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WIAW: Good Things Coming Out Of The Kitchen

Things in life don’t always feel good.

Good lord, do I know this. But when things do feel good… because they can, and they do… I think it is important for us to make note of it for ourselves.

One thing that is feeling really nice for me right now is what I have coming out of the kitchen.  For someone who has a passion for cooking and baking, this can really make a difference in your overall contentment.

Although I didn’t make any goals or resolutions for 2016, I have naturally found myself on a bit of a “newness” train in the new year. Without conscious planning, my last couple of weeks have been full of new recipes, new flavours, and old favorites brought back from the dead recipe archives.  I feel like I’m in this really nice balance between using up leftovers and items that have been in my pantry for far too long, as well as making fun new recipes that have been on my “to make” list for, also… far too long.

And what really helps with this is no longer having a fear of so many wonderful ingredients. Nuts, seeds, avocado, eggs, white flour…. the (recipe) world is at your fingertips!  It feels really nice.

Breakfast:

As displayed on Monday, my love for oatmeal and pancakes have made an unexpected come back.  And here I was thinking I had gone over to the savory side.  P’shaw. It could be because I recently got my first bag of hemp hearts and succumbed to a new love obsession.  See – I bought hemp protein powder years ago and insisted that I’d rather drink cow pee, so I’ve kind of had a hate on for hemp ever since.  I know.  So tragic.  Obviously, these are two different things and I was completely and  “utter“ly wrong.

I needed vessels for my new beloved h-hearts, so oatmeal and pancakes became the obvious choice.  I have, in the mean time, also perfected a new oatmeal strategy.  So exciting.

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Single Serving Gingerbread Spice Pancake (coconut flour + egg + banana) topped with cashew butter, hemp seeds and blackberries 

What I have not perfected, perhaps, are my pancake flipping skills.

I made Heather’s single serving spice pancake (gluten free and paleo), which I had been drooling over for weeks.  It was deeeelicious. Light, yet totally satisfying (both for the belly and the eyes – this baby was huge).  I added 1 tsp of molasses and a hit more ginger to give it an extra gingerbread je ne c’est quoi.  I think I did a pretty good job of covering up my less than perfect flipping skills, don’t you think? #thatswhatmorenutbutterisfor

Check out her recipe!

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Lunch: 

As always, lunch is where the “use up old leftovers” part comes in.  It usually becomes some strange agglomeration of random ingredients all thrown into a tupperware. But hey, using those things up feels just as good.

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Spinach + roasted beets + feta cheese + scrambled tofu

I had the last of some scrambled tofu needing to be eaten (crumbled tofu sautéed with onion, pepper, garlic and spices) so took a chance at a #strangebutgood combo.  It was good.  Strange is always good.

Snack:

I’ve been pretty ‘good to go’ with snacks and sweets ever since being home at Christmas.  You really are never too old for your mother to feel the necessity to overload your suitcase with food.  Actually, you totally just appreciate it more as you get older.  I salvaged some of her homemade granola bars she had stashed in the freezer.

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Homemade granola bar (oats + peanut butter + maple syrup + chocolate chips + sunflower seeds + coconut)

Dinner:

And then dinner is where the fun has really been happening.  Again, as I foreshadowed on Monday, my main meal prep for the week was making all the fixings for spaghetti squash lasagna boats.  So when Monday came, I just threw all the parts into the boat, popped er’ in the oven, and waited with my fork.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boat (using TVP and ricotta)

I loosely based my inspiration from here and here.  I created my own filling/sauce using TVP (textured vegetable protein) sautéed with onion, bell pepper, garlic, marinara sauce and fresh oregano.  Mixed this with the forked out spaghetti strands, topped it with a good heaping of a ricotta-spinach mix and then topped it all with lotsa mozza. Baked it for 20 minutes, gave it a brief broil to get the cheese all bubbly, and done. AMAZING.

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Now the only thing is I have a tub of ricotta cheese that needs using. Anyone have any ideas or recipes for how you like to use ricotta? I never buy the stuff so am feeling less than knowledgable. Cindy!??

After making this, I have exactly 105069 ideas for more stuffed squash recipes. The first being Kat’s Egg and Spinach version. Be prepared to see a few more of these pop up in the next while.  I won’t stop at spaghetti squash, though.  Mr. Acorn… I’m looking at you.

Snack:

And then of course, the one lovely constant.  My savored night time routine would not be complete without my plate of chocolate.

I’m nearly at the end of my assorted Christmas truffles. Tear! What will I do!? Oh right. Pretty sure Mother had that covered.  I’ll be good for another few weeks…

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ALL THE CHOCOLATE snack plate: Chocolate Pretzal Bar + fudge + assorted truffles 

And tea. Always tea.

Keeping things new and exciting doesn’t have to mean difficult.  It can simply mean getting back onto a routine you once loved, or buying one new item at the grocery store (and shamelessly asking your blogger friends to tell you what to do with it). There’s simple too many recipes out there, but making even one off your list can sure feel nice.

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Thanks for the link up, Jen. Now go see what everyone else is cooking up!

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47 COMMENTS

  1. Kate Bennett | 13th Jan 16

    I had a very similar pancake for breakfast today! Mine did not come out so pretty and was half scrambled pancake.Yours is quite lovely.
    New things are fun! I tend to go the whole wheat flour route, but white flour is a lot better in some cases- pizza dough, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, cake…. it’s just so much fluffier. I am sure whole wheat pastry flour would be almost the same, but that’s just another ingredient to add to my cabinet, and personally I’m content with a little white in my life.

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Whole wheat pastry flour is lovely, and it is what I usually go for. But I have now learned that if I want anything like what I get in an actual bakery/restaurant, you just have to go with white flour. But hey Jacklyn just taught us we are getting folic acid that way!

  2. Melissa (I Crashed the Web) | 13th Jan 16

    That lasagna boat. Omg. Looks so good! I love ricotta cheese. I eat it plan as a snack, or with vanilla and/or honey as a sweet treat!

  3. faithvandermolen | 13th Jan 16

    Oh goodness, I want to eat everything in this post!! Especially that pancake!!

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      It’s super easy! (just not the flipping part, if you are me). Check out the recipe!

  4. SuzLyfe | 13th Jan 16

    I’m not a big cheese person but you put marinara and spaghetti squash together and you are my best friend of all time. You should have seen what I was fixing Alex and I before we left for Mexico! By the time we left, the only fresh thing not eaten was a portion of tomato. Otherwise, we had alcohol and condiments.

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Not a cheese person!? Oh no!! Nicely done on cleaning out all the food. That’s what I like to see. Alcohol and condiments.

  5. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables | 13th Jan 16

    Yum!!! That gingerbread spice pancake looks like a yummy way to start the day! And those homemade granola bars would be the perfect on the go snack! YUM!

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Yep – both made up of my favorite things. Breakfast foods for the win.

  6. Jacklyn @ Jack's Balancing Act | 13th Jan 16

    Ahhh I love those phases of feeling renewed enthusiasm and creativity for food! I am pretty convinced that things procured from mamas just taste better. But ohhh baby that spaghetti squash boat was all you and it looks crazy good. Love all the pictures in this post by the way 🙂 And I’m super curious about your new oatmeal method!

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Haha, yep. Anything made my mama tastes infinitely better than anything I make myself. Its just the way of the world.

  7. katalysthealth | 13th Jan 16

    Yassssss to all the stuffed spaghetti squash! I’ve only got several more versions brewing in my noggin as well 🙂 And those pancakes have me craving some so bad! I haven’t made pancakes in ages it feels like, but it’s typically because I’m so gosh darn hungry that oatmeal is quicker! haha

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      And yet, I find oatmeal is what takes way longer (assuming it is a simple pancake that is) so I tend to go for pancakes when I have less time. Funny!

  8. hungryforbalance | 13th Jan 16

    I’m so glad you liked the pancake!!! It seriously is huge!!! Maybe I should include a warning with the recipe? ?
    I love the sound of your dinner! I’ve never made spaghetti squash boats before! I never buy ricotta though, so I’m afraid that I’m no help to you there.

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Haha the size was definitely a surprise, but a lovely, exciting surprise! If you are interested in popping your ricotta cherry like I just did, I’d highly suggest the spaghetti squash route.

  9. Beauty in Christ (@Emily11949309) | 13th Jan 16

    YUMMY!!! You are a recipe creator at heart. I’ve never made a single serving pancake, but I might sometime if the rest of my family isn’t here. 🙂 <3 you Cora. Hope you have a good day.

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      One aspect of living on your own… you never have a reason to make big batches! It’s so nice to cook for more than one person. But when you are alone – give it a try!

  10. Lyss | 13th Jan 16

    so much yummy food here!! those spaghetti squash boats look amazing and that pancake looks delicious! and of course those chocolates look awesome too. have a great day girl!

  11. Jennifer L. | 13th Jan 16

    To use up your ricotta, try Avocado & Ricotta Toast… yummy. 🙂

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Oh dang!! I live for cream cheese and avocado toast so how did I not think of this! Thank you!

  12. bucketlisttummy | 13th Jan 16

    I love the feeling of using up old ingredients/leftovers for lunch! So satisfying to know they are used, not wasted, for a good cause, AND bonus, nice and quick. oh em goodness that stuffed spaghetti squash looks amazing. I’d pay you to ship me some 🙂 And those truffles…

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      Yep yep and yep. Feels so good. And that’s what tupperwares are for anyway.

  13. snackiebird | 13th Jan 16

    Wow, big spaghetti squash looks heavenly, I should say. A lot of cheese = a lot of happiness 😀

  14. Gail | 13th Jan 16

    Ricotta and avocado on crunchy dense farmers toast… Or oooo sourdough! I also use ricotta w spinach, garlic, onion in cannelloni or in bowls w roasted veggies.

    • mylittletablespoon | 13th Jan 16

      I suddenly see so many options. Mmmmmm. Avocado toast is number one to try. Thank you!!

  15. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets | 13th Jan 16

    You just made me want to eat spaghetti squash, so it’s a good thing I have two stashed away in the basement.

    Happy WIAW.

    Food is amazing when you remove restrictions. It’s pure joy for me.

  16. Ellie | 14th Jan 16

    OMG Hemp protein powder is DEATH! I got a canister of it because it was the cheapest and it said vanilla…YUCK! I hate waste so I’ve been hiding it in my morning oats (disguised with banana, chocolate and PB) just to finish it. NEVER AGAIN will I make this mistake! Hemp hearts on the other hand are great. Perfect to throw into oats, banana bowls or on salad. All you food looks gorgeous and yummy!

    • mylittletablespoon | 15th Jan 16

      Well you did better than me. I hate waste, but I simply could not do it after a couple smoothies. In the trash it went. But hemp hearts have my heart!!

  17. Arman @ thebigmansworld | 14th Jan 16

    oh geebuz. Moving house = you find the most random stuff in your cupboard- Good job using it up!

    Love seeing someone enjoy being in the kitchen and creating magic…aka food. 😉

  18. Stephanie Leduc | 14th Jan 16

    Okay, I am not getting over the looks of that spaghetti squash. Isn’t eating spaghetti squash in the skin just the best!??! I also can’t get enough of that plate of chocolate either, soooo good! I am so happy you rekindled with hemp hearts, they are always such a nice add on to pretty much anything! Also, long live sweet breakfasts!!!!

    • mylittletablespoon | 16th Jan 16

      Um, YES. Not only is it delicious, and easy, but its so fun!! Both to make and then to have a scoopable vessel that you can EAT. Not only have I rekindled with hemp hearts… I think I may have a new obsession. 🙂

  19. chasetheredgrape | 15th Jan 16

    ‘And tea, always tea’ – yup that’s me too. Bedtime wouldn’t be right without a cup of peppermint tea beforehand!
    I have always wanted to try hemp hearts. Fun fact – they can sell them in Australia, but only if they put on a big sticker saying that this is not for consumption…. It’s illegal to sell hemp for consumption here! Crazy! Only the case for 2 places in the world!

    • mylittletablespoon | 16th Jan 16

      Wow really!?! That somehow surprises me… I would have thought Australia would be a bit more relaxed in that area. Interesting! Also…. sad. Because they are delicious and I want you to have them. Mmmm we need to find a way to get you some..

  20. jac | 15th Jan 16

    Delicious day of food! Love the pancake but I can’t eat banana 🙁 I use ricotta in my stuffed mushrooms – it’s yum. http://pieceynumnums.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/stuffed-mushrooms.html

    • mylittletablespoon | 16th Jan 16

      Oh yes!! These look perfect! I lovvve mushrooms. And I could see myself eating the filling in so many other ways. Thank you so much (great blog btw, looking forward to checking out more recipes). No banana!? No fear. Pumpkin or sweet potato always works just as nicely.

  21. cookiesnchem | 17th Jan 16

    I’m basically tearing up because of how good everything looks! Every shot is just better and better. I LOVE your food! Can you cook for me? And pack my lunches? 😀

    • mylittletablespoon | 17th Jan 16

      Did you see your name linked!? Any ideas for how to use ricotta? I thought you and your brilliance would have some ideas..

      • cookiesnchem | 17th Jan 16

        AHAHA I saw that and read past it, but for some reason didn’t think anything of it! I didn’t know that you linked ME! 😀
        I like ricotta in vegetarian lasagnas (kind of like what you did), and I’ve also stirred it into oatmeal for a fluffy, creamy twist. You can also bake with ricotta – I like it in pumpkin muffins! Also delicious blobbed into omelets or stirred into scrambled eggs. Really yummy as a topping for pizza with mushrooms and pine nuts! Throw in some herbs and you have the simplest no-cook pasta sauce. Oh! And pancakes! My favourite. Banana-ricotta pancakes are the fluffiest things. I’ve also seen a recipe for a 30-second dessert where you mix ricotta, maple syrup, and cocoa powder. That sounds fantastic! I’ve also wanted to try making ricotta cheesecake. 😀
        I am sure you will find a wonderful way to use it!

        PS: Thanks for the egg and spinach spaghetti squash boat link. It looks so dang delicious. 🙂

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