Lemon Blueberry Loaf [gluten-free + vegan + oil-free]

LemonLoaf2 This was one of those recipes in which I had a craving for flavor (in this case, lemon) and a new dish was born.  Yummy! I’ve been experimenting more and more with aquafaba, the juice from canned chickpeas, and really liking the results.

It looks like there are a lot of ingredients here but a lot of them are spices.  It really isn’t any more labor intensive than any other loaf, muffin or cookie recipe I’ve got.  The key is to put the blueberries in the bottom of the loaf pan so that when it cools and you flip it over, you have a yummy, dark purple blueberry topping.  Cool looking and even better tasting.

Blender Pancakes [g/f + vegan + no flour + no oil)

BlenderPancakesThese babies were created when I just threw a bunch of pancake-related items in my Vitamix.  I didn’t feel like measuring out the flour and I figured using rolled oats would work, blended along with everything else.  And work it did!  Yummy.  Easy to make, healthy and delicious.

Feel free to add chocolate chips, blueberries or chopped/sliced bananas to the batter once it’s poured onto the griddle.

Sunflower Banana Muffins || gluten-free + oil-free + vegan + no sugar added

IMG_9303These muffins are an excellent way to use those overly ripe bananas sitting on your counter. The flavor of banana and sunflower seed butter is a delightful combination. The texture is dense and very similar to banana bread (yum!). In addition to being tasty and satisfying, they are also healthy, void of gluten, dairy, eggs, oil or sugar. What’s left, you ask? Healthy and delicious whole foods, including dates as a sweetener, which are chock full of vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

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!

Notes:

* 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.

Happy New Year AND my guest blog post at Yummly.com featuring my delicious Zucchini Oat Muffins Recipe

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  I hope you all had wonderful holidays and are getting back into the groove, ready to take on 2014!  It sure got here quickly, didn’t it?  For those of you who have made a resolution to eat better (and, let’s be honest, who hasn’t), I’m hoping you will utilize my website more often.  I have big plans to revamp and improve it, making it easier for recipe searches, etc.  As well, I begin my plant-based cooking school this month and hope to come up with lots of new dishes.  Let’s get things started off right with a low-fat, gluten-free, vegan, tasty zucchini muffin recipe (see below).

I came up with these on a Sunday morning when I was feeling that creative cooking bug that pokes at me so often.  Seemed like a good time to create a muffin of some kind.  I opened the fridge to seek inspiration only to have the zucchinis practically throwing themselves at me.  Hence this Zucchini Oat Muffin recipe was born.  Many recipes I come up with require tweaking and a second or third go around before I can share, but not this one! I got lucky first time around.  And now you’re getting lucky!

For this recipe, I used a combination of gluten-free flour (I really like Trader Joe’s brand)  and oat flour made with certified gluten-free oats.  You can make your own oat flour by using your blender to grind the oats.  Super easy! These muffins are only slightly sweet and are especially delicious warmed, with a TINY bit of vegan butter if you’re feeling dangerous, (and I was).   🙂 I find these keep best refrigerated after the first day, wrapped in a cloth napkin.  Also, if you are feeling adventurous, sub some of the zucchini with carrot!

Feel free to leave out the walnuts if you don’t like them or are eating an extra low-fat diet.  I love their flavor and texture in this dish, and the nice dose of Omega 3’s they (and the chia seeds) provide.  Enjoy!!

I’ve posted this recipe to Yummly.com as a guest blogger.  Please visit my post at http://blog.yummly.com/blog/2014/01/healthy-vegan-gluten-free-zucchini-oat-muffins/  Enjoy!!

Approximate nutritional info: with walnuts – 153 cals, 3.75 fat grams; without walnuts -125 calories, 1 fat gram.

UPDATE: I made these muffins with ALL oat flour when I was out of gluten-free all purpose and they were great!! 

Pumpkin-Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Pumpkin-Spice Cupcakes. Vegan. Gluten-free. Oil-free*

I know.  It’s getting a little ridiculous.  Another pumpkin recipe.  I can’t help it! I told you I love all things pumpkin.  The season is short – I must embrace it!

So, I made a pumpkin-spice cake for my sister’s birthday this past week.  It was really good.  The next day I tweaked the recipe just a bit and made delicious cupcakes.  The next day I tweaked it even more, making them gluten-free, and a sharable recipe was born!

If you don’t care to make these cupcakes gluten-free, whole wheat pastry flour is fine.  Also, use 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice if you’d rather not bother measuring out the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.

I don’t generally make or eat things that are frosted due to the high fat content of frosting, even if it is vegan, but I’ve managed to keep the fat pretty low on these by only using no more than 1 tablespoon of frosting per cupcake, which is plenty and just right.  Still, these are a treat and not something I’d recommend be eaten regularly.  🙂

*Oil-free if left unfrosted. The cupcake itself is oil/fat-free but Tofutti Cream Cheese is made with oil.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Sweetened with fruit, the whole fruit, and nothing but the fruit, so help me God!  These oatmeal cookies almost shouldn’t be called cookies because they are good for you!  The sweetness in these babies comes from banana, applesauce and date paste, as well as raisins and, as a treat, a few chocolate chips.  Of course if you add chocolate chips, that changes things, but the heart of the cookie will still be super healthy.  Be aware these are only slightly sweet.  They are perfect for our family as our palettes have adjusted to less sugar/sweets (which can happen for everyone – just takes patience!).  If you aren’t there yet, you may want to add more raisins and/or chocolate chips, or more date paste.

**Date paste is made by soaking whole, pitted dates until soft and much of the water is absorbed, and pureeing in food processor or blender until smooth.  Here’s how: 1) Soak 1/2 lb dates with 1/2 cup water several hours, until much of the water is absorbed.  2) Use food processor or blender to create a creamy, smooth paste.  Store in freezer (it doesn’t get hard!) and use in baked goods such as this one, as a fruit spread etc.  Chef AJ has many recipes using dates in her great book Unprocessed.

* gluten-free as long as certified gluten-free oats and flour are used.

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones (vegan, whole wheat)

I have faith in scones again.

I stopped eating them years ago, after I changed my eating ways to low-fat, plant-based.  A sad time in a way.  I loved my new healthy path, but I also really loved scones.  And cookies.  And donuts.  And cakes.  And pastries.  I always say “if I could give that stuff up, anybody can!”  It’s not like I ate them all the time but I treated myself more than I should have.   Vegan treats and baked goods are becoming more mainstream, but they are by no means healthy.  The animal products have been removed (win!) but they still have a ton of fat and heavily refined ingredients.  Which is why I love creating healthier versions of fattening vegan baked goods.  These scones fit right in with that mission.  Are they health food that should be eaten all the time?  No.  But they sure are better for you than most, and satisfy a craving without putting your health at risk and creating a ton of guilt!  Enjoy!