Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whole Grain Braid (vegan)

I couldn't wait to try out my new "egg replacement powder" and this vegan recipe was a perfect thing to experiment on. A hearty, whole grain braided bread that is an awesome mix of light and hearty. Whole wheat flour takes longer to raise, so if going with white flour, don't go by my timing. Also, I have no idea yet how to replace real eggs with the replacement powder so I can't put those quotients out there. All I know is I had one happy husband, coming home to a home filled with the scent of freshly baked bread! This paired so well with Quinoa Chili....

Whole Grain Braid

2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp egg replacement powder with 1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in water with sugar. Let sit 15 mins until bubbly. Mix egg replacement with the 1 cup water and whisk thoroughly. Dump bubbly yeast, salt, oil, and egg water in a bowl. Add flour and knead for ten mins or until smooth. Put dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1hr45mins. Punch down and divide into three ropes. Proceed to braid dough ropes making sure to pinch ends. Let raise again until doubled, about 45 mins to 1 hour. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with basil. Bake on 350 for 25 minutes. 

Quinoa Chili

This is some protein packed chili, folks! A winter staple, totally vegan when sprinkled with daiya or vegan sour cream, and can be easily made for all ya'll meat eaters! Just add a pound of seasoned browned beef to the mix. So yum. I love the texture quinoa adds and hey, I'm down with my kids getting as much protein as possible. This stuff freezes and reheats well. I tried today ;-).
Also, I gave quotients for canned beans, but I actually use frozen beans. Beans are among the easiest things to preserve and I will post a tutorial soon! 

Quinoa Chili

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, cubed super tiny
3/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp cumin
4 bay leaves
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tablespoon chili powder (or more to taste!)
1 can (15oz) tomato sauce
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can white or pinto beans, rinsed
1 sweet potato, cubed super tiny
4 cups vegetable stock

Heat the oil on medium in a large pot. Add the onion and put the lid on the pot. Let the onions sweat/ get translucent. Add the garlic and carrots and a dash of salt. Put the lid back on and let sweat another couple minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, covered, stirring on occasion. Remove bay leaves and season to taste. I added a bit more salt and chili powder. Yum!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pecan Crusted Fruit Pie

A simple, tasty vegan and gluten free "pie", I will be using this crust to make so many more variations! The crust alone is worth making for all your non bake style pies. My only recommendation is to fill the crust not too long before eating. I filled mine the night before and the crust was getting soft. It would have been better had I assembled it the morning of serving it. I loved the tart cranberry filling paired with the sweet fruit and the nutty crust. It tasted more like an upside down cobbler type dessert than a pie but it was still quite good! 

Pecan Crusted Fruit Pie
1 cup dates
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup cashews
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup strawberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup cranberries
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup water

Banana, blueberries, oranges, strawberries, kiwi, etc

Begin by placing crust ingredients in food processor until it resembles a sticky consistency. Press tightly into a pie plate. Simmer filling ingredients in a saucepan until the cranberries pop and the liquid is reduced, making a thick compote type texture. To assemble, pour filling over crust and top with assorted fruits. Serve chilled. 

Creamy Avocado Pasta

I am a big pasta fan. I really, realllly love creamy pasta! I thought it was impossible to make going vegan but avocado makes such a fabulous pasta sauce. Who knew?!

With avocado being such a healthy fat for you, there's no guilt and I love that it's easy to make GF for my fellow non gluten foodies out there. 

This pasta was a bit on the spicy side, so decrease pepper flakes if you aren't big on eating spicy.
This isn't the prettiest looking dish but it was SO east, especially being the "sauce" can be pureed and frozen for a quick dinner grab. I have five recipes now in my freezer. It IS possible to make healthy dinners super quick if you don't mind a little extra prep one day! I'm quite happy we had leftovers. This is SO my lunch today! 

Avocado Basil Linguine
2 avocado
2 roma tomato
1/2 lime, juiced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup fresh basil, packed
2 cups fresh spinach
1 tsp salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 box linguine pasta 

Make pasta according to directions on box. Mix all other ingredients in a food processor or blender until as smooth as possible. Drain pasta. Toss with sauce. Serve immediately. Seriously. It's that simple! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vegan Brownies

Ok. This is the ONLY recipe I even care about anymore. Do you even know how excited I am about "healthy" gooey, chocolatey, fudge like brownies that have low sugar, no dairy or eggs?? Eek! Hold me back; I might eat the entire pan!!!! Yeah, I'm cliche chocolate loving girl. But, Craig reallllly likes chocolate, too! You can't really even taste the pumpkin, so I wouldn't classify these as pumpkin brownies. Literally all you can taste is chocolate which is perfectly fine with me!! Maybe eating this way won't be so bad ;-) 

Vegan Brownies

1 1/4 cups 100% whole wheat flour (I used soft white wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup rapadura or brown sugar 
1 tsp vanilla
Just under 2 cups pumpkin puree
1 organic dark chocolate bar, chopped (the good quality kind won't have dairy fillers)

Mix all dry ingredients. Add pumpkin and vanilla. Stir just until combined. Stir in chocolate. Line a 9x9 pan with foil. Lightly oil the foil. Spread batter in pan and bake on 350 for 25 mins. Transfer to cooling rack. Eat immediately with peanut butter if you're like me ;-)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

It wouldn't be quite Thanksgiving season without pumpkin spice muffins, now would it?? Unfortunately my regular recipe  calls for eggs which is a true vegan no. Thankfully? This new recipe has no dairy or eggs and also baked up as cute muffin tops! I just scooped the leftover dough with my cookie scoop and baked on parchment paper at the same temp and time. 

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each, nutmeg and cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 small banana, mashed well
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/2 cup rapadura or brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Mix dry ingredients minus the sugar in one bowl. Mix all the wet ingredients plus brown brown sugar in another bowl. Gently combine the two bowls together. Lightly oil your mini muffin pan and fill with batter tp the tops. Bake on 350 for 10 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 24 mini muffins + 5 "muffin tops"... 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

I was having a really huge craving for my ultimate favorite unhealthy food, Pretzel Cookies . Since it is quite obvious that recipe won't find it's way into my oven again any time soon, I had to make a way to have around the same flavor without the butter, sugar, and refined flour. 
Enter: Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites. 

They worked! Eek! I was literally eating this stuff out of the bowl. I wasn't the only one, either! Craig didn't even want to wait until I had them all rolled and chilled. Ah well! This recipe will become a new staple. It has to, with my sweet tooth!
I added 2 scoops of organic brown rice protein powder to the mix. It's totally optional, but I like that it gives an extra kick of protein to our diets. 

Oat Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
2 cups oats 
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped pretzels
1/4 cup chopped  
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla

Combine dry ingredients. Warm butter, oil, sweetener, in a saucepan until combined. Add vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients. Mix well. Refrigerate for 30-45 mins. Form into tightly packed balls. Store in refrigerator. 
I made a double batch and got around 50 balls. Now, these little dudes look nothing like the fab cookies I posted, but don't be too hard on them...they really are delicious!! 



With the fall nip in the air, it's hearty soup season! Bummer part? Not being able to use milk, cheese, cream, or meat. The cook inside me pretty much huddles in a tiny corner and sobs at the thought of no broccoli cheddar soup...But..I have to put my big girl pants on and get over what I can't use and learn recipes with what I can! This recipe actually makes me not miss my other fav soups so much. Chock full of nutrition, with a thick slab of fresh bread, this soup really hit the spot tonight for me! 

I'll be completely honest, though. My kids started bawling when they came to the table and seen this. "It looks SO GROSSS mom!!" "I will DIE if I have to eat that!!" But, we have the two bite rule. So, the shuddered and braved through bite one. Apparently, they decided it wasn't complete poison because they ate it ALL. Aerro very honestly let me know it was NOT his favorite but that it wasn't completely disgusting and both the big kids said they would eat it again. ;-) I rewarded them with two cookie balls each. I was so proud of my trooper kids for eating all their food. 

Vienna? Yeah. She had seconds. And thirds. Looks like it is best to start eating healthy when kids are little!


1 sweet potato
4 celery stalks
1/2 sweet onion
2 roma tomatoes
1 bell pepper (I used yellow)
10 baby or 2 regular carrots
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 large kale leaves
Handful of mushrooms (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano
2 quarts organic vegetable broth 
1/2 box Rotini pasta (I like VitaSpelt Rotini)

 See all those pretty vegetables?? I love the colors!  
Scrub and chop all vegetables into small cubes.
Dump into crock pot with vege broth.
Cook on low for 7 or so hours.
Add the rotini.
Cook on high for a half hour or until the noodles are cooked. Stir once or twice so noodles cook evenly. Salt and pepper to taste.

 That's it! Super easy, healthy, and tasty! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Beauty of Raw Oats

Three little bowls lined up in a row...

Bursting with the goodness my children love, you know!

Topped with raisins, almonds, cranberries, coconut, and honey

the good news is, on a budget, it doesn't cost that much money! 

 It is soaked and raw, meaning better nutrients, doesn't need to be cooked! Once you try it, I am confident, you and yours will be hooked. :-)  

Raw Oats

Old fashioned rolled oats (not instant or steel cut)
Almond, rice, hemp, coconut, or dairy milk
1 tablespoon honey per 1/2 cup oats

Toppings: Our Favorite
Cocoa Powder+Honey+Banana+Chocolate Chips
Blackberries+Maple Syrup 

Dump oats in a seal-able container. Cover with milk choice about an inch over oats. Stir in honey. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Adjust sweetness in the morning if you want. Top and enjoy! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Vegan Lentil Burgers/ Kale Guac Salad

I won't lie. 
Five years ago if you presented me with a recipe for Lentil Burgers I probably would have gagged a little bit and told you you were something of a health freak.
Now, I'm the something of a health freak on occasion. 
And you are probably the same way I was. Looking at this recipe like..."Right. Lentil Burgers. I'm sure they are just deeeeeelicious...not!" I mean everything about these just screams extremest! Not that there is anything wrong with extremest. I just have never been one and had many preconceived notions currently being torn down about said types of people.
And today, yes today, I became one of those. I made Lentil Burgers. Made them, served them, and nobody puked them up. Avoni gagged, but that's ok. Slowly, she will learn to try new things ;-) 
Craig? He said it was THE best Plant Based meal I have made yet. I blushed..and giggled..and kissed him a few times. 

I am posting the photo from the website I got them from. Their photo is way better than mine. Daylight savings...gets dark way before dinner and well, no more natural lighting! 

These guys served with the following salad and some Spicy Sweet Potato Fries is like an ultimate meal. 

Vegan Lentil Burgers (original recipe post)
1 1/2 cups water to use for:
1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and drained

2 cups water to use with:
1 cup brown rice

2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded, deveined, and diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
Whole-grain flour
8 whole-grain buns

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add the
lentils, reduce the heat, and cook until beans are softened, about 15
minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a
boil, add the rice, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the rice
is just tender, about 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In a sauté pan, sauté the garlic, onion, and peppers until lightly browned.

In a large bowl, combine the lentils, rice, and vegetables. Add the
salt and chili powder and mix well. Add a bit of flour to hold the
mixture together, if needed. Form into burger-sized patties and place
on a parchment lined baking sheet or press into a loaf pan.

Bake burgers on 350 until slightly firm, about 15 minutes.

Kale Guacamole and Lime Salad

a good squirt of lime

Simple! Wash, dry, and shred kale. Place in a decent sized bowl. With your hands, mix some prepared guacamole into the kale until it's the right taste ratio for your liking. Drizzle with lime juice. Mix again. It's pretty much a add and taste until it's how you like it deal. Let me tell you, though...guacamole paired with the slightly spicy kale is amazing, not to mention the zing lime gives it! 

Best served on Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Buns, loaded with lettuce, vegan provolone, guacamole, and tomato! 

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

I live in the Northwest. here, we have the best "fast food" joint in the nation. It's called BurgerVille. For so many, it's almost a cultish obsession. There isn't one where I live, but when we go to Vancouver, first stop: BurgerVille. It's just a given! One thing I miss about not having it nearby (although it's probably better for me in the long run) is not being able to eat unlimited sweet potato fries when they are in season. Such a weak spot for me!! 

But, well, it now appears I can actually fulfill that craving myself. 
Sweet Potato Fries. Slightly spicy with just enough sweet. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
And...healthy! For real. 
Sweet potatoes are literally bursting with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (goodbye wrinkles! ). Whole Food's considers them an ultimate health food. I mean, hey...any reason to make a favorite food seem more appealing is fine by me! 
Typically, we eat some form of dip with our fries but not with these! They are delish just plain. 

Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

3 sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon your choice of oil
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (a must! they make the fries crispy!)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Scrub potatoes but don't peel them. Slice into thin fries. The thinner, the better in my books. More crisp! 
Place in bowl. Add the oil, cornstarch, and seasonings. Toss to coat thoroughly. Place not touching on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15 minutes. Turn. Bake another ten. Keep an eye on them as you don't want them to burn. If by this point they aren't crispy, turn your oven on broil and watch closely until the fries are crisped. 

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

--->Why Plant Based<---

With this new plant based/ vegan diet, I am going to need plenty of quick go-to snacks on hand! 
Preparing foods without eggs or oil is a new thing for me. I have been baking without refined sugar for a few years now, but no oil or eggs? 

Today I made this recipe. Hardly any different in texture or flavor than my other oat cookie recipes so that makes me very happy!! 

A delightful tasting cookie that is healthy as well, fairly bursting with pumpkin and cranberry. It is a perfect fall treat. 

Vegan Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 cup honey
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 tsp vanilla
4 tablespoons water
1/2 cup cranberries

Mix dry ingredients, save for cranberries. In a separate bowl, combine wet. Stir both together. Add cranberries. Place in rounded tablespoons on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake for 9-10 minutes on 350. Cool completely before storing in airtight container. 

Vegan Mexican Couscous w/ Corn Tortilla

---> Why Plant Based<---

A new recipe invented in my kitchen the other night..

We have a whole new food journey ahead of us and this was recipe one.

The kids and I are going partial plant food based diet (vegan-ish) and Craig is going full plant based for health reasons.

I know have an entirely new challenge ahead of me!

For never cooking this way in such a strict manner(think no meat, dairy, limited added oils, no refined sugars), I think recipe one turned out extremely well.

We didn't choke it down; the meal was actually enjoyed. Score one!

Vegan Mexican Couscous

1 cup Mediterranean couscous blend 
1 3/4 cups water
2 cups prepared brown rice
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup corn
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
Salsa to desired consistency
salt and pepper to taste

If using Mediterranean couscous blend, prepare  by boiling the water, adding couscous, covering, and simmering on low for 17 minutes. Remove from stove and fluff with fork. Very similar to cooking rice. I don't have regular couscous so I don't know the water/time needed to cook that. 

Mix cooked couscous with rice in a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and combine VERY well. I added some salsa to the mix until it didn't feel dry. Top with chopped cilantro if desired. Serve hot as a dip for chips, wrapped in a tortilla as a burrito, or in a hard shell taco. We had ours with salsa and guacamole. 

Making Hard Shell Tacos, oil free

The coolest trick I used the other night was making my own taco shells out of our organic corn tortillas. Being Craig is staying away from oils, most all recipes are out as far as preparing corn tortillas. But, what I did, is dry heat each corn tortilla until soft and then drape over my oven racks like so, baking for 8ish minutes on 350. Perfect hard taco shells and no added oils! 
(photo off bing)