Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes (gluten free, vegetarian, delicious!)

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Happy Thursday, guys! I haven’t posted a recipe in a while…I totally admit to neglecting my blog a little bit. I have been taking my 200 hour yoga certification class which I have been putting off for YEARS. But it is totally LIFE changing!! On top of that, and my other full time job and teaching yoga and being a mom and oh yeah planning a wedding…I totally put this on the back burner for a hot minute. BUT–I am back with an awesome recipe. I have never used Spaghetti Squash in this way. These babies took me back to the days of growing up eating homemade potato pancakes! These are made with cooked quinoa, spaghetti squash, kale (you can use spinach if you want), parmesan cheese, gluten free flour and eggs. So simple, yet they were soooooo delicious. Let me know what you think!!

What you will need:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash, cooked previously (I did mine a day before)
    • Heat oven to 425 degrees and cut squash in half. Remove seeds and center. Spray with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook cut side down so the outside of the squash is facing up for 35 minutes or so until the squash is nice and soft and you can scrape (just to check if it’s done) the edges to see the “spaghetti”. LET COOL and then finish scraping the sides so all the “spaghetti” shows!!! After, try squeezing as much water out of the “noodles” using paper towels over the sink. You can store the spaghetti squash in the fridge for up to 5 days which helps remove the liquid in it. I waited only one day.
  • 2 cups COOKED quinoa
  • 2/3 Cup flour (I used Red Mill’s All purpose gluten free flour)
  • 1 cup uncooked, finely chopped Kale (or whatever green you would like)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • Green onion for topping
  • sour cream or greek yogurt for topping
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. In a kitchenaid or bowl with hand mixer add the 2 eggs and beat on high for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add flour and beat on medium to combine – another minute or so.
  3. Add spaghetti squash, quinoa, kale, garlic, and cheese and mix on medium until fully combined.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat a pan on extremely high heat (the cakes will stick unless the pan in hot).
  6. Then add some olive or coconut oil to the pan, it should sizzle and maybe smoke just a little bit.
  7. Drop a large spoonful of the batter 4 times onto the pan and use a spatula to round out the shape and flatten a little bit.
  8. Cook 2 minutes or so, I actually preferred the outside a bit crunchy so I would leave them on for a little longer.
  9. Then flip, cooking additional 1-2 minutes.
  10. Turn heat off of the pan and allow the cakes to chill in there still cooking for another 1-2 minutes (check if they are too burnt and skip this step if you want, I preferred to do this step every time).
  11. Remove cakes from pan and place on plate.
  12. Continue process until all batter is used.
  13. Season with salt and pepper, garnish with the green onion and add a dollop of sour cream or greek yogurt (preferably organic!!) if you would like for a classic potato pancake flavor.
  14. Enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy these cakes as much as my family did yesterday. It is a great way to get some extra veggies in your diet. Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Gooey Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, no butter, no refined sugar!)

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Happy Monday!! Did you guys have a good weekend? Ours was pretty relaxed, but the weather turned SUPER winter in the DC area. We are even expecting snow next weekend which I am extra excited for since my mom and sister will be in town visiting for the holidays.

Now to these cookies…can you believe I snapped these pics with my phone? #vscocam for the win!! I dislike wasting anything (food, water, energy, time, etc)…but there is something about bananas where they just ripen too quickly for us to eat them and then they are black. What to do, what to do? I usually freeze the peeled bananas and save them for smoothies which is great or homemade banana ice cream (I know, yum!). But since it is fall/feels like winter, I am coming up with recipes to use them for baking.

Bananas have a lot of natural sugar so it’s so easy not to have to add a lot of additional sweeteners. I stay away from refined sugar as much as possible so I sweetened these with one cup of maple syrup (that’s it!). Rather than butter I chose coconut oil and I used oatmeal and gluten free all purpose flour for the base. They are very banana in taste (I love banana, though) and if you are a PB lover like I am, drizzle some warm Peanut butter on top and then die of love for these cookies.

Enjoy!

What you need:

  • 2 small-med overly ripened bananas
  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup (the good stuff!)
  • 1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
  • 1.5 cups of gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups of all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 cup of organic chocolate chips or cacao chips (if using cacao chips, might want to add more sweetener such as agave!)

Directions:

  1. I used a kitchenaid but you can use a handheld mixer and one large bowl for this recipe. Combine the egg, bananas, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla, and beat on medium for about 3 minutes (should be on the runnier side than traditional cookies)
  2. Stop mixer, add oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and beat together for another minute.
  3. Stop, add chocolate chips and either hand mix with large spoon or beat on low to mix together.
  4. REFRIGERATE DOUGH FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS (up to 4 days!)
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit
  6. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet
  7. Using a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon scoop the dough and roll into little balls, placing on cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-13 minutes depending on the ripeness of your bananas and how long you refrigerate you might want to taste test and cook some more!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you (and non-wasteful!!), xo!

Non-Toxic Fragrant Fall Smells for your Home (DIY, Easy, Affordable!)

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Who doesn’t love a house that smells good? The unfortunate thing is that we are marketed to by companies that put nasty stuff in their products…toxins that fill your rooms and your family’s lungs…yuck. There is an EASY and affordable way to make your house smell good NON-TOXICALLY! I tried this recipe today and my house smells like I am baking a warm apple pie, without actually having to bake it (or eat it hahahaha). I am pretty sure Kiril will walk in being pretty excited and then disappointed, but hey, at least the house smells good.

What you need:

  • Orange Peels
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider (store bought)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Water and a small/medium pot

Directions:

  1. Boil water in pot with 1 cup of apple cider
  2. Once boiling, add apple, orange peel, cinnamon stick
  3. Reduce to a simmer
  4. Set timer for 30 minutes and add more water
  5. You can continue this throughout the day, just keep an eye on it!!

Enjoy your home smelling yummy and fresh!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Snacks on Snacks… (healthy and toddler approved!)

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Happy Monday, everyone!! Who doesn’t like snacks??? A few months ago Sofie used to call them “nacks” and would constantly say, mommy nack please…please mommy!!! Needless to say, nacks are the best. I find TONS of great options at Homegoods and TJ Maxx. A few online places I shop at are Amazon, Vitacost, and Jet.com.

I thought I would share some of our favorites with you. As a mom to a toddler, I know how important it is to always have some healthy snacks (that she actually likes) on the go. Most of these you can take with you!

Some of Our Favorite Snacks:

  1. Annie’s Organic Fruit Snacks…available at most grocery stores and online. Hard to tell who loves them more (Kiril or Sofia, haha!)
  2. Avocado Toast… Literally spread avocado onto a piece of toast and that’s it. If you want to get fancy you can season with pink salt and pepper, crushed red pepper, add roasted garlic, Sriarcha, whatever you fancy…goes great with eggs, too! (EASY BREAKFAST FOR THE WIN)
  3. Organic Dried Mango…Sofia’s absolute favorite fruit in the whole world. We buy the organic frozen mango cubes too and that’s another fun favorite. But these pouches are great to slip into our diaper bag and head on out for the day. I buy them in bulk from Amazon.
  4. Sustainable Indulgence Cookies… These are my favorite of this list. Put almond butter in between two and you have a yummy cookie sandwich. I found this brand at Homegoods–but they have tons of flavors. I recommend ordering online!
  5. Biena Chickpeas…So Kiril and I also found these in the snack section of Homegoods and after trying them he ordered an ENTIRE BOX of like, 40 bags. All different flavors (habanero, sea salt, cinnamon, etc). THEY ARE SO BOMB.
  6. Justin’s Nut Butters (Banana optional!)… These are sold at the grocery store. I like the little pouches but we also have the jar because let’s be honest, a spoon plus justin’s is heavenly
  7. Yogurt… Siggi’s is a pretty good brand of yogurt and Sofia’s favorite is Lifeway Organics. Both yummy and both Toddler Approved!

Hope you guys enjoy this list and have a chance to try some of these yummy treats. Happy nacking’!

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Maui Helicopter Adventure

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I am having major Maui withdrawal today!! I wanted to share the AirMaui helicopter experience with you. It was by far the most incredible adventure we have done together. If you haven’t been in a helicopter before – Don’t be scared! I was surprised with how smooth the ride was. When you are ascending it feels almost like going up in an elevator. We were required to watch a mini safety video and to wear life jackets (pictured above). Our pilot, Richie, was awesome! He provided so much knowledge of the land as we flew above it — from pointing out Maui’s waterfalls which are home to one of the tallest waterfalls in the world, to learning about the Hawaiian heritage and history…we can see now why Maui is consistently rated a top island in the world.

I know this blog is mostly based on health — it’s important to do things that invigorate and excite you. Traveling and experiencing new things definitely fuels my spirit. Hope you guys enjoy the photos and let me know if you end up taking a helicopter ride sometime! I am deeply, deeply grateful for this experience and being able to share it with Kiril.

 

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (no cane sugar, gluten free, healthy-ish…)

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Am I the only one who craves something sweet in the afternoon? We made these babies last night and they were sooooo good…they are all gone by the way (ahhh!). These were pretty easy to make. I adapted this recipe from DishingDelish, but I wanted to get creative and change up the white and brown sugar originally required. Next time, I am going to try coconut oil or coconut butter rather than the butter that this requires since I didn’t want to change up the recipe too much. How perfect would these be to bring for your next “friendsgiving”??? As you can see in the pics, Sofia enjoyed stealing all my chocolate chips and kept stealing cookies every time I turned around for ONE second!

***The keys to this recipe is to refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 20 minutes before baking in the oven, use room temperature butter, AND use parchment paper for an easy removal and cleanup. ***

Hope you guys enjoy baking these, they are definitely on my list to make for Thanksgiving this year. They pair really well with some unsweetened vanilla almond milk…YUM.

What you will need:

  • Organic Pumpkin Puree (1 can)
  • Parchment Paper
  • 1 and 3/4 cup of Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1.5 cups of Gluten Free Old Fashioned Uncooked Oats
  • 1 Cup of Coconut Crystals Sugar (this stuff is amazing and you should be able to find at your local grocery store or on Amazon!)
  • 3/4 Cup of Agave Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 sticks organic unsalted butter softened at ROOM temperature
  • 1 Large Organic Egg
  • 1 cup of mini semi sweet organic chocolate chips
  • 1½ tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp pink himalayan salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 Degrees Fahrenheit, prepare baking sheet with Parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl add flour, oats, coconut crystals sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and pink salt. Whisk together until well combined.
  3. In a different bowl mix together the egg, pumpkin puree, agave, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, along with butter.
  4. Using a hand mixer or kitchen aid, blend all ingredients together until well combined.
  5. Mix in chocolate chips gently with a large spoon.
  6. Place dough in refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 20 minutes.
  7. When dough is chilled, use a spoon to scoop dough onto cookie sheet, leaving about 2-inches of space between each cookie.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Remove and allow to cool…EAT UPPPP!

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you want to refrain from the butter, use coconut oil/applesauce/or bananas and let me know what you think!!! (this will be on my to do list)

Here’s to a healthy and happy you xo

P.S. I am so grateful for you guys and your support on this blog, thank you.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars, oh em gee.

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One more mommy, pleeeeease!

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Happy Monday! We left the DC area on Friday night and drove 14 hours straight to Florida (yes, it was soooo long.) Despite the drive I love coming down here to see family! I made these pumpkin bars before we left and brought them down with us for my parents and sister to enjoy. These were so yummy and easy to make. Definitely not overly sweet, more of a breakfast bar. I recommend drizzling almond butter over yours. I adapted a recipe I found at The Ambitious Kitchen…hope you all enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup organic canned pumpkin
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • Shredded coconut for topping
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup mini vegan chocolate chips plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top (my little helper is a chocolate chip thief!)
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8×11 or 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Prepare oat flour by putting oatmeal in blender or food processor and blend for a few minutes until all oats have been blended and mixture resembles flour.
  3. Measure 2 1/2 cups of the oat flour and place in a medium bowl. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, vanilla extract, oil, and banana and maple syrup for 1-2 minutes until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Slowly add in oat flour mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in mini chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips on top.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes and let cool briefly before slicing into squares
  7. Top with shredded coconut and serve as is or drizzle melted almond butter on top!

TIP: These bars can be frozen and reheated in conventional toaster or microwave…!

Perfect breakfast bar for fall! Hope you enjoy!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo

 

Gluten Free Sesame Peanut Noodles

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It’s FRI-YAY!! Yesterday was a very busy day! By the time dinner rolled around I was so tempted to just order something, but the more I cook the less I seem to like eating out, especially to-go food! Since we are leaving today for Florida I decided to use whatever I could find in my fridge, and voila…Sesame Peanut Noodles were created. I had sweet potato noodles already spiraled from Wegmans and I was craving a dish that was sweet, salty and a little spicy for a balanced palate.

Let me know if you guys make this at home! It was so simple and all family members said it was one of their favorites (although Sofia will eat a cookie that fell on the ground so I am not so sure her opinion counts on this issue, haha). Enjoy!

What you will need:

  • 1 Small Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Sesame Oil
  • Sesame Seeds for topping
  • Spiraled Sweet Potato Noodles
  • Brown Rice Noodles
  • Broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 Tsp fresh grated ginger
  • Zest and juice from half a lime
  • Thai Basil or regular basil (1 big handful or more!)
  • Pink Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Honey
  • Chili Garlic Sauce
  • Sriracha or Red Curry Paste to add spiciness (optional- I left this out because of Sofia)

Directions:

  1. Soak Sweet Potato noodles and rice noodles in water
  2. Boil Water with Salt for rice noodles
  3. Steam broccoli
  4. Mince Garlic, finely chop onion
  5. Boil rice noodles for 4 minutes
  6. Remove and pour cool water over to stop the cooking process
  7. In a large wok or pan, drizzle sesame oil and place garlic and onion in there stirring constantly for 3 minutes, season with salt and pepper
  8. Add fresh ginger, lime juice, zest, peanut butter, a teaspoon more of sesame oil
  9. Optional, add red curry paste or garlic chili sauce here to make spicy
  10. 2-3 minutes longer, when the mixture has become more sauce like, add the sweet potato and rice noodles
  11. Mix Sauce throughout, adding a little water if sauce is too thick
  12. Add broccoli and basil and continue to mix together
  13. Season with Cayenne, red pepper flakes, pepper
  14. Drizzle 1 tsp of honey, taste test! Add any other spices at this time for your palate!
  15. Serve and top with toasted sesame seeds and/or Sriracha

Bon apetit! Have a great weekend!! Follow me on Instagram: @missjessashley for instastories of our upcoming trips to Florida and Hawaii!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you, xo!

Creamy, Spicy Thai Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup (say that 3x fast)

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My little helper ❤

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FALL is SOUP season. This Thai Butternut squash soup is so freaking yummy. I am sharing the vegetarian version, but you can easily add shrimp or chicken to this if you want! Sofia gets so excited to cook and bake with mommy, I always find a job for her to do in every recipe- it’s such a joy to share this with her. She’s also the best taste tester! What I love about this recipe is that it can be made as spicy as you’d like depending on the amount of curry paste you add- the flavors balance so nicely and it warms your whole body from the inside. The flavors also marinate well overnight so you can enjoy the next day or freeze (OMG YES) and save for later!!

What you will need:

  • 1 Can of Organic Coconut Milk (save a little for topping soup after!)
  • 4 cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 2 Cups of Organic Veggie Stock
  • 1/2 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (this seriously makes the dish imo!)
  • 1 tablespoon red curry chili paste (or more if you’re up for it!)
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • Pink Salt, Pepper
  • Cilantro
  • Sriracha (for topping if you’d like it spicy)
  • A blender

Directions:

  1. Prepare the butternut squash (I LOVE to buy the one that’s already chopped up but in case you want to start from scratch).
    • Cut off each end of the squash
    • Peel the squash (Thank you Kiril for doing this part, it wasn’t that easy!!)
    • Cut and Cube, done! woo.
    • I found this video from The Kitchn here for additional help!
  2. Mince garlic, grate ginger, dice onion.
  3. Put tablespoon of coconut oil in large soup pot over medium heat.
  4. Place garlic and onion in pot, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes until onion is translucent and the smell is very fragrant! Season with pink salt and pepper.
  5. Add ginger and red curry paste (careful here, you can always add more later on after you taste test!)
  6. After another 3 minutes of continuous stirring add the cubes of butternut squash.
  7. Pour veggie stock directly over (it’s okay if it doesn’t cover all of the squash)
  8. Keep an eye on it until it starts to boil.
  9. Then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes, until squash is very tender.
  10. The tricky part here is to take the mixture in 2 batches, and blend in a blender. The consistency will be more like a puree.
  11. I like to pour the first blended batch into a bowl and then blend the second batch and pour both directly back into the soup pot.
  12. Once the contents are back in the pot, pour most of coconut milk in and mix together. Reserve the rest of the coconut milk for plating.
  13. Taste test and season with salt and pepper accordingly!
  14. Plate and top with Sriracha, coconut milk and cilantro!

This pairs really well with naan bread or coconut rice. Enjoy!!

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo

 

 

Life Hack #1 – Homemade Compost!

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Who doesn’t need a good life hack every now and then? Last week, Sofia and I made Gluten Free PB Banana Cupcakes  and we had banana peels and egg shells leftover. I decided that rather than throwing them away or put them in the food disposal, they could be repurposed! A few of our plants need some extra love so I decided we could make a super easy compost in the blender and voila…happy plants!

What you will need:

  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grinds
  • Banana Peels
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together adding water as necessary.
  2. Place spoonfuls on top of the soil.
  3. Water normally.
  4. Wait a few days, and the plants should be doing a little better!

I love finding ways to repurpose things and lessen our garbage output. This is a really great way to reduce and reuse 😉

Here’s to a healthy and happy you! xo