I don’t EVER miss chicken wings, but spicy nuggets dripped in tasty dressing can actually be a healthy whole food plant-based meal. Eating healthy doesn’t require sacrifice, just an education.
And a great recipe.
According to a scientific poll done at my last extended-family gathering, this recipe qualifies as AMAZING. I served a double batch, there were none left and I was voted Top Chef.
Crispy Hot Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts
For my whole life, I have hated Brussels sprouts. Yuck. I eat mostly vegetables, but for a long time, I’ve just pretended those little cabbage nuggets didn’t exist.
Then, they started showing up in restaurants. Nice restaurants where foodies go when they don’t want to cook. One evening, I finally ordered them out of desperation as everything else on the menu was meat smothered with dairy.
Oh. My. God. I ordered a second round.
The difference between the restaurant varieties and my recipe is that mine aren’t deep fried. Yeah, it’s not exactly the same, but the flavor is to die for. I tried making a fried recipe at home and made such a mess it wasn’t worth it. Not to mention that Brussels sprouts drenched in oil defeats a lot of the purpose. Using the parchment paper and cooking on lower heat for a longer time results in all the crisp you need. That being said, if you are serving to compete with a restaurant version, add a few tablespoons of oil to the recipe.
My kids LOVE this recipe. I make a double batch and there are no leftovers.
Crispy Hot Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, dry, trimmed and quartered
- 1 small chili pepper, thinly sliced (mild or spicy—your choice)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 Tbsp. Lemon juice (plus zest if you have it)
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. sriracha (or other hot sauce)
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- ½ tsp. garlic salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk garlic, honey, lemon juice, vinegar, hot sauce, onion powder and garlic salt in large bowl. Add Brussels sprouts and chili pepper, and stir until evenly coated. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until satisfied with the tender and crispy contrast. If they aren’t crispy enough, switch oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes at the end.
Vegan Dessert: Quinoa Cocoa Bites: aka Monkey Balls
I ran into a friend in the bulk food section of the grocery store and she mentioned she was looking for something to add to her kid-friendly dessert bites. She told me about her “super-easy” Quinoa Cocoa Bites that her kids adore. She graciously e-mailed me her recipe and we made them the next day.
The Gluten-Free Quinoa Cocoa Bites are a great kid-friendly vegan dessert. The kids loved both the process and the result, which they named “Monkey Balls”. It was a hit! The recipe can easily be modified to be nut-free (using Sunbutter sunflower seed butter) and using quinoa makes them deliciously gluten-free. Get creative. You can include just about anything that sounds tasty. Have fun and enjoy!
Ingredients for Vegan Dessert Bites: “Monkey Balls”
4 ripe bananas, mashed 4T nut butter: peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower seed butter 2T black-strap molasses or honey (optional) 1T vanilla 2t cinnamon 4T shredded unsweetened coconut 2T ground flax seed 4-6 t cocoa powder or carob powder (optional) 1/2 c cacao nibs (optional) 1 cup cooked pumpkin (optional) 3 cups whole grain: dry Old fashioned oats or cooked Quinoa 1/2 c nuts: chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts 1/2 c seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, sesame, chia seeds 1-2c dried fruit: raisins, chopped figs, dates, dried apricots, or Gogi berries
Mash bananas (potato masher), stir in nut butter, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut, flax, cocoa or carob powder, cacao nibs, pumpkin, oats or quinoa, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. Use ice cream scooper to scoop mixture into muffin tins. Place muffin tins in freezer until frozen. Remove “Monkey Balls” from muffin tins and store in freezer bags. Can be eaten frozen or slightly thawed. Enjoy the Quinoa Cocoa Bites!
A special “thank you” to Heather Bauer, wife of Lutheran Hospital CEO Brian Bauer and mother of two busy boys for her inspirational recipe!
Soaking raw nuts and seeds before processing or cooking is beneficial. Thinking ahead and optimally preparing will reap exponential health benefits and dynamic flavor that makes a difference.
Why? Because as raw nuts /seeds are biologically designed to germinate and grow into a plant, many of the healthy enzymes potentially available remain locked until ideal conditions activate their release. Also, as they absorb water, they become softer, and easier to digest, which maximizes nutrient absorption in your body.
If you want to take it a step further, allow raw nuts and seeds to sprout by placing them in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about 2 days. Sprouting releases a fat-burning enzyme called lipase which means sprouted nuts and seeds are even sweeter…no added sugar required!
Sunflower Seed and Pine Nut Vegan Pate
I attended a baby shower for my sister-in-law, hosted by GreenB.E.A.N. Delivery owner Beth Blessing. As she welcomed me into her home, Beth pointed out several vegan options on the baby buffet. And as awesome as it is to have someone recognize AND cater to the vegan diet, hummus and a nut bowl aren’t exactly culinary accomplishments.
I was sipping the party punch as I chatted with the mom-to-be, and decided to try the hummus. It looked boring and basic, but I’m used to that.
Suddenly, I could’t make out what anyone was saying. My taste buds hijacked my hearing, cutting off all sensory input that wasn’t directly related to the party taking place in my mouth. I think I even stopped breathing for a brief moment.
Full disclosure: My initial impression registered carnivore-quality flavor. I remembered my mom’s homemade fried chicken; and as a future vegan, the best part wasn’t the poultry. It was the crunchy crumbs left on the plate that were as good as any dessert that was offered.
Seriously, I didn’t even swallow…I found Beth and asked with a mouth full of food…”WHAT THE HECK IS IN THAT?”
She simply shrugged and mentioned something about sunflower seeds and pine nuts. She assured me it was a vegan pate.
Everyone who saw my reaction came to try a bite. So a word to the wise. Don’t draw attention to this, lest you have to share. It’s THAT good.
Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Bars: Nutrient-dense ingredients to satisfy your body and your taste buds!
Pumpkin is not only tasty, but also loaded with vitamin A and fiber and that is so good for you. These Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Oat Bars are not only delicious, but nutritious. They are filled with nutrient-dense ingredients to satisfy your body and your taste buds! Enjoy the Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Oat Bars!
Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Bars:
- 1 c pitted Medjool dates, approximately 4-6 dates
- 1/8 c chopped walnuts
- 1/8 c chopped almonds
- ½ c shredded carrots (optional)
- 1-2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 c pumpkin puree
- 1 t vanilla
- 1 t cinnamon
- 1 t pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 c black strap molasses
- ½ c shredded coconut (optional)
- ½ c raisins
- 1/2 c ground flax seed
- 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats (Bob’s Red Mill are gluten free)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Process dates, walnuts, almonds, carrots, bananas, and pumpkin puree in food processor, transferring all ingredients to large mixing bowl when processed. Add vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, molasses, coconut, and raisins to bowl and mix well until combined. Add oats and flax seed. Mix well. Press mixture into a greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. When cool, cut into squares or bars. Enjoy the Gluten Free Vegan Pumpkin Oat Bars!