)Healthy Plant-Based Breakfast
When I bake it involves butter, eggs, sugar, and cream. And lots of of it. Usually that is until now when I made vegan almond cranberry breakfast cookies. No eggs, butter, or sugar involved in making these cookies.
As I move into plant-based eating, I need to evolve my thoughts on baked goods. The plant-based model discourages most of the ingredients used in traditional baking in western culture. While it is easier to be creative in making veggie dinners or as I say winging it, my confidence in vegan baking didn’t exist. I started following some plant-based blogs. One was Flora & Vino where I came across their recipe for a cranberry almond breakfast cookie. Intrigued I printed it out. (Check out Flora & Vino blog and give them some love.)
The first ingredient was a flax egg. OK? A flax egg? What on earth is that? Turns out it isn’t scary. All it is flax seed ground and water whipped together then left to sit for 5 minutes to gel. It was pretty cool.
Make Your Own Flour
The ingredients for this almond cranberry breakfast cookie are pretty simple: flax egg, banana, sunflower butter, maple syrup, rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds. My pantry is pretty well stocked. I had all of the ingredients except for oat flour. I went to the stores to find it, but no one had it. That’s when I went to the Googles and looked up how to make oat flour. Guess what? All it is is rolled oats put through a blender. That’s it so that’s what I did. I got out my trusty decades old Braun Handmixer using an attachment I had never used before: the little chopper bowl. In 15 seconds I had oat flour. I am now kicking myself for buying almond flour when I could have made my own. So live and learn.
These cookies were amazing. So tasty. I didn’t miss the eggs, butter, and cane sugar. Such a yummy treat that even got a thumb’s up by my guys those my son said they were good, but not his favorite. I’m still counting it as a win.
A great grab and go with some tea to start the day off running. For more vegan recipes.
Almond Cranberry Breakfast Cookies
- - 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoon water)
- - 1 banana, smashed
- - ½ cup sunflower butter
- - ½ cup pure maple syrup
- - 1 cup gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
- - ¾ cup gluten-free oat flour
- - ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- - ½ tsp baking powder
- - ½ cup dried cranberries
- - ½ cup slivered almonds
- - Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- - In a large mixing bowl, whisk up the flax egg and allow to sit for ~5 minutes to gel.
- - Smash the banana in the same bowl and add in the sunflower butter and maple syrup.
- - Mix in the rolled oats, oat flour, cinnamon, and baking powder and stir well to combine.
- - Add in the cranberries and almonds.
- - Drop batter onto the baking sheet using the 1/4 measuring cup making 15 cookies.
- - Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown underneath and around the edges.
- Reminder: Cool before serving. Store leftover cookies in the fridge for up to one week and freeze for long term storage.
Mushroom Lentil Stew Over Mashed Potatoes
This mushroom lentil stew will have your meat lovers thinking they are eating a hearty meaty meal. It is a perfect dinner on a wintery night. While it is hearty and meaty, the meaty part is the combination of lentils and mushrooms. No meat involved.
My life right now is about keeping it simple and quick. This recipe fills the bill. It can be made in 30 or so minutes. Mushrooms are a quick pick up from the grocery. I always have little yellow potatoes in the pantry. They are easy to half and I don’t have to peel. The rest of the ingredients should be in the pantry.
Mushroom lentil stew over mashed potatoes is vegetarian. I’m sure it can be made vegan with some adjustments. For right now I’m happy using soy sauce, butter, and milk in small quantities. I make my own mashed potatoes which is just boiling halved baby yellow potatoes in salt water for 25 mins, draining, adding salt/pepper, butter, milk, then mashing. Or you can buy ready made potatoes. Up to you.
This meal is stick to your ribs comfort food. It is now in our regular rotation and wanted by my guys. Need more plant-based recipes, then go here.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped shallot
- 2 cups sliced baby Bella, cremini or button mushrooms
- 1-2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- Pinch Kosher salt
- Generous turn of the pepper grinder
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2/3 cup dry green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- Add oil to a large pan over medium heat
- Sauté shallot until soft, stirring occasionally
- Add mushrooms and soy sauce increasing heat to medium-high
- Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a pinch of salt and pepper
- Add thyme, lentils, and 2 cups vegetable broth.
- Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat then reduce heat to a simmer and cook on low for about 20 minutes, adding more broth as needed if the mixture looks dry.
- Make Mashed Potatoes
- Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water so they are just submerged
- Bring to a boil on high heat and cook for 25 minutes
- Drain potatoes then add back to pot
- Season with salt, pepper, butter, and milk mashing until tender and fluffy.
The slow cooker has saved the day many times over the past three months. Slow Cooker Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry has been to the rescue a couple times one. I kept buying butternut squash saying I’m going to make x or y, but then it just sits there in the fridge with the great potential to end up in the compost bin. It is a simple and quick recipe to throw in the slow cooker then forget about it until you need to make the rice or heat the naan.
Now back to my slow cooker saving the day. This year has flown by and I have been on it by the seat of my pants. Between managing a busy family, working at the lighthouse foundation, servicing my public relations clients, attending graduate school, and launching a new business, let’s just say cooking hasn’t been top of my action list. We are attempting to eat well while adding plant-based meals without resorting to pizza or Chinese delivery. And we have done that more than we would like to admit since September. The slow cooker provided us with hot wholesome meals after long days.
This recipe is made with simple ingredients, but packs a lot of flavor. It isn’t spicy nor sweet. Just a nice balance of flavors. Add rice or naan to round it out. I buy the pre-cut butternut squash. I have no patience to peel then cut one up so I do the pre-cut.
If you are looking to add more plant-based meals to your diet then this is a good one to start with since it is so flavorful.
Slow Cooker Chickpea Butternut Squash Curry
- 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
- 2 T curry powder
- 1 T minced garlic
- 2T grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 14.5 oz can chickpeas, drained
- 1 small butternut squash (about 2.5-3 lb), peeled and diced or sweet potato
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Combine all ingredients except for cilantro in the slow cooker
- Cover and set to LOW
- Cook 8 hours
- Add chopped fresh cilantro
- Serve over rice
Don’t Waste, Make Apple Sauce
We buy bulk organic apples. They are great to have on hand for quick and easy snacks. Sometimes we aren’t the best at eating them in a timely matter. They tend to start going soft making them not great to grab and go. While we could put them in the compost bin, I usually make apple sauce instead. Why waste them when you still can create something yummy?
Let’s talk about waste.
Turns out the wasting of food is a global problem. According to the World Food Program USA, nearly one-third of all food produced each year is spoiled before it can be consumed. It is noted that between 30 to 40 percent of the US food supply is wasted. That comes out to be roughly 20 pounds of food per person per month. Yes, 20 pounds per person per month. That’s shocking to me, but yet I can see that happening.
I try to use everything I buy especially fresh produce, but more times than I’d like to admit, a lot of it goes into the compost bin. I am embarrassed by this and I need to change how I meal plan and shop. We try to do the right thing with having a compost bin to cut down on what is going to the landfill and a rain barrel to collect water to use on plants.
I buy too much food. It is so easy to do so in the US with prepackaged produce and retail warehouse clubs. I go into these places with good intentions that I’m going to make this or that. And, well, the making of the meal doesn’t happen. I’m usually good at making something else, but sometimes the produce gets stuck in my veg bin.
Changing how I shop.
I need to change how I plan meals and shop. Going to the grocery store once a week is really convenient. We lead busy lives. I work part-time, run a business, go to graduate school, and volunteer outside of being a wife and mother. I need to make cutting food waste a priority. Not only for the planet but our budget. We’re on a tight budget right now so food wasted is money wasted.
I’ve tried to meal plan, but my changes taste on a daily basis. I look forward to dinner every night. That is the highlight of my food day so I have to really want it. And often meals changes as my taste of something does. It is hard to explain. I should do groceries every other day and pick loose produce over the pre-packaged.
Back to the Apple Sauce
Now back to the apple sauce. It is very easy and quick to do. Peel and chop the apples then add them to a pot with water, sugar, and cinnamon cooking until apples are soft. It doesn’t matter what kind of apples. I just use what I have on hand which is usually Gala apples. You can cut down on the sugar if you’d like just maybe add more cinnamon to keep the flavor high.
If you like the apple sauce, try the Cranberry Chutney.
- 4 apples cored, peeled, and chopped
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Place apples in sauce pan with sugar, water, and cinnamon.
- Stir until mixed.
- Cook over medium heat until apples are soft usually 20-30 minutes.
- Store in glass jar in fridge.
Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas Breaks the Cabbage Image
Cabbage. This vegetable has an image problem. Cabbage, like many vegetables, has a bad reputation. It has been cooked to death without much thought to flavor. It is known as dreary, boring veg that is served in gulags. It was a poor person’s food. Easily available and cheap. Plenty of butter and salt makes it ok to eat. Back in the day, spices were a luxury, but it is 2019 and spices are abundant. So let’s move away from cabbage boiled to mush. There are other ways to prepare cabbage where you will want to eat it. Without being threatened that there will be no dessert until you finish it.
Sometimes I just buy veg at Aldi on a whim and cabbage was my most recent purchase. I do like a challenge. I had an idea to use a recipe out of the Thug Kitchen for roasted cabbage, but I decided to go South Asian with a curry base. Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas breaks the cycle of bland and boiled. While it is soft, it is bursting with flavor and color. If you are trying to cut down on rice, then this is a good substitute in texture if you chop it finely enough. I used my food processor. It was efficient getting the pieces to a perfect size for quick cooking.
While I love kitchen gadgets, none of my kitchens have been big as well as moving a lot, I have had to be very selective with my gadgets. My Kitchen Aid food processor is twenty or so odd years old and I am glad I have it. It is a workhorse making hummus, sauces, and shredding veg. Gadgets have to have a purpose and used weekly for me to keep them in the kitchen or at all. Guess I am the Marie Kondo of kitchen stuff. My list of must-have for the kitchen is electric tea kettle, slow cooker, toaster oven, stand mixer, air fryer, and food processor. I do not own a hand mixer, an electric can opener nor juicer.
Fried Cabbage and Peas
Back to the Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas. This recipe was quick and simple. Cabbage, cumin seeds, coriander, paprika, salt, pepper, fresh ginger, and green peas. All should be pantry items. I use fresh ginger in a bottle. It is just great to have on hand ready to go into a recipe. Same with bottle minced garlic. All the flavor without the fuss.
While Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas can be the main dish if you add another veg dish such as Okra Tomato Curry. Instead of rice, I served this with Coconut Cilantro Curry Grilled Chicken.
Indian Fried Cabbage and Peas
- 1 Cabbage, shredded or finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive or veg oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin Seeds
- 1 inch ginger, grated or a tablespoon of squeezable ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 cup frozen or fresh Green Peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a pan over med-high heat and add cumin seeds and ginger sautéing for a minute
- Add cabbage, paprika, coriander powder and salt mixing well
- Add 1/4 cup water.
- Cover the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes till the cabbage is tender.
- Add in the green peas and cook for another minute or too.
Homemade Hummus Made Fresh
Hummus is a quick and delicious snack or meal. It is easy to stop at the grocery store picking up a tub. While store-bought is good, hummus made fresh is the best. When you make it yourself, it just tastes so much better and you can adjust it to your tastes. Everyone has their own recipe for hummus.
Reader’s Digest Hummus
My hummus recipe came from an old Reader’s Digest magazine. The page is crumbled and covered in stains of olive oil and tahini it has been used so much. You’d think I’d have it memorized after all of those years, but I still need it. The hummus recipe was to be used for a healthy fried chicken recipe so it wasn’t as creamy. While I have that fried chicken recipe, I’ve never made it. I just use the hummus recipe. Maybe sometime soon I’ll make that chicken recipe since it does look rather tasty. I may try it in the Air Fryer.
The recipe wasn’t creamy, but more stick to the chicken kind and that’s what it is designed to do. It was tasty but creamy and smooth hummus is so nice. I had to modify it. Not a fan of the overpowering flavor of garlic, I keep the garlic under control only using one small clove since I’m pretty sure Newport does not have a vampire problem. I add spices like cumin into the mix. I’m generous with all the other ingredients. What I have found the key to the smooth hummus is ice cubes. You blend them in one at a time until you get the texture you want. Now there is a huge debate with the Middle East as to who invented it and who makes it the best.
Not Just for Pretzels
While it is a dip, it makes a delicious spread as the filling of a fresh simple roasted Vegetable Hummus Tart. Serviced with a salad, it makes for a simple yet stunning dinner. It can also be a side such as with Imam Bayildi or Turkish Eggplant Tomato Casserole, pita, and a salad. At BJ’s, the stock really pitas. There are big, soft, and chewy which brings the whole meal together. Simple, fresh, healthy foods.
- 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 Tablespoon Tahini
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 1 Teaspoon cumin
- 1 Teaspoon paprika
- 3-5 ice cubes
- Combine all ingredients in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth adding an ice cube for desired creaminess.