The Secret Guacamole Ingredient Everyone Must Try

True life: I’m a guacamole addict. But there are worse things to be addicted to? Right? Right.

Lately, my I’ve gravitated towards a less is more cooking policy, and the easy guacamole pictured here only requires a handful of ingredients: Really ripe avocados, tomatoes, garlic, red onion and lime juice. (Oh and extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper but I’m hoping if you’re reading this, that’s a pantry staple for you). And behold, my back-pocket weapon: Grapes! They add a perfect fruity twist, without being overly sweet and if you squeeze a bit of the juice into the guac, it proves a nice complement for the tangy lime juice, blah blah blah…

guac  guacamole 3

This is What a Snack Looks Like When You’re in Culinary School

 

vegan spring snack
vegan spring snack

…Because it’s impossible to not feel guilty if you just want a goddamn handful of pretzels. Oh well, the red chile  pepper flake-studded focaccia with avocado, snow peas, pickled radishes, asparagus, frisee, cherry tomatoes and various other leftovers salvaged from Friday Night Dinner at school (ditto for the pretty tulips) only took me twenty-five minutes to put together. And yes, I may have just eaten that entire pecan-crusted berry tart. But hey, agar is a sea vegetable so it’s good for you…am I right? 😉

vegan spring snack
vegan spring snack

Spicy Paprika-Dusted Spaghetti Squash Seeds

The above is just a fancy way of saying I roasted spaghetti squash seeds and threw a bunch of good spices on them. Consider it your reward for the nuisance that is figuring out how the hell to cut a squash in half without slicing your hand off, pulling your tricep (Life-changing tip: You can roast it whole, or throw it in the oven for 10 minutes to soften up, and then cut it in half), or both.

It’s so easy, and the result is a real treat. Eat them as a snack (you’ll never pay $4 for over-salted, under-seasoned sunflower seeds again) or toss them into salads as a crunchy topper or sprinkle over warm dishes as a seasonal garnish.

The ugly before…

The prettier after…

Ingredients
Seeds of one spaghetti squash, scraped out
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Whatever other seasonings you want slash have on hand
1. Line tinfoil with spaghetti squash seeds. Pour olive oil and spices over and toss with hands until evenly coated.
2. Roast in 200° oven for 20 minutes, or until seeds have reached desired crispy-ness. 
Feel free to add to main dish, like I did below in this eggplant-onion saute, but make sure you don’t try one before stirring into the mix (because once you pop one, they’ll probably all be gone before you make it to this step)

Zoom Through Your Work Week with These Grape-Nuts Energy Bars

If you know anything about my eating habits, you probably know that it’s quite difficult to find me,  without a box, heck, an entire House of Cards season-worth stash of Grape-Nuts. I mix them into smoothies; sprinkle cinnamon and flaxseed over them with a handful of berries and call it breakfast; and I get weird looks when I drizzle a half cup over fried bananas as my go-to late night snack. Needless to say, when Post Cereal shared this recipe with me for my blog from Kristina Vanni, I knew my quest for the perfect snack bar had ended. Behold! Trust me when I say these energy bars will give you that jolt to make it through the morning grind or a pick-me-up come that 3:00pm hey-why-isn’t-it-nap-time o’clock. National Nutrition Month never tasted so good.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup Grape Nuts
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
 1 flax egg (combine three tablespoons water and one tablespoon flaxseed meal, stir and let sit for five minutes)
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1/4 cup agave nectar or molasses
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounce package pitted prunes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with nonstick aluminum foil making extended edges, or can use regular foil and coat with cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl of electric mixer, combine oats, Grape Nuts, flours, flaxseed, cinnamon, and salt; stir to combine.

Add flax egg, banana, honey, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla; mix well. Stir in chopped prunes, walnuts, chocolate chips, and sesame seeds. Mix well to combine; dough will be stiff.

Transfer to prepared baking pan and pat in mixture evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes until edges are browned.

Cool completely on wire rack in pan. Use edges of foil to pick up and flip out onto a cutting board and cut into 24 squares.

P.S. Hate prunes? Swap ’em for dried apricots! Got pumpkin seeds? Throw ’em in. How about some leftover shredded coconut you’re looking to kill? In they go! Feel free to experiment with your mix-ins and flavor the bars to your own personal taste.

For more great recipes check out www.Grape-Nuts.com or www.Facebook.com/GrapeNutsCereal.