Saturday, June 2, 2012

Hard Breakfast Oatmeal

 This morning I used up the last bit of my beloved almond milk to make oatmeal.  There wasn't enough milk left to put in almond milk in the usual ratio of 2 parts milk to 1 part oats, so I improvised and just used what I had on hand.  I think the ratio was 1 to 1.5 parts milk to 1 part oats.  The result was a delicious oatmeal, in which the oats were nicely cooked and somewhat moist and yet I could taste each oat separately.  What a tasty textural variation on the standard breakfast oatmeal!  I will definitely be making oats this way again!

To follow suit, you will need:
  • rolled oats
  • milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  • cinnamon (optional)
  1. Mix rolled oats and milk in a ratio of approximately 1-1.5 parts milk for each part oats.
  2. Microwave for 2 minutes, or until oats achieve desired level of doneness.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.
  4. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wild Rice Pilaf with Goldenberries

 Mmmmm...  Salty, tart and yet slightly sweet, chewy, wholesome, original, filling, and beautiful, this wild rice pilaf is truly a keeper recipe.  The addition of dry goldenberries to the dish makes it just that much more delicious and unique.  The goldenberries plump out while cooking but intensify in flavor, becoming sweeter and nicely complementing the savoriness of the rice.  The pilaf comes out tasting like you've spent hours slaving over a hot stove.  Who knew it could be so easy to prepare it?

To make the pilaf, you will need:
  • 1-1.5 cups of wild rice
  • 2 oz. or so of dried goldenberries
  • sweetener to taste (optional, I used one packet of stevia)
  • 1-2 cubes of vegetable bullion
  • 3-4 cups milk of choice (I used almond)
  1. Put everything into a small (1.5 qt) slow cooker.  Be sure the cooker is 2/3 full.  If you want to use a different size cooker, scale your ingredients accordingly.
  2. Cook on low until the wild rice achieves a desired level of doneness.
  3. Stir well.
  4. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Strawberry Mocha!

Sometimes it's the most brilliant of ideas which remain hidden in plain sight.  Such is no doubt true of the strawberry mocha.  Chocolate is of course polyamorous, and we've always known it to pair well with strawberries and with coffee.  Raspberry lattes have been en vogue for ages.  Why do we not, then, fancy strawberry lattes?  And so it was with a sudden epiphany that I read that a strawberry latte was available at local cafe, and I ordered it.  Instant, sugary and caffeinated bliss!

I will certainly make another one for myself later, using SF strawberry syrup (such as Torani), unsweetened almond milk, instant coffee granules, and unsweetened cacao powder.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Simple Italian White Bean Stew

I was craving a good old fashioned bowl of paste e fagioli, the Italian pasta and white bean soup with tomatoes that is so very good and served at most Italian joints.  Having no pasta on hand and limited prep time, I came up with this healthy slow cooker dish, which turned out to be quite tasty, satisfying, and much healthier than the original.  To make the soup you will need:

  • 1 cup Dry white beans (I used fava, I think)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used frozen chopped tomatos)
  • Garlic powder, salt, oregano, and black pepper to taste
  • 1 spoonful of oil of choice (olive oil works well here)
  1. Rinse and sort the white beans and add them to the slow cooker (I recommend a 1.5 quart cooker here - if you wish to use a larger crockpot, you'll want to scale the quantities of everything else accordingly).
  2. Add tomatoes and a few shakes of the salt and spices, going a bit heavier on the garlic than on the others.
  3. Add the oil and 3 cups or so of water to the pot.
  4. Cook on low until the beans are tender.
  5. Adjust the seasoning to taste.  You will probably want to add extra garlic, salt, and pepper.
  6. Enjoy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Magical Mint Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa for breakfast is always fun and creamy.  I decided to jazz it up recently with some mint.  The mint flakes made this all natural filling breakfast taste light and refreshing as well as satisfying.  Make some now!  You will need:
Quinoa of choice (I used basic white/yellow quinoa)
  • Milk of choice (I used almond)
  • Sweetener of choice
  • Mint flakes
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • Vanilla (optional) 
  1. Rinse and sort the quinoa, and then place it in the slow cooker with milk in a ratio of approximately 1 part quinoa to 3 or 4 parts milk, and so the slow cooker is ~3/4 full (note that this is a greater ratio of milk to quinoa than prescribed on most boxes, to get a soft, pudding-type consistency; if you want a more traditional quinoa texture, follow box directions for the proportion of milk to quinoa).
  2. Add remaining ingredients to taste.
  3. Cook on low overnight or until soft and creamy.
  4. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. 
  5. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Citrus Garlic Broccolli

 Wow, this stuff is good!  This broccoli recipe has transformed me from a broccoli fearing, wannabe vegetarian into an absolute broccoli fiend.  Seriously.  It's salty, tangy, garlicky, crunchy, and, for added addictiveness, can even be a tad sweet.  I prefer this to french fries and find that if I don't make it for a few days, I start to really crave it.  I make this recipe at least a few times a week, and each time I do, I eat a whole plate of broccoli at once!  Inspired by the best vegan broccoli of my life, I took things one step further to simplify.  This is even better than the previous version!  This is my go-to, healthy, lazy, deeeleeeeshous ahhhmazing broccoli for busy, daily life.

To share in the glory of this broccoli dish, you will need:

Washed and chopped broccoli (the pre-washed and dried bags at the grocery store work really well here; if you insist on washing everything yourself, be sure you dry the broccoli quite thoroughly before roasting it!)

  • Nonstick olive oil spray or olive oil, or both
  • Salt (I used sea salt)
  • Pepper (I used freshly ground pepper)
  • Garlic (either thinly sliced or chopped fresh cloves or powder)
  • Citrus fruit of choice (lemon or orange work wonders here)

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Cover sheet with broccoli and garlic.  
  4. Spray everything again, generously to coat (or toss with some olive oil - more fatty but very delicious!)
  5. Salt and pepper everything.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or so, or until the outer edges of the broccoli are crisp and brown.
  7. Cut the citrus fruit of choice in half and squeeze the juice over the broccoli.
  8. Toss to coat.  Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. Enjoy!

Psychedelic broccoli?  I inverted the colors using Picasa for this photo.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Coconut Quinoa Pudding

This is a healthy, creamy breakfast pudding, reminiscent of a rice pudding.  Unlike standard white rice pudding, this pudding is made from nutrient-rich quinoa, so comes with loads of protein and fiber.  The flavors are pretty comparable, and the texture is a little more creamy than standard rice pudding.  To make the pudding, you will need:

  • Quinoa of choice, uncooked (I used basic white quinoa)
  • Milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  • Coconut flakes
  • Sweetener of choice (I used a mix of stevia and agave)
  • Ground ginger
  • Vanilla (optional)
  • 2-3 Green cardamom pods

  1. Fill small (1.5 quart) crockpot until 2/3 full with quinoa and milk, with approximately 1 part quinoa to 3 or 4 parts milk 
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients to taste
  3. Cook on low overnight or on medium or high heat for a few hours, until the pudding is soft and creamy.
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings; sprinkle with some extra coconut flakes.
  5. Enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Pancake Milk Shake

Behold the ultimate healthy comfort food: the pancake milkshake.

This thick and creamy, high protein, sugar-free maple shake was born out of a mostly empty kitchen and some desperation.

It's been a busy few weeks, with less time than usual for fiddling around in the kitchen.  I also hadn't been able to go food shopping as much as I would have liked to, either.  So left without my go to breakfast cereals, limited time, and an overwhelming craving for comfort food, I began to experiment.  This shake is the delicious result of a few quick minutes of mixing one morning.  I highly recommend this shake!

You will need:
  • Milk of choice (I used unsweetened almond)
  • Unsweetened soy protein powder (either plain or vanilla would work)
  • Maple syrup of choice (I used a sugar free variety)

Stir everything together and enjoy!  If desired, swirl in some extra maple syrup after you have mixed everything together.  The soy protein powder has a dry and flour-y consistency that makes this shake thick and satisfying.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Deep Chocolate Truffles

 I'm a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, so as soon as I saw her recipe for fudge babies and friends, I knew I wanted in.  They're easy, healthy, natural, and delicious.  So one day, when I get a super high powered blender and can pulverize some walnuts, I totally plan to make them.  Several varieties of them.  However, until then, I'll be making this recipe and calling on the same CCK concepts and deliciousness in spirit.  This recipe yields a truffle that's pretty tasty in its own right.  Your truffles will also be rich and delicious.  As with the originals, you'll need no added sugar and no blender.  You only need:
  • Almond butter (choose a variety according to taste - e.g. salty or not, roasted or not...)
  • Mashed dates (if they are difficult to mash to the consistency of applesauce, soak them for a few hours first)
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Special Dark for rich color)
  • Instant coffee powder (optional, for a mocha flavor)
  1. Mix the first three ingredients in approximately equal portions with a fork (possibly use less cocoa depending on how bitter you like things, a little goes a long way here) until a chocolatey batter forms.  
  2. Taste and adjust the proportions, adding some coffee granules if desired.
  3. Role into balls.
  4. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Creamy Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Quinoa

This is one of the healthier, more filling breakfast meals I have had in a while.  Quinoa is a delicious seed that tastes a lot like a grain.  The consistency of this quinoa dish is much more like a porridge or oatmeal than a traditional quinoa.  Imagine wholesome, nutty quinoa, just more creamy than you might be used to, and mixed with cinnamon and sugar.  Yum!

Surprisingly, it's also one of the easier hot breakfasts to put together.  You will need:

  • Quinoa
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • Sweetener of choice, to taste (I used stevia)
  • Salt to taste (a dash is usually enough)
  • Milk of choice (I used unsweeteend almond milk)
  • Fruit topping (optional, I used grapes)

  1. Inspect and rinse the quinoa (some boxes come pre-washed, and if so this step is unnecessary).
  2. Combine all ingredients in a small slow cooker (I used a 1.5 quart slow cooker).  You will want to use more milk/liquid for each serving of quinoa than recommended on box instructions, probably 1.5 to 2 times as much and possibly even more than that.  
  3. Cook on low overnight or until creamy.  Overcooking a bit is okay, just make sure that your cooker is sufficiently fully (2/3+) so that nothing gets burnt.
  4. Adjust seasoning.  Serve with sliced fruit, if desired.
  5. Enjoy!  It's yummy hot or cold.

I ate the entire portion, but it did make quite a lot, and I would imagine for those with smaller appetites or serving bowls it might serve two.  If you have any leftovers, this should keep for 2-3 days in the fridge, and tastes pretty good cold as well.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Three Ingredient Quinoa Biscuits

These biscuits are delicious served warm and topped with coconut butter.
These biscuits are easy to make and quite good. They come out of the oven quickly and have a lovely golden color, a soft and crumbly texture, and a mild flavor.  Oh, and they happen to be pretty healthy too - each biscuit has approximately 130 calories!  You can make the biscuits in muffin tins (this was originally supposed to be a muffin recipe but the result was more biscuit like).  The biscuits require only three ingredients: quinoa flour, baking powder, and Sprite.  The Sprite works surprisingly well here - it has hints of citrus which make the biscuits taste a bit lighter than they might have otherwise, as they contain dense quinoa flour.  You can easily make a lower-calorie version if you substitute a sugar-free or diet soda for the Sprite.

You will need:

  • 3 cups of quinoa flour (you can make your own if you can't find it)
  • 2-3 spoonfuls of baking powder
  • Salt to taste (optional, recommended)
  • 12 oz of Sprite (I used one of the glass bottles where the soda is made with sugar rather than corn syrup.  Any lemon-lime or citrus flavored soda, including diet, would probably work well here)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Add Sprite and stir until blended.  You should get a pretty thick dough.  If you don't plan on serving topped with some melted butter or oil, you may want to mix some into the batter as well.
  4. Pour batter into 12 lined or greased muffin tins.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  6. Enjoy!  They taste even better the next day.  You can split a biscuit with a knife, then nuke the biscuit halves in the microwave for 20 seconds or until warm, and then spread with some coconut butter, or better yet a salted coconut butter!

This stack of biscuits was actually much more stable than it looked!

See the nice, crumbly golden tops?

Nice texture.  Yum!

Biscuit, unwrapped!

Really, the best way to serve them - with melted salty coconut butter on top!