Monday, August 13, 2012

A new direction...


After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I have decided to take a break from blogging at Additive-Free Eats.  Please feel free to enjoy the recipes I have already shared, and to contact me with any questions.  

I've really enjoyed blogging my recipes for the past several months and am so thankful for all of my supporters!  I hope to be back from time to time posting more recipes, so stay tuned for more at some point.

  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Coconut Almond Joy Bites

If you read this blog entry before 7/31, you might have seen my long, drawn out post about a cleanse I started.  I wanted to separate my cleanse posts from the recipes.  I did this so that it's not so annoying to come here for a recipe and have to scroll down through lots of stuff you might not be interested in reading first.  ;-)  (By the way, I'm on Day 2 and it was a lot harder than yesterday.  I'm still going strong though!)


I made these last night because I had some leftover dates that I wanted to use and well, I knew they would come in handy when I was craving something sweet!  They're delicious!   


Coconut Almond Joy Bites
(yields about 20 bites)
Ingredients
2 cups fresh dates, pits removed
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut


Directions:
Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.


Place dates and almonds in food processor/blender and blend until a sticky dough forms.  


Add coconut and pulse to combine


Place dough mixture into medium bowl and knead with hands to fully combine all ingredients and get a good, sticky dough.


Press mixture into baking dish and evenly distribute


Refrigerate for one hour.  Remove from fridge and cut into bite sized pieces.



If you like these, you might also like my Peanut Butter & "Jelly" Energy Bars, and my Vanilla Almond Date Balls.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Aunt Maryann's) Homemade Iced Tea

I recently got to spend some time with my wonderful Aunt Maryann at her home.  Always the thoughtful and gracious host (and amazing cook!!), she had prepared a delicious vegan spread for lunch, as well as homemade iced tea.  She said her mother (my grandma, who is no longer with us) used to make it for her, my father and their siblings when they were children.  I guess you can call this a family recipe!   It was so good, I asked for the recipe to share!

It's not really a complicated recipe, but it's so good and refreshing, and it sure beats the chemical laden iced tea powders at the store!   

Please see my notes that follow the recipe.

(Aunt Maryann's) Homemade Iced Tea
Ingredients
2 green tea bags 
3 regular tea bags
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1/3 cup sugar
honey (optional)
8 cups water, divided

Directions:
Boil 5 tea bags in 6 cups of water.  Once boiling, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.  Remove tea bags & set aside.

In a pitcher, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 2 cups of water.  Add boiled tea and combine.

Add 1/3 cup sugar and desired amount of honey.  Stir until dissolved. 

Cool in refrigerator, serve & enjoy!

Notes
*I personally use decaffeinated tea bags.

*I broke my "no refined sugar" rule with this recipe.  But, realistically, although I'd like to eliminate it completely from my diet, that hasn't happened yet.   A natural, homemade drink like this is okay by me from time to time!  I use organic, pure cane crystals that are certified vegan.

*Honey is not considered vegan.  Some vegans use it and others don't.  This recipe is just fine without it (which is how I made it).  But I didn't want to eliminate that ingredient from the original recipe for those who choose to use it.  Buy organic!

*When adding the boiled tea bag/water mixture to your pitcher, make sure it's a pitcher that can handle that type of heat!  If you don't have one, you can mix all the ingredients in the pot you use to boil the water, and then let the pot sit in your fridge until the mixture cools enough to add to your pitcher.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fresh Veggie Wrap w/Peanut Sauce

The internet is a wealth of foodie inspiration!  I'm not sure why, but I always struggle with ideas for summer dishes.  I'm more into warm foods that requires the oven to heat up my house.  On a 90+ degree day, I like to avoid that if possible!  

I wasn't sure exactly what to make for dinner (totally unlike me, but that's another story!), but then I came across a post from some fitness gals that I follow online where they shared some wraps they bought from Whole Foods.  I don't have a Whole Foods around my area, but I've heard good things.  They showed a picture of the wrap and a few details about what was in them.  It sounded delicious and it was (or, *is*).   Below is my version!

Fresh Veggie Wrap w/Peanut Sauce
(Yields 4 servings)
Ingredients
For the Peanut Sauce (adapted from here)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp ground ginger

For the Fresh Veggie Wrap
2 carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
1 small cucumber, diced
3/4 cup shredded cabbage
1 avocado, sliced
4 tortilla wraps

Directions:
For the Peanut Sauce:
Place all ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  

Once mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring  frequently.  

Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool off a bit.

For the Fresh Veggie Wrap:
Place carrots, cucumber and cabbage in a large bowl.  

Add peanut sauce and stir to combine.  

Scoop mixture into wraps and top with sliced avocado.  



You can pair this dish with some fresh, sauted veggies on the side.  I had mine with fresh corn on the cob and it was a nice, satisfying meal!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Maple Nut Spread

I'm not a tofu kind of gal!  I guess I assume it's sort of a "go to" for vegetarians/vegans, but maybe I'm wrong?  Are there others like me that just don't like it, except for miso soup?

I've been longing for a "cream cheese" alternative for toast and such, but most recipes seem to use tofu.  This recipe that I adapted was no exception.  I decided to get creative though and use cashews instead.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but this was one risk that was worth the reward!

This is a dense and creamy spread that's just the right amount of sweet!  It doesn't taste like cream cheese, but it's a nice alternative!  It almost looks like cake when it's done baking, but once it cools off, it spreads nicely.  Give it a try!

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

Maple Nut Spread
(yields 8 servings, or 2 cups)
Ingredients
1/3 cup raisins, soaked
hot water
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup basic homemade yogurt (or store bought if you prefer)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp flour
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish (I used a 2 quart because I didn't have a 1 quart and it worked fine).

Place raisins in a bowl and pour hot water over them (enough to cover).  Set aside to soak.

Place cashews, yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, tahini, vanilla and flour in a food processor/blender.  Blend until well combined.  

Drain raisins and add to food processor/blender.  Pulse several times to chop them up and blend them into the cashew mixture.

Pour cashew mixture into baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until set.  Cool completely before serving.



Saturday, July 14, 2012

French Toast

As I've mentioned in previous breakfast recipe posts, I typically eat the same thing almost every morning.  I love oatmeal and smoothies so I don't experiment too much beyond that.  I do love french toast though for an occasional treat (like the weekends!) and have yet to try a veg recipe, until today!  This turned out better than I'd hoped, as I was a bit skeptical.   It was actually quite delicious!

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies.

French Toast
(makes 8 slices)
Ingredients
2 large, ripe bananas
1 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flax-seed
1/2 tsp vanilla
8 slices texas toast (I used my homemade bread, sliced thick)
Organic, Grade B maple syrup

Directions:
Place bananas, rice milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, flax-seed and vanilla in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour batter into a shallow 8x8 baking dish (or any type of shallow dish)

Heat a pan (or griddle) over high heat until drops of water splatter when flicked on the pan.

Dip both sides of bread into batter and transfer each slice to the griddle.  Lower heat to medium and cook on one side for about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side for about 3 minutes more.  

Serve french toast with maple syrup and enjoy!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Baba Ganoush... Ghanoush... Ghanouj

What is up with the (at least) three different ways of spelling this dish that I came across online?  I always wanted to try a recipe for Baba Ganoush since I love Mediterranean food! I could live on things like this, hummus, falafal, pitas, etc.  I don't know what took me so long, but here it is!  

My main inspiration for this particular recipe came from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies, but I changed it a bit after reading through other recipes online and decided, among other things, to add chickpeas.  Then came the thought of coming up with my own quirky name for the recipe like Baba Ganummus, or Baba Hunoush (for Baba Ganoush + Hummus).  I quickly realized it probably wouldn't be such a good idea.  Some things work, and some just don't.   I didn't want to take that chance. ;-)

Baba Ganoush
Ingredients
1 medium eggplant
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.  

Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and place both halves in the baking dish, insides facing down.  Cover with foil and cook for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow it to cool off before handling.

Remove seeds with a spoon, and the outer skin with a paring knife (it should be easy to remove).

Place eggplant, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in food processor/blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving.




Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(No Bake) Patriotic Strawberry Pie

Happy Independence Day!

I wanted to make something red, white & blue for July 4th and since, obviously, I am not a fan of food dye, I thought I'd go with the always reliable multi-colored fruit dish!   I really like this recipe that I came across because it's made with fresh ingredients.  I adapted it quite a bit to make it my own and to make it red, (almost) white and blue.  Yes, technically bananas are yellow, but please humor me.  ;-)

This recipe is adapted from VegNews.

(No Bake) Patriotic Strawberry Pie
(serves 6)
Ingredients
For the crust
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

For the pie filling
3 cups strawberries 
5 pitted dates, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the topping
1 cup blueberries
*1 medium banana, sliced thin


Directions
Place almonds, pecans, 1/2 cup dates, raisins, maple syrup and vanilla in food processor.  Process until well combined and a sticky dough forms.  

Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish until evenly distributed. 

Arrange 2 cups of sliced strawberries on top of the crust in a circular pattern and set aside.

Place remaining cup of strawberries, dates and lemon juice in food processor. Process until well combined and smooth.  Pour sauce mixture over strawberries and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to set before serving.

After pie is set, add blueberries to the top left corner to form a square.   Slice bananas and line the slices horizontally from left to right, leaving 1 inch spaces in between each row.

*Don't add the bananas until you are ready to serve.  If you refrigerate them, they will turn brown.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crumb Cake

I'll admit that this wasn't my first choice of recipes to try today.  I only made it because I was in the mood for some type of chocolate cake, but was out of chocolate.  Don't get me wrong, I like crumb cake. There's nothing like a warm slice for breakfast!  I'm actually glad now that I was out of chocolate because this turned out delicious, and my sweet tooth is quite satisfied!  



Did I just say I was happy to be out of chocolate??  I must be losing it. ;-)

This recipe is adapted from Post Punk Kitchen, and is refined sugar free.

Crumb Cake
Ingredients
3/4 cup rice milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut oil

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375.  Lightly grease a 9 inch round baking dish and set aside.

For the cake:
In a large bowl, add rice milk and apple cider vinegar.  Stir to mix and let sit for 5 minutes to curdle.  After 5 minutes have passed, stir in the maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Stir until well combined.  Pour batter (it will be a bit thick) into prepared dish and set aside.

For the topping:
In a small bowl, mix together flour, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.  

Add the coconut oil and stir it in just a bit.  Finishing working the coconut oil into the mixture with your fingers, forming little crumbs with the dough.  Sprinkle the crumbs evenly on top of the cake mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine took the full 40 minutes)  Let cool on wire rack before slicing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Avocado Potato Salad

I love avocados!!  I love them almost as much as chocolate.... almost.  I had one lying around about to go bad so, rather than using it as a homemade hand cream, face or hair mask (yes, you can!), I decided to put it to better use and substitute it for mayo in a potato salad!   I planned on having veggie burgers for dinner, so the timing was perfect.  I threw together a bunch of veggies I would normally use in a regular potato salad and blended the avocado to go on top.

Avocado Potato Salad
(serves 2)
Ingredients
2 small, red potatoes, cooked and cut into chunks
2 small celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/8 cup onion, chopped   
1 avocado, skin removed
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Combine potato chunks, celery, cucumber and onion in a medium bowl, set aside.

Combine avocado flesh, lemon juice, salt & pepper in a blender/food processor.  Blend until smooth.  

Top potato/veggie mixture with avocado mixture and stir to combine.

While the picture is not so pretty since my avocado was already going bad (notice it's not bright green, but darker??), the taste is delicious!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

(Not The Girl Scouts') Samoas

Count me in as someone who loves Girl Scout cookies!  I even used to love Edy's special addition Girl Scout cookie flavored ice cream.  But that's another story. ;-) I came across a recipe for Samoas that was already vegan, but I wanted to cut down on the sugar and make it refined sugar free.   This version doesn't have the shortbread base, but everything else is the same.  If you're a Samoa fan, you're going to love these!


This recipe is adapted from Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar


**Please note that these can be made Gluten Free as well.  I made a batch using oat flour and it turned out just as delicious!!**


(Not The Girl Scouts') Samoas
(makes over 2 dozen *about 28)
Ingredients
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp organic, Grade B, maple syrup
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*1 cup white whole wheat flour (all purpose should work too)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

For topping
1 cup chocolate chips, melted
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted


*You can substitute oat flour to make these Gluten Free.  I tried it and it works beautifully!

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large skillet, over medium/low heat, toast the shredded coconut until it turns a light golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Stir occasionally, careful not to burn. Remove from heat and stir occasionally as it cools.

In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, maple syrup, flax seeds and vanilla. Stir until smooth.  Mix in the flour, baking soda & salt until a thick batter forms.  Stir in the toasted coconut.

Scoop 1 tbsp of dough onto the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Flatten each cookie with the back of a measuring cup and make a small hole into the center of each with your fingertip.  Bake for 8 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown. *They will still seem soft when you take them out of the oven, but will continue to harden as they cool.

Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.  


For the topping:
While the cookies are cooling, melt the chocolate chips on either the stove top or microwave.  Stir in the coconut oil.  Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes to thicken up.

Line a firm surface (that can easily be slid into the refrigerator), like a cutting board, with parchment paper.

Dip cookie bottoms into the chocolate, allow excess to drip off, and place them on the waxed paper.  Once all cookie bottoms are dipped, drizzle remaining chocolate over the cookies using a fork, spoon or by pouring the chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip.  

Place cookies in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to completely firm up the chocolate.  

Store cookies in a loosely covered container in the refrigerator.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Berry Fro-Yo

When I heard someone say this weekend that Memorial Day is the kick off to summer,  I could only think of one thing: Richard's Dairy Shed.   It's an ice cream shop where I live that makes the best homemade ice cream & frozen yogurt ever!  Whenever I drive by I swear the place talks to me.  It says "Christine, you know you want to stop and get a waffle sundae with cake batter ice cream".  Yup, I sure do!  This place knows me well; and it should, since a few years back I gave it my entire summer.   Oh, the temptation!  I knew I better think fast and come up with a frozen sweet treat to temporarily satisfy my cravings.  ;)

I had planned for a few days now to try out a recipe for frozen yogurt that I had come across, but then got disappointed when I realized I needed an ice cream maker to make it.   I thought hard about what I could do to make this type of treat without the ice cream maker.   After brainstorming a bit, I came up with the following recipe which, I am excited to say, turned out delicious!!!  

FYI: This will take up to 3 hours (of "waiting" time) to make, after prep time.

Berry Fro-Yo 
(no ice cream maker required!)
(serves 2)
Ingredients
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1/2 cup homemade non-dairy yogurt (or store bought if you prefer)
*1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (return to room temperate after melting before use)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract


*Coconut oil can be tricky.  After you melt it, make sure you let it cool off a bit before adding it to the other ingredients so that it does not harden back up right away.  On the other hand, don't let it sit too long at room temperature before you use it, as it might start to harden up on its own again.  You want it in liquid form, but not too hot.


Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.   


Pour mixture into a bowl and freeze for one hour.  The edges will be hardened, but the middle will still be soft.  Mix with a spoon, scraping the sides of the bowl to get the hardened chunks mixed in with the parts that are still soft.


Return to freezer for one hour.  The mixture will be more hardened throughout than before, but still not ready yet!  Mix again, scraping the sides and mixing everything together well.  

Return to the freezer for one more hour.  After this hour is up, your fro-yo will be frozen through and ready to eat!



If you freeze any leftovers over night, you will need to defrost it for about 5-10 minutes before it will be soft enough to eat.


I end with a plea for anyone who knows of a recipe for non-dairy cake batter ice-cream, to pleeeease share it with me!!  I will hug you, kiss you, be your friend for life!!  If you don't want any of that, I'll just thank you a whole lot. ;)  It's my absolute favorite flavor and if I can make it myself, well.... I can't even tell you how happy that would make me! 



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Basic Homemade Yogurt

In my non-veg days I used to eat yogurt all the time.  I really like it, but haven't been able to find a good non-dairy brand that either a) tastes good or b) doesn't contain some form of preservative.   Unfortunately, this recipe doesn't contain all the live cultures that are good for you that regular yogurt contains, but it comes in handy when you want a quick yogurt fix and don't have any in the house.  It also works well in recipes that call for baking with yogurt.


This recipe is adapted from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions.  


Basic Homemade Yogurt
Ingredients
*1 cup light (or full-fat) coconut milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
Fresh fruit, optional

*I used light coconut milk


Directions:
Combine milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl, let curdle for 2 minutes.  Add maple syrup, cornstarch & vanilla extract (if using vanilla).   

Blend ingredients for 1 minute using an immersion blender (I don't have one so I used a regular blender)

Heat in microwave for 2 minutes keeping a close eye to make sure the mixture doesn't bubble up.  Blend again.

Heat in microwave for 2 minutes, then blend again or stir with a spoon.

Heat for 1 more minute, the mixture will begin to resemble thin pudding.  Stir in optional fruit.


Store in fridge for up to one hour to thicken.  Stir again before eating.


This tastes just like vanilla yogurt you buy from the store (the dairy version).  In particular, it reminds me of the Stoneyfield brand that I used to eat.   I would imagine that it would taste more like plain yogurt if you don't add the vanilla extract.  I'm sure it would be great with some fruit too, or whatever goodies you'd like to add!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mexican Casserole

I really enjoy Mexican food.  I could eat it several times a week and not get sick of it.    If you're a Mexican fan as well, you must give this a try!   It's very good.

This recipe is adapted from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen.

Mexican Casserole
(serves 6)
Ingredients
1 tbsp water
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups yellow tortilla chips, broken into pieces
*1 1/2 cups black beans
*1 1/2 cups fat-free refried beans
1 large tomato, diced
1 tsp chili powder, divided
1/2 tsp cumin, divided
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup homemade enchilada sauce (or 1 cup of canned)

*If using canned beans, always look for the brands without preservatives.  I use Trader Joe's brand where the ingredients are just beans, water & salt, nothing else. Black beans that come in a bag have less salt than those in cans as well.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375.  Lightly grease an 8x8 inch baking dish.

If using homemade enchilada sauce, prepare that now and set aside.  

In a large pan, saute pepper, onion & garlic in water for about 5 minutes, or until softened.  Set aside.

Line bottom of baking dish with a layer of tortilla chips.  Spread half the refried beans over the chips (*see notes below).  Cover the refried beans with half of the pepper/onion/garlic mixture and half of the tomato.  Add half of the chili powder & cumin.  Finally, add half of the black beans.  

Add another layer of tortilla chips and repeat the layers of the other ingredients.   Spread salsa on top.  Cover with final layer of tortilla chips and pour the enchilada sauce on top.

Cover and bake for about 30 minutes.   Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  

*Since my refried beans were thick, I used my hands to work them over the chips.  There really was no way to "spread" them using a utensil without disrupting the placement of the chips.




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cinnamon Coated Coffee Cake Muffins

Warning:  If you like cinnamon coffee cake, this recipe might get you into the Guinness Book of World Records for the most muffins eaten in one sitting!  I'm pretty sure I currently hold the title, but I won't reveal the number.  For embarrassment's sake, some things are best left unsaid. ;-)     (Of course I'm exaggerating, if only slightly (ha!), this is a *healthier* eating blog after all!)  But you will want more than one! 

This recipe is adapted from can you stay for dinner?.  My version is vegan and refined sugar free.


Cinnamon Coated Coffee Cake Muffins
(yields 12 muffins)
Ingredients
1 "flax egg" (1 tbsp milled flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (all purpose should work too)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup Organic, Grade B maple syrup
3/4 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy milk)

For cinnamon topping
Ingredients
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup Organic, Grade B maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a muffin tin and set it aside.  

Prepare "flax egg" by whisking flaxseed with water.  Set it aside to let it thicken.

In a small bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg & cinnamon.

In a separate, large bowl, combine maple syrup, milk and "flax egg" mixture. 

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.   

Divide batter evenly among muffin tin cups.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of one of the muffins.


Cinnamon Topping:
While muffins are baking, prepare the cinnamon topping by melting the coconut oil, allowing it to come back to room temperature, then combining it in a bowl with the maple syrup and cinnamon.
*If you don't allow the coconut oil to come back to room temperature before adding it to the maple syrup, it might harden and you want it to remain a liquid.  

When muffins are done, slide knife around the sides of the muffins and shake them out of the pan while still hot.   

Dip each muffin into the cinnamon topping mixture coating all sides.  Allow the excess to drip off, and place on a cooling rack.  (You will want something underneath the cooling rack to catch any drippings).  

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Gently transfer each muffin from the cooling rack to the baking sheet.  Refrigerate up to one hour for the topping to set.


You can reheat before eating, or eat them cold.  Either way, they are delicious!  



Friday, May 11, 2012

Lentil, Rice & Veggie Skillet

I had some veggies in my fridge about to go bad if I didn't use them soon, and I hate when that happens, so I decided to go with this dish for dinner.  I originally intended to just make it with rice, but the idea to add lentils for some extra protein came to mind and it worked out well.  I got the inspiration for this meal from The Naked Kitchen.  I adapted it quite a bit though and really liked how it turned out.   

Lentil, Rice & Veggie Skillet
Ingredients
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup cooked lentils
2 tbsp water
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups broccoli crowns, chopped
2 cups cauliflower crowns, chopped
 1 1/2 cups creamy sauce (or pasta/marinara sauce of your choice)

Directions:
Prepare brown rice & lentils according to package directions.

Prepare creamy sauce according to directions, but don't heat yet, just set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onion & garlic in 1 tbsp water, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the broccoli & cauliflower and remaining tbsp of water.  Saute until broccoli is bright green and a bit tender (they will still be crunchy).

Add rice, lentils & pasta sauce to skillet, stir to combine with veggies.  Reduce heat to a simmer until the sauce is heated through.  Serve warm.

I would qualify this as a healthy "comfort food" dish.  It's warm, thick & hearty, while the veggies add a nice crunch.  

There really was no way to get a "pretty" picture of this dish, but I did my best! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Pear-Walnut Salad

There's kind of a long story behind my inspiration for this salad.  It all began with an entire weekend of eating out with family at restaurants that were not entirely veg friendly.   I had to ask for a lot of menu substitutions, which I hate doing.  I'm shy about things like that.  I have to laugh at myself though because I honestly feel like Sally Albright from When Harry Met Sally sometimes when I'm ordering food.



One of the restaurants had nothing I could substitute so I ended up ordering a pear walnut salad and scarfed down about 5 dinner rolls with it.  I was starving and carb deprived!  ;-)    It was really good though! I knew I'd want to make my own, so this is my adaptation.  

Pear-Walnut Salad
(serves 1)
Ingredients
2 cups spring mix salad
1 cup fresh spinach
1 pear, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts
1/3 cup dried cranberries
balsamic vinegairette (as much as you like)

Directions
Mix salad and spinach in a bowl.  Top with pear slices, walnuts & cranberries.  Add balsamic , toss to combine, and enjoy!

(click to enlarge)