Power Muffins

Power Muffins

Sometimes, you just want a big squishy muffin. Most times, it would be better if you were eating fiber, whole grains and fruit. This muffin recipe is a compromise. It met my craving for something sweet, but has an admirable nutrition profile. Fiber! Good fat! No white sugar! Otis Spunkmeyer, be damned.

Lately, one of these little babies–warm and buttered, obviously–has been showing up on my breakfast table quite frequently. I add an egg and a side of fresh fruit to round things out.

Power Muffins

3/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup finely shredded unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 small, firm pears (I bet a large apple would work too!)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a standard 12-cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, flax, coconut flakes, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt and dried cranberries. Set aside.

Grate the pears using a box grater. You should have one cup of shredded pear.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the coconut oil, molasses and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy. Mix in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla, then finally the pear. Put your mixer away.

Add the flour mixture and fold it in with a wooden spoon. Resist the temptation to over mix.

Fill the muffin cups to the point they are almost full. (These will only rise a smidge.) Top with the walnuts, if using. You should press these into the batter just a bit so they won’t fall off after baking.

Bake until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch, about 22 minutes. Let them cool just a bit before serving.

*I was inspired by this recipe from Whole Grain Mornings.

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Iron Woman Lasagna

Lasagna

It was bound to happen. I’ve been a vegetarian for 18 years now and have never had any trouble with a classic no-meat worry: Iron. And then, last week at my 30-week check up–BOOM. Low iron.

Iron PillsI should have known. I was feeling sluggish, had horrible dark circles under my eyes and my heart was skipping more beats than usual. (I have MVP, so I’m used to some irregularity.) I was getting out of breath too fast and my pretty pregnancy hair was starting to break. I blamed all this on the dreaded third trimester, but turns out it was my stupid iron levels. Baby Sprout, bless him, depleted my stores.

SpinachI have new iron pills which I’m not a big fan of. I’m taking them every other day for now, as they are hard on the stomach. In the meantime, I am on a mission to get my mojo back by packing my diet full of iron-rich food. So far, that’s meant oatmeal, dried beans, leafy greens, tempeh and blackstrap molasses.

Last night, I made lasagna that’s chock full of these iron-laden staples. In the recipe that follows, spinach, whole wheat noodles, nutritional yeast and white beans all bring a significant supply to the table. Oh, and it tastes good. Like reeeeealllly good. You’ll want to remember the white bean/ricotta/sun dried tomato combo and use it as dip for the Super Bowl.

The beans I used had a little rosemary infused and it gave them great kick. Feel free to add in a little to your blend for the same effect. Enjoy!

Iron Girl Lasagna

9 100% whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 cups yellow onion, chopped

2 cups mushrooms, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

6 ounces fresh baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 cup ricotta cheese

1.5 cups cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (oil packed), drained

2.5 cups of your favorite pasta sauce, divided

2 cups shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)

  1. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add spinach; cook until just wilted. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Place ricotta, beans and sun dried tomatoes in a food processor or high speed blender; process until smooth.
  4. Spread 1 cup sauce in bottom of a 13×9 inch glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over sauce; top noodles with all of the spinach mixture. Sprinkle evenly with nutritional yeast.
  5. Top with 3 more noodles, then the ricotta mixture. Layer on another 3 noodles.
  6. Spread remaining sauce over noodles; sprinkle with cheese.
  7. Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
  8. Turn on broiler (do not remove dish from oven). Uncover and broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

*I used Cooking Light’s Kale and Mushroom Lasagna as the base for these instructions. (Lasagna layers can be complex!) FYI, I made the vegetarian adaptation of that recipe last week and it was mighty fine.

Un-Brie-Lievable Root Veggie Mashers

Root Veggies

If you’ve read this blog for any time (thanks!) you know that I’m pretty intense when it comes to waste. I save apple peels for smoothies, vegetable scraps for broth and use cornbread crumbles as stuffing, and that’s just the beginning. I learned the frugality from my Gran.

With that “use it all” mentality, you can imagine my disdain when I looked in the company fridge and saw several barely touched wheels of brie hanging out after a holiday party. The cheese was way too fancy for it’s destiny of being ignored –>mold –>trash. And so I took some home with me and got to experimenting.

I love this cheesy combo of winter’s heartiest root veggies. It will feel familiar to mashed potato lovers, but boosts nutrition and fiber content. The lowered calorie count from these vegetables doesn’t hurt!

Root Veggie Mashers with Brie and Panko

1 medium turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes

(for a total of 5 cups root veggies)

1/2 wedge of brie (which equals 4 oz), rind removed

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter

1/3 cup seasoned panko bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the root vegetables in a medium size pot. Cover them with cold water, then head over to the stove.

Bring the vegetables and water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low boil–just a few bubbles in the pot. Let them boil at this pace for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, shred the brie cheese with a box grater.

After 15 minutes, check your vegetables. They should be fork tender. Remove from heat and drain.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the brie, salt, pepper and coconut oil or butter. Pour the hot root veggies on top.

Use a hand mixer to blend the vegetables, cheese and spices. You want to get it relatively smooth and well integrated, but a few chunks are nice!

Transfer the root veggie mixture to a greased 1.5 quart casserole dish. (I think an 8×8 pan would work as well!) Top with the seasoned panko.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, until the casserole is warmed through, bubbly and the panko is lightly browned.

“Use Those Peels!” Apple Pie Smoothie

I'm so tasty

Remember a couple of weeks back when I made that gorgeous apple pie?   {Pats self on back for successful Martha Stewart moment.}   It left me with one tiny conundrum. Waste.

You see, the recipe called for PEELED apples, and I absolutely loathe throwing perfectly nutritious food away. So I covered a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lined those peels in a single layer and froze them for later use.

When my apple pie craving came back, I recreated the baked good experience in a much easier way–drinkable goodness. Unlike that “once-in-a-while” slice of pie, this smoothie deserves a place in your every day nutritious rotation.

“Use Those Peels!” Apple Pie Smoothie

1 cup Granny Smith Apple peels–frozen and loosely packed

1 medium banana sliced and frozen (roughly 1/2 cup slices)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 tablespoon brown rice protein powder

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Optional: your favorite sweetener, to taste

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and whirl away. The apple peels do take a moment to break down. I used the “high” speed on my Vitamix to obliterate them. I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Fool Your Picky Eaters! Hide Their Veggies.

Black bean soup text

It all started with a chili night gone wrong. Vore and I had divided and conquered the grocery shopping for the week, me going to Whole Foods and him Publix. I asked him to bring home dried black beans, but forgot to put kidneys and garbonzos on the list. On chili day, I had the peppers, onions and black beans, but not a whole lot else. Whoops.

All was not lost! This led me to think of an all time favorite: black bean soup at Panera Bread. Gosh I love that stuff! I did a little googling for copy cat recipes, and they all left me feeling blah. So I did what any respectable food blogger would and made up my own.

However, I kicked it up a notch. There are almost as many veggies lurking in this soup as beans! This one pot supper is positively loaded with nutrition and fiber. As for the picky folks in your house? They’ll be none the wiser. Who’s ready to sneak some veggies into a hearty winter soup?

Hidden Veggie Black Bean Soup

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (approx 2 cups)

1 large red pepper, chopped (1.5-2 cups)

1 large green pepper, chopped (1.5-2 cups)

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2-1 teaspoon salt (depending on the salt in your beans and broth)

1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

6 cups beans, divided (1 16 oz package dried beans, cooked or 3 cans, drained)

24 ounces vegetable broth (3 cups)

Heat a large pot over a medium high heat.

Add the vegetables as you chop them. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and everything starts to break down a bit. Stir in the garlic and spices and cook for a minute or so more.

Pour in the vegetable broth and 4 cups beans, bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat. Add the bean mixture to a high speed blender of food processor and blend until smooth. I did this in two batches in my Vitamix.

Return the puree to the pan and stir in the remaining beans. Heat on the stovetop until your desired temperature is reached, then serve with sour cream, cheese, chives or whatever suits your fancy.

***Congrats to Melissa! I used Random Number Generator to pick a winner for The Unforgettable Photograph Giveaway and her comment was selected!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes. You think of them at Thanksgiving, casseroled or candied. You might order them in french fry form, if you want something “healthy” to go with your burger. But they are so much more!

Ubiquitous in my native South, these little tubers pack some serious nutritional punch. They are absolutely bursting with vitamins A and C, and boast a low glycemic index. They also give you pretty skin. I’ve heard of celebrities eating only sweet potatoes for days before a photo shoot to get “that glow” beta carotene gives. It just makes my palms orange. But I digress…

Sweet potatoes are a staple on our table. We eat them super frequently, but not exactly the same way I did as a child. Then, sweet potatoes were almost always served in “casserole” form, which involved those pretty orange gems being boiled, creamed together with a copious amount of butter, then topped with more butter, brown sugar and pecans than you can shake a stick at. That preparation is certainly tasty, but then it’s pretty much dessert!

These days, we save the sweet potato casserole for holidays, and keep our weekday fare very much lighter. I have about a million variations on roasted sweet potatoes, but I’ll share this favorite today. The combination of coconut oil with sweet, savory and warm spices will blow your mind. Enjoy.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil

2.5 pounds of sweet potatoes, cubed into 1 inch pieces (peels or no peels–your preference!)

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon grated orange rind (optional)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

Sweet and spicy pecans (optional, but awesome)

Preheat your oven to 400.

Mix the melted coconut oil, honey, orange rind, cinnamon, chili powder and cumin in a small bowl.

Pour the sauce over your cubed sweet potatoes, tossing well to coat. (NOTE: Cold sweet potatoes will make the coconut oil seize up a bit. That’s okay, just toss the potatoes again after about 5 minutes in the oven.)

Spread the potatoes evenly on a cookie sheet coated with parchment paper. Sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, turning once during cooking. Check your potatoes. Are they almost tender? If so, it’s time for my secret step: the broiler, baby.

Kick the heat up to broil, and roast for about 3 minutes extra, until the potatoes brown lightly on top and puff up around the edges.

Serve hot.

Pumpkin Spice Scones with Cranberry

scones

What should you eat for Thanksgiving breakfast? Pumpkin, obviously! These little scones are inspired by holiday flavors, containing just the kind of ingredients you’ll find on your Thanksgiving table. Pumpkin, cranberries and brown sugar–How’s that for a good start to your Turkey Day?

For the scones: 

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/3 cup cranberries

1/2 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

For the topping: 

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 tablespoon organic sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt.

Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut the butter into the flour, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir the cranberries in and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin, buttermilk, brown sugar and vanilla. Make sure the brown sugar dissolves completely.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then pour the pumpkin mixture in. Mix until just combined. Your dough will be slightly crumbly.

Scones 3Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form a disk. Roll to about an inch thickness. It should be about 8 inches in circumference.

Pour the butter over the dough, spreading it out evenly. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together, then sprinkle over the dough. Use your hands to lightly press the cinnamon sugar into the dough. Slice into 8 even wedges.

Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes. Serve warm, and try not to drool.

Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars

_BBR1625 2

With little Sprout on the way, my sweet tooth is raging stronger than ever. Who am I kidding? All my “teeth” are pretty strong. I’m eating everything like a trucker! But still, sweets taste better than ever right now. This has caused an onslaught of baking around our house.

I’ve tried to be semi-well-behaved, not eating batter with raw eggs and reducing refined sugar where I can. That’s how these Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars came into being. I took a look in the cabinet, pulled out a few things that sounded like they’d go well together, and got experimenting. Three batches later, I think it’s safe to say our family is into the results.

Now then, how shall I describe this delicious little bar cookie? Perhaps a Hello Dolly would be its closest cousin? Think crunchy crust on the bottom, creamy, caramel tasting middle and cake-y top–everything a layer bar should be.

I’m not going to call this dessert “healthy,” because I’m rarely a fan of sweets that fall into that category. But I did replace butter with heart healthy coconut, most of the flour with oats, and a good bit of sugar with dates. Can we settle on “healthier?”

Chocolate Coconut Layer Bars

Base Layer:

1 cup oats

1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons coconut oil

Place the oats and the coconut in a Vitamix or food processor. Grind until you’ve almost got a flour. Add in the brown sugar and coconut oil, and pulse a few times. You should have a yummy crumble.

Press firmly into a greased 8 x 8 metal pan, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Layer 2:

12 large mejool dates, pitted

2 tablespoons almond butter

1/2 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

No need to clean out the Vitamix/food processor! Add the dates, and process at a high speed until crumbly. Add the almond butter, coconut milk and salt to make a creamy, delicious carmel goo. Pour this over your crust then sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.

Layer 3:

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup coconut oil at room temperature

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 cup organic sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a larger bowl, combine the sugar, egg, coconut oil and vanilla. Beat with a mixer until fluffy. Add the flour in 3 additions, until just combined. Pour over the chocolate chips.

Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool, then place in the fridge before cutting. We store ours in the fridge, freezing about half so we don’t eat the entire batch…Because it’s entirely possible and it wouldn’t be pretty. Enjoy!

In other news, we have a winner for The Cooking Light Lighten Up, America! cookbook giveaway. #3 was Polynesian delight:

Screen Shot 2013-11-04 at 4.59.28 PMTeri K on October 29, 2013 at 12:37 am

Loco moco…hamburger and an over easy egg placed on rice and smothered with gravy. So ono-licious (delicious), as we say here in Hawaii.

I am ridiculously excited to mail this package to Hawaii! Congratulations, Teri! I think anything “smothered in gravy” is a winner.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Biscuits

rolls 1

In New York, the “cronut” craze has taken the city by storm. Half donut, half croissant, crazy people are standing in unholy lines to experience this funky hybrid. The little treat I made this morning has the mutt effect as well:

Cinnamon roll? Sorta.

Biscuit? Well, not quite.

Scone? Hmmm. I guess it’s scone-ISH.

Perhaps I should call it a cinna-bis-cone. But that’s a mouthful. I’m going to compromise with myself and call these bad boys “Vegan Snickerdoodle Biscuits” because they don’t contain any animal products and were born of a biscuit recipe.

In May, Cooking Light published recipe makeover for drop biscuits, which I made and loved. I tinkered with that recipe to the point that it’s almost unrecognizable. That’s okay…I think you’ll recognize it as your new favorite breakfast.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Biscuits

for the biscuits

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons coconut oil

3/4 cup coconut milk (full fat)

 

for the filling

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

*1 tablespoon coconut oil for brushing on top and a bit more brown sugar to sprinkle over the shaped biscuits

Preheat oven to 450°.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl, stirring to combine.

Place 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted. Add coconut milk, stirring well.

Add coconut milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir with a spatula until just incorporated and batter pulls away from sides of bowl. The dough will be a little sticky.

Dough Sized

Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Sprinkle the top of your dough with additional flour and use a rolling pin to shape the dough into a long rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Rolled Dough sized

Use a brush to spread the melted 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and brown sugar evenly.

Brown Sugar Baby sized

Starting rolling your dough, long end to long end, jelly roll style. (You should have a long skinny round when finished.)

Rollin sized

Use a knife to cut 10-12 equal biscuits.

Cut up Sized

Transfer them to a baking sheet coated in parchment paper, and brush the additional 1 tablespoon oil over the top of each biscuit. Sprinkle with brown sugar.

brush sized

Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until golden. Cool 3 minutes; serve warm.

On Tap for Meatless Monday: Fresh Summer Corn Tart

Corn Tart

Happy Meatless Monday, y’all! Vore and I actually talked about our groceries recently–from both a budget and a health perspective–and he thought it might work well for him to go meatless TWO days a week. (Who is this man? I won’t complain.)

For those who might be stumped about vegetarian recipes meat eaters will enjoy, I have written a post with my favorite recipes. Here’s what we’re loving lately:

  • Mama Pea’s Black Bean Burgers. This is my go-to burger recipe. My guy loves it! I make a double batch and freeze leftovers for a quick meal. They’re great as burgers or crumbled on top of a salad.
  • Pizza. We usually make our own, but if you are in a pinch for time, this Annie’s Rising Crust Spinach Mushroom pie is the jam.
  • Veggie plates! Last night I made a corn tart (recipe below), mixed grilled veggies and Pink-Eyed Peas with Smoked Paprika from Cooking Light. I also buttered and grilled a couple of pieces of Portuguese bread. It was easy breezy and plenty filling for my hungry guy.

Now them, about this tart. YUM! I loosly followed this Whole Foods recipe, making substitutions based on what we had in the house. I used the healthified crust from my Tomato Pie Remix recipe in the place of the prepared version. Get to the store or farmer’s market while there is still lovely fresh corn and make this. You’ll thank me.

Fresh Summer Corn Tart

for the crust: 

1 1/2 cups homemade breadcrumbs, unseasoned

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup unsalted canolini beans

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

for the filling

3 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1 cup full fat coconut milk

3 ears yellow or bicolor corn, husked

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, chives and thyme)

3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Tomatoes and basil for topping

*Combine the bread crumbs, butter, beans and salt in the food processor or high speed blender. Pulse until the beans/breadcrumbs/butter are integrated.

*Squish this mixture evenly into a 10.5 inch tart pan that has been coated with cooking spray. Ta-da! Crust.

*Bake the crust at 350 for 10 minutes. Meanwhile…

*Use a whisk to beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add in the cornmeal and coconut milk and whisk until combined. Stir in the corn, feta, herbs and salt. Get them good and integrated.

*Pour the egg/corn mixture into your prepared crust and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes. Top with tomato slices and basil and enjoy!