Coconut Mango Muffins

Coconut Mango Muffins

Muffins have such a special place in my heart. Growing up, my family ate muffins for breakfast nearly every day and it was awesome. My sister and I would *think* we wanted the colorful cereals that the other kids had. We’d beg my mom to buy them and when she would, they’d end up going stale on the top shelf in the pantry. Nothing beat a warm muffin and a big glass of milk first thing in the morning. Of course, I’ve since nixed the milk part, but my love for muffins continues.

These muffins, made with Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk, are my new favorite morning treat.

Coconut Mango Muffins

Now, these are not your giant bakery muffins – huge and over the top – these are the lightly sweet, small, everyday sort of muffins. They’re studded with chopped mango and topped with toasted coconut flakes. The lime juice helps them rise and a mixture of flax binds them together – although these can also be made with an egg if you do not have flax, see the recipe below.

Almond Breeze Almondmilk is my go-to nondairy milk for baking, but the Almond Coconut Blend works especially well here to enhance the light coconut flavor.

Coconut Mango Muffins

These are best right out of the oven but they also freeze well! Store them in an airtight bag in the freezer for up to a month. Pop them in the microwave for 20 or so seconds for a warm muffin-y breakfast or snack.

Coconut Mango Muffins

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

I’m so behind with the trends. Do you know that avocado toast has become avocado “toast” with quotation marks? People are using sweet potatoes as the “bread” and the first time I saw that oh-so-clickable headline I thought it was ridiculous.

One morning though, desperate times called for desperate measures. I had no breakfast food – just a sweet potato, an avocado, and some almond butter. I don’t really ever skip breakfast, so I roasted sweet potato rounds and topped half with the almond butter and half with the avocado. Jack walked in, I said “look, ‘toast’ ” (with air quotes) and he looked at my like I was crazy, but we both gobbled it up.

This definitely was good, but still wasn’t toast. Nonetheless, I got inspired to use sweet potatoes like this, so I used that little impromptu breakfast as my inspiration for this tartare on sweet potato not-toast.

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

This recipe is more of an appetizer or a tasty light lunch.

I mixed up the avocado with ingredients that would be in tuna tartare – sesame oil, a little dijon mustard and sesame seeds. There’s diced red onion for a little crunch and lemon juice to brighten it all up.

I topped my sweet potato rounds with little pieces of watermelon radish but that step is completely optional, I just think it’s pretty and the crunch is nice.

Sweet Potato Avocado Tartare

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

As you know, the Kentucky Derby® is right around the corner (did you see last week’s Sparkling Mint Juleps?). Today I’m partnering with 14 Hands Wine to share some Derby Day party tips, recipes, and a few great wine pairings. It’s time break out your fancy hats, pour some wine and get started!

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

First up are these colorful open-faced (crust off!) tea sandwiches. These are super easy to make if you make the spread ahead of time and assemble these just before your guests arrive. Instead of a cream cheese spread I made an herbal creamy dill spread by blending sunflower seeds to create a creamy base. Slather it on some sourdough sandwich bread and then top with rows of paper thin slices of cucumbers, radishes, and candy striped beets. Use a sharp knife to cut the crusts off and you have the cutest little springtime snacks. (See the full recipe below in this post).

This recipe pairs especially well with 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc – it’s citrus-y aromas and its crisp flavors of grapefruit and guava are a lovely compliment to these spring vegetable bites. Sometimes I find Sauvignon Blanc to be a little too sharp, but I love this one because it’s light, mellow, and juicy.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

My husband Jack has more southern roots than I do, so when I asked him what to put on my Derby Day menu he didn’t hesitate before blurting out “Pimento cheese!” What can I say, the guy loves cheese. Since we’re going for a lighter, brighter theme here, I made my version vegan and Jack, my cheese lover, is obsessed. Ok, that’s a lie – we’re both so obsessed that we sat down and ate it for dinner one night while I was testing it. Like, that was the whole dinner – crackers and “cheese”. And wine.

Cashews give this spread a creamy base while jarred pimentos, dijon mustard, and lots of lemon give it a proper tang. It’s best with Ritz-like crackers, but I also like to serve it with tons of chopped up veggies as well. This is another recipe you can make in advance, but just try not to eat it all before your guests show up.

This recipe is also a wonderful pairing with the crisp flavor of the 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

And now for dessert! To be honest, I don’t always love wine and chocolate as a pairing, but when we tasted 14 Hands Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend, the subtle hints of cocoa and caramel really stood out to me. That’s when I decided I needed to finish this menu with wine, chocolate, and pecans. In lieu of pecan pie, I made chocolate pecan truffles. The base of these truffles is made by blending pecan and dates before they get dipped in chocolate. The opulent red blend with aromas of blackberries and plums is a bold pairing with this sweet treat.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Just to recap, here are my top 5 tips to have a great Kentucky Derby viewing party:

1. Make a fancy Mint Julep – check out the Sparkling Mint Juleps I posted last week.

2. Go for pretty vegetable-forward dishes – they’re perfect for a spring menu and work well with the juicy flesh flavors of the wine. Plus, they’re so pretty and festive!

3. Make food that you can prepare ahead of time and easily assemble before guests arrive.

4. Be sure to have plenty of wine! 14 Hands is the preferred wine of the Derby, so taste and create your own wine pairings with the Kentucky Derby Limited Release Red Blend−perfect for any Derby party, and the new Rosé. 

5. Tune in to Facebook Live on Thursday, April 27th at 2pm CST to watch me demo these recipes and set up a simple party table that you can recreate for your own Derby gathering. 

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce

Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce

I think there are 2 types of people in this world – those who love tuna salad and those who hate it. I’ve loved it since I was a little kid, my mom made it all the time, so I definitely fall into the first category. But I’m hoping to bridge the “hater” gap with these chickpea salad lettuce wraps. If you’re not into fishy things, no worries, these are completely vegan. If you are into fishy things, I think you’ll love these just the same – mashed chickpeas combined with salty, briny flavors (i.e. good dijon mustard, capers, and cornichons) combined with crunchy celery and scallions, recreates that tuna-salad-like taste to me.

Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce

You could definitely make a great sandwich or mock-tuna melt out of this chickpea mixture, but since it’s spring and we’re trying to eat lighter and brighter I made lettuce wraps.

To balance the bright and briny flavors of the chickpea salad, I made this creamy avocado dill dip using Almond Breeze Almondmilk to whip it all together.

Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce    Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce

This is a great lunch, especially if you make the components in advance – the sauce should last 2 to 3 days, the chickpea salad will last the week. These will also make a lovely Easter brunch appetizer for the same make-ahead reasons. Plus – how pretty and springy?

Chickpea Salad Wraps w/ Avocado Dill Sauce

The recipe below will make about 12 lettuce wraps with a little extra avocado dip. If you’re looking to use up the rest of the dip, I suggest you break out a bag of tortilla chips! Or, at the very least, slather it on a veggie sandwich the next day (#notasaddesklunch) it’s so luscious and delicious – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Someone recently asked me – when do you use tempeh? I responded with, “when I’m tired of tofu and chickpeas… that’s when it’s tempeh time :)” To be honest, no one really knocks down my door begging for more tempeh recipes, but since that interview, I’ve had tempeh on the brain. Its texture is so wonderfully meat-like but it only tastes as good as what’s around it. Time to marinade!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

The marinade I created is a smoky mixture that includes tamari, maple syrup, ground cumin, and smoked paprika. When you first mix this together, the flavor is going to be very (very) salty and pungent, but since plain tempeh starts out with literally ZERO flavor, it’ll all balance out in the end. I bake the tempeh with most of the marinade, while reserving the excess to pour onto the strips post-bake for extra flavor. Since we’re not dealing with raw meat, it’s ok to reuse your marinade like this.

Speaking of things that aren’t bland, we’re partnering with eureka!® Organic Bread on this post. (You might remember this springy edamame sandwich from last year!). Their bread is seriously tasty. It’s vegan, non GMO, and full of good-for-you grains and seeds. Most importantly, it’s soft, chewy and delicious. Whenever I used to bring home other “healthy” breads, Jack would always give me a sideways glance because so many of them often taste like cardboard. But we both really love the taste and texture of eureka! Organic’s Breads – their Top Seed® and their Sweet Baby Grains® (pictured in this post), are our favorites.

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches

Instead of mayo, I slathered this sandwich with 2 flavorful spreads. The first is a lemony garlic white bean spread. The second is a sun dried tomato spread that I made by blending half of the original white bean spread with a few sun dried tomatoes.

I stacked my sandwiches with peppery watercress, crisp cucumber slices, and ripe avocado slices. You can see that there are some carrots up there in my prep photos but once I started building my sandwich since I got a little carried away with avocado slices and they didn’t fit. Obviously, feel free to build your sandwiches however you like!

Tempeh Vegan Club Sandwiches