Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato Basil Cashew Cream Pasta

Ugh.. What a weekend. I have three, yes THREE, big exams this week (pray for me!!) so my weekend has consisted of studying, studying, a little cooking/baking, & more studying. Sounds thrilling, doesn't it? I won't complain though, I've got a batch of PB Chocolate Chip Cookies to keep me company. ;)

I've noticed a trend of dessert & sweet recipes on this blog, so I thought it was probably time for a savory dish recipe. What better than a healthy & filling pasta dish? If there is one thing I've learned in my short twenty-one years of life, it is that people love carbs. Everyone loves carbs. If you claim you don't.. You're lying. Ha. ;) 

Tomato Basil Cashew Cream Pasta
(adapted from: OhSheGlows)

Yields: 3 servings
  • 1 large ripened tomato
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (i soaked mine in water for an hour or 2 beforehand so they would blend more smoothly, but it isn't necessary!)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 3 servings uncooked spaghetti (i used udon noodles, but any variety will work fine)
First fill a large pot with water and place on the stove to boil. Rough chop your tomato and add to a blender (include both the skin & seeds).

 Add in your cashews, water, & tomato paste. If you soaked your cashews beforehand, pat them dry before adding to the blender. Blend the mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil & minced garlic on low, sautéing for a few minutes. Pour the sauce from the blender into the skillet, stir well, then bring to a simmer. Add in salt and pepper, let cook for 4-5 minutes or until hot. While the sauce is cooking, add your noodles to the boiling water and cook until al dente.

When your sauce is thoroughly heated, remove from heat & stir in the fresh chopped basil.

When the pasta is finished, strain out all water, then return the noodles to the pot. Add in desired amount of sauce and stir well to combine. I wouldn't add all of the sauce right away, as I had some left over afterwards. Now you're ready to enjoy!

This pasta is smooth, rich, and packed with flavor. The fresh basil & cracked pepper add a perfect bite to the otherwise creamy & mellow sauce. The cashews provide a creamy base, but unlike most "cream" pastas this one is actually healthy! This is by far my favorite pasta dish I've ever made. It tastes so decadent &... dare i say, expensive? Haha. No seriously, if you're wanting to feel like some amazing accomplished italian chef, this is the dish to make. ;)

Alright, I suppose it's back to studying for me.

Hope you're all having a great Sunday. =)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Mama Molstead's Great Granola

Nothing fills you up in the morning quite like a hearty bowl of wholesome granola. When it comes to cooking, baking, or anything food related.. Mama knows best. Everything I've learned about food & being healthy, I have learned from her.

Well, I technically cannot take credit for this granola because it is her recipe. But it is too good to not share with you guys! 

This granola has that perfect balance between the toasted oats, nuts, and seeds, all with subtle undertone of sweetness from the maple syrup, agave, & dried fruits. Providing the perfect pairing with almond milk, of course. ;)
This granola is both a blessing and a curse.. It is chock full of healthy ingredients, but when I've got a batch in the house I can't keep myself from sneaking handful after handful throughout the day. Let's just say, this is not a recipe that lasts long in this house!
I've found that most store bought boxes of granola are: 1.) EXPENSIVE & 2.) a lot of them contain puff cereal & other filler ingredients. No thank you! Give me the hearty & wholesome ingredients, please. 

I promise. This recipe does not disappoint.

Subtly sweet & full of robust flavor. This granola will keep you full for hours & ready for anything your day decides to throw at you.

  • 6 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1 cup raw almonds, sliced
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Recommended Mix In Options: Dried cranberries, raisins, blueberries, etc. Let that imagination run wild! =)

Mix together dry ingredients (excluding any mix-ins!) in a large bowl- set aside. In a saucepan, mix together the oil, syrup, agave, and apple juice- bring to a boil. Pour wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients & stir until well coated. Spread mixture onto 2 rimmed cookie sheets & bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. (can also place onto a few dehydrator sheets & dehydrate until crisp!) 

Make sure to open the oven and stir the granola every 5-10 minutes. Add in raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc. in the last 5-10 minutes of baking. 

Pour into a container or bowl & get munchin'!

Almond Milk- The perfect partner in crime.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

So, what does 100 calories really look like?

Whew.. I'm thinking it is time for a little break from the sweet recipes for awhile, don't you? While S'more Cakes In A Jar and Cinnamon Roll Waffles are a delight to the taste buds, it is always good to find that perfect balance between eating healthfully and letting yourself indulge. My philosophy is that if you are eating nutritious foods the majority of the time, you can allow yourself to eat dessert. Because seriously, how could you live without dessert?!

Most people are well aware that it is much more beneficial to snack on fruits & veggies than to snack on candy. Plant foods contain fiber and other nutients that help you to feel satisfied, full of energy, and they lend you the ability to consume more for less calories in comparison to highly processed items you'd find in the vending machine. But just how much bang can you get for your buck by consuming plant-based foods?

What does 100 calories really look like?
(all photos via:

30 asparagus = 99 calories, per 30 spears asparagus contains 100 milligrams of calcium
(can you imagine how bad your pee would stink if you ate that many though?!...)

1+3/4 cups apples slices = 99 calories, adding 4.6 grams of fiber

1 medium banana = 105 calories, and who could forget the 422 milligrams of potassium

10 cups... 10 TIGHTLY PACKED cups of romain lettuce = 100 calories!

1+1/4 cups blueberries = 103 calories, plus 4.4 grams of fiber

18 medium stalks of celery = 101 calories, nibbling on this many would also mean consuming 1,872 milligrams of potassium & 288 milligrams of calcium.
60 Green Beans = 102 calories, plus you'd get 6 grams of protein and 11.2 grams of fiber

2 kiwis = 93 calories, & 1.7 grams of protein (i know, i'm surprised too)

1 medium pear = 98 calories, plus 5.1 grams of fiber

You'd have to munch on 70 radishes = just 101 calories! Radishes are a good source of potassium, if you ate this many you'd gain 1,468 milligrams! (that's a lot, a good lot)

10 cups of baby spinach = 101 calories! That massive quantity also packs 10 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein. Though when spinach is cooked, it shrinks drastically. Making it easier to consume more of that leafy green goodness!

2 cups of sliced strawberries = 105 calories, and more than 500 milligrams of potassium (that's more than a banana!)

3 zucchini's weigh in at just 94 calories. Zucchini is another great source of potassium- 1,541 milligrams per 100 calories

3 large juicy tomatoes = 98 calories, they also pack 6.6 grams of fiber

2+1/4 cups watermelon = 103 calories, plus 2.1 grams of protein! (again, I too am shocked)

So go ahead and give your body the things it really needs/wants! Healthy choices now make way for more benefits down the road.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Creamy Dreamy Pumpkin Pie Oats

Hi Guys!

Oh boy, what a day.. My morning started at 5:30AM today... That's just the way it goes when you're too tired to stay up and finish your school work the night before. I am 100% a morning person. I would much rather be in bed early and out of bed at the crack of dawn then stay up late like a normal college student. Seriously, I think I've successfully pulled just one all nighter, ever.

It's kind of sad, I know this.

Well.. Let's just say my physics II homework decided to Judo Chop me in the face this morning & hit me with a round house kick tonight. Ugh.. I can't escape it. We get weekly homework assignments and lab reports that are due every Wednesday by 5PM & of course, given that I am a master procrastinator, I usually wait until a day or two before they're due to start them.

(Note to self: learn to stop procrastinating... starting tomorrow)

Tomorrow I have a physics exam too. Meaning there is a long night of studying in my future. Gosh I love college.. ;)

I did take action this morning though friends. I knew there was an super packed/stressful day ahead of me, hence why I started my morning with a big 'ole bowl of this warm & creamy goodness.

Dreamy Pumpkin Pie Oats. Uber simple, uber healthy, and.. you guessed it, uber delicious. (& yes, I do realize the word uber came and went in the 80's. But what can ya do.)

You'll probably think this sounds weird but.. It seriously bothers/concerns me when people skimp out on breakfast. Actually, it bothers me if people skip meals period. Bear with me here. You're body is your source of energy; the thing that gets you to and from where you need to be daily & it helps you perform whatever tasks are asked of you. It is YOUR TEMPLE.

Now how do you expect your body to run properly if you aren't filling it with adaquate amounts of food or with the things it yearns for? The answer is simple. You can't.

Think of your car for example. If you want your car to get you from point A to point B, what do you do? You fill it with gas. & if you want your car to run the best that it can, you certainly wouldn't fill it with bad gasoline now would you? You're body works the same way. You fill it with the things that are good for it and it is no secret as to how it will respond. You'll feel less tired, your skin will clear up, you'll lose those last few pounds that you just can't seem to get rid of, etc. You will just feel GOOD.

Trust me, I've been there. I used to eat the Standard American Diet, or what I like to refer to as the SAD Diet, too. Ribs. Burgers. Highly processed empty carbs. All of it. It wasn't until my Sophomore year of high school that I decided to really focus on eating healthier and treating my body the way it deserved to be treated. I lose +15lbs, my skin was acne free, & I felt great. Light as a feather. Then just over two years ago I made the huge decision to turn vegan & there ain't no turning back!

Now my goal is not to turn all of my readers into VegHeds like myself. In a perfect world, maybe. Ha! ;) But I do want to encourage you guys to make positive changes for yourself. Your health goes way beyond just you. Think about how it affects your family both now and in the future. Do you want to indulge and live an unhealthy life now, and 10-20 years down the road be overweight and getting winded while trying to play with your kids? I sure don't!

Come on this journey with me. Make little changes to improve your life, improve your health, and hopefully grow to be a happier you. =) Are you with me!?

Okay, that is enough preaching for tonight. Now would you like a healthy & quick breakfast recipe you can whip up in under 10 minutes?


These oats are thick & full of pumpkiny flavor. They are packed with protein and carbs to keep you full and energized all morning. Plus, getting a serving of (delicious) veggies in your breakfast?! Fist bump.
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (don't use pumpkin pie filling!)
  • 3/4 cup water or almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (Though I typically use 1tsp cinnamon + 1/2tsp pumpkin pie spice, it is all up to personal preference!)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • pinch or 2 of sea salt
  • 1 (heaping) Tbsp pure maple syrup (could also substitute with brown sugar)
  • Add ins & toppings: raisins, chopped walnuts, coconut shreds, dark chocolate chips, etc. & I always top mine with either a drizzle of maple syrup & some more cinnamon or cinnamon brown sugar. Mmm.
Are you ready for the cooking instructions? It's very complicated..

You put everything in a pot on medium-low, stir, & enjoy. =) Make sure you stir it periodically to ensure that the oats are getting heated thoroughly & not just cooking in the bottom of the pan. You can tell they are ready to go when they start getting nice, thick & creamy.

Pour them into a bowl (don't forget your toppings!) & dig in.

Well loves, I am off to the gym for a late night run. I'm not big on going to the gym at night time.. I'm usually not nearly as awake/motivated & I find being the only girl amongst an outstanding number of  bulky men in cutoffs to be slightly creepy.. Wish me luck.