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Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes

One week until internet finally graces my house! Until then, I’m thanking Oprah for her chai while resting in the wonderfully air conditioned Starbucks in Old Town Fort Collins. It’s a welcome change after slaving over a hot oven to make these gems!
am4 I’m completely exaggerating. This is one of the simplest and tastiest recipes I’ve ever made. A few weeks ago I received an awesome care package in the mail from my bestest buddy Rick.
am6 In case you’ve forgotten, I should remind you of my obsession with Lourdes Gourmet chimichurri sauce. I discovered this four years ago at the farmers market in Ventura County and couldn’t get my mind away from it. I dreamed about the wonderfully tangy and herby spread, slathered slices of bread with it, basically drank the stuff. When Rick was kind enough to send me all these other goodies, I knew yet another unhealthy obsession was about to occur.
am The coconut spread. Another thing with which I’ve been slathering slices of bread. I decided that an actual recipe should occur before I finished every single jar in my fridge.

Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Serves 1-2
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert, Side Dish, Snack
Gems of sweet potato are roasted in Lourdes coconut spread until tender and caramelized, then topped with fresh lime zest.

Ingredients

  • 1 Large sweet potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1/8 cup Lourdes Gourmet Coconut Spread
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • the zest of half a lime

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Step 2
In a microwave safe cup, microwave the coconut spread for 15 seconds to thin the consistency.
Step 3
In a bowl, toss together the sweet potato cubes, warmed coconut spread, lime juice and salt.
Step 4
Spread the mixture on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes for an even roast.

am6 Simple, quasi-healthy and delicious! Thanks to Rick for both the care package and patience!

What’s your favorite way to spice up a simple sweet potato?

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Bhakti Chai Brewery Tour {GIVEAWAY}

I was invited to visit the Bhakti Chai brewery in Longmont last week and jumped at the chance!
am30 I discovered Bhakti Chai a little over a year ago when my bro forced me to have a sip at Cranknstein when I was visiting from California. I instantly fell in the love with the intensely spicy, gingery cup of warm deliciousness.
am6 Ever since then, I’ve been touting my love for the local company and their wonderful drink. I even moved back to Colorado just so I could have more access to it! Well, not really, but it’s been an added bonus.
am31 Since my bro is the one who initiated me into the Bhakti love club, I had to bring him and my sis-in-law along! Ignore the pained looks on our faces – we were actually thrilled to be there, but dang, that sun was bright!
am We arrived at the brewery in the morning and were greeted by the warm scents of mulled spices before we even entered the building. This adorable, colorful table was laid out with a handful of the Bhakti products, most of which I’ve never had the chance to try before!
am1 Our tour guide/marketing genius Allison gave us each one of the bottles to sip while we chatted about the history of the company.
am2 See that coffee blend? That is going to be the very first thing that I run to after Lent is over. Coffee and chai? I can’t wait!
am3 I grabbed the new almond blend. I love that they’re using almond milk now – I’ve never been a huge fan of soy, so this one called to me.
am29 Brook Eddy is the mastermind behind Bhakti Chai. She began making her own blend of spicy chai in her kitchen years ago, and stored it in mason jars to keep in her fridge.
am4 Brook’s creation became incredibly popular with her friends who started snagging these jars from her fridge and leaving a few bucks  in their place. Soon, a local cafe caught on and ordered three gallons of the blend to sell in-house, and Brook’s company was officially open!
am5 Bhakti means devotion through social action, and this company is committed to the empowerment of women and girls.
am6 Their walls are lined with examples of all the different organizations that they support. I love how deeply involved and committed they are with these causes. Allison was thrilled to share all of the work they’ve done.
am7 Then, it was time for the tour! We grabbed our bottles, put on some sexy hairnets and entered the brewery.
am8 This baby is basically a giant Vitamix. They grind all of their ginger into a pulp to feed into the vice.
am9 Nate hard at work. Grindin’ ginger. Sportin’ a beard-net.
am10 All of the pressed ginger is scooped into this vice which squeezes all of the spicy goodness into large buckets for brewing.
am11 Allison informed us that this number has more than doubled. They actually press around 3,500 pounds of fresh, organic ginger every week.
am12 The chai brewery is similar to a beer brewery.
am13 In fact, these tanks used to be the brew system for the now-defunct Oasis Brewing out of Boulder!
am14 Gallons and gallons of ginger juice and organic sugar being prepped to hop into the boil kettle!
am15 I also love their use of organic EVERYTHING!
am16 I forced brewer Jared to take a break and pose for me.
am24 Yes. Yes, they do.
am17 Up until six months ago, Bhakti was hand filling all of their bottles.
am18 Considering how far spread out Bhakti is, this handy bottling line was quite necessary to keep up with demand.
am23 They’re spread out across the states with more accounts being gained every month.
am20 Just a sample of the amount of ginger juice stored up in the walk-in!
am21 They receive their soy and almond milk in these gigantic vats so they can make their ready-to-drink bottles.
am22 And fresh ginger. So. Much. Ginger!
am25 Bhakti Chai is also a certified B Corp – one of about only 1,000 businesses around the world who meet the standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.
am26 Happy magnets! I was able to get one of these to go on my new fridge!
am27 They recently introduced a new, dry Bhakti Chai! Now you can take Bhakti with you when you travel! Since the ginger pulp still has plenty of flavor left in it after going through the press, they decided to dry and pelletize the pulp to put into the new dry tea bags, reducing waste of perfectly good ingredients.
am28 I still have to find some of this ice cream to try! If they start making some almond milk ice cream, I will be their most devoted customer – even more so than I am now!
am19 It was one of the most wonderful smelling and interesting brew tours I’ve been on. A huge thanks to Allison and the entire Bhakti crew for inviting us in!
am32 Since I walked home with some special presents that they spoiled us with, I felt inspired to create a recipe. In the food blogger world, almond milk is in, Bhakti Chai is in, and chia seeds are IN.
am33 Combine the seeds, almond milk and Bhakti Chai…
am34 And WHISK your heart out!
am26 Refrigerate overnight and ta-da!
(Note: If you haven’t had chia pudding, the texture takes some getting used to, but it is deeeee-lish!)

Bhakti Chai Chia Pudding

Serves 2
Prep time 8 hours, 5 minutes
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Serve Cold
Spicy ginger and sweet mango make this healthy, omega-2 packed chia pudding a delicious and satisfying snack.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Bhakti Chai concentrate
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

Optional

  • 1 Small mango (pitted and diced for garnish)

Directions

Step 1
In a bowl, combine the chai, almond milk and chia seeds and whisk well.
Step 2
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Step 3
After refrigerating overnight, stir in the diced mango and enjoy!

Aaaaaaand now for yet another giveaway!!! Bhakti Chai has kindly offered up two quarts of their amazing drink for one winner! All you need to do is leave a comment below telling me what your beverage of choice is. It’s that easy! I’ll pick a winner on April 14th! Open to U.S. residents only.
Screen shot 2014-04-06 at 10.46.40 PM Note: Bhakti Chai provided me with product samples for tasting and a brewery tour, and is also furnishing two quarts of chai to the contest winner, but I received no other compensation for this review, nor was I pressured to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Eggnog Spiked Christmas Kettle Corn

Anyone else feeling way behind in the holiday season? Our tree still doesn’t have ornaments on it, and for us, that is a HUGE deal. Normally the tree is up and decorated the day after Thanksgiving and I’d be ready for the Christmas music to finally cease at this point. Instead I’m trying to catch up to the whirlwind of the season and feel a little Christmas spirit before the year is over!
am Barrel-aged Velvet Merkin – this is a good start. Rich oatmeal stout with a potent aroma and flavor of bourbon in front of the fire? Sounds like Christmas-time to me!
am1 I also thought a little seasonal snack might help. I was never a big fan of eggnog as a kid, but ever since I found this Silk Seasonal Nog, I can’t get enough!
am2 Pop some corn…
am3 Make some nog-glaze…
am4 Prettify the glaze….
am5 Drizzle and enjoy! Sweet, salty, crunchy and vegan-friendly!
am6

Eggnog Spiked Christmas Kettle Corn

Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Occasion Christmas

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar (divided)
  • 2 teaspoons Silk Seasonal Nog (or eggnog of your choice)
  • 4-8 drops red and green food coloring
  • 6 tablespoons unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • pinch sea salt

Optional

  • pinch silver and gold sprinkles

Directions

For the popcorn
Step 1
Melt the coconut oil in a large pot on the stove over medium-high heat.
Step 2
Pour in the popcorn kernels and place the lid on top, shaking constantly to coat kernels with oil and prevent burning.
Step 3
Once the popcorn is finished popping, spread evenly on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
Step 4
In two separate small bowls combine 3 tablespoons with two teaspoons of Silk eggnog (or eggnog of your choice) and stir until it becomes a thin paste.
Step 5
Add 4-8 drops of red food coloring to one bowl, and 4-8 drops of green food coloring to the other until you reach the desired colors.
Step 6
With a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the popcorn until coated to your liking and sprinkle the pinch of salt across the top.
Step 7
Add the silver and gold sprinkles here if you'd like, pour into a bowl and devour.

am7 Happy holidays!

Are you having trouble getting into the spirit of the season? I blame the late Thanksgiving!

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Pumpkin Spiced Maple Kettle Corn

We had our first snow of the season this morning!
snow1 We only got a quick flurry that melted almost immediately up north, but I’ll take what I can get!
snow2 The mountains have a wonderfully chilly coating that we’re hoping will stick around. Since the pup doesn’t appreciate taking breaks from his daily walks due to weather, I threw on a hat and fuzzy gloves and braved the freezing air. Once we were back in the warm house in front of the fireplace, I started a crockpot split pea soup with ham shanks and then got to business on a recipe idea that’s been dancing in my head since I saw the first bottle of pumpkin beer on the store shelf.
am1

Pumpkin Spiced Maple Kettle Corn

Serves 2-3
Prep time 3 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 13 minutes
Meal type Snack
Sweet and salty kettlecorn is kicked up a notch with pumpkin spice and pure maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unpopped popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pinch pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Step 1
In a medium-sized pot, melt the coconut butter over medium-high heat on the stove.
Step 2
Pour in the popcorn kernels and place the lid on top, shaking constantly to coat kernels with oil and prevent burning.
Step 3
In a cup, combine the sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Step 4
Once the kernels have all popped, remove the pot from the heat, drizzle the maple syrup and sugar/spice/salt mix on top.
Step 5
Replace the lid and shake well to coat evenly.

popcorn2 This popcorn is a perfect blend of salty and sweet, with a wonderful hint of warm spice. I’m off to enjoy the snowy view with a hot bowl of homemade soup. Happy Friday!

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Spicy-Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

Exercise of the day: 45 minutes on the elliptical at level 8, and heart rate between 163-174. I did 30 woodchopper core weights, a crapload of sit-ups on an exercise ball and rolled out my IT bands again whilst trying not to tear up. Will the pain EVER stop? Stupid IT bands.

I went to the pumpkin patch today to pick up a big ole gourd to butcher.

So many pumpkins!
There was a petting zoo at one end…
with a fluffy chicken-y thing. I thought this was a dog at first before I saw its head.
     Turns out the pumpkins at the patch were ridiculously overpriced, and there was no haggling, so I headed home and made a fancy Kitchen Sink Salad.
Special ingredient – half of a deliciously ripe avocado! Yum, fat!
     I headed to Albertson’s to pick up a reasonably priced pumpkin.
At the patch, a pumpkin this size cost $14. I got it for $5.13. Oh yeah!
GUTS!
I don’t need newspaper – I’m a pro!
I started to carve “welcome home” for my roommates who are both returning from their trips tomorrow, but got tired after “welcome.” Now I just seem accommodating and friendly to everyone.
Don’t be fooled.
I also picked up some decor gourds. See how festive I am?
     I didn’t let those seeds go to waste though, don’t worry!

Spicy-Sweet Roasted Squash Seeds

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 35 minutes
Dietary Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Snack
Misc Pre-preparable
These crispy squash seeds are a perfect blend of sweet and spice, and make a wonderful snack on an autumn day, or a tasty garnish for warm soups.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rinsed squash seeds (I used butternut squash, but any type will do (ie. pumpkin, etc.))
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

Step 1
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Step 2
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients.
Step 3
Spread the seeds in an even layer on a foil-covered baking sheet spritzed with olive oil.
Step 4
Bake the seeds for 20-30 minutes (your preference of crisp), stirring halfway.
I like mine really crispy!
Store them in a tupperware and snack away! These have MAJOR bite to them, so carry a bottle of water and Kleenex!
One of my free samples! I’m on a roll!

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Filed under elliptical, gourd, gym, kitchen sink salad, Kleenex, pumpkin carving, pumpkin patch, pumpkin seeds, recipe