Squash & Lemon Spiral Tart

Springtime means lemon in my brain, so when I saw this spiral tart from Bunsen Burner Bakery I knew I wanted to incorporate that flavor. A lemon hummus seemed the perfect accompaniment to a series of veggies and I set out to test this hypothesis.

Squash & Lemon Spiral Tart {{Baking Bytes}}

The bright flavor of lemon is complimented by a generous amount of garlic. I opted to use my hefty supply Olivelle products but you can use standard varieties if needed. The turmeric lifts the yellow coloring up a notch which isn’t necessary for the tart but it’s beautiful for a party platter. You’ll have plenty of leftover hummus to enjoy on its own, and it provides a lovely creamy base for this tart without any additional sogginess.

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My trusty no-fail pie crust recipe is the base for this delicious dish. Since I don’t have a tart pan (something I should probably rectify, pronto) I used a standard 9″ pie plate, which works just fine. I love this pie crust recipe because it never gets over browned, but you can easily substitute your own go-to pastry here if you wish.

Squash & Lemon Spiral Tart {{Baking Bytes}}

The flaky pastry and crisp lemon flavor of the hummus blend beautifully into a base for all your veggies of choice. I chose zucchini, carrot, summer squash, and eggplant, but feel free to use whatever you have laying around the kitchen that you can slice with a mandolin. You’ll want veggies thin enough to bend, but no thinner. On my mandolin I used the thinnest setting for the carrot and the next one up for the rest of the vegetables, but definitely do a test slice to see what makes sense for yours.

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Concentric rings of vegetable goodness are pleasing to the eye and the tongue. Finished with a bit of rosemary (or your favorite herb) for a spark of flavor and a pretty garnish, this tart is a prefect addition to your next brunch. This tart is inherently vegan (presuming you use a vegan pie crust) but for the rest of us a sprinkle of goat cheese is the perfect topping for each piece. To round out the meal, I enjoyed mine with a side of eggs and fruit.

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This tart would be sure to please at a Mother’s Day brunch, or to brighten any regular day too. If you have any leftovers, they are excellent cold or reheated in the oven, so be sure to enjoy every last bite!

Squash & Lemon Spiral Tart

Inspired by Bunsen Burner Bakery
Makes one 9″ tart

Ingredients

pastry for a single-crust pie

1 medium zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 small yellow squash
3 large carrots
1 Tbsp (Caramelized Garlic ) olive oil

1/2 cup lemon garlic hummus (below)

1-2 tsp fresh rosemary or other herb

lemon garlic hummus (adapted from Well and Full)
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 Tbsp (Caramelized Garlic or Sicilian Lemon) olive oil (I used 2 Tbsp Garlic and 1 Tbsp Lemon)
2 Tbsp tahini
1-3 cloves garlic (depending on if you’re using infused oil)
zest and juice from 1 large lemon
1/2 tsp (Garlic) salt
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Make ahead: add all hummus ingredients to a food processor, starting with half the lemon juice, and process until smooth. Taste and add additional lemon juice (for flavor) or oil (for consistency) as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Gently lay pastry in a 9″ pie plate or tart pan. Trim and crimp the edges, as desired. Refrigerate pastry for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Prick pastry generously all over with a fork (or use pie weights if you prefer) and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool while you prepare the veggies.
  5. Use a mandolin to thinly slice all the veggies. (On mine I used setting 2 for the squash and eggplant, and setting 1 for the carrots.) Add all the slices to a large bowl and use your hands to gently toss in olive oil. Don’t add too much oil because the eggplant likes to soak it all up!
  6. Retrieve the pastry and spread 1/2 cup of hummus evenly along the bottom.
  7. Starting from the outside, layer the strips of veggies in whatever order you like; I opted for a repeating pattern of concentric circles but it’s totally up to you.
  8. Spray with olive oil (or lightly brush it on) and sprinkle with rosemary or herb of choice.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender and starting to crisp, and crust is a golden brown. If necessary (it wasn’t for me) you can cover the crust edges with foil if they are browning too quickly.
  10. Serve warm, optionally topped with goat cheese. Goes great with a side of eggs and fruit!
  11. Store leftovers in the fridge. I suspect it’d last about 3 days but I can’t confirm because we ate it all before then. Enjoy chilled or reheat in the [toaster] oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Broccoli Fritters

Amongst the meat packages and frozen produce I also like to stock my freezers (yes, plural) with healthy items that work for a quick meal when I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be. The best ones can be made into an entree for any meal of the day with items I typically have around anyway. These broccoli fritters have turned out to be just exactly that.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

Made up of mostly broccoli and whatever cheese you like, these serve as a healthy and neutral base for nearly anything. Breakfast? Top with sautéed bell peppers and a couple of eggs. Lunch? Serve over a warm grain salad and your favorite salad dressing. Dinner? Prepare a broccoli slider with a large grilled (or baked) bell pepper, a couple slices of bacon, and a spicy aioli. Their individually small stature also makes them great for an appetizer or potluck. The world is your oyster (not mine, I don’t care for them) and these are great to keep in the freezer for the days you need a backup.

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Typically fritters are fried and honestly this probably doesn’t technically qualify as a fritter anyway but “broccoli patty” just doesn’t have quite the same enticing quality. In any case, given my preference for bulk preparation and my aversion to standing over a pan for seven years, I opted to try baking these instead. The result is nicely golden, less oily, and much easier for meal prepping or feeding a family.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

I wrapped trios of fritters in saran wrap for the freezer and they are still pretty great about four months later. My preference for reheating is in the oven, but pan frying works okay if you are careful (sometimes they stick) or microwaving if you are impatient. Whichever your method of operation, they are a delightful base for all your favorite toppings.

Broccoli Fritters {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re in need of another freezer-friendly make-ahead meal-prep situation and are still holding strong with your resolution to eat healthier, I hope you give these fritters a try!

Broccoli Fritters

Makes 16+

Ingredients

1/2 onion, minced1
2-4 cloves garlic, minced1
2 Tbsp olive oil

3 cups broccoli rice1

2 eggs
3/4 cup almond flour
1 cup (packed) shredded cheese (I used parmesan)
1 tsp paprika, to taste
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until fragrant and onion is translucent.
  3. Add broccoli rice to pan and continue to heat until well combined and broccoli has softened.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add flour, cheese, paprika, salt, and broccoli mixture. Gently fold together until completely combined.
  5. Using a 1/4 cup scoop to measure out fritters, scoop onto prepared pan and gently flatten and shape into a disc about 1/2″ in height. Fritters will not expand but leave about 1″ between them to allow for even cooking.
  6. Bake fritters for 20 minutes or until nicely browned on the bottom.
  7. Carefully flip each fritter and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until the other side is equally browned.
  8. Serve hot with your favorite toppings!

Notes

Use a food processor to finely chop broccoli into a rice-like size. If you are lacking in a food processor but have a lot of patience, you can also mince them by hand with a sharp knife. Can also use the food processor to get your onion and garlic to the same size, either before or after the sautéing step.

Protein Porridge

Happy 2019, folks. I hope everyone had a wonderful year, but if not, I hope this coming one is everything you hoped 2018 would be. I am not much of a resolution setter, but I am a huge fan of goals and personal challenges, and also a numbers person. Last year I tried 76 new recipes, shared 36 posts with you lovely readers, started an Instagram, tried and liked a lower carb lifestyle, discovered the magic that is a spiralizer, and went to several difference food-related classes and events, including learning how to make vodka infusions and homemade sausage. I am looking forward to putting those last two things to good use this year, and sharing them with all of you.

One of my December challenges was to keep a food log, in which I write down all the things I eat every day. It’s an analog version so obviously not a calorie tracker, but it makes me stop and think before eating and helps me to choose healthier options, especially during the food cluster that is the holiday season. I feel very successful this year, navigating lots of deliciousness in healthy ways without feeling like I deprived myself of seasonal treats.  Whether, like me, you are looking to maintain a good thing, or perhaps to start anew, this easy peasy breakfast is a great way to start the day.

Protein Porridge {{Baking Bytes}}

In August when I went lower carb, I basically stopped eating my go-to breakfast of banana peanut butter oatmeal. Since it would’ve been half my carbs for the day, I opted for yogurt parfait and chia pudding and probably unhealthy amounts of eggs. As the weather cooled, however, I found myself missing my warm bowl of morning oats even more. I am no longer tracking my macros, but I’m still opting to do lower carb and higher protein whenever possible, so I set out to find an appropriate winter option. Patterning off my summer recipes, I kept the chia and hemp I’ve become accustomed to and added a few oats for volume. Quick oats work best since the hemp and chia don’t need much time to cook, but lightly blended old-fashioned oats works great too. (I tried it once without grinding them and didn’t care for the textural juxtaposition, but you can nix the grinding process if you don’t mind it.) Warm, cozy, filling, and even faster at cooking, this is my new favorite way to start a chilly morning.

Protein Porridge {{Baking Bytes}}

Even without the boosts this recipe has about 12 grams of protein, but I nearly double that with peanut butter powder and/or protein powder. I personally like the peanut butter powder best since it doesn’t affect the texture and adds a nice peanuty flavor with less fat than regular peanut butter (of which there is already plenty from the hemp and chia). You can use up to 1/4 cup depending on your calorie needs, although I typically use two tablespoons. Alternatively, you can use your favorite protein powder. This is a great option if you’re allergic peanuts or using mix-ins that aren’t typically paired with peanut flavor. Don’t add more than two tablespoons though (about half a scoop), because the resulting texture will be noticeably grainy and a little strange.

Protein Porridge {{Baking Bytes}}

Shockingly (jokes), my go-to mix-ins are half a banana and cinnamon, which pairs nicely with my peanut butter powder. Most fruits are great for this, and it’s a good way to use frozen produce as well. Just heat the produce first and then mix in the rest of the ingredients. If you’re not a peanut butter person (weird), I’ve listed a few other varieties that are excellent with or without protein powder. I also typically stir in a little plain yogurt to add that creaminess, or just actual heavy cream when I’m feeling more decadent. You can 100% skip this if you are dairy-free, or use your favorite non-dairy substitute. Although I don’t usually add it, a teaspoon or two of maple syrup is a nice addition for the more tart berries or options like pumpkin that are not inherently sweet.

Protein Porridge {{Baking Bytes}}

You can easily mix together all the dry ingredients in individual portions, then just add your mix-ins and water and you’re ready to go. I like to prep mine in 8oz containers so I can use it to measure the appropriate amount of water if I’m not at home. Additionally, nix the fruit entirely (but maybe up the spices) for a camping-friendly instant porridge that just requires hot water.

Get your protein in a cozy porridge and start your morning warm and happy. Give it a try and share your favorite mix-ins in the comments!

Protein Porridge

makes one serving

Ingredients

basic porridge
1/4 cup quick oats1
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
2-4 Tbsp peanut butter powder OR 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter (optional)
2 Tbsp protein powder (optional)
6-8 oz water

2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt OR 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

flavor ideas with peanut butter
1/2 banana, mashed + 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup blueberries, mashed + 1/8 tsp cardamom

flavor ideas without peanut butter
1/2 cup peaches, mashed + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + pinch of nutmeg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree + 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + coconut cream instead of yogurt

Directions

  1. If using fruit, mash it into the bottle of a microwaveable bowl.
  2. Add oats, seeds, peanut butter, protein powder (if using), spices of choice, and water. Stir until well combined.
  3. Microwave on high for about 2-3 minutes (2:20 in my microwave is just how I like it) OR use boiling water and let sit, covered, until thickened.
  4. Stir in yogurt and/or maple syrup, if desired.
  5. Enjoy immediately.

Notes

You can also use 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, lightly ground in a blender. I often do this method since we always have regular oatmeal on the counter for M. Also, if you are gluten-free, use certified oats to keep this recipe up to par.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Sometimes during the hectic holiday season, we forget to take care of ourselves. We forget to make time for the things that are important to us, and get wrapped up in balancing holiday preparations, year-end work projects, and the usual plague of household chores. The past few weeks have been a bit more difficult to balance as Michael focused on defending his thesis (success!) and I had a number of work projects dividing my time unevenly. Last week I opted to postpone this blog post in favor of a little self care; working late always makes me want a relaxed evening by the time I make it home.

Pumpkin Chia Pudding {{Baking Bytes}}

One thing that always helps me during these periods is to ensure I’m eating well even when life is full. I always prep my lunches over the weekend and I try to prepare a couple breakfasts for my weight-lifting days as well. This makes my mornings a little more relaxed and provides a healthy and filling lunch even if I only take a fifteen-minute break to eat it.

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If you are also feeling a bit rushed in the mornings, this is a great option to prepare for the week ahead. Make enough jars for the week all in one go and they will be ready to eat as soon as you need them. I typically enjoy mine with a cup of hot cold-brewed coffee, a quick and healthy breakfast that is just the right amount before a weight-lifting session. I sometimes add a scoop (or half of one) of protein powder, but just as often I don’t. Know that it will change the texture slightly (and the taste, depending on your powder of choice) but it’s a great way to bump up your morning protein intake.

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Enjoy those fall flavors and give yourself an extra couple of minutes in the morning to enjoy a ready-to-eat meal. As an added bonus, making these in a jar gives them portability for those of you that don’t eat until you get to work, or want to wait until after your gym session. I like to make two on Sundays so my Monday and Wednesday breakfasts are all set. (One of these days I’ll share my Tuesday/Thursday recovery meal with you guys too.) If you’re making several servings, it works great to mix it all at once and then portion it into jars, but I don’t usually bother dirtying an extra bowl when I’m just making two at a time.

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PS – Not a pumpkin fan? I haven’t personally tried it but I’m pretty confident sweet potato puree would work just as well. Just make sure it’s blended smooth before you mix it into your pudding.

 

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1/2 – 1 scoop protein powder (optional)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp maple syrup, to taste

1/2 cup 100% pumpkin puree (I buy Libby’s)

optional toppings
1-2 Tbsp toasted, chopped walnuts
extra drizzle of maple syrup
cinnamon

Directions

  1. In 12oz jar, whisk together milk, chia, protein powder (if using), spices, and syrup until completely combined.
  2. Gently stir in pumpkin until well mixed.
  3. Seal jar and place in the fridge overnight, or until ready to eat (up to one week).
  4. Enjoy plain or top with hemp hearts and/or toasted walnuts.

PB&J Parfait

In my quest to move towards a lower carb lifestyle change, one of the most challenging updates has been breakfast. My go-to has always been peanut butter & banana oatmeal, but since two of the three main ingredients are very high carb, that’s pretty much out. Although I haven’t quite figured out a hot meal replacement for winter, I have finally perfected a wonderful chilled summer option. As a bonus, it’s easy to make ahead of time for a delicious and simple grab-and-go breakfast (or snack).

PB&J Parfait {{Baking Bytes}}

Any “diet” article will tell you to ditch the flavored yogurts for their plain versions mixed with fresh fruit, but I think the flavor of the yogurt can still be too overpowering. For me, the key is to properly mix them together rather than just add the fruit like a topping. Mashing berries (blackberries or raspberries are my favorite) first and then stirring in the yogurt and chia (for a fat and protein boost) means the flavors are consistently spread through each spoonful like a store-bought flavor without all the added sugars.

Peanut butter is always a go-to for me, and layering it with the berry yogurt is reminiscent of a childhood favorite but in a much healthier form. I like the natural peanut butter here since the berries are quite sweet already and because it doesn’t get overly hard when refrigerated for the meal prep option.

Lastly, I recently discovered hemp seeds as another fat/protein source, and they had a nice bit of crunch and a little different flavor without competing too heavily with the rest of the dish. Even overnight they don’t get soggy (just a bit soft) which makes them a nice textural addition. If you don’t have hemp, you could just go without or substitute any seeds or chopped nuts of your choice.

PB&J Parfait {{Baking Bytes}}

Sweet and tart with the swirl of peanut butter and just a hint of crunch, this is a great on-the-go option as well as something that can be enjoyed right away. I often mix the yogurt, chia, and berries together and then add the peanut butter and hemp when I get to work. This allows me to customize how much I want on a particular day, but it works great to do it all ahead of time if your work fridge space is limited.

A few tips for success: chia seeds soak up a lot of moisture, so if you want your parfait to maintain a looser, more traditional yogurt texture overnight then add at least one tablespoon of water with each tablespoon of chia. This is not necessary if you’re eating it right away but for meal prepping it helps with the texture, especially if your fruit is not very juicy. As mentioned I like to use natural peanut butter since it stays spreadable when chilled, but you if you prefer the Jif or Skippy variety you can always just take a little of that in a separate container and keep it at room temperature. Lastly, if you’re using the smallest amount of everything (or keeping the peanut butter and hemp separate) you can get away with an 8oz jar, but a 12oz or larger is much nicer for stirring and eating without making a mess.

PB&J Parfait {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re looking for a quick, delicious, and healthy lower carb meal, this PB&J parfait is sure to please. And in case you were wondering, no, I don’t do the fancy layering every time I make it for myself. It is pretty and fun to do that, but it’s much quicker to just add them all on top. You can decide for yourself what level of effort is right for you.

PB&J Parfait

Serves one

Ingredients

1/2 cup berries (or any fruit)
1-2 Tbsp chia seeds
1-2 Tbsp water (optional)1
cinnamon, to taste (optional)

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1-2 Tbsp hemp hearts
1-2 Tbsp natural peanut butter2

Directions

  1. For “lazy” parfaits: In small bowl mash the berries until soft. Stir in chia (and water, if using), cinnamon, and yogurt until well combined.
  2. Plop on the peanut butter and sprinkle with hemp. Enjoy immediately or store in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. For “fancy” parfaits: in the bottom of a small jar3 add 1/3 of the yogurt mixture. Layer 1-2 tsp each of hemp and peanut butter. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
  4. Seal the jar and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

Notes

Water is not necessary if you are eating it right away or you are okay with a very thick texture. Chia seeds soak up a lot of moisture so if you want your parfait to stay a bit looser then add at least as much water as you do chia when you’re stirring it into the fruit.

I recommend natural peanut butter (the kind you have to stir) as it will not get overly hard in the fridge overnight (and I like the taste better), but if you are eating it right away you can use any peanut butter.

Use a 12oz jar or larger to ensure everything fits, and to make it easier to stir and eat.