Tag Archives: banana

VegWeek Day 1, Breakfast Quinoa

25 Sep

VegWeek - Pledge to go Veg, Sept 25-Oct 2, 2011

It’s that time of year again, time for Veg Week! Since last year’s blogs, I’ve grown to love veggies in a big way, learned to eat more simply, and simply eat less. I’m still firmly in the “flexitarian” bracket, but more conscious than ever. I have gotten to the point where eating meat more than once a day feels weird. I’d like to get down to eating it once or twice a week.

The thing I really struggle with, though, is dairy. Dairy in all its many forms – butter, heavy cream, yogurt, and cheese (okay, and the occasional ice cream) are staples in my diet. I have a sneaking suspicion that I don’t process them well, but with the exception of almond milk, the vegan alternatives haven’t really interested me. So to challenge myself this week, I’m going to do just that – go vegan.

Besides recipes, I’ll be sharing useful websites, books, documentaries, and other information about animal rights and the vegetarian lifestyle. I’ll also be sharing resources on humane farming, for those who want to make conscious choices but aren’t ready to go vegetarian yet.

Finally, a big hearty thanks to Animal Protection and Rescue League for sponsoring San Diego’s VegWeek! Check them out online or make friends on facebook. You might want to sign up for their daily VegWeek newsletter or join the facebook event, and you can also support them by shopping/donating at their awesome thrift store!

I’m so honored to have recently met some of the great people who make this organization happen. Your passion, love, and kindness move me.

piggie piglet

Image by whiskersnaps.com, via cute overload

Breakfast Quinoa

To kick off VegWeek, I thought it would be appropriate to share a recipe that kicks off a lot of my mornings – breakfast quinoa. Like the Wheat Berry Breakfast Bowl I blogged previously, this concept is versatile and can be applied to any number of grains. I like quinoa for the nuttiness and the texture. Plus, it’s super quick-cooking and I can make it fresh before work.

Here’s what I do for about 4 servings:

Boil 1 1/2 cups water
Rinse 1 cup quinoa
Turn heat down to low, add quinoa
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes

quinoaI buy it in bulk.

Next comes the fun part – add-ins! I mix and match ingredients from the following categories:

*lube*
vegan margarine, almond milk, nondairy yogurt, peanut butter, almond butter, fruit preserves

*sweetener*
honey, agave nectar, brown sugar

*spices*
cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, orange zest

*nuts*
walnuts, pecans, slivered almonds

*fruit*
fresh – blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, banana, mango, kiwi, apple
dried – raisins, cranberries, apricots, currants, dates apples

Here are a few of the concoctions I’ve devised so far:

Red, White & Blue

red white & blue quinoa - strawberries, blueberries, bananaspat of butter, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, strawberries, blueberries, banana

Banana Bread

banana nutplain yogurt or almond milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, banana, walnuts

Apple Cinnamon

apple cinnamon quinoaalmond milk or heavy cream, apple butter, sauteed and fresh apples

Trail Mix Quinoa

trail mix quinoaalmond milk, vanilla extract, agave nectar, cinnamon, dried cranberries, walnuts, shredded coconut, mini chocolate chips

yet-to-be-photographed…

Maple-Date-Pecan

plain or vanilla yogurt, maple syrup, nutmeg, chopped dates, chopped pecans

Tropical Quinoa

coconut milk, sweetened flaked coconut, mango slices, chopped macadamia nuts

Chocolate Chip Cookie Quinoa
(okay, maybe not for breakfast…)

plain yogurt, vanilla extract, brown sugar, mini chocolate chips, walnuts

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“Magic” Fruit & Veggie Muffins

30 Apr

Recipe source: Food Network

I pride myself on having a well-stocked kitchen. Especially when it comes to baking, I can make any number of recipes on a moment’s notice with just what is stocked in my pantry. I have all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, corn flour, cake flour, garbanzo flour and gluten-free flour. But oh, noooo. THAT wasn’t ENOUGH for Miss d’Arabian, who came along with her crazy 17-ingredient recipe for “Magic Fruit & Veggie Muffins” that might be a nutritionist’s dream, but are a minimalist’s nightmare. Well, I’m not a minimalist, I’m pretty adventurous in the kitchen and a little bit stubborn. So that means I had to try this, and promptly went out to buy the soy flour and wheat germ I was lacking. Because HEAVEN FORBID I go without those in my house!!

17 ingredients

And I have to say, I was glad I did. This recipe makes stellar breakfast muffins, and not the “cake for grown-ups” kind of muffins, but really yummy, relatively low-sugar, nutrition-packed bready goodness. I only made two changes to the recipe, swapping out olive oil for coconut and whole milk for almond. I liked the idea of using two fruits and two vegetables, so I chose bananas and dried dates (plus the raisins I was too lazy to pick out of my raisin bran cereal), and carrots and zucchini. It will be fun to try different combinations of this recipe in the future, but I’d highly recommend sticking with bananas as they made the muffins wonderfully moist.

muffin tray
I was also happy to discover that the recipe yielded much more than it said it would – about 26 full-size muffins as opposed to 24 mini muffins. This would not be worth the work for less. Try them today!

muffin
RECIPE – Magic Fruit & Veggie Muffins

Cooking spray (optional)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons soy flour
4 tablespoons wheat germ
1 cup bran flakes cereal or old-fashioned oats (or a combination)
1/2 cup ground flax seeds
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, plus more for topping (optional)
4 tablespoons safflower or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 cups grated or finely chopped vegetables (carrots, zucchini and/or spinach)
1 1/2 cups grated or finely chopped fresh or dried fruit (apples, pears, pineapple and/or raisins)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners or mist with cooking spray.

Whisk the flours, wheat germ, bran flakes, flax seeds, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Beat the egg and brown sugar in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the oil, vanilla, milk, vegetables, and fruit, and mix well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir just until blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup about three-quarters of the way. Sprinkle the tops with brown sugar, if desired. Bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool on a rack.

Makes ~24 muffins

Post-Workout peanut butter-banana smoothie

23 Mar

Recipe source: Super Smoothies: 50 Recipes for Health and Energy

Everyone knows that food can be a great way to cure what ails ya, whether your ailments be physical or emotional. For the latter, we have a whole genre of much-loved cuisine dubbed “comfort food.” But for a lot of us, the act of cooking itself is therapeutic. If you read this blog regularly, you might have noticed a month-long hiatus between my last two posts. Life has been a lot busy and a little stressful lately, and I’ve greatly missed the therapy and joy I get from cooking as well as blogging. So with the one-year milestone of my blog come and gone, I hope to renew my commitment to this endeavor.

frozen banana

One of the additions to my life recently has been running. On March 13th, I participated in my first half-marathon in seven years, with my first time ever running a good portion of it. Taking up this hobby has meant a lot of new learning about my body and the sport. I’ve long been afraid of running because of friends’ horror stories of battered knees, but this time around, I’m loving the idea of the simplicity of running. Like my first love, yoga, running requires very little equipment (shoes, mat). You don’t need a fancy gym membership, fancy machines, a fancy outfit or even a fancy instructor. You use your body to work your body. It’s a great way to get fresh air and get moving, especially for an office worker like yours truly, and an opportunity to get out of my head and into the immediate responses of my physiology. Doing it well (aka not hating life) means listening to my body and giving it the right kind of fuel to burn.

peanut butter-banana smoothie

Of course, the best thing about running is stopping running! After 6+ miles, eating is a fabulous experience. This smoothie is a favorite for a quick nutrient replacement while I prepare something more substantial, like a sandwich. It’s high in protein, gives a little sugar, as well as potassium to heal muscles.

And don’t worry, this smoothie is delicious even when you’re not working out!

RECIPE – Post-Workout Smoothie
(dubbed The Incredible Hulk in my recipe cards… eh… not so much)

1/2 cup soft silken tofu
3/4 cup low-fat milk
2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
2 frozen bananas, sliced
1 teaspoon honey
dash of cinnamon

Combine the tofu and milk in a blender. Add all the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups; serves 2

Per serving:
Calories – 287
Cal from fat – 110
Saturated fat – 3g
Total fat    – 12g

Protein – 11g
Carbohydrates – 39g
Fiber – 4g
Cholesterol – 7mg