Mexican Quinoa Salad w/Lime Cumin Dressing

I thrMexQuinoaSalad1ew this together recently for dinner when it was over 100 degrees outside.  Didn’t feel like a hot meal, and definitely didn’t feel like turning on the oven or spending a lot of time at the stove.  The only cooking required is for the quinoa and that’s super quick, especially if you have a pressure cooker in which it quinoa takes 5 minutes at high pressure.

This is a great dish to share at a potluck, picnic, or for this coming weekend, a Labor Day BBQ.  It holds up well in the fridge for a few days; the sauce/dressing soaks in quite a bit but the flavor is still there.  Delicious on its own or on a bed of lettuce.

Lemony Coconut Clusters [vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nut-free, soy-free)

LemonCoconutClusters1I threw these together one morning when I knew my green smoothie wasn’t going to be enough.  I just needed something to chew and help me feel satiated.  These little bundles did the trick. If you’re looking for light, airy and fluffy, run away.  They are dense, fiber-filled clusters of lemony, oaty goodness.  I love oats, and I adore lemon, especially during warm months, so the combo seemed like a good fit.  Just zesting lemons instantly elevates my mood so I especially love dishes that call for lemon.  This recipe is super easy and quick to make, and very healthy consisting of healthy, whole foods.  These are every bit as good without coconut so if you don’t care for it or can’t have it, feel free to omit.  Make sure your bananas are very ripe; if they aren’t you may need to add more than the called-for 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

Enjoy!

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.

Pumpkin Spice Brownies || vegan | gluten-free | oil-free

PumpkinSwirlBrownies2

November 4, 2015

CHOCOLATE!

People are coo coo for cocoa.

Me? I like it.  Sure.

But I wouldn’t consider selling my offspring for the last bar on earth as some people I know might.  It’s good.  I enjoy a quality piece of dark chocolate or a chocolatey dessert as much as the next girl, but when I like chocolate best is when it’s paired with something else, for example, peanut butter, raspberry, or in this case PUMPKIN!

If you’ve never had chocolate and pumpkin together, you’ve been missing out! The warm spices we associate with pumpkin taste great with the rich chocolate.  This recipe calls for healthy whole foods like black beans and pumpkin, uses very little flour, and no refined sugar or oil, and no eggs or dairy of course.  The only not-so-healthy part is the chocolate chips but we only use 1/4 cup.  I really like to use the Wonderslim cocoa powder as it’s lower in fat and caffeine than typical cocoa powder.PumpkinSwirlBrownies3

Go ahead, make these.

And try not to eat the whole pan.

I dare ya.

WAFFLES || vegan | gluten-free | oil-free

waffles August 28, 2015

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.

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.

Lemon-Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are really popular right now and we eat them a lot in our house.  Wanting to change up the flavors just a bit, I decided to add some sweet (maple) and sour (lemon).  I think this is my new favorite way to eat them.  I made them on the same night I made Spicy Butternut Squash Soup.  The soup was a bit too spicy for me and I found myself taking bites of soup and sprouts together to tame some of the heat.  Ultimately I dumped my entire plate of sprouts into the soup.  I may eat it this way forever.  Really good.

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.

Creamy Cinnamon-Spiced Pumpkin Dressing

Pumpkin Dressing. Vegan. Oil-free. Low-fat. Gluten-free.

As I’ve said before, I’m in love with all things pumpkin.  This savory dressing is no exception.  Other than my Pumpkin Soup, I’d never made a non-sweet pumpkin dish before.  I was very happy with the results.  Start small with the cinnamon and work your way up, tasting as you go.  And, depending upon how much tang you like, start with 1 TBS lemon juice and go from there.  I made this for a salad in which I put pomegranate and toasted pumpkin seeds – delicious!  It would also be tasty on greens like kale, or steamed broccoli and cauliflower.

Maple Mustard Taters (vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free)

Who doesn’t love potatoes?  Poor little guys sure get a bad rap.  If any of you have read Dr. John McDougall’s The Starch Solution, you know they don’t deserve such abuse.  Potatoes are a satiating, healthy food, chock full of fiber and nutrients.  As Dr. McDougall says, it’s the company they often keep that turns them into a bad food (butter, cheese, oil, etc).  Potatoes, without all the bad stuff, should be part of the regular diet, and they definitely are in our house.  Yukon, red, gold, butter, russet, fingerling, sweet….if it’s a potato we eat it.  My sister Julie loves potatoes so much her nickname(s) lovingly given to her by my husband is “tot” or “tater”.  Since she is the one who came up with this recipe, I’m referring to them as taters, in her honor.

These are delicious and super easy to make.  This makes a sizable batch since we had them as our entree, along with steamed broccoli – perfect meal!  The amounts listed are estimates so be sure to taste test and adjust before cooking, if necessary.  It’s hard to mess this one up so not to worry!