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Tag: tahini

Cinnamony Snickerdoodle Smoothie {Paleo, Vegan}

I always loved Snickerdoodle cookies as a kid.

My brother Zack and I would go to The Great Cookie whenever we were at the mall to buy a few of their warm and soft but perfectly-crunchy-around-the-edges Snickerdoodle cookies.

Fast forward a few decades, and snickerdoodles are now one of my husband Bill’s favorite cookies. My mother-in-law is known for her snickerdoodles, so he’s done quite a bit of taste testing 🙂

I looked around online to see if I could learn anything about where these tasty treats come from and came to the conclusion that “snickerdoodle” comes from a really long German word for “cinnamon sweet roll.”

snickerdoodle soothie

I have plans to make another snack ball treat inspired by snickerdoodles (here’s the recipe for those!), but in the meantime, I thought I’d give a snickerdoodle smoothie a try! I was surprised by how much cinnamon I had to put in to get the flavor I wanted, but I was happy with the final version 🙂

The tahini (sesame paste) in this smoothie is a good source of calcium, iron, heart healthy fats and protein. Learn more about tahini in this post about my Top 10 Pantry Essentials. Tahini also adds some creaminess. The hemp seeds are another source of healthy fat and protein, which we need to help balance our energy and blood sugar levels.

Cinnamon – the signature ingredient in Snickerdoodles – is a naturally sweet tasting spice that helps us regulate our blood sugar, which is key for sustained energy. Check out the top 10 proven health benefits of this super spice from the folks over at Authority Nutrition.

smoothie banner

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 Medjool date, pitted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (learn how to make your own here)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy, about 45-60 seconds.

What was your favorite treat as a kid? Let me know below, and I’ll try to recreate it in a healthier way! 

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce!

It'll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

It’ll be worth the read to get to this dairy-free noocho cheese recipe at the end!

One of the reasons a lot of us don’t take the time to cook or try out new recipes is because we are afraid of failing, fearful that we will “mess it up” and that it will have been a waste of money on food.

We’ve all been there, right?

I often experiment with recipes I’ve never made before and ingredients I’ve never used. I learn what I like through trial and error and take the “will this really taste good?” guesswork out of it for you 🙂

As I continue to focus on a dairy-free lifestyle because of how much better I feel eating this way, I’m sometimes challenged to find comparable alternatives to dairy-based favorites.

In my last post, I shared one of the key ingredients I now use in my cooking to impart some “cheesy” flavor. I promised that one of the recipes I would share with you would be a dairy-free nacho cheese sauce (AKA “noocho” cheese, since nutritional yeast or “nooch” is what gives it its “cheesy” taste).

Most of the time when I prepare new recipes, they turn out great and taste delicious, and I can’t wait to share them with friends and family.

Other times…they don’t. That’s what happened with noocho cheese attempt #1.

Not-so-nacho cheese...first recipe attempted - won't be making this one again!

Not-so-nacho cheese…first recipe attempted – won’t be making this one again!

It lacked flavor, and no matter what I added or even if I heated it up on the stove, I couldn’t get it to taste right…and it definitely didn’t resemble nacho cheese.

Fortunately, using a recipe from this cookbooknoocho cheese attempt #2 was a HIT!

Bill and I made it on Friday night and brought it to a friend’s house as an appetizer, and they liked it, too. Check out the recipe below. You will not regret making this stuff! 🙂

The Ultimate “Noocho” Cheese Sauce

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Yum Yum Cheesy Goodness!

Ingredients*

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes and then rinsed (Trader Joe’s has the cheapest)
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 roasted red pepper (rinsed from a jar or prepared from fresh)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon tamari (tamari is gluten-free soy sauce and is in the Asian food aisle…or low-sodium soy sauce)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup water

Click here for the full recipe!

We served it with our favorite healthier chips, which I will share more about in my next post! I enjoyed some leftover sauce the next day with baby carrots.  You have to try this!

*There’s a good chance that a couple of things in this recipe aren’t already in your pantry…don’t let that stop you! Ordering online at Amazon or Vitacost is super easy, or you can pick them up the next time you’re at the store.

If you don’t know where to find something, ask. I’ve found that people are happy to help!

  • Tahini (find in the international section of most grocery stores, in any natural food store, or online.)
  • Roasted red peppers (sold in glass jars in the non-refrigerated section of the grocery store)
  • Nutritional yeast (you can buy this online at Amazon, Vitacost or other retailers, or at any natural food store, Wegmans, Whole Foods, MOMs, or Roots)

Lemon Tahini Kale Salad Recipe {Vegan, Gluten-Free, Paleo}

love kale. 

Prior to about 4 years ago, I had never eaten kale, and, to be honest, I didn’t even know what it was. I had no idea that the leafy green garnishes I had seen at buffets or the “leaves” on Edible Arrangements were none other than…kale!

Saw this sign on a walk and DC and had to take a picture. It's so true!

Saw this sign on a walk and DC and had to take a picture. It’s so true!

Kale is an absolute nutritional powerhouse. It scores a whopping 1,000 points on the ANDI scale, which stands for “Aggregate Nutrient Density Index,” a scoring system that rates foods on a scale from 1 to 1,000 based on nutrient content. To give some context, blueberries (another super healthy food) receive a score of 132. Kale is cancer fighting, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and loaded with bone-building and brain-boosting nutrients. This leafy green is definitely a standout!

We use kale in everything from smoothies and salads to soups, stir-fries and sautees. It is super versatile and a great way to pack a nutritional punch at any meal. It’s also one of the “Dirty Dozen” veggies that is most likely to be contaminated with harmful pesticides, so it’s important to buy it organic.

A Christmas gift from my dad - 50 Shade of Kale cookbook!

A Christmas gift from my dad – 50 Shade of Kale cookbook!

A few years ago, I befriended two holistic health coaches, who were trained by the health coaching program I recently completed and were a big part of the reason I pursued it. They introduced me to their delicious 5-flavor kale salad…one that has now become my absolute favorite and a staple in our house!

I bring this salad to potlucks and parties and enjoy it probably once a week for dinner. It’s the way that I introduce friends, family and clients to kale when they’ve never had it before. I haven’t had anyone turn it down yet, and it’s now my dad’s favorite, go-to salad, too. He raves about it!

5-Flavor Kale Salad

Dressing ingredients & a head of dino kale for the 5-flavor kale salad

Dressing ingredients & a head of dino kale for the 5-flavor kale salad

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp. raw tahini (sesame paste)
3 Tbsp. lemon juice (add more to taste)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (we use Grade B)
1 Tbsp. tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) OR coconut aminos
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves crushed raw or roasted garlic
dash of sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Salad:
1 large bunch curly kale or dino kale (stems removed), washed and chopped (dino kale is also called Tuscan Kale or Lacinato Kale and holds up best in this recipe)
2/3 cup Dressing
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded carrots

Click here for the full recipe!

5-Flavor Kale Salad served with garlic ginger shrimp & quinoa and roasted zucchini

5-Flavor Kale Salad served with garlic ginger shrimp & quinoa and roasted zucchini

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