Jun 302013
 

Remember me?  I don’t blame you if you don’t because I’ve been so delinquent with blogging these past few weeks, but I am back!  I just moved to a awesome new apartment in NYC, so things have been a little hectic.  The good news is I am now settled, and somehow convinced (tricked?) my boyfriend to agree to an apartment that is approximately 50% kitchen.  So, the first thing to come out of this new amazing kitchen are these mini granola cups filled with greek yogurt and fresh berries.  Perfect for brunch, a snack, or as a healthy 4th of July treat!


As you may have noticed, I love just about any recipe that can be baked in a muffin tin–frittatas, meatloaf, you name it.  This is an impressive twist on your typical granola and yogurt parfait.  You make a pretty simple granola mix, and then instead of spreading it out on a sheet to bake, you press into mini muffin (or full sized muffin) tins to bake into these cute little bowls.  


Nutritional highlights:  These cute little nuggets have so many great things going on.  1) built in portion control (at least until you eat 4 of them like I did).  2) This granola is made with whole grain oats, flax seed, almonds, dried fruit, coconut, coconut oil, and honey.  It’s not overly sweet or high in fat like a lot of store bought granolas.  3)  Fat free greek yogurt is packed with protein. 4) Berries are back in season and packed with nutrients.  So in sum, these are healthy, delicious, so freaking cute, and you should make them immediately.


Mini Granola Cups with Greek Yogurt and Berries

adapted from Mommie Cooks

Ingredients:

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or butter if you’d rather)
1/4 Cup Honey 
1/4 Cup Unsweeted Apple Sauce
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats 
1/3 Shredded Coconut
1/4 Cup Ground Flax Seed
1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Dried Blueberries, Cranberries or other dried fruit 


1 cup fat free greek yogurt
Fruit of your choice for toppings: I used berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries) and banana slices 

Directions:
1. To a small sauce pan, add the coconut oil, honey, cinnamon, and salt.
Heat until all ingredients are combined. Remove from heat and stir in the apple sauce and vanilla.

2. In a separate bowl mix together the oats, coconut, flax seed, almonds and cranberries.

3. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until completely coated.

4. Place the mixture into the fridge for about 30 minutes to cool.

5. When ready to bake, grease up a muffin tin or mini muffin tin and fill each opening about 2/3 full.
Using your fingers press into the center of the hole and then work your way around the edges to form a bowl. If the dough is sticky, wet your fingers with cold water, shake them out, and proceed. Repeat as necessary.

6. Place the bowls into an oven preheated to 325 degrees. For regular sized muffin cups, cook about 20-25 minutes. For mini muffin cups, cook about 15-20 minutes.
Let cool completely before removing from the tin. (This part was a little tricky for me, but just run a knife around the edges and carefully remove…I only had a few casualties)

7. Store in an air tight container. When ready to eat, fill with the yogurt of your choice. Top with fresh berries.  Enjoy!!


Hope everyone has a happy and healthy 4th of July!  

Jun 192013
 
I have a new theory:  The most dangerous time when you’re trying to be healthy is snack time.  Meals are more straightforward for me—am I eating a lot of produce, whole grains and protein?  Did it not come from a drive through window or a delivery man who remembers my name because I’ve been calling so much?  Then I’m probably doing pretty well.  But snack time is another story.  When you’re on the go or busy at work and you need a snack, it the options can be limited.  Most vending machines are filled with chips and cookies and even if you have a granola bar on hand, that may be secretly packed with sugar and processed ingredients.  So, one of my new favorite go-to snacks are roasted chickpeas.  You can make savory and spicy varieties or you can make sweet versions like these Cinnamon-Sugar Roasted Chickpeas.  Either way, they are portable, healthy, easy to make, and won’t leave you with a guilty snack food hangover afterward. 



 I stole this recipe from my friend Kori at Paint and Tofu and it was such a yummy and easy one.  I’ve only tried savory roasted chickpeas in the past (because I am usually a salty over sweet craver, although I try not to discriminate).  It’s a great substitute if you love candied nuts, because it still gives you that sweet crunchiness but without all the fat and thick sugary coating that they often have.
Nutritional Highlights:  This is a great vegan and gluten free snack option.  As you all probably know, chickpeas (aka, garbanzo beans) are packed with protein and fiber so this snack will keep you full longer.  I have to confess that there is still some sugar in this recipe, but only a small amount.  If you’re watching out for sugar, try a savory version like chili powder, lime, and garlic powder. 

 



Roasted Cinnamon-Sugar Chickpeas
Recipe Adapted from Paint and Tofu

Ingredients:

• 1 can (15oz) chickpeas

• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon

• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt


• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon agave nectar (or honey)
Instructions:
• Drain the chick peas and dry them well on a paper towel. Drying is very important to crispify (it’s a word) the chickpeas properly so don’t ignore this step! You can peel the skins off if you’d like…I have found that it makes them crispier but it’s also a pain in the tush so I’ve given up on it.

• In a small bowl, whisk together oil, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Add chickpeas to bowl and stir until evenly coated.

• Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and bake for 25-30 minutes on 375 degrees.

• Shake the chickpeas around, and drizzle with agave or honey.

• Bake for another 15 minutes and let cool.


Jun 112013
 

Please see above my new favorite word (and meal).  Enchilasagna.  Definition: a delicious hybrid between lasagna and enchiladas that will leave you feeling so freaking happy.  I can’t get over how good this meal was.  It was vegan, gluten free, super healthy, and will be providing me with lunch all week long.  


It takes some time to make (since you have to roast the veggies, assemble, then bake the whole thing), but a lot of this time is inactive.  So here is how you enchilasagna (see now it’s a verb):  1.  Roast veggies seasoned with taco or fajita seasoning and combine with beans, garlic, jalapeno, and cilantro.  2.  Assemble in this order- Sauce, tortillas, veggie mix, cheese.  3.  Repeat two more times.  4. Put it in the oven and get ready to be amazed.  


Nutritional Highlights:  There are so many good things about this meal.  It is a complete meal with protein from the cheese, carbs from the tortillas, and plenty of veggies.  This was also my first time trying out soy cheese and I am shocked to say, I LOVED IT!  Because of this, the recipe is vegan (or vegetarian if you use regular cheese), and gluten free, and I think that meat eaters would still love it!


Roasted Enchilasagna, AKA  Stacked Roasted Vegetable Enchiladas

Yield: Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

1 large red pepper, chopped, seeds removed
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon taco or fajita seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
1.5 cups red enchilada sauce (I used low sodium salsa instead since the enchilada sauce at my store had so much salt!)
8-10 small corn tortillas, halved
1.5 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (I used Trader Joe’s shredded Soy Cheese…so good I mean it!!)
Garnish:  Sliced avocado and tomato

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and onion on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and toss until vegetables are coated. Season with taco seasnoing. Roast vegetables for 30 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables from oven and let cool to room temperature (PS, I didn’t let my veggies cool cuz I was hungry and nothing terrible happened). 
2. Grease an 8×8 square baking pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine roasted vegetables, black beans, garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro. Stir and season with salt and pepper, if needed.
3. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce or salsa into the bottom of the baking pan. Add a layer of tortillas, to completely cover the bottom of the pan. You might have to cut the tortillas to make them fit. Top with 1/3 of the vegetable/bean mixture and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Make a second layer of tortilla, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Top with with a layer of tortillas, enchilada sauce, vegetables/beans, and cheese. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover the pan.
4. Bake enchiladas for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and the enchiladas are bubbling. Remove enchiladas from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve warm.
Enjoy! (Promise you will!)
Jun 012013
 

Guys, I know what you’re thinking.  That looks very vegan and healthy.  Well you’re right.  It does and it is.  BUT it’s also one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in a while.  The peanut sauce on this kale salad is seriously addictive and the marinade for the tofu is the perfect mix of sweet and spicy.  And all foods are better with grill marks, it’s a fact.  This is the perfect summer meal and I can’t wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.  


I’ve been trying this new thing where I’m almost completely vegan on weekdays (unless of course someone brings baked goods to work, then all deals are off), but eat whatever I want on the weekends.  That way I’m lowering my animal product consumption a lot but not being that girl at restaurants who can’t eat anything…win win.  I’ve been surprised how easy (and tasty) it has been to cut out meat and dairy during the week.  You start to really appreciate other things like great produce, creating flavor with spices and sauces, and for me, peanut butter.  I eat it every day.  I was excited about this recipe because it used it in a savory dish, and I gotta say I would put this sauce on everything if I could.  


Nutritional Highlights:  If you’re wondering what’s the big deal with being vegan, watch this “meatless monday” video  .  It just give a little insight into the impact meat farming has on the world.  Plus, chronic disease risk is lower for those who eat less animal products.  Interesting huh?  I’m not saying cut it out entirely, cuz I certainly would not want to live a life without cheese in it, but moderation and portion control with animal products is something we should all try.  This recipe has tons of fresh veggies like kale (total super food), carrots, cucumber, onions, healthy fats like peanuts and sesame oil, and plenty of protein from the grilled tofu.  This would be just as tasty without the tofu as well.  This recipe is gluten free as well as long as you use tamari rather than soy sauce!


Spicy Peanut-Ginger Kale Salad
adapted from Happy.Healthy.Life

Makes about 3-4 servings

For the salad:
2 large bunches of kale (or 3 small)
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup julienned cucumber
1/3 cup peanuts for garnish

Spicy Ginger Peanut Sauce:
2 Tbsp creamy salted peanut butter
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp tahini
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled/chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tsp tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar 
2 tsp agave syrup
5 dashes cayenne
fine black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Place a large soup pot over med-high heat on your stove top. Add all the sauce ingredients and stir briskly until they melt and blend together. Reduce heat to medium and simmer/stir for about two minutes. Turn heat to low.

2. Pull the leaves in bits from the thick stalks of your kale. Wash if needed. Add the kale leaves (toss thick stems) – add kale to the pot until filled to the brim. Fold the kale into the hot sauce. Fold well. The hot sauce will wilt the kale.

3. Turn off heat and add the remaining amount of kale. Also add in the carrots, red onion, peanuts, and cucumber and combine. Eat warm or, my preference, chill and eat cold.  Kale salads are great because they can last a few days without getting wilted like other greens.

4. Serve warm or place in fridge – covered – to chill and serve cold. Will keep well for up to a few days.


Spicy Grilled Tofu
adapted from Food.com

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 lb extra firm tofu, drained and cut lengthwise into 8 slices
    • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
    • 1/3 cup agave nectar
    • 1/4 cup low-sodium tamari or 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced ( about 1 tablespoon)
    • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Place the tofu slices on several layers of paper towels and cover with additional paper towels. Let stand 20 minutes, pressing down occasionally with your hands to squeeze out the water.
  2. Place the tofu in a single layer in the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, maple syrup, tamari, chile paste, garlic, and pepper.
  4. Pour mixture over the tofu, stirring to coat all the slices.
  5. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. When the tofu is marinated and ready to cook: Spray grill rack or pan with nonstick cooking spray. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.
  7. Place tofu slices on the grill. Reserve the marinade.
  8. Grill tofu 3 or 4 minutes on each side, or until the outside is browned and crisp.
  9. Return tofu to the baking dish and toss the slices with the reserved marinade.
  10. Serve immediately on it’s own or with the Spicy Peanut-Ginger Kale Salad!