Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thick n Easy Blueberry Smoothie - Vegan

One of our favorite things to prepare for breakfast on the weekend is a thick blueberry smoothie.  It is filling enough that it has even been dinner on a weeknight when we don't feel like cooking or don't want a large meal.

Since we own a Vitamix, I have not tried this recipe in a regular blender. Due to the density of the ingredients and thickness of the resulting smoothie I suggest a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, otherwise you may want to half it and make it in two batches.

This recipe makes approximately 5 cups - two large meal-sized portions.


2 fresh ripe Bananas
1-1/2 cups frozen Blueberries
2 cups crushed Ice
1/2 block Silken Tofu
1 cup Soy Milk or other dairy free milk
2-3 Tbsp pure Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1.  In high speed blender add all ingredients and blend until smooth.  I use the smoothie setting on the Vitamix and let it run its course.  Use the tamper to make sure everything is blending.  Add a little more soy milk if it seems too thick.

Pour and enjoy.  

*  I have also made a smoothie substituting frozen raspberries, but prefer the blueberry flavor. 

**Adding a small cored apple will also increase the nutrient value and add a little sweetness.

- Bon Appetit

"Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries are true super foods. Naturally sweet and juicy, berries are low in sugar and high in nutrients - they are among the best foods you can eat." - Joel Fuhrman

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies - Gluten Free & Vegan

I have been playing a bit with a recipe.  I don't mind making a few batches of cookies to get something right, and I don't think hubby minds too much either.

This recipe is loosely based on one a friend gave me, which she got from the Dr. Oz website, I believe.  I have adapted it for gluten free and also changed some of the ingredients such as from vegetable oil to coconut oil.

I am pleased with the results.

One of the things that I noticed as the recipe has evolved is that it works best when the pumpkin puree is chilled.  So before you make this recipe put the can in the refrigerator overnight if you have time.  It really does make a better cookie.  The dough is stiffer and you can roll them into balls instead of dropping by gooey tablespoons onto the cookie sheet.  A can of pumpkin puree will make three of these batches.

I also use raw sugar for the recipe.  It gives the cookies some additional texture, as the crystals do not completely dissolve.  Feel free to use regular organic cane sugar in its place if you prefer.  

Makes 18-20 good sized cookies.


3/4 cup Raw Sugar
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree, chilled
1 tsp pure Vanilla
1/4 cup Coconut Oil, melted
3/4 cup Quick Oats
1 cup all-purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend such as Bob's Red Mill
1/4 tsp Xantham Gum
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 cup mini semi sweet Chocolate Chips (vegan of course)


1.  Preheat oven to 350˚F (176˚C) and spray two baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  In large mixing bowl combine raw sugar, pumpkin puree and vanilla.  Set aside.

3.  In smaller bowl combine oats, flour, xantham gum, baking soda, salt, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and chocolate chips.  Use a whisk to combine thoroughly.

4.  Melt coconut oil in the microwave.  I find 30 seconds is sufficient.  Add melted oil to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.  It takes a bit of stirring to get the oil worked in. Do the best you can.

5.  Add flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir until incorporated.  If it feels a little dry work it with your hands.

6.  Using a tablespoon break off bits of dough and shape into balls.  I placed them in three rows of three on each baking sheet.  If you get more than 18 cookies, just fit the extras in where you can.  Your hands may get a little sticky.

(Balls of dough pressed with moistened spatula, ready for the oven)
5.  Take a rubber spatula and press down slightly on the dough to flatten.  You may need to moisten the spatula with a little water every few cookies.

6.  Bake in the preheated over for 12-13 minutes until golden brown and set.  Rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack using a metal spatula.

(Ready for eating - get in my belly)

- Bon Appetit

Sometimes me thinks 'what is a friend?', and then me say, 'friend is someone to share the last cookie with'. - Cookie Monster.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Perfect Roasted Vegetables

One of my all time favorite meals is to roast assorted veggies in the oven.  I make them for dinner at least once a week.  Over the years I have varied the time of roasting and/or the oven temperature, but I have used the following method the last few years and I am happy with the results.

When making the veggies as a side dish, I do not usually include an extra protein.  Though most often I make it as the main meal and add either tempeh, tofu, or veggies sausages.  I used tempeh in these pictures and I tossed the cubes in sesame ginger salad dressing prior to roasting.

Use whatever veggies you have on hand or are in season.  


INGREDIENTS:  Use any combination of the following or what you have on hand.
12-15 Brussels Sprouts (halved if large)
1 large Potato, cubed  (I like Sweet Potato)
1.5 cups Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
6-8 Crimini Mushrooms, halved
6-8 cloves of Garlic, peeled
1 small Zucchini, sliced in chunks
12 mini/baby Carrots
1 Bell Pepper - any color, cored and sliced into chunks
1.5 cups Cauliflower florets
1 Onion, cut into wedges
*  Tempeh, Tofu, or Veggie Sausages (such as Tofurky or Field Roast) cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp Herbs d'Provence
1 tsp granulated Garlic
pinch of ground Sumac Berries
fresh ground Black Pepper
Sprinkle of Sea Salt


1.  Heat oven to 425˚F (218˚C).  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with olive oil or other non-stick cooking spray.  If I am wanting to make a really large batch so we have leftovers for lunches the next day, I will also use another small pan that will fit in the oven with the baking sheet and cook extra.

2.  Place all of the desired veggies in one layer on the pans.

3.  Spray lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

(Ready for the oven)
4.  Place in oven for 11-12 minutes.  Take out, stir and flip veggies with a rubber spatula and place in oven for an additional 11-12 minutes. (Note - A metal spatula has a tendency to rip the foil)

5.  Serve while warm.

(Ready for eating)
*  If you have a small amount of leftovers but not enough for a meal, cook some pasta such as farfalle or penne and toss with the warmed leftover veggies and a vinaigrette for a simple pasta salad.

- Bon Appetit

" There is nothing I like more than picking fresh vegetables then putting them in the dinner you make that night." - Patrick Duffy