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Oh Yes I Did. The BEST(vegan) Banana Muffins You Will Ever Smell and Taste. EVER.

25 Mar
Check out our new Sexy Summer Pasta Saladgreat for parties and BBQ’s or our Vegan Enchiladas plus more meal ideas!

UPDATE 3/25/13

This, by far, has become our most popular treat.  We have updated it with “How to” links and photos so you can see just how easy it is thanks to many of your requests!

One of the biggest surprises that we had once we adopted a vegan diet, was how DELISH baking can be without the use of eggs and dairy butter.  Shocked is an understatement.  I’ve always enjoyed baking and I remember on a few occasions not having eggs and so I put on my best pout and had to wait until the following day to purchase them.  IF ONLY I KNEW THAT I COULD BAKE WITHOUT EGGS!

Whether you are Vegan or not (if if you aren’t, oh, we’ve got to chat 😉 I promise you that you will be pleasantly surprised!

I also have a secret that I will share with you… I HATE bananas.  I just… can’t.  It’s NOT for a lack of trying, I can assure you… (I’m big on trying everything once, hence my “Try it Vegan”)  After adopting a vegan diet I did a bunch of reading up on fruits and of course, the incredible nutritional benefits of bananas could not be ignored so I found out that I can DRINK a banana in a smoothie now and of course, make banana muffins which are on the sweeter side.

So what are the magic ingredients if I don’t use eggs OR fat?  (That’s right… fat-free, Baby)

  • Flax seeds and a coffee grinder, or flax meal  (Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it)  You keep them in the fridge, just like you did eggs but the great part is flax seeds/meal stay MUCH longer.  **see how to make an egg substitute below
  • Apple sauce instead of oil (I’m not a HUGE fan of using oil so I am one that likes to use apple sauce whether I make some in the vitamixer or I twist the lid off of a jar)
  • Whole Wheat pastry flour instead of unbleached all purpose although if you don’t have it, it’s not the end of the world
  • Almond or Hemp milk is my favorite to bake with

The only recipe that I absolutely love to use as a guide is below but I always use the above changes and some super-duper ripe bananas 🙂

The one complaint that I seem to have is no matter how many batches I make there never seems to be enough.  The kids inhale them and yes, they freeze well too!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:  (Try and go organic as much as possible)

2 super ripe (brown) mashed bananas (

1/3 cup (2.6 oz) unsweetened applesauce

2/3 cup vegan sugar

2 egg substitutes (click HERE to view how we make ours)

1/4 cup almond milk or milk of your choice

1 2/3 cup flour (we prefer whole wheat pastry)

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 baking powder

cinnamon to taste (we like 1 tsp)

(My teenage son is demonstrating how simple it all is!)

Make your Flax Seed Egg Substitute

Make your Flax Seed Egg Substitute

(Click HERE to see, step by step, how to make it)

The browner the banana, the sweeter.  Add all the wet ingredients down to and including the milk.

The browner the banana, the sweeter. Add all the wet ingredients down to and including the milk.

Mix Flax (Egg-less) mixture, sugar, applesauce, milk and bananas

Mix Flax (Egg-less) mixture, sugar, applesauce, milk and bananas

Measure flour and additional dry ingredients

Measure flour and additional dry ingredients

Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture but don't over mix it too high of a setting

Add the rest of the dry ingredients to the wet mixture but don’t over mix it too high of a setting

Scrape down the sides to get every bit of goodness mixed up

Scrape down the sides to get every bit of goodness mixed up

Batter should be nice and thick like a cookie batter.

Batter should be nice and thick like a cookie batter.

Pour into pan of your choice

Pour into pan of your choice

Bake at 350 degrees 13-15 minutes for mini muffins and 17-20 minutes for regular muffins

Bake at 350 degrees 13-15 minutes for mini muffins and 17-20 minutes for regular muffins.  We doubled our recipe yielding the amount shown.

The BEST most MOIST Vegan Banana Muffins you will ever have!

Voila! The BEST most MOIST Vegan Banana Muffins you will ever have!

http://vegweb.com/recipes/best-ever-no-fat-banana-bread

To replace one egg:
1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
3 tablespoons warm water (or other liquid)

Stir together until thick and gelatinous.

You can also use whole flaxseeds:

1 tablespoon whole flaxseeds
4 tablespoons warm water (or other liquid)

Process seeds in a blender to a fine meal, add liquid and blend well.

You can make a bigger batch by increasing the ingredient amounts. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Try it!
M
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Warning: these resources have been known to breed Vegans, read with caution

16 Jan

Breeding Vegans?    No worries, I’m not contagious so you can’t catch the Vegivirus but you just may WANT TO after watching and reading these books and movies.

Oct. 2009 “Do you know of any books that I can read?  What movie do you recommend that is educational but won’t leave me bringing up my last meal?  Are there any magazines?”

I had my share of questions and it’s kind of ironic that I am asked often the same questions that I had back in the day.  The great thing to know is that there are so many more resources today than there were a few months ago compared to years ago.  Let me ask you:

  • Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?
  • If there was a way of eating that resulted in you having beautiful skin, energy and a maintained healthy weight, would you be curious to at least learn of it to see if you would even want to try it?
  • Did you ever wonder exactly what “Vegan” means exactly but didn’t want to be intimidated into “doing it” or “becoming one”?

One morning back in October of 2009 I had a day like many people do, having milk in my cereal, cheese on my burger and enjoyed my bacon extra crispy.  I had to stop at the local Costco to pick up some dinner and as “luck” or “destiny” had it, I spotted Alicia Silverstone on the cover of some book called, The Kind Diet.  I always adored her and the title of the book wasn’t the “IN YOUR FACE” type of a diet book so I picked it up and went about my shopping.  That night I read nearly the entire book and I felt as if someone had lifted a veil from my eyes.

In a very gentle way, Alicia gave me enough information to eliminate meat from my diet forever.   That, my friends, was the beginning of a new chapter in my life I was NOT expecting.

IF THAT MORNING, someone would have told me that the last time I ate meat would be then, I would say that you are OFF YOUR TREE.  I had NO INTEREST in becoming a Vegan prior.  Neither did my teenage daughter who at the time, was 12  when she read the book and hasn’t touched meat since.

I also had never made the effort to learn more about where my food was coming from and I’ve got to tell you, once you know, you look at food entirely in a different way.

PLEASE don’t take my word for it!!  I’m not trying to convince you.  I’m trying to lead you to some information so that you can make your own decision but at least know about what you are putting into your body and where it is coming from.  You may be surprised to find out why you or someone you love may have some issues like digestive issues, colitis, acne, bloating, excess phlegm, excess weight, diabetes or even heart disease JUST TO NAME A FEW.

Some of the more memorable books that opened my eyes:  (More educational than recipe books…I will be posting my recipe book recommendations soon although a few of these do have some.)

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    Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin

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    Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Solutions for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking… by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman

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    Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook: Crazy Delicious Recipes that Are Good to the Earth and Great for Your… by Kim Barnouin

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    The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet by Alicia Silverstone and Neal D. Barnard

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    The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet… by T. Colin Campbell, Thomas M. Campbell II, Howard Lyman and John Robbins ( not the easiest ready but stay on it!  This book made one of the impacts on me, don’t skip it!)

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    The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the… by Rip Esselstyn

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    Diet for a New America by John Robbins

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    MAD COWBOY: Plain Truth from the Cattle Rancher Who Won’t Eat Meat by Howard F. Lyman and Glen Merzer

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    Eat to Live: The Amazing Nutrient-Rich Program for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss, Revised Edition by Joel Fuhrman

  • Product Details

    Eat for Health: Lose Weight, Keep It Off, Look Younger, Live Longer (2 Volume Set) by Joel Fuhrman

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    Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living by Alisa Marie Fleming

I LOVE these magazines:

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    Vegnews

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    Vegetarian Times

  • ****Brand new Vegan Magazine is called Laika Magazine, check it out at laikamagazine.com  Very well done!

Some movies to get you started that aren’t going to make you lose your lunch:

  • Forks Over Knives
  • Food, Inc.
  • Vegucated

Movie that is incredibly good but hold the popcorn… it’s powerful and is a Vegan breeder for sure.  I don’t think anyone can go back to eating meat after watching this in all honesty.

  • Earthlings

After all is said and done, it’s your choice entirely, right?  No one can force you to watch, read or learn.  Don’t do it for anyone but yourself.  At least you will be able to say, yes, I read the books and saw the movies and finally, I made the decision to do _____ for me.  Best wishes and as always, I encourage you to…

Try it!

~M~

This dip was a slam dunk! Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries with Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

15 Jan

Look no further, you have found an AWESOME dip that is a MUST try!  Collar is popped, this wife and Momma gets a ten thumbs up, yeah Baby!  I have been wanting to make this since I came across the recipe and chose to make it as an appetizer for the family to munch on.

Excuse my lack of photography skills!

Excuse my lack of photography skills!

Just pull out your phone or pencil and old-school shopping list because I’m going to start off with listing the ingredients and you WILL want to make this over the next few days.  It’s OMNIVORE & KID APPROVED and I would imagine a great dip for veggies or shh, chips.  (Oh come on, like you don’t crave them every so often… healthy or not!)

Ok, shopping list… are you ready?  You will need:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut in large matchsticks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)  (now for the dip)
  • 1 -2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 -4 tsp sweet chili sauce (I liked it with more)
  • 1 small garlic clove minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 heaping tbsp chopped cilantro

I used the food processor to make the fries uniform in size which obviously helps with the cooking time and obviously, cuts back on prep time.

Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

Preheat oven to 425.  Toss potatoes and olive oil in a large bowl.  Combine salt, cumin, chile powder, paprika, pepper and cayenne in a small ball and then add spices to potatoes and toss to coat.  Arrange on baking sheet and back 12-15 minutes, then toss and bake for ten minutes.  (The last ten minutes I put the convection oven on).  Remove and dip away!

Chili-Cilantro Sour Cream

Combine everything but the cilantro in a bowl and whisk together, add cilantro and mix.

Whether you are a party of one or need a dish for a party, this is a great alternative to the  others.  The original recipe may be found at food52.com which is one of my go-to places to find some delish dishes!

Try it!

-M

Apple Match Stick Fries: Reducing the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes

7 Jan

20130107_094003

This morning I posted a link on Twitter that speaks of the great health benefits of apples (HERE)  Thanks to my mandoline, we have found some creative  ways to make snacking on an apple a bit more appealing to even those who insisted that they didn’t like apples.  
 
With much more focus on eating smaller meals with healthy snacks twice a day, apples are a great go-to for all ages.  With over 7000 different varieties around the world, there are at least a handful that will make your mouth water.  (For an apple directory, try HERE)
 
Cardiovascular disease and cancer are the two top killers in North America, choose apples for preventative measure considering they are loaded with phytonutrients (plant nutrients) that are known to reduce the risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes.  (http://www.nutritionj.com/content/3/1/5)
 
Give your palate a treat, pick some apples the next time you are out and make a point of including an apple once a day in your diet, however you choose to slice, dice or bite it 😉  Your body will thank you!
 
Try it!
-M

 

 
 
 
 

Back to school! Vegan kids Lunch Exposed

2 Jan

20121019_074304

“The more colorful it is, the better it is!” 

– Nico’s answer when asked what his favorite lunch looks like 🙂  1/2/13

Yes, my kids have a Vegan lunch nearly every day.  You are looking at the 11 year old’s lunch box and according to him, it’s a hit at school.  I found this particular box online and it has been worth the investment.

I’ve learned that we eat with our eyes first and this is one of my secrets as to HOW I get my kids to eat healthier.  (Sidenote:  A few years ago it was paper bag lunches with bologna and cheese, a bag of fritos, bar of some kind (all sugar) and juice.  I was not eating vegetables, (I swore I hated them… so how could I possible get MY kids to eat them?) and it’s amazing how much our health showed the results of our poor diet.)

If food is fun and colorful and ready to eat, you will be surprised how easy eating healthier can be!

Menu:

  • Organic English cucumbers (very tasty, few seeds and an awesome aroma) sliced with mandoline
  • Mini apples with Bee’s Knees cucumber sliced with mandoline (see previous post on the topic)
  • Mandarin orange peeled and ready to eat
  • Sandwich with, what we call, “sandwich slices”.  (Lightlife Bologna style faux meat slices, english cucumber slices, mayo (Veganaise with grapeseed) and bread
  • Enjoy life chocolate bar

ELF Boom Choco Boom Rice Milka        lightlife_smart_deli_bologna_box large-grapeseed vegenaise 16 oz

Yes, these are processed but eating healthy is a process and compared to where we were, I feel that it is a step in the right direction.  With the bombardment of “pink slime” and other questionable “food” served in schools and the constant media advertisements on pure JUNK, I learned that it MUST start at home.  Have fun with your food and make it as colorful as possible- after all, “the more colorful it is, the better it is!”

Try it!

M

 

 

Check out what the kids (big & small) had for lunch: Vegan Steak Marsala…

1 Jan

Vegan Chicken Marsala

Maureen:  “JUST SAYIN’… The 13 year old thanked me for his lunch today.  If that gives you any idea if the kids would like it…”

Ok, we will say it.  There are some vegetables that we like better than others and mushrooms are definitely classified under the “other” category.

YET, we have made them a staple in our weekly diet because when a few other ingredients are added to cover up enhance the taste, you are left with a delish’ dish that has the consistency of meat while tricking your eyes and taste buds.

Personally, we like sauces and lots of it so we do make more for us but for you, play around with the recipe and Try it!

For two hungry people (or for you and gift yourself of a leftover!):

  • 3 Portabella mushroom caps (look for organic if you can)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tbsp oil (olive or grape seed)
  • 3/4 cup of Whole Wheat or Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Marsala wine
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper
  • pasta, rice, quinoa or couscous for underneath (we used pasta this time- you decide but start it before your “steak”)
  1. Slice up one mushroom cap into flat slices the size of a penny or dime.
  2. Dice Green onions and mince garlic
  3. Add oil to pan on medium heat
  4. coat the two whole mushroom caps with flour and place in hot pan.  I cooked them for 3-4 minutes on each side and removed from pan
  5. add chopped mushrooms, garlic and green onions and cook until soft, just a few minutes
  6. I added the wine and broth with a couple of tbsp of flour and thickened up the sauce putting the temperature on simmer
  7. I added a little salt and pepper
  8. place both mushroom caps in sauce and allow to absorb the flavor…
  9. serve over your rice/pasta/seed/grain

Once again, the technique may not be the best but as I’ve said before, I’m not the best cook.  With that said, I need to eat with my eyes and then my mouth and I like tasty food that leans on the healthier side.  I wish that I had learned of this earlier because I think I would have enjoyed this back when I was eating meat, in case you have any omnivore friends or family 😉  Try it Vegan!

 

Having your Kids Eat More Fruit 101: Have fun and PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

30 Dec

Apple Slices

We WILL get to vegetables next but in the meantime, this is definitely one solution to the question, “How do I get my children to eat more fruit?”

PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!

It goes against every principle that we were taught as little ones but the truth is, we eat with our eyes first.  This is a very simple and incredibly easy snack but one that is incredibly popular in our house.  Sometimes it’s how it’s sliced and the convenience.  Other times it is the sound a food makes when you bite into it that grabs the kids attention.

What you need:

mandolines-slicers

A mandoline slicer (Since purchasing one, I literally use it every day throughout the entire day. I bought this particular one online here)

Apple (Treat yourself to an organic apple reducing the pesticides and free radical damage in your body but also, TASTE!  TASTE!  TASTE!  Go crazy… eat the skin too which is LOADED with nutrients!)

beesknees

Peanut Butter is optional (We love Bee’s Knees by Peanut Butter & Co.)

There are different attachments but what we enjoy most is slicing up the apple and then putting it back together like a puzzle, wrap it and slip in in a lunch box.  When it comes time to eat, you just slide a slice off and the browning due to the oxidizing is at a bare minimum!  Enjoy!!

****BONUS****  This particular mandoline has an attachment where we also make apple “match sticks” that are tiny and fun enough for everyone to snack on and a huge hit when we are serving lunch at home (they brown too quickly to send to school for lunch)

WARNING:  If away at, let’s say, a soccer game or school, pack more than one because there WILL be others asking you for a piece!  It’s a fun way to eat an apple, convenient and as some kids tell me, “tastes better this way.”  (wink!)

Serious WARNING:  A mandoline slicer is NOT a toy and is incredibly sharp!!  To keep all of your digits, I highly recommend investing in a cut resistant kitchen glove.  This little glove has saved me a few times.

So go on out there, Try it!

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