Whole30 Breakfast Pasta

whole30 is a great excuse to spend more time getting creative in the kitchen, and that’s just what i’ve been doing lately (i can only eat sautéed spinach and hard boiled eggs for so long, people). so when i was craving a warm, comforting, cheesy pesto pasta dish, i figured, why not make it Whole30-friendly, yet still delicious? throw an egg on top, and it’s the ultimate Whole30 Breakfast Pasta. i mean… look at it! alright. details below.

 

ingredients:

-1 spaghetti squash

-1 handful baby spinach

-1 bunch basil

-1 lemon, zested & juiced

-1/4 cup salted, roasted pistachios (i buy salted, because then i eat the leftover pistachios as a snack, and i refuse to eat unsalted pistachios. if you buy unsalted, add salt to your recipe)

-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

-1/4 cup olive oil

-garlic [6 cloves for the squash and 2 cloves for the pesto]

-pepper

-1 egg

almond garlic breadcrumb topping:

-super fine almond flour

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

-1/2 teaspoon salt

 

instructions:

preheat oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a sil pad.

cut the hard nub off of your spaghetti squash. [be careful!!  squash are difficult to cut. use a sharp knife, and keep your fingers out of the way]. then, cut the squash in half, lengthwise. scoop out the seeds. if you’re feeling ambitious, clean off the seeds and roast them. i was not feeling ambitious.

drizzle and rub with olive oil, salt and pepper. then, put some basil leaves and 3 cloves of garlic into the cavity of each half of squash. this will flavor the squash as it cooks. i chopped my garlic up so it would really permeate, but you can leave the cloves whole if you want.

place your spaghetti squash halves on your baking sheet. now, you could either roast these for 60 minutes cut-side up. or (as i learned from tosh feldman), you can flip them so they’re cut-side down, keeping the basil and garlic in the cavity, and roast for 40 minutes. after 40 min, you’ll want to shred and spread your “spaghetti” onto your baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast again for 20-25 minutes. this will ensure that your s.s. isn’t soggy and will add some extra flavor with caramelization. either method works.

okay now for the pesto. pluck off the leaves from a punch of basil, clean and dry them. my basil was superrrr dirty; i had to clean it twice! i dried it in a salad spinner. place in a food processor along with your pistachios, lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, olive oil, and nooch (nutritional yeast). blend in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

for the garlic breadcrumbs, place a sauté pan over medium heat and add some grapeseed oil. add the almond flour, garlic powder, and salt, and cooking (stirring the whole time) until golden. once again, stir the whole time, otherwise it’ll burn. once it looks like golden, toasted breadcrumbs, turn off the heat and place it into a container to cool off a little.

for the spinach, sauté (in that same pan you just used for the breadcrumbs) with grapeseed oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder over medium heat. this cooks up quickly!

fry an egg (in that same pan) on medium-high heat, covering it for around 60 seconds to get the top cooked.

once everything is ready, toss your portion of spaghetti squash with a few tablespoons of your pesto, add your sautéed spinach, breadcrumbs, and top it with an egg.

the best part is, you can add whatever veggies you want to this. or, if you’re a meat eater, you can add bacon or any other Whole30-approved meats.

okay it’s almost 1am, and i think you get the point. let me know if you make this or if you have any questions!

xo

alexandra

 

Whole30 Brownie Batter (Sweetened With Dates and Nothing Else!)

what’s better than Whole30-approved brownie batter? miraculously convincing TSA officials to let you bring said brownie batter through security even though it doesn’t comply with their regulations. did i almost cry? yes. was it worth the humiliation? absolutely!

and as your martyr in this “traveling while doing Whole30” lifestyle, i’ve taught you all a valuable lesson. separate this Whole30 brownie batter into 3oz containers if you plan on carrying it onto the plane. apparently it’s “spreadable”, and TSA doesn’t allow more than 3oz of that at a time. you’re welcome.

now for the actual reason you’re all here–the recipe! see below for ingredients and instructions.

brownie batter ingredients:

-12 medjool dates [soaked in hot water]

-3/4 cup pecan & almond “flour” [made by blending pecans and slivered almonds together. can sub any other nut flour, though]

-3 tablespoons cacao or cocoa powder, unsweetened

-6 tablespoons brewed or instant coffee

-pinch salt

chocolate shell ingredients:

-1 tablespoon melted coconut oil [i used virgin, unrefined]

-2 tablespoons cacao powder, unsweetened

directions:

1. pour hot water over your dates and let them soak for 10 min. if you’re using instant coffee, you can multitask and put some of that coffee [about 1 teaspoon] into this water. the dates will get soft while you brew up some joe… genius! if you don’t have instant coffee, make a cup of coffee and set it aside.

2. place equal parts pecans and slivered almonds into a blender or food processor until flour-like [doesn’t need to be too fine]. then, toast in a dry pan until you can smell them. this will add more flavor.

3. pit your dates, but save that liquid if it’s coffee!

4. layer your ingredients into your vitamix or food processor. layering helps prevent one ingredient from getting stuck to the bottom. so do 1/2 of your dates, 1/2 of your nut mixture, 1/2 of your cacao, 1/2 of your coffee, then layer again starting with the dates. make sense?

5. now that all of your ingredients are in there and layered, buzz it up until smooth. give it a taste. it might need more coffee, cacao, or salt to bring out that chocolate flavor. the consistency should be gooey, but sticking together–like a thick brownie batter.

6. now place your batter into a sealable container, smooth out the top and set aside.

7. melt your coconut oil in a bowl/cup and add your cacao. stir until smooth. pour on top of your brownie batter, spreading it out. top with some more salt [maldon sea salt is best, because it’s super flaky, but use whatever you have on-hand]. place in fridge until chocolate shell hardens. pro tip: this tastes better as it sits… yum!

alright that’s it! how easy? and if you’ve been licking your spoon throughout the recipe, you know how tasty it is. this brownie batter is ridiculously decadent, filling, satisfying, and all of the words that describe a fantastic treat. i hope you like it. comment below if you have any questions or if you made any changes to your version; i’d love to hear!

and if you’re more of a visual learner, i made a video below!

xo

alexandra

HEALTHY-ISH BLUEBERRY SKILLET SOUFFLÉ PANCAKE with Zesty Lemony Yogurt

in case you didn’t know, i’ve been living and working in LA for all of december (i’m such a cliché) and have been loving the, dare i say, bi-coastal lifestyle. the fresh air and warmer weather feel fantastic, and my apartment has an actual kitchen with natural daylight pouring into it (unheard of… i know!).  this New Yorker is feeling all sorts of inspired with so much extra physical and mental space, hence the above dish and the spontaneous 30 minute IG live that accompanied it.

i present to you, the Healthy-ish Blueberry Skillet Soufflé Pancake with Zesty Lemony Yogurt. after three rounds of testing, the recipe has been perfected, and the pancake has been devoured (three times). here’s how you make it:

 

Ingredients:

-2 eggs, separated

-1 overripe banana (a regular one is fine if you’re impatient, like me 🙂 )

-1/2 cup fresh blueberries

-1/4 cup almond milk (i used unsweetened vanilla)

-4 heaping teaspoons coconut flour (i know that’s a weird measurement, but that’s what i did the last round and it was perfect!)

-1 teaspoon almond butter

-1/8 teaspoon baking powder

-dash of cinnamon

-pinch of salt

-1 lemon, zested

-1 small container greek yogurt (I used 2% fage)

-maple syrup to taste

 

Directions:

k first we’re going to make the yogurt. zest your entire lemon into your yogurt and mix it up. easy, right?

alright now you need to separate your egg whites from the yolks. DON’T GET ANY YOLKS IN THE WHITES. it’ll screw this whole thing up.

now that your whites are separate, add a teeny tiny splash of lemon juice in there. this will stabilize them (don’t ask questions). now whisk them up.  you can do this by hand, if you’re a psychopath like me, or you can use an electric hand mixer. either way, get it to medium peaks. google that if you don’t know what that means.

in another bowl, mash up your banana into your egg yolks with a fork. this doesn’t need to be perfect; just try your best. then add 1/4 cup almond milk, a dash of cinnamon and pinch of salt. then add your coconut flour and baking powder.  mix it together really well.

alright we’re almost done. gently fold in your egg whites. you want to keep the air in them, so fold until just combined. then fold in your blueberries.

heat a cast iron skillet on medium. add some oil (i used olive oil, but you can use coconut oil, canola oil, or butter). once hot, add your batter. let it sit in the pan for 3-5 minutes. then transfer to a 350º oven for 25 minutes.

pull that bad boy out of the oven right onto a heat-safe surface (like a wood cutting board or a trivet. definitely don’t put it on a towel and then on a handmade table and find out later that you’ve left a weird mark on the table and start panicking, but then you youtube this crazy trick with a towel and an iron that actually ends up working, so now you don’t owe your airbnb lady an absurd amount of money for ruining her really nice table. definitely don’t do that. not worth the stress). anyway where were we? oh yeah, put your skillet on something safe, and top it with a huge dollop of your zesty yogurt and tons of maple syrup.

lastly, write me a thank you letter for introducing you to this healthy-ish treat. okay my hands hurt from typing now. bye.

Paleo Brownie Pie (no refined sugar)

Two things:

  1. When I started this blog in 2011, I thought it would be cool to not use proper grammar (e.g.: everything was lowercase). I’m stopping that now, because I’m actually pretty passionate about grammar and a self-proclaimed decent writer. Thank you for understanding.
  2. My blog used to pop off in college, even though I was posting mediocre photos taken with my Sony “Cybershot” (who remembers those). It kind of makes me sad that it’s not anymore, so today I’m going to post some sh*t that I know people actually care about: food.

Alas, here is another rendition of the paleo brownie. When I make sweet treats like this, I aim to solely use whole, Medjool dates as a source of sweetness. I’m a huge nutrition nerd (after taking one nutrition course at UW-Madison back in the day… lol), and if there’s anything I learned in that class, it’s that fiber *clap* is *clap* good *clap*. Dates, while high in sugar, have a lot of fiber, so their glycemic index is lower than other (easier-to-use) sweeteners like coconut sugar, date syrup, maple syrup, etc.

In other words, dates are made up of more complex sugars/carbs since they are a whole fruit, so it takes your body longer to process them/break them down. Because of this, you don’t get a sugar rush and a sugar crash. Instead, your body processes it a bit slower than simple sugars, leaving you with longer-lasting energy.

Dates still have a sh*t ton of sugar, don’t get me wrong. But if you portion control, it’s much better than eating processed anything. (Side note: I’m not a nutritionist. I’m just echoing what my nutrition professor said to me back in the day. And for all I know, this info has changed.)

ANYWAY, thanks for reading my rant. Here is the recipe. Enjoy.

Recipe:

Brownies:

-Approx. 7 oz. pecan halfs (raw)

-Approx. 2.5 tbsp cacao powder (unsweetened)

-1 pinch salt

-8-10 whole Medjool dates (buy ones with pits, and take the pits out yourself. They’re much sweeter, softer, and more flavorful

-2-3 tbsp brewed coffee (this brings out the flavor in the chocolate and also helps the mixture stick together)

-1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache:

-Approx. 2 tbsp melted coconut oil

-Approx 2 tbsp cacao powder (unsweetened)

Directions:

Place pecans in food processor (I use this one). Process until fine (like a coarse almond flour). Add in your cacao powder and salt. Process to combine.

Add dates 2-3 at a time. You might have to continue scraping the food processor to make sure the dates get chopped up. They don’t need to be too small. Pea-sized is fine. But keep blending until the mixture looks pretty even.

Add in your coffee and vanilla extract and blend! Once again, you may need to scrape. The mixture should start coming together like a dough. Feel free to add more cacao, dates, or coffee to add more flavor or create a better dough-like texture. You can also start mixing with a spoon by-hand if your food processor isn’t getting everything.

Once the dough comes together, press it into a plastic wrap-lined or parchment paper-lined cake tin or round Tupperware. I used Tupperware, which was convenient for storing. Use the back of a spoon or your hands to evenly press the dough. Once it’s even, set in the fridge.

Now for the ganache. Melt your coconut oil in the microwave. Add your cacao powder. Stir to combine. On it’s own, it’ll taste bitter and gross. On the brownies, it’s perfect.

Okay final steps! Pour your ganache on top of your brownies. Top with crushed pecans, sea salt, and cacao nibs if you have them. Place in the fridge to let the ganache harden.

Cut and EAT!

You’re welcome.

 

GOOIEST BROWNIES EVER [and they’re paleo]

okay i made the gooiest, most decadent, delicious, chocolatey, unbelievably tasty, paleo brownies.  i know what you’re thinking: how can a paleo brownie be all of these things?!?! just trust me; make these brownies, and you’ll see what i’m talking about.

ingredients:

-3/4 cup finely ground almond flour

-1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

-pinch of salt

-approx 8 oz. medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes

-2 tablespoons brewed coffee

-1 tsp vanilla

for the ganache:

-2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

directions:

1. combine almond flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a food processor [i used the ninja express chop]. just pulse a few times so the dry ingredients come together.

2. remove dates from hot water, remove their pits, and add them to the food processor 4-5 at a time, blending them up in between.

3. once it’s almost looking like a dough, add the coffee & vanilla

4. blend until mixture comes together as a dough. [you may need to add more dates or coffee if it’s too dry, more cocoa if it’s not chocolatey enough, etc etc.]

5. once the dough comes together and is super sticky/moist, it’s ready to go. press into a parchment-lined cake pan. wet your fingers to shape, if necessary. this dough will be super sticky!

6. combine the ganache ingredients in a separate bowl. pour on top of brownies. top with sea salt & slivered almonds. place in fridge

7. enjoy cold!!