Category Archives: Vegetarian

DATE TRUFFLES

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Dates have been satisfying my sweet tooth a lot lately.  I usually buy date rolls in the bulk section of Mother’s market.  I tend to buy 8 or so and keep them in my car so I can snack on one when I have my “taxi driver” hat on in the afternoons chauffeuring my kiddos to and from their activities.

While the bulk date rolls are not too expensive, it is always cheaper to make these types of goodies at home when possible.  I always have a big container of Medjool dates (from Costco) in my pantry, so this morning I pitted 14 of them and set to work making my own coconut covered date rolls/truffles.

INGREDIENTS

Medjool dates, pitted (I used 14 large dates)
Reduced fat finely shredded unsweetened coconut 
Water – if soaking is needed
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Date Truffle Process

Depending upon how moist your dates are, you may need to soak them in water.  My dates were pretty moist and I soaked them for 30 minutes which resulted in a date mixture that was too wet for my liking (As you can see in the image at the top right).  If my dates are moist the next time I make these, I will not soak them at all since I prefer firm date rolls.

Place the soaked (or not soaked) dates in the food processor and process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides 3-4 times.  Do not add extra water…I promise it will eventually begin blending.

If you do not have a food processor you can achieve similar results by using your knife and finely chopping the dates until they form a paste.

Place some shredded coconut in a shallow bowl and scoop some of the date mixture onto the shredded coconut (I used my 1 Tbs. scooper).  Roll / cover the date mixture with the coconut.  Continue until all of the date mixture has been used.

Place in the freezer to set. These taste amazing straight out of the freezer.

Using 14 large Medjool dates I was able to make 24 truffles.

These would be a great addition to your Easter brunch.

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Filed under Appetizers, Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

VEGA ONE BARS

Vega One Bar Arrival Collage

Vega-One-Bar-Family-ImageA few days ago I saw a box on my doorstep and was thrilled when I realized they were the new Vega One Bars.

I am not much of a bar lady, but was excited when I saw the ingredient list…finally some vegan protein bars that are not loaded with soy crisps.  In fact, Vegan One Bars don’t have any soy crisps in them at all (which is important to me since I avoid soy due to my hypothyroidism).  The protein base is made from Vega’s Complete Protein Blend (sprouted whole grain brown rice protein, pea protein).

I also appreciate the fact that Vega One Bars are gluten free and don’t have any artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.

  • Gluten-free
  • 15g protein
  • 1.5g of Omega-3
  • 6g fiber
  • 1 billion dairy-free probiotics
  • 1 serving of greens

Now how about taste?  I was sent all three flavors; Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Almond, and Double Chocolate.  My favorites were the Chocolate Almond and Double Chocolate.  As for the Cherry Chocolate bars, I wished they had a stronger “cherry” taste.  When I shared that with the people at Vega, they were very receptive and mentioned that they are always working to perfect their products and flavors.

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These bars taste like an indulgent snack.  My daughter had one as an after-school snack and yelled out, “These are AWESOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!”  She doesn’t sugar-coat her opinions…trust me!

When I am in a pinch and out of time, the Vega One Bars will substitute well for breakfast or as an after-workout snack, though I will definitely not be eating them with abandon since at $47.79 for a box of 12, they have hefty value to them.  I take some comfort in the fact that they are loaded with important vitamins and probiotics which helps offset the cost in my mind a bit.

Vega One Bar Collage

At 250 calories they weigh in less calorically than most bars on the market.  While I wish the bars were lower in fat, I like that the fats come from natural fat sources such as Vega saviseed oil chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and nut butters.

Have any of you tried the bars yet?  What did you think?

I am headed to the Natural Products Expo West this weekend, so be prepared to hear about some new products and perhaps win a box of samples for yourself (it was fun doing that giveaway last year!!!!)

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The wonderful people at Vega sent the bars to me gratis, however the opinions are all mine.

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Filed under Product Reviews, Vegan, Vegetarian

THE BEST DARN CORNBREAD MUFFINS – GFree, Refined Sugar-Free, Fat-Free

Best Darn Cornbread Muffins (18) CROPPED

I really like cornbread.  There is just something about ending a cold day with a bowl of hot stew, chili, or soup and a side of cornbread.

When I was really young that meant opening a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix and as I got older my family transitioned to Marie Callender’s cornbread mix.  Let’s just say that Marie set the bar pretty stinkin’ high…that stuff is gooood!!!

When we found out that my daughter needed to go gluten-free I began purchasing pre-packaged gluten-free cornbread mixes and I have to say that I have just been tolerating them.  In my opinion I have yet to come across one that is good.  The mixes I have purchased through the years tend to be bland and DRY.

I finally decided to tackle the gluten-free cornbread monster and came-up with a recipe that I am really happy with.  The muffins taste like corn and honey and they are nice and moist.  To top it off there is no refined sugar and these moist muffins have NO OIL!!!

Problem solved.

THE BEST DARN CORNBREAD MUFFINS

Best Darn Vegan Gluten-Free Cornbread Muffin COLLAGE 2

INGREDIENTS – Makes 12 muffins

DRY
1 cup finely ground cornmeal
3/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used King Arthur)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
 
WET
1 cup applesauce
1 cup creamed corn (8.5 oz. can…make sure it is dairy-free)
8.75 oz. can whole kernel corn (no salt added), drained (chop finely if desired)
2-4 Tbs honey (I prefer 2 Tbs) (to make vegan, use maple syrup or agave)
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Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (I used convection bake).

Combine the cornmeal, flours, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl combine the applesauce, creamed corn and honey.  Whisk together until fully incorporated.

Add the wet to the dry ingredients and mix well with a spoon until fully mixed.

Chop up the whole kernel corn until it is the size you prefer for your muffins.  Fold the corn kernels into the batter.

Line your muffin tins (grease lightly with coconut oil spray) and fill each muffin 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 14-18 minutes (rotating half-way through) until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely. *

These muffins taste great straight out of the refrigerator.

.Best Darn Cornbread Muffins (26)

*Remember that homemade gluten-free baked goods taste best once they have cooled completely.  Straight out of the oven they tend to be gummy.

For a printable recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Breads / Crackers / Muffins, Cake, Dessert, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian

ALL-PURPOSE CURRY SAUCE- Slow Cooker

All Purpose Curry Sauce base (18)

I recently linked this recipe to the Running on Happy and The Fit Foodie Mama #MeatlessMonday recipe link-up.

 

Sur La Table recently had a big sale (still going on) on the Cuisinart Multi-Cooker and I couldn’t resist.  With holiday gift cards in hand I marched right in and upgraded my slow cooker.  Man, I am glad I did.  It is SO nice to be able to brown onions in the slow cooker and then just pour in the rest of the ingredients.  This slow cooker is going to get some major use in my household.

I saw some split red lentils at Trader Joe’s the other day and I was inspired to make a red lentil based slow cooker curry sauce.  I love that this “sauce” is packed with protein and fiber.

This recipe makes A LOT of sauce, so get ready to freeze some for later.  I have also enjoyed the sauce as a soup…simply add broth and thin it out.  Good stuff!

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INGREDIENTSmakes an ENTIRE crockpot full…more than enough to freeze for later

1 onion, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced (I do a rough chop since I like carrot chunks)
1 bag Trader Joe’s trimmed leeks 
2 Tbs. curry seasoning (I used Spice Hunter)
two 6 inch stalks of lemon grass, cut into four 3 inch pieces and smashed
OR
1-2 Tbs Gourmet Garden lemon grass paste (I used 2 Tbs…LOVE lemongrass!)
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped (Dorat makes an incredible ready to use product)
1-2 Tbs. fresh ginger, minced
1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like your food)
2-3 cans (depending on how “saucy” you like it) light coconut milk (approx 14 ounces each)
1 bag Trader Joe’s split red lentils (about 2 1/2 cups)
32 ounce container vegetable broth
2 cups water
cilantro, chopped (as a garnish)
parsley, chopped (as a garnish)
Serve with Sriracha for those who like extra spice (ME!!!)
 
Curry Sauce Process Collage

Water sauté the onions, celery, carrots, and leeks for 5-7 minutes.  Add the curry seasoning, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes.  Stir together to combine the flavors and cook for 1-2 minutes while continuing to stir (If the mixture is getting too dry, add a tiny bit of water).

Add the light coconut milk and stir to combine.  Add the split red lentils, broth and water.

Set your slow cooker on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10.

Serve on top of roasted squash, steamed veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, summer squash) potatoes, brown rice, etc.  Would be fantastic over brown basmati rice.  Have each person salt their own food upon serving…that way the food will taste salted, but will not be LOADED with sodium.

*Remember to remove the lemongrass stalks before serving

All Purpose Curry Sauce base (24)

For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Crock Pot, Gluten Free, Main Dish, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

SKINNY BITCH CHILI

I originally blogged about this Skinny Bitch chili recipe HERE and thought I would re-post the recipe since it is an awesome FAST and EASY one to make for the Super Bowl.

This chili tastes great over polenta, brown rice, with a side of cornbread or on its own.

DEB’S CHILI – Yields 6 servings

2 Tbs grapeseed oil (I omitted this)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 (4-ounce) can green chilis, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
2/3 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded (I omitted this)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream (I omitted this)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until soft, about 5 minutes (I water sautéed mine). Stir in the chilis, taco seasoning, tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (after water sautéing the onions I threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker around lunchtime and kept it on low until dinner).

Serve with salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Holiday, Main Dish, Quick, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

UNFRIED TOFU & EZ Tofu Press Giveaway

Fried Tofu

I have been making this well-loved tofu dish for years, however due to my hypothyroid issues (click HERE for more details) I have avoided soy for a while now.  If it weren’t for my thyroid issues, I would include tofu, tempeh, and edamame in my diet…I don’t think there is any harm (actually there are benefits) to including unprocessed soy items in your diet rotation.  Having said that, I would avoid the processed soy foods that are über plentiful in the market today.

The creator of the EZ Tofu Press ($26.99) recently contacted me and offered to send me a free sample of his product to test and review.  I own the TofuXpress which retails for $39.95 now, but I paid nearly $50 for it when I purchased it…ouch!!!

I was curious to see how the two tofu presses compared.  While I like the fact that the TofuXpress I already own and use is a completely self-contained unit, it takes a hours for the tofu to drain completely which is a drag and means that you absolutely have to plan ahead.  The new EZ Tofu Press seriously drained completely within 7 minutes!  I put the tofu in the press, prepared the rest of the ingredients for my meal, and the tofu was ready to go.  Major bonus.

EZ Tofu Press Collage

The EZ Tofu Press was also easy to clean…all I needed to do was rinse it off.  Make sure you go to the bottom of the post and learn how you can enter to win your very own EZ Tofu Press.

The traditional way to prepare this tofu dish is to fry it in a bit of oil.  I thought I would try “frying” the tofu in a dry pan (I used my ceramic pan) and I was happy with the results.

The sauce I always served this dish with is Black Bean Garlic Sauce, which is NOT gluten-free.  If you would like to serve the tofu with a gluten-free sauce, SAN J has some really tasty ones (their Szechuan sauce rocks).  Keep in mind that you want the sauce to be a bit overflavored, oversalty, etc. since you are serving it with absolutely plain tofu.

INGREDIENTS

block of tofu, pressed
1 Tbs. black bean garlic sauce (or sauce of your choosing)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
chilies, finely minced (optional)
green onions, minced
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Slice the tofu into 1/4″ thick slices.  Now slice the slices into thirds (See image above).

If using black bean garlic sauce, mix the sauce, the ginger, chilies if using, and 1-2 Tbs. water (depending on your personal taste) to a bowl and mix to incorporate.

Heat your pan on HI.  Place the tofu slices in the pan and dry-fry them for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.  If you insist on using oil, use it sparingly.

UNFRIED TOFU Collage

Serve immediately topped with a drizzle of sauce and garnished with the minced green onions.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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GIVEAWAY *** GIVEAWAY *** GIVEAWAY

We have a winner…

.

Jessica

I emailed my best friend!!

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Thank you to all who entered!

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Filed under Appetizers, Beans/Legumes, Giveaways, Main Dish, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

INSPIRING TEEN NUTRITARIAN

I subscribe to Dr. Fuhrman’s DiseaseProof newsletter and was impressed with one of their most recent posts.  It is so powerful to watch a teen take their health into their own hands…what an amazing guy!

Interview with a Teen Nutritarian: David

POSTED ON JANUARY 15, 2013 BY EMILY BOLLER

JUNE                               AUGUST                               DECEMBER

David is your typical, 14-year-old teenager that was severely addicted to the standard American diet. In fact, he was resistant to have anything to do with eating for health, even though his parents and siblings had embraced nutritarian eating and radically improved their health and quality of life because of it. However, on Father’s Day weekend this past summer David had a wake-up call; a frightening experience with dangerously high blood pressure and the telltale symptom of a TIA (transient ischemic attack); aka mini stroke. Today, six months later and 27 lbs lighter, he’s a changed person as a result of eating high-nutrient foods. Welcome to Disease Proof, David.

What was your life like before Father’s Day weekend?

My parents and siblings were nutritarians so there was always plenty of healthy food to eat, but I refused to eat it. At every chance I could get away from home I ate whatever junk food I could find, and without my mom knowing it I bought donuts, candy, and other stuff.  Because I wouldn’t eat “Fuhrman food’ as I called it, my mom didn’t force me to eat it because my dad didn’t think she should; after all, I wasn’t a little kid anymore. My mom wouldn’t prepare junk food so I learned to cook my own meals. I ate frozen pizzas and lasagna, macaroni and cheese, pot pies, and all kids of frozen processed meals. Even with that, there were many foods that she wouldn’t buy for me like processed cereals, milk, cheese, and butter.

How did you feel?

I didn’t feel well most of the time. It was hard for me to move around because I was tired and would get out of breath easily, so I didn’t exercise. I was always thirsty, and I couldn’t breathe through my nose; it was always stuffy.  Plus, because I was tired a lot I just slept whenever I could.

What was your wake-up call?

During a family crisis my mom requested no junk food be brought to our house. However, some thought nutritarian eating was extreme and felt sorry for me so they asked me for a list of my favorite foods anyway.  It was great!  I loved it because I could eat anything I wanted.  A week later, in the middle of the night, the entire right side of my body, including my leg, arm, and jaw was numb and tingly, and I was very scared. I woke my parents up, and my mom took my blood pressure and it was 158 / 108. The next day she contacted Dr. Fuhrman, and according to my symptoms he said that I had experienced a TIA (transient ischemic attack) or mini stroke that happens before a major stroke*. Immediately, on Father’s Day, I became a nutritarian. Within a week my blood pressure came down to a healthy range, but for several weeks I was scared to fall asleep at night, because I was afraid of having a stroke during the night.

How do you feel now?

I have a lot more energy. I’ve lost 27 lbs so far and my blood pressures are consistently around 113 / 72. I no longer have numbness or tingly feelings, and the best thing is I’m not afraid of falling asleep and having a stroke in the middle of the night.  I’m no longer thirsty all the time, tired, or have shortness of breath, and because of that I like to run, workout at the Y, and lift weights. Plus, I can now breathe through my nose for the first time that I can ever remember; I always had a stuffy nose. According to a blood test in June I was pre-diabetic, and now with nutritarian eating I won’t have to worry about getting diabetes. I just feel better all over, and my mom says that I’m happier and not grumpy anymore.

What would you tell kids who love junk food and hate even the thought of eating healthy?

Try nutritarian eating all the way for just one week. Do it cold turkey, 100%; no cheating. After that week is over then re-assess your opinion and see if it changes. I gutted it out mentally for one week, and it was hard, but I knew it would be worth it to feel better and be healthier. Now I’m glad I did.

I still sometimes like eating junk food when I’m away from home, but I know nutritarian eating is healthier for me, and I always feel better when I stick to it.

What are your favorite foods now?

My favorite foods are tomatoes, cucumbers, Honey Crisp apples, green peppers, snap peas, sautéed onions, hummus, and my mom’s Oatmeal/Almond Bars.

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Easy Oatmeal/Almond Bars

5-6 ripe bananas
4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups raisins
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
2 cups chopped raw almonds
1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl mash the bananas and then stir in remaining ingredients. Press mixture into the baking pan and bake for 40 min. Let cool. Cut into bars.

Congratulations David and keep up the great job!

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Click HERE to read the original post on Diseaseproof.com

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Filed under Children, Education, Interview, Metabolic Syndrome, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weight Issues

HAPPY HERBIVORE ABROAD – WINNER!!!

HHA_31DaysofGiveaways_badge

The winner of the Happy Herbivore Abroad giveaway is…

ammauceri

If you are “ammauceri,” please e-mail your mailing address to gretchen (at) veggiegrettie (dot) com and I will have the publisher send the book to you ASAP.

Happy New Year and a big thank you to all who entered.

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Filed under Books, Contests, Giveaways, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

homemade vegan peanut butter cups collage

Now that we are into the holiday season I do make a few more treats than normal (though I do feel the need to admit that I generally do not eat many of them).

People tend to think that making candy is complicated…it doesn’t have to be.  Last year the kids and I make homemade peanut butter cups.  These peanut butter cups were made with only three ingredients:

  1. Freshly ground peanut butter
  2. Chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips)
  3. Coconut oil

Melt the bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler along with 1-2 tsp. of oil.

Once melted, pour a small layer into mini cupcake liners and place it in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.  Place the melted chocolate over the double boiler to ensure that it remains melted.

Top the hardened chocolate with some peanut butter and try to keep it in the center allowing a rim of chocolate to remain around it (this will allow the next layer of chocolate to completely cover the peanut butter).

Cover the peanut butter with another layer of chocolate and place in the refrigerator to harden.

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This year I used the same method to make chocolate covered pretzels (gluten-free) and peanuts.  My daughter and I broke small pretzel sticks in half and mixed them with the melted chocolate.  We then placed spoonfuls of the chocolate covered pretzels on waxed paper to cool and harden…little chocolate bird’s nests.  We had some left over at the end with a little too much chocolate, so we mixed in some peanuts and made spoonfuls of that.  They have been a total hit with my family!

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

TEACHER / COACH GIFTS

I am in the thick of preparing gifts for the coaches and teachers in my children’s lives and I thought I would share with you what we are gifting food-wise this year.

My daughter wanted to gift her teachers with some body butters, and my son will be giving some of his middle school teachers gift certificates, but we will be giving the coaches in our lives the “healthier” caramel popcorn that I made one month as my Secret Recipe Club assignment.

The original version was loaded with butter and sugar, so I rolled-up my sleeves and did my best to remake the recipe. My family loves the recipe I came-up with and while it is definitely a treat, it is much healthier than the traditional version.

I just air popped the popcorn and will be making it into caramel popcorn tomorrow.  This recipe is SO EASY.  I have made caramel popcorn before where you have to stir and stir and stir and with this recipe you shake it all up in a big brown paper bag…it couldn’t be more simple.

Click HERE for the recipe or HERE for the original post with detailed pictures.

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Filed under Dessert, Gifts, Gluten Free, Holiday, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian