Pan Seared Crispy Gnocchi

This is one of our favorite recipes starring potato-based gnocchi.
We make this all the time - it shows its true beauty when made with farm-fresh produce.

Pan Crisped Gnocchi Italia
Serves 3-4

-2 Tablespoons olive oil 
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-1 package gnocchi (about a pound)
-2 large tomatoes 
-1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans / cannelloni beans or garbanzo beans
-two large handfuls of baby spinach

1. Heat oil in skillet on medium high, add gnocchi and sprinkle spices evenly over gnocchi.
2. Heat until crisped as evenly as possible, about 10-12 minutes, stir or turn occasionally to get an even crunch.
3. Remove from heat, add tomatoesand beans, stirring until evenly heated. Toss in spinach.

if 2 tablespoons of oil is not enough to evenly coat gnocchi, add more accordingly.
spices: you can use any combination of spices you choose, I listed a creole combination, basic salt and pepper are delicious as well.

Mangia! Mangia!

Best Granola Bar Recipe Ever

I've been searching for a delicious granola bar recipe to replace all or some of the processed granola bars we buy, therefore decreasing the GMO, soy and other unnecessary ingredients we consume. I found a winner and whipped it up to find my Mr. liked them more than the store bought ones! 
Here is the thick and chewy granola bar recipe we've been searching for...


Thick, Chewy Granola Bars
Yields a pan of the best granola bars you'll ever sink your teeth into

-1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract

-1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
-1/4 cup maple syrup
-1/3 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
-1 2/3 cups old fashioned oats
-1/2 to 2/3 cup coconut sugar (use more for a sweetness akin to most purchased bars; use less for a mildly sweet bar)
-1/3 cup oat flour
-1/2 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
-2 to 3 cups dried fruits, nuts or seeds (this time I used 1 to 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries, 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup ground flax seed and 1/4 cup chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a pan in one direction with parchment paper (use 8x8 or 11x7 for thicker bars, 9x13 for standard thickness). 

2. Lightly grease the exposed pan (if the parchment paper doesn't cover it all).
3. In a large bowl, combine vanilla, melted coconut oil and maple syrup. Add peanut butter. 
4. Toss in the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts and combine until the mixture is evenly crumbly.
5. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan.
6. Bake the bars in preheated for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges. They’ll set completely once cool.
7. After about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
8. Once cool, use a serrated knife (or butcher's knife) to cut the bars into squares. If bars seem crumbly, chill them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. 

adapted from this recipe by Smitten Kitchen
To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well. 
Sink your teeth into your delectable handiwork.
optional substitutions...
-coconut oil: non-dairy butter
-peanut butter: any other nut or seed butter
-coconut sugar: white sugar, brown sugar
-oat flour: any gluten-free flour
-This recipe is so universal and forgiving you can play with the ingredients and amounts freely and test out flavors and textures you prefer.

Mangia! Mangia!

Lemon Curd & Cannoli Filling {Party Dessert Dips}

My Sicilian and Naplitan family members are always working toward creating a cannoli filling recipe most like that of a little Italian bakery in upstate New York where many of them are from. Most contain whole fat ricotta, powdered sugar, real vanilla extract and, sometimes, mini chocolate chips. Though my non-dairy version doesn't get even close to the flavor of that little bakery's specialty, I whipped up a batch when my mom requested I bring a cannoli filling dip for my little sister's Italiano themed going away party...


Cannoli Filling [or dip]

-8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I purchased mine from a local market, but you can make it yourself using a recipe like this one)

-3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 ounces baking chocolate shavings (I used two 1oz semi sweet baker's chocolate squares)

1. Whip cream cheese with mixer until creamy.

2. Add in vanilla and sugars, combine.
3. 4. 5. Stir in chocolate shavings.
6. At this point you can fill cannoli shells, I poured the creamy delight into a small dish and sprinkled a bit of extra chocolate shavings on top to bring to my sister's party in the form of a "Cannoli Dip" as my mother requested.


Lemon Curd [dip] (I doubled it)
Adapted from this recipe by vegansaurus

-1 cup fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons per cup)

-1 cup sugar
-1/4 cup tapioca starch (potato starch or corn starch work as well)
-1/8 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
-zest of 2-3 lemons (3-4 Tablespoons)
-1/3 cup full fat unsweetened, unflavored vegan creamer or milk
-2 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread

1. Juice lemons. No juicer? No problem, try this lemon squeezing trick I used to squeeze my lemons.

2. Combine lemon juice, sugar and starch with a mixer, blender or food processor.
3. Pour into sauce pan with zest and cook on Medium heat 10-15 minutes or until mixture thickens while stirring and monitoring closely.
4. Bring to a boil and allow to boil untouched about a minute before removing from heat and stirring once more.
5. Add in vegan buttery spread and cream, stir to combine completely and pour into containers to chill in fridge until set.

I had enough left over to fill a few small half-pint jars to save for later, I'll probably bring one to my dad since he loves this stuff.

Now break out the cannoli shells! 

Mangia! Mangia!