Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pumpkin Date Muffins


Want to know what statement that makes a cook feel horrible? "I didn't know what to have for breakfast so I skipped it. And you forgot to make me a lunch so I just had ramen." Most days I do feed my husband good meals. I make him nice lunches most days and make sure there is something he can heat up for dinner (usually my leftover lunch). But some days Jack doesn't let that happen. Michael knows I am busy all day trying to care for the baby and working in the evenings. He isn't mad, and isn't the 'I expect dinner on the table at 6 sharp women!" kind of guy. But I love to cook and feed people, so hearing this was a dagger in the heart. I decided to make some freezer meals. This way there is always something to eat and it would save us money in the long run. I made 6 recipes total, so look out for the rest. Also, this recipe is also good for Baby-Led Weaning, the way we are introducing solids to Jack.

So, Michael never has to skip breakfast again. I decided to make muffins that he could eat in the car or at his desk. These muffins aren't your those fluffy cake-like store bought muffins. Do you know why Costco muffins taste so good? They aren't muffins, they are cake. You are eating giant cupcakes without frosting. Totally not the breakfast of champions!  My muffins are sweet but dense, and full of nutrition. A great way to start the day!

This recipes make 24 muffins or one 8 in by 12 in baking pan. 

Pumpkin Date Muffins
2 tbs flax seeds
4 tbs hot water
1 29 oz can of pumpkin puree
2 cups chopped dates
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tbs vital wheat gluten (or flour works fine too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray the pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the hot water and flax seeds. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the pumpkin puree and dates. Mix well.

Add the oats, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, flax seed mixture, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix until combined. It should be thick and lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin. Fill it all the way to the top, these muffins don't rise much.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden.


Eat them hot, let them cool for later, or freeze them for the rest of the week! A tasty breakfast any time.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

I have no idea if I got this recipe from somewhere. Maybe I made it up! I don't recall, but it's similar to many other Asian noodle salads. But I've made it for years. It's light but satisfying. Especially on a hot summer day (though it's September and I really over this hot weather now). Very simple to make and tastes better the longer it sits, so make a big batch for leftovers.

Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a grain that looks like a seed. It's also gluten free so soba is great alternative to for those with a gluten allergy. Buckwheat is high in fiber and manganese, and is overall a very nutritious food. Soba noodles can be served cold like in this recipe, or hot like in a soup. I've tried them both ways, but I prefer cold.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad
1 bag (12.8 oz) of Soba noodles
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp ginger, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large cucumber, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
Other options:
1 large carrot, shredded
1 cup steam shelled edamame
 1 block of extra firm tofu, drained and cubed
1 tbs toasted nori

Cook the soba noodles according the directions on the package. When done, drain well and rinse with cold water immediately. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mixed together the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes to make the dressing. Set aside.

Chop your veggies and add to a large bowl.

Add the soba noodles to the veggie bowl.

Add the dressing and mix together well.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Top with some toasted nori and enjoy!


My favorite way to make this is adding all the optional ingredients, but that will have to wait until Jack's older. I left my basic because I was sharing with my little son. We have started to introduce solids through baby-led weaning. I didn't think he was quite ready for tofu or edamame yet.

Baby approved!







Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lactation Cookies For Everybody


Check out my other blog Vegan Babymama for the story behind why I made those cookies. And two things before I get to the recipe. First, I know it says cookies but I made bars. When you have a 4 month old baby, you don't have time to be scooping out dough and baking one batch at a time. So I spread all the dough out into a pan quickly and pop it in the oven on a cooking timer so the oven would shut off when it's done. That way I could nurse Jack and not worry about anything burning. But if you have the time, these do make wonderful cookies, so by all means scoop away. Second, these cookies are not just for nursing moms. They will not make you lactate if you aren't already. I'm referring the men who reading this, seriously? You don't have functioning mammary glands! They are normal ingredients and the cookies taste great. My husband as stolen a few cookies and loves them. But if you lactating, some of these ingredients are lactrogenic, meaning they have been known to increase your milk supply. The oatmeal, flax seed, brewer's yeast, walnuts, and whole wheat flour in this recipe are all lactrogenic.

This recipe is based on these two recipes I found on Pinterest: Lactation Cookie Bars and Lactation Cookies for Nursing Moms

Lactation Cookies
1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1.5 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup hot water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 heaping tbs brewer's yeast
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (make sure they are dairy-free)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Pre-heat the oven to 350 and spray a baking pan with cooking spray. I used a 9 x 9 ceramic. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. 

In a small bowl, add the ground flax seed and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes. 

Add the flax seed mixture to the butter mixture. Mix well (though it will be very sloppy). 

Add the flour, rolled oats, brewer's yeast and baking soda the bowl. Mix well. 

Stir in the chocolate chips and salt. 

Stir in the coconut and walnuts, if using. 

Spread evenly into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Note to self: Take pic before you take a piece,
despite how amazing it smells.
These cookies really are for everyone. Don't let the title scare you away. They are high in fiber and contains good fats. Plus they are very tasty. I really suggest either the coconut or walnuts, or both! And this is a wonderful treat for nursing momma. You earned it, taking care of a baby is hard! 





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Curry Vegetable Quinoa


One day I wanted fried rice, but I had no rice. But I had quinoa though. Then I realized I had no soy sauce. But I had a ton of Indian spices. So I looked up what I could make and came across a recipe from Manjula's Kitchen called Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. It looked good so I decided to make my own version.

Curry Vegetable Quinoa
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Dash of salt
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 piece of ginger, pealed and minced
1 small white onion
Kernels from 2 ears of corn 
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces 
3/4 cup tomato juice
1 jalapeno, minced
Dash of asafetida
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cilnatro

In a small pot, add the quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. 

While that cooks, heat the coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. 

Add the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, curry powder, and chili powder. Cook for a minute, just until it becomes fragrant. 

Add the ginger and onions. Cook until the onions are soft. 

Add the corn kernels, bell pepper, and broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender. 

Once the quinoa is done, fluffy gently with a fork and let it sit for a minute. 

Add the quinoa to the skillet. 

Add the tomato juice, jalapeno, and asafetida. Stir well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with cilantro.

A flavorful Indian version of fried rice, with plenty of protein from the quinoa. No need for meat or egg!And don't be afraid to make a big batch of this, the flavors get even better the longer it sits.





Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Red Beans and Rice


One pot meals are genius invention. Whether you be busy with work, a fussy 3 month-old or both,  it's nice to still have a home-cooked meal. And even better when there is only one dish to clean!

I  came up with this one day while Jack was napping and I had a few spare moments to think about dinner. It's pretty much your standard red beans and rice dish, just with frozen kale instead of bell peppers.

Red Beans and Rice
1 lb bag of Kidney Beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
5 oz frozen kale (about half a bag)
2 cups uncooked brown rice
10 cups water or vegetable broth
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large white onion, chopped
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tbs smoked paprika
1 tps thyme
1 tps oregano
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Tabasco, to taste

Combine all ingredients--except the salt, pepper, and Tabasco-- into a large pot.

Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Cook for an hour. The beans will be soft enough to eat but still a little firm. The rice should be fully cooked. There will be a little bit of liquid left, similar to a light sauce.

Season with the salt, pepper, and Tabasco as desired!


There is something so satisfying in a classic simple meal like red beans and rice :-)






Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts


The other day Jack was super clingy and only wanted to sleep on me. I didn't have anything better to do so I let him. However, as I reached for the remote, I dropped it out of my reach. It changed to the Cooking Channel with French Food At Home. I am not a big fan of this show because she makes stuff that is really not vegan friendly, but I was not about to reach for the remote and wake Jack up. But just my luck she was making vegetarian dishes, and some really good looking ones too!

The minute she said lentils with walnuts, I knew what I was making for dinner. I followed the basics of her recipe, but changed a few things. I left out the goat cheese obviously. I did not use walnut oil because I didn't have any on hand. I also used brown lentils, not the french ones she calls for because once again, I did not have any on hand. I also added celery for some added green color.

Lentils With Toasted Walnuts
1/4 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1 cup brown lentils
1 and 1/2 cup water
1 tsp Herb de Provence
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes in the oven. They will be slightly brown and start giving off that nutty smell when ready. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the lentils, water, and Herb de Provence. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Cook until the lentils are soft and the water is all absorbed.

While that cooks, heat the oil olive in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery, cook until soft.

Add the garlic and cook for just a minute.

Add the vinegar and mix together well. Add more oil or vinegar as needed to make a very light and runny dressing (I needed a splash of each).

Once the lentils are cooked, turn off the heat. Pour the vinegar dressing over the lentils. Add the walnuts and toss together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with some more raw walnuts and a few sprigs of thyme if you have it.


We had this a big piece of bread and added a few shakes of red pepper flakes. It's very rich and filling, a lovely hearty dinner!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sweet and Tangy Baked Beans


These baked beans are incredible. No joke. And they happened to already be vegan! My mom always made baked beans this way when I was growing up. When I had just plain beans out the can at my friends' houses, I would think why? why would you eat something so boring? Michael loves them too. I could make these everyday and he wouldn't complain. I could go on and on, but please make them for yourself and see. 

This recipe makes 6 serving.


Baked Beans
55 oz can vegetarian baked beans 
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard powder 
Salt and Pepper, to taste as needed 


Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Make sure you work in the mustard powder, painful to bite into a pocket of that stuff. 

Baked for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. 


It it cool slightly before serving and then enjoy! It's a great summertime treat, I took a big tray (made 3 times the amount) to a family picnic. I love it with a juicy Tofurky Brat