3 in 1: Quick Roast Veggies, Leftovers Pancakes, Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we’re all busy in our kitchens, cooking up some love for our families. But holidays are also a stressful time, and keeping yourself happy while keeping the rest of your family happy can be hard. Here are a few things that I hope will make your life a little easier over the next week or so.

The first is a way to roast veggies in under ten minutes, no joke. The second is a delicious way to use up leftovers of this and that; to reduce waste where you can.

The last is extra special. A simple candy that almost anyone can make. Only a handful of ingredients (two for a pared-down version, four for the fancy version), with a crunchy, addictive result.

Quick Roasted Veggies 

quick roasted veggies

My favorite busy night dinner is roasted Brussels sprouts with either potatoes, tortillas, or pasta. And then I cook Jason some chicken or turkey keilbasa, with one of the three aforementioned carbs, and some salad. I dislike cooking meat, but if I didn’t cook it for him, he’d eat it elsewhere.

I used to love drowning the sprouts in cheese, which essentially negates the whole point of having veggies for dinner. My clothes were feeling a little tight and uncomfy, and I knew cheese was the main culprit. My running felt sluggish, which inevitably puts me in a bad mood. So I made this sauce as a way of scaling back on the cheese. It’s just as a satisfying and stupid easy, and Jason loves it.

I came up with a quick-roast method of making my sprouts so that I could still have my favorite veggie even when I got home from work late. Sure, the flavor isn’t as deep, but you still get the soft sprout under a caramelized crust. If you’re rushing around trying to get the house ready for guests and still need something healthy for dinner, this is a great option

Quick Roasted Sprouts 

  • 1 cup sprouts (or more), quartered
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • seasoned salt

Turn on the broiler. Put the sprouts in a microwave and oven safe dish. Microwave for two minutes. Add oil and seasoning. Broil for 3-4 minutes on one side, turn, and then broil for 2-3 minutes on the other side.

Easy Cream Sauce

  • 1/3 cup good quality fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp sriracha
  • pinch of cumin
  • salt to taste

Stir all ingredients until an even color and consistency is reached.

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes 

Pumpkin Cornmeal Pancakes

I have a great appreciation for using up leftovers. Food waste is a terrible problem in this country, and it happens far too often. I’m guilty of it myself (comes with the food blog territory), but I try to keep it to a minimum. These pancakes were made using leftover cornbread mix, and the pumpkin was leftover puree.  This topping reminded me of why I used to love pumpkin pie. In the past few years, I’ve fallen out of love with it, preferring to the mix the squash with chocolaty things, or really just about anything that wasn’t straight-up pie. But this brought me back. Maybe because it’s so scaled down. Maybe because it doesn’t have the density that can sometimes kill an otherwise lovely pie. Maybe it’s because the fall flavors lend themselves well to breakfast. Here, they are not the full-of-stuffing-and-Beaujolais dinner denouement. They are the sunshiney greeting to the start of your day.

This makes just a small batch, enough for one or two people, but it’s easily multiplied.


  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gf cornbread mix, or other similar cornbread mix
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • coconut oil, for the pan

Combine egg and milk, then combine cornbread mix and baking powder. Wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Bring a pan to medium heat and melt the coconut oil. Spoon 1/8th cup (2 tbsp) of the pancake batter into the pan for each pancake. Cook for 2 – 2 1/2 min on one side, flip, and cook for another minute or so. Serve with pumpkin topping. Makes about 15 dollar size pancakes.


  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • toasted pecans and salted butter, for serving

Combine all ingredients, except for the pecans and butter. Serve warm over cornmeal pancakes.

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks 

Jason LOVES these. A few days ago, I made a batch and left them in the fridge for him, in a paper bag with a big heart on it. When I got home from work that night, I found the following scene: husband fast asleep on the couch, Netflix playing softly on the TV, and the bag, torn into like a raccoon had gotten to it. And it was completely empty. Which was fine, since I’d made them for him, but also, it was a huge batch. These are super addictive, so proceed with caution.

The are also ridiculously easy. If you need just one more dessert, or need something quick to bring to a party, this is it. And you don’t even have to make it yourself. Enlist a bored relative to help you out, or round up a few of the kids. PS, I still consider myself one of the kids. That’s probably because I don’t have any yet. whew!

Crunchy Chocolate Party Sticks

  • 2 cups of Rice Chex
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (optional. I like them with coconut, Jason likes them without)
  • food coloring for the coconut

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Pour over the cereal, and stir gently, being careful not to break any of them up. When the cereal is completely coated, lay some wax paper out on a cookie sheet. Make rows of cereal – each piece touching the next, but not overlapping. You can make the sticks as long or short as you like. If you want longer sticks, reduce the cereal to 1 3/4 cup, so that there is more chocolate on each piece and the bonds are stronger. Sprinkle with coconut. Place in the freezer to harden, then gently peel them off the wax paper. Enjoy! This makes about 18-20 sticks of assorted sizes.



Hidden Rainbow Vegan Chili

hidden rainbow vegan chili Lately Jason has been asking me to “blog him up some chili.” When you ask like that, babe, how can I say no? eye roll.  Making people happy with food is one of my weak spots and he knows it.

What he doesn’t know (what he didn’t know as he gobbled it up and asked for seconds) is how many good things are in this chili.  Little grape tomatoes, and big earthy carrots, acorn squash, corn, tomatillos and avocado and jalapeno; purple potatoes. You practically have the entire spectrum here. Sorry blue.

hidden rainbow vegan chili My mom used to say that the more color you have on your plate, the healthier it is. I’m sure this rule is too simple to be totally true, but it’s also too simple to be false. It just plain common sense. Which means that this chili is full of stuff you want to put in your body.

The base is tomatillos, so you get that amazing green chili/salsa verde flavor. Talk about craveable. I like chili that I can chew, so I cut my carrots in big chunks. It probably makes the cooking time just a little longer, but when it comes to chili, you kind of want a longer cooking time (still under an hour). It gives all the flavors time to melt into one another and get snug. Deep. Rich. Spicy.

I might of had a few corn chips on the side. It’s a chili rule, right? You have chili, you must have chips. And I don’t feel bad about it, one little bit.  I’m not one to justify I-had-something-healthy-so-I-can-have-something-naughty. I had the corn chips because I plain old felt like it. Because, like I said, I like to make people happy with food. And one of those people is me. hidden rainbow vegan chili

Hidden Rainbow Vegan Chili


  • 10 small purple potatoes (about 11 oz worth of potatoes), cubed
  • 2 cups of cubed acorn squash
  • 3-4 large carrots, chopped (big chunks, not neat little die)
  • 1 1/4 lbs tomatillos
  • 2 large jalapenos, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium large onion, diced
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups unsalted vegetable broth (I like Kitchen Basics)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • Topping
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • olive oil
  • salt and chili powder
  • 2 avocados
  • small bunch of cilantro
  • 1 pt grape tomatoes
  • for serving
  • scoop corn chips


  1. Blend up the tomatillos and half of the onion.
  2. Pour the oil in a large saucepan and place over medium heat.
  3. Once the oil is shimmering, stir in the garlic.
  4. Once the garlic becomes fragrant (less than a minute), stir in the rest of the onion, the squash, the carrots, and the tomatillo puree. Cover the pot.
  5. After ten minutes, stir in the potatoes. Cover once again.
  6. After ten more minutes, stir in the black beans, red beans, jalapenos, and vegetable broth. Cover once again and allow to cook for 35-38 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat and add salt to taste.
  7. Turn on the broiler
  8. Slather the corn with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and chili powder.
  9. Put the corn under the broiler and cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook for 4 minutes, and then turn again and cook for 4 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  10. Once the corn is cool enough to handle, slice off the kernels.
  11. Chop up the avocados and grape tomatoes.
  12. Divide the chili among the serving bowls and sprinkle with the corn, grape tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro.
  13. Serve with love and a big pile of corn chips.

Brussels Sprout Poppers

brussels sprout poppers brussels sprout appetizers

I haven’t had jalapeno poppers in years, so I can’t say for sure whether these are better than the classic casual dining appetizer. But they’re not fried (extra points for sprout poppers), have a goat cheese-sriracha filling (more points), are gluten free (yada yada points) and made with the best veggie ever, Brussels sprouts. I think we know who wins here. And considering I am a lover of jalapenos and all things spicy, that’s saying a lot. Well, these are spicy too.

The crunchy coating is made from finely-ground corn Chex (or, um, “oven-toasted corn cereal”) and it’s so very crispy. 

I made sure that I got the precious caramelization on the sprouts before I added the cheese. I’ll eat non-caramelized sprouts, but only grudgingly or if I got home late and was really hungry and just wanted to shovel something in my mouth. The thing is, you can’t stir-fry like you’re used to. You have to stir very carefully so that as many leaves stick to each sprout. You also have to be  careful when cutting them. Cut as close to the heel as possible, so as to not lose leaves. 

These taste best when they are hot and fresh and right out of the oven. They just don’t taste anywhere near as good the next day.  Refrigerated-reheated sprouts are never quite as fun.

What is fun is being able to make these right at home, without any of that casual dining flare.

Ok, maybe a little flare.

brussels sprout poppers brussels sprout appetizer



Brussels Sprout Poppers


  • 1 lb sprouts
  • 3 1/2 cups of corn Chex
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry Italian seasoning mix (Hidden Valley is GF)
  • pinch of salt
  • small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp sriracha


  1. Grind up the Chex in your food processor until you have fine crumbs.
  2. Toast the crumbs gently in a sauté pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally so they don't burn. It will take 10-15 minutes. They can go from almost-done to brunt in mere seconds, so watch closely.
  3. Combine the Italian seasoning mix, the Chex crumbs, and a pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Wash and trim the sprouts. Cut them in half lenghwise.
  5. Coat a large sauté pan with non-stick spray or oil and bring to medium heat.
  6. Sprinkle the sprouts with a little salt and place them, cut-side down, in the pan.
  7. Cook for 10 minutes, turn, and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring slowly and constantly, for 5 more minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  10. Combine the sriracha and goat cheese in a blender until an even color and consistency is reached.
  11. Scoop the sriracha cheese into a pastry bag with a larger-than normal piece of the tip cut off.
  12. Place the sprouts on a large tray or baking sheet, cut side up.
  13. Put HUGE dollops of cheese sauce on the cut side of each sprout.
  14. Place the sprouts and cheese in the freezer for 10-12 minutes.
  15. Preheat the oven to 350.
  16. Beat the eggs together with a fork.
  17. When the sprouts come out of the freezer, the cheese should be very hard.
  18. Dip the sprout poppers in the eggs and then in the corn chex crumbs. It's best to use a fork to do all this or else your fingers will be very messy.
  19. Place poppers on a non-stick silicone sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy right away.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

These wraps contain two of my favorite veggies ever.

I say a lot of things are my favorite, but it’s true! It’s also true that if you love everything, then you don’t love anything. Trust me, there are a lot of foods I can’t stand. I just don’t want to talk about them right now because I’d like to tell you about these instead.

That bright red filling is made of shredded Brussels sprouts and beets. I like to make a sort of hash out of them for dinner and scoop it up with flatbread. That’s rather messy, so I decided to roll them up into neat little packages. You can make several of these at once, which is good for a few days worth of salad lunches.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

The citrus dip is the easiest thing ever. Just throw everything in the blender and you’re done!   It’s not vegan, but can be easily made so.

There are so many things you can do with sprouts. Here’s a list of goodies for all you Brussels sprouts lovers.

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Yield: 14-16 wraps, depending on leaf size

Serving Size: 1 wrap


    for the wraps
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt to taste
  • 1 lb turnip greens (you won't use them all)
  • for the dipping sauce
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 1/2 cups grapefruit juice
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 medium-large garlic clove
  • 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • salt to taste


  1. Shred the beets and the sprouts in your food processor. Work in batches if you must. (I had to).
  2. Coat a big sautee pan with non-stick spray, and bring to medium heat.
  3. Cook the beets & sprouts for about five minutes, stirring once or twice.
  4. Cook for 4 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and sprinkle on the nutritional yeast.
  6. Let it cool a little bit and then sprinkle with salt to taste.
  7. Gently wash the turnip greens and pat them dry.
  8. Pick the fullest, greenest leaves. You'll need about 16. It's ok if they're different sizes. Just as long as they don't have any holes or brown spots, you're good.
  9. Place 1 - 2 tablespoons of the beet-sprout mix in the center of each leaf. Fold lengthwise then crosswise. For some of the bigger leaves, you might even be able to use 3 tbsp.
  10. for the mix
  11. Put the avocado, grapefruit juice, sesame oil, garlic clove, fish sauce, chili powder, and honey in a blender till well combined. Taste and add salt if desired.

inspired by Spinach Tiger 

Ruby Wraps with Grapefruit Dip

Brussels Sprout Spread

brussels sprout spread

I’m feeling a little guilty about this one because I took something totally healthy and mixed it up with something totally unhealthy. Specifically, I took some nice, low-cal sprouts and then added a bunch of brie.

I did start out with some not-so-naughty goat cheese. Goat cheese is nice and light and tangy, but it was not meant to be. Then I dropped the cheese altogether and used some roasted eggplant. It was perfect, right? All those veggies and no fat. But again, it was not meant to be.

I knew what the answer was, because I’d been avoiding it all along. Brie. Lovely, creamy, perfect brie. Besides, a little bit of something that you really really love is better than a lot of something you’re indifferent to. So I enjoyed a little bit. It was the perfect lunch.

brussels sprout spread



This would be also fun as a cheese-ball type thing, rolled in nuts and thyme and pepper and served with a mound of crackers. Cover it if it’s in the fridge so that it will retain its bright green color,and let it come to room temperature before serving.



brussels sprout spread


Brussels Sprout Spread


  • 1 lb Brussels Sprouts
  • 8 oz brie, rind removed
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 tbsp pure sesame oil
  • salt to taste
  • thyme
  • chopped nuts
  • black pepper


  1. Cut all the little heels from the sprouts.
  2. Using a food processor, shred all the sprouts along with the garlic.
  3. Put a little coconut oil in a pan over medium heat, then add the sprouts.
  4. Sprinkle a little salt over the sprouts and cook them, stirring frequently, for about 8 minutes.
  5. In a food processor, blend the brie with the sesame oil and lemon juice.
  6. Add the cooked sprouts to the brie mixture and blend well. Add in more salt if desired.
  7. Serve on toast. Sprinkle with thyme, nuts, and freshly ground black pepper.










Mamabear’s Green Dressing

You know those days when absolutely nothing goes as planned? I’ve had about 5 of those in a row. Some were big things, some were little.

My mom was visiting. We don’t get along too well, but we’re working on it, and I love her deeply no matter what. She had to cut her visit short and that made me sad. The second she left I went to the kitchen to make this dressing. Eating my feelings, I guess.

This recipe is something I got from her. She loves salad. She doesn’t just eat it because she pigged out the day before, or because it’s healthy, but just because she loves it. When I go visit her, 75% of the meals she makes are salad.

Before she left, she filled up this little cup with flowers. Thanks, Mom.


Mamabear's Green Dressing


  • 1 cup of loosely packed basil
  • 3/4 cup parsley
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1 avocado
  • at least 1 1/4 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice
  • salt to taste


  1. Put everything in the blender. It will be very creamy. If you prefer a thinner dressing, add a little more orange juice. Serve over a bed of fresh greens.

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers

I love Brussels sprouts!

I love the way they taste, but I also love that they are so healthy. The are so full of the best things, like cancer-fighting vitamins, and potassium, which is an anti-inflammatory. Happy knees, happy runner!

Now you can eat these all on their own (they’re vegan!) or you can eat them with an egg (not vegan of course, but totally delicious and full of protein).  Runners love protein like they love their Garmins. And they’re gluten-free and I’m pretty sure they’re paleo, too. Everybody’s happy!


Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers

Yield: 6-8 patties (serves 2 as main)

Serving Size: 3-4 patties

Brussels Sprout Sweet Potato Burgers


  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 2 medium-small cloves garlic, grated or crushed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • some coconut oil for the pan
  • optional eggs for serving


  1. While you're gathering the rest of your ingredients, prepare the sweet potato. It's best if the potato is somewhat cooled off before you make the patty.*
  2. Scrub the potato and wrap it in damp paper towels. Microwave the potato for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Cut all the little heels off the sprouts.
  4. Shred the sprouts. I did this in my food processor, and it was so fast!
  5. Combine the shredded sprouts, the garlic, salt, thyme, cayenne, and cumin. Mix well.
  6. Heat a little bit of coconut oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook the shredded spouts for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  7. Peel the potato and smash it in the bottom of a bowl. Add the par-cooked sprouts over it. Combine and mix well.
  8. Form patties that are about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches in diameter.
  9. Heat a little more oil in the pan, over medium heat this time.
  10. Cook the patties for three minutes on on side, and then flip and cook for three more minutes. Remove from heat, sprinkle with a little more salt and cayenne, and serve. They taste wonderful with a sunny-side up egg


* I prepared the potato awhile before I made the rest of the recipe. You could even nuke the potato when you get home from work and then just let it sit on the counter until you're ready to make dinner. It's not critical to the recipe for the potato to be cool, but it will be a lot kinder on your hands when you're making the patty!


idea from caveman keto