Healthy Blueberry Muffins
Most blueberry muffins are made with butter or oil, eggs, white flour, and refined sugar with the only “healthy” ingredient being the blueberries. But, what if I told you that a moist, high-rising great tasting blueberry muffin can be made without butter, oil, eggs, and refined sugar?
The secret to making healthier blueberry muffins without giving up flavor or texture is to use healthier ingredients: a mixture of almond flour, whole grain spelt flour and a small amount of cake flour instead of just white flour; a non-dairy milk that is naturally high in fats (oat or walnut by Elmhurst work well) instead of butter or oil; and maple syrup instead of refined sugar – all of which combined with other clean ingredients create a healthy blueberry muffin that is truly scrumptious.
It is also important to include 10 full ounces of blueberries (I often use frozen wild). Don’t skimp on the blueberries as these super nutritious berries are not only natural sweeteners but also add moisture and flavor.
If there is one product that has commanded more shelf space in recent years, it’s the energy/protein/snack bar. From a one shelf allocation in the cookie aisle of grocery stores years ago to a partial grocery aisle today, bars have become the go-to supplement for millions of Americans.
Although bars are convenient, most of them have too much sugar and/or unhealthy ingredients, or just taste awful. For me, it got to the point that the only time I packed a bar was if I was going for a hike or a road trip because the alternative was worse – no food or SAD (Standard American Diet) food. Read more
Rice Pudding: With No Dairy or Refined Sugar
Last year I was walking around New York City and zeroed in on a sign in a restaurant window that said “Finally, A Rice Pudding That Doesn’t Suck” that cracked me up laughing. I then took a picture even though I had no idea why. Probably because the sign just made me laugh with its truth.
Rice pudding is a total comfort food that is pretty hard to screw up but often is because people use cheap or crappy ingredients or don’t give the dish the attention it requires. There’s no way around making a fantastic rice pudding except to use exceptional ingredients and to remember to always stir when the rice is cooking (just like risotto). Read more
Baked Basmati Rice with Leeks and White Beans
I use to look at leeks and wonder what to do with them. Of course, I knew of leek soup but I always thought there must be a higher purpose for leeks. It took me a while (actually, a few years) but I found the perfect use for leeks in a side dish I call Baked Basmati Rice with Leeks and White Beans.
A while back, the New York Times printed a recipe for “Baked Rice With White Beans, Leeks, and Lemons” because commenters “have gone wild for this easy, hands-off, vegetarian main course…” That’s all I needed to read before deciding this was it. However, I had to figure out a way to make this recipe plant-based and a bit healthier: greatly reduce the olive oil (from 5 tablespoons to a few sprays), replace the white Basmati Rice with Brown Rice Basmati for more fiber, and ditch the parmesan (and use vegan parmesan made from cashews, sparingly). Read more
One of my favorite comfort foods is a dish I call “Pasta Roni” which is a play on the classic decades-old “beefaroni” dish made of macaroni, beef, and tomato sauce except that my version tastes better, is plant based, and more nutritious! Oil and dairy free, Pasta Roni is the dish everyone wants on a cold night when nothing but a tummy-warming bowl of pasta will do.
Inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for Lentil-A-Roni in Isa Does It, the Pasta Roni recipe showcases whole grain pasta, lentils, tomatoes, and greens for a delicious and nutritious meal. Isa uses raw cashews that have been soaked in water, drained and then blended with vegetable broth in a high-powered blender to make the sauce creamy but I am not a cream sauce person so I don’t use cashews. If your preference is for a creamy sauce, then by all means, soak 1/2 cup of raw (not roasted) cashews in water for a few hours and then blend away before adding to the sauce.
But first, a few words about other ingredients: Read more
Vegan Vanilla Yogurt Cake
Making a great tasting moist vanilla cake without butter and eggs has never been easier. The secret lies with using unsweetened cashew yogurt, and cake flour which has a lower protein content than all purpose flour and is lighter (finer), and softer than other flours. However, with the knowledge that white cake flour doesn’t have a lot of nutritional attributes, there are two ways to make this cake:
- Use only white cake flour for a lighter, higher rising cake; or
- Use a combination of white cake flour and whole grain spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour for a slightly denser but more nutritious cake.
In addition, using unsweetened plain cashew yogurt (I use Forager’s) gives this cake a moist, tangy flavor that is greatly enhanced with the added zest of a lemon. Read more
Temple Balls II
When vegans or plant-based eaters discover dates, it’s a game changer. Dates are moist, chewy, and naturally sweet, so this luscious “food from the Gods” lends itself to making naturally sweet treats including what many people refer to as date balls: dates, nuts, seeds, spices, and other ingredients (i.e. cocoa, coconut, goji berries, raisins, etc) mashed and blended together into dessert or snack balls.
Although there are a zillion recipes for date balls on line, there are occasions when time or equipment (a food processor) is a factor so people turn to ready-made balls. But, as with every prepared food, ingredients are key so read labels or turn to Glaser Organic Farms – a trusted preparer of raw, vegan, and organic certified snacks. Read more