Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Coconut Berry Smoothie

We love smoothies in this house. I especially love them because they are quick and easy.  On school days when we are running tight on time, it’s easy to throw a bunch of healthy ingredients into the blender.  It’s also quick and easy to slurp down.  It’s a great way to get a lot of nutrition and still get out the door on time.

Today we made a Coconut Berry Smoothie. The kids downed these in mere minutes and, of course, I thought it was pretty tasty too!

Coconut water is very hydrating and has an amazing amount of potassium.  It also boasts plenty of electrolytes and minerals, making it a better choice than store bought sports drinks.  Just be sure to buy coconut water with no added sugars or juices.

And I don’t think I have to tell you how nutritious berries are, right?

 Coconut Berry Smoothie 1

Coconut Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups mixed frozen or fresh berries (I used Trader Joe’s frozen Organic Mixed Berry Blend)
  • 1 cup Coconut Water (I used Trader Joe’s 100% Pure Coconut Water)
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • a few ice cubes if using fresh fruit

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender.
  2. Blend about 30 seconds until smooth
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Millet 4 Ways

This week millet was on the menu in several different ways. Millet is a gluten free whole grain and is comprised of 15% protein. In addition to protein, millet is high in fiber, magnesium and phosphorus.  It is a versatile grain that can be used similarly to rice. Here is how we enjoyed millet this week:

Creamy Millet Porridge

Creamy Millet Porridge

I told my kids I made oatmeal when they asked, “What’s for breakfast?”  Sometimes a new name will throw them off and they’ll decide they don’t like it right then and there.  I took the safe route.  They gobbled this up and had seconds!

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups millet, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups non dairy milk (I used Rice Milk)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 over-ripe banana, smashed
  • 1 cup strawberries sliced
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (optional)
  • Additional 1/4-1/2 cup non dairy milk

Directions

  1. Combine milk, water, smashed banana and millet in a pot.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Turn down heat to med-low and simmer 15-20 minutes or until millet is soft, stirring frequently.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree until about 1/2 of the mixture is smooth (or until your preferred consistency).
  4. Turn off heat.  Add maple syrup and strawberries and mix until blended.  Add the additional 1/4-1/2 cup milk to get the creamy porridge consistency.
  5. Drizzle with a touch more maple syrup when serving, if desired.

Creamy Millet Corn Chowder with Greens

Corn Chowder Best

I was halfway into this recipe yesterday when I realized I never went to the farm down the road to get the fresh sweet corn I had planned on getting.  Oops!  Frozen corn kernels it was!  Although this was yummy, it would have been so much better with fresh from the farm corn!  I added lots of smoked paprika too because I just love that stuff!

Tofu Chickpea Stir-fry w/ Millet

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I love anything with a tahini sauce and this did not disappoint.  If you are used to your stir-frys over rice or noodles, give millet a try for a change.  It really soaks up the sauce.  My picky daughter and my son didn’t care for this, but my other daughter really liked it, as did my hubby (which happily surprised me!  He even ate leftovers the next night….wow!)

Smoky Millet Pinto Bean Patties

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This was our favorite recipe with millet this week.  This kids devoured these patties two at a time!  

Makes 10-12 patties

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a small red onion
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups pinto beans (or 1 can)
  • 1 1/2 cups millet, cooked
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne
  • a few shakes of liquid smoke
  • 1/4-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 6 tbsp warm water

Directions

  1. Whisk the flax meal and warm water in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor combine red onion, scallions, carrots, celery, pinto beans, millet, thyme, parsley, smoked paprika, cayenne, and liquid smoke.  Pulse until combined and fairly smooth, but leaving a few pieces chunkier.  Turn out into a mixing bowl.
  3. Re-whisk the flax and water mixture.  It should be thick and egg-like consistency now.  Add to your bean/millet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add 1/4-1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs, depending on the consistency of the mixture.  You want it to hold together like a burger, so get it there with your hands.  If it feels too wet, add a little more bread crumbs.
  5. Fry these up on the stove top in a skillet over medium heat.  I have an awesome non-stick skillet that requires NO oil for browning.  You may need 1 tsp or so of oil if your pan is not as awesome.  Cook 4-5 minutes per side.

M liked these with BBQ sauce, C and K ate them with ketchup.  I made a mix of Vegenaise, ketchup and mustard.  You won’t miss the meat on a plate like this!

Smoky Millet Pinto Bean Patties Plate

And, yes, I’m trying some new editing tools for my pictures.  As much as I love photography, I usually still shoot in Auto.  I am hoping to learn a lot more in the near future and improve the pictures on this blog!!  I love that stacked picture of the millet patties.  What do you think?

What to do with all that summer zucchini…

If you are anything like me, you find yourself with an over abundance of zucchini somewhere in the middle of summer.  It’s high in fiber and low in calories.  It’s mild taste lends itself well to almost anything from stirfrys to sweets.  Along with zucchini’s antioxidant properties, you will find folate, potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin C among the health benefits.

Here are a few ways we enjoyed our zucchini last week:

Deli Macaroni Salad

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By far our favorite pasta salad for picnics or potlucks.  Read my original post about this delicious vegan macaroni salad here.   I change it up a little every time I make it to incorporate the veggies I already have on hand.  This time I omitted the peas and added shredded zucchini instead.  And I always double the amount of veggies.  Yum!

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Summer Veggie Tart

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I admit I melted a tiny bit of mozzarella on one half for the hubby and kids.  My half was cheese free.  This was great.  I served it with a big salad made of green leaf lettuce, spinach, red pepper strips, fresh from the garden cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and a balsamic vinaigrette.

Zucchini Bread

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Who doesn’t love zucchini bread?  This one did not disappoint.  Sweetened only with dates, it’s super healthy.  I love the addition of the nutmeg.

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Roasted Zucchini with Thyme

We also enjoyed zucchini simply roasted with a touch of olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. I didn’t take a photo of this, but you know what roasted veggies look like, right?  Hubby and I probably enjoy them best this way. Easy and flavorful.

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix all ingredients together and place on baking sheet in one even layer.  Bake for 20-30 minutes or until zucchini is just tender.  We like it best with a little bit of bite left.  Enjoy!

All About Cantaloupe!

This week’s plant based ingredient is: Cantaloupe!

Cantaloupe is really nutritious, high in Vitamins C, A, several of the Bs and K.  It is also high in potassium, magnesium and fiber.

We eat a lot of cantaloupe in this house.  It’s a favorite of the kids and they like to eat it in bite-size cubes.  The beginning of the week almost always finds a container of cantaloupe cubes in the fridge.  A mere 2-3 days later and the kids have licked it clean.  While we did enjoy a good amount of plain cantaloupe cubes this week, I decided to see just what else this juicy orange fruit might be good for.  As it turns out, it’s pretty good in pasta, smoothies, salsa and even bread!

 

Orechiette w/ Cantaloupe and Avocado

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I left out the mozzerella and used walnuts in place of the pine nuts.  I loved it.  A perfect light summer meal.

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Cantaloupe Smoothie

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  • 1/2 medium cantaloupe
  • 2 frozen bananas

Blend.  Enjoy.

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Cantaloupe Quick Bread

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I was intrigued by a recipe I found on Pinterest, but it contained eggs, oil, white flour and 2 full cups of white sugar.  Yikes!  I didn’t think it would be too hard to veganize and I was right.  I replaced the oil with smashed banana and because of the sweetness of the banana, I was able to cut down the added sugar to only 1/2 cup of maple syrup.  I replaced the eggs with “flax eggs” and swapped out the white flour for whole wheat pastry flour.  Here is the new, healthier version.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp flaxmeal (ground flax seeds)
  • 6 tbsp warm water
  • 1 cup smashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups pureed cantaloupe
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Directions:

  1. Mix the flaxmeal and warm water and set aside for a few minutes to thicken.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Lightly grease 2 9×5 loaf pans.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flax eggs, smashed banana, maple syrup, vanilla and cantaloupe puree.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger.  Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture and combine, but do not overmix.  Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.  Remove bread from loaf pans and enjoy.

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This bread is delicious and just sweet enough.  It has gone great with my morning coffee as well as acting as dessert.  The kids all love it too!  You can’t really taste any cantaloupe flavor, however.  This quick bread would be a great use for that overripe cantaloupe you let sit on your counter for one too many days.

 

 

Cantaloupe Salsa

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I’m a huge fan of peach salsa, so when I came across this recipe for cantaloupe salsa, I knew I just had to try it.  It’s light and refreshing…perfect for a summer appetizer.  We ate it with tortilla chips, but if you are an omnivore, check out the link to see how the original recipe was paired.

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And now for an exceprt from my girls’ favorite book (for the moment anyway), What Color Is Your Apple?:

“Fruits and vegetables come in many colors.

Each one a yummy treat!

Red, orange, yellow, purple, green.

Crispy, crunchy, sweet!

What is your favorite color food to eat?”

All about Beets!

Happy Blogiversary to ME!!!  I can’t believe this little blog is a year old today.  Seems like just yesterday it was a fleeting thought in my head.  Thanks again to all of my readers.  If you know of anyone else who is interested in plant based healthy eating, I would love it if you would share my site with them.  And I always love hear from you guys…what foods or cuisines you would like featured…what you tried from this site and what you thought about it, or any questions you might have.

I asked last week for recommdations on which ingredients you would like featured and the winner this week is BEETS!!  I think its pretty common to be intimidated by beets.  Let’s face it, they can be messy with all their beautiful redness.  They may stain your clothes, so you do have to be careful, but they wash right off of your hands and dishes quite easily.  I even stored some roasted marinated beets in a plastic container in the fridge and it didn’t stain at all.

Beets are super healthy!  They belong to the same family as spinach, chard and quinoa.  They are high in folate, fiber, potassium, vitamin C, iron and vitamin B6.  Beet greens are really high in lutein, very important in eye health.  Beets also have antioxident and anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial in preventing and reversing disease.  With only about 59 calories per cup, you will want to eat up!!

I’ll admit, I don’t use beets very often.  If they are on my plate, you will most likely find them atop a salad.  And I grew up in a family of borscht lovers (that’s beet soup in case you didn’t know).  While those are both good choices for using beets, I wanted to get a little more creative.  Drawing inspiration from Pinterest, I came up with two quick and easy recipes to use the beautiful red beets I found while shopping with a friend at a local co-op in Madison, WI.  Save those beet greens my friends….while I don’t use them here, there are plenty of ways to get those in your diet as well.

First, let’s roast some beets.  (I used 6 small beets for these two recipes).

Roasted Beets 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  • Cut the greens off, trim the tails and cut each beet in half
  • Place beets on a foil lined baking sheet and cover with an additional sheet of foil
  • Bake for about 50 minutes or until the beets are fork tender
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool
  • Once cool, peel the skins off the beets

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Marinated Beets

  • Place roasted beets in a container or plastic bag with 1/2 cup orange juice and stick in fridge until you plan to use them.  They should keep for several days.

 

Strawberry Beet Smoothie

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  • 1 cup unsweetened soymilk (WestSoy is my fave…just organic soybeans and filterd water. Almond milk would work too)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 2-3 small roasted marinated beets

Place all ingredients in a blender and watch the magic happen.

This turns out the most beautiful pink color.  My girls were in heaven!  My son loved this too!  It’s sweet from the banana and strawberries and has just a hint of the earthiness of the beets.  Will definitely be making this again!

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Roasted Beet and Walnut Spread

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  • 4 small roasted marinated beets (these don’t need to be marinated…it’s just what I had)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (toasted if you prefer)
  • heaping 1/2 cup of cooked white beans (chickpeas would work here too)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until creamy.  You may add a little water or more EVOO if you need for consistency.  Or on the flip side, if yours is too runny, add more beans or walnuts.

This was SO good!  It has a wonderful sweetness to it while still be savory.  Again, the kids ate this up.  The girls were BEGGING for more!  Wow!  We snacked on it with whole wheat crackers and cucumbers.  This spread would be an excellent addition to any veggie tray…especially for Valentine’s Day or Christmas.  I think it would be amazing as a spread on a veggie sandwich too.  How else would you use it?

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I’ve got more beets to use up and I am so excited to try a burger recipe later this week.  Stay tuned!!

 

 

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

This smoothie tastes more like a decadent dessert than breakfast and that’s why I love it so much.  Of course, my kids love it too and since there is NO sugar or sweeteners, I feel good about serving it to them.

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Cherries are high in potassium, Vitamin C and beta carotene and are loaded with antioxidents.  They taste pretty darn good as well!  Fresh cherries are so good in the summer, but I keep frozen cherries in my freezer most of the time to make smoothies such as this one.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Smoothie (Vegan)

  • 1 cup chocolate almond milk
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 heaping tbsp natural peanut butter (or 2 tbsp if you really love PB like I do!)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well in a high speed blender and enjoy!!

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This smoothie makes the perfect breakfast, snack or dessert!  And I bet it would make awesome frozen pops, but I haven’t tried that….yet.

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No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

What does one do when their sweet tooth is screaming loudly, but there are no sweets in the house?  You whip up a batch of these No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites and about 5 minutes later you are licking your fingers and that sweet tooth has been silenced.  From an 8×8 pan, I got 25 of these little bites.  Each one is very filling thanks to the plentiful fiber and protein.  They make the perfect afternoon pick me up, but would also be great for breakfast, a wonderful addition to any lunchbox and, of course, as a little something sweet after dinner.

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No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites (Vegan)

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1.5 cups NATURAL peanut butter (peanuts and salt should be the only ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup PURE maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Transfer to an 8×8 square pan and press mixture firmly so the top is even.  Cut into 25 small squares and enjoy!  Store in the fridge.

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These got the stamp of approval from all three of my little ones.  M requested one in his lunchbox today too.

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Both chia seeds and flax seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, minerals and antioxidents.  Just be sure to grind whole flaxseeds into flaxmeal as your body doesn’t asorb the whole seeds well.  You can also buy them already ground.  Store both of these seeds in the fridge.

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I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.  Let me know if you try them!

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