Fall Vegetable Medley with Balsamic Pecan Glaze

Fall Vegetable Medley with Balsamic Pecan Glaze
Serves 3

2 small beets
1 small sweet potato
10 Brussels sprouts

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1/8 cup pecans, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

While steamer is heating, wash the vegetables well under running water. Chop sweet potatoes into even pieces about one half inch thick. Slice Brussels sprouts in half, and trim the stalks off the beets, but leave them whole.

Fall vegetables

When water comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the whole beets. Set timer for 15 minutes. After 2 minutes, add sweet potatoes. After 10 minutes, add Brussels sprouts. When timer goes off, turn heat off. Remove beets and chop into half-inch cubes.

Add olive oil to a medium sauté pan and adjust heat to medium-low. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped pecans and sauté for 2 minutes.

Olive oil, pecans

Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar, and continue to sauté until ingredients reduce and become slightly sticky.

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pecans

Add chopped beets, and sauté for about 1 minute.

Beets, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pecans

Then, add remaining vegetables and salt, and sauté ingredients until combined. Serve warm.

Fall Vegetable Medley with Balsamic Pecan Glaze

Fall Vegetable Medley with Balsamic Pecan Glaze

Fall Vegetable Medley with Balsamic Pecan Glaze

©Gina Chythlook


Gina’s Potato Salad

Gina's Potato Salad

It doesn’t get much more American than potato salad in the summer! Unfortunately, for many people, that potato salad comes in the form of a mayo-ey glop from the supermarket *cringe*. This is partially why this particular salad gets a bad rep, nutritionally. So sad, because potatoes are marvelous, and–when they are prepared well (i.e. not fried)–they can be very nutritious! They are strong contributors to your daily intake of vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and iron, to name a few.

This recipe is an excellent vegan option for those who still crave that creamy version of potato salad, but with 40% fewer calories and 70% less fat than its traditional predecessor 🙂 It’s also a cinch to prepare, which leaves more time to spend these beautiful summer days where they should be spent–outside!

Gina’s Potato Salad

4 Russet potatoes, scrubbed & diced

¼ red onion, chopped

4T Veganaise

2T Dijon mustard

1T lemon juice

1c cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½c edamame, shelled

1/3c kidney beans (or other bean)

½t dill

1/4t paprika

TT salt & pepper

Cut potatoes into 1-1 ½ inch chunks. Steam until easily pierced with fork. Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, combine: Veganaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, dill, and paprika.

Add cooled potatoes, chopped red onion, tomatoes, edamame, and beans to the dressing mixture and combine until thoroughly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gina's Potato Salad

Gina’s Potato Salad

© Gina Chythlook

Banana Walnut Brownies

I was craving chocolate. I never crave chocolate (weird, right?). So I decided to attempt a vegan brownie with no added oil or “butter” or any extra fats. But I did want to retain as much moisture as possible because, really, nothing’s worse than a chalky, dry brownie.

For a first attempt, I must say I’m pretty pleased ☺ Definitely not dry, but I might still try to moisten it up some more next time. Never the less—and my husband agrees—this recipe is post worthy. So . . . without further adieu, here ya go!

Banana Walnut Brownies

Banana Walnut Brownies

½ c whole-wheat flour
¾ c oat flour
¼ c sugar
½ c cocoa powder
2 T cornstarch
¼ t baking soda
½ t kosher salt

1 medium banana, puréed
2 t vanilla
2 T maple syrup
½ c sugar
1 flax egg (1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T warm water)*

¾ c walnuts, chopped
¼ c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

In a small bowl, make flax egg and set aside.

In a separate large bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

In another bowl, combine all wet ingredients, including the flax egg. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients until thoroughly mixed. The batter will be very thick and pasty. Add in the chopped walnuts (I kneaded them in with my hands).

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Press batter firmly into the pan until evenly distributed. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and gently press them into the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes. When done, lift the parchment paper containing the brownies out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. After 5-10 minutes enjoy them warm!!

*Allow flax egg to gel (~10min.) before adding to recipe.

Inspired by Wonderslim Wondercocoa’s Wonder Brownies

© Gina Chythlook

Banana Walnut Brownies

Banana Walnut Brownies

Let there be CAKE!!

Pineapple Sunflower Spice Cake
In honor of my husband coming home yesterday (he works 3 weeks on/3 weeks off), I was inspired to make a cake 🙂 After realizing I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes I had on hand–not that I can ever truuuly follow a recipe to begin with ;)–I decided to get a bit more creative and attempt my own! I had, and still have, an abundance of canned pineapple, so I decided to go with that. Walnuts sounded like a perfect, crunchy add-in, but my cupboards only had cashews, sunflower seeds, and blue corn tortilla chips to offer. Not really feelin’ the tortilla chips, I decided to give the sunflower seeds a whirl. The result = a sweet, moist, delicious dessert with just the right hint of crunch 🙂 Oh, and my non-veg, non-vegan husband liked it, too! I believe his initial response was, “Mmmmm yummy . . . is this vegan??” Success? I think so. 🙂
Pineapple Sunflower Spice Cake

Pineapple Sunflower Spice Cake

Flax Egg:
2 T ground flaxseed
6 T warm water

¾ c whole-wheat flour*
¾ c oat flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
½ t ground nutmeg
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t kosher salt

1 stick vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance is the brand I used)
¾ c brown sugar, lightly packed
2/3 c almond milk, unsweetened vanilla (Silk brand)
2 t apple cider vinegar
½ c crushed pineapple
¼ c sunflower seeds, unsalted

4 T agave nectar
5 T pineapple juice
½ c crushed pineapple

-Preheat oven to 350˚F.
-Prepare flax egg, and set aside (~10min.).
-Combine dry ingredients.
-Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar.
-Cream together vegan butter and brown sugar in mixing bowl. Add flax egg until combined.
-Add dry ingredients alternatively with the almond milk/vinegar into the mixing bowl.
-Add pineapple, then sunflower seeds until just combined.
-In a greased 8-inch, round cake pan, add the cake batter.

Bake for 50 minutes.
When done, allow cake to sit in pan for 5 minutes. Then, remove from pan onto a wire rack to begin cooling.

Prepare the glaze: Combine the agave with the pineapple juice and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling until reduced to a syrup consistency.

Poke cake across its entire surface with a fork (about 12-15 times). Spread crushed pineapple across the top, then drizzle the glaze on top of that and voila!

*If you have whole-wheat pastry flour, go ahead and use that! Normally, I have that on hand, but didn’t today (still turned out amazing, though!).

Inspired by: “Date and Walnut Spice Cake”-The Best-Ever Vegetarian Cookbook

© Gina Chythlook

Pineapple Sunflower Spice Cake

Pineapple Sunflower Spice Cake

Light & Bright Stir-Fry

I’m on a mission this week to use up all the food I can from what I have on hand. I’ll be heading out of town for a month this weekend, so I’m trying to avoid another trip to the store. This should be interesting because the pickins are already getting a bit slim. However, last night’s creation turned out to be quite yummy, so I figured I would share ☺.

This is a perfect dinner if you’re looking for something light, but still delicious and satisfying. It’s a good source of your B vitamins (especially folate, niacin, and B6), vitamins A and C, potassium, iron, zinc, and fiber. It’s also very low in fat and provides a third of your daily protein (and complete protein to boot!). The only area I might tinker with some more is the sodium content. While it’s surely much lower than your typical stir-fry, it still contributes to over one third of the recommended limit for daily sodium. So feel free to experiment with that element.

Light & Bright Stir Fry

Light & Bright Stir-Fry

2 oz soba noodles

½ c sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 c carrots, julienned
2 large baby portabella mushrooms (3.5oz)
1 c stir-fry vegetables, frozen
0.33 c edamame, frozen
1/8 t thyme, dried

2 T Chablis (white) cooking wine
½ T soy sauce, lite
½ T spicy ginger teriyaki sauce (any kind you’d like to use here is fine—just watch the sodium content!)
2 fl oz water
1 t cornstarch

Heat a medium frying pan (or wok if you have one) over medium heat (wait to add ingredients until a flick of water sizzles on the pan). Add onion, garlic, carrots, thyme, and cooking wine. Cook for 3 mins, tossing frequently (if things are sticking, add small amounts of water). Add the frozen stir-fry vegetables, edamame, and mushrooms. Cook for about another 4mins, continuing to toss. Reduce heat to low.

Bring water for soba noodles to boil in a separate pot. Cook according to instructions (usually only about 3 mins of cooking time with heat dialed down to low after adding the noodles).

Combine cornstarch, water, and soy sauce in a small dish. Add to stir fry, stirring constantly until evenly distributed. (If the sauce looks too cakey and sticks to the vegetables, add small portions of water until looks more glossy). Add spicy ginger teriyaki sauce, stir, and remove from heat.

Toss in soba noodles and bon appétit!

Light & Bright Stir Fry

©Gina Chythlook

Holiday Fruit Berry Sweet Bread

Holiday Fruit Berry Sweet Bread

Holiday Fruit Berry Sweet Bread

Dry Ingredients
1 c whole-wheat flour
1 c oat flour
¾ c granulated sugar
1 ½ t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1 t kosher salt
½ t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg

Wet Ingredients
1 flax egg (1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T water)
1 small banana, mashed
1 ½ c fresh cranberries, chopped
juice of half a lemon
zest of one lemon, finely chopped
¼ c water
2 T safflower oil

¼ c sunflower seeds

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Prepare flax egg and set aside. Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine banana, cranberries, lemon juice and zest, water, oil, and flax egg. Pour mixed wet ingredients into dry ingredients, add sunflower seeds, and mix until just combined (should be wet and thick).


Scoop the batter into a 9×5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 55mins or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10mins. Remove from pan to continue cooling for ~15mins. Enjoy warm!!


©Gina Chythlook