and chopped green onions. Set the bowl aside.
  2. Roll out the crescent dough and press on the perforated lines so that the dough is one entire piece of dough. Cut the dough into 10 equal squares and set aside.
  3. Spoon 1 1/2-2 tbsp. of filling into the crescent dough and seal edges in the center so that you have a ball in your hand. Continue until all 10 are completely stuffed.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 F. and spray a baking pan with non-stick spray.
  5. Optional: Use a pastry brush and brush the egg wash or melted butter on the balls and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp. of Furikake seasoning.
  6. Place bombs onto the baking sheet, about 1 1/2 in. apart since they will expand. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before eating.

The bombs taste best when fresh out of the oven; when the cheese is gooey and the crust is flaky and warm. Beware of burning your tongue though! I may or may not have waited long enough for them to slightly cool and may have regretted my decision….

Low-Carb Chocolate Walnut Cake (Gluten-Free)

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Powdered peanut butter, or sometimes referred to by the common brand PB2, has gained widespread popularity within the last few years because of it’s crazy similarity to actual peanut butter while containing about only 12% of the fat. It sounds to good to be true, and in my opinion, it really was but it is true! PB2 is insanely tasty and while not as good as actual peanut butter, it is pretty much almost there. If I can get peanut nutrients without the oil.. count me in!

While playing around with a bottle of PB2 I purchased from TJ Maxx, I found that it works great in baking and making food items taste like peanut butter, but is actually not great for when you want to actually taste the texture of peanut butter. For example, I made a PBJ with peanut butter and was not a fan because it was too dry for my liking. However, smoothies, frozen yogurt, and baked goods are great ways to used PB2.

I’ve been trying to eat low-carb to hopefully improve GI comfort, so I experimented with  a low-carbohydrate chocolate cake with the recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste.

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Low Carb Chocolate Walnut Cake (Gluten-Free)

yield: 12 (4×3 bars)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. powdered peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 c. + 2 tbsp. honey or agave
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Spray a 9×9 baking pan with non-stick spray or line the pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine peanut powder, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, water, vanilla, honey/agave, and water. Add dry to wet ingredients and whisk until smooth. Stir in dark chocolate chips and walnuts and pour into baking pan.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until fully cooked.
  6. Cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then serve!

The cake is best served hot and is packed with protein! I take one or two bars to work to munch on when I am need of a snack.

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Savory Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancake)

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Hotteok is pretty much what dreams are made of: yeast dough stuffed with sweet or savory filling. It is very similar to pastries of other cuisines such as xian bing’s in Chinese cooking or paratha in Indian cooking, and the list goes on. The traditional filling is brown sugar and walnuts, but I wanted to do something different and stuff it with ingredients that I have not seen anyone try before. In my version of hotteok, I stuffed them with a combination of chicken, corn, and mozzarella cheese. Corn and cheese are very common in Asian baking, so I wanted to incorporate that into the hotteok.

Tips for making hotteok:

  • Stuff as much stuffing into the center without breaking the dough. 2-3 tbsp. of filling is best for the hotteok, but can be difficult to do without breaking the dough. To prevent this, roll the dough so that the edges are thinner than the center. Because the dough is stretchy, you can stretch the brim of the hotteok dough to the middle.
  • Hotteok seal becoming undone when cooking. When making the dough, seal the dough tightly and let the formed hotteok set for 20 min. before cooking
  • Burnt outside, raw dough inside. The flame of cooking must be in between low/middle with a lid on the pan. Flip the hotteok whenever a side has been browned. Do not walk away from pan!

Savory Hotteok (Korean Stuffed Pancake)

yield: 9 pancakes

Ingredients:

Dough (from Houseofnasheats.com):

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:

  • 1  c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. chopped cooked chicken meat (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese or mozzarella cheese cut into cubes
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. sticky soy sauce

Directions:

  1.  In a large bowl, stir together yeast, sugar, lukewarm water, and oil. Let the mixture sit for 8 min until yeast activates.
  2. Sift in the flour and salt and combine and mix. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until fully incorporated and cover the dough with a damp towel. Set the dough in a warm area around 75-80 degrees to let the dough double in size.
  3. In the meantime, lightly oil a pan with oil spray or vegetable oil and saute the frozen corn until thawed, add chicken and sticky soy sauce. Saute on medium heat for about 5 min. Set aside to cool in a bowl.
  4. Punch the risen dough, and then cover and let sit for another 20 minutes.
  5. After 20 minutes, lightly flour a surface and knead the dough for about 30 seconds and cut into 9 even pieces. Into the cooled corn and chicken mix, add mozzarella cheese and combine.
  6. Using hands or a rolling pin, roll the dough out until about 3-4 in. in diameter with the outer edges thinner than the middle. Add in 3 tbsp. of filling (make sure to pack it in there otherwise pancakes will turn out to be mainly dough). This may be difficult without breaking the dough, but becomes easier with practice. Pull in the edges into the center and seal tightly. Flatten the dough into a pancake and set aside on a floured surface to allow to rise while you make the other pancakes.
  7. After all pancakes have been formed, let them sit for 10 min. for a last rising.
  8. On low-medium heat, lightly grease a pan and wait until pan is completely hot. Add in the pancakes (about 3 at a time) and cover with a lid. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on the first side or until golden brown, and then flip over to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove pancakes and repeat for all others.
  9. Eat hotteok fresh out the pan when cheese is nice and gooey.

Note: the Pancakes freeze extremely well. I recommend cooking them and then freezing some if you cannot finish them within the next 5 days. You can microwave, pan fry, toast, or bake them out of the freezer.

This is an easy recipe that requires a bit more time from dough making. I highly recommend making them on a weekend as a stress reliever!

Shrimp Ravioli w/ 10 Minute Tomato Blender Sauce

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Homemade pasta is quick and easy to make, and is seriously a game changer. Even without a pasta maker, one can simply make it utilizing a rolling pin and a few minutes of kneading! Keep in mind, pasta dough does not need nearly as much kneading as bread dough. Additionally, marinara sauce takes hours to cook, due to the necessary time needed to break down the fibers and sugars in the tomatoes. However, I have been testing for a quick tomato sauce and have found the perfect way to make homemade marinara sauce. It surely isn’t the same thing as stewed marinara sauce, but it is just as delicious, flavorful, and it’s difficult to even notice the difference. Now, let’s get down to the gist of it. The Ravioli dough can be found HERE and the shrimp filling and tomato blender sauce is down below:


Shrimp Ravioli

yield: 35-40 medium ravioli

ingredients:

ravioli filling:

  • 8 jumbo shrimp
  • 6 oz. ricotta
  • 1/4 c. packed frozen spinach (drained and water squeezed out)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp salt

NOTE: Garlic bread seasoning OR Italian seasoning mix + garlic powder can be substituted for garlic powder, oregano, parsley, and basil.

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and dollop 1 tsp of mix onto ravioli dough.
  2. Form the ravioli and allow it to set out at room temperature for 45 min. to dry.
  3. Once ravioli has been set out for 45 min, boil a pot of water with 1/2 tsp salt. When the water is boiling, throw in the ravioli and let them cook for approx. 6-8 min, or until dough becomes see through.
  4. Serve the ravioli fresh with a delicious pasta sauce! My 10 minute tomato blender pasta sauce is a savory sauce blasting full of flavor.

Tomato Blender Sauce

yield: 2 c. sauce

ingredients:

  • 4 roma tomatoes cut into chunks
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c. heavy cream
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. In a blender, blend the tomatoes and basil leaves until smooth.
  2. In a pot, melt the butter and sautee the garlic until lightly browned. Add in the blender mixture, and allow it to simmer on low for 5 minutes.
  3. Pour in all the other ingredients and stir. Cover the pot with a lid and allow to simmer for an additional 4 minutes. Turn the heat off, and serve over the pasta or let the sauce sit in the pot, as it will thicken up.