No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars

Guess who’s back in the kitchen having fun with new recipe concoction? This girl. I definitely put the cooking creativity on the back burner this summer while I was studying, and although my Peaches n’ Cream Oatmeal Cake certainly uses summer fruit, I haven’t shared too many made-for-summer recipes since I started Renaissance Runner Girl last December. All that changes today with these No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars. Which, as you’ve probably guessed, are no-bake and therefore perfect for hot weather.


No Bake Peanut Butter Berry Bars


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Meatless Monday: Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu

Tofu. If you’re an omnivore (and even if you’re a vegan or a vegetarian) you might love it, but you also might fear telling that to other people, because the tofu they see at the salad bar or in the package is white, watery, and tasteless. I first started eating tofu when I began to rely on Amy’s Kitchen meals to heat up for dinner during my crazy first year of law school. The meals were good, but not big enough for a proper dinner, and lacking in the amount of protein I craved. Bathed in tamale or enchilada sauce, the tofu was fine, and since it’s so much cheaper than the chicken or fish I would otherwise cook, it was perfect for a law student budget.

Since then, I’ve carved out time in my life to cook proper meals (though Amy’s are great for those nights when I’m hungry and in a hurry!) and discovered that tofu can, in fact, be appealing all on its own when made properly. My favorite way to eat tofu is when it’s baked or grilled and tossed with complementary foods for a hearty and delicious bowl. This is my first baked tofu recipe, a classic I return to time after time. I’ll pair it with quinoa, mushrooms, mirepoix, and Parmesan cheese for a satisfying dinner.


Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix

Baked Tofu with Parmesan Garlic Quinoa, Mushrooms + Mirepoix




14 oz extra-firm tofu

2 tbsp brown rice vinegar

3 tbsp gluten-free tamari (soy sauce)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp paprika

Olive oil (sprayable form preferable)



1. Slice tofu into 1″ thick slices and use dish towels to remove most of the moisture. Lie a towel flat on a plate, then arrange the tofu slices and place another towel on top, and press down. Repeat several times. (If you’re enough of a tofu aficionado that you own a tofu press to do this, then use that and I’m jealous of you.)

2. Cube the tofu slices into 1″ squares.

3. In a small bowl, combine the brown rice vinegar, tamari, and apple cider vinegar, along with 1 tsp each of the garlic and thyme.

4. Arrange tofu cubes in a plastic or glass container. Pour the marinade over the cubes and sprinkle remaining garlic and thyme on top. Cover the container, making sure it is well sealed, and shake a few times.

5. Place the container in the refrigerator and let sit for at least an hour, flipping it upside down halfway through the marinating process. Feel free to stretch out this step over several hours, or even overnight – it just needs at least an hour!

6. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8″ nonstick pan with olive oil. Place cubes evenly in the pan, ensuring that they aren’t on top of each other (squeezing the cubes in tightly is fine, they all just need to be touching the bottom of the pan).

7. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven, but let the dish sit in the oven for another 15-20 minutes to keep firm and warm. If you want to bake mushrooms with the tofu so they’re crispy, simply brush them with olive oil and put them on the tray when the tofu has 10 minutes left to bake.

8. Serve immediately on removing from the oven. Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 (for me, it’s two servings, but I like a protein-packed meal)


Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms

Baked Garlic & Thyme Tofu with Mushrooms



Do you try eating meatless every once in awhile, even if you’re an omnivore? What’s your favorite way to convince people that tofu is tasty?






© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Miniature Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Cake

Choosing to roast and carve your own pumpkin is an undertaking. Few will dare to tread this path to reap the delicious rewards when Libby will do it for us (whoever Libby is, millions of pie-makers around the country must thank her every November.) But when you’re just making breakfast for yourself, or even for your family, even opening a can of pure pumpkin can feel like a commitment. Unless you’re making a pie or a Pumpkin Pouffle, you won’t use the whole can in one recipe. I’m always thinking of new ways to use up the rest, and it isn’t difficult – who doesn’t love a little pumpkin stirred into their oatmeal? By the end of winter, even that gets a little boring, though; so when I whipped up what may be my last batch of Pumpkin Puffins for the season, I decided to get creative with the remainder of the can. Instead of simply stirring it into regular oats, I made a little cake to test out my new ramekins (the PB&J round just wasn’t enough!) I bought them with the intention of making mini quiches for my dinner party, but they needed a test run. And the test was a round of miniature pumpkin spice oatmeal cake, passed with flying colors!



1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats

Before baking, it looks just like regular cold oats...

Before baking, it looks just like regular cold oats…

1/4 cup pure pumpkin

1/4 cup milk of choice (I used So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk)

1 Tbsp Greek yogurt (I go for Fage 2% for the creaminess)

1 egg white (substitute applesauce if desired)

1 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp flaxseed

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon and nutmeg)

1 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch salt

For ramekin: 1 tsp butter (can substitute olive oil or cooking spray)



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Baked into a cake with a delicious buttery, pumpkin-y crust!

Baked into a cake with a delicious buttery, pumpkin-y crust!

2. Combine all dry ingredients in a small bowl, then add in wet ingredients and mix well.

3. Melt butter in 1-cup (8 ounce) ramekin to coat inner surface. (You can also use olive oil or cooking spray, but I found that butter worked really well in this recipe to give the cake a yummy buttery crust).

4. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then set oven to high broil for an additional 5 minutes.

5. Use a knife to carefully pry the edges of the cake from the ramekin (easy as long as it was greased well!) and flip upside down into a dish.

6. Top with a little extra maple syrup and cinnamon, or a dollop of yogurt. Enjoy!



A warming winter treat to start the day off right - go ahead, take a bite!

A warming winter treat to start the day off right – go ahead, take a bite!




© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Vivacious Vegetables: Roasted Butternut Squash & Asparagus

Silver-white winter as it turns into spring…means it’s the perfect time of year to combine hearty winter root vegetables with the first sweet snaps of spring shoots. I love butternut squash and asparagus separately, but they’re even better together. So here’s a simple recipe to bring out the best flavors in both!

Perfectly oven-roasted

Perfectly oven-roasted



2 cups butternut squash, cubed

12-15 asparagus shoots

1 Tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper





A broiled salmon burger with roasted squash and asparagus...the entree is served!

A broiled salmon burger with roasted squash and asparagus…the entree is served!


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Arrange butternut squash on a sheet of tinfoil in a pan, or on a cookie sheet.

3. Brush olive oil over the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

4. Bake squash for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. While it’s cooking, chop the asparagus.

5. Remove squash from oven and add asparagus around the cubes. Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and return the pan to the oven. Set to broil and cook for 15 minutes more.

6. Serve while warm. Enjoy!


What’s your favorite veggie combination? Do you try to eat seasonally?




© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Asparagus

It’s that time of year when a silver white winter begins to turn into spring…meaning the perfect time to combine hearty winter root vegetables with the first sweet spring shoots. I love butternut squash and asparagus separately, but they’re even better together. I’ll often whip them up in the oven in the early spring or in the autumn, when you can get them both pretty close to in-season. And today I’m sharing this simple recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash & Asparagus to bring out the best flavors in both for a vivacious vegetable dish.


A grain free Thanksgiving plate

Roasted asparagus and butternut squash together on a Thanksgiving plate



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Savory Goat Cheese & Vegetable Tart

This lovely dish is a cross between a quiche and a frittata. The gluten-free crust is made from quinoa and cornmeal, like a quiche, but it’s only a bottom crust – the edges of each slice will be more like a frittata. A little crust turns plain old baked eggs into a tart! A combination of goat cheese, asparagus, and mushrooms is complemented by a special blend of spices, and the tang of the goat cheese pairs well with the cornmeal in the crust. It’s completely vegetarian, but sure to please even the most bacon-loving breakfasters! (Unless you’re Ron Swanson. If so, feel free to add a pack of bacon. Because you have to respect Ron Swanson. Can you tell I already miss Parks & Rec?) I served it at my Breakfast-for-Dinner Party, and it was a smashing success! Check out the recipe here, and see more bodacious brunch treats on my new Renaissance Runner Girl Pinterest



Batter for quinoa and cornmeal crust

Batter for quinoa and cornmeal crust

1/2 cup white quinoa

1 cup mushroom broth

6 whole eggs

3 egg whites

1 Tbsp olive oil + additional for greasing pan

1/2 cup gluten-free cornmeal

2 Tbsp parmesan or asiago cheese

3/4 cup milk of choice

Crust should be spongy

Crust should be spongy

3 oz semisoft goat cheese

1/2 cup chopped asparagus

1/2 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp basil

1 Tbsp dill weed

1 Tbsp parsley

Salt and pepper




Egg, goat cheese, and veggies can also be mixed together before adding in

Egg, goat cheese, and veggies can also be mixed together before adding in

1. Bring 1 cup broth to a boil in a pot on the stove, then add quinoa and 1 Tbsp olive oil and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook 12-15 minutes until quinoa is fully cooked. While cooking the quinoa, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Remove the pot of quinoa from the heat and mix in cornmeal, 1/2 cup milk, 3 egg whites, parmesan or asiago cheese, and 1/2 Tbsp each of paprika, garlic, basil, dill, and parsley. Mix thoroughly so the spices are evenly spread throughout the mixture.

3. Grease an 8″ pan well with olive oil. Using a large spoon, transfer the mixture to the pan. It should cover the bottom thoroughly, but not the edges.

4. Chop asparagus and mushrooms and arrange on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper.

A brunch delight!

A brunch delight!

5. Bake quinoa crust and vegetables at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 7-8 minutes.

6. In a separate bowl, combine 6 eggs with 1/4 cup milk, goat cheese, and remaining spices.

7. Remove crust and vegetables from the oven. Arrange vegetables on top of the crust, then pour egg mixture over the top. Ensure that the egg seeps into all the nooks and crannies between the veggies!

8. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the tart from the oven when you insert a knife and it comes out clean.

9. Let cool for 15 minutes.

10. Slice and serve. Makes 8 servings. Enjoy!



Savory tart with warm goat cheese and veggies...a little slice of nirvana!

Savory tart with warm goat cheese and veggies…a little slice of nirvana!






© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Pumpkin Puffins

Pumpkin may be an autumn flavor to some, but I enjoy pumpkin treats all year round! The traditional autumn blend of pumpkin, maple, and cinnamon can warm you up throughout a chilly winter. These are similar to my other gluten-free muffin recipes in their use of rolled oats as a base, but incorporating pure pumpkin gives them a slightly creamier texture and puffier tops. They’re also dairy-free and  vegetarian (and can be adapted to be egg-free and vegan), great to bring to school or work to share without any worries – everyone can partake! Or whip up a batch over the weekend and have them for breakfasts or snacks throughout the week. Pumpkin Puffins are a great way to start off your day on a warm and cheerful note.


Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate

Pumpkin Puffins on a Plate



1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1/4 cup gluten-free sorghum flour

1 cup pure pumpkin (I use Libby’s or Farmer’s Market Organics, but if you’re up to the task of roasting your own, I’m sure that would be fantastic!)

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup vanilla coconut milk

2 large eggs (you can also substitute additional 1/4 cup applesauce + 1 tbsp flaxseed)

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup brown sugar (this works best with the pumpkin, but feel free to substitute stevia or other sweetener)

1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Cooking spray or additional olive oil



Puffin batter

Puffin batter


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12-muffin tin with cooking spray or lightly brush each muffin cup with olive oil.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, eggs, olive oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix well (roughly 8-10 good stirs) but be careful not to over-stir, or the batter will become too thin.

5. Pour batter evenly into muffin cups.

6. Optional: sprinkle a pinch of extra brown sugar on each muffin top.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!




© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Birthday Confetti Fairy Cakes

I tend to try and see the best in people, and want to make sure that all my friends and family are happy. I’m often told that this is an impossible goal. But whoever said you can’t please everyone underestimated my skills in dessert experimentation, because I’ve finally concocted a recipe guaranteed to please any birthday boy or girl AND all of their friends and family, no matter what allergies or dietary restrictions they have!

It’s hard enough to make gluten-free and nut-free cakes and treats, but these are not the only allergens that can cause problems. So I came up with a recipe that is free from all of the ‘Big 8’ allergens. Obviously, you won’t use fish or shellfish much in baking, and I already eliminate gluten and tree nuts. But these fairy cakes are also made without dairy, eggs, soy, or peanuts. They’re vegan and kosher too. And you know what? Even without all of these ingredients, they taste exactly like a classic vanilla birthday cake! I call them fairy cakes because they’re smaller than the typical cupcake and made without icing, instead using allergen-free sprinkles for a pretty top. But the recipe is adaptable for a full-size birthday cake or larger cupcakes with icing (recipes for those coming soon). They’re a guaranteed palate-pleaser and they’re safe for most people, with little tweaks in the event that someone you want to bake a treat for has other dietary restrictions. I hope one day to be a mom who can make birthday treats for my kids that EVERY one of their friends can enjoy – making these for a good friend’s birthday for a group that includes gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free eaters was a perfect test run!


Birthday fun(fetti) for everyone!

Birthday fun(fetti) for everyone!



1 1/2 cup sorghum flour

2/3 cup organic cane sugar OR stevia OR other sweetener (if you need a sugar-free substitution)

1 cup So Delicious vanilla coconut milk (or equivalent if someone has a coconut allergy!)

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Allergy-free rainbow sprinkles (optional, but who DOESN’T love birthday funfetti?)

Extra olive oil or cooking spray (to grease the cupcake wrappers)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Spray 12 cupcake wrappers with cooking spray or lightly brush with olive oil and place in 12-muffin tin.

3. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl.

4. Add in coconut milk, applesauce, olive oil, and vanilla extract.

5. Pour batter evenly into cupcake wrappers.

6. Top with sprinkles.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

8. Let cool.

9. Enjoy!



...or scrumptious as they are!

…or scrumptious as they are!

Delicious with icing added...

Delicious with icing added…












© 2015 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.