You always know when it’s spring in my family because that’s when there’s fresh, wild asparagus incorporated into nearly every dish. Asparagus was never something we would buy at the store when I was growing up since we always had so much of it growing around our property. Because of that, we only ate it seasonally, but we sure made the most out of asparagus season!
Sometimes we would just have it grilled or steamed with melted butter on top. Other times it would be pureed in asparagus soup or added to my mom’s famous veggie lasagna (hopefully a post on this coming soon). But one of my favorite spring dishes has always been asparagus risotto.
During my time volunteering at Healthy Community Kitchens, I learned how to make authentic risotto. It was only then that I realized that this recipe isn’t true risotto. That being said, risotto is one of those dishes that has to be very precise and takes some time to master. So while I work on developing that skill, enjoy this simpler baked version!
Makes 4, 1 cup servings
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
8 cup spinach leaves (about 4 oz)
2 cup vegetable broth*
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup fresh, grated Parmesan cheese, divided (2 oz)
1 1/2 cup diagonally sliced asparagus (about 1 inch pieces) **
Preheat oven to 400°F
Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice and stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.
Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus and sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.
*Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make it vegetarian.
**Also try substituting half of the asparagus with peas (as pictured).
Good morning! Today I’d like to share a simple banana snack cake recipe. It tastes like banana bread, but has a light, fluffy cake texture. I chose to use whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose and to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup to make it a little healthier.
You may also notice the aquafaba in the ingredients list. I go into this in a little more detail in my post on egg substitutes, but it’s basically just the water from the can of garbanzo beans.
The original cake recipe (from Brown Eyed Baker) also suggests topping it with cream cheese frosting. But you know what? I don’t think it needs it. Wait…what?? Me?! Saying it doesn’t need frosting?! I know that probably comes a shock, because if you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you’ve probably gathered that I love all things frosting, glaze, and ganache. But I honestly think the cake is sweet enough and moist enough on it’s own and the cream cheese was just a bit too tangy for me. (Maybe I just didn’t have enough sugar in the frosting 😉) That being said, if you want to make it more of a dessert cake than a snack cake, by all means go ahead and add some frosting! Enjoy!
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp sea salt
½ cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbs. aquafaba*
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium bananas)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ cup skim milk
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Grease a square 8 inch baking pan and preheat the oven to 350° F.
Before measuring any other ingredients, mash the banana to ensure you have the right amount. There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a recipe and finding out you don’t have enough of something!
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
Use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the aquafaba, bananas, and vanilla.
Now, stirring by hand, alternate between adding the milk and dry ingredient mixture until a batter comes together. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (with the exception of some melted chocolate). Rotate the pan in the oven halfway through baking.
The cake can be stored at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to 5.
*This amount of aquafaba is equivalent to 2 whole eggs.
I know, it’s another cheesecake post on what’s technically a clean eating blog. 🤷♀️🍷🍫But yesterday I teamed up with my sister Lauren and her friend Julia from Lauren and the Foreign to bring to you this rich, decadent cake. The base is an egg-free, chocolate cheesecake on a delicate graham cracker crust. Then I topped it with a sweet, homemade merlot reduction. It’s the perfect combination of cheese, chocolate and wine!
Be sure to click on the link above watch Lauren and the Foreign’s YouTube channel and check out their Instagram here!
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup melted coconut oil or butter
1 cup dark chocolate chips
2 Tbs. melted coconut oil or butter
2 8-oz. packages of 1/3 fat cream cheese (room temperature)
Put the graham crackers in a food processor and grind until they are just small crumbs. Add the sugar and pulse a few more times.
In a small bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs with the melted coconut oil or butter. Then press the mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.
Add approximately an inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler and melt 1 cup of dark chocolate chips on medium heat. Stir every few minutes and be sure not to get any water in the chocolate. When the chocolate chips are melted, remove from heat and stir in 2 Tbs. of melted butter or coconut oil. Allow the mixture to cool for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a large, deep bowl, combine the somewhat-cooled chocolate mixture, cream cheese, sugar, honey, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. Use an electric mixture to mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. Be sure to scrape down the sides every so often to ensure that everything is well combined. Be sure not to use the slowest setting and do not over mix.
Put the filling in the spring form pan and using a small offset spatula, smooth out the filling until it is even across the pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, making sure to not open the oven! Any rapid change in temperature or humidity can lead to cracking and caving.
Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for another 30 minutes, still not opening the door. When the time is up, let the cheesecake cool for approximately 30 more minutes before letting it chill and set up in the refrigerator for at least three hours and up to overnight.
While the cheesecake is baking, it is time to start the reduction! In a saucepan, add the sugar and merlot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for three minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool and set up.
Pour the merlot reduction on the cheesecake and smooth it out with a small offset spatula. Enjoy!
Make sure you put together the spring form pan correctly. Otherwise, oil from the crust will leak into the oven causing a huge mess. I’ve learned this the hard way. Three times to be exact.
Line a baking sheet with foil and put the spring form pan on it while baking. This will prevent any major mess in the event that some leakage does occur.
Allow the cream cheese to reach room temperature so that it mixes smoothly.
Again, whatever you do, do not open the oven until it is time to take it out. I know it’s tempting, but this is crucial to cheesecake success! This is also where it becomes imperative that the pan is put together correctly and a baking sheet is below the pan. If you have to open the oven to clean up burned butter as the house fills with haze, the cheesecake will surely cave in the middle. (Yes, I also learned this the hard way.)
If the cake does cave in, the ganache will likely fill the crater, but not the edges. What you can do to remedy the situation is make a little buttercream frosting and pipe a boarder around the cake. No one will know that it’s caved in and you get frosting too!
Don’t cover the cheesecake in the fridge until it is totally cool to prevent condensation from collecting on top. If this does happen, dab it off with a paper towel.
Good morning! Since everything is still closed due to the extreme cold, I figured it would be a perfect time to bake a batch of muffins. Although I’m only egg free, I decided to make this recipe totally vegan for those of you who are. The egg is replaced by flax seed and butter with coconut oil. To make the muffins a little healthier, I used whole wheat flour instead of white and reduced the sugar to only 1/4 cup since the orange juice and cranberries have enough sweetness of their own. The recipe is also super simple and will be ready to go in the oven in only a few minutes.
1 Tbs ground flax seed
3 Tbs hot water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup orange juice
Zest of one orange
1 cup dried cranberries
In a small bowl, mix the flax seed and water to form an egg substitute and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F and grease a muffin tin or line it with muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the “egg”, juice, oil, and zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until everything is moistened, being careful not to over mix. Gently fold in the dried cranberries.
Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter and bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!
Today I want to share a super simple bread recipe from It’s Always Autumn. There are only four ingredients and no kneading is required. All you need is flour, yeast, salt, and water! It’s crisp and chewy on the outside, but soft and delightful on the inside. Enjoy a slice or two alongside your favorite winter soup or by itself with butter and raw honey.
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir until the dough comes together into a cohesive ball. It will still be sticky, but that’s okay.
Cover the bowl and set aside for 8-24 hours at room temperature. When you’re ready to bake it, turn the dough onto a well floured surface, form it into a ball, and let rest for 30 minutes.
While the dough is resting, preheat the oven to 450° and place a baking dish with sides in the oven.
Remove the dish and grease with olive oil before placing the dough inside. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Enjoy!
Fall is finally here which means back to school as well as lots of opportunities for fall baking. I’ve been settling into apartment life for the past month and now that classes have started again, it’s hard to find time to actually cook wholesome meals. Thankfully I had yesterday morning free to do a little meal prep, including roasting some squash from my grandpa’s garden. It makes a perfect side with pretty much anything. This recipe is extremely simple and easy too (only three ingredients), so it’s perfect for this busy time of year. Enjoy!
1 Butternut squash
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut squash into halves vertically and scoop out seeds to discard. Place the squash skin side down in a glass baking dish.
Make three slices in each half of the squash, being sure not to cut all the way through. (See above photos.) This will allow the butter and brown sugar to flavor more of the squash.
Spread the butter evenly on both halves and sprinkle with brown sugar.
Bake skin side up for approximately 30 minutes or until the squash is soft a fork can be inserted easily.
Squash can be eaten as is or scooped out of the skins and mashed. Enjoy!
I’m not sure what took me so long, but just a few months ago I discovered that coffee is actually really good! Back in first and second grade, my school had Friday cooking classes. Well one fateful week, the recipe was coffee milkshakes. All it took was one sip and I didn’t touch coffee for ten years! Yeah, it was that bitter.
As it turns out though, I wasn’t actually scarred for life. One day, during my second semester of college, I thought I’d give it a try again just to see what I thought. Yes, I was in need of a caffeine source, but that honestly wasn’t the only reason. Besides, there’s only so much sleep coffee can replace anyway.
I decided to only try it black because I didn’t want to get hooked on any sugary drinks. To my surprise, though it was bitter, I kind of liked it! And ever since then I’ve been drinking coffee…and baking with it. Because let’s be honest, what goes better with a warm cup of coffee than a mocha chocolate chip scone?
Make the coffee syrup according to the linked recipe and set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flax and hot water to make an egg substitute. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in the butter and begin combining the ingredients using a pastry blender. Then, use your hands to make sure all the butter is evenly distributed and there are no large pieces left.
Add the half and half, coffee syrup, and vanilla to the flax mixture and give it a whisk.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl and stir until the ingredients come together. Again, you may have to use your hands to knead the dough since scones are by nature a little dry.
Fold in the chocolate chips.
Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into two pieces. Form each piece into a circle about two inches thick.
Cut each circle into eight triangular scones.
Place all 16 scones on the baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when they are done (with the exception of some melted chocolate chip).
While they are cooling, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze. I don’t have an exact recipe for it, so it can be adjusted based on your taste preferences. I recommend using roughly 1 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar and 2 Tbs. cocoa (more or less depending on how much chocolate flavor you want). Then add half and half and coffee syrup until the glaze comes together. The consistency shouldn’t be liquid, but it should be thin enough to drizzle over the scones. If you want a mild coffee flavor, use more half and half and if you prefer a stronger flavor, use more coffee syrup.
Drizzle the scones with glaze using a fork , whisk, or piping bag. Enjoy!