Recipe | (Kid-Approved) Nut-Free Pesto Pasta

Raise your hand if you are a pasta-o-holic like me. I would say in an average week we have pasta at least twice and that’s only because I purposely don’t buy enough to have it everyday of the week – or we would. Edith requests pasta most days of the week and today I said YES and pasta is what we had. 

Nut Free Pesto

Most of the time I make some sort of vegan mac and cheese or a pesto pasta for lunches. Since Alder is now eating err…playing with solids I wanted to make something that he could taste too so I decided to go with a nut-free pesto. It was also the perfect way to get Edith to eat some greens because lately she has been a little more picky with her food. 

Anyways I made this pasta dish and it turned out fantastic. Even Edith who told me while I was making it that she wasn’t going to eat it declared that it was her “favorite best pasta”. So basically this pasta dish is a winner. Enjoy!

(Kid Approved) Nut-Free Pesto Pasta
Serves 2
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  1. 2 servings pasta of your choice
  2. 1 cup broccoli (fresh or defrosted frozen)
  3. 1 cup peas (fresh or defrosted frozen)
  4. 2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  5. 2-3 garlic cloves
  6. 1/4 cup olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon white miso
  8. 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
  9. salt and pepper to taste
  10. 1 Italian Field Roast Sausage (optional), diced and lightly bowned
  11. Reserve a bit of cooking water
  1. Cook pasta according to package.
  2. To a food processor all the ingredients except sausage and cooking water; process until smooth. (If making for baby as well see note below).
  3. Toss pasta with pesto and sausage adding as bit of cooking water as necessary to reach desired sauce consistency.
  1. For Alder I added just the olive oil, peas, broccoli and nutritional yeast to the food processor and blended until smooth; I removed a few tablespoons to toss with a bit of pasta and then added remaining ingredients.
Nut Free Pesto Fork

What is your go-to pasta dish or lunch dish?

Recipe | Celebratory Black Bean Soup (Panera Copycat)

On March 9, 2015 our dear friends K. and J. welcomed their second baby girl into the world. To say we are over moon thrilled for them and big sister K. is an understatement. I am missing those squishy newborn days so I can’t wait to head on over today to finally meet baby L. (as I type this I’m wondering if they planned on sequential first initials…hmm? Anyways of course I am bringing over a new baby dish for them and yesterday afternoon I said wait a minute I should share this recipe with you all! 

Running With Tongs - Panera Dupe - Celebrate

So K., J. & little K. are lovers of Panera, specifically the black bean soup so I thought why not attempt a copycat of one of their favorite soups? I have to say it turned out delicious and I am planning to make it again soon for ourselves.

Running With Tongs - Black Bean Soup - Panera Dupe

Celebratory Black Bean Soup (Panera Copycat)
Serves 6
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  1. 2 Teaspoons Grapeseed Oil (or oil of your choice)
  2. 3-15oz Tins of Reduced Sodium Black Beans, drained
  3. 1 Medium Red Onion, diced
  4. 2 Large Carrots, diced
  5. 2 Celery Stalks, diced
  6. 1 Bell Pepper (Red, Yellow or Orange), diced
  7. 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  8. 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  9. 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  10. 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  11. 2 Heaping Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  12. 1 Vegan Chikn Boullion Cube
  13. 2-3 Cups Water, depending on how thick/thin you'd like your soup
  14. 1 Teaspoon Umiboshi Plum Vinegar
  1. Heat oil a heavy bottom pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper, sauté for 7-10 minutes until soft.
  3. Stir in the garlic and spices.
  4. Stir in the black beans (drained not rinsed), tomato paste, boullion and water.
  5. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to medium-low to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  6. (Optional) remove 1/2-3/4 cup of soup and puree until smooth; return to pot and stir.
  7. Stir in the vinegar and then season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. You don't have to use umi vinegar but I recommend it. I use it in basically every soup and sauce that I make because it just makes such a difference. Don't believe me? Try your soup or sauce before adding and then stir it in and taste again- taste the difference?
I am pairing this soup with Beanitos aka my favorite corn-free tortilla chips, a Porter (beer) because L’s middle name is Porter, a session IPA (low alcohol for mum if she so desires), a dry soda and a batch of fresh lactation cookies and some for the freezer because who doesn’t prefer warm cookies straight from the oven and honestly it’s super easy to do. Hoping they enjoy this basket of goodies!

Running With Tongs - BabyMeal- Panera Dupe

Interested in more vegan recipe copycats? Let me know in the comments below!

What’s your favorite soup? I love a really good “cream” of tomato with crusty bread (obvs).

Recipe | Massaged Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing

Massaged Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs
I go through phases where I binge on greens and then there are times when I want nothing to do with them. Right now I am just loving greens, all day, everyday. I think it’s in part due to Neil’s juice til dinner cleanse he did at the start of this week. It really forced me to re-think dinners and make them a bit healthier and when I think healthy I think greens. Now I’m hooked and it feels so good to be back. I used the kale and some of the potatoes and garlic from our organics box to make this salad. Side note I say that this salad serves 2 or it could even serve 3 as a side but in all honesty I ate the entire thing myself for lunch. Seriously so good.
Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Dressing Ingredients Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Sauced Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Massaged Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Closeup

Massaged Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing
Serves 2
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  1. 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  2. 1/3 cup cashew butter or cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
  3. 1 small lemon, juiced
  4. 1 small clove of garlic, minced
  5. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 2 teaspoons while miso
  7. 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  8. 1/2 Tablespoon coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  9. 1/4-1/2 cup water, depending on how thick you'd like the sauce
For Salad
  1. 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and shredded
  2. 1lb new potatoes, diced and tossed with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 375F.
  2. While oven is preheating place all of the sauce ingredients in the blender and process until smooth making sure to start with 1/4 cup of water and adding more if necessary/to your liking.
  3. Toss the potatoes with the olive oil and seasoning and place in the oven for 25-28 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes are roasted massage 1/4 cup of the dressing with the kale; I find it best to massage for at least a minute (more if you'd like) to help break down the kale. Let it marinate while your potatoes roast.
  5. Once potatoes are done toss them with the kale salad and plate.
  6. Drizzle salad with a little extra dressing, a squeeze of lemon juice and if you like a little spice a few chili flakes.
  1. You can substitute tahini for cashew butter or if you'd like you could substitute almond or peanut butter and add a bit of ginger and swap lime juice for lemon for more of an Asian inspired salad.
  2. Can't find lacinato kale? Try it with curly kale!
  3. Enjoy your food a bit saltier? Just swap the coconut aminos for tamari.
Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Munching Kale Salad With Creamy Cashew Dressing | Running With Tongs | Finished

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.