I’m so thrilled that my friend Taylor agreed to create a new logo for Seeds and Sprouts. She’s one of the most creative people I know, and I seriously expect this girl to rule the world one day (but she would be a kind ruler, and everyone would have impeccable wardrobes). She’s always coming up with new projects – personal styling and digital marketing at the moment – and you can check her out at her blog Live and Move.
I decided to name this blog Seeds and Sprouts because seeds and sprouts represent the beginnings of something new – specifically, plants! I wanted a name that both embodied my gravitation toward plant-based meals and captured the stage I am at; still in the beginning stages, but full of promise for the future.
October means pumpkin spice everything. This year, I think it’s gotten a little out of hand: pumpkin spice hummus, really? However, it’s officially sweater weather here in Nashville, and nothing says “fall” like warm, oat-y, spicy cookies fresh out of the oven. And chocolate, because – ya know, chocolate.
The best part about these cookies? At their bare bones, all you need is two ingredients: pumpkin puree and oats. That’s it. Really. To add some extra oomph, I added a few generous shakes of cinnamon (nutmeg and vanilla would have been clutch, but alas, my cupboards were bare and my patience was low), a pinch of salt, and a handful of chocolate chunks. Chopped walnuts or pecans would be really delicious here, too. They’re sweet enough on their own to skip any added sweetener, but a bit of maple syrup (a “glug,” as my grandma would say) would probably taste amazing if you’re looking for a sweeter cookie. Next time, I think I’ll add a handful of chia or hemp seeds to boost the nutritional substance, but these guys are more than fine on their own.
Want some fun facts about pumpkin?
Just one of these cookies contains 95% of your daily Vitamin A – yay for good vision!
It’s incredibly rich in fiber, which means you stay fuller for longer
See how it’s the same color as some other favorite fall foods, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and butternut squash? That’s because they all contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps lower risk for coronary artery disease and certain cancers. It also helps prevent signs of aging, keeping your skin wrinkle-free.
Pumpkin is rich in potassium – which means these cookies are a perfect post-workout snack.
It’s high in vitamin C, so you can help stay healthy in the midst of cold and flu season.
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the two ingredients together. Add any additional ingredients.
Roll the dough into small balls, and press flat - you'll want these shaped however you want the final product to look, because - unlike traditional cookies - these won't flatten or spread as they bake. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden.
Nutrition (for 1 cookie, no additional ingredients)
It took me a while to build up the courage to make this bread. I had seen versions of this super-healthy, gluten-free-and-vegan, nearly grain-free bread on blogs like My New Roots and Nutrition Stripped, and these loaves of “bread” simply seemed too good to be true. No flour, no eggs, no oil – and yet it was all supposed to stay together? I was a little dubious.
The secret to this recipe is psyllium husk powder. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it, I hadn’t either. While I usually have a rule against buying ingredients that I only plan to use in a single recipe, I caved – this bread wouldn’t get off my mind. Psyllium husk powder is typically sold as a dietary supplement. It’s one of the best sources of soluble fiber – which is great for people with GI issues – and it’s been shown to be greatly beneficial to those with conditions like IBS. As a supplement, it can be mixed into water. For this purpose, it’s mixed into the dough and its ultra-absorbent properties work miracles by holding together the dough in a truly unbelievable way. When I was finally ready to attack this loaf, I ordered a container of the psyllium husk powder on the cheap from Amazon (gotta love Amazon Prime). Then, I was finally ready to dig in.
For all my fears about messing up this bread, it’s pretty goof-proof. Here’s a sparknotes version of the recipe:
Acquire a few cups of your favorite nut/seed combinations.
Throw them in a bowl with some other ingredients that most healthy foodies have in their pantry, like coconut flour, oats, and chia seeds.
Mix in some liquid and spices. Walk away from it for a few hours, then throw in the oven, and call it a day.
That’s right – no kneading, no resting the dough, nothing scary. In fact, this would be a really fun recipe to make with kids; all you have to do is measure and mix, and they would think it was cool to see how much liquid can be rapidly absorbed by the psyllium husk powder and coconut flour.
Moving on to this wonder bread’s taste: it’s a bit unlike anything I’ve had before – in a very good way! It’s dense and nutty, with pockets of intact nuts and seeds. There’s plenty of moisture in the bread, so it doesn’t taste dry at all. The slightly nutty flavor pairs really well jam – I tested out some blueberry jam from the farmers’ market on my first slice. Other great ways to have this are with ricotta, fruit and honey (one of my favorite ways to have toast), mashed avocado with lime and salt (my other favorite way to have toast), or a savory onion marmalade with goat cheese. The world is your oyster! You can also cut the bread into cubes and broil them to use as salad croutons.
I credit this bread – and the nutrients a single slice packs – with powering me through a 10.5-hour-drive from D.C. to Nashville, by myself, in one day. A few slices of this, plus some fruit (and some coffee) energized me throughout the drive. A single slice of the bread is incredibly filling in the best possible way, and sticks with you for hours. It’s great as a light meal or hearty snack for any day when you’re pressed for time.
3 cups water (start with 2½, adding more as needed)
In a food processor, grind the sunflower seeds, almonds, and chia seeds. Pulse until they form a fine powder, then transfer to a large bowl. Add the flax seeds, oats, pumpkin seeds, psyllium husk powder, sesame seeds, coconut flour, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, stir together the coconut oil, maple syrup, and water until combined.
Stir together the wet and dry ingredients into the large bowl. The wet ingredients will be rapidly absorbed into the dry ingredients. When the mixture is totally combined, the result will be a very thick, firm dough. Pour into a 9x5 inch bread pan (lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with oil). Spread the dough evenly and firmly press down. Let the dough sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the loaf for about 70 minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently remove the loaf from the pan by lifting it up by the parchment paper. Place the loaf on a baking sheet and bake for 60 minutes. When the loaf is golden with a firm crust, remove from the oven and let cool before serving.
Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator - it'll keep for about 10 days. Alternatively, it can be frozen and thawed.
What’s your favorite cake? Mine is hands-down carrot cake. I simply can’t resist its sweet, toothsome texture and tangy cream cheese frosting. If you haven’t tried it because you think dessert + vegetables = wrong, I beg you to give it a try.
This version is not only gluten free, but also grain free, thanks to almond flour. I chose to make it a sheet cake, which seemed appropriately special-yet-relaxed for the occasion: my dad’s birthday. However, it would be very easy to turn this into a round layer cake or cupcakes – whatever suits your fancy.
Carrot cake’s naturally hearty texture lends itself well to gluten-free adaptations; because of this, I decided to go one step further and make it completely grain-free. The result was sublime: still hearty – yet fluffy – and incredibly soft and tender. I didn’t alter the traditional cream cheese frosting very much, because hey, it’s the best part – and there aren’t too many ways to make a combination of cream cheese, butter, and sugar “healthy” (although I did cut out about half of the standard amount of sugar). So, save this for a special occasion, or maybe just a “treat yo self” kind of day.
Disclaimer: this recipe doesn’t easily adapt to a vegan diet. A key part of the recipe is eggs, and although I would assume a combination of flax seeds, applesauce, and oil would more than adequately, I haven’t tried it yet. This cake does, however, contain a generous amount of protein, especially for a dessert. At 7 grams, one slice contains more protein than an egg! So dig in and enjoy – whether you’re a carrot cake newbie or a seasoned vet, it surely will not disappoint.
12 oz carrots, peeled with ends removed (about 3-4 large carrots)
1/2 cup pecans
1 1/2 tbsp dark maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
9 oz almond flour or almond meal (or 2 cups firmly packed)
6 oz coconut sugar (about 1 cup, cane sugar also works)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
For the Frosting
8oz cream cheese (non-dairy works well, too)
1 stick butter (again, non-dairy if necessary)
2 tbsps maple syrup
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest, optional
Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking pan with wax paper and set aside.
Using a food processor, grate the carrots and place in a small bowl. Next, pulse the pecans in the food processor until they are chopped into small pieces. Add the pecans to the carrots and set aside.
Whisk the eggs together in a medium bowl. Add maple syrup and vanilla, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Then, add in the egg mixture and stir until well-combined. Finally, fold in the carrot and pecan mixture. Once the batter is fully combined, pour into the prepared baking pan and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool before frosting.
With an electric mixer, beat all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Smooth over the cooled cake, and serve.
Nutrition information for one slice. Calories - 317. Fat - 19g (Saturated Fat - 6g; Monounsaturated Fat - 4g; Polyunsaturated Fat - 1g). Carbs - 33g (Dietary Fiber - 3g; Sugars - 28g). Protein - 7g.
Ready for another popsicle? I sure am. And I must say, this batch is one of my finest yet. It doesn’t need much of an explanation; the ingredients speak for themselves. Fresh mango – aka, the king of fruit – is blended with yogurt, lime juice, honey, and some spices to create a creamy, sweet, and slightly tangy treat.
These pops are so healthy, it wouldn’t even be a sin to eat them for breakfast. Vegans, you can enjoy these, too! Just use a non-dairy yogurt or coconut milk in place of the greek yogurt. With that substitution, this recipe is perfect for anyone with dairy issues and anyone an anti-inflammatory diet.
But who cares about all that health stuff, when these pops are so delicious? Just whip these up and pop ‘em into the freezer for a sweet treat that’ll last the week (ok, maybe less… these are a little too tempting).
These are naturally gluten free. Vegans can use coconut milk and agave instead of yogurt and honey. To make this SCD-legal, use coconut milk or SCD-legal yogurt. With coconut milk, this also works for anti-inflammatory diets.
Do you remember the first meal you made? I do. I was 11, and I was testing out my first cookbook. The recipe I chose? Tacos. I have no recollection why – tacos certainly weren’t my favorite food – but I suppose that perhaps, I enjoyed the challenge of making something so different from what usually appeared on my dinner plate. So, enlisting the occasional help of my dad, I spent hours meticulously chopping onions, measuring spices, and browning ground beef. The product: a build-it-yourself spread on the kitchen table where my family gathered around and pile their preferred toppings over ground beef. I was so pleased with myself, I refused to make anything else for a year.
Eventually, I moved on from tacos. I started cooking other things for my family: stir fries, salads, even whole-roasted chicken. In high school, I became more health-focused, and when I was 17, I stopped eating meat. I haven’t made tacos since I was young – until now.
Going to school in Nashville has given me an affinity for fish tacos. There are a ton of great places around campus (Local Taco, I’m looking at you) that sell creative, fresh tacos. This is my interpretation of my favorite variety: grilled, tender white fish with fresh pico de gallo, citrus-y slaw, and avocado – all of it doused in lime. It’s easier than it seems, and the best part about making tacos is that everyone can build their own individually at the table. I can add extra avocado, my dad can add jalapeño and sour cream, and my brother can skip on the kale. Everyone wins! The main filling can be customized, too: marinated tofu, cooked black beans, and portabello mushrooms all make good fillings. Constructing dinner at the table makes it feel like a special night, and brings a true sense of togetherness.
Fish tacos are perfect for summer. They’re casual, refreshing, and they beg to be eaten outside. Slaw for fish tacos is typically made of cabbage, but I created one out of kale. I usually have it lying around anyway, I love its strong, slightly bitter taste, and its a nutritional powerhouse. Feel free to use whatever veggies you like best.
1 1/4 lb white fish, such as red snapper, mahi mahi, tilapia, halibut, cod, etc.
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tbsps olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño, finely chopped (with seeds, more or less to taste)
2 cups kale, finely shredded
8 soft tortillas (corn, wheat, or whatever you prefer, gluten-free if necessary)
Prep the Fish
Place the fish in a large, shallow dish. Pour the juice from half a lime over it. Then, add the garlic, cumin, chili powder, one tablespoon of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn the fish over a few times until it is evenly coated in the marinade. Set aside while prepping the rest of the ingredients - in between 15 minutes and an hour is ideal.
For the Pico
Mix the tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cilantro, onion, jalapeño, lime juice, and a few pinches of salt and pepper together in a small bowl. The pico will keep for up to one day in the fridge - just be sure to drain any excess liquid at the bottom before serving.
For the Kale Slaw
In a bowl, combine the kale, the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and the juice from half a lime. Season with salt and pepper. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands until the kale is noticeably darker and more tender. Set aside until serving.
Heat the tortillas
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Place one tortilla in at a time, and flip after about 30 seconds, until warm on each side. Store the tortillas on a plate with tinfoil or a clean cloth over them, to keep warm.
Cooking the fish
There are a few ways to cook the fish. You can roast at 400F for about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your fish. You can also pan sear it - be sure to divide it up into separate fillets for easier flipping - in a heavy-bottomed skillet with a bit of oil, about 4-5 minutes per side over high heat. To grill, heat the grill up to medium-high, and oil a fish rack (so that if the fish crumbles, it doesn't all fall through the grates). Cook about 3 minutes on each side. With all these methods, you'll want to make sure that the fish is white and opaque all the way through - this isn't the the right kind of fish to eat with a rare center. Transfer the fish to a serving plate - it's okay if it crumbles, because it's just going into a taco after all!
Place the warmed tortillas, pico de gallo, slaw, fish, and any additional toppings on the table, and enjoy.