The Perfect Healthy Winter Snack

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Last week I shared with you my husband’s favorite seasonal sweet treat, and today I want to share with you mine.

Bruléed grapefruit: quick to make, chock-full of vitamin C and totally decadent despite its lack of calories or fat.

I was raised to enjoy a cold sugar-less grapefruit every morning in the wintertime. We always received big boxes full of them from my Florida grandparents. I still love the simplicity of the sweet and tart Ruby Reds eaten with serrated spoon. It’s one of the few cold things I can even think of eating this time of year. That said, when a friend introduced me a few years ago to the concept of broiling brown sugar on grapefruits, I was rather smitten.

Bruléed grapefruit is the perfect evening snack for me at the end of a long winter day. It’s sweet, warm and has got a little kick, but it’s not going to make me go to bed feeling yucky and full. Like most Ashtangis, I try to stick clear of eating a large meal in the evening before practice days, but sometimes I still get hungry once the sun goes down and I need a bit more sustenance after a full day on my feet at the flower shop.

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Thad’s Favorite Seasonal Sweet Treat

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The other morning as I was pulling out breakfast ingredients, Thaddeus informed me that the time had come for sweet pecans. These tasty spiced treats have been a regular part of our wintertime nomming the past few years and apparently, with Thanksgiving just around the corner, I needed to hop on it!  Bossy indeed, but it’s hard not to love a man with such a sweet tooth. 😉

Spiced pecans are a delightful addition to oatmeal, granola, salads or even sprinkled on a bowl of creamy squash soup. They are so easy to make and the perfect tidbit of something sweet and satisfying when you need a little pick-me-up on a cold winter day.

Recipe:

4 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil

3/4 Cup of Organic Turbinado Sugar

1 Tsp of Cinnamon Powder

1/2 Tsp of Cardamon Powder

1/2 Tsp of Ginger Powder

1/2 Tsp of Nutmeg Powder

Melt oil in a large saucepan on the stovetop.

Turn off heat and then stir in pecans until they are all lightly coated.

In a large bowl, mix together sugar and spices, leaving just a touch of sugar out on the side.

Then add the oily pecans to the bowl and mix gently.

Spread out the pecans on a large cookie-sheet and dust with a light coating of the remaining sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees.

Allow to cool and then dig in!

Happy (almost) winter!

Love Frances

Straight Up Deliciousness: Vegan Hazelnut-Chocolate Cookies

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I know I’ve said in the past that my life consists of more than puppies, yoga and vegan cookies, and it does, it really does! But, that’s not to say that vegan cookies aren’t totally bomb and therefore an essential part of what I deem to be a happy life. 😉

This recipe brings together chocolate and hazelnuts, two of my all-time favorite flavors.

They are super simple, vegan, cane-sugar free and quick to make. Give ’em a try and tell me what you think.

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Simple, Spicy, and Healthy: Dal and Vegetable Biryani Recipes

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When I cook, I use many varied ingredients and spices, yet I like to keep the process of preparing food as simple as possible.

With my busier schedule these days, I’ve started using frozen vegetables without shame. They can really help make a veggie-ful dish happen fast without lots of washing/peeling/cutting.

I love Indian food, especially when the weather turns brisk. The spices and rich flavors are so satisfying on a cool fall day.

So today, I would like to share with you two of my favorite (and very easy to make) dishes: dal and vegetable biryani.

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Autumnal Apple Bread Recipe

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Last night I returned from five long exhausting but inspiring days of hard wedding work up in Aspen. As I drove home last night, I went through massive rains and over two snowy passes. It’s the end of September and the sight of snow made me beyond excited. I also passed at least 25 vintage 1920’s era Rolls Royces, which was quite superb. A sight to be seen only in Aspen!

Today I’m having a lazy day, nesting and recovering from the lack of sleep, regular meals or asana practice. I slept in late, went to a gentle yoga class at 10am and then settled into a day of cooking and resting, slow walks and snuggling with my little pup Artemis.

I made a wild rice and mushroom dish, roasted sweet potatoes and a spicy and delicious apple quickbread. I am fully embracing the tastes, smells and feelings of fall. It’s crisp and breezy outside with clear blue skies. I am one happy girl.

I love fall foods. For me, apples (and squash!) truly epitomize the autumn harvest.

This recipe is wheat-free, vegan and uses coconut sugar instead of cane. The moistness comes from apple sauce as well as from the chunks of fresh apples themselves.

It’s sweet and cake-like, but not too sinful to be ruled out for breakfast in my book.

😉 Enjoy!

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Seasonally Perfect Peaches

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There are some things that are best only enjoyed at a specific time of year.

The concept of eating seasonally as much as possible makes sense environmentally, but also energetically and emotionally for me. I feel that enjoying a certain type of produce just when it’s most readily (and locally) available makes it so much more special and delicious. I appreciate it more and thus eat it with more relish and joy.

For example, grapefruits are a February/March thing for me. Pumpkin is an autumnal treat. Blueberries, a summer necessity. Corn on the cob? Wouldn’t think of it in winter!

Flowers too. Even though we can ship in flowers from all around the world, it’s still much more aesthetically pleasing to make an arrangement with dinner-plate dahlias in the summer, peonies in the spring, or snowberries in the winter months and so on.

Right now it is full-blown perfect peach season. On the Western Slope of Colorado there are many orchards providing beautiful fresh fruit. The peaches from these orchards of Palisade, Paonia and beyond are some of the best peaches I have ever tasted.

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Squash and Greens Vegan Casserole

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To be perfectly honest, casseroles do not make a regular appearance in my culinary repertoire. I was not raised eating many casseroles per se, but my dear Pennsylvania-born husband was and he is always happy to welcome one onto our dining room table.

This casserole is a creation of mine, inspired by other random vegan recipes I’ve perused on the interwebs. It’s creamy and slightly cheesy tasting because of the cashews and nutritional yeast. It’s quite filling too – very satisfying and nutritious. The sweetness provided by the butternut squash is quite lovely. I’m already excited for fall and all the deliciousness of squash, pumpkin and root vegetables.

This recipe is certainly up to your interpretation, particularly concerning the specific vegetables in it. I chose three different textured green veggies, but next time I make it, I think I will add some mushrooms as well.

I made this yesterday when I had some free time so that all I had to do for lunch today was pop it in the oven – easy peazy!

Give it a whirl and see what you think.

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Almond + Brown Rice Crispy Treats

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These simple, healthy, no-bake treats are super tasty without being overly sweet or rich. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free and cane-sugar-free, so basically, totally guilt-free in my book!

I love how satisfying these crispy chewy little nuggets are and how quick and easy they are to make. I modified this recipe from one I found in a Macrobiotic cookbook. I added the millet, made it slightly sweeter, spicier and less macro, because, well, that’s what I do. 😉

Enjoy!

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Recipe: Southern Fried Tofu

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In my experience, there are two distinct types of vegetarians.

There are those, like myself, who never really developed a taste for meat, and therefore do not miss it.

And there are others, like my husband, who loved meat, but chose to give it up for ethical, spiritual or health reasons.

That second type tends to love fake meat products, even though a lot of these items are really unhealthy and kind of icky. But not all….for example, this recipe I’ve created satisfies my husband’s longing for fried chicken and it’s not chock full of chemically weird isolate stuff. Of course, “fried” is in the title here, so I’m not claiming this to be the healthiest recipe I’ve ever posted, but it is darn tasty and can be just the thing you need to scratch that itch if you are feeling like falling off the plant-based wagon.

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Feeling Jazzed About…

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Happy Sunday morning!

This is my favorite part of the week to simply lie around and be lazy. We had a little farmer’s market and dog park playtime and now I’m just relaxing on my couch with hubs and pup. Life is sweet.

Here’s a list of what I am feeling excited about, inspired by, slightly greedy for and generally psyching on…

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DIY Super Power Snacks

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I am a huge sucker for the nicely packaged, absorbitantly overpriced, healthy snack foods lining the aisles of places like Whole Foods. Give me some good graphics with a few raw, vegan, gluten-free labels, and I’m game for throwing down silly bucks for simple food.

But, I’m learning to curb my hasty spending on these types of treats and make more snack food at home. It’s really fun, much less expensive and you get sooo much more in terms of quantity. Also, making your own “power snacks”, as I call these sorts of things, means you can customize the flavors to your particular preferences.

This upcoming weekend I am assisting Lale Florals with a huge wedding in the mountains. Without a doubt, these will be long days of work (think, 2 am breakdown after the reception). So, having a few nutritionally-dense snacks easily available will be essential for me to keep my energy up. I plan on taking a few apples and tamari almonds as well as a big jar of my homemade green chia juice. In addition, I just made a large batch of cacao energy balls. They are crazy delicious and full of zing.

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