Homemade Pecan Butter with Cinnamon and Vanilla

Homemade Pecan Butter Top

I first made homemade pecan butter a couple of years ago when I was diagnosed with a peanut, dairy AND gluten sensitivity. Turns out I wasn’t “sensitive” to any of those foods… and that’s one year of eating I will never get back. I’m not bitter.

If there’s one good thing that came out of restricted eating, it’s that I discovered homemade pecan butter. This recipe is delicious and has a deep and delicious roasted pecan flavor. Probably because it’s made with roasted pecans.

It’s also really easy to make and like this homemade granola recipe, it’s super addictive. This pecan butter is great on toast, as a dip for pretzels, spread on a banana and really with most things you’d expect nut butter to be great with.

I want to make something clear though – I love peanut butter. It’s cheap, it’s healthy (for the most part) and it’s super versatile. One of my favorite food combinations of all time is crunchy peanut butter + banana. Sometimes you just need to mix it up though, and when you do mix it up, I hope you make this recipe and steer clear of the overpriced nut butters at the grocery store that are usually more than just nuts (looking at you palm oil).

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Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing

Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

The search for a better lunch continues, and this time I whipped up a vegetarian option: Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing. If you have read the past couple articles I’ve posted, then you know how sick of lunch meat sandwiches I have gotten. If not, catch up with all the latest gossip here (bonus is you get to see my Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad Recipe).

I have been a quinoa fan for as long as I have been able to pronounce the word correctly. So about 3 years. Those who eat it know that while it is extremely healthy, it can be a little bland. I had also been hearing great things about Tahini, which I found out 6 days ago is just ground sesame seeds. Who knew? It has a great nutty taste (some say it’s bitter too, but I honestly didn’t pick up on that) and combining quinoa and tahini (along with a handful of other ingredients) made for a fresh and healthy lunch. I actually added some Simple Soy Sauce Basil Chicken to my lunches this past week to pack in a little more protein.

Oh yea, and the chickpeas, I almost forgot. Chickpeas are great in salads and ground up as a dip (aka, hummus), and they also go great in this “salad” and add some welcomed texture and protein.

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6 Ingredient Easy Chunky Guacamole

Easy Chunky Guacamole

6 Ingredient Easy Chunky Guacamole is everything it’s chalked up to be. It has 6 ingredients, is easy to make, is chunky and delicious, and is also guacamole. I’ve been making variations of this recipe for awhile but I haven’t put down on paper until now. To be honest, avocados are great on there own, but this recipe takes them to the next level. Each of the 6 ingredients brings something unique to the table (or bowl):

1. Avocado

Obviously, avocado is the star of the show. The avocado is what Kobe was to the Lakers, what Justin Timberlake was to N’Snyc, what Nick Sparks is to romance novels. I think there was a reference there for everyone, you get the picture.

Getting to the punchline, the avocado brings the creamy flavor and consistency to the guacamole.

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Roasted Tahini Ginger Carrots

Roasted Tahini Ginger Carrots

I recently made Basil Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing and have had nearly a full jar of tahini sitting in my kitchen ever since. One of my pet peeves is buying a unique ingredient (like tahini) and only using it for one recipe. Then is sits in my pantry or fridge until the expiration date rolls around and I end up tossing it in the trash. Talk about wasteful. So in a defiant moment I decided I would not fall victim to wasted tahini and came up with a couple recipes to ensure I use it all. First on the docket are these nutty and delicious Roasted Tahini Ginger Carrots.

These carrots are really easy to make too. It took me about 40 minutes one Sunday night, and more than half of that time was spent sitting and watching the new Silicon Valley, a show I really think anyone would enjoy and is quickly climbing the top TV comedies of all time list for me.

If you have some tahini sitting around like me, or just can’t get enough of the sesame paste, here are some other recipes that can help you put it to get good use:

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4 Ingredient Healthy Banana Pancakes

healthy banana pancakes

Simple and healthy banana pancakes are getting a lot of attention these days. I decided to jump on the bandwagon and created these nutty and wholesome 4 ingredient banana pancakes. They come together in about 10 minutes, so there’s really no excuse for skipping the most important meal of the day.

The simplicity of these pancakes also make them super dietarily friendly – they’re gluten and dairy free. More importantly, they’re healthy and wholesome, check out the high level nutritional info:

Per Serving:

  • 325 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 10 g sugar
  • 10 g protein

What’s your initial take on the nutrition here? Here’s what I think:

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Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Easy Pumpkin Muffins Main

I am not one to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon in early Autumn every year. I don’t like pumpkin lattes. Read more here to get my stance on buying coffee in general. Though, there are some pumpkin flavored foods that live up to the hype in my book. For example: pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread and in this case, pumpkin muffins.

These easy pumpkin muffins only take 40 minutes and 10 ingredients to make. They are great for weekend breakfasts and snacks, and can be put in the fridge/freezer to last all week. They have a nice balance of sweetness and warm spice flavors that are great for Fall, Winter or anytime of year.

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Healthy Recipe: Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad

Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad Sandwich

For the past two years, I have been taking a turkey sandwich to work for lunch nearly every day. It just never got old for some reason and was quick, easy, affordable and relatively healthy. We had a good thing going, me and those turkey sandwiches.

Well, the other day, my relationship with turkey sandwiches came to a grinding halt. I was sitting (like all office workers do too much) eating lunch and had a sudden realization – I was officially sick of turkey sandwiches. It took two years, but I finally broke.

I needed to act fast because buying lunch in downtown Chicago is not an option for me. At the very least, it’s a rare treat. They’re thieves down there I tell you, there is no way to eat lunch for less than $9!

I decided to take baby steps and not steer too far from what I know and once loved, and opted for a simple solution, a better sandwich. I opted for this Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad between two slices of bread.
Slow Cooker Avocado Chicken Salad SandwichAny hesitation I had regarding switching away from my bread and butter sandwich was washed away as soon as I tasted this glorious sandwich. The chicken was moist from the slower cooker, the avocado was creamy and the red onion brought a fresh and spicy bite to tie everything together.

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Asian Dijon Turkey Burgers

Asian Dijon Turkey Burgers Main

Burgers are one of my favorite foods. They’re a better sandwich, and there are many different forms they can take. I made Asian Dijon Turkey Burgers this time around. They are quick to make and are perfect for weeknight dinners.

Personally, I am not a huge cilantro fan. I tend to pick up on it’s “soapy” taste. Don’t know what I am talking about? Read this.

However.

The cilantro in these turkey burgers just works. It steals the show.

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Grass Fed Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Grass Fed Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

I have a bad habit of buying groceries I don’t need each week at the grocery store. Not that I buy a bunch of cereal and candy bars and chips, but I’ll oftentimes buy bread when we already have a loaf at home or I’ll get pasta without knowing we have a couple boxes in the pantry. In this case, and for the past couple weeks, I have been buying grass-fed beef that is on sale even though we already have 2-3 lbs in the freezer. It’s an annoying habit that I need to break, but the extra food always gets used in the form of countless sandwiches, pasta bakes, and in this case, Grass Fed Beef and Quinoa Meatballs.

If you’re wondering why there is quinoa in these meatballs, the main answer is “money.” Meat is expensive, and quinoa is slightly more affordable and packs a good amount of protein. Rather than use breadcrumbs in this recipe, I decided to switch it up and use quinoa. It worked great and kept a couple extra bucks in my pocket.

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No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

No Bake Peanut Butter Balls

I’m not necessarily a huge baker. The last time I baked it was about 3 months ago to make these Homemade Pop Tarts with Honey Blackberry Filling. They were awesome, but I decided to switch it up this past weekend and make these No Bake Peanut Butter Balls for 3 great reasons:

  1. It was hot and I didn’t want to further heat my apartment up with the gas range.
  2. Gas costs money.
  3. I would need to crank the AC to cool off the apartment after baking, which uses electricity, which costs money.

So, instead, I whipped up some No Bake Peanut Butter Balls. They turned out to be a great summer dessert that were easy to make (only 6 ingredients!) and affordable too.

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