Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Baked Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal


This baked oatmeal is quick to whip up and pop in the oven while you get ready in the morning. It tastes just like a blueberry muffin but has added boosts of energy and fibre from the oatmeal and oat bran. Warm, gooey, delicious, and filling - it's the perfect way to start your morning!

Ingredients:

1/4 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. oat bran
2 Tbsp. whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch salt
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or other milk)
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or agave
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray an individual ramekin or baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, oat bran, flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in the almond milk, maple syrup/agave, and vanilla. Stir until well combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on a wire rack. Top with blueberry jam, more fresh blueberries, or syrup and enjoy!


*Recipe from Running With Spoons

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Strawberry Apple Breakfast Crisp


This is a healthy and delicious take on apple crisp that can be enjoyed as breakfast or dessert! It is packed full of nutritious ingredients that will help you start your morning off right and it would be perfect for a weekend breakfast or brunch. If you're enjoying it as a dessert then don't expect a conventional apple crisp that's heavy with sugar and butter. It is a tasty, light summer dessert but it will satisfy your sweet tooth nonetheless! 

Filling Ingredients:

2 lg. apples, peeled and chopped (use whatever variety you have on hand or see my baking tips page for a list of good baking apples)
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1/8 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Crisp Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup almonds, chopped or processed until chunky
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp. agave or pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and grease an 8x8, 9x9, or loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Peel and chop the apples into chunks and slice the strawberries. Place the fruit in a large bowl and add in the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, lemon juice, cornstarch, and vanilla. Stir until well combined and set aside. This will allow the apples and strawberries to start releasing some of their natural sugars and become very juicy and sweet.

Put the almonds into a food processor and process until they are chunky. Add the rolled oats, brown sugar, agave/maple syrup, olive oil, and vanilla to the processor and pulse a couple times until it is just mixed. You want the mixture to stay chunky and not get too finely ground. If you don't have a food processor then just roughly chop the almonds and mix all the topping ingredients together in a bowl. 

Pour 1/4 cup of the crisp topping mixture into the bowl with the apples and strawberries and stir to combine. Pour the fruit mixture into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining topping over top.

Cover the dish with a lid or with aluminum foil that has been poked with holes. This is to keep your topping from burning in the oven. Bake for approx. 40 minutes. Once out of the oven, allow it to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before serving so it has time to set. Enjoy warm or cold, with yogurt or on its own!


*Recipe from Oh She Glows

Friday, May 27, 2011

Vegan Vanilla Milkshake


Beat the summer heat with this healthy and yummy "I can't believe it's vegan" milkshake! The frozen banana makes this irresistibly creamy and thick, just like a traditional ice cream-based milkshake! This is definitely going to be my go-to summer drink :)

Ingredients:

1 large frozen banana, the riper the better
1/2-2/3 cup vanilla almond milk or soy milk (you can also substitute regular milk for a non-vegan shake)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Fresh fruit, whipped topping, or chocolate chips for garnish (optional)

Directions:

First off you need to freeze your banana. I like to have a steady supply of frozen bananas for smoothies, baking, etc. so I usually buy one very ripe bunch of bananas at the grocery store for freezing/baking (sometimes if they're really brown they give you 50% off!) and also a regular bunch to have on my counter to eat normally. You know you're a baker/cook when.... haha. :P. Anyways, once you have your over-ripe bananas, don't just put a whole banana in the freezer.  Peel the bananas and cut them into 1-2" chunks, then place them in an airtight container and pop it in the freezer. Now you'll have a supply of frozen banana chunks to use as needed!

To make the milkshake, put all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add more liquid for a thinner milkshake and less for a thicker one. Pour into a tall glass, add a topping or garnish of your choice, and serve with a straw!


*Recipe by Brooke McMillan

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cucumber Dill Dressing


Making your own delicious salad dressing at home couldn't be easier! Plus it doesn't contain any strange ingredients that you can't even pronounce! I served this dressing with a big salad alongside my baked sweet potato falafel and it was the perfect summer meal! You could also use it as a dip for veggies or a sauce in wraps or pitas. This dressing is also vegan if you use non-dairy milk and use the optional vegan mayo.

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
2-3 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced, or 1-2 tsp. dry
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. milk (soy, almond, or cow)
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise or Veganaise (optional - if you want a thicker, creamier dressing)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Transfer into a sealable container and refrigerate. The dressing will thicken up as it cools in the fridge. Makes approx. 1 cup of salad dressing.

*Recipe adapted from Garden of Vegan

Baked Sweet Potato Falafel


Sweet potatoes and falafel are two of my favourite foods, so I thought: why not combine the two?! The result is a tasty and bright orange falafel that you can enjoy in a pita or wrap, on top of a big green salad, or on its own as an appetizer or quick snack! The spice combination in these is totally customizable depending on what you have in your spice rack, so don't worry if you don't have one or two of the spices listed - it won't make or break the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cooked (boiled, steamed, roasted)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. paprika
1-2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
~4 Tbsp. fresh, chopped parsley or 3 tsp. dried parsley
2-3 Tbsp. ground flax

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Peel the sweet potatoes and cook as desired (boiled, microwaved, or baked). Transfer to a large bowl and mash the sweet potatoes and the chickpeas together. I found it easier to mash the chickpeas first in my food processor (you could also use a fork or potato masher) because they are more firm, then I just added in the cooked sweet potato and mashed it all together. 

Add in the seasonings and flax and mash again until the mixture is well combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. The flavours should be a bit stronger than what you'd want in the finished falafel because they will become less intense after cooking. 
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets. Pack it tightly into the measuring cup and then tap it out for a perfectly formed falafel. Lightly brush or spray each falafel with olive/canola oil if desired (this is optional, but will make for a bit of a crispier outer layer on the finished falafels). Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before serving.

Top the falafel with a dollop of hummus or tzatziki, or drizzle with tahini and serve. Makes ~20-24 falafels.


*Recipe inspired by Bran Appetit

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No-Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Power Bars


These are awesome do-it-yourself energy bars that are fast, easy, and so decadent you wouldn't believe they are so nutritious. Perfect for a protein and energy boost post-workout or if you need an energizing snack during the day! 

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana (the riper the better for more flavour!), mashed
1 and 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3 Tbsp. shredded coconut
1/3 cup raisins (or other chopped dried fruit of your choice)
1/4 cup chocolate or carob chips (I used carob)
2 Tbsp. flax or chia seeds
1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup agave or pure maple syrup
1/2 cup natural peanut butter (other nut butters will work just as well too!)
2-4 scoops protein powder of your choice (I'm not a huge protein supplement girl so I omit this ingredient, so feel free to omit it as well if you're not too worried about getting a lot of additional protein in this bar)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Line an 8x8 baking pan or a tupperware container with plastic wrap. This will make the bar removal and clean-up easier when they are finished!

Mash the banana in a large bowl. Then add the oats, coconut, flax/chia seeds, cinnamon, and the protein powder (if using) and stir to combine. 

Add in the raisins, chocolate/carob chips, peanut butter, agave, and vanilla and stir to mix. I find it easier to use your hands that way you get everything evenly distributed.

Evenly press the bar mixture into the prepared pan or container. Cover and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours to harden. 

Remove from freezer and lift the bars out of the pan. Cut into 10 individual bars (you can cut long and thin bars or squares). 

Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge or freezer. I store mine in the freezer and just grab them as needed because they don't really freeze rock solid and they soften up quickly at room temperature. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cinnamon Nut Bread Pudding


Bread pudding a great way to use up old or stale bread and give it new, delicious life! It may not be the prettiest of desserts, but it's so flavourful and comforting - your tastebuds will thank you. This recipe tastes just like a gooey cinnamon bun! I was out of eggs when I made it, so I just omitted them and used cornstarch to gel things up instead. If you use a non-dairy milk and margarine as well then this recipe is also vegan.

Ingredients:

5 cups cubed stale bread
2 cups milk (I used Almond milk)
2/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey
3 Tbsp. corn starch
4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (I used a mixture of both), chopped

Directions:

Cut your stale bread into approx. 1" cubes. Set aside. 

Combine the milk, maple syrup/honey, corn starch, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Mix well; make sure the corn starch dissolved completely. 

Add the cubed bread to the wet mixture and coat evenly. If the mixture seems a bit dry, add a little more milk or syrup/honey. Let stand for 15 minutes, until some of the liquid has been absorbed by the bread. The bread should look mushy and wet. 
After soaking for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x5 loaf pan with softened butter or margarine.

Pour the bread mixture into the prepared loaf pan, patting it down to make an even top. Evenly spread the chopped nuts over the top, then pour the melted butter/margarine over the nuts.

 Finally, sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes until the top is puffed, slightly brown, and feels firm. Cover the loaf pan with aluminum foil for the last 7-8 minutes of baking time so that the brown sugar topping doesn't burn.

Allow to cool slightly before slicing the bread pudding and serving. The pudding can also be scooped with a large spoon or ice cream scoop once slightly cooled. If desired, serve with additional maple syrup/honey and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


*Recipe adapted from The Cinnamon Quill

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Microwave Banana Oatmeal Cake


A quick, easy on-the-go breakfast or snack! I posted the blueberry version a little while ago, but figured that some people may just want the recipe for a plainer oatmeal cake that they can customize to their tastes or whatever add-ins they have on hand!

Ingredients:

1 ripe medium/large banana, mashed
1/3 cup dry (not cooked) oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Dash of vanilla extract (optional)
Toppings, add-in's of your choice

Directions:

Mash the banana in a bowl. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Lightly spray a clean bowl or shallow dish with cooking spray and transfer the banana/oat mixture into the bowl, spreading it out evenly. 

Microwave for 2.5-4 minutes - it really depends on your microwave, so if it doesn't look "done" to you then zap it for an extra minute. If you're planning on taking this as a to-go meal then I would recommend microwaving it for 4-4.5 minutes because the longer you microwave it the less soft and mushy it will be, making it easier to transport and eat on the fly. 

After microwaving, allow the cake to rest for a couple of minutes, then eat straight from the bowl or gently slide or invert it onto a plate. You can top your oat cake with peanut butter (yum!), maple syrup or agave, jelly/jam, fruit, or just have it plain. 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter


Making your own peanut butter at home is surprisingly so simple! I made my dad this chocolate peanut butter for his birthday last month and it turned out awesome - he looves chocolate and pb together. Since it is natural peanut butter (just peanuts - no added/extracted oils, sugars, preservatives, etc.), and because I used dark chocolate instead of semisweet or milk, it's not as sweet as commercial nut butters. If you'd like it to be sweeter feel free to use milk chocolate or even white chocolate! This is great on toast, oatmeal, muffins, or drizzled over fresh fruit - I even spread some in between the cake layers for my dad's birthday cake.




Ingredients:

4 cups raw peanuts
1 cup dark chocolate (I used Hershey's Special dark chocolate chips)
2 tsp. coconut oil (or any other oil i.e. peanut, canola)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Lightly roast your peanuts over medium heat in a large skillet for about 8-10 minutes, or until fragrant. Watch them carefully so that they don't burn. The roasting will make the nuts extra flavourful, but if you aren't a fan of roasted nuts or would prefer not to then it's optional.
 Place your roasted peanuts into a food processor. Process for about 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every minute or as necessary. It is a long process, but you don’t want to stop until you have released all the oils in the nuts and the mixture is very smooth and buttery! 
Just before your peanut butter is ready, add the 1 cup chocolate chips and 2 tsp. of coconut oil to a small pot. Melt on low. You want to remove the pot from heat when there are still some chocolate chip clumps remaining. This is to avoid burning the chocolate - but don’t worry they will melt as you stir the mixture. 

Add the melted chocolate to the peanut butter (still in the processor) and process for a couple minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add your salt to taste and process more. The end consistency will be runnier than normal jarred peanut butter, but it will firm up once it sits in the fridge. 

Scoop into sealable jars or container and store in the refrigerator. Allow the peanut butter to come to room temp. before using so it is easier to spread. This will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


*Recipe inspired by Oh She Glows