Happy Birthday, Ashlee!

standard October 24, 2010 Leave a response

Apple and Pumpkin Pie Pops to celebrate!

So happy to be back in the kitchen! I didn’t realize how much I need my weekend bake fests until my weekends fill up and kitchen time gets lost. Yesterday I made three different types of soup, two different types of bread, hummus, cinnamon popcorn, and pumpkin risotto. I definitely felt productive by the time I went to bed. And now I don’t have to stress over what’s for lunch and dinner this week. Thank goodness! I felt so lost last week when it came to what we were going to eat. Must have a plan! Our lives are way too busy right now, so the less thinking involved in getting a healthy meal the better.

Pie pops were requested for a friend’s birthday, and I finally got a chance to make them. When I first made pie pops, I used a frozen Pillsbury crust and a very runny berry filling. For this second attempt, I thought it would be delicious to use homemade apple butter and pumpkin butter as filling. And to be even more ambitious, I decided to attempt a veganized pie crust.  They turned out pretty well for making things up as I went!

Vegan Pie Pops

Yield: Makes 10 pops

Ingredients

  • 1/4 c Apple Butter
  • 1/4 c Pumpkin Butter
  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 T Earth Balance
  • 7 T COLD water + extra for crimping
  • 1 T Non-dairy milk
  • 1 T Sucanat
  • 10 Popsicle sticks

Instructions

  1. To make the dough, combine flour, salt, and earth balance until well incorporated and crumbly looking. Slowly add water 1 T at a time, using a fork to wet dough. Roll dough into a ball. Add more water as necessary if the dough is too crumbly to stick into a ball. The dough is supposed to be a little dry-looking.
  2. Roll out dough on to  a well floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out circles. Re-roll dough as necessary until all dough is used, and you have an even number of discs.
  3. Place a tablespoon of apple or pumpkin butter in center of dough. Using your fingers, spread a little cold water around edges of disc. Place a popsicle stick in the center, and place a second disc on top, sealing the edges all the way around with your fingers.
  4. Place pops on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sucanat.
  5. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
  6. Serve to the birthday girl 🙂
http://www.neatandnutritious.com/happy-birthday-ashlee/

Banana Bread and a Kind Review

standard September 11, 2010 Leave a response

The husband asked what was for dinner on Monday, and his response to my planned Moroccan Couscous was a request for spaghetti.  Not a good way to start a week of new dishes! But the meals I did make the rest of the week were surprisingly very flavorful and delicious, despite being a little time-consuming. I decided to plan a second week of Kind Diet meals since there were too many interesting recipes to only make one week’s worth.

The Sweet Potato Lentil Stew with Maple Cornbread was perfect on Wednesday after a day of torrential rain! Next time I think I will season it a little more liberally, but I am always anxious when using turmeric and cumin in a dish. The cinnamon helped to blend it all together nicely though.

Rustic Pasta with Pecan-crusted Seitan was the most complicated dish. Probably because it was two separate dishes in the book, but they were recommended together. For my first time using seitan in a dish, I was pretty impressed. Tofu and tempeh are not my favorites when working with a meat substitute, but seitan is made from wheat instead of soy and has a more authentic meat-like texture. I don’t really plan on eating it often since its a packaged and processed food.

On Thursday, I made an edited version of Snap Peas and Edamame, using red potatoes instead of radishes, making the dish similar to another meal I had made a few months ago. I think anytime you combine potatoes and snap peas with lemon and parsley you have a winning dish. It was just as delicious cold the next day at lunch.

Pumpkin is still MIA here, so this morning I made banana bread after my run. My body must want carbs after I run because I keep craving baked goods when I get home. First it was pancakes, last week french toast, and today banana bread. I got this recipe from the book’s website, not the book. And it is one of the best banana breads I have ever eaten!

Vegan Banana Nut Bread

Adapted from The Kind Life

Ingredients:

  • 1 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup earth balance
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 T flax-seed mixed with 6 T water
  • 2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c pecans, chopped

Steps:

  1. Mix the flax-seed and water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Combine maple syrup, earth balance, and vanilla in a large bowl. Add mashed bananas and flax-seed mixture.
  3. Add 1 c flour and baking soda. Then stir in second cup of flour.
  4. Add in chopped nuts and combine well.
  5. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 60-65 minutes at 350.

I think next time I might add some cinnamon. And maybe applesauce for one of the flax “eggs.” I made oatmeal muffins last weekend and used applesauce instead of the egg and it came out well even without adding extra baking powder, so I might attempt it again here since this bread puffed up a lot with the little baking soda and flax.

Next week I am trying out a lot of goodies from The Kind Life. Coffee fudge brownies still need to be made, and the lemon poppy-seed pound cake sounds delicious for next Saturday’s dinner in with friends. I’m also determined to make that Moroccan couscous! Here’s the plan:

Dinners

  • Monday – Moroccan Couscous
  • Tuesday – Pinto Bean Stew
  • Wednesday – Burgers with Summertime Succotash
  • Thursday – Burritos
  • Friday – date night out 🙂
  • Saturday – Arame Turnovers, Salad, Pomegranate-Lime Tea

Lunch

  • Cabbage and Cucumber Pressed Salad
  • Raw Snack Balls

Breakfast

  • Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

I think I like this book because of all the warm comfort dishes. I am definitely ready for fall! And I think this book may be a keeper. 🙂

Snack Time

standard May 25, 2010 Leave a response

Finding a good granola or protein bar can be kind of tricky when you’re only eating natural, unprocessed foods. A few weeks ago when we ran out of Luna bars and Zone bars, I decided to make some myself. I was a little skeptical, but they came out awesome! The recipe made 16 bars and we’re out already so I made another batch this weekend, along with a second recipe to provide some variety.

First up:

Peanut Butter Cranberry Go-Bars

Lightly adapted from MyRecipes.com

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1/3 c oat bran
  • 3 T flax seed
  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 3/4 c natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 c almond milk
  • 1 T ground flaxseed mixed with 3 T warm water
  • 1/2 c agave nectar or honey
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon

Steps:

  1. Line a 9×13″ pan with plastic wrap and coat with cooking spray. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients (through cranberries).
  2. In a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, flax egg, agave, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.
  3. Add dry ingredients to peanut butter mixture and beat until completely blended. Scrape dough into prepared pan and, with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, smooth to fill pan completely and evenly (dough will be really sticky). Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 300. Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic. Cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16 bars, each 1 1/2 inches wide. Place bars about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to the touch, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
  6. Wrap individually in plastic wrap for easy grab-and-go. Store bars in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks or freeze.

Second bar:

Fruit and Nut Bars

Lightly adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c whole nuts, toasted & coarsely chopped – I mixed peanuts, almonds, and cashews together
  • 1/2 c dried fruit, coarsely chopped – I used cranberries, raisins, and cherries
  • 2 c high fiber cereal (original recipe calls for 1 c cereal similar to Kashi GoLean and 1 c puffed rice cereal, but I had some Nature’s Valley Blueberry Cinnamon that I used)
  • 1 T Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c sucanat
  • 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 T wheat bran
  • Pinch of salt

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 300. Prepare an 8×8″ pan with cooking spray and parchment paper ( the original recipe does not say to do this and mine stuck like crazy!)
  2. Combine nuts, fruit, and cereal in a heat-proof bowl.
  3. Combine Earth Balance, sucanat, and agave in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring with a spatula. As soon as the sugar mixture comes to a full boil and the sugar is completely dissolved, remove from heat. This should take about 5 minutes.
  4. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla, wheat bran, and salt. Pour sugar syrup over the cereal mixture and stir everything together. Make sure the nuts, fruits, and cereals are evenly coated. Pour cereal mixture into the pan and press mixture into pan as firmly as possible.
  5. Bake 20 minutes for chewy bars or 30 minutes for crispier bars. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Turn out onto a cutting board and divide into 8 bars with a sharp knife. You may have to chill the bars to firm them up before cutting.
  6. Wrap individually and store in an airtight container or freeze.