Vegan Oatmeal Banana Pancakes: Semi-original

This really is my M.O, isn’t it? Stealing recipes and making them vegan….but you know what? All for a good cause, right?

This one is adapted from the “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics” cookbook. (it’s a great one, by the way — written by the owners of the Moosewood Restaurant in New York — definitely worth checking out!) The pancakes are already vegetarian, but I made some modifications to make them vegan. Enjoy!

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Dry Ingredients:
1 cup wheat flour (use other for gluten-free option)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup rolled oats, ground fine (or can use instant oats)

Mix together all dry ingredients; set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine the following:

1 Tbsp ground flax (soaked in 3 Tbsp hot water for 2-3 minutes)
1 cup vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp vegetable or coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 cup sliced banana

Add these to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Cook on a lightly oiled skillet, 1-2 minutes each side.

There are myriad ways to serve this, but I had a ton of figs that I picked from my best friend’s tree yesterday so I thought they would be lovely with it. They were, along with some fresh strawberries and a dollop of organic peanut butter (aka the food of the Gods, am I right??)

Per pancake: 100 calories, 3 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate.

Trading and bartering for food – a lost practice??

I’ve always found great merit in the trade-and-barter system of old. In my opinion, money only serves as a means to an end. You don’t need money, you just need it to buy things. Everything. It has no real value. I understand its pragmatic use in modern society, mind you, but I don’t necessarily feel it’s appropriate in all cases. One such case is when it comes to food. Not until I moved to the country did I really start to get a feel for this. Neighbors would bring us huge bags of squash, okra, lettuce, or whatever else they had in surplus. Once we began raising chickens, we started giving them fresh eggs. Since they don’t raise chickens, it was a welcome trade for them! I really got to liking this system and now try to perpetuate it as much as possible.

There is a kindly older lady that lives next door. While she remains fairly independent, it’s to be expected that she’ll have difficulty with certain tasks. My husband started cutting her grass for her, particularly on very hot days where her sweet little sun hat might not cut it. She just so happens to have two enormous blueberry bushes, from which she graciously allows me to pick whenever I want. She doesn’t spray her bushes, so I know I am getting 100% fresh, organic berries, which are hard to find (and/or expensive). While she expects nothing in return, I always make sure to give her something. Whether it’s eggs, or seasonal homegrown produce like figs, cucumbers, or melons, she is so appreciative of that gesture.

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So many blueberries!

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A small segment of the prolific bushes next door!

 

 

 

Recently, a woman I play soccer with offered to bring me some of her squash, cucumbers, and jalapenos. Who was I to refuse? I happily came home from my game last week with a bag full of fresh produce. This week, she’s supposed to give me tomatoes. This is perfect, because mine aren’t ready yet. In exchange, what is she getting? Some of those amazing blueberries! See — I’m paying it forward!

You can save money this way, too. Not only are you avoiding having to buy such things at the store, you are giving AND getting back! You could almost make a club out of it — each person grows certain things, and then you trade for what your friends have. It’s kind of like having your own personal co-op. Everyone wins! Not sure how to start? Spy on your neighbors and see what they’re growing (in a legal way, of course!). Then, offer to trade them for something you’ve grown……or even trade for a service! Maybe the older gentleman next door grows tomatoes and also seems to need help with gardening. I’d bet he would be more than happy to give you some of those ‘maters if you pull some weeds for him. You never know.

Swap with everyone you know, and help me bring back the trade-and-barter movement!

Vegan Lunch Box – new feature!!

Hey-yo! I’m starting a new blog feature — Vegan Lunch Box! I’m going to show you what I’m packing in my lunches, to show examples of what a well-balanced, energy-sustaining, vegan lunch looks like!

We are so busy in life. Between work, kids, workouts, grocery shopping, cleaning (need I go on?), the last thing we want to worry about is what to eat for lunch. Problem is, when we stop worrying about it, we start eating convenience foods and other “quick fix” items that might be wallet-friendly, but definitely not waistline-friendly. The solution is to pack your own lunch. That way, no matter where you are, you always have a healthy meal on hand. You’re welcome, busy people of the world!

To kick it off, here’s what I packed today:

Counterclockwise, from top right:

Morning snack – organic gala apple and a Raw Rev bar

Lunch – homemade vegan chickpea salad (Oh She Glows recipe, of course!), rice crackers, half an avocado. The salad came from the salad bar at work….take advantage of this! If you don’t have one, pack a salad or some other veggies too.

Pre-Zumba snack – Chocolate banana shake made with almond milk.

*The chickpea salad took 10 minutes to prepare. Everything else was ready to eat.*

Key to success: A well-stocked kitchen!

Keep in the pantry: beans, brown rice, quinoa, pasta, low-sodium diced tomatoes, pita bread, nuts and seeds, whole grain crackers, dried fruits.

Keep in the fridge: cut-up fruits and veggies, fresh herbs, sprouted bread (like Ezekiel), hummus, almond/soy milk, soy yogurt, nutritional yeast.

Keep in the freezer: vegetables, edamame, fruit, dinner leftovers

Keep at work: Various healthy snacks such as nuts, fresh/dried fruit, roasted chickpeas, whole grain crackers,

There are infinite possibilities and combinations using the above foods. Get creative and get packing! Stay tuned for more Vegan Lunch Box, coming soon!

Semi-original recipe: Peach & Plum Cobbler

Why semi-original, you ask? Because I modified an existing recipe to make it vegan. I also used plums instead of the original blueberries, since I had some plums off of our tree out front! (This was exciting, as the tree hadn’t borne in years!) The peaches came from the local farmers’ market. Feel free to experiment with other fruits, depending on what’s in season and what you have available. I think this would be tasty with just about anything!  I made this for breakfast, but it would easily make a great dessert, too! 

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Peach & Plum Cobbler

Makes 10 servings

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp coconut oil

3 Tbsp canola oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup almond or soy milk

1/2 cup organic sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 ripe peaches, pitted and sliced

1 cup plums, pitted and chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Place both oils in your baking dish (an iron skillet works great here, otherwise you can use a 9×11) and heat in the oven until melted, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add milk, sugar, and vanilla and stir to combine. Add the melted oils to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot baking dish. Evenly spread the fruit over the top of the batter. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until batter is completely set. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

I don’t think I need to tell you that this won’t last long in your house.  Nutritionally, it’s quite decent….beats the heck out of an artery-clogging fruit pastry or doughnut! 

Per serving: 180 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated), 26 g carbohydrate, 3 g protein, 3 g fiber. 

Original Recipe: Quinoa Enchilada Bowl

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Hooray, another Jean’s Kitchen original!! I made this up yesterday morning while scrambling to make something to take to work for lunch. I have a terrible tendency to just throw things together without measuring, so I’ve done my best to get the quantities right for you. This was delicious and super filling. Took it for lunch to share with the girls (aka the other dietitians) and it was a hit with them, too!

Makes 2 hearty servings.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa                                                 1/2 cup enchilada sauce

2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth                                   2 tsp garlic powder

1 cup cannellini beans                                                        1 tsp chili powder                                              

1/2 onion, chopped                                                           1/2 tsp cumin

1 bell pepper, chopped                                                     1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1 roma tomato, chopped                                                    1/2 cup cilantro, chopped                       

Cook quinoa (using broth instead of water) according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a pan. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and all seasonings except cilantro and mix well. Saute an additional 2 minutes, then add the beans, tomato, and enchilada sauce. Simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. 

Place quinoa into the bottom of a bowl. Pour bean mixture on top. Top with additional cilantro and chopped avocado, if desired. 

 

Strawberry season: so short, but so sweet!!

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A delightful concoction of strawberries, agave nectar, lime juice, and silver tequila. Que bueno!

 

Strawberry season in Virginia lasts all of about six weeks. In the past, I would always get my fix by going to pick a few batches at a local berry farm. This year was different, since the backyard crop I planted last spring has just EXPLODED over these past few weeks. I have been picking big bowls of berries on a daily basis. This is great, of course, but then the question arises: what to do with all of this? Fresh strawberries don’t last long, so I knew I had to get creative.

So far, I have dehydrated them, frozen them, and given some away. I’ve made strawberry cupcakes, jam, and smoothies. I’ve put them on salads and made margaritas (the best I’ve ever had, incidentally!). My husband made a fantastic strawberry shortcake the other night. We even fed some to our chickens to see how they liked them (quite well, actually).

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I even pureed some strawberries into the icing!

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Spinach, strawberry, and toasted pecan salad with vidalia onion dressing. 100% vegan and 100% awesome!

Never before have I had to find so many ways to prepare one single type of food! I’m glad I did, though, because it’s taught me how to enjoy my favorite fruit in so many different ways. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go pick more strawberries.

Original Recipe: Cherry Berry Overnight Oats

I usually steal recipes, but I’m proud to say this one is all mine! 

I’ve tried many different recipes for overnight oats; some I’ve loved, some not so much. I played around a little bit and came up with my ideal version — hope you like it as much as I did!

Ingredients: 

1 cup rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great gluten-free version)

 1 cup almond milk (alternative — you can use milk and/or Greek yogurt if you’re not vegan)

1/4 cup chia seeds

 1 cup organic unsweetened applesauce

(This makes about 3 servings)

Place all ingredients into a mason jar (this is what I used, because I’m country like that) or other airtight container. Stir well to combine. Put the lid on and refrigerate overnight. 

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Before mixing

In the morning, take it out and you shall see that it is “magicially” thickened and softened. Spoon out about 1/3 of the mixture into a bowl. This is where you can really take some creative liberties. Experiment with different types of fruits, nuts, seasonings, or nut butters. To make it according to what I did, add:

1/4 cup dried tart cherries

2 Tbsp walnuts

Dollop of homemade strawberry chia jam (from Oh She Glows, naturally!)

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Before devouring

Eat up, buttercup.

I didn’t think it needed any sweetener added to it because of the fruit, but this is up to you. 

Side note: This fills me up! This is important — I usually get hungry about 2-3 hours after breakfast. I can go at least 4 with this in my fuel tank.

Have a healthy, happy day! It’s guaranteed with a breakfast like this!