I just took a 1000 mile roadtrip from Oregon to Southern California. In a week I’m going back home. I definitely learned a few things along the way. I thought it would be helpful to tell you all about my trip and include a delicious […]
Recently I was invited to a Pampered Chef party. I wasn’t sure what to expect. The consultant handed out catalogs and I suddenly got much more interested. There were so many great kitchen tools that would make cooking plant-based fun and simple. The catalog includes colanders that can wash my quinoa and lentils without everything falling through.
Then it was time for cooking. We were separated into groups. I was in the group that chopped up vegetables using the manual food processor. It made it so easy to create a simple salsa. I was already hooked. How could I not have this great tool?
One of my favorite toppings is salsa. I love to make my own salsa to top just about any recipe. Salsa doesn’t always have to be super spicy. You can add fruit like mango or pineapple to make it sweet.
I created a simple salsa recipe last summer when my mangoes and tomatoes were bountiful at my local grocery store. As I looked at the manual food processor I realized how much easier making my favorite salsa would be. Just add all the ingredients and chop once.
Usually I add sweet or red onion, tomatoes, mangoes, jalapeno, and lime juice. Sometimes I’ll add some chopped cilantro too.
My goal is to make plant-based recipes easy for everyone. You shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time and energy creating fancy recipes every day. Most of the time I make my meals in 20 minutes or less.
As I looked through the catalog I realized that these tools can help to make prep easier and reduce clean-up. (Personally I hate washing dishes so I will do anything not to clean multiple tools.)
It was an easy choice to become a consultant. I want to share these great tools and my recipes so you too can see how easy it is to be plant-based. Preparing quick recipes with tools that make it easy are how you make cooking fun. You shouldn’t need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to make healthy and delicious food.
Do you ever feel like you just want something sweet but you only want a bite? I’m always trying to eat healthy, whole food avoiding candy and sweets. Despite that I love baking and making sweets to give away. Planning to give them away ensures I don’t eat them all. That would not be a good plan.
Generally, for breakfast I eat oatmeal with fruit, ground flax and cinnamon. Recently I bought some ground flax at Trader Joe’s and every morning I would look at the bag and read this recipe for “Energy Bites”. Eventually I decided I had to find a way to make them. The original recipe used peanut butter so I needed to find a good substitute.
Looking in my pantry I found an unopened jar of sunflower butter. Hmm… I wondered if this would work in place of the peanut butter?
Using the following ingredients, I made my own version of the Trader Joe’s Energy Bites.
They are vegan, gluten-free, nut-free and delicious. Although it would be easy to eat them all, I consider them a treat so no more than 1 or 2 at a time. An even better idea is to share them so I can’t eat too many.
The SunButter sunflower butter needs to be on the thin side. You’ll find that it’s thicker at the bottom. One trick is to heat it in the microwave gently or put the jar into a bowl of hot water. Then you can mix the butter and it should be easy to stir.
I like to use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips for this recipe. They are just the right size and easy to work with.
First, gather all your ingredients. Get a medium sized bowl and a metal pan that fits on your freezer shelf. Make some room in your freezer for the pan.
Measure and pour all the ingredients into the bowl. Use a spatula to mix everything together well.
Wet your hands. You’ll need to keep your hands a little moist so it might be good to be near the sink.
Using a tablespoon scoop out a little of the mixture and roll it between your hands into a small 1” ball. Place the ball on the pan. Continue until you’ve used up all the mixture. I got 24 bites out of mine. Place the pan in the freezer.
When ready to eat, take out of freezer and let sit for 5 minutes. This avoids breaking any teeth.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup ground flax
- 1/2 cup sunflower butter
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
- Wet hands.
- Measure about 1 Tbsp of mixture into hands.
- Roll mixture into a ball and place on pan.
- Freeze at least an hour to set.
- Recommend keeping in freezer until ready to eat.
I had two Thanksgiving celebrations this week. Both vegan. Both potluck. That meant cooking even though I wasn’t hosting. The first celebration was the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Since I live close to Portland (sometimes known as Vegan central) there are a lot of people interested in a vegan celebration. Every year the Northwest Veg group prepares a very large potluck celebration. This year they only had 300 seats. It filled up quickly. Lucky for me I signed up early and got a spot. Last year I waited too long. The hall where it took place is actually a large building in the middle of an amusement park. It was 45 degrees out with a brisk wind so there was no chance anyone was interested in the park. As I’d never been to that part of town I headed out extra early. It actually was easy to find, right off the Sellwood bridge.
After finding a spot for my sweet potato spiced muffins I decided to check out what everyone else brought. The nice thing about vegan potlucks (well the ones I’ve been to anyway!) is that everyone includes a note with the ingredients by their dish. This helped me plan out which dishes I could eat and which table to hit first.
Here I am with my muffins.
I make these muffins about once or twice a month. They are pretty easy to make as long as you have fresh sweet potatoes. That’s the key to making them delicious.
So back to the muffins. I found the recipe at Savvy Vegetarian. I’ve incorporated a few of her tips to make these oil free. Make sure you check out her site as there are plenty of plant based recipes.
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup oat floor
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1 cup mashed sweet potato
- 2/3 cup unsweetened soy milk or other non-dairy milk
- 2 tsp cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup raisins
- Cook and mash the sweet potato ahead of time. I usually do this a day ahead.
- You can make the oat flour by grinding quick or rolled oats in your food processor.
- Preheat oven to 375 F
- Add the cider vinegar to the non-dairy milk and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, oat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
- In a second bowl whisk together non-dairy milk mixture, mashed sweet potatoes, and applesauce.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. If you are using raisins (I recommend this!) add them as well. Stir everything together until just mixed. Don’t over stir as this will make your muffins heavy.
- Spoon batter into a full sized non-stick muffin pan. You can grease the muffin pan if it’s not non-stick or look for some silicone muffin liners.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
- The muffins are done when they are firm and a little brown around the edges. I usually test them with a toothpick to see if they need a few more minutes.
- Enjoy them warm or let them cool. You can freeze them once they’ve cooled. Just take a frozen muffin to work and it will be perfect when lunchtime comes around.