A Smoothie, A Loaf of Bread, and A Latte

The title of this post sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.

A smoothie, a loaf of bread, and a latte walk into a bar…

Ha ha ha.

Joking aside, I’ve basically been living on smoothies, baked goods from the freezer, and warm drinks. 

I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but I lose my ambition in the kitchen and my motivation to work out. I’ve kept up on my work outs (can’t. give. up.), but my cooking has all but disappeared. A string of bad dishes hasn’t helped the decline. Sure, I’ve made a couple of things here and there, including, thank goodness, a giant pot of soup, but for the most part, I’ve been cleaning out the freezer.

Mr. M regularly complains there’s no room for his stuff in the freezer (his “stuff” equates frozen pot-pies and random pieces of animal carcass), so besides working through my cooking slump, I’m also slowly eating my way through the freezer and making some room for what I’m guessing will be meatballs. (Seriously. Why does one man need 50 meatballs?!)

The smoothie that’s been getting me through early, rainy mornings is VERY filling. It’s full of fiber and natural sugars, so it perks you up quickly, but then sustains your energy for quite a while. And it’s superbly delicious.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Smoothie

1 c non-dairy milk*

1/3 – 1/2 c oats (one serving according to product)

1 frozen banana, chunked (peel and chunk bananas before freezing)

1 serving protein powder (I use unflavored)

1 TBSP chia seeds (flax would work too)

1+ tsp vanilla

1+ TBSP cinnamon (or to taste)

1-2 TBSP raisins (1 mini box)

In a high-powered blender, add loose ingredients first: protein powder, chia seeds, oats, cinnamon. Then add remaining ingredients: raisins, non-dairy milk, and banana. Blend until smooth.

*I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, but I think either sweetened or unsweetened hemp milk would be amazing in this smoothie. It’s rich and thick and delicious  – all on its own.

If you don’t like chewy chunks in your smoothie, let it sit for a few minutes so the oats and chia seeds can absorb some of the non-dairy milk and make it a little smoother. If you’re fond of eating your smoothies in a bowl, this will also make the smoothie more bowl-worthy.

Oatmeal Raisin Smoothie - Thick & Delicious

Like I said, this smoothie keeps me full for quite a while (it’s fairly caloric), but sometimes I eat breakfast so early, I must have a second breakfast because I’m hungry again before lunch. I know. I know. I can eat whatever I want whenever I want, but I love breakfast and am more than happy to extend it 🙂

Lately, when I’ve gotten had to eat Second Breakfast, I’ve been reaching for a slice of Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

I got the original recipe for this sweet, yeast bread from Happy Herbivore (click here for the original recipe). It sounded too good to pass up, but I didn’t want to use any refined sugars, and Mr. M had just bought a lifetime supply of grape juice (thank you, Sam’s Club), so I used it to replace the water in the recipe, which made it VERY sweet. I also mixed up the flour a little, reducing the wheat flour and adding oat bran (yup, still on my oat bran kick) and psyllium (not the laxative powder, the thicker, less processed whole grain). The result was amazing!

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

3 c whole wheat flour

1/4 c oat bran

1/4 c psyllium

1 pkt dry yeast

2 TBSP maple syrup

1 tsp salt

4 TBSP cinnamon

1 c applesauce

1/2 c grape juice

1 c raisins

First, plump the raisins in warm water, warm juice (grape or apple), or a little warm liquor. (Did someone say Rum Raisin Bread?!)

Next, combine the applesauce and juice and heat until warm. Don’t overheat, or you’ll kill the yeast when adding to the dry ingredients.

Then, combine half of the whole wheat flour, yeast, salt, cinnamon, and raisins. Stir to combine. (I use a fork to combine and aerate.)

Slowly combine the warm liquid to the dry ingredients. Add the remaining flours (the rest of the whole wheat and the oat bran and ). Mix to combine. A heavy, wet dough should result.

Cover the wet dough with a towel and allow to rise. (If you have a gas oven, place the covered bowl in there to rise. Even turning the oven light on in an electric oven will provide a nice, warm environment for your dough.)

Remove your dough from the oven, if you put it in there, and pre-heat the oven to 375 F.

Remove the dough from the bowl and spread it into a loaf pan. Flatten it with your hands to create an even loaf.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Let the loaf rest until it’s cool enough to remove from the pan, and allow to rest a total of 1 – 1.5 hours before slicing. And eating. If you can.

This recipe is a keeper. Even Mr. M eats it, and he usually thinks my treats are too healthy tasting.

Aside from living out the freezer, I’ve been preparing for the beginning of fall all week by enjoying Pumpkin Spice Lattes. (I need warmed up after all that frozen food!)

Fall in a Cup!

A couple of weeks ago, I started pursuing the net for Pumpkin Spice Latte recipes. I found a bunch of really good ones and tried a couple. After a little trial and error, I came up with one that works for me. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 c. really strong coffee (use espresso if you can)

2 TBSP pumpkin puree

1/2 c non-dairy milk

1 TBSP liquid sweetener (I use maple syrup)

1 TBSP cinnamon (or to taste)

1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice (or to taste)

Add non-dairy milk, pumpkin puree, sweetener, and spices to blender. Blend well. Add mixture to large cup. Add coffee. Stir.

I prefer my coffee a little less than hot, so I don’t heat the mixture, but you may want to. The  most important part of the whole process, at least to me, is blending the pumpkin mixture. Without blending, the drink is grainy.

Feel free to add more sweetener, dairy free whipped topping, or anything else you’d like to your latte. I like mine kind of plain (I even use decaf coffee) and not too sweet, so no extras for me 😉 And if you have little ones in the house who want to share your welcoming fall spirit, try doubling the pumpkin mixture and warming it up for a coffee free fall drink. Yummy!

Hot, Rich & Frothy

I’m sharing this post on:

Diet Dessert & Dogs’ Wellness Weekends

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

Cybel Pascal’s Allergy Free Cuisine Allergy Friendly Fridays

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Recipe Updates & VeganMoFo!

I had a busy weekend tweaking recipes.

I’ve made two updates. One is an update to Cheezy Kale Chips. I took out the oil, and they still turned out great! Plus, the calories are quite a bit less because they are basically fat-free without the oil. Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Esselstyn would be proud 😉

The second update I made was to my Pumpkin Spice Muffin. They’re so heavy and dense, I wondered if the baking powder or baking soda were doing anything for the recipe. They weren’t. I took both out, and the muffins turned out great! They’re exactly the same with it in, so if you just can’t fathom a muffin without a little chemical reaction goin’ on, use the original recipe. But if you are a minimalist like me, you’ll appreciate the reduction in ingredients – and one less trip to the cupboard!

Finally, VeganMoFo is next month! Whoohoo! I became away of the event a little last year, and since I didn’t have a blog yet, I just followed along the best I could. Wow, what an event! If you want a way to be introduced to a bunch of new vegan blogs and recipes, or if you are just interested increasing your meatless or vegan meals, check out the happenings next month.

VeganMoFo 2011

I can’t decide if I can/want to commit to an entire month of postings, so I have yet to register Veggie V’s Vegan Adventure for the event. Mr. M and I will be out-of-town for a wedding on the first, and I won’t be able to post, and October is my birthday month (more on that soon!), so I might be busy, and and…Sounds like a bunch of excuses, hu?

I’ll decide if I’m going to participate this week (The deadline is this weekend, so I have to decide by then!) and keep you posted.

Mushroom Burgers

I love veggie burgers. They were my first foray into the world of vegetarianism. I was about five years old when I had my first one. My dad’s parents were vegetarians, and they gave me a Worthington veggie burger…from a can. Yup, from a can. My mom used to laugh and laugh remember some of the food they tried to serve us. She said the veggie burgers were like sponges – covered in gravy, of course (Why does meat – real or fake – from a can always come with jelly like gravy?!). But guess who ate them. Yup, five-year old me.

In honor of my trip down memory lane, and my love of veggie burgers, I created two new burger recipes this week. I’ve been in the mood for mushrooms, and I’ve been in the mood for veggie burgers; thus, the mushroom burgers were born.

These burgers are both kind of dense, and they’re a little high on calories. But, they’re also very filling! The Mushroom Oat Bran Burger is nice and heavy, with a milder flavor, and would be great on a bun. The Mushroom Sunflower Seed Burger is more flavorful and little softer. It might benefit from being baked in the oven. Although, the skillet gave it a nice, crusty outer layer. 

Mushroom Oat Bran Burger

8 – 10 oz mushrooms, coarsley chopped

1 sm, med onion, chopped

1-2 clove garlic, chopped

1-2 TBSP veggie broth

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/2 c quinoa flakes (can sub quick or rolled oats)

1/4 c oat bran

1 TBSP tahini

1 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

Seasonings: salt, pepper, parsley flakes, basil, oregano, etc

Saute the onions and garlic in 1 – 2 TBSP veggie broth until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and seasonings and cook until very tender – about 10 minutes. (You want as much water as possible to cook out of the ‘shrooms.) Remove mixture from heat and cool – about 5 minutes.

Add mushroom mixture to food processor. Add nutritional yeast, quinoa flakes (or oats, if using), oat bran, tahini, soy sauce. Process until thick, paste like mixture forms.

Let mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes to firm up. Refrigeration isn’t necessary, but it might speed the firming process.

From mix into three balls. Flatten into patties and either cook in a skillet about 5 minutes on each side, or bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes, flipping after the first 20.

Baking gives the burgers a firmer texture, but it doesn’t give them the nice crunchy crust of the skillet.

Each burger has about 200 calories with about 5g of fat, 8g of fiber, and 12g of fiber. Not too bad…

Mushroom Oat Bran Burger

Mushroom Sunflower Seed Burger

8 – 10 oz mushrooms, coarsley chopped

1 sm, med onion, chopped

1-2 clove garlic, chopped

1-2 TBSP veggie broth

1/4 c nutritional yeast

1/2 c quinoa flakes (can sub quick or rolled oats)

1/4 c sunflower seeds

1 TBSP tahini

2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

Seasonings: salt, pepper, parsley flakes, basil, oregano, etc

Saute the onions and garlic in 1 – 2 TBSP veggie broth until translucent – about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and seasonings and cook until very tender – about 10 minutes. (You want as much water as possible to cook out of the ‘shrooms.) Remove mixture from heat and cool – about 5 minutes.

Add mushroom mixture to food processor. Add nutritional yeast, quinoa flakes (or oats, if using), sunflower seeds, tahini, soy sauce. Process until thick, paste like mixture forms.

Let mixture sit for 5 – 10 minutes to firm up. Refrigeration isn’t necessary, but it might speed the firming process.

From mix into three balls. Flatten into patties and either cook in a skillet about 5 minutes on each side, or bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes, flipping after the first 20.

Baking gives the burgers a firmer texture, but it doesn’t give them the nice crunchy crust of the skillet.

Each burger has about 250 calories with about 11g of fat, 8g of fiber, and 14g of protein. Again, not too bad, especially if you forgo the bun and eat it naked, or wrap with lettuce leaves. Crunchy!

Mushroom Sunflower Seed Burger

 If you don’t want to turn on the oven or the stove, try these burgers on the grill, and enjoy one of the last weekends of summer 🙂

This recipe is being shared at:

 Diet, Dessert, and Dogs for #WellnessWeekends. Thanks once again to Ricki for the awesome chance to share with so many health-conscious people, and a great big thanks to her for highlighting my Beans to the Rescue Cheeze Sauce! 

Simply Sugar & Gluten Free for Slightly Indlugent Tuesdays. Thanks to Amy for hosting!

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage for Full Plate Thursdays. This is a first time post there  for me, but I don’t see a lot (or any?!) vegan recipes being shared, so I think this is the perfect place to share a couple easy and delicious veggie burger recipes 🙂

All the Small Stuff for Tuesdays at the Table (Ya ya, I know it’s Friday, but I’m a little slow this week.) And It’s a Blog Party for Delicious Dishes

Back to School Dinners

Ok, so this post is a little late. But at least now everyone that’s going back to school is back to school. And back to their crazy schedules. And back to having no idea what to cook. And no time to cook whatever ideas they do have. “They” includes me. If it doesn’t include you, that’s cool, your schedule is crazy enough without have classes, homework, prepping, grading, students, teachers..yyyaaahhh…to worry about. Regardless of what your days and nights consist of, we can all use a few quick and easy go-to dinners (and hopefully left-overs for lunch!) for busy nights. Enter, the Wilt-In.

What is a Wilt-In? Why, it’s a dish that has greens wilted in, of course.

It’s difficult for me to get my greens in. There, I said it. I have yet to become accustomed to green smoothies (Ok. I’ve only tried one – once – and it was terrible.) I know green, leafy vegetables are good for me. I know I can’t eat enough Cheezy Kale Chips to meet my daily requirement (Trust me. I’ve tried.) So, out of desperation, I began wilting leafy greens into various dishes, and eventually, I found a green I am in love with (Yea chard!), and a way to eat it that isn’t boring; I’ve yet to get tired of, and it’s super quick. O, and it’s a one-pot meal. Did I mention that? That’s right people, give the dishwasher the night off because this quick and easy meal is ready in less than 30 minutes from chopping to eating, and it won’t make a mess of your kitchen. Hello, healthy dinner!

Rainbow Chard Wilt-In

1 med onion, chopped

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 TBSP vegetable broth

1 bunch rainbow or Swiss chard

8 oz sliced mushrooms

Grain (quinoa works great) or Protein (beans are awesome) – optional

Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley flakes, etc)

In a large, deep skillet, saute onion and garlic in 1-2 TBSP veggie broth (no need for oil). Cook until onions are translucent – about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender – about 10 minutes.  I also like to add the seasonings here. Typically, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, dried parsley.

If using grain, add now. Uncooked quinoa will cook up nicely in a small amount of added veggie broth and the broth created by the mushrooms. (Add up to 1 cup dry quinoa and about 1/2 c veggie broth. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover, cook 10-12 minutes or until quinoa gives off little spirals.) You may also add beans now, if you’re using. However, if you’re using grains and beans, wait until the grain has cooked to add the beans.

Finally, wilt-in your greens. If you added grains, you may need to add a little more veggie broth to create steam to wilt your greens. If not, add greens in batches, stiring them into the mix. You may want to cover the pan to aid in the wilting process. Continue to add and stir until all greens are wilted.

You can, of course, add additional vegetables to the mix. Make it your own. Try different greens. Kale, collards, spinach – whatever looks good or needs to be eaten.

Stiring in cooked grains at the end works too. Or spooning over a mound of cooked grains or beans. Whatever is left over.

Rainbow Chard Wilt-In with Quinoa

I also love BBQ tofu  and whatever roasted veggies are taking up space in the fridge. Just add about 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce to a sauce pan, warm for a few minutes, then add 1 package of extra firm tofu, with the excess water squeezed or pressed. I wrap the tofu block in a double layer of paper towel, then wrap that in a dish towel and press the block with my hands against the counter. The tofu won’t retain its block form (it gets kind of squished), but it works great as chunks in the BBQ sauce.

I make my own, quick BBQ sauce.

Veggie V’s Quick & Easy BBQ Sauce

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

2-3 TBSP tomato paste (more or less to taste)

1 med onion, thinly sliced

1-2 clove garlic, minced

1 – 2 TBSP soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)

1 – 2 TBSP mustard

1 tsp maple syrup – optional

Seasonings: chili powder, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley flakes

Saute onions and garlic in sauce pan with 1 TBSP veggie broth or 1 tsp oil until translucent – about 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, including seasonings. Simmer for a few minutes to allow flavors to meld. Add tofu chunks and warm through.

Total time from chopping to eating – way less than 30 minutes.

Shaved brussels sprouts from Appetite for Reduction are my favorite side to make this meal complete.

BBQ Tofu & Shaved Brussle Sprouts

I love this cookbook, and I especially love this brussels sprout recipe. It’s crazy easy.  Thinly slice brussels sprouts (a food processor works great here). Add to a pan of sauted onions and garlic (Oil is a must here. 1 -2 tsp is plenty.) Salt and pepper sprouts. Stir to combine flavors. The let it sit on medium heat. The mix forms a little crust from the oil and the caramelized onions. Yum! Try to flip the mix after a few minutes (5 or so) so the rest of the sprouts have their chance in the pan. Cook another 5 minutes or so, and you’re all set!

With a little planning, quick and easy week night/school night dinners can be healthy and filling. There’s no need for take-out in my house 😉

Bean Lovin’

If loving beans is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

I’m having a serious bean affair these days (ssshhh…don’t tell the sushi or my treadmill!). I’ve always been a big bean eater (Does that sound funny to anyone else?), but ever since I went on my dessert making spree and had such great success making bean based sweet treats, I’ve been incorporating them into everything. First, I made Creamy Tomato Sauce, and now – Cheeze Sauce!

After looking all over the web and finding tons of great fake-out cheeze sauces (and trying a few, which were all delicious, by the way), I just couldn’t shake the fat and calorie guilt most of them left with me. Sure, nut based cheeze sauces are amazingly rich and creamy, but they aren’t helping my thighs be less rich and creamy. (Ew – that sounded kind of icky.) So….beans to the rescue!

I’ve made this sauce a couple of times this week, and each time I’ve tweaked it a little. I think it might still need a little tweaking here and there (less garlic, maybe no lemon or sub acv instead, and dare I suggested it, less nutritional yeast?!), but it’s still amazingly tasty – and crazy low-fat and super good on calories. (It’s super good on just about everything, but you know what I mean.) 

 Beans to the Rescue Cheeze Sauce

1 15oz can white beans of your choice, rinsed (or about 2 c)

2 small scallions (or 1 sm shallot or 2 TBSP onion)

1 small clove garlic (or 1/2 lg clove)

1/2 c nutritional yeast (or less – to taste)

1/2 c vegetable broth or water

1 – 2 TBSP vegetable broth powder*

2 tsp  mustard (yellow or Dijon)

1 TBSP lemon juice or apple cidar vinegar (optional)

pepper

Add scallions and garlic to food processor. Pulse to chop. Add beans, nutritional yeast, 1/4 c vegetable broth/water, vegetable broth powder, mustard (may also sub 1 tsp dried mustard or turmeric), lemon juice or acv if using, and pepper. Give everything a whirl for about 30 seconds. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl. Taste mixture for seasoning. Add remaining 1/4 c vegetable broth/water to thin. Process until completely smooth – about 1-2 minutes.

Serves 4 for less than 170 calories, just over 1 gram of fat, and a whopping 10.4 grams of fiber and 16.5 grams of protein in each serving! O beans, you magical fruit legume.

Cheeze Sauce in All Its Magical Glory

I’ve put this cheeze sauce all kinds of things this week, including my new favorite food – zucchini noodles. Yum! But today I outdid myself and tried it as a spread on some lettuce wraps.

Cheeze Sauce? Yes, please.

So good! But even better with some veggies and, of course, more beans.

Lettuce Wrap - All Dressed Up and Ready for My Mouth

If you’re not a big bean eater and are worried about the melodious side effects often associated with beans, don’t worry. The serving size is relatively small (about 4 TBPS) – which goes a surprisingly long way – and your body will quickly adjust to your new, fibrous friends.  And if not, just go for a jog – by yourself 😉

I’m sharing this post on Diet, Dessert, and Dogs’ Wellness Weekends and Cybele Pascal’s Allergy Friendly Friday again. I love the extra outlets for sharing my recipes 🙂 Thanks for highlighting my Pumpkin Spice Muffins, Cybele!

Can’t Wait for Fall

My favorite season is quickly approaching…fall! There is a crispness in the air; the leaves are starting to turn colors (some are already falling!); and this weekend marks the official end of summer.

Hello, fall. I’ve missed you <<air hug>>

To celebrate  the unofficial beginning of fall, I dug into my stash of canned pumpkin (remember the shortage a couple of years ago???) and whipped up a batch of Pumpkin Spice Muffins. But…this time I did things a little different. I replaced the whole wheat flour with oat bran, replaced the sugar with dates, and used raisins for the dried fruit (instead of my standard craisins). What resulted was a dense, filling, little gem that’s naturally gluten-free (make sure your oat bran is processed in facility that doesn’t cross contaminate), has less than 2 grams of fat, and is free of oils and refined sugars. Yum!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

2 c oat bran

1/2 c dates, packed (soak for a few mins in warm water if dry)

1/2 c  lite coconut milk (or another non-dairy milk)

1/2 tsp salt

1 – 2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice (optional)

1 15 oz can pumpkin (or about 2 c)

1/3 c raisins

Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Mix dry ingredients (oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice). Sift or stir with a fork to combine.

Puree dates in a high-powered blender. Add them to the dry mix. Add remaining wet ingredients (pumpkin puree and non-dairy milk). Stir to combine, but don’t over stir. Once combined, stir in raisins.

Generously fill paper/foil muffin cups (or use a non-stick tin).

Bake about 20 minutes or until center is firm to your liking.

This batch made 12 muffins. Sometimes I get up to 15.

Using lite coconut milk (the kind from a can) and raisins, each muffin has 118.3 calories, 1.7 grams of fat, 154.1 miligrams of sodium, 21.8 g carbs, with 4.8 g fiber, and 3.2 g protein (according to Sparkpeople). I don’t track any micronutrients except fiber, so I can’t report on the vitamins and minerals, but I’m sure they’re little powerhouses!

Lately, I’ve been eating my muffins with a tiny smear of raw almond butter. I’ve happily proclaimed this the best snack ever!

Pumpkin Spice Muffin

The only picture I have of my yummy Pumpkin Spice Muffins is with a little Earth Balance (which is delicious!) because every time I eat one with almond butter, I gobble it down so fast, I forget to take a picture! So, if you’re like me and can’t resist your new favorite muffin, freeze the left overs.  I put my in sandwich size zip top bags for automatic portion control. The muffins thaw very well – 30 seconds in the microwave works for me.

I love these muffins so much, I want to share them with as many people as possible. That’s why I’m submitting them to this week’s Wellness Weekend at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. Thanks for enabling so many people to share their delicious and nutritious recipes, Ricki!

Update: I love these muffins so much, and I want to share them with as many people as possible, so I’m also submitting them them to SSGF’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and to CP’s Allergy Friendly Friday. Check out  both sites for some great recipes! (Note: Neither site is vegan.)

Second Update: I also submitted my yummy muffins to Tuesdays at the Table and the Delicious Dishes Party.