Follow Your Heart VeganEgg 

I was never a big egg fan, but it was nice to be able to scramble up a quick breakfast on occasion. Especially for my son is screaming because he’s straving. But me being vegan and his egg allergy, not gonna happen anymore. 

Then I heard that Follow Your Heart was making vegan egg substitute product. And not just another egg replacer for baking, these could be used just like real beaten eggs. Scrambles, quiches, omelette, and baking! 

My first question was what the heck is it made of? Jack is also allergic to soy and cashews, two very common sources of vegan protein. I asked on their Facebook page and they quickly answered it was soy and nut free!  It’s main ingredient is an algae dervitive, algal

My mom asked what she could make for me and jack instead of scrambled eggs for Christmas Brunch, so I decided to order some finally. Luckily a local vegan grocery store in Portland Food Fight had some in stock, so they arrived just in time before Christmas morning. 

They come in cute little eggs cartons, but inside is really a package of powder. 

   
The instructions are easy and straightforward. In a nutshell, add correct amount of powder to correct amount of water, get lumps out, cook in a hot pan until firm. The key is to do what the directions say (duh). Too much water and they come out rubbery. Too much powder and they come out clumpy. And they are dead serious about letting it cook the full 6-8 minutes in an already hot pan. Otherwise it’s just goo that has no resemblance in texture to eggs. 

  

So how are they? I can happily say good! The texture is totally on point. Not too slimy, not to dense.  Fluffy and satisfying feel.  The taste is pretty close, but just a tiny bit off. I can’t really explain how it’s off…it’s like lacking that umami taste satisfaction. But I added a little sea salt and paprika before cooking and it helped a lot. 

 Did they pass the toddler test? Kinda. But Jack was more excited for the ham and maple syrup. He took a bite of the scramble, didn’t hate it but didn’t love it. 

I think this is a great product, I plan on buying it again and hope it becomes available in stores soon. A great vegan protein source that is soy-free. I’m going to try baking with it soon so look out for that recipe.  

 But For now, I highly suggest some over toast with salsa and hot sauce for breakfast. 

Brownie Energy Balls

IMG_4443

Every Friday this summer, Jack and I will be leading a hike with Hike It Baby. Since toddlers (and mamas) get hungry when working up a sweat, I decided to make treats to take with us. This week I made a variation of the recipe I came across called Five Ingredient Ginger Brownies.  I changed the recipe based on what I had in the house and what Jack likes. The peanut butter and almonds are great protein and energy. The ginger gives it a little zing for a pick-me-up. And who doesn’t love a bit of good dark chocolate!

Brownie Energy BallsIMG_4445

7 ounces of pitted dates
2 tbs almond flour
2 tbs smooth peanut butter
1 tps minced ginger
2 tbs cocoa powder
Unsweetened shredded coconut 

Blend everything but the coconut in a food processor until it comes together. It will make loose dough ball when ready.

Roll into any size ball you desire. I went with bite size.

Sprinkle as much shredded as you like onto a plate. Roll the balls in the coconut to coat.

Eat them now or place in fridge for a hour if you want them firmer.

15 - 1 (3)

Pop them in a bag and enjoy them out on the trail! Or your couch….no one will know 🙂

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

This morning my husband accidentally woke the baby up early. And guess who had to get up with him? Anyways, I got to watch my favorite cooking show of all time, Good Eats. And the episode featured my favorite vegetable, Brussels Sprouts. I’ve seen the episode before, but kind of ignored it since I loved my sprout cut in half and pan fried. But today I paid attention and saw him make the most delicious looking dish ever. Shredded Brussels sprouts with dried cranberries and pecans. I had all those ingredients in my fridge and couldn’t decide what to make, this recipe was just what I needed! I made it vegan and added a few ingredients too. This dish would make a fantastic healthy side dish for the Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Brussels Sprouts
1 pound Brussels Sprouts
3 ounce raw pecans, chopped
1 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 ounces dried cranberries
1/2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the brussel sprouts and remove any brown leafs. Cut off the tip of the steam. Cut the brussel sprouts into shreds (or use a food processor like Alton did).

In a skillet over medium-high heat, lightly toast the chopped pecans. It will only take a minute or two. The color won’t change much but you will be able to smell the aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, add the butter and brussels sprout shreds. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, until the sprouts soften.

Next add the cranberries and cook for one minute longer.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Add the olive oil and bread crumbs. Mix well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now dig into this delicious dish! Michael and I devoured the bowl. I even hoped Jack wouldn’t eat his  portion (I gave him just the sprouts, never give a baby nuts as they are a choking risk).  But he devoured his too! I will need to make this again soon, it was just so good!

Pumpkin Date Muffins

Want to know what statement that makes a cook feel horrible? “I didn’t know what to have for breakfast so I skipped it. And you forgot to make me a lunch so I just had ramen.” Most days I do feed my husband good meals. I make him nice lunches most days and make sure there is something he can heat up for dinner (usually my leftover lunch). But some days Jack doesn’t let that happen. Michael knows I am busy all day trying to care for the baby and working in the evenings. He isn’t mad, and isn’t the ‘I expect dinner on the table at 6 sharp women!” kind of guy. But I love to cook and feed people, so hearing this was a dagger in the heart. I decided to make some freezer meals. This way there is always something to eat and it would save us money in the long run. I made 6 recipes total, so look out for the rest. Also, this recipe is also good for Baby-Led Weaning, the way we are introducing solids to Jack.

So, Michael never has to skip breakfast again. I decided to make muffins that he could eat in the car or at his desk. These muffins aren’t your those fluffy cake-like store bought muffins. Do you know why Costco muffins taste so good? They aren’t muffins, they are cake. You are eating giant cupcakes without frosting. Totally not the breakfast of champions!  My muffins are sweet but dense, and full of nutrition. A great way to start the day!
This recipes make 24 muffins or one 8 in by 12 in baking pan.
Pumpkin Date Muffins
2 tbs flax seeds
4 tbs hot water

1 29 oz can of pumpkin puree

2 cups chopped dates
2 cups old fashioned oats
2 tbs vital wheat gluten (or flour works fine too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners or spray the pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, add the hot water and flax seeds. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add the pumpkin puree and dates. Mix well.

Add the oats, vital wheat gluten, brown sugar, flax seed mixture, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix until combined. It should be thick and lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tin. Fill it all the way to the top, these muffins don’t rise much.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the tops are lightly golden.

Eat them hot, let them cool for later, or freeze them for the rest of the week! A tasty breakfast any time.

Lactation Cookies For Everybody

Check out my other blog Vegan Babymama for the story behind why I made those cookies. And two things before I get to the recipe. First, I know it says cookies but I made bars. When you have a 4 month old baby, you don’t have time to be scooping out dough and baking one batch at a time. So I spread all the dough out into a pan quickly and pop it in the oven on a cooking timer so the oven would shut off when it’s done. That way I could nurse Jack and not worry about anything burning. But if you have the time, these do make wonderful cookies, so by all means scoop away. Second, these cookies are not just for nursing moms. They will not make you lactate if you aren’t already. I’m referring the men who reading this, seriously? You don’t have functioning mammary glands! They are normal ingredients and the cookies taste great. My husband as stolen a few cookies and loves them. But if you lactating, some of these ingredients are lactrogenic, meaning they have been known to increase your milk supply. The oatmeal, flax seed, brewer’s yeast, walnuts, and whole wheat flour in this recipe are all lactrogenic.

This recipe is based on these two recipes I found on Pinterest: Lactation Cookie Bars and Lactation Cookies for Nursing Moms.
Lactation Cookies
1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1.5 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup hot water
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups rolled oats
2 heaping tbs brewer’s yeast
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (make sure they are dairy-free)
pinch of salt
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 350 and spray a baking pan with cooking spray. I used a 9 x 9 ceramic.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
In a small bowl, add the ground flax seed and hot water. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Add the flax seed mixture to the butter mixture. Mix well (though it will be very sloppy).
Add the flour, rolled oats, brewer’s yeast and baking soda the bowl. Mix well.
Stir in the chocolate chips and salt.
Stir in the coconut and walnuts, if using.

Spread evenly into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Note to self: Take pic before you take a piece,
despite how amazing it smells.
These cookies really are for everyone. Don’t let the title scare you away. They are high in fiber and contains good fats. Plus they are very tasty. I really suggest either the coconut or walnuts, or both! And this is a wonderful treat for nursing momma. You earned it, taking care of a baby is hard!

Chocolate Pie

Last year I did a post in honor of my grandmother’s passing. Sadly, this post is for my grandpa. A few week ago he had a two strokes that he could not recover from and passed on. So needless to say these past few weeks have been very emotional. I am so happy to be bonding with my newborn son, but sad to lose my grandfather.

Like I said with my grandma’s passing, the best way I can honor his memory is to live a long healthy life. And now I need to teach Jack how to live a long life too. I need to teach him about food and cooking so he can have every advantage for his health.

My grandpa loved chocolate pie. The kind you make with Jell-O pudding. When I was little I made him one, but I accidently burnt the milk. It tasted awful, no one else wanted to eat it. However, he happily ate it. Claimed it tasted like coffee. I don’t know if it was his love for chocolate pie or his love for me, but it made me happy to see him eat it. I think that was how I discovered my love for cooking for others.

So in honor of my him, I decided to make a healthier vegan version of his favorite dessert.While the pudding mix itself is vegan, it requires milk–and it will not firm up with soymilk. So I had to go a different route. I essentially made my Chocolate Mousse recipe into a pie. Pretty easy, no baking required. And tons of protein and antioxidants.

 Chocolate Pie
1 block silken tofu
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 graham cracker crust (find one without honey)

Drain the tofu, but do not squeeze or blot totally dry.

I used my NutriBullet, but a blender or food processor works. Blend the tofu until smooth.

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir well. Repeat at 5 second intervals until it is all melted and smooth.

Add the melted chocolate, cocoa powder, and coconut sugar to the tofu. Blend until all combined.

Pour the tofu mixture into the pie crust and smooth out the top.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to firm up.

My mom bought this stuff called PB2, which if you like peanut butter, tastes great on sprinkled on top. I have to admit, it took me a few days to want to eat the pie because it made me sad to realize my grandpa is really gone. But once I did, it made me smile. He would have loved it—very chocolatey and smooth. Once Jack can have solid food, I will make this for him and tell him all about his great grandparents.

Small Meal Ideas

source

I mentioned in my last post that I am suffering from horrible heartburn/acid reflux right now. Guess my little son decided that my stomach was annoying and shoved it out of his way. As a result, I had to start eating 6 to 8 smaller, more simple meals to keep my stomach happy. I thought I would share the list of small meal ideas I came up. These are not only great for heartburn issues. Try them for kid’s lunches, party finger foods, and smaller meals for diets.

Breakfast:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal cooked with rice milk with a 1/2 a banana mashed and 3 chopped up dates
  • Smoothie: 1/2 an avocado, splash of apple juice, handful of spinach, and 1/4 cup blackberries
  •  Burrito: 1 warmed medium flour tortilla,  1/2 an avocado, handful of kale,  handful shredded carrots
  • 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter spread on a piece of whole grain toast, and half a banana
Lunch:
  • 1 cup of my Feel Better Vegetable Soup
  • My rice cheese or Soy Cheese Quesadilla , but with salsa or hot sauce
  • Half Sandwich or wrap: 1 medium tortilla or 1 slice of bread, 2 tablespoon avocado, handful of greens, half a handful of shredded carrots, and a bit of stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup of plain cooked lentils over 1/2 cup rice with a bit of kale or spinach
Dinner:
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pasta, a bit of olive oil, handful of sautee kale or spinach, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 of cup of chopped vegetable salad with a light apple cider vinegar dressing
  • 1/2 cup whole pinto beans, 1/2 cup brown rice
  • A plain Tofu Scramble—light or no spices, no tomatoes, and no onions
Snacks:
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds or cashews
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 a banana
  • 8 dates
  • 8 carrots and 2 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 small apple with 1 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 6 ounces soy or rice yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced cucumber and 1/4 cup whole wheat crackers

And remember to stay away from sugary drinks. Drink as much water as you can. Try coconut water to keep your electrolytes up.  And try some low sugar apple juice with a splash of apple cider vinegar to settle your stomach and soothe your throat.

Tofu Nuggets and Sunchoke Fries

Last Sunday afternoon was dedicated to watching the 49ners, so I decided to make Michael something to munch on while he became engrossed in the game. I had a craving for nuggets and fries, but was out of my usually Gardien  nuggets and frozen fries. Tofu nuggets are easy to make, but I sadly only found one small potato for fries. Then I remembered that a bag of sunchokes came in my organic veggie box. I had no idea what to do with them, but knew they can be cooked like potatoes so I used them for fries.

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes, are a root vegetable related to sunflowers. They are high in Vitamin C and iron. They look like a mix between ginger root and a potato. But taste oddly like artichoke hearts. It’s nice alternative to the usual potato.

This recipes makes two servings of each.

Tofu Nuggets and Sunchoke Fries
Sunchoke Fries:
6 sunchokes (I threw in my lonely potato too), washed, cleaned and cut into disks
Cold Water
2 tbs salt
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Tofu Nuggets:
1/2 block of firm tofu, frozen drained and cut into bit-sized cubes
1/2 cup Bisquick (plain flour is fine too)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Olive Oil

Once you wash, clean and cut your sunchokes, place them in a large bowl and cover with cold water.

Add the 2 tbs of salt and let them sit for an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Make sure your tofu is properly drained—get as much water out as possible. Make sure when you cut into to cubes, you cut them as uniform as possible so they cook evenly.

In a large bowl add the tofu, Bisquick, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Toss to coat the tofu evenly.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and evenly space out your coated tofu.

Drain your sunchokes (do not rinse). Pat dry with a paper towel gently.

Return them to the bowl and coat with a little bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired.

Now spread evenly them on another baking sheet.

Pop both baking sheets in the oven and cook for 20 minutes. The nuggets will be slightly golden and the sunchokes should be slightly crispy. You can adjust the times and temps if you like yours softer or crunchier.

Crispy on the outside, tender on the side.

Get some of your favorite BBQ sauce or natural ketchup, then dig in! A healthy game day snack while you watch your team in the playoffs. Michael was so fixed on the game he didn’t notice the fries were not potatoes until I said something 😛

Looks like potatoes, but taste like a artichoke. 

Potato and Leek Hash

I wanted a hot and tasty breakfast when I woke up this morning. Something filling, but not heavy. I had a few potatoes that needed to be eaten so I thought a hash was in order.

I got another organic vegetable box delivered the other day so I decided to add some veggies for more nutrition. The box came with two giant leeks. I think leeks are a seriously underrated food. They have the texture of a very soft celery mixed with a shallot. The flavor is like a mid onion and garlic. They are high in vitamin K and vitamin A. Like their cousin garlic, it also helps support the cardiovascular system. I love leeks because they provide that garlic/onion flavor, but with a bit more crunch.

This recipe makes one large serving (that is surprising low in calories!).

Potato and Leek Hash
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup water
1/2 of a leek stalk (the lower, whiter part—I have a recipe for the leafy part coming up), sliced thin
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 of a broccoli stalk, peeled and diced
Salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat a skillet with a little oil (I used coconut) over medium heat.

Add the potatoes and cook until slightly golden on the outside.

Add water and cover. The steam will cook the inside of the potatoes. Stir occasionally so they do no burn.

Once the water is evaporated, remove the lid. Add all remaining veggies. Cook until the carrots and broccoli are soft, and the leeks are slightly golden.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

I served mine over some basic scrambled tofu with some hot sauce on top.

A healthy and easy breakfast, great way to start off my day of cleaning and laundry :-/

Gender Reveal Blueberry Cake

I actually meant to post this like two weeks ago, but life happens (sorry). Anyways, we had the anatomy ultrasound at 19 weeks (I am 21 week now). The baby is looked all healthy, developing correctly, and heartbeat was great. We also found out the gender….we are having a boy! We were hoping for a boy too!

Everyone was betting it was girl, but I had a feeling all along it was my sweet little prince. We decided on the name Jack pretty early on. It is male version of my mom’s name and the name of my father-in-law’s best friend who passed away.  Both our families are very excited too. He is gonna be one very well-loved baby.

So I decided to make a blueberry cake as my gender reveal announcement. I see the ones where people dye cakes half pink and half blue then cut the corresponding color, but I did not want to eat all the artificial dye. Same with the putting blue or pink candy on the inside of a white cake, but again, I didn’t want to eat a bunch of junk.

I did use a both cake mix for this,  I just looked for a one that was vegan and no high fructose corn syrup. I don’t mind using box mixes on occasion and using healthier ingredients to prepare them.

If you were having a girl, you could make this was strawberries or raspberries instead to make it pink. For a gender reveal party, you could frost the cake with white icing then cut into it reveal the berry color. Or if you could just invite people over for dinner and serve the cake without saying anything, and wait till someone asks why a blueberry cake.


Blueberry Cake
Cake:
2 ripe bananas
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 melted coconut oil
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 cup frozen blueberries
Optional glaze:
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tbs lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease desired baking pan with a small amount coconut oil. I used a 13×9 dark metal pan.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas.

Add the cinnamon, coconut oil, and milk. Mix together well.

Add the oatmeal and cake mix. Mix together until it all the flour is incorporated.

Stir in the blueberries.

Pour into your baking pan and smooth out evenly.

I baked for 28 minutes, but you may need to adjust the time for different pan sizes. It is done when the center is firm to touch and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let it cool completely. If you want frost or decorate it differently, then go right ahead. If you want to make the glaze I did…

Add the blueberries, sugar, water and lemon juice into a small pot and bring to boil.

Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until some of the liquid has evaporated and the berries are soft.

Let it cool to room temperature.

Pour evenly over the top of the cooled cake.

Now you a healthier blue cake to celebrate your baby boy (or girl if you do strawberries)!