Recipe: Healthy Banana Muffins

Got another breakfast blender recipe, because you know I’m obsessed with my Blendtec. In fact, this recipe was inspired by the cookbook that came with my blender. I’ve been making the original banana chocolate chip muffin recipe for years and is one of my son’s favorites. The first  change I made was to put a few chocolate chips on top of each muffin instead of mixing them throughout the batter — but then I noticed that Evan would only eat the top of the muffin and abandon the rest. So I went back to the drawing board.

I figured that if the muffins themselves weren’t enough enticement to get Evan to eat the entire thing, I might as well tweak the recipe to make them as healthy as possible so at least my babies and I would get the good stuff. If I could convince him to eat up, then that was a bonus. (We have an extremely selective eater on our hands, folks. Sometimes we take what we can get.)

Email BoxThe first thing I did was swap out a few less-than-healthy ingredients for whole-foods, plant-based ingredients. Then I decided that if chocolate chips are the key to getting Evan to eat, I was willing to go with it. So instead of plopping a few big ones on top, I’d mix a few mini chocolate chips throughout each muffin. This way the amount of chocolate is about the same, maybe less even, but he has an incentive to keep eating once he was done with the muffin top. The result? Fluffy, moist, healthy whole-wheat muffins that my whole family will eat. Win! Continue reading

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Recipe: Hold-the-Tuna Salad

Here’s a fresh, tasty lunch idea that will appeal to you meat-free folks: tuna salad minus the tuna, with all the flavor and fixin’s of the original but completely vegan. Instead of tuna, the base is made of nuts and seeds, soaked, chopped and flaked to mimic the texture of tuna salad to a T.

When I excitedly tried to share this recipe with some of my family members, they eyed me dubiously and said, “Why don’t you just use tuna?” A valid point, I suppose.

For me the answer is simple: Because I don’t like tuna, or any other fish. I never have. Plus, I don’t like mayo. That’s two strikes right there, no need to go for a third. Continue reading

The secret to cooking brown rice (and why you should switch)

Do you know the difference between white rice and brown rice? (Did you even know there is a difference?)

The simple answer is, white rice is brown rice that’s been processed. White rice has been milled so that the bran and much of the germ has been removed, according to Organic Authority, “reducing fiber and nutrient content drastically. The grain is further polished to take away the remaining layer of germ (called the aleurone layer) which contains essential oils.” Since the nutrients have been stripped, white rice is often “fortified,” meaning that manufacturers go back and add in synthetic vitamins and minerals, making them even more processed and far less natural.

Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain. Only the outer layer (the inedible husk or the hull) has been removed, so all the nutrients are still intact. No further processing necessary.

 

Rice Continue reading

Recipe roundup: 3 savories and a life-changing sweet

The thing I am asked most frequently about my whole foods, plant-based diet (aside from, “So, wait, are you vegan now?”) is for tasty new recipes. This is reassuring, actually, because it must mean I’m not considered some crazy, crunchy health-food nut after all — that there’s actually a very broad interest in cooking fresh, homemade food, and that people trust me enough not to lead them astray in my recommendations.

Well, I’m happy to oblige. Here’s a look at three savory dinner recipes and one sweet treat that I’ve made in the past few months that I thought were just delicious, along with notes on any changes I may have made. More to come!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup from Choosing Raw

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Photo credit: ChoosingRaw.com

 

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Undercover Vegan Eggnog

There are some things you just can’t live without at Christmas. Invariably, many of these cherished traditions center around food. And why not? The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family, laughing and telling stories (and for us, playing games that have a tendency to get a little, shall we say, irreverent). In my opinion, it’s not a time for counting calories; it’s a time for being merry and enjoying all the season has to offer.

But now that I’ve discovered just how much my body dislikes dairy, I was heartbroken to think I’d have to skip out on my mom’s famous eggnog this year. Seriously, if I were an emotional woman, tears might have been shed. This is how much I love her eggnog — creamy, rich, frothy, delicious eggnog — and how much I couldn’t live without it this Christmas. Continue reading

A whole day of whole foods

One of the biggest hurdles to switching to a healthy foods lifestyle is, quite obviously, knowing how to eat. More specifically, it’s hard figuring out how to get from where you are to where you want to be — or even what that ideal looks like.

There are a lot of really great diets out there, but even more that are just nonsense recycled year after year. (I mean, you do realize that Paleo is just the Atkins diet with new marketing, right?) What makes sense to me is whole foods and clean eating. There are a lot of ways that people define these two terms (check out 100 Days of Real Food for some great info), but basically it just means you try to eat actual food that’s grown out of the ground, plain and simple. Nothing processed, no chemicals, and often without any animal products. The goal is to keep the food in as close to its natural state as possible, because the more you break down a food item, the more nutrients it loses. Continue reading

3 new ways to eat hummus

I really like the idea of hummus. It’s easy to make, goes great with veggies or crackers, is a bit exotic, and is packed with protein. But the thing is, I don’t actually like it.

Despite my efforts, I can’t get over the fact that it’s just mashed garbanzo beans — and I hate garbanzo beans. They may sound all cute when called “chickpeas,” but they’re not fooling this girl. In fact, I really dislike pretty much any and all legumes. It’s the texture, not necessarily the taste (though there’s not much to love in the taste department, either).

Since switching to a mostly plant-based diet, I make the sacrifice for the sake of protein. I’ve tried several variations of the basic chickpeas-olive oil-garlic-cumin-lemon juice recipe, which are fine but not fabulous for me. But that all changed when I stumbled onto some alternative hummus recipes that I am shocked to say I not only love, but crave. Like, can’t-stop-thinking-about-it, gotta-get-to-the-store-NOW-to-buy-more-chickpeas kind of crave. I even made up a new recipe myself, which is officially my favorite hummus ever. And now I’d like to share these gems with you. Continue reading