Spicy Honey-Roasted Squash Seeds

Spicy Honey-Roasted Squash Seeds

Stop! You with the stringy, goopy squash gook halfway to the trash can. Don’t throw it out!

Save that stuff. Save it in a bowl in your fridge all fall so you can procrastinate making this recipe until a lazy Saturday afternoon when you finally work up the courage to submerge your hands in a cold bowl of squash gook.

On second thought, maybe just clean the seeds right up front and save a bowl of clean squash seeds in your fridge for when you want a snack on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Do as I say, not as I do.

Spicy Honey-Roasted Squash Seeds

But let’s back up for a second. Many people are familiar with roasting pumpkin seeds, especially after carving a pumpkin this time of year. But did you know you can do the same thing with the seeds of any other squash? If you’re like me, you cook with other types of squash  much more often than pumpkin. And I love the seeds. Other than cleaning them, they are possibly the best part!


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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Mug Cake

Fall weather is upon us, and that can only mean one thing: pumpkin!

Let’s talk about pumpkin. Although I’m not the biggest pumpkin spice latte fan – too sweet! – I do enjoy almost anything else pumpkin-flavored. Pumpkin beer and pumpkin puree stirred into my oatmeal are two fall favorites. I’m not planning on bombarding you with pumpkin recipes this fall, but I do think that a quick and easy pumpkin dessert is in order. Enter this whole wheat pumpkin spice mug cake!


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Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale

farro risotto with butternut squash & kale from coffee & quinoa

Happy Friday! Do you need the weekend as much as I do?

Last weekend, I had a whole list of things to cook and bake. I woke up early on Saturday morning energized to get started, and just kept going all weekend. As much fun as it was to try out a bunch of new dishes, I don’t think this weekend will be like that. I just want to sleep! And ski. Oh yeah… and bake some pies for a Thanksgiving dinner party I’m going to on Saturday night. OK, so maybe it will be a liiiiittle bit like last weekend.

With any luck, I’ll have some pie recipes to share with you next week. For today, I have this risotto, which was part of last weekend’s craziness. Nate says it’s a keeper, and I have to agree with him, seeing as I ate about two servings worth of samples as I stood over the stove.

farro risotto with butternut squash & kale from coffee & quinoa

I was pretty scared of risotto after my last attempt, on Valentine’s Day, left me a hot sweaty mess after stirring the stuff for about an hour longer than the recipe called for. Not very romantic, especially since I was pretty grumpy by the time it was done. It was also a farro risotto… the stuff just would not cook! Nate’s mom pointed out to me that I should use pearled farro, which cooks a lot more quickly. Make sure you use that here to reduce the time you spend stirring! I found a package of it in Whole Foods near the rice (although they didn’t have it in bulk).

farro risotto with butternut squash & kale from coffee & quinoa

I am all about easy cooking (very little patience over here). So if I can make risotto and not be be swearing by the end… trust me, you can, too!

For this risotto, the squash and kale are cooked separately (this could even be done ahead of time) and then added at the end. The farro, onion, and garlic are simmered with white wine and vegetable broth. I tend to favor a “stir once or twice and then just stay in the vicinity” technique rather than constant stirring. That way I don’t go crazy, and I even get some dishes washed while I cook.

There is a fair amount of olive oil and vegan butter going on here. So it’s definitely a treat, but a tasty one worth having once in a while!

farro risotto with butternut squash & kale from coffee & quinoa

5.0 from 1 reviews
Farro Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 4 as an entree
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter, divided (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
  • large bunch of kale (I used curly), stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups pearled farro (can use regular farro but cooking time will double)
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 3 large or 4 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock, warmed (you may use slightly more or less depending on cooking time)
  1. First, roast the squash. (You can do this step ahead of time and keep roasted squash in the fridge.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a foil-lined baking sheet, toss the cubed butternut squash with 1 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast about 35 minutes, until squash is tender, stirring 2-3 times in the process to cook evenly.
  2. Next, toast the farro. Heat remaining olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add farro and toss to coat. Toast the farro about 1-2 minutes in the pan (you will hear it start to sizzle), then transfer to the oven (still at 375) to finish toasting for about 6 more minutes. Stir once after 3 minutes. The farro won't look toasted, but it will start to smell a bit toasted and will be sizzling. Remove the farro to a bowl and wipe out your skillet.
  3. Now we’ll actually cook the risotto. In the same skillet, melt 2 Tbsp vegan butter over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook about 2 minutes more. Now add 1/2 cup of the wine and increase heat to high to deglaze the pan. Stir once or twice, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer until the wine is almost evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add farro and about 1/2 cup of vegetable stock to the skillet. Stir and let simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed. Continue doing this, alternating veg stock with the rest of the white wine, until your farro is tender, about 20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook your kale by sauteing with a small amount of water, tossing continuously, until bright green, about 30 seconds. Run under cold water until cool, then set aside.
  6. Once farro is tender, stir in remaining Tbsp vegan butter, squash, and kale. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot!
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine via http://iheartyum.com/main-course/farro-risotto-with-butternut-squash-and-kale/


Fudgy Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

fudgy chocolate pumpkin cake from coffee and quinoa

I had planned on posting about something completely different today.

But then I thought that would be unfair, because I’ve had chocolate on the brain all week. So obviously everyone should. Also, do you see this cake?

fudgy chocolate pumpkin cake from coffee and quinoa

It is fudgy, pumpkiny and vegan. I really hope you’re not sick of pumpkin yet, because this cake is something special!

Last fall, my roommate and I found this recipe on the Whole Foods website. I’m not sure what we were looking for when we found it (not a pumpkin recipe, I don’t think), but we tried it and it was way better than we expected. It was so good that she made it again to surprise me for my birthday! So sweet. (Miss you Kera!)

I was also pleasantly surprised this weekend when I was able to create a vegan version of this cake pretty uneventfully. (That has not been the case for most of my vegan baking attempts… but more on that some other time.) Probably because it was somewhat healthy to start out with, containing pumpkin and all, the vegan version tasted just like I remembered it. Success!

I’m embarrassed to say that this particular cake spent less than 36 hours on this earth. I had some help… but not much.

fudgy chocolate pumpkin cake from coffee & quinoa

This cake isn’t too fancy. It’s good for snacking, or bringing over to a friend’s house to share. It’s sweet, but still pretty healthy!

The one problem with this cake is that it always looks so uneven, you know? Every time you cut a slice, the remaining cake just needs to be evened off a little… now just a little over here… oh shoot, might as well just eat the rest of that row.

And that, my friends, is why there was no cake left when Nate got home on Sunday.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Fudgy Chocolate Pumpkin Cake
Hands-on time
Cook time
Total time
Yields: 9
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup natural cane sugar
  • 1 6-oz container plain soy yogurt (3/4 cup)
  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin purée (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups vegan chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, yogurt, pumpkin, and vanilla.
  4. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour into prepared dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with fudgy crumbs, about 35 minutes. Set the dish on a cooling rack.
  6. Once thoroughly cool, dust with optional powdered sugar. Slice and serve directly from the dish.
Adapted from Whole Foods http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/pumpkin-chocolate-cake


Healthy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Lemon Tahini Sauce

healthy stuffed sweet potatoes with lemon-tahini sauce

I don’t want to get too political or anything… but I am one happy girl today.

OK, now back to food.

Until recently, I didn’t think I liked sweet potatoes.

I think I’d mostly seen them in a casserole dish (there’s your first mistake) covered with marshmallows and tasting as sugary as candy. That’s just not my idea of a potato, you know? If I have to pick a potato, it’s going to be white and mashed up with lots of butter and cream. With so many dishes on the table at Thanksgiving, even I can’t do them all, and my potato compartment has historically been reserved for mashed potatoes only.

But last winter my roommate introduced me to sweet potatoes without all the other sweet stuff, and I kind of liked them! And now, after making these stuffed guys, I really like them.

healthy stuffed sweet potatoes with lemon tahini sauce

These taste simple and yummy and are simple to make. Saute some onions, spinach and chickpeas while the potatoes are cooking, whisk together the dressing, heap it all on top of each other, and grab your fork.

healthy stuffed sweet potatoes with lemon-tahini sauce

This dish is healthy and so filling! It got the Nate stamp of approval – always a good sign. Best served with some Utah beer, as pictured above!

Healthy Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Inspired by The Kitchn and Smitten Kitchen

Makes 4 servings


4 small sweet potatoes
½ red onion, diced
1 lb fresh spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
¼ cup water
½ tsp kosher salt
parsley for sprinkling (optional)


First, bake the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly, pat dry, and pierce each one several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

While sweet potatoes are baking, make the dressing. Combine all dressing ingredients (lemon juice, tahini, olive oil, water, kosher salt and half of garlic) in a small bowl and whisk (or blend with an immersion blender – my favorite!) until smooth.

Heat a bit of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, or until translucent and beginning to brown. Add in the chickpeas and the rest of the garlic and cook until the chickpeas begin to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest.

Toss in the spinach in large handfuls, waiting a minute or so for each handful to wilt and make room in the pot before tossing in the next. Once all the spinach has been added and reduced a bit, stir in about half the dressing. Toss so that everything is evenly mixed and continue to cook for a minute or two until the chickpeas and spinach are heated through.

Cut a slit down the center of each sweet potato and stuff with the spinach and chickpea mixture. Serve with extra dressing on the side and parsley for sprinkling.


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