A couple of days ago I went jeans shopping. Honestly, it takes some prodding to get me to do most shopping but especially for jeans. I’m super short, and though I’m thin, I’m curvy with some junk in my trunk. I can guarantee you my body is not what designers have in mind when they make jeans. They are always a foot too long, too baggy in some places and too tight in others. Only bathing suit shopping is worse. But, I was down to one pair of jeans that were too big on me unless they were just out of the dryer. The only other pair I had that fit has a pesky hole in the crotch that keeps coming back no matter how many times I mend it.
So color me shocked when I walk into the fitting room at TJMaxx (this girl does not pay retail) with 5 pairs of jeans – and they. all. fit. What the what? Have we entered an alternative universe? In the end I settles on 2 pairs (one of them was on clearance for 10 bucks!!!) and called it a day. I’m pretty sure that part of why – in spite of how much I eat – I can still fit in the same size jeans is because of a whole foods plant based diet, and, when I can I try to make things a little healthier – like baking instead of frying.
Enter baked bacon jalapeño poppers.
These little guys are delicious, and avoid all frying, which I love. They’re crunchy, spicy, creamy, sweet and salty all at once. Now, I used a donut hole pan to make these which made perfectly round little poppers – but if you don’t have one you can easily use a muffin pan – your poppers just won’t be perfectly uniform. (So not the end of the world). And they make great appetizers (or snacks) because they are so tasty and bite sized.
So my takeaway from all this is: If I eat baked poppers instead of fried ones I can eat as many as I want. What that’s not right? Shhhhhh.
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
- 2 knobs Coconut Oil
- 1 chopped Jalapeño
- 1 cup Corn
- 1 Avocado
- 1/1 cup shredded Coconut
- 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
- 1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
- 1/3 cup Cashews
- 2 tablespoons Almond Milk
- 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
- 1 tablespoon Agave Nectar
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- Soak cashews over night, or in hot water 30 minutes before use.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add salt and gadually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add olive oil, and stir. Place pot in fridge (on a pot holder) to cool polenta.
- While polenta is cooling preheat your oven to 300°. Mix soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup and coconut until thoroughly mixed. Place coconut, with as little of liquid as possible, on a foil lined baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes until crisp and light brown.
- In a saute pan on medium heat, add coconut oil. Add corn, jalapeño and sliced avocado and cook until warm. Reduce heat to simmer.
- In a blender, or using an immersion blender, mix soaked cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, agave nectar and salt until thick and creamy.
- Preheat your oven to 350°. Grease donut hole pan or muffin pan with additional knob of coconut oil. Drop cooled firm polenta in hole and using your fingers shape into a small cup. Drop in a teaspoon of bacon, a teaspoon of the corn, jalapeño and avocado mixture and a teaspoon of the cashew cream. Place more polenta on top and use your fingers to pat the popper closed.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown, flip and bake for another 20 minutes.