In honor of National Oatmeal Day on 10/29/16 (tell me about it; they have a day for everything), I wanted to share this recipe for Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal. I love it! The texture sort of reminds me of firm bread pudding. Better yet, it has no dairy, eggs, oil, gluten and is sweetened only with fruit! It’s really easy to make and great to serve for a brunch, your own breakfast or I often eat it as a snack. I like to eat it cold with a little soy milk poured on top, but it’s also really good warm. It’s mildly sweet so a little maple syrup drizzle wouldn’t be the worst idea. 🙂 One quarter of the pan is officially a serving but when eating it as a snack I generally slice up an eighth of the pan.
I got a Waring-Pro double waffle maker a few years ago and have only used it twice. I just couldn’t find a waffle recipe to my liking. The first one was a disaster and the second just okay. For my third attempt I scoured the internet and found several vegan recipes but they either contained oil, had bad reviews or weren’t gluten-free. For the record, I don’t believe wheat/gluten is the evil food many people make it out to be but I seem to have a sensitivity so I go without, which is really no big deal. When done right, it really does force one to make healthier choices. Which is why most people feel better and lose weight after cutting it out of their diet; not necessarily because gluten was making them heavy or feel badly but because by cutting it out they eliminated processed foods and crap. But I digress….we are supposed to be talking about tasty waffles here, not gluten.
As I was saying, I couldn’t find a good waffle recipe so I took a chance and made one up, and man was I happy I did! These waffles came out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I did have to spray the waffle iron with cooking spray – you just can’t get away from that; trust me, I know this from experience. So have at it! I hope these work out as well for you as they did for me.
This delicious, hardy dish has flavors similar to chili, with the texture and consistency of a thick chowder. I love it! Top with avocado and/or Sour Un-Cream.
I have made this using both canned black beans and beans I made from scratch with the pressure cooker. As is usually the case, I preferred the version with the homemade beans. If you have a pressure cooker, it’s SO easy. Soak 1 pound of dried black beans overnight or 6 hours (some say soaking isn’t necessary but I always do). Rinse and place in your pressure cooker and add just enough water to cover the top of the beans – the water should be just touching the beans. Add 4 cloves crushed garlic, a few bay leaves and 2 tsp cumin seeds. Cook at high pressure 14 minutes, and let the pressure come down naturally. Beans are done! Makes about 5 cups of black beans. Remove the bay leaves, stir and add the whole batch to the rest of the Chili Chowder ingredients.
I order my dried beans online from Rancho Gordo, a farm in Northern California. They are heirloom beans, which are open-pollinated seeds that can be planted and you’ll get the exact same bean. They tend to have a lower yield and can be much more difficult to grow but the pay off is in the unique flavors and textures that you don’t find with bland commodity beans. They are always fresh too, which is great. You never know how old the beans at the grocery store are, and old beans can take forever to cook. I highly recommend Rancho Gordo beans. It’s fun to experiment with all the different varieties they offer. Now get cooking!
June 16, 2015
One of my most favorite things about being a recipe blogger is getting review copies of cookbooks from publishers. I have a thing for cookbooks – it’s actually getting a bit out of hand. Need more bookshelves. Anyway, Plant-Powered Families by Dreena Burton, one of my favorite vegan authors, is one of the books I get to play with this time and it’s a real treat. I’ve always been a huge fan of Dreena’s but the one thing that bummed me out in the past was that I had to adapt her recipes to not include oil. I was thrilled to find she doesn’t use any in her latest work. Yay! One of the things I like most about Dreena is how considerate and detailed she is with her recipes. She clearly spends a lot of time tweaking and getting the ingredients and methods just right to make things as easy as she can for her readers, and she shares tips, tricks and alternatives for many situations. She adds notes to each recipe with her suggestions for kicking it up, mellowing it out, use this instead of that, or simply adjusting flavors for adults’ or kids’ tastes.
Dreena has 3 young daughters so she understands the challenges involved in getting healthy food into picky kids who are busy and on the go. Her recipes in this book are appealing to kids and adults alike with dishes like Sunday Morning Pancakes, Apple-Spice Hemp Muffins, Red Lentil Hummus, Zippy Chickpea and White Bean Dip, Cream of Cauliflower Soup, Umami Sun-Dried Tomato and Almond Burgers, Home Fries, Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites and Banana Butter Ice Cream, just to name a few of many. The book includes mouth-watering photos, and is laid out really nicely beginning with a section on priming your pantry with plant-based staples, followed by color coded chapters such as Healthy Mornings; Lunch Fixes; Salad Dressings, Sauces and Toppers; Dinnertime; Sweet Treats. The back of the book has some cool resources like a section on Picky Eaters and how to manage them, School and Lunchbox solutions, Tips for Hosting and Attending Kids’ Parties, Sample Meal Plans and a FAQ’s section. She didn’t miss a beat with this book – everything is covered, and honestly, you could use this book and none other for your family and be set. My only complaint about this book is that it doesn’t include allergen notations for each recipe, which is pretty lame since it’s easy to do and most books have.
Everything I’ve made from the book has been excellent, and today I’m sharing one of the recipes with you – Saucy BBQ Chickpeas and Green Beans. I used broccoli because hubby hates green beans but otherwise I stuck to the recipe and it was delicious – and so simple! I will be doing a drawing to give away a free copy of this awesome book. Tune in to my Facebook page for details on how to win! https://www.facebook.com/PlantifulWellness Enjoy the recipe.
If you’re anything like I used to be, you equate pressure cookers with the 1950’s and a fear of getting hit in the face with scalding steam and a hot lid. I hear it all the time; “I have a pressure cooker, but I’m scared to death to use it.” Fear not, my friends! Nowadays pressure cookers have been built with safety features to assure ease of use without scalding, or sky-rocketing lids. There is definitely a learning curve as it’s a different way of cooking, but once you experiment and get a feel for it, you’ll wonder how you ever went without!
For those who don’t know, pressure cooking is a method which uses water to create steam that does not escape the vessel while the food is being cooked. A fraction of the water is used compared to other methods. Since there is less water to heat, it takes less time for the water/food to reach cooking temperature. As well, due to the intense pressure and heat, items cook faster than simply steaming, boiling or braising. And they are easy to use – put your food in the pan, lock the lid in place, turn on the heat, wait until it comes up to pressure, turn down heat and wait. The units are available in electric and stove top versions, and while some steps differ slightly between the two, the concept is the same. Some dishes such, as green veggies, require you to let the steam out manually, which simply means pressing the valve and allowing steam to flow. Others, like beans and grains, call for natural pressure release, which means you don’t do anything but wait until all the steam has slowly escaped on it’s own. If you aren’t yet sold on the beauty of a pressure cooker, let me share some other benefits with you:
TOP 5 REASONS TO USE A PRESSURE COOKER:
- Time savings – “I don’t have time” is the most common reason I hear for why people don’t prepare more of their own meals at home. Well, a pressure cooker can help! Example: brown rice would normally take about 40-45 minutes when boiled. Using a pressure cooker it will cook in half the time. Garbanzo beans take 14 minutes of cook time (not excluding the time it takes to come up to pressure, and release naturally).
- Nutrient retention – Since the food is exposed to heat for a shorter period of time, fewer nutrients are lost in cooking. As well, vitamins and minerals are not whisked away by water since there is so much less of it.
- Energy savings – Thanks to shorter cooking times, the fire and/or electricity are used less.
- No stirring required – If you’ve ever made risotto you know what a drag it can be, stirring and stirring and stirring. You can make arborio rice risotto in the pressure cooker, at 5 minutes high pressure, without having ever lifted a spoon. How cool is that?
- Less water – water is a precious resource that is not as abundant as it once was, especially here in Southern California. The less water we can use in every aspect of life, the better.
Some typical dishes for which I use my pressure cooker:
Steel cut oats
Beans, chilis and stews
Whole grains such as rice and quinoa
Sweet and white potatoes
Kale and other greens
So basically, pressure cookers are awesome. They can be used for anything you’d boil, steam or braise. The tricky part is converting a recipe and figuring out how much liquid to use. It just takes some experimenting. In the meantime I wanted to share this yummy recipe with you for Butternut Squash Risotto using brown rice. Easy and so delicious, without the constant stirring typical risotto calls for. Also, a wonderful cookbook for pressure cooking is The New Fast Food by Jill Nussinow. Invaluable, really. Have fun cooking under pressure, and I hope you enjoy this dish!
Honestly, I don’t know anybody who doesn’t l like hummus. I’m sure they exist but I’ve never met them. Such a simple thing – chickpeas and a handful of ingredients, whirled through a blender. And so many ways to eat it: with raw veggies, crackers, chips, on a sandwich or wrap, thinned out as gravy to top greens or grains…so many possibilities. There are also many flavors of hummus, and this one is really delicious. I love anything with a smoky flavor and the smoked paprika does a great job here, but the lime really makes this hummus come to life. I used about 2.5 TBS of lime juice and it’s pretty limey….use more or less depending on your tastes. Same with the cayenne. 1/8 tsp is quite mild. Now go make some hummus. 🙂
Every day for breakfast I have a smoothie filled with all sorts of nutritional goodness from greens, berries, banana, homemade almond milk and flax seeds. Some days though, I want something different and I will make oatmeal topped with banana, grated apple, cinnamon, a few walnuts, some almond milk and a touch of maple syrup. Kinda hard to eat a bowl of oatmeal on the run or if you’re in a hurry though, and impossible to eat out of your hand (not that I’ve tried). So, I set out to make a super healthy muffin that would be like a bowl of oatmeal disguised as a muffin. These muffins have the same ingredients as my hearty bowl of oatmeal with delicious toppings. They are dense, hearty and satisfying and best of all – easy to make!
* You need a 6-cup muffin tin for this recipe as it makes larger muffins than the 12-muffin pans. You can purchase here:Jumbo Muffin Tin. You could use a regular 12-muffin tin and make smaller muffins – just cook them for less time, 30-35 minutes.
* If your bananas are super ripe you can omit the maple syrup as the ripe bananas will add just enough sweetness.
The tofu I used was a packaged, Thai marinated flavor. Feel free to use any flavor you like, or bake your own. I was on a mission to make this dish as quick as possible so I used the pre-baked kind. Nice and easy.
Also, in the spirit of ease and convenience, I used the frozen brown rice you can find at almost any grocery store these days, including Costco. I separately microwaved 2 bags, and spread the warmed rice out on a large plate in a thin layer to cool. This is important as the rice can get gooey and clumpy when added to the pan with the other ingredients if not cooled, and the grains somewhat separated.
Make sure to have, as they say in cooking school, your ‘mise en place’ ready (i.e. everything prepared and measured, ready to throw in the pan) as this dish is completed rather quickly. I served steamed Chinese broccoli alongside this dish. 🙂
If you’ve ever eaten a samosa at an Indian restaurant (or Whole Foods salad bar for that matter), you know those delectable little things are deep fried. These patties have that mouth-watering samosa flavor, without all the fat and flour.
This recipe is adapted from Rouxbe, the on-line plant-based culinary school I’m attending. The first time I made these I followed the recipe to the letter but felt they could be improved and made to be lower in fat. The family actually preferred my version. Score!
Keep in mind the heat of these will depend on how much of and the type of curry powder you use. I’m a total wimp when it comes to spice so I only used 1 TBS curry powder (half Penzey Sweet Curry Powder and half Madras Curry Powder). Use more, or some cayenne, if you like the heat. They have tons of flavor regardless. Enjoy!!
So, I took a food photography class (http://www.mdrphotographyclasses.com) last weekend in LA and it was awesome. I’m trying to be better about not just using my cell phone to take pics of my culinary creations. I mean, the phone takes great pics and all, but it’s time to get real and ‘master’ that fancy camera that has been collecting dust in my closet. I love photography – the creative part. The technical aspect is a whole different animal, one I’m committed to not being intimidated by, moving forward. Anyway, in class we had to take pics of food (duh) and I chose to capture dragon fruit. If you’ve never seen it, it’s a mixture of scary and insanely beautiful, inside and out. My instructor kindly gave me some to take home and challenged me to come up with a way to prepare and eat the lovely fruit. So, I did. It’s very simple, with only a few ingredients, but it’s delicious.
Frieda’s is an exotic fruit distributor (they kindly donated the fruit for the class) running a campaign right now called #FearNoFruit. I love that! The challenge is to eat a different, scary, obscure fruit each day. If you aren’t able to locate Frieda’s produce in your store, speak to your retailer’s produce manager and ask for Frieda’s products by name. If that doesn’t work, visit www.friedas.com. The site is also a great resource for funny and informative how-to videos if, for example, you have no idea what to do with a raw artichoke.
Now go eat something beautiful!