Game Day Sweets with Blue Diamond Almonds

Blue Diamond Caramel Cups
This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds. For more Game Changing Snacks, visit Blue Diamond Almonds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

While I tend to not be too interested in the game, I am all about the party and the snacks that go along with it. However, I feel like whenever I go to these types of gatherings there are tons of savory snacks but not too many sweets. And, certainly no salty sweets. I decided to change all of that this year and came up with this AMAZING (toot, toot) smokehouse caramel cup.

If I’m being completely honest, this recipe came from a failed attempt at making smokehouse almond brittle. I don’t know if it was the temperature, the use of coconut sugar or my fear of setting the stove on fire again (er… yeah It’s happened before while making brittle) but my sugar didn’t get to the right temperature so instead I made it into a yummy caramel instead. Since I recorded exactly what I was doing, I figured I’d try to rescue my failed brittle. I threw the caramel nuts into a blender, whizzed it together until it was smooth and then tasted. OMG. Amazing. Keep reading to see how to make these for yourself.
Blue Diamond Caramel Cups1

Smokehouse Almond Caramel Cups
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  1. 2 cups coconut sugar
  2. 1 cup water
  3. 6oz Blue Diamond Smokehouse Almonds
  4. coconut oil or coconut oil spray
  5. 2 cups of chocolate chips
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  7. mini cupcake liners
  1. Grease all sides of heavy bottom bottom pot with coconut oil or coconut oil spray. Place coconut sugar and water in the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes stirring occasionally - you must stay with this so it doesn't boil over. reduce heat to medium for 2 more minutes and then stir in the nuts and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Once cooled place in a food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth.
  2. To make the cups: Lay out 9-12 cup cake liners. Heat 1.5 cups of chocolate chips over a double boiler or in the microwave until melted. Quickly stir in the coconut oil and the remaining chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Add a large spoonful to the bottom of each of the cups. Spoon in a heaping teaspoon of the smokehouse almond caramel and then top with another layer of chocolate. Place in the fridge to set.
  3. You'll likely have extra caramel and I suggest eating it with pretzels, celery, apples or simply by the spoonful.
Blue Diamond Caramel Cups8

What are your favorite game day snacks?

RECIPE | Collard Green Sukiyaki from Eat Clean Live Well

I have been in love with Terry Walters new book Eat Clean Live Well. As you might have seen it made my Gifts For Foodies list and it did for good reason because it is filled with so many healthy and delicious recipes. I have made a number of the Fall seasonal recipes and while I enjoyed all that I have tried so far my favorite recipe was the Collard Green Sukiyaki. This recipe is so good but if your like me and like broth-y noodles I recommend doubling the broth.
Collard Green Sukiyaki

Collard Green Sukiyaki with Buckwheat Noodles
Serves 4
THE FIRST TIME I MADE THIS SUKIYAKI, it barely made it off the stove. Ever since, I’ve served it in the skillet and let everyone fill a bowl with their favorite combination of veggies and noodles. There’s never even a noodle left behind.
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  1. 2 1⁄2 cups water
  2. 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, broken into pieces
  3. 2 strips kombu
  4. 1⁄4 cup tamari
  5. 1⁄4 cup mirin
  6. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  7. 8 ounces 100% buckwheat noodles (soba)
  8. 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  9. 1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
  10. 8 whole collard leaves
  11. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  12. 1⁄2 cup red onion wedges
  13. 1⁄2 cup julienned carrot
  14. 1⁄2 cup julienned daikon
  15. 1⁄4 pound maitake mushrooms (or variety of choice), broken up
  16. 1⁄4 cup water
  1. In small pot, combine water, shiitake mushrooms and kombu. Bring to boil and press down on mushrooms and kombu so they stay submerged. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Scoop out and discard solids and stir in tamari, mirin and maple syrup. Simmer 5 minutes longer, remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cook noodles according to directions on package. Drain and set aside. In small skillet, toast sesame seeds until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from heat, transfer to mortar and add sea salt. Grind with pestle until seeds are half broken and mixture is well blended. Set aside.
  3. Cut stems out of collard greens and stack leaves so they’re all facing the same direction. Roll from one side to the other to form a log and cut crosswise into 1⁄4-inch ribbons.
  4. Heat large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Visually divide skillet into five pie slices and place one vegetable in each area—collard greens, onion, carrot, daikon and maitake mushrooms. Sauté 2 minutes pushing ingredients gently with a wooden spoon so that they don’t stick but stay roughly in their defined area. Add water and simmer vegetables until collards are wilted (about 1 minute longer). Push ingredients closer to edge of pan and transfer cooked noodles to center of skillet. Reheat shiitake-kombu stock and pour over noodles and vegetables.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame blend and serve.
  1. Reprinted with permission from Eat Clean Live Well © 2014 by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Julie Bidwell
Reprinted with permission from Eat Clean Live Well © 2014 by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Julie Bidwell

RECIPE | Coconut Quinoa-Chia Porridge

Quinoa-Chia Porridge ApplesQuinoa-Chia Porridge more Quinoa-Chia Porridge
Now that the weather is turning colder I just love to start my mornings with a big bowl of warm porridge. I often I make oatmeal but I have been wanting to mix things up so I have been trying other grains in this case red quinoa. The quinoa is super nutty, nourishing and a great start to the day. I like to make a big batch at the start of the week and use it throughout the week for nourishing dinner bowls, stir fries and now breakfast porridges.

The first time I made this recipe it was actually for Edith’s Friday night dinner. See every Friday night Neil and I have an at home date night so we sit down with Edith while she eats dinner but Neil and I don’t have dinner until she has been put to bed and then we make up something special to eat or on a rare occasion get takeout. Anyways I made this for her basically because I could throw it together with very little cooking it is super nutritious. She went nuts for it and ate a huge bowl. I made it again for the both of us the next day for breakfast and I have to say I can see what all the fuss was about it’s simply amazing!

Coconut Quinoa-Chia Porridge
Serves 2
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  1. 1 cup cooked quinoa
  2. 1 cup coconut milk
  3. 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  4. 2 tablespoons almond butter
  5. 1/4-1/2 small apple cut into thin sticks
  6. 1-2 tablespoons grade B maple syrup
  7. cinnamon
  1. In a small pot heat the quinoa and coconut milk just until it starts to bubble.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the chia seeds; allow to sit for 3-4 minutes allowing the chia seeds to soak up the liquid.
  3. Divide into two bowls and top each bowl with almond butter, apple sticks, a drizzle or two of maple syrup and a big pinch of cinnamon.
Do your breakfast change with the seasons? Do you like to make porridge from different grains? What are your favorites?

RECIPE | Lentil & Brown Rice Sushi

I have a thing for Asian grocery markets. Seriously I could spend hours perusing the aisles, checking out all the exotic ingredients. Alas I have two little children so trips to the Asian market are rare and when they do happen I am usually in and out as fast I can be so I end up only picking up my essentials, which I guess is good for my wallet.
recipe brown rice and lentil sushi
Anyways on our last trip I just walked down one aisle and there it was a wall of nori. So many brands and types. Of course I wanted to buy one of each to try but in the end I reigned myself in and picked up one package of toasted nori to make sushi rolls at home.

While I hadn’t planned to make this particularly sushi in the first place it ended up just working out and it was fantastic (even Edith gobbled it up). It came out of a fluke when I decided to place dried green lentils and sweet short grain brown rice in my rice cooker and well it took longer than anticipated and didn’t make it to our dinner plates. I ended up packing up the lentil-rice with plans to use it for a fried rice dish the following day. When it came time to make the fried rice I took the lentil-rice out and it was super sticky and that’s when it hit me that this rice would be PERFECT for sushi.

I spread a thin layer of the lentil-rice mixture on my toasted nori and topped with a little sriracha sauce I made, then I sauteed up some shiitake mushrooms and added them along with a crisp romaine leaf. I rolled up my sushi rolls, served with a little extra sauce and tamari and inhaled these babies. Seriously so delicious. This fluke ended up being a fantastic recipe.

recipe brown rice and lentil sushi close

Lentil & Brown Rice Sushi
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For the Rice
  1. 1 cup sweet short grain brown rice
  2. 1/2 cup dried green lentils
  3. 3 cups water
For the Mushrooms
  1. 8oz shiitake mushrooms, stem removed and thinly sliced
  2. 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 tablespoon tamari
  4. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
For Sriracha Sauce
  1. 2 tablespoons reduced fat vegenaise (or your favorite)
  2. 1-3 teaspoon sriracha
  3. 2 teaspoons tamari
  4. romaine hearts
  5. toasted nori sheets
  1. For the Rice: Do this in advanced. Place ingredients in your rice cooker and cook until done. No rice cooker? No problem just put everything in a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until water evaporates. Remove and all to cool completely before using.
  2. For the Mushrooms: In a medium saute pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add the tamari and balsamic and saute until all liquid has evaporated; make sure to stir frequently.
  3. For the Sauce: Whisk everything together.
  4. For the Roll: Take one sheet of nori and spread with about 1/3-1/2 cup of the lentil-rice in a thin layer leaving about 1-inch at the end. Spread a line of the sriracha mayo on the center of the rice, next to that add a line of shiitake mushrooms and lastly add a romaine heart leaf. Roll your nori up as tight as possible using a little water to seal the sheet.
  5. Slice with a very sharp knife and serve with additional sauce and side of tamari.

RECIPE | Vegan Pumpkin Pie Redux

Pumpkin Pie

I originally made this a few years back but I have played around a little bit with the recipe. While I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie this original recipe came out of a “need” to use up a can of pumpkin puree I had in my pantry. I gave it a shot and it came out so tasty.

Vegan Pumpkin PIe
Serves 8
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
  1. 1 cup coconut cream
  2. 1-15oz can pumpkin puree
  3. 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
  4. 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  5. 2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar of your choice)
  8. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  9. 1 uncooked pie crust rolled out to 1/8-1/4 inch think (use your favorite recipe or make life easy and buy a pre-made one I like Wholly Wholesome)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place the pie crust in the pie plate, top with a piece of parchment paper and
  2. then a cake pan or pie weights. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely. If you are using a frozen pie crust follow package directions.
  3. While the crust is cooling place all of the remaining ingredients into a blender and process until smooth.
  4. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the crust and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling has set and the crust is lightly browned.
  5. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Serve with your favorite non-dairy whipped cream

RECIPE | Honey Roasted Carrots and Sweet & Smoky Tempeh

Every Saturday morning we wake up, have breakfast as a family and then we get ready and head out for the morning. We usually stop first to have coffee and then it’s on to the farmers market. It’s a weekly tradition that we have grown to love and if for some reason we miss one of our market mornings it just seems to throw the entire week off.

This past weekend we skipped the coffee out but we did head to the market after enjoying breakfast at home. We actually ended up arriving far too early because we forgot that they changed the start time to 9am instead of the usual 8:30am. We ended up standing in line at our favorite stand with our arms filled with babies and beautiful produce as we waited for the market bell to ring, indicating the start of the market.

Honey Roasted Carrots
This week I picked up a variety of greens, herbs, onions, garlic and root vegetables. My favorite purchase were the multi colored carrots that not only tasted amazing but were incredibly beautiful. I chose a few each of the deep purple, the purple with an orange center, yellow and one that was almost a pink color. We chopped up a selection of them to serve with dips at our beer tasting party but I still had a few carrots left so I decided to roast them up for lunch yesterday.

Since root vegetables pair well with chiles I decided to go for a honey roasted carrot with a little bit of chile. I also did a quick pan seared sweet and smoky tempeh to go along with my delicious carrots.

Honey Roasted Carrots with Chile
Serves 2
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
35 min
Total Time
45 min
  1. 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into "fries"
  2. 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
  3. 1 tablespoon raw honey
  4. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. Garnish: crushed toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk together the oil, honey, chili powder, pepper and salt.
  3. Toss the carrots with the oil mixture and pour out onto a sheet pan; make sure carrots are in a single layer.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes until tender.
  5. Remove from oven and garnish with crushed toasted pumpkin seeds (optional).
Honey Roasted Carrots & Tempeh

Sweet & Smoky Tempeh
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
  1. 1/2 tablespoon olive
  2. 1-8oz package of tempeh, cut in half and then into triangles
  3. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 2 tablespoons tamari
  5. 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  6. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  1. In a medium sautee pan heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Whisk together all other ingredients except tempeh.
  3. Add the tempeh to the hot oil and sautee until lightly browned on one side (approx 2-3 minutes).
  4. Flip the tempeh and then pour the maple-balsamic mixture over the tempeh; turn heat down to medium.
  5. Sautee until liquid has evaporated. Make sure to keep an eye on this so as not to burn the tempeh.
Honey Roasted Carrots & Tempeh square

What is your Saturday morning routine like? 

RECIPE | Kabocha Red Lentil Curry

As soon as I start to feel the weather change I become obsessed with all things soup, stew, curry or chili. I love a pipping hot bowl with a side of warmed bread. I mean really what could be more warming and comforting? While the PNW can’t hold a candle to Vermont/New England in the Fall it still does a pretty good job of charming me. If you can’t tell Fall is my favorite season-side note do you say Fall or Autumn?

Red Lentil Kabocha Curry

Lately I have been whipping up a number of tasty bowls of goodness. My most recent creation was my Kabocha Red Lentil Curry. Seriously this recipe is so good and incredibly easy. It’s filling and nourishing and paired with some warmed naan bread it is a perfect meal.

Kabocha Red Lentil Curry
Serves 6
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  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 medium onion, diced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  4. 1 tablespoon curry powder
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  7. 4 cups diced kabocha squash
  8. 1 cup dried red lentils
  9. 4 cup water
  10. 1-15oz can lite coconut milk
  11. 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium heavy bottom pot. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft.
  2. Stir in the garlic, curry powder, salt and pepper; cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Add the kabocha, red lentils and water; stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover; cook for 30-40 minutes until kabocha is tender.
  5. Stir in coconut milk and ume vinegar.
  6. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired.
Besides drowning ourselves in warm bowls of soup (and the like) we have also been enjoying a number of Fall activities including evening walks down leaf covered path ways, a trip to the pumpkin patch and of course pumpkin decorating (I made a pretty awesome gold glittered pumpkin).



How have you been enjoying the season? This coming weekend we have our annual pumpkin beer tasting and I can’t wait!