Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vegan Banana Blueberry Lactation Muffins

Clearly there is a trend going on here! Since staying in Seattle for my sister's birth, I have been trying to help her out in as many ways as possible. One major way is cooking for her and her family, and one thing every new mother needs is energy! These hearty muffins are packed with energy giving nutrients, they are vegan, have good fat, no refined sugar and can easily be made gluten free.

They are also (almost) endlessly adaptable! For example, you can use up to 5 cups of oats and only 1 cup of flour for a much denser, "baked oatmeal" type of muffin. Leave out the brewer's yeast if you don't have it on hand (if you aren't specifically using these for milk production that is, if you are making the muffins to boost your system do leave the yeast in. Read this post for info!). You can vary the fruit from blueberries to any other berry, dried fruit or omit all together. They'd be delightful with some chopped nuts folded in and/or some nuts, oats, or sugar sprinkled on top. Add in some shredded unsweetened coconut, omit the banana and add an extra cup of applesauce... you get the picture!

Vegan Banana Blueberry Lactation Muffins
adapted from Knocked Up - Knocked Over

3 c. oats (1 c. blended into oat flour)
3 c. flour (can be gluten-free, whole wheat or unbleached all purpose- I used a mix of all three)
1/3 c. flax seed meal
1/3 c. brewer's yeast/nutritional yeast
1 1/2 t. baking soda
3 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1 banana, mashed
2 c. applesauce
3/4 c. oil (olive or coconut melted is best, I used canola)
3/4 c. maple syrup, agave or honey (to taste)
2 t. vanilla
2 c. coconut milk + 1 T. vinegar (or any alt milk)
1-2 c. blueberries (tossed with a bit of the flour to help them not sink to the bottom of the muffins)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk oats, flour, flax seed meal, yeast, baking soda, baking powder, salt + cinnamon in a large bowl.

Whisk (or blend in batches!) banana, applesauce, oil, maple syrup, vanilla + coconut milk in a medium bowl.

Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until almost incorporated. Fold in blueberries. Fill sprayed muffin tins and bake for ~20 minutes. Enjoy! This recipe makes 2 dozen, and extras can be easily frozen (if you can't eat them quick enough!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Vegan Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

It's been awhile! Many things going on, but most importantly, I became an Aunt again! My sister just gave birth early yesterday (was it really only a day ago?) morning to her first son, Dash. He arrived before expected and needs some TLC at the hospital still, but is doing well and they are eager to bring him home when he's ready. She was a rockstar, did the whole thing sans pain medication, and I was privileged to witness the birth. So amazing.

I decided to make my sister some muffins to help with lactation as well as help keep her energy up for a snack throughout the day, and of course I wanted some too. I needed to use what she already had in her entirely non-vegan kitchen. That means no flax seed meal, no coconut oil, no special flours or organic sugar. Oh, and it helps if a two year old can help easily (Thanks Eleanor!) Enter Vegan Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins! Oats are great for nursing mamas, and these also have no refined sugar, no dairy, whole wheat flour and are made with simple pantry ingredients. A win for everyone.

the finished product
using totally fresh nutmeg- I had to crack open the shell and everything!

Vegan Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
adapted from Jamessina

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon 
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. ginger
1/4 c. oil (I used oil, melted coconut oil would be excellent)
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 cup applesauce, unsweetened

*1/4 c. brewer's yeast or nutritional yeast (optional)
*1/4 c. flax seed meal (optional)

*Brewer's yeast, flaxseed meal and oats are the perfect trifecta for nursing moms! The first time I made these muffins without the optional yeast + flaxseed, but they are great either way. Also I did a lot of research into the difference between brewer's yeast and nutritional yeast for this recipe, and found that they both seem to be excellent for you. I could not locate brewer's yeast in the small time allotted to me for shopping before getting back to my sister's house to help babysit, so I used nutritional yeast. The main difference is that only brewer's yeast contains chromium/selenium, while only nutritional yeast contains vitamin B12. Definitely do your own research though.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Whisk dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Whisk wet ingredients in a small bowl. Add wet to dry, stir only until incorporated. Bake in a sprayed muffin tin for 15 min. Done! Easy vegan muffins that will satisfy anyone. Delicious with jam

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Vegan Links

It has been just about 3 months since I last posted, and for good reason. After several years of un and underemployment I got a full time teaching job! I am so excited about it, it's a great progressive preschool with a fantastic small staff and lots of possibility. But given that big life change, I haven't had the energy to blog or do much else besides work and rest. So with that in mind, I have a quick post today with links to some amazing Holiday appropriate recipes that we made over Thanksgiving.

I had Thanksgiving with my in-laws and at our table we had omnivores, vegans, folks eating gluten-free and some wanting to avoid sugar. We all compromised a bit and came up with a fantastic menu that was almost vegan, often gluten-free, low in sugar and all delicious! A friend came last minute with severe Celiac disease (we're talking weeks of pain with a single bite of anything glutinous) and he was able to eat a full plate of food. It made my heart feel so good to be able to meet his dietary needs without even trying. And heck, if we had known we could have de-glutenized the whole meal!

Here are some highlights:

Sweet potato & pecan cinnamon rolls, pre-rise

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cinnamon Rolls- For breakfast! I actually used canned pumpkin because we forgot to cook the sweet potatoes in time, but either way they were delicious :)

Tofu Pot Pie filling 
Vegan Tofu Pot Pie- Delicious, hearty and filling, I find this recipe equally appropriate for the holidays or a weekend meal. We added some mushrooms cooked in red wine to add richness and depth, as well.

Amazing crudite spread~ veggies, homemade hummus, gluten-free chips
Sweet Potato Casserole- A vegan version of a staple in our house for the last 13 years. I have to say, I didn't miss the eggs and cream one bit!

The whole meal, Norman Rockwell style
Cranberry Relish with dried cherries, jam, vinegar and Grand Marnier- A few more ingredients than the homemade cranberry sauce I've done in the past, but WAY more flavor. This sauce is so so good and got a lot of compliments. It is also versatile and easy to modify. We used rum for our alcohol and mixed berry jam with apple cider vinegar instead of raspberry vinegar. Also, I completely got ahead of myself and added all the ingredients at once instead of in the cooking order the recipe called for. Still worked just fine.

Tequila, thanksgiving style, cause this is how we roll in the kitchen :)
Chocolate Agave Cream Pie- Oh my. This is possibly the best chocolate pie I've ever had. Very rich and dense. I made it with only 1 box of silken tofu because we ran out which gave a denser feel to it, next time I may try following the recipe exactly for a lighter texture, but honestly this was incredible and I made it again a week later (with just 1 box of tofu) for my husband's birthday.

Gluten free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Pecan Crust, Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie and  Chocolate Agave Cream Pie (from bottom left)
Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie with Praline and Coconut-Pecan Crust- This was the best pumpkin pie I've ever had. And we didn't even make the praline topping! Next time I'd reduce the cinnamon in the crust, but only because I'm a little sensitive to cinnamon.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie- Another winner! The only thing I'd change is omitting the banana and using extra pumpkin and extra sweetener to compensate (I'm not a fan of cooked banana). The texture was brilliant and it was an absolute beauty.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie
There you have it! Go, cook, enjoy and hug your loved ones :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Cherry Crisp: sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan

I whipped this out quickly on Sunday for a little get together with some in from out of town friends. Bonus: one of them is a new vegan, too, so we had lots to chat about! I love the challenge of making recipes with less or no sugar, if only to see if they'll turn out. This definitely did work out, it definitely tastes "wholesome" and you actually taste the fruit rather than all the sugar. That's fine with me. Another Bonus: that means I can eat it for breakfast. Huzzah.

evidence of crisp as breakfast food
I had a brainstorm while making this about my grandma's peach cobbler and if I could veganize it and take out all or some of the sugar. So that is definitely in the works!

Apple Cherry Crisp: easily vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free
heavily adapted from Post Punk Kitchen

3 large apples, peeled and sliced*
1 pint cherry preserves (choose any jam flavor you like, can be sugar-free)
juice of 1 lemon (~2 T.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 T. cornstarch (or arrowroot)

*I originally chopped the apples on the chunky side and left the peel on, in the future I will peel and slice as I think it will have a better overall tooth-feel. Although certainly do what feels good to your taste!

Crisp Topping:
1 c. flour (I used barley flour, can easily use gluten-free)
1 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 c. oil (healthy oil such as light olive oil, sunflower or coconut)
1 tsp.vanilla
2-4 T. maple syrup, honey or agave to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine fruit filling ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. Preferably set this mixture aside for an hour to macerate and get the juices flowing, although not necessary.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add oil, vanilla and sweetener and stir until combined.

In an 8x8 pan add fruit mixture and cover with the topping mixture. Bake for ~45 minutes. Serve with vegan ice cream or coconut whipped cream.

before popping in the oven

Monday, September 17, 2012

You should try these!

Here are a few tried and true recipes that you should all try. They are all tested by a vegan and a non-vegan eater and are all deliciously approved.

this has nothing to do with trying new recipes. just a cat, at the farmer's market, taking a snooze.

Vegan Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili ~ Earthy, nutty, filling and easy to make! Next time I will try doing a light roast or saute on the sweet p's to give them more depth of flavor. I also added a can of diced green chilis.

Vegan Parmesan Cheese ~ Okay, so this one isn't tested and approved by two people, just me. No need for a parm substitute if you are eating cheese! But I think this stuff is indispensible and I have made it with both sesame seeds as the recipe states and walnuts. I actually like the walnuts better (even though I am not a walnut fan usually), and am going to try it with hemp seeds next time.

Deep Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie ~ Oh my. This was incredible. I made it as my birthday treat, but given that we also had 7 layer dip two ways, none of us were all that interested in dessert. It does have sugar, but look! A no-sugar version with dates to sweeten! I am going to try this one next on a non-birthday-treat day.

Vegan Mac and Cheese ~ I've tried a few versions now, and I really like this one the best. Definitely change up the seasonings until it tastes right. It sometimes feels too sweet for me, in which case I use less roasted red pepper and add lots of savory seasonings. Pepper, if you're feeling peppery, for example :)

Hot Cocoa Fudge Babies ~ Which are very very delicious and which I refuse to call by their given name. I refuse to call any food a baby of any kind. I have thus renamed them POWERBALLS. Sounds a lot stronger, huh? They will knock the socks off you and you will be better for it. I've made several of my own adaptations, coming soon.

And lastly, Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon atop Roast Sweet Potatoes ~ Long name, sounds all fancy, but really it's good old-fashioned comfort food. Think a baked potato topped with chili, only a sweet potato topped with a tangy, creamy, beany, spinach sauce. On the menu this week and I can't wait.

Now go! Cook! Make healthy things to ingest and you will feel great!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What I'm eating lately

A few of the tasty things I've been making and enjoying lately, all vegan. Loving the way eating fresh and healthy makes me feel!

 Pancakes for breakfast with blueberry sauce, using this pancake recipe.

 Lentil Sloppy Joes with homemade gherkins (sweet for him, dill for me) were outstanding!

Dude, Tom. Get off the counter, that's where the clean dishes go!

Ratatouille, done just like in the movie! It was so, SO good. I let mine hang out in a warm oven accidentally for 2 hours after it was all cooked (didn't have time to eat it after taking it out of the oven, so I put it back in on "warm" to keep it warm for when I was ready) and Hello! It got all caramelized and amazingly reduced. I liked it even better that way than when I took a bit when first pulling it out of the oven.

Vegan 7 layer dip, birthday style! (Oh man, now I'm thinking about this. Watch it, you can thank me later!) I just whipped this up, so next time I will definitely write down the recipe and make a post. I thought at first that it wouldn't satisfy the way the traditional dip always did, but happily, I was wrong. This was totally birthday-worthy!

Technically, that is a cutting board. Also not a good place for a cat!

 Tomatoes, sauced, mainly from the garden. I used this method.

Everbody's favorite: homemade, fermented, raw, gluten-free Sriracha! Fermenting as we speak for a few days and then ready for my family to inhale :) I'm working on a green jalapeno/serrano version which is also in the cupboard doing its thing, and if it goes well I'll post about that soon!

Seriously?! Always Tomming around, aren't ya?

Almond butter, homemade. I made mine un-raw by toasting the nuts in the oven a bit. And then I added salt. (Julia, remember that little girl on Letterman years ago? What did she say, 'Sometimes I like to put cucumbers on it'? =P)

That's my guy Tom. Too big to fit anywhere =)

I'll leave you with this, last night's sunset. Just as if angels had painted it.

DIY Shampoo: with castile soap and baking soda

It's been a while since I've posted and I thought I'd do a quick DIY for those of you who are interested in going a bit more natural with your products! I've joined the ranks of those who are going "No 'Poo" or "Sorta 'Poo" (for example, here and here and here), and haven't used commercial shampoo in almost a year. Do read those blogs for great info on why, how and what to expect when ditching shampoo!

I've tried a lot of variations, and this is the recipe I am currently using. It takes a little getting used to, and your hair may feel "crunchy" or dry when you get out of the shower. Depending on your hair's natural state, you can use a little coconut oil on the ends, a leave-in natural brand conditioner, or do a rinse in the shower of 1 T. apple cider vinegar to 1 c. water (best done in a spray bottle). Also, I rarely measure when I make it for myself, so definitely use these proportions as a jumping off point.

This recipe is quite thin or runny. Though I haven't tested it yet, I added 1 tsp. xantham gum (inspired by the recipe found here) to my next batch and will update after I next shampoo!

DIY Shampoo

1/3 c castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner's)
1/3-2/3 c water (depending on how soapy you want it, I tend toward the lower end)
2 t. baking soda
1tsp. coconut oil, melted
5-15 drops essential oil, if desired

In an old shampoo bottle combine baking soda and castile soap, shaking to combine.

 Then add the rest of the ingredients and shake.

Voila, you have homemade shampoo!

finished product in use!