Moroccan Spice Blend

As we’ve previously discussed, dinner is a struggle for me.  Waking up at 5:15am to workout, then going to work all day leaves me little motivation to make a meal when 5:30pm rolls around, especially if it’s just for me.  I’m one of those people that prefers to cook for others.  Cooking for myself is extremely unappealing.

When Jesse has dinner with me, it’s awesome.  I tend to make an actual meal, but most days, on my own, I tend to snack.  So I’m trying to come up with better solutions.  My number one solution right now is to keep it simple.

So in my quest to keep things simple, yet flavorful, I discovered a Moroccan Spice Blend that is so versatile you can basically kick up any plain dish without adding fat.  The best part is you can control how much salt goes in it.

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Moroccan Spice Blend

Adapted from Epicurious

1 tsp  cumin
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt (or less if you’d like)*
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp  coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp mace

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Combine all ingredients until well blended.  Store in an air tight container until ready to use.

*Feel free to adjust the amount of salt.  You can completely omit it, if you’re trying to go low sodium.  You can also add more if you like things salty (the original recipe calls for 1 tsp of salt, but I tried that and thought it was too much.  1/2 tsp was more to my liking).

I mixed up a bunch to keep on hand for easy meals.  So far using this blend I’ve made: Moroccan Spiced Chicken Thighs and Moroccan Spice Tilapia.

Super easy! In both cases, I sprinkled the chicken (bone-in thighs, skin and excess fat removed) or fish generously with the spice blend and baked.  Both times it turned out awesome! I can’t wait to keep making this. If you’re interested, I can do a full recipe post on either of these.  Let me know if you’re interested.

Tonight, the ultimate quick dinner for 1:  I took a piece of tilapia, covered it in moroccan spice blend, then roasted it along side some asparagus for 17 minutes at 400F.  Done in less than 20 minutes, and easy clean up.  I like it.

Give this Moroccan Spice Blend a try! It’s a great way to add a ton of flavor while still keeping things healthy.

What’s your favorite quick and easy weeknight meal?

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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Let me just tell you… these pancakes made my day magical.

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I started the day by running with Ms. Allison from Sweet Potato Bites.  That lady is faster than me (check out her running page!), so it’s awesome to keep up with her!

After the run, I wanted a good breakfast.  For the past few months, I’ve had a smoothie for breakfast pretty much everyday, but today I wanted something warm and Fall-like.  And we all know… Fall = Pumpkin.

All season, I’ve been avoiding pumpkin flavored foods, because honestly most of it just tastes fake.  I’m probably the only person in the world that doesn’t love the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.

So this morning, in my quest for a warm Fall breakfast, I had a bright idea.  Pumpkin pancakes with REAL pumpkin inside and on top.

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Pumpkinpalooza in a pancake.

So I started with an amazing stack of pancakes and then topped them with a mixture of pumpkin puree, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon and mace (with some water to thin it out).  Seriously delicious.  Please try it.  But first to make the pancakes…

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Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

2 tbsp buckwheat flour (spelt or all purpose works too)
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp protein powder (I used Spiru-tein Vanilla Protein)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of ginger
pinch of mace
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 egg
4 tbsp pumpkin puree (plus extra for topping)
2-3 tbsp almond milk**

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl, stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and mix together.

Heat a large skillet and grease (with butter or non-stick spray).  Scoop 2 tbsp of batter to form each pancake.  Cook until it starts to bubble, then flip and cook an additional minute.

Serve with a mixture of pumpkin, maple syrup and spices or your favorite pancake topping.  This recipe makes 4 pancakes.

**The amount of almond milk might vary.  Spiru-tein protein powder has some sort of thickening agent in it that makes it thicken up, so if you use a different protein powder you might need less liquid.  Try adding a tbsp of liquid first and if you need more to thin out the batter, add more.  If your batter is too thin/runny, you’ll get flat pancakes so you want the batter to be a little thick.

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I seriously loved these pancakes.  The topping reminded me of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin butter.  Amazing.  But what I really love is that you get all the awesome health benefits of pumpkin, that you definitely don’t get from a Pumpkin Spice Latte (p.s. totally not trying to hate on the PSL! It’s just not for me).

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I’m seriously considering making a few batches of these and having them the next few mornings, reheated.  If they taste great reheated, I’ll let you know.

So tell me, what’s your favorite way to eat pumpkin this season? 

Aside from this healthy version, I love love love this Creamy Pumpkin Pie, but also Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  One day I won’t want to eat sugary things every.single.day…

P.S. 1 week til Peru!!!!