Carrot Cake Energy Balls #EasterRecipes

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Today is my last post as part of the Easter Week with “Holiday Fun with our Blogging Friends.” This week, 13 bloggers are sharing 46 recipes and tips to help you serve up deliciousness this Easter. Follow #EasterRecipes on social media to see what we’re serving up! I’ll be taking the Holy Weekend off from my computer and spending it with my family and friends.

Our brunch menu consists of those Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls I shared with you yesterday, eggs, and bacon. Our dinner menu will be my Parmesan Pork Tenderloin, a corn and green bean casserole from one of my cookbooks, and some crescent rolls on the side. For dessert, as is tradition, I’ll be making my grandmother’s Easter Pound Cake in her lamb mold.

To round out my carrot cake related offerings this week I provide you with a healthy option. These energy balls even qualify as raw vegan (assuming you leave off the drizzle of cream cheese icing)!

If you love carrot cake, you absolutely must stop everything you’re doing and make these energy balls. You won’t feel guilty in the slightest indulging in a couple.

Firecracker helped me make them – aka he dumped ingredients into and pushed the buttons on the food processor – so he knew there were a bunch of carrots in these treats. Even if I called it a cookie he wouldn’t actually try a bite.

Treat on the other hand, inhaled two of them with his lunch! He had two more of the bunch later in the week, too.

I brought them to Bible study, as I knew one of the moms follows a raw vegan diet. I brought that Caramel Apple Dip as planned, but as we’d made these carrot cake bites the day before, the lightbulb went off and I knew I had to leave cream cheese icing off half of them. They were greatly approved and appreciated.

You can customize these balls to suit your tastes, too. Use any nut you like and any nut or seed butter in your pantry. I actually used a honey sunflower butter!

Carrot Cake Energy  Balls

Ingredients:

  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and halved
  • 1/2 C pecans
  • 1 tbsp sunflower butter
  • 1 C quick oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • cream cheese icing (optional)

Steps:

  1. Pulse carrots in a food processor until finely shredded. Remove and set aside.
  2. Place the dates and pecans in the food processor and pulse until combined. Return the carrots to the food processor along with the remaining ingredients. Pulse until the mixture starts to come together.
  3. Form into balls. If the mixture is too thin, add a little more oats; if it’s too dry, add a little extra sunflower butter.
  4. Optional: Thin out the icing with milk. Drizzle over the energy balls.
  5. Store in refrigerator up to a week.

*This recipe is adapted from http://www.superhealthykids.com/no-bake-carrot-cake-bites/*

Carrot Cake Energy Balls | Sew You Think You Can Cook | #EasterRecipes

Be sure to check out these other Easter recipes:

Baked Eggs with Tomatoes by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Hot Cross Buns by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Classic Peanut Butter Confetti Bars by Making the Most of Naptime

Easter Muddy Buddies by Family Around The Table

Honey Cinnamon Quick Bread by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Linda’s Famous Carrot Cake by Cooking With Carlee

Mini Easter Cheesecake Bites by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

In case you missed them, here are the #EasterRecipes from the first half of the week:

Monday

Deviled Ham Bites by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

30 Minute Dinner Rolls by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Easy Pecan Sticky Buns by Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids

Easy Citrus Ham by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Sausage and Vegetable Strata by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus With Lemon Herb Sauce by Tip Garden

Strawberry “Carrots” by Family Around The Table

Easter Malted Milk Dip by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks

Sharadan’s Lemon Blueberry Parfaits by Cooking With Carlee

Easter Egg Cooking and Dyeing Tips and Tricks by Palatable Pastime

Tuesday

Italian Easter Bread by Palatable Pastime

Carrot Cake Pancakes by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Torta Salata Pasquale by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Dill Roasted Radishes by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Parmesan Asparagus by Family Around The Table

Praying Arm Pretzels by Amy’s Cooking Adventures

Creamy Coconut Mini Tarts by Making the Most of Naptime

Wednesday

Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls by Sew You Think You Can Cook

Cinnamon Crescent Rolls by Tip Garden

Individual Easter Breads by Cooking With Carlee

Tomato Asparagus Quiche by Caroline’s Cooking

Peeps Whoopie Pies by Palatable Pastime

Rosemary Garlic Herb Rib Roast by Family Around The Table

Honey butter Peas and Carrots by Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Pea and Pasta Salad by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Roasted Eggplant Salad by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Honey Garlic Baked Cauliflower

As cauliflower continues to gain in popularity, I’m excited to say that we’re finally on that bandwagon. Though to be honest, I still haven’t been able to convince myself to try it raw. Don’t ask me why, it makes no sense.

I decided to delve into that cauliflower enjoyment and search my Pinterest account for any previously saved recipes that I’d forgotten about. Immediately this pin for Honey Garlic Baked Cauliflower called out to me with its stunningly mouth-watering photography.

I made the recipe as directed the first time and while we enjoyed it, it was missing something. I kept thinking, “This needs veggies!” which is hilarious as the entire dish was veggies. That, right there, should tell you that you won’t be missing the meat at all.

We were forced to eat the prepared cauliflower cold as we were dealing with some child(ren) meltdown(s) while simultaneously waiting for the brand new rice cooker to cook some rice.

I determined that the breading wasn’t necessary and decided to try again for lunch later that week. I know it’s “honey garlic” cauliflower, but the garlic was too strong so I toned that flavor down a touch, too. And to get that “desire for something green” I added some frozen edamame to the dish.

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My version is perfect for lunch or a weeknight dinner. It serves 2.

Honey Garlic Baked Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp sriracha
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/3 C frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • cooked rice, for serving

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place cauliflower on a lightly greased baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 20 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat the honey, soy sauce, sriracha, garlic, and onion powder until combined and warmed through.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Slowly pour into the sauce, whisking continuously. Bring to a simmer and cook a couple of minutes until sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Toss cauliflower and edamame in as much of the sauce as desired. Serve immediately over cooked rice.

*This recipe is modified from Kirbie at http://kirbiecravings.com/2016/01/honey-garlic-baked-cauliflower.html*

Honey Garlic Baked Cauliflower | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Wild Rice and Carrots from The Migraine Relief Plan

When the opportunity arose to review The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver I jumped on it. While I’ve been lucky enough, at least in these first 28 years of life, to not be a sufferer of migraines, migraines do run in my family. My grandmother, great uncle, aunt, uncle, and mom have all dealt with varying versions of them. As a young child even my brother would suffer from headaches! Thankfully he’s outgrown them. I hope that means our family history of migraine attacks ends with our generation.

My mom’s headaches seem to be the least severe of the group, but I remember not even being allowed to utter the word “headache” around her, resorting to simply calling them an “H” when I was younger. I don’t know if that’s still the case, but I won’t use the word in her presence to this day. My aunt seems to suffer the most of the bunch and continues to get severe migraine attacks. These migraine attacks would result in days spent in bed and helped contribute to an early retirement. I can’t wait to share this book with her. As a doctor, I know she would appreciate the amount of research Stephanie put into developing the Plan. When I asked if it’d be okay to mention her in this blog post, I discovered that she’s already heard of the book and I look forward to giving her more information about it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of The Migraine Relief Plan in exchange of my honest review. This post also contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health is an incredible resource for anyone living with migraines. Stephanie is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. She has a Master of Public Health in Nutrition Education from the University of Illinois. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA.

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The book is broken down into 5 parts: Creating the Plan, The Plan, Maintaining the Plan, Creating a long-term lifestyle, and Migraine-friendly recipes and meal plans.

In Part I you’ll read about Stephanie’s story. Part II explains the 8 week Plan. Stephanie’s 8 week plan is a perfect way to completely change your eating habits and lifestyle without “quitting cold turkey.” Even as a non-migraine patient I can look to her plan for ways to improve my own lifestyle. While near every processed grocery item contains “triggers” Stephanie’s well thought out way of eating and cooking is a fantastic guide for cutting out those boxed and packaged foods. (Something we said we were going to do when we moved back in April that still hasn’t happened…) Part III takes you through months 3-6 on the Plan, focusing on adjusting your lifestyle to reduce the onset of migraine attacks. Part IV is all about how to maintain your new lifestyle by slowly, thoughtfully, and carefully introducing potential trigger foods into your diet. Part V contains over 75 recipes to make your journey along the migraine relief plan delicious. Each recipe includes nutrition facts, helpful cook’s note, budget friendly indicator, and diet indicators.

I think the biggest game changer is cooking without salt. I’ve already tried 4 recipes from this book and not once did my husband comment on a lack of salt. Honestly, I was shocked! Stephanie has really succeeded in creating recipes that are full of flavor and healthy.

I made Herbed Cheese Spread (which I used as a pasta sauce for a quick dinner), Firehouse Turkey Chili, and Peachy Pulled Pork. All three were adult and kid approved!

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The recipe I’m featuring today is Wild Rice and Carrots. We served this side dish next to simply sautéed fresh tilapia for a great weeknight dinner. I had the leftover rice for lunch the next day. It’s been a while since I’d cooked with carrots and we found them to be delectable! They’re perfectly tender and subtly sweet. Wild rice was fun to work with, too! I think I’d only ever had the grain once before and I’m looking forward to utilizing it more as a side dish option.

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Recipe photography copyright 2016 by Laura Bashar

Wild Rice and Carrots

Ingredients:

  • 2 C (500 mL) filtered water or unsalted chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 C (150 g) wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil or unsalted grass-fed butter
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 ribs celery, finely minced
  • 1 handful fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. In a medium saucepan set over high heat, combine the filtered water and rice. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on for at least 10 minutes.
  2. In a large skillet set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the carrots and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Stir in the rice, parsley, and black pepper. Cook 1 minute more until everything is warmed through.
  3. Serve right away or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days.

Vegan/Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free

Cook’s Note: Wile rice is only grown in North America and may not be available overseas. You could substitute a hearty brown rice instead. I wash the parsley, then roll it up in a clean kitchen towel to help absorb extra moisture. Finely chop just before adding to the recipe.

Budget friendly: Very

Per serving: 6 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 54 mg sodium, 381 mg potassium, 4 g fiber

*This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Migraine Relief Plan, copyright 2016 Stephanie Weaver. Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, Inc.*

Wild Rice and Carrots from #TheMigraineReliefPlan from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Because my carrots were smaller than the ones photographed by Laura Bashar, I used 5 little colorful organic carrots instead of 2 large ones. Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly to very happy reviews. I used water to cook my rice and olive oil for sautéing the veggies.

#FoodieExtravaganza: Popcorn

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This month’s #FoodieExtravaganza theme is popcorn. TheFoodie Extravaganza is a monthly party hosted by bloggers who love food! Each month we incorporate one main ingredient or theme into recipes to share with you. Thanks to Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla for hosting this poppin’ party.

There wasn’t any question about whether I’d participate in the first Foodie Extravaganza of 2017.

Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Or meals… Truth be told, one of my favorite things to do with my mom is have a dinner of popcorn while watching movies (or catching up on Once Upon a Time).

The thing I miss most about movie theater dates is 80% the movie theater popcorn and 20% getting lost in a movie plotline. We got the chance to see Fantastical Beasts and Where to Find Them in early December when my parents were visiting and while the theater was great with insanely comfy seats, the popcorn was a letdown. I’d be way more upset about it if it weren’t a Harry Potter franchise movie.

The at-home popcorn snack I’m sharing today is spicy and savory. It utilizes za’atar, an herbal spice blend popular in Middle Eastern cuisine. I’d heard of the seasoning watching Food Network and when my sister-in-law asked if there was a spice I wanted to try, I instantly had an answer for her. I’m looking forward to exploring more uses for it, but this popcorn pretty much hits it out of the park.

Spicy Za’atar Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • canola oil
  • 1/2 C popcorn kernels
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp za’atar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne

Steps:

  1. Put canola oil in pot over medium high heat along with 2-3 kernels of popcorn. Cover and stand by. Once you hear the kernels pop, add the 1/2 C of popcorn. Cover and cook over medium heat until popping slows. Gently shake the pot during the popping process so as not to burn the popcorn at the bottom. Remove from heat and remain covered until popping has ceased, unless you want to be pelted with popcorn. (If you have another method of popping popcorn, feel free to use it.) Place popcorn in a large bowl.
  2. While popcorn is still hot, add the remaining ingredients and mix to distribute flavors evenly.

*This recipe is adapted from Stephanie at http://www.thekitchn.com/vegan-party-or-anytime-snack-z-136417*

Spicy Za'atar Popcorn for #FoodieExtravaganza from Sew You Think You Can Cook

Be sure to check out these other popcorn recipes:

Hubby’s Vanilla Caramel Popcorn by Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Kirsten’s Popped Corn Crack by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Parmesan Popcorn with Lemon & Thyme by Caroline’s Cooking

Pepperoni Pizza Popcorn by Food Lust People Love

Popcorn Cornbread by Palatable Pastime

Popcorn Pairings (Yes, With Wine) by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Spicy Za’atar Popcorn by Sew You Think You Can Cook

White Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Popcorn by Hardly A Goddess

White Chocolate Popcorn by Sneha’s Recipe

If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Autumn Salad

After a few weeks of less than healthy eating I was craving a good salad. A salad that would qualify as dinner.

I immediately went to my vegetarian/vegan cookbook,  The Vibrant Table. Most of the recipes I was itching to make were better suited for spring and summer produce, but I found a beautiful autumn salad that caught my eye.

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

This salad involved a lot of ingredients that we love – beets, Brussles sprouts, apples and pears. I had to swap the use of squash for sweet potatoes due to my allergy, but it worked perfectly, and also falls under the favorite food category. Persimmons were called for as an optional ingredient for adding to the salad and conveniently I had one sitting on my counter from the farmer’s market.

If you’ve never worked with a persimmon, I suggest you find one while they’re readily available this fall. It’s a fruit (berry, technically) that looks like an orange tomato. I thought it had a taste vaguely similar to a sweet apple but with a texture of a grape without the “pop.”

I was bummed to omit the pear as my husband grabbed the last one for his mid morning snack, but honestly, there was enough going on in this salad that it wasn’t missed.

As mentioned, there’s a lot happening in this salad. It’s not one to be whipped up 15 minutes before you’re hungry.

The night before I cleaned and prepped the Brussels sprouts, toasted the pecans, and roasted the beets.

Day of, I roasted the Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and apples. Made the dressing. Warmed up the beets. And assembled the final product on a bed of spinach and arugula.

Autumn Salad

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1/2 C pecan halves
  • 2-3 mini red beets, quartered
  • 4-5 mini candy beets, quartered
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided use
  • 2 apples, sliced in wedges
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cleaned and halved
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 pear, sliced (optional)
  • 1 persimmon, sliced
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach
  • 2 handful baby arugula

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/2 C roasted apples
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast 8 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Put red beets in a foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Put candy beets in a separate foil pouch, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, S+P. Roast 35 minutes, until tender.
  5. Place apples in a baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Toss Brussels sprouts and sweet potato with remaining olive oil, S+P, and paprika. Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 10 minutes, flip, roast another 10 minutes, until tender.
  7. Make dressing: Blend 1/2 C roasted apples, molasses, vegetable oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt. With the motor running, stream in the olive oil. If needed, add up to 2 tbsp water to thin the dressing.
  8. Assemble salad: Place roasted veggies and fruit, nuts, and fresh fruit over a bed of spinach and arugula.

*This recipe is modified from The Vibrant Table*

Autumn Salad | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Now that we’ve closed the door on Halloween, it’s comfort food season.

You totally thought I was going to make some joke regarding Christmas.

Nope!

There won’t be a hint of Christmas (well, except for getting a start on my Christmas gift shopping) happening in my house until after Thanksgiving! That’s right people, there’s another holiday (at least in the US) before putting up that tree. (You hear me, Mom?!)

Sorry for that little rant there….

Back to salad.

Salad? What?

Yes. Salad.

Even amid the sea of hearty baked casseroles, you still need to eat something a bright and fresh and a salad with hints of fall is the perfect way to break up your weekly menu.

I served this walnut dressing over a salad of Brussels sprouts, spinach, and romaine lettuce. The “mix-ins” included walnuts, bacon, and apple. Dried cranberries or cooked chicken would work great, too!

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 1/2 C walnuts
  • 1/4 C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Steps:

  1. Place all ingredients except oils into a blender. Blend until smooth.
  2. With the blender running, pour in the oils. Add a little water, if needed.

*This recipe is adapted from Monica at http://www.theyummylife.com/recipes/38*

Maple Walnut Vinaigrette | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

#ChoctoberFest: Chickpea Cocoa Dip

#Choctoberfest

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think today’s offering might be my favorite recipe of my #ChoctoberFest menu.
Friends of ours brought this chocolate hummus dip to Firecracker’s birthday party and it was a huge hit. Kids and adults alike couldn’t get enough of it! I’d been dying to make it at the house and here was my perfect opportunity.
I was a little nervous that Firecracker wouldn’t go for it, as homemade hummus is not “real” hummus and he won’t touch it if it’s not out of a store bought container. However, as this dip doesn’t have tahini it’s not technically a hummus variation anyway, it’s simply a sweet bean dip.
I got him to help me in the kitchen and simply told him we were making chocolate. He couldn’t be more ecstatic. He absolutely loves to help in the kitchen and his current favorite phrase is “need any help?” almost to the point of annoyance, but I do want and need to encourage this helpful attitude!
I broke out the step stool and had him push the buttons on the food processor. (Treat looked on in anticipation.) He kept informing me it was ready in his impatience to eat some chocolate. He did a fabulous job waiting until after I took some photos before I handed him his own little snack kit of dip, pretzels, and apple slices.
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If you’re looking for a guilt-free way to satisfy that chocolate craving, I encourage you to break out the food processor for this snack.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip
Ingredients:
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Steps:
  1. Place garbanzo beans in a food process and pulse a few times. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Enjoy with pretzels and fruit.
Chickpea Cocoa Dip for #ChoctoberFest from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway and be sure to check out the other bloggers who posted more chocolate recipes today: