Kale Pesto & Avocado Grilled Cheese

DSC_0140I am really happy to say that these next few months are going to be incredibly busy for me. I have somehow acquired a slew of catering gigs and I am really excited to get in the kitchen and come up with new ideas. I was asked to do a baby shower this up coming weekend and my mind is running ramped on what to make. With all these feelings of excitement and angst I have become really hungry. So for now, I am sharing with you a simple. healthy, and delicious lunch with my favorite go-to recipe for pesto. The pesto is so flavorful and versatile; I use it on scrambled eggs, pasta, sandwiches, as a grilled fish marinade, even in soups. This grilled cheese sandwich is gorgeous and just might fit the bill for the luncheon next week. Kris ate it in about 1 minute and before he could finish his last bite and lick the plate he asked for another…..I am telling you this gourmet grilled cheese is a winner!

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DSC_0100Kale Pesto & Avocado Grilled Cheese {Vegetarian} 

Makes 2 grilled cheese sandwiches 

Kale Pesto:

1 packed cup of  Lacinato Kale, chopped roughly

1 packed TBSP mint leaves, chopped roughly

1 packed TBSP cilantro leaves, chopped roughly

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 lime, zest & juice

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

heaping 1/4 cup pistachio meats

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Sandwich:

4 slices rustic bread (I used a flax seed ciabatta, but feel free to use your favorite)

2 slices of muenster cheese

1/2 avocado, sliced

a few green leaves (arugula, spinach, or romaine)

extra virgin olive oil (for drizzling the outsides of bread slices)

Serve with Sriracha for dipping (optional)

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1. Add all the  pesto ingredients into the food processor except the olive oil and pulse three times. Then, while keeping the motor running, add in the EVOO through the feed tube of the processor until combined well. Set the pesto aside. (There will be leftover pesto, although I do not consider this a problem because it is delicious on so many things.)

DSC_01152. Arrange the bread slices on a cutting board. Drizzle each slice with EVOO and then turn over and smear the other side with pesto. Top each slice with cheese. Decide which bread slice is the bottom slice and top with a few slices of avocado and lettuce greens. Place the top slice on the bottom slice and grill on panini press or grill pan. Make sure cheese becomes melted and the bread has nice grill marks. Serve with Sriracha.

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Banana Maple Baked Oatmeal

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It’s been exactly one week since Honeyed Home’s doomsday of 2013. Last Monday, my trusty laptop of 10 years decided to part ways with me. A crashed hard drive with no data recovery was devastating news. After visiting the Apple store and hearing exactly what I did NOT want hear, I came to terms with the fact that my old friend was a goner.  She stuck with me through all the late nights writing essays and research papers in college, the countless days of internet browsing and online shopping sprees, the search and development of recipes, and the inundation of food photography. She was a work horse and she will be truly missed.

Ok, so that might have been a tad bit dramatic, but losing all your files, data, photos, and hard work is rough!! I know what you are thinking too. “Why didn’t you back up your computer?”. I am a procrastinator when it comes insuring the safety of my belongings and I am now kicking myself. Hard. With my tail between legs I am admitting a lesson learned. Back up your data people! If you are wondering how I am writing this post, my dear sweet husband is letting me use his computer. We will be purchasing a new computer soon and I am extremely excited for some new photography software to accompany it. Stay tuned for updates and hopefully I can be back to posting recipes regularly, soon!

To make myself feel a little better, I decided my day off would call for a breakfast of delicious proportions. I wanted something warm and little sweet without compromising calories for the rest of the day. Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite ways to eat oats and with fruit and natural sweeteners it is the perfect choice to start your day. I make a vegan version using organic almond milk and a “flax egg”, but feel free to use a regular egg and milk of your choice, if that is what you have on hand. When you are entertaining and feeding a larger group, double the recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.

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Banana Maple Baked Oatmeal {Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo} 

Makes 1 8×8 pan
(Prep time: 5 minutes, bake time: 25 minutes)

 

Wet ingredients:

1 ripe banana (if not ripe yet; roast banana with peel on at 425º for 15 minutes, cool and then peel)

1 cup organic unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

1/3 organic maple syrup

3 TBSP coconut oil, melted

1 flax-egg; 1 TBSP Flaxmeal mixed with 2.5 TBSP water

Dry ingredients:

2 cups gluten free rolled oats

1/3 cup walnuts chopped

1 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp cardamom

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1. Preheat oven to 375º. Grease an 8×8 baking dish with coconut oil. Make the flax-egg and set aside (the flaxmeal will absorb some of the water). In a medium bowl mash the ripened banana and then add all other wet ingredients including the “flax-egg” and mix together well.

2. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix together well. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool a bit before serving. Serve with your favorite  tart yogurt (greek or goat) and berries.

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Sweet Potato & Red Beet Sliders

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Look….at least I forewarned you that I had an overwhelming amount of sweet potatoes from our CSA farm boxes. They slowly piled up in the fridge waiting for me to come up with a way to use them to their greatest potential. I would apologize for all the recent sweet potato posts, but I just can’t. In other words; sorry I’m not sorry. I had been wanting to create a veggie burger for quite some time now. I have tried and tried many recipes and haven’t come up with something that actually sticks, let alone something blog-worthy. These little sliders were the first to merit sharing with you. Not only are they gorgeous to look at but they have incredible flavor and let’s face it; eating miniature things is just more fun. Since my girlfriends and I love sharing all things in small plate form, I invited them to come over to partake in this dinner. After-all, who doesn’t need some good quality girl time? Plus, I needed someone to eat all the food I just made. I served the veggie sliders along side cornmeal crusted sweet potato wedges (recipe here) with a little truffled organic ketchup for dipping. I have to say the combination was heavenly….and the girls loved it too!

If you are making this for a party, feel free to complete steps 1-3 ahead of time, and keep the veggie slider mixture in the fridge for up to a few hours in advance. This recipe can be made into regular size burgers; just be aware that the smaller versions hold together much easier (and tiny food is so much cuter!).

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Sweet Potato & Red Beet Sliders {Vegetarian}

Prep time: 55 min, Assembly time: 5 minutes)
Makes 10-12 sliders, or 4 regular burgers

 

10-12 slider buns

2 small sweet potatoes, skins scrubbed clean and dried

2 small red beets, skins scrubbed clean and dried

1 cup brown rice, cooked and cooled

1 cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup unsalted roasted pistachios, shelled and ground into pistachio meal

1/2 cup Panko, plus 1 cup more for coating

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

1 TBSP peanut butter

2 tsp honey

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp sea salt, plus 1/2 tsp for caramelized onions

1 tsp pepper, plus 1 tsp for caramelized onions

1 egg

4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced

1 heaping cup arugula, divided among sliders for garnish

4 TBSP whole grain mustard, divided

1. Preheat oven to 400º. Place beets and sweet potatoes on large piece of foil, drizzle with olive oil and wrap up in a neat and tight foil package. Place on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40-50 minutes, or until forks can be inserted through the veggies with ease. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the potatoes and the beets (the skins should come off very easily now). Using a fork, mash the potatoes together in one bowl and the beets in a separate bowl. Set both aside.

2. Heat 1 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Add the sliced onions, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper and toss to coat. Cook onions on low-medium heat, stirring occassionally. Sauté for 15-18 minutes and then add 1 TBSP of balsamic vinegar. Sauté for another 5 minutes or until very browned and caramelized. Set the pan aside while you make the slider the patties. Make sure to re-warm the onions over the burner if they have cooled too much by the time you want to assemble and serve the sliders.

3. In a large bowl combine, cooked and cooled brown rice, rinsed and drained chickpeas, pistachio meal, 1/2 cup panko, parsley, and all the spices. Add this mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the sweet potato mash and the beet mash to the food processor and pulse to incorporate. Add in the honey and peanut butter, and then the egg and pulse until completely mixed. The slider batter should be sticky (you should be able to roll hand-full sizes into a ball).

4. Place one cup of Panko bread crumbs on a large plate. Roll the slider mixture in your hands to form a ball and then press flat creating about 10 slider patties (each about 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick and no wider than the base of the slider buns). Place the patties onto the Panko; cover all sides of each patty with the Panko. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, adding 1-2 TBSP olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add 4 patties to the pan and sear for 3 minutes on each side (or until Panko is browned and crisped). Repeat the process with the remaining 4-6 slider patties, adding more olive oil to the pan when needed. While the patties are cooking, be sure to toast the slider buns in toaster oven until golden brown.

5. To assemble: add a thin layer of whole grain mustard to the top and bottom slider buns. Place the veggie slider on the bottom bun, top with a few caramelized onions, a little arugula, and finish with top bun. Serve with sweet potato fries and truffled ketchup (1/2 cup organic ketchup w/ 1 TBSP truffle oil; mixed well). Enjoy!

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Whipped Goat & Roasted Root Veggie Crostini

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I can honestly say that my favorite way to eat foods, is in an open-faced, small-bite, hors d’oeuvre kind of way. I love a good appealing appetizer. My friends and I almost always opt for sharing a smorgasbord of goodies rather than eating large entrees to ourselves. We all truly believe in an imperative lesson taught to us at young age; sharing is caring. I find that is more fun that way too. To engage in good conversation and enticing libations, while serving each other, is what dining is really all about and that is why I love to eat “tapas” style as often as possible. This is one of my favorite appetizers to serve while entertaining, or, I often scale the recipe way down and serve this to myself for lunch, either way; hearty, filling, healthy, and so delicious. If you are serving a crowd, the whipped goat cheese and the root vegetables can be made in advance; minimizing your kitchen time and maximizing your cocktail hour time with guests. These little toasts really are so versatile; I used sweet potatoes and red beets but feel free to try any mix of root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, celery root….) or flavor the whipped goat with whatever you enjoy (fresh herbs, spices, sweeteners….).

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Whipped Goat & Roasted Root Veggie Crostini {Vegetarian}

Prep time: 20 min, Assembly time: 5 min
Makes 20 crostinis 

 

1  seeded baguette  (choose any baguette you like), sliced into 20 toasts

3-4 small sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped into small cubes

2 medium beets, peeled & chopped into small cubes

1 scant TBSP extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

5 oz chevre goat cheese

scant 1/4 cup milk (I used almond, but  choose your favorite)

1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tsp honey

1  tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt, divided

1 tsp pepper, divided

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 cup micro herbs, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400º. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse the sweet potatoes and beets well and pat dry. Peel the skins and chop into small 1/4″-1/2″ chunks. Place the vegetables in a small bowl and toss all together with olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp garlic powder. Place the root veggies on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Make sure to keep a close on eye on the veggies, because they are cut small they might cook faster in varying ovens. When finished, set aside to cool for safe handling.

2. Cut the  baguette into 20 small slices and arrange on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toast in the oven with the root vegetables for about 5-8 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.

3. Make the goat cheese whip. Combine goat cheese, milk, honey, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp cinnamon, and the 1 TBSP of chopped fresh rosemary. Whip together with a fork or small whisk. Put the cheese mixture in the fridge while you wait for the root veggies and toasts to bake, this will allow the mixture to congeal slightly after whipping.

4. To assemble: spread a thin layer of goat cheese mixture on each toast. Top with a few pieces of the root vegetables and top with micro greens. Arrange neatly on a platter and enjoy!

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Vanilla Coconut Chia Pudding

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One of my favorite desserts as a kid was rice pudding. I remember my mom buying the Kozy Shack brand of this treat and I would hide it behind the gallon of milk and carton of eggs, way way back, in the fridge. Here, is where I knew it would be safe while I was gone and when I was craving something sweet I knew exactly where to find the stash. Dessert hoarding, a sweet stockpile, or a genius strategy? Call it what you want. There is something so enticing about rice pudding; the slight crunch of the al dente rice and the creaminess of the milk with just the perfect amount sweetness. It would be a lie if I said that I didn’t enjoy this treat as an adult, but I choose to make wiser choices these days. I came across this chia pudding recipe and decided that this would be an excellent adult equivalent to the  starchy white rice version I indulged in my younger years. Using all plant-based ingredients it is vegan, can be made raw (if your nut milk is homemade), and utterly delicious. Unlike rice pudding, this recipe only takes 5 minutes to make. A quick, healthy, delightful dessert in no time? Sign me up! This recipe exerts versatility; use any milk you enjoy, incorporate any spice that you love, and top with your favorite fruit or nut!

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Vanilla Coconut Chia Pudding {Vegan, Raw, Gluten Free, Paleo}

Make time:  1 hour, 5min
Makes 4-6 small bowls
Adapted from Green Kitchen Stories- Healthy Desserts App 

6 TBSP Chia Seeds

2 1/2 cups Almond Milk (I used the organic un-sweetned vanilla almond variety, but  feel free to use any milk you enjoy)

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted & chopped (I went a little bit overboard on the dates, so my photos might look a bit different)

1/2 cup organic unsweetened shredded coconut

1 TBSP coconut oil, at its liquid form at room temp

1/4 tsp  sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

Possible toppings:

Fruit: Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Pomegranate seeds….

Nuts: Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts…..

Seeds: Hemp, Sesame, Flax, Pumpkin….

Sweeteners (optional): Honey, Maple Syrup, Bee Pollen, Agave….

1. Place chia seeds in a large bowl and set aside. Add the rest of the ingredients into a blender/ food processor until combined well. Pour the milk mixture over the chia seeds in the large bowl. Let sit for 15 minutes stirring every five minutes. Pour the pudding into an airtight container and put into the fridge for an hour or overnight before serving, store up to a week. Serve cold and top with berries and nuts. Enjoy!

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