I’m bout to get jalapeno business: Baked almond crusted jalapeno poppers with a faux cashew and pine nut based cheez

So I don’t follow, pay attention to or watch football (well, I should say US football. I do follow what football is to the rest of the world, especially around the World Cup). But one thing that I have liked in the past are the snacks and food associated it the game – the unhealthy, carb loaded, cheesy, fatty and sometimes spicy treats. Of course I almost never eat them. But with everyone so focused on football and speaking about it non stop compounded with the cold rainy weather and my current Whole30 restrictions, suddenly it is what I am craving. So what do I do – get down to business and make it my way – dairy-free, gluten-free, nut based and baked.

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I pita the fool who doesn’t like hummus: Legume-free zucchini almond hummus

This is my last post of the year. I started this blog in January along with a Whole 30 like challenge to help me change up and shake up my life. And it has been a successful journey – I quit my old job, was offered a new job that is better for me in every way at this stage in my career, have upped my game in the kitchen and discovered my creative juices in vegetarian recipe creation. While I don’t eat in a Whole 30-like fashion year round, it forced me to experiment on myself with elimination diets, do a bit of research and listen to others in terms of their dietary needs. I don’t have a problem with legumes, but people I know do. If they can’t eat chickpeas, they don’t often get to enjoy hummus which is unfortunate because I find it to be the best dipping sauce, best condiment, and best veg protein substitute. So to give my legume-free friends an experience with hummus, I created a chickpea-free hummus with zucchini, almonds, cashews and tahini.

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It’s the great pumpkin cheezcake: Spiced lemon pumpkin cashew nut “cheesecake” with nut date crust

So one of the best parts about being married to an expat is that you get to go visit their family in their home country every so often. Every other year, around Christmas time, we go to France. While the food in France elicits nothing short of a mouthgasm, around the holidays with the multiple family parties and birthdays, it is rich, decadent and overwhelming.  I try to make a meal or a dish here and there to lighten the fare. I don’t speak French so I find sharing experiences and communicating through food a beautiful way to express love. I will make them food they will be pleased with because of simple tastes and aesthetic beauty – like apple roses that I upscale to make them unique. But I am Indian and I like spice and complex flavors full of good healthy ingredients – even for sweets (no flour, no refined sugar, no soy…whole food ingredients). So I came up with a spiced  lemon pumpkin cashew nut “cheesecake” with nut date crust.
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If I knew you were comin’ I’d’ve baked a cake, so I made a raw vegan strawberry brownie tart instead

It was 4 PM. My husband called to tell me that he was stuck in traffic and that new neighbors were coming over for dinner at 6 – he thought he planned enough food but was not sure. I unable to host people for dinner and not have enough food – it just goes against my nature. I opened the fridge and strawberries fell out everywhere thanks to our recent strawberry harvest. The first thing that came to mind was chocolate covered strawberries, but I was really craving brownies…so I decided to make a nut-based vegan chocolate brownie tart with strawberry lemon cashew creme – gluten, dairy and soy-free using dates for sweetness.

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