Sunday, November 11, 2018

Chai Spice Banana Bread

Here I go again - ANOTHER banana bread recipe. I can't stop! I make a batch every week so the kids have a quick breakfast in the morning. I get bored making the same recipes over and over again - so I thought I would try something new - and with a little more spice! This one is inspired by chai tea. It has cardamon, cinnamon, ginger and cloves in it. I usually add yogurt in my bread to keep it moist, but this time I thought I would try canned coconut milk. The whole thing came together very nicely!! I had to share!

This recipe gets its sweetness from the very ripe bananas and organic coconut sugar. The chocolate chips are optional if you want to really cut back on the sugar (my kids love the chocolate chips, but if I were making this for myself I would use chopped walnuts instead).

4 very ripe medium bananas (about 2 cups of mashed bananas)
3/4 cup organic coconut sugar (also called coconut crystals)
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1/2 cup of full-fat canned coconut milk, I use Organic Native Forest brand
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed*
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped walnuts, optional

1 tsp cinnamon, optional
2 tsp coconut sugar, optional

Preheat Oven to 350F

In a large bowl, mash the bananas using a potato masher. Stir in the coconut sugar and melted coconut oil.  Add the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the coconut milk (when you open the can there will be separation - since you are only using 1/2 cup in this recipe and there are approx 2 cups in the can, you'll need to make sure you get a little of the sold cream and the watery liquid- I did about half and half). Add in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl combine all the spices, whole wheat pastry flour, flaxseed, soda and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Combine. Fold in the chocolate chips or walnuts, if using.

I use a glass 8X8 square dish to bake. I grease it with a thin layer of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Please take note, if you are using a metal 8X8 dish you will need to bake your bread for a longer length of time.

Transfer the batter to a greased glass baking dish, use the back of your spoon to spread the batter evenly. Stir the optional 1 tsp cinnamon and optional 2 tsp coconut sugar together. Evenly sprinkle this mixture on top of the bread.

Bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and let sit for about 30 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!!

*If you do not have ground flaxseed, sub in another 1/4 cup of whole wheat pastry flour yielding 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour in total. (I absolutely love adding ground flaxseed to my baked goods, though. Flaxseeds are wonderful plant source of Omega-3s, as well as a number of other health benefits!)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Caesar Salad with Roasted Broccoli & Pomegranate Seeds

Oh my gosh this salad was SOOO delicious! I think it'll be a new go-to for me! I had a similar salad last week at a favorite cafe of mine - it inspired me to try to replicate it at home.  I also made the dressing from scratch - I did a Caesar, but instead of mayo based, I used plain Greek yogurt.  Healthy, delicious, filling, fresh, flavorful - I think this salad has it all! This is great as a side salad or add sliced chicken or a piece of salmon and eat it as a meal.  I served ours alongside a plate of gnocchi.

Hope you enjoy! 

2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup almonds

2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt,
1 to 2 Tbl milk
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Lay broccoli florets on baking sheet and drizzle with 1 Tbl olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to toss and then spread broccoli evenly on baking sheet. Roast for about 18 minutes, or to your liking.  Let cool slightly.

While the broccoli is roasting make the salad dressing.

Pour 1 (or 2) tablespoons of olive oil into a skillet on medium low.  Place to the cloves of garlic into the skillet and let slightly sizzle in the oil for about three minutes on each side. The garlic should be slightly browned on the outside and soft on the inside. I always saute my garlic like this before adding it to dressings. Cooking it just a bit really brings out a mild, delicious flavor - and it cuts down that sharp raw garlic spicy-ness. Remove the garlic from olive and chop.  Save the infused olive oil for the dressing.

Place the garlic, garlic infused olive oil, Dijon, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Greek yogurt and milk into a container. Use a fork to combine completely. If it's too thick add a splash more milk or lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Combine chopped romaine, roasted broccoli, Parmesan, pomegranate seeds and almonds. Drizzle with salad dressing. Toss. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread

This pumpkin banana bread is delicious! I'm really excited that it doesn't contain any butter - I promise you will not notice! The applesauce, pumpkin and mashed banana make the bread really moist. I used coconut sugar and pure maple syrup instead of refined white sugar.  The whole wheat pastry flour replaces all purpose flour. I made sure to add lots of yummy spices that make this bread smell and taste amazing.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 or 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I like Enjoy Life vegan mini chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350F

Add applesauce and bananas to a large bowl. Mash bananas into the applesauce. I prefer the texture to be quite smooth. Add the pumpkin, stir. Then add the coconut sugar and maple syrup and stir. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Add vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into a well greased (I use coconut oil to grease my pan)  8 X 8 Pyrex (glass) pan. Cooking times can vary, so if you are using a metal pan you will need to cook longer (so adjust accordingly). I baked my bread in a Pyrex pan for 35 minutes and it was perfect.  Check to make sure a toothpick comes out clean before removing from the oven.

Let bread cool completely on the counter before cutting. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Split Pea & Cauliflower Bisque

I am so excited about this new cookbook I ordered off Amazon last week. It is called Back to the Cutting Board by Christina Pirello. I cooked four recipes from the book last week and each one was better than the last! I'm cooking exclusively from it again this coming week and I especially cannot wait to try more of her delicious soups.

If you read my blog you will already know how much my family and I love soup. I cook it often, even during the summer. But now that fall is on the horizon and the temperatures are starting to cool, my desire to make more soups is at an all time high.

This split pea and cauliflower bisque was absolutely wonderful.  There are very few ingredients, which made it easy to throw together. It was rich and flavorful, yet there is no cream or butter - just healthy yumminess!! I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches made on thicky, whole grain brain.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did!
Here it is word for word from the cookbook Back to the Cutting Board:

1 to 2 Tbl avocado oil <I used olive oil>
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
sea salt
1 tsp curry powder
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 cup yellow or green split peas, rinsed well
4 cups filtered water <I used a quart of vegetable broth, plus another cup of water to thin the soup>
2 tsp white miso paste
2 to 3 sprigs fresh parley, minced, for serving

Stir together the oil, onion, and garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a small pinch of salt and the curry powder and saute until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and saute until shiny with oil. Add the split peas and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the peas are quite soft, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove a small amount of broth from the pot and use it to dissolve the miso. Return the miso mixture to the pot; using a handheld blender or food processor <I used my Vitamix blender>, puree the soup until smooth <if the soup is hot make sure you have the vent on the blender lid open and covered with a dry, clean cloth so the steam can safely escape>. Return to the stove to warm through and serve garnished with fresh parsley.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme - Pinch of Yum

This recipe from the blog Pinch of Yum (LOVE this blog so much!) was absolutely delicious!!! It was so fun to put together and my kids (and husband) LOVED eating it! I caved and used Doritos inside the wrap - this makes me laugh since the rest of the ingredients were fairly healthy - but those cheesy chips definitely added some great flavor to the wrap. Oh and this vegan cashew queso was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! Such a great meal! I know I'll be making it again.

Check out Pinch of Yum for great step-by-step pictures that will show you how to create the wrap. It wasn't complicated, but her pictures really help. 

In the crunchwraps I made I used her cashew queso recipe, refried beans, Doritos, bagged cabbage slaw, and her spicy sofritas tofu recipe.

Here are Pinch of Yum's instructions word for word:

Spicy Sofritas Tofu
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 16 ounces firm tofu (press out some liquid first)
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (add about 1 teaspoon salt if it’s unsalted)
  • 2 chipotle peppers, minced
  • 1/2 cup salsa
Cashew Queso
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can diced green chiles (or less, to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning (add a pinch of salt if it’s unsalted)
  • huge burrito-sized flour tortillas
  • something crunchy: tostadas, tortilla chips or, dare I say, Doritos / Hot Cheetos (!!)
  • roasted vegetables
  • black beans
  • avocados
  • fresh stuff: tomatoes, cabbage slaw, lettuce, cilantro
  • salsa
Sofritas Tofu: Heat oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add tofu and break apart into crumbles. Add taco seasoning, salt, chipotles, and salsa. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Finish by letting everything sit without stirring for another 7-10+ minutes (adding oil to prevent sticking as needed) until you get some nice browned, almost-crunchy pieces.
Cashew Queso: Blend everything together aggressively until smooth!
Crunch Wrap Time: Lay a large tortilla on a flat surface. Layer: tofu, queso, crunchy stuff, and any other extras you want in there. Fold in the edges of the tortilla toward the center. Place in a hot oiled skillet, seam side down. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the exterior is firm, crunchy, and golden brown. Cut and serve!
FOR REGULAR SIZE CRUNCHWRAPS: Keep your filling amounts minimal. It is very common to run into the issue of overflow, in which case, you can a) reduce filling amounts, b) fold it up as-is and hope for the best – I found even half-closed crunchwraps still grilled up nicely, c) break your tostadas into smaller pieces to allow you more space, or d) make a MEGA CRUNCHWRAP. See next note.
FOR MEGA CRUNCHWRAPS (this is what I demonstrated in the post): Cut a few of the large flour tortillas so they are the same size as your tostadas. Then, once you’ve layered all ingredients, just place a small flour cutout tortilla on top and fold edges over that. This should buy you a little extra space for filling.
FOR MARINATED CABBAGE: I just tossed some thinly chopped cabbage with olive oil, salt, pepper, and vinegar to taste.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuscan Pasta Salad

This was an easy weekend meal - very tasty! I think the addition of vegan sausage (we LOVE Beyond Sausage) or chicken sausage would be excellent. I served this meal with a fruit/veggie smoothie and good, crusty bread. 

I found this recipe on the blog Vegan Richa (I love this blog!)......and here it is word for word with my additions in italics.
  • 8 oz farfalle , or other pasta <I used cavatappi pasta>
  • 4 oz baby spinach or greens <I chopped my spinach> 
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomato (oil packed)
  • 1 small cucumber peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup vegan feta <I used goat cheese crumbles>
  • fresh parsley , black pepper, vegan parm (optional) for garnish
  • other add ins: roasted zucchini or seasonal veggies , chopped artichoke hearts, olives <I used pine nuts>
  • <I think Beyond Sausage, cooked and sliced, or chicken sausage would be a great add-on> 
  • 1 large clove garlic pressed or minced <I used three cloves of garlic, sauteed in olive oil>
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp or more black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or parsley
  • 3 tbsp really good extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp or more lemon juice <I used 2 1/2 lemons>
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • <I added 1 tsp of maple syrup> 
  1. Cook the pasta according to instruction on the package. Rinse in cold water to cool completely and add to a large bowl. Combine the rest of the salad ingredients except feta.
  2. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients in a small bowl. (variation: Replace some of the lemon juice with red wine vinegar).
  3. Drizzle and mix the dressing with the salad when ready to serve. Toss well to coat all the greens. Add feta towards the end while tossing. Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme, black pepper and vegan parm(optional). Let sit for 5 mins and serve.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Citrus Sunshine Juice

So, I've been back to juicing regularly for the past three months - I drink a big glass of celery juice every morning (and yes, it taste about a yucky as it sounds - but boy is it good for you - so, for my health, I rally through it - hahaha). So, after all this celery juice, I was in the mood for something tangy and sweet.  I had all this citrus sitting in my fruit bowl and I thought throwing it all together would result in something delicious.  And oh boy this juice completely satisfied - it was actually and literally "lip smackingly" refreshing.  Enjoy!

1 grapefruit, peeled
2 oranges, peeled
2 clementines, peeled (optional)
1 lemon, peeled
1 lime, peeled
1 large apple
1 inch knob of fresh ginger

Put all the fruits and ginger through a juicer. Drink immediately. Enjoy!