Spiced Pumpkin Seed & Cashew Crunch : BA Cleanse 2014

The Bon Appetit Food Lover’s Cleanse is all about cooking healthy, whole foods, and trying new recipes to keep you excited about cooking.  For Dave and I, this has been the “reset” button we needed to hit after eating not so well during the holidays and to gear up for a year of lookin’ good for our wedding!

Before the first day of the cleanse, we had to make a few recipes that we used throughout the days to have on hand like salad dressing, herby tahini sauce, and this amazing Seed&Nut Crunch.  It was a lot of work the first day, but I loved having my own homemade ingredients throughout the week.

Bon Appetit's Crunch... wow!

Bon Appetit’s Crunch… wow!

This crunch has become my new guilty pleasure.  I guess if it’s part of the cleanse, I don’t even have to be that guilty!

The crunch is delightfully spiced with just a hint of sweetness and adds some really nice texture to so many of the recipes.  We even had to make a second batch because we liked it so much!

I really wanted to share this recipe with you because it’s so versatile.  We put the crunch on salads, on hot cereals, yogurt, and even on some of our side dishes.  The spices can be modified to fit your personal tastes too.  I think this is one recipe we’ll totally be taking with us as we finish the cleanse and continue on with our healthy living.  Love it!

Spiced Pumpkin Seed & Cashew Crunch

Ingredients:

Nonstick Spray
1 Large Egg White
1 teaspoon Light Agave Nectar 
½ teaspoon Garam Masala 
½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
⅛ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
¼ cup Raw Cashews, coarsely chopped
¼ cup shelled Raw Pumpkin Seeds (pepitas)
¼ cup shelled Raw Sunflower Seeds 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°.

Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk egg white, agave, garam masala, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add nuts and seeds and toss to coat.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to baking sheet, letting excess egg drip back into bowl. Bake, tossing once, until mixture is golden brown, 20–25 minutes. Let cool on baking sheet.

Recipe adapted from:  Bon Appetit

The crunch was the perfect texture to top this salad of roasted carrots and beets

The crunch was the perfect texture to top this salad of roasted carrots and beets

I also used the crunch in so many breakfasts.  This one I will share the recipe with you soon- SO GOOD!  Hot Multigrain Cereal w/ Pom and Crunch!

I also used the crunch in so many breakfasts. This one I will share the recipe with you soon- SO GOOD! Hot Multigrain Cereal w/ Pom and Crunch!

 

I totally recommend making double this batch right from the start.  If you’re going to even think about snacking on this… just do it.  It’s so good.

Keep an eye on the crunch while it’s baking, my oven tends to burn nuts and seeds when I try to “toast” them, so I like to have the light on and check every couple minutes or so.  The mixture might be a little soft when you take it out, so wait until it cools completely to try it for the best taste.

Check out these other recipes from the #BACleanse…

White Bean Salad w/ Parsley & Pom

White Bean Salad w/ Parsley & Pom

Also, follow me on Instagram (@GoodtobetheCook) to see other pics from our cleanse experience!  Many more recipes to come.

Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto

It’s that Meatless Monday time again!

So, forever ago now… we bought a ton of yummy stuff at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market.  One of my interesting purchases (of many, duh) was Purple Basil.  I’ve never seen this stuff before and immediately thought it would be a cool thing to buy for the blog.  Of course life happened and I’ve been so busy and haven’t even had a chance to tell you about it yet!

My first idea was to try making Pesto, since I never have before.  I figured it would be awesome since it was purple.  While this Pesto TASTED awesome, it looked awful.  I wasn’t thinking and didn’t realize that after blending everything together, my beautiful purple basil would look more like brown goop.  Oh well!  It was delicious anyways.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been into using my Sunflower Seed Oil from Trader Joe’s, so I went with that theme and also used toasted sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts in my pesto.

 Sunflower Seed Purple Pesto

A Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook

Ingredients:

2 Cups Purple Basil Leaves, stems removed, rinsed, dried.

1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced

¼ Cup – ½ Cup Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano (what I used) Cheese

¼ Cup – ½ Cup Sunflower Seed Oil (or other oil)

½ Cup Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Salt, Pepper

Pasta, Veggies (I used Squash and Fresh Grape Tomtaoes)

Extra Grated Cheese & Toasted Sunflower Seeds for topping

 Directions: 

1.  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.

2.  Put the basil and sunflower seeds in the food processor.  Blend for 30 seconds or until the basil no longer takes up most of the space.  Add ¼ cup of Oil to start (you can always add more) and ¼ Cup of Cheese (again, you can always add more).  Blend in the food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.  Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, more cheese or oil if you need to.

3.  Add to pasta/veggies, or use as a spread for sandwiches!  

I had made so much Purple Pesto that I was able to freeze some to use for later.  I took Tablespoonfuls onto small pieces of saran wrap, wrapped them up, and then stored in a freezer bag.  This way, I don’t have to defrost the entire thing when I want to use it next!

I told ya it was UGLY!

Yummy! My sister and I really liked this one!