Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart

I told you I’m back! Two recipes shared within 3 days warrants a happy dance. *actively breaking it down*. Now that I’ve embarrassed myself in front of my apartment building neighbors across the way, I am proud to introduce you to this wonderful spring recipe. After researching what fruits and vegetables are in season in Illinois in May, the two veggies that stuck out to me were asparagus and peas. I really wanted to capture spring in a savory dish with these limited fresh green goodies, so I came up with a Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart (that I am ready to share with you today) and Minty Pea Hummus (which I hope to share with you later this week).

Let’s start with asparagus nutrition facts. “The bright-green veggie is packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, E, K, and B6, as well as folate, iron, copper, calcium, protein, and fiber” (Health). Both the soluble and insoluble fiber asparagus contains can aid in digestion, gut health, and even weight management/loss. Aside from the plethora of minerals and vitamins just listed, asparagus also possesses a large amount of antioxidants, making it a free radical fighter. As mentioned in the linked article, it can also improve your urinary tract by acting as a diuretic and even be labeled as an aphrodisiac- need I say more. 😉

So, the recipe below was developed with a budget in mind and easy assembly. I taste tested it two times and also got the hard-to-please-junk-food-loving husband on board. It’s great to make as a side dish, light lunch, or to bring to a casual spring get together. Let me know what you think after you try it out!

Lemon Honey Asparagus Tart

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Prep time: 40 minutes

Total bake time: 25-30 minutes

Yields: 8 slices

Ingredients

  • 24 oz container of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large lemon
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • thyme sprigs
  • whole wheat puff pastry
  • olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 9″ pie or tart pan with oil of choice (I used coconut oil spray).
  2. Measure 2 cups of the cottage cheese and add to a colander/strainer. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes to drain excess liquids. While this is draining, you may work on the crust.
  3. After allowing your puff pastry to defrost, carefully unroll the log to avoid cracking/breaking of the sheets. Line your pan with one thin sheet at a time, folding the overhanging crust inward. Lightly coat this and every layer with olive oil- just enough to cover but not enough to saturate the dough and make it soggy. Repeat 7-10 times. (I only added 6 layers and it wasn’t thick enough).
  4. Once you’ve completed layering and laminating (adding fat in between dough layers), place a pot that fits on top of the bottom of the crust to keep it from rising in the oven. You may use anything heavy enough to do so that is oven safe.
  5. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or until just crisp on the bottom. The color should be the lightest golden hue.
  6. While this is baking, you will have time to blend the filling. Add 2 cups of the drained cottage cheese, 2 Tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and the juice of 1/2 a large lemon to your blender. Blend on high for 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. Remove the lid and take a big whiff- aren’t you surprised with the intoxicating aroma?! Yes, you may try some, but don’t eat too much! 😉
  7. Remove crust from the oven when done and let cool. In the meantime, boil water with a touch of salt and blanch your asparagus stalks. I used thicker asparagus stalks, so I lightly peeled the lower surface and cut off the bottom, woody ends (the last 1 1/2 inches). I blanched them for 4 minutes and let them cool in an ice bath with cold running water. Pat the asparagus dry when cooled.
  8. When the crust is cooled, add the filling in the middle and smooth out the top. Neatly line the asparagus and lightly press into the filling, about halfway in. Generously sprinkle the top with thyme (I pull mine off with my nails against the growth to easily remove the leaves from the sprigs). Feel free to add a squirt of lemon juice for good measure and extra flavor!
  9. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the edges are a golden brown.
  10. Let cool and enjoy!

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Double Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies

Hay hayyyy! I am back, Feed Me Happy followers!

As was on trend in 2018, the beginning of 2019 proved to be pretty busy for me as well (not that the rest of you are NOT busy). We all have our own work/school/family/personal obligation packed agendas. For me, the spring was filled with 3 heavy science classes, Boston Marathon training, two very part-time jobs, and organizing a few events for the school nutrition association I’m a part of.

Over the past 3 weeks, several of these things have ended, and thus, I have more time to dedicate to my beloved blog and Instagram. My short term goal is to provide you all with fun and new recipes, nutrition facts, food trends, and lifestyle hacks- to feed you happy, in any way you interpret that. All I need from you are some suggestions of what you would like to see from me content wise. Please feel free to email me at daniellencahalan@gmail.com or comment below with your ideas!

Now to the good stuff- a new original recipe! Tahini has always been a popular ingredient in Middle Eastern dishes- baba ganoush, hummus, and it is commonly used as a dipping sauce or condiment. In the past couple of years, it has grown in popularity in the U.S., and even more recently, many food stylists and bloggers are incorporating this healthy fat into baked goods. I dug it and wanted to try my hand at developing a chocolate tahini cookie. Took me 4 tries, but I finally landed on a pretty solid recipe. 🙂 Please note that this recipe is vegan friendly, produces light and fluffy cookies, and requires minimal ingredients (some of which you may already have on hand)! Try it out, and let me know what you think! Follow me @feed.me.happy on Instagram for tahini nutrition facts.

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Bake time: 15 minutes

Yields: 9 cookies

Ingredients:

Dry

  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • chocolate bar/chips of choice

Wet

  • 1/2 cup tahini (I used the one from Trader Joe’s- make sure to stir well)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plant milk (I used almond)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with oil of choice (I use coconut oil spray).
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients but the chocolate chips/chunks. I used a whisk to thoroughly mix and break up bigger pieces of flour.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients together until even.
  4. Pour wet ingredients on top of dry and use a rubber spatula to fold and mix until dry ingredients combine.
  5. Fold in chocolate chunks/chips of choice.
  6. Use an ice cream scooper or 1/4 cup and spoon to measure dough. Place at least 1.5 inches apart on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  7. Enjoy this tasty treat and let me know how they turn out! ❤

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Mushroom Gravy Poutine

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As previously mentioned in both my blog and Instagram, I am going to share a #WorldyWednesday original recipe inspired by a different country every week of this year. I chose to start close to home, in the good ‘ole northern land of ‘O Canada. One of Canada’s most popular dishes is one called poutine (poo-teen), or pronounced (poo-tin) by natives of Quebec.

Poutine translates to “a mess” and was created when a fast food restaurant threw fries and cheese curds in a bag when the place got too busy. Another restauranteur added his signature gravy to the dish later on. Hence, poutine was born and is traditionally made with fries, cheese curds, and gravy. No, it is not normally the the healthiest, but I put my spin on it to keep its traditional ingredients while making it more nutrient dense. JP, my husband, had it for dinner with chorizo and gave it a double thumbs up. He even asked if we can make it again sometime soon. 🙂

Please note before grocery shopping that cheese curds are not available at every store. Trader Joe’s, Jewel, and Target do not carry them, but JP found them at Marianos and I’m sure Whole Foods would have them too. I will more than likely make a vegan recipe in a couple of months when I make it again, but the cheese does add a flavor and texture that really cannot be replaced. *drool*

Happy first Worldly Wednesday (a day late but here nonetheless!). Enjoy!

Mushroom Gravy Poutine

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 40-45 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients

Fries

  • 4 medium size russet potatoes
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Hımılayan sea salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup white cheese curds

Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 3 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp tapioca flour or more flour until the sauce thickens
  • 2 tsp umami seasoning (optional)
  • green onions or chives to top (optional)
  • sour cream to top (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line baking pan with foil and lightly coat with oil of choice. I used olive oil.
  2. Cut russet potatoes by discarding their ends and cutting 1/2 thick sticks. Toss and coat with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and pepper to taste. Separate fries well on pan to ensure they crisp up! Bake for 35-40 minutes before adding the cheese curds for the last 5 minutes.
  3. While the fries are baking, you can now make the mushroom gravy sauce. To prep, slice 3 cups of cremini mushrooms, 1 yellow onion, and a shallot.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 the onion and shallot. Let cook for 3-4 minutes before adding the mushrooms, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, and umami seasoning if using. Cook for 8 minutes or until the vinegar scent subsides and the mushrooms brown well.
  5. Add the beef broth, worcestershire, and flour. Whisk until the flour dissolves and there are no more clumps. Let simmer until thickened, and/or add 3 tsp tapioca to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Turn the burner off and let sauce cool. Transfer to blender and blend until smooth. You may add tapioca to thicken of water or beef broth to thin out.
  7. Don’t forget to top the fries the last 5 minutes of baking with the cheese curds so they melt a bit. Top the fries with the gravy and ass any toppings of your choice! I topped ours with green onions, JP added chorizo, and I would have added an egg had I been hungrier. Go nuts and have fun with it!

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Comment below with a review or suggestions. They are always much welcomed and appreciated. Thank you!

XO Danielle

Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”

As a precursor to #WorldlyWednesdays (where I share an easy ethnic recipe every Wednesday in 2019), I’m going to share my original recipe of the South African inspired Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”! Now I have made buffalo cauliflower wings before, but these exceeded my expectations on the taste bud scale.

Traditionally, peri peri sauce incorporates paprika, garlic, lemon juice, chili flakes, African bird’s eye chilis, salt, olive oil and herbs. I simply purchased Trader Joe’s Traditional Tunisian Harissa Paste ($1.99), which is made of fresh red peppers (capsicum annum), garlic, salt, sunflower oil, coriander, citric acid, and caraway, in replacement of peri peri sauce. I was curious what others had to say about this wonderful condiment, and I stumbled across these amazing reviews! Check ’em out. Just a heads up before trying harissa paste- it’s SPICY!!! If you don’t like heat in your food, I wouldn’t bother with it. If you do, go for it with this warning in mind. On a positive note, spicy foods are known to aid in digestion and increase metabolic rates. 🙂

I have strayed away from cauliflower for a bit now, but I revisited its nutritional benefits and was met with a pleasant surprise after downing an entire head of cauliflower by myself ; ) . Cauliflower is extremely light in calories. Every cup is about 25 calories, and it contains an array of vitamins and minerals essential for bodily functions. It also contains  nearly 3g of fiber per cup, which aids in satiation and digestive health. I try to provide nutrition content without getting too scientific and because I am technically not a professional yet, but I’m workin on it!

Alright, alright. I’ll give you what you came here for- the recipe!

Peri Peri Cauliflower “Wings”

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Bake time: 30-40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup milk or nut milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup of flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Garbanzo Flour) You may need to add more depending on your use and amount of cauliflower.
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • sprinkle lemon pepper (from TJs) or regular pepper
  • 1 jar Harissa Paste (may be purchased at Trader Joes)

*The sauce recipe pictured above is a blend of 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp fresh chives, 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, 1/2 lemon freshly squeezed, a pinch of salt, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Process the herbs first to break down before adding the remaining ingredients. SO fresh and complementary to the “wings”.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking pan with aluminum oil and lightly coat with oil of choice.
  2. Wash and dry head of cauliflower. Cut into medium size florets (about the size of wings). Place milk in one small bowl and the flour, paprika, garlic salt, and pepper in the other. Mix the flour mixture well.
  3. Carefully dip each floret into the milk first. Let it drip a couple of seconds before coating in the flour mixture. If you proceed too quickly, the flour mixture will get clumpy and won’t stick to the last of the florets.
  4. Place the coated florets in the lined baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. While the cauliflower bakes, you may blend the harissa paste to make it more fluid and easy to apply. I did not do this, but in this midst of coating the cauliflower, I wish I had.
  5. Remove the pan and generously coat each floret with harissa paste.
  6. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the sauce looks slightly dried and crispy.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy with or without the homemade sauce. PLEASE let me know what you think of this recipe! I’d love to hear your feedback before re-sharing it as Super Bowl Sunday recipe suggestions.

Thank you! XO Danielle

Christmas Morning Muffins

5 days! 5 days until Christmas! Eeeeeekkk!! The little kid inside me is bursting with joy and excitement during this magical time of year. I’m really hoping Chicago gets snow before or on Christmas day. If not, I’ll make do and await our snow storms in January, as always 😉

Since this semester has ended, I’ve been racking my brain on recipes I could offer and share for you to bring to holiday parties and to make for your loved ones at home. Cranberry and Orange is a classic Christmastime pairing, so I decided to make Christmas Morning Muffins with this flavor duo plus some walnuts! I used my latest favorite pancake and waffle mix brand, Kodiak Cakes, as the base. A box is less than $5, and it includes most of the dry ingredients you need. As I’m writing this I am anxiously waiting for the muffins to cool so I can taste test them and post this recipe!

The verdict= super moist, fluffy, flavor packed, Christmas-worthy muffins!!!! Yahoo! You will NOT be disappointed with this gem. So, without further ado…

Cranberry Orange Christmas Morning Muffins

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Ingredients

Dry

  • 2 cups Kodiak Waffle and Flapjack Mix (Whole Wheat and Honey Flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • Crushed walnuts
  • 3/4 cup cranberries

Wet

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 oz applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 medium size orange, grated
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with muffin liners or grease with coconut oil.
  2. Add 2 cups of the Kodiak Waffle Mix to a medium size bowl. Add the spices and mix.
  3. In another small bowl, lightly whisk the two eggs. Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
  4. Per the muffin mix method, pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry. Use a baking spatula to mix until just combined. Add the cranberries and some crushed walnuts should you want them in your batter. I just topped mine before baking.
  5. Pour the mixture just below the top of each muffin well.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes at 350. Let cool for 15 minutes. Your taste buds will thank you for the rollercoaster ride 😉 Happy Holidays!

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Christmas is nearly two weeks away, and with the holiday season in full swing, we need all the easy recipes we can get our hands on! Am I right? Today I am sharing my Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies with you. Not only are these yummy treats extremely tasty, but they are healthy too! The brownies are black bean based, the frosting contains a veggie, and the dark chocolate I used has 9x more flavanols (an antioxidant) than regular chocolate! Have your cake and eat it too!

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Dark Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Prep time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

Brownie Batter

  • 1 15 oz. can black beans
  • 2 packets of Flavanaturals cocoa powder OR 6 Tbsp other cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • sprinkle of Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or agave
  • 1/3 cup salted almond butter (I like and use Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (going to try vanilla bean next time)
  • 1 chopped dark chocolate bar (I used TJ’s The Dark Lover’s Chocolate Bar)

Frosting

  • 3/4 cup sweet potato puree
  • 1 bar melted dark chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1 packet or 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • Crushed candy canes to top

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a loaf pan. I like to oil my baked goods pans with coconut oil.
  2. Blend all of the brownie batter ingredients besides the chopped chocolate bar until smooth.
  3. Add the chopped chocolate bar and mix. Transfer to the oiled loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife doesn’t lift batter.
  5. Let cool for 30 minutes. While you are waiting, make the frosting by adding 3/4 cup of sweet potato puree to a food processor. Melt 1 bar of dark chocolate, and add this and the remaining ingredients to the mixture. Process until light and fluffy.
  6. Once the brownies cool, ice your brownies and sprinkle with crushed candy canes!

If you’re not into the sweet potato frosting, try homemade whipped coconut cream! Another delicious and healthy alternative to regular frosting. Enjoy, and come back soon for more holiday recipes!

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Almond Plum Bread

Hi friends!

It’s been a hot minute, and for that I apologize. Life gets busy, as you know, and ideally I would like to post more often than I do. My latest goal is to share one new recipe a week that incorporates a seasonal farmer’s market ingredient. I want to highlight farmer’s markets before winter arrives because I think it’s important to shop locally and support your local farmers. In return, you usually are offered fresh, organic produce at a lower cost.

So without further ado, this week’s seasonal ingredient is PLUMS! They are actually in season from late May through October, so I’m a little late to the game with these, but the lady at the farmer’s market gave me a sample and I just couldn’t resist! I asked her for some cooking and baking ideas on how to use this yummy fruit, and she said the most common way was in bread. I decided right then and there to make my very own gluten-free plum bread.

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A little health overview of plums is that they are packed with dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and digestive health. Their dried form of prunes serves as an even greater relief from constipation and GI distress. Plums also contain high amounts of potassium, a mineral most Americans don’t receive enough of. Proper intake of potassium is found to help prevent high blood pressure and stroke. Since plums are low on the glycemic index, they are a good option for those with or prone to diabetes. The antioxidants in this fruit has also been known to protect against cancer cell growth, improve bone health, and improve memory.

When I read about all of the health benefits this little fruit carries, I could hardly believe it! For those of you who haven’t tried a plum before, let me tell you what to expect. They range in size from that of a cherry to the size of a small apple. They have skin similar to a nectarine, but their flesh is almost like a grape since they are so water dense. They are slightly sweet in flavor, but when you bake them, they turn slightly sour (in a good way). I think I covered most of the goodness a plum contains, so here is my original gluten-free Almond Plum Bread recipe that I nailed on the very first try! I hope you enjoy it as much as me and the hubs did 🙂

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Baking time: 40-45 minutes

Ingredients:

DRY

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 cup monk fruit sweetener

WET

  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan (I used coconut oil spray).
  2. Sift both the almond and tapioca flour. Add the remaining dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix until even.
  3. Add all wet ingredients to a small bowl and whisk for 30 seconds.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry and mix on medium speed with a mixer. Unlike baked goods that contain gluten, gluten free recipes actually benefit from mixing a bit longer to create better structure. Once the flour is fully part of the dough, transfer to the loaf pan.
  5. Bake for 40-45, watching for when the outer edges turn a light golden brown.

*DO NOT worry if the dough doesn’t rise high. This is a result of a gluten-free recipe. I recently learned that more condense bakes are better for gluten-free consistencies and overall binding which prevents the bread from crumbling. Expect the dough to fill half the height of the loaf pan. Despite being height challenged, the flavor is SOOOO on par and even competes with other fruit breads. The Almond Plum Bread ends up having a texture similar to that of a pound cake. I recommend enjoying it with tea, coffee, or even topping it with yogurt or vanilla ice cream.

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