Apple Cinnamon Donuts

vegan donut

I was just telling my roommate how I’m ready to go back to school and finish up my RD. In case you missed it: Last year around this time I decided to walk with (just) a Master’s degree in nutrition and bypass another year-and-a-half of work to become a Registered Dietitian. I’ll finish it at some point but ehhhh… organic chemistry, man.

So basically all that stands between me and RD are two MF chemistry classes that I’d like to take this summer.

Well. Two MF chemistry classes that I’d like to take this summer and the donut ice cream sandwiches I made today.

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Dill Garlic Stovetop Popcorn

Popcorn is awesome.

My mom used to eat microwave popcorn every afternoon with a glass of Lipton iced tea. It really wasn’t until writing this post and recalling that memory of her posted up on the porch waiting for a hurricane of kids to come whirling off the bus that I came to truly appreciate the ritual of her daily snack. Probably the only 20 minutes or so of alone quiet alone time in 18 years of raising small humans.

Sacred popcorn time.

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I grew up mimicking my mom’s snack patterns. Popcorn in the afternoon. An orange before bed. Always some kind of post-dinner chocolate. Luckily, I like to think these are all healthy patterns to imitate. Though perhaps I’ve added a little chocolate to post-everything.

When I was in college I got hooked on the “diet” popcorn trend, and my friends will surely never forget the fateful day I realized the “single-serving” snack I was eating by the bagful actually contained 7 servings. (HAHAHA.)

But the thing about microwave popcorn is that no one really likes it except the person eating it. Have you ever popped popcorn in an office or a dorm room full of people not partaking in the popcorn ritual? Everyone else there hates you for it. And for good reason (beyond just the unpleasant smell it creates).

Turns out a chemical used to coat the bags (PFOA) is a known carcinogen. And one of the chemicals in that delightful fake butter (diacetyl) in those damn diet popcorns I ate 7 servings at a time has been found to cause bronchiolitis obliterans, or “popcorn workers’ lung” in the factories where it’s created.

So what’s a popcorn lover to do? Make it home, duh.

Stovetop popcorn is super simple, and it actually doesn’t require a JiffyPop dome. (Though those are great fun. Seriously, what was better than Granddaddy busting one of those out over the fire on a camping trip?)

All you need is a large saucepan with a lid, some oil with a high smoke point (I used grapeseed), and popcorn kernels (ideally organic because most of our corn supply is genetically modified at this point). Add seasonings of choice for a lovely little unoffensive snack.

I like this because you can make popcorn on your own for pennies compared to microwavable options, and you’ll have more control over what’s in it and on it.

Dill Garlic Stovetop Popcorn
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Serves: 2-4
 

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • ⅓ cup organic popcorn kernels
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Warm oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add your dill and garlic powder and let it warm to release aromas
  3. Toss in two or three kernels and cover with a lid
  4. Once your test kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and cover with the lid
  5. Watch your kernels pop to fill the saucepan
  6. Remove from the heat when the time between kernel pops is about 3 seconds or more
  7. Salt and enjoy

Simple as that. Keep the lid on unless you want to get shot in the eyeball with a flying kernel. Not that I learned the hard way or anything.

I got my organic kernels at Trader Joe’s, but I’m sure they’re available in most grocery stores.

Vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs

Everyone knows that Reese’s Easter eggs are significantly better than the traditional Reese’s cup, not only because they are only available once a year and are therefore novel, but also because they are larger and have a greater peanut butter to chocolate ratio, thus making them superior.

Duh. (Everyone knows this.)

The only thing better than a Reese’s Easter egg is nothing. But this is followed at a close second by a homemade Reese’s Easter egg that’s vegan and awesome. So that is what I’ve made for you today.

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If you’re not down with the traditional peanut butter + chocolate combo (you rebel), you could use any nut butter you desire.

["Any nut butter you desire" is an awkward phrase worth repeating out of context.]

I also experimented with carob chips on half the batch for my poor, chocolate-less boyfriend, and while he was thrilled with it, I found the carob coating to be too sticky to deal with. (It wouldn’t even set up in the freezer. RUDE.) I’m not saying you can’t do it. I’m just saying it wasn’t pretty. (The eggs in these photos are real-ass chocolate-covered, for the record.)

5.0 from 1 reviews

Vegan Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs
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Serves: 10
 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (or carob chips if you dare)
  • 2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon nondairy milk

Instructions
  1. Mix together peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut flour
  2. Place PB dough between parchment paper and roll to about ¼-in thick
  3. Freeze PB dough for at least two hours before cutting
  4. When your PB is frozen, combine chocolate chips, coconut oil and nondairy milk and microwave to melt
  5. Cut your PB dough into egg shapes (I used a circular cookie cutter bent into an oval) and dip in chocolate
  6. Arrange on parchment paper, and place back in fridge or freezer to set

They’re a little tedious and time-consuming, but I promise they’re worth it. The coconut oil in the chocolate helps it to set up nicely when chilled and the coconut flour in the peanut butter makes it more solid and Reese’s-esque without mass amounts of powdered sugar, which is how most people make Reese’s imitations at home.

Give it a try and don’t EVEN come at me with this boosh that Reese’s Christmas trees are better than Reese’s Easter eggs. The conversation is over.

Quick Breakfast Quinoa

Oh, woe is cheese.

I’ve come to a horrible realization that my (digestive) life is a significantly better when I steer clear of dairy. I don’t eat much of it anyway–cow’s milk makes me queasy and most white creamy substances are a no-go–but I am a big fan of the cheese.

It melts in your mouth, for God’s sake.

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This really requires no major life adjustment for me. I already drink almond milk and coconut milk and whatnot. And while I refuse to put a label (other than vegetarian) on my diet, I eat like 90% vegan anyway. But, goddamn, I liked that 10% of cheese… And frozen yogurt. BUTTER.

It’s gonna be ok.

Exhibit A: coconut milk ice cream peanut butter potato chip sundae (not normal).

Adam and I saw a peanut butter potato chip sundae on some Cooking Channel show and immediately went to buy all of the ingredients. Because we are the worst.

Whether you’re dairy-free or not, you can enjoy the strange but (I think) delicious breakfast I’ve been eating lately.

Quick Breakfast Quinoa
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Serves: 1
 

Ingredients
  • ½ cup prepared quinoa (I used red quinoa)
  • 1 cup milk (I use almond)
  • cinnamon
  • fruit, fresh and/or dried
  • coconut flakes or chips
  • nut butter

Instructions
  1. Just combine everything and eat
  2. Tah dah

It’s basically muesli (or “overnight oats” in blogger world) but with quinoa instead of oats. I eat it like cereal happen to think it is the jam but I think most people would hate it. I like it because it keeps me full, but the toppings are key for that; I add peanut butter and coconut chips and other protein- and fat-heavy items to fill it out.

A less cereal-y (and excellent) option is the Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa I made for my Welcome to Charlotte brunch party back in the day. Weird. Re-reading that post was weird.

Also, since I’m pretty sure it’s never been seen in the Sweet Tater world, this is what my hair looks like straight. It has looked like this once (in this picture) in the last seven years and probably won’t happen again so live it up.

Maple Sweet Potato Hash & Fried Chickpeas

I outdid myself with this one.

My weekend was pretty packed with awesome things: hosted a PlateShare video conference, went to the farmer’s market, watched Silver Linings Play Book (yeah weird love!), spent time daydreaming in Bryant Park (the Charlotte one, not the Chicago one), presented a nutrition lecture at Flywheel Charlotte, watched my Elephant Journal article move to the popular page (wee!), POPPED MY LEFT HIP THANK GOD, ate a Sunday feast prepared by Adam, etc. So when I say that this Saturday brunch was perhaps the highlight, rest assured it is a true winner (winner chickpea dinner). Continue reading

So in addition to making this sweet potato hash, here is your weekly to-do list:

Bryant Park

If you’re in Charlotte… Bryant Park is definitely one of the best views of Charlotte from my hood and I’ve never felt a need to drop by. I popped in yesterday and will post up here daily once the weather creeps above 60 degrees (which right now feels like it will never happen). I think someone could have the coolest wedding ever up there and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t Google it and it no one has so… Dibs.

Moxy Madness at Midnight

For Charlotte locals… Adam and I are teaming up with the ladies of Moga Yoga, the Fight Gone Mad crew and Moxy Events for a four-hour yoga rave on Saturday, March 9. Two words: glow sticks. Sign up here: igotmoxy.com

Crepe Cellar

Also if you’re in Charlotte… I’ve avoided this restaurant forever because I just have this idea of crepes being super heavy and cheesy and not vegetarian-friendly. I was wrong. I had a PlateShare meeting there and couldn’t even focus beyond the seriously killer meal that accompanied it: roasted brussels sprouts with pesto, spinach goat cheese crepe and a date arugula salad with FRIED MANCHEGO.

Elephant Journal

If you’re in the yoga world, odds are you read Elephant. Last week I wrote a piece on the intersection of yoga and disordered eating for National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. You can read it here: Beyond the Body.

Tone It Up

Another thing I’ve avoided and kind of wish I hadn’t (this appears to be a habit): Tone It Up workouts. To be honest, I kind of hate the names of the workouts (ex. Itty Bitty Bikini) and the overall excessive girly-ness of it all. I also think their website is poorly organized making the workouts a hassle to track down. However, I finally started doing their workouts last week and I’m a believer. I don’t subscribe to their nutrition plan but from what I can see they promote a whole-food/real-food approach, which I can appreciate. Check ‘em out. (I’ve saved a lot of their workouts to one easy-to-find public Google doc folder.)

OK. Now that your week is full, here’s your sweet potato hash…

Maple Sweet Potato Hash & Fried Chickpeas
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Serves: 2
 

Ingredients
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tablespoons oil
  • 1 cup baby kale
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • salt to taste

Instructions
  1. Toss diced sweet potato in 1 tablespoon oil (I used olive)
  2. Arrange sweet potato on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 10-12 minutes until golden brown
  3. Meanwhile, warm 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over med-high heat
  4. Add rinsed and dried chickpeas to the oil and let cook until crispy and brown, stirring frequently (about 10-12 minutes)
  5. Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven, toss in maple syrup
  6. Pour the chickpeas onto a paper towel to soak up extra oil and add the sweet potatoes into the now empty skillet
  7. To the sweet potatoes add the baby kale and cook just a couple minutes until it’s wilted
  8. Mix in chickpeas and add salt to taste
  9. Served with walnut honey goat cheese toast, fried egg and a side salad