Friday, March 23, 2012

Yumminess!!! Skinny Monkey Bites

I had the pleasure of making these skinny monkey bites two weeks ago and I've made them 3 times since.  The kids and I can't stop eating them!  I had it for breakfast today along with some strawberries.

When I make them I use PB2 in lieu of peanut butter to cut the fat.  I find baking them lessens the natural sweetness in them so I really prefer it raw.  I serve the raw dough in a cup like I would ice cream.  Talk about a breakfast treat!  It's SO good and yet so filling too.  My kids like them both ways, as a cookie and as a ball of oaty goodness.

The ingredients are simple:

 bananas, applesauce, oats, cocoa and PB2 (low fat peanut butter).

That's just five ingredients and no added sugar!  The pin/link to the recipe is below:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On the Cheap Vegan Freezer Burritos

I've been struggling to find things for my husband that can help him stay plant strong at lunch.  His old lunch used to be two ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat with some pretzels.  It isn't terribly high in calories, but it is high in salt and the animal products contain cholesterol.  It's not exactly heart healthy.

We went through a lot of options and we came up with one that really works for him.  Why not a homemade freezer burrito?  I have seen these in the freezer section at Whole Foods but at $3 a pop, that simply isn't economical but making them at home is!

I can't take credit for this idea, but it's so simple and wonderful.  You can find the recipe here.  I highly recommend you click on it.

We made many customizations to the recipe (as I imagine you will too)!  We eliminated the oil, added hot New Mexican green chiles, fajita seasoning, and used salsa in lieu of the tomatoes.  We also used taco size tortillas because Nick preferred two smaller burritos over one massive burrito.  It's just easier to eat at a work desk.   I also used 3 packages of pre-cut onion, pepper freezer vegetable medleys for convenience.  It took no time to make, though it did take a little time to put them together and wrapped in their individual packages.  I'm sure you could find a greener way to do this then to use saran wrap.  For a little effort, it made 15 burritos, or just over 7 lunches!

On the Cheap Freezer Burritos
adapted by Vegan Piggy

2 cans (3 cups cooked) no sodium added black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 small jar of lower sodium salsa
pinch of crushed red pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 packages of frozen veggies (12 oz. ea) onion and bell pepper medley (get creative here!)
2-3 TB hot New Mexican green chiles (you can find these canned or in the freezer section, we roast our own when they are in season and freeze for year round convenience)
1 t. cumin
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
squeeze of lime
fajita seasoning to taste (we use no sodium added Mrs. Dash fiesta lime)
15 whole wheat tortillas - taco size

In a food processor, process half of black beans and salsa until smooth.  Then, saute over medium heat, the garlic and crushed red pepper in a little bit of water to prevent sticking.  Add frozen veggies and allow to cook.  You may need to drain some of the liquid from the veggies. Once the veggies are cooked through, add seasonings and squeeze of lime. Add processed bean mixture as well as the whole beans, brown rice, and cilantro.  Your filling mixture is complete.  Dish out mixture in large scoop fulls onto taco size whole wheat tortillas and wrap up.  We used saran wrap and then put those into freezer bags.  They are ready to grab and go.  Nick just nukes them in the microwave.

You can see really cute photos of these on Vegan Piggy's site.  They are awesome and I so appreciate the idea!

Nutritional Analysis (per burrito):
 Calories 213.0
  Total Fat  4.1 g
     Saturated Fat 1.5 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6 g
     Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 360.8 mg
  Potassium 178.0 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 36.9 g
     Dietary Fiber 5.7 g
     Sugars 3.3 g
  Protein 6.9 g

Cost Analysis:
beans $1.60
tortillas (pack and a 1/2) $3.00
rice $.50
garlic $.25
cilantro $.25
salsa $1
green chiles $.25
lime $.25
other pantry staples/spices $.15
$7.25/15 = $.48 per burrito

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Monday, March 5, 2012

My favorite Plant Strong Snack/Fast Meal - Southwestern Bean and Corn Salsa

OK, so today's post is not even a recipe and this is something I think anyone who has been plant-based has already done a million different ways before.  Heck, you may do this all the time already even if you aren't.  Noneless, I figured some of my non plant-based friends might be interested in knowing what some of my favorite "fast food" meals are when I'm really hungry and in need of something filling, FAST!  This meal is incredibly high in fiber and will stick to your ribs, keeping you satisfied for several hours.

Southwestern Bean and Corn Salsa


1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (no salt added) or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 15.25 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed (no salt added)
1 7 oz. can chopped green chiles NOT drained, medium, hot, or mild
1/8 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Throw ingredients together and serve it by itself or with baked tortilla chips, on a bed of lettuce, or wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla.  Voila! Sometimes I use Mrs. Dash fiesta lime seasoning instead of the seasoning or in addition to it.  Go crazy, add tomatoes if you have 'em and have the time, add jalapenos, cilantro, whatever strikes your fancy.  As my taste buds are more sensitive to salt these days I find no need to add any salt.  There is plenty of salt in the green chiles.  Just be sure to use no salt added beans.  Not doing so will make this a high sodium dish, even with beans labeled reduced sodium.

Amount Per Serving, 1 cup (3.5 servings in recipe)
  Calories 133.9
  Total Fat 1.5 g
     Saturated Fat 0.0 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g
     Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 14.7 mg
  Potassium 383.3 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 23.8 g
     Dietary Fiber 7.4 g <-------- KA-POW!
     Sugars 5.9 g
  Protein 6.6 g

Cost Analysis:
1 can corn $.80
1 can black beans $.80
1 7 oz. can green chiles $.80
tortilla/chips/lettuce or other flavor conveyor =$1
$3.40 for the whole thing! (makes at least two as a meal so $1.70 a meal)

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

Before you go judging based on the picture, let me tell you, this dish is AWESOME!  It looks a little crazy but it is mad delicious.  Oh, and the smell...  your house will smell divine!  Cinnamon and ginger are just such delightful smells in the kitchen.  Think plump, sweet, dried apricots and raisins with cinnamon, savory cumin and paprika all coming together with a little kick...  Let's just say your taste-buds are going to jump!!!

I had the pleasure of first taste testing this recipe at Whole Foods during a healthy eating, plant strong, no oil, event.  If I had seen the dish below on a blog, I'd have probably passed on it  I'm so thankful for having the opportunity to try it.  I may have never known this deliciousness had I not first tried it by someone else's hands.

Moroccan Sweet Potato and Chickpea Stew

I begged for the recipe from the Whole Foods Chef and she was happy to give it to me.  You can find the original recipe here.  The Chef made it pretty spicy, hot.  My kids liked the sweet but they didn't care for the heat so I adjusted ours and added only a tiny bit of heat.  My kids love the dish!  All 3 of them!

I didn't totally follow the recipe.  I added 50% more spice across the board i.e. 50% more cumin, cinnamon, paprika and ginger.  I added more raisins and omitted the wine and almonds.   I reduced the sodium by half.  For some reason the dish didn't quite give me the WOW factor that the Whole Foods version did by straight up following the recipe so I upped the spices mentioned and added more raisins and that was it.  Wow, wow, WOW!!!

The big upside to this dish is the time it takes to put it together.  It's a one pot dish, so easy and under 30 minutes to make!  Come on?!  I like it best after it sits for a little bit and the spices have had a chance to all meld together.  So exotic and so yummy!  If you try it, be sure to come back and let me know how you like it.


3 small onions or 2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 TB. fresh ginger, minced
water or broth for sauteing
1 TB cumin
1 TB cinnamon
1 TB paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper flake (more or less as desired,  I use much less for the kids)
2 cups water (or chickpea liquid)
1/2 tsp salt
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 to 2" chunks
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
3 cans of low sodium chickpeas (4.5 cups of cooked chickpeas)
3/4 cup raisins
juice from 1 lemon


On medium-high heat, cook onion in 1/4 cup of water for 5 minutes until browned.  Add water as necessary to keep onion from sticking.

Add garlic, ginger and additional spices and cook, uncovered for a minute.  Add the water/chickpea liquid, salt, sweet potatoes and apricots.  Bring to a boil, then, lower the stove temperature medium-low to allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Simmer until the sweet potatoes are fork tender but not overdone.  Add the chickpeas, raisins, and lemon juice.  Continue to cook until the chickpeas are heated through.  Allow the dish to sit for 4 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Nutritional Information:

 Calories 294.8
  Total Fat  3.0 g
     Saturated Fat 0.1 g
     Polyunsaturated Fat 0.3 g
     Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 175.0 mg
  Potassium 856.0 mg <----- awesome potassium/sodium ratio!
  Total Carbohydrate 63.6 g
     Dietary Fiber 10.2 g
     Sugars 15.3 g
  Protein 20.0 g

I provide nutritional information as a rough guide.  Always check your own nutritional information for accuracy.

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