Apple Walnut Yogurt Muffins

Friday I was inspired by the crisp apples I had sitting on the counter and the beautiful fall weather we are having here in D.C. We have just been having day after day of picturesque sun and brisk air that warrant long walks with my dog and just staring out the window longingly when I should be working! Seriously, I love fall in D.C. so so much.

This recipe was inspired by this blog post on Chelsea’s Messy Apron but I adopted it a by adding walnuts, not using cornstarch, and using vegetable oil instead of coconut oil. Its pretty healthy as muffins go because I used whole wheat flour, greek yogurt, and brown sugar rather than less healthy substitutes. There is a teeny amount of butter in the crumble topping but otherwise there isn’t any butter in this recipe at all which I think is pretty amazing.

These have been hitting the spot for breakfast paired with a tall glass of milk. They aren’t super sweet, but I don’t need my muffin to be a dessert! (Ok most of the time I do, but I feel less bad about eating them everyday because they aren’t loaded with sugar). The oat crumble on top gives it an extra something.

A perfect fall-time muffin.

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Cauliflower Crust Pizza

I have been wanting to make a pizza crust with cauliflower instead of regular pizza dough for a while but never seem to have the chance. I wasn’t sure this would be a dinner favorite at the house so I usually opt for the regular version when we do make pizza (which is fairly often). This week I decided to do a small personal pie using cauliflower crust instead of regular pizza crust for my own weekday lunch so I could experiment and see if this would work for dinner too. It definitely does NOT give you the crispy crust that traditional pizza would allow for, but it does hold together decently well and is a far healthier alternative (great for those who are gluten-free too). I totally devoured the pizza in about 5 minutes so I guess you would have to say it was a success? I would make this again for dinner I think, but need to figure out ways to make it crispier! The best part –  it only took me 45 minutes or so start to finish to put this together.

I topped my pizza with regular tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, yellow summer squash, red onions, and tomatoes. Love this combination!. If I wasn’t being lazy, I would have sautéd the veggies a bit before putting them on the pizza, but it tasted great all the same.

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Summertime Macaroni Salad

What’s better than a summertime grill-fest and a side of macaroni salad? In my opinion, pretty much nothing. Last night we grilled up some tofu using a barbecue marinade and I made this salad. VERY easy to put together, but it came out great so I thought it was worth posting. Our garden is finally giving us some veggies, and I got to use some of those in this recipe too.

Next time I would sub in some greek yogurt for all or some of the mayo since that would make it a whole lot healthier, but since I had never really made macaroni salad before, I kept it basic (and full of mayo). We did add some vegan sausage to amp up the flavor and I made tons extra so I can eat it for the next few days!

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Samosa Wontons

I bought wonton wrappers at the grocery store for no reason at all the other day. I thought maybe I would make ravioli because I saw Giada do it on her show and it looked so easy and of course, delicious. But then, as soon as I had them at home I didn’t really want to make ravioli with them and every time I opened the fridge, they were staring at me.

**Side note: we went to Vegas over July 4th weekend and ate at Giada’s restaurant which is VERY vegetarian friendly, SUPER pricey, and just slightly better than average. I was kind of mad that the server told us that our $28 pasta bowls were not meant to be dinner portions and we should order a separate entree (WHAT?)

Anyways, back to my wontons. Yesterday I was finally struck that I can use these to make samosa’s which I love to eat but usually don’t want to go through the trouble of making the dough. So thats what I did! Pretty easy to do, tasty, and good for freezing so I can pull them out when we have people over.

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Crispy Kale Chaat

If you have been to an Indian restaurant in Washington D.C., then you have seen either a “crispy spinach chaat” or “crispy kale chaat” on the menu. Its a twist on a popular Indian street food – chaat – which is basically a loose term for a collection of sweet/savory dishes that are usually found in roadside stalls in India (but is usually found in restaurants both there and here all prettied up!). I think chaat is kind of hard to explain unless you have had it, since the flavors are a real explosion of sweet/salty/tangy/crispy all in one. I love it. Chaat nights where we just eat a bunch of different types of chaat is up there with my favorite meals of all time.

I tried to recreate the crispy kale chaat I love so much at a restaurant here called Bombay Club. I am not sure its as good as the restaurant version, but it does the trick for a unique appetizer thats not very hard to put together!

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Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream

Yum, home-made ice cream! I have been wanting to make this for a while, but since I don’t have an ice-cream maker at home it seemed like a more challenging task than I was up for. Luckily I got to visit my parents and brother/sister-in-law this weekend and spend some quality time with my 8-year old niece and 12-year old nephew as well as my family’s ice cream maker.

This recipe is really easy and taken straight from the ice-cream maker’s recipe book so I can’t take much credit for doing anything special. But it came out so delicious and I got to do some fun “cooking” with my adorable nephew and niece so its worth posting!

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Black Bean and Quinoa Enchiladas

These enchiladas are what we had for dinner on Wednesday! It totally hit the spot for my once-a-week Mexican food craving. Ok, honestly, its more like once a day Mexican food craving.

I have never used quinoa as a filling for enchiladas before but since I just bought some red quinoa and wanted to put it to use, I figured it would be a great substitute for rice. It worked really well with the creamy black beans. I also tried my hand at making my own enchilada sauce by adapting this recipe I found on Add A Pinch and it worked super well! I am normally obsessed with Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce (which you should try if you haven’t), but I can honestly say this was a better home-made substitute!

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Sweet Bell Pepper Rings With a Jalapeño-Sour Cream Dipping Sauce

This past long weekend was so nice and super relaxing – we really didn’t do much except shopping, brunching, and grilling a ton. In fact, we made pizza’s for the first time on the grill and they turned out awesome! I also made this grilled corn/kale salad with a cilantro vinaigrette that was killer. But alas, we didn’t take pictures of any of these delicious meals so I can’t post them. I am going to try and remake in the coming weeks so I can share!

I did want to post something from this weekend and last night I decided to try something fun and new for a snack that could also be a good go-to appetizer option for when we have people over. These fried bell pepper rings tasted like onion rings but with a sweeter taste. They were tiny, so it is a perfect finger food.

My husband grilled some jalapeños over the weekend and made a sauce with it so I used that to make the dipping sauce by adding some sour cream to cut out the heat. It was a perfect sauce for these rings!

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Kale Pesto

I realize I have posted quite a few recipes in my short time blogging featuring kale. I didn’t realize I love it so much, but I guess its so versatile that this veggie is like a gift that just keeps on giving!

A few nights ago I wanted to make a pasta but do something fun with it so I decided to make kale pesto for the sauce. It came out so delicious! Instead of pine nuts I used cashews which totally worked well to make the sauce creamy, and the addition of lemon really adds a nice summery flavor. This is super quick to whip up and I bet it would be great to store. Next time I might make more so I can do that.

We paired our pesto with penne and added some slightly cooked grape tomatoes and a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top. This is on the list of go-to sauces to make again and again!

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