A Complete Failure

What worked well last week in your meal planning?  Be sure to make time to incorporate that again this week and don’t beat yourself up if the plan wasn’t implemented as well as you would have liked.  Significant dietary modifications are like an ultra marathon – forward progress is still progress, even if it only feels like baby steps.

I was traveling again this week, so meal prep (not just planning) was essential.  I cut myself some slack and built in one night for the family to eat out while I was gone.  Although this did not save time or money, the kids enjoyed the treat, and the hubby appreciated one less night of solo kitchen duty.  I also had one recipe near-failure and another new recipe that I’m excited about that’s not quite ready for prime time (and keep in mind, I’m not holding myself to high standards for prime time).  So it will get another tweak or two before sharing.  A near-failure is when the recipe is not quite right, but the family eats it anyway.  Whether it tastes okay or they’re just scared to complain, it’s hard to know.

I think we’ve only had 3 complete failures in recent years, with a complete failure being a meal that cannot be salvaged in any way.  Only 1 of the 3 is remembered by the family, and they remind me of it regularly.  In the early smoothie days when we were still working out the basic smoothie recipes, I was experimenting with different ways to add protein to the smoothie without using whey (a milk derivative), non-dairy yogurt (pricey), or vegan protein powders (downright expensive).  One of the proteins I tried was chickpeas.  This is where theory and reality diverge as pea powder is a common ingredient in vegan protein powders.  However, some brands of canned chickpeas have a definite tuna-like smell when you first open the can.  I should have known with the first waft that no amount of fruit and greens would cover up that smell, but I forged on, determined to inexpensively bulk up our smoothies.

It was gross.  I tried to finish my glass just to prove that it wasn’t THAT bad, but I couldn’t.  The smell was just too bitter_potionmuch.  And once you start thinking about tuna smoothies, it’s really hard to stop thinking about tuna smoothies.

So whenever my family chides me about the chickpea smoothie, I think of the hundreds of plant based recipes that we’ve tried over the last 6 years, and I remember that there have been way more successes than failures.  The biggest success has been the evolution my family has taken to entirely plant based, and that’s what I’m most proud of.  It hasn’t been easy, but almost nothing worthwhile is.

The next time you make a complete failure recipe, remind yourself of all the successes along the way.  Til then, maybe some of the meals we enjoyed this week will inspire you–

Three Bean Salad

~ 6 cups or 3-4 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (I used black beans, white beans, and chickpeas this time)

2 stalks of celery, chopped

1/2 red onion, chopped

1-2 avocados, peeled and diced

1/4 c cilantro, leaves torn into bits

1/4 c apple cider vinegar

2 T sugar

1.5 t salt

1 t freshly ground pepper

Whisk the apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a medium bowl with a lid.  If you have an over ripe avocado, stir it into the vinegar mixture to make the dressing creamy.  Add the remainder of the ingredients and stir to mix.  Serve immediately or allow flavors to develop while refrigerated.

Sloppy Lennys adapted from the Post Punk Kitchen

Serves 6

1 c uncooked lentils

4 c water

1 yellow onion, diced small

3/4 c frozen stoplight peppers (or fresh equivalent), diced small

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 T chili powder

2 t oregano

1 t salt

8 oz tomato sauce

6 oz tomato paste

3 T maple syrup

1 T yellow mustard

In a saucepan, bring the lentils in the water to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Drain the lentils.

While the lentils are cooking, saute the onion and peppers in a little water in a cast iron pan until softened.  Add the garlic and more water as needed to prevent sticking.  Once the garlic has lightly browned, add the chili powder, oregano, salt, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and the cooked lentils.  Stir well and cook over low heat for ~10 min.  Add the maple syrup and yellow mustard (Isa’s ingenious additions) and stir to incorporate.  Remove from heat and if time permits, allow dish to sit, covered, to allow flavors to fruther develop.

Serve over brown rice or in whole grain buns.

Pineapple “Fried” Rice

Serves 6

3 c cooked brown rice

4 c vegetables, chopped (I used stoplight peppers, onions, broccoli, and mixed peas and carrots)

3/4 c diced fresh pineapple

3 T tamari or low sodium soy sauce

1 heaping T minced garlic

1 T minced ginger

1/2 t red pepper flakes, optional

This recipe comes together very quickly, especially if the rice is fresh from the rice cooker.  In a wok or pan, sautee the ginger and garlic in water or pineapple juice, add the chopped vegetables and sautee until veggies are desired texture.  Add the rice, soy sauce, and pineapple.  Continue to cook and stir until heated through.

If the cooked rice is cold from refrigeration, cover the wok or pan and add a few tablespoons of water if needed to soften the rice by steaming.

Fickin Noodle Soup

Serves 4

3/4 c diced chicken substitute (affectionately referred to as “fickin” in my house, as in fake chicken) or white beans (or both)

2 quarts Imagine No Chicken Broth

8 oz whole grain spaghetti, broken into smaller pieces and cooked

1 c diced veggies (I used peas, carrots, celery, and onions)

Add all the ingredients to a soup pot, cover, and heat through.  It is also easy to do Make Your Own soup night where each person puts their ingredients in a bowl or mug and adds hot broth to each serving.  Easy dinner in less than 15 minutes!

 

 

Picture Credit:

A Bitter Potion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Adriaen_Brouwer_004.jpg

Breakfasts

Hopefully you’re already convinced of the importance of breakfast.  If it’s the implementation of the healthy breakfast that’s Pancakesgot you hung up, read on.  Consider making a Big Batch of Pancake Mix or French Toast and Fruit Compote on the weekend, and then reheat during the week.  These pancakes reheat fabulously in the toaster.  Or while cleaning up after dinner one night, make Yogurt Parfaits or Overnight Oatmeal for the next morning.  On a rushed morning, throw together a Banana Nut Butter Wrap in less than 2 minutes and eat in transit.  If you’d rather drink your breakfast, there’s always the Fruit Smoothie with more variations than I could ever describe.

 

Big Batch of Pancake Mix

8 c whole grain flour

½ c sugar

2.5 T baking powder

4 t baking soda

4 t salt

Mix these ingredients together and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

For the whole grain flour, I’ve been using 5 to 6 c whole wheat flour and 2 to 3 c oat flour.  Experiment with your favorite flours, using as much whole grains as possible.

To make pancakes, mix 1 c pancake mix with 1 c liquid and 1 flax egg.  Carbonated water makes fluffier pancakes, but non dairy milk and water work as well.  For the flax egg, mix 1 T ground flax seeds with 3 T water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to gel.  Using ¼ c batter for each pancake, one cup of pancake mix makes about 9 pancakes.  It’s hardly worth the effort to just make one batch, so make at least 2 or 3 batches and freeze the leftovers with wax paper in between each layer.

On school days, my kids can either eat pancakes fresh out of the toaster like a cookie, or if we have compote, I’ll cut the pancakes up for them and serve topped with compote to help speed up consumption.

 

Fruit Compote

In a small pot, add approximately ½ c fruit per serving (diced if necessary), ½ t sugar per serving if the fruit is not sweet enough on its own, and 1T water per serving.  Cover and bring to a slow boil, then stir and reduce heat.  Continue cooking until fruit is desired tenderness, probably 10-15 more minutes.  If compote isn’t thickening, then remove lid to allow for evaporation.  Compote will further thicken upon refrigeration.

This recipe works great with any type berry, mixed berries, peaches, apples, etc.  Always make more than you think you’ll need as the fruit reduces by half when cooked, and it always goes faster than you’d expect!

 

Yogurt Parfaits

½ c non dairy yogurt per serving

½ c grains per serving

½ c fruit per serving

Alternate layers of non dairy yogurt, grains, and fruit.  Refrigerate overnight to soften grains.

Suggested grains include homemade or prepared granola, oats or oat groats, or prepared cereal such as GrapeNuts.  Most fruits work well here but remember to include berries as antioxidant powerhouses!

 

Overnight Oatmeal

½ c dry oats per serving

¾-1 c non dairy milk (or water) per serving

Pour dry oats into a mason jar or other container and add non dairy milk.  The non dairy milk should more than cover the oats- if not, add more.  While in the refrigerator overnight, the oats will soak up the milk and soften.  If the oats are not as soft as you’d like, heat the oatmeal or include more non dairy milk the next time.  Add fruit and enjoy!

Using a small mason jar makes this an easy breakfast on the go, even if you want to heat the oatmeal a bit when you get to work.  One container and no mess!

I also keep single serving size jars of dry oats in my office, which makes it really easy to add hot water and let sit for a few minutes before eating.

 

Banana Nut Butter Wrap

1 tortilla or piece of bread

2 T nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc)

1 banana

Spread nut butter on tortilla.  Peel banana and place in center of tortilla.  Wrap up and enjoy!

This is a great post workout breakfast on the go.

 

Fruit Smoothie

Here’s my philosophy on smoothies- you can’t really screw it up.  Even if it doesn’t taste great, it’s probably still healthy and you can just chug it.  As long as you can figure out why that variation didn’t work, you can be sure not to repeat it.  In all the years I’ve been making daily smoothies, I’ve really only screwed it up once.  And my family won’t ever let me forget it.  So don’t try to add chickpeas to a smoothie, and you’ll be fine.

The purpose of the smoothie is to get everything you need in one tasty drink.  So we include the following basics in most smoothies (listed below per serving):

1/8 c oats

1 T chia, ground flax, or hemp seeds

1 frozen banana, sliced

¼ – ½ c frozen fruit

¼ c frozen greens

1 c water, OJ, or milk

Add ingredients in the order shown and process according to your blender’s instructions.  If your blender can’t handle this amount of frozen fruit, then use fresh bananas.  Blend until desired consistency has been reached and enjoy!

A few tips:

  • Freeze fruit in slices.
  • Keeps lots of different fruits in your freezer for variety in your smoothie.  Stock up when fruit is on sale and process it immediately for the freezer.
  • While spinach goes undetected in most smoothies, kale and collards aren’t bad either
  • If you’re using a bag of frozen spinach, then use less than recommended.  Consider buying fresh spinach in bulk and immediately freezing it (it compacts greatly once frozen) or freeze it once you realize it’s not fresh enough to serve to guests.
  • Fruits such as strawberries, pineapple, and cherries are great thickeners
  • Store any leftover smoothie in a mason jar or immediately freeze in ice cube trays.  Once frozen, pop out and store in an airtight container.  Smoothie cubes are a great way to start the next day’s smoothie.  Frozen cubes can also be packed in a mason jar to defrost by lunchtime.
  • Gradually increase the ratio of greens to fruit in your smoothies.  Also experiment with adding other vegetables and notice how great you feel on the ‘truly’ green smoothie days.

For a chocolate smoothie, use non dairy chocolate milk or 1T cocoa powder per serving.  Chocolate hides the taste of greens quiet well, so throw in extra greens!

Berry Deliciousness

QUICK!!  While you can, stock up on all the fresh berries you can- these antioxidant powerhouses are the healthiest of all blackberriesfruits.www.nutritionfacts.org  If you’re stuck in the produce aisle or only have a couple of hours at your local pick-your-own farm, check out the graph created by Michael Greger based on work by Carlsen et al (2010) illustrating the antioxidant power of berries and common fruits.  In descending order of antioxidants, here are common fruits:  blackberries > cranberries > raspberries > blueberries > strawberries > mangoes > apples > bananas.  Whenever possible, choose higher antioxidants.

If you’re not aware of the Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, you may want to check out the Dirty Dozen Plus: apples, celery, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, grapes, hot peppers, nectarines (imported), peaches, potatoes, spinach, strawberries, sweet bell peppers, kale/collard greens, and summer squash.  While originally referred to as the Dirty Dozen, the Plus highlights two crops- domestically grown summer squash and leafy greens (specifically kale and collards) that did not meet the traditional Dirty Dozen criteria but were commonly contaminated with pesticides especially toxic to the nervous system.

The EWG strongly advocates that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables far outweighs the risks of pesticide exposure.  This is one way I implement my Good-Better-Best approach.  It’s really good to eat fresh fruits and vegetables (lots of them!!).  For those on the Dirty Dozen list, buying frozen and organic is even better, and the best option would be to buy fresh, organic, and local – but unfortunately that’s not realistic for most of us most of the time.  So we do the best we can.  So if you’re trying to decide whether to buy a fruit or not, buy it, and if it’s on the Dirty Dozen list AND it’s not significantly more to buy organic, then do so.  Keep an eye on sales of the Dirty Dozen organic produce and stock up whenever possible.

The EWG also maintains a Clean Fifteen list of the fruits and veggies with the lowest pesticide residue once the item has been washed: asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet corn, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangos, mushrooms, onions, papayas, pineapples, sweet peas (frozen), and sweet potatoes.

blueberriesIf you’re able to stock up on berries, you may eventually get bored with eating them raw, with grain cereals such as oatmeal, or in non-dairy parfaits.  In that case, check out the recipes below for Berry Delicious Smoothie, Strawberry Milk Smoothie, Berry Cobbler, and Berry Pops.

 

Berry Delicious Smoothie

Makes 2 two cup servings

¼ c oats

2 T flax meal, chia seeds, hemp seeds or a combination

2 bananas, sliced and frozen

1 c frozen berries

2 c orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  This recipe is extremely versatile, so don’t worry about the exact measurements or all of the ingredients.  This is a great starter smoothie for berry lovers and can be made as a milkshake with more bananas and less orange juice.  Leftover smoothie makes delicious popsicles.

 

Strawberry Milk Smoothie

Makes 4 two cup servings

1/3 c oats

3 T flax meal, chia seeds, hemp seeds or a combination

3 bananas, sliced and frozen

¾ c strawberries, frozen

2 to 3 c cold non-dairy milk, ideally unsweetened

1 to 2 c cold water

Add all ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.  The amount of liquid needed depends on the desired thickness of the smoothie.  This recipe is extremely versatile, so don’t worry about the exact measurements or all of the ingredients.  This is a great starter smoothie for novices and can be made as a milkshake with more bananas, less non-dairy milk, and no water.  Of course the more strawberries, the better, but seeing as how they are the most expensive ingredient, we use them judiciously.  Leftover smoothie makes delicious popsicles.

 

Rip’s Blueberry Cobbler [http://engine2diet.com/]

Serves 4

2/3 c whole wheat pastry flour

1.5 t baking powder

1 T vanilla extract

2/3 c non-dairy milk

3 T agave nectar or maple syrup

2 c blueberries

Rip says to mix the dry and the wet ingredients separately, then combine.  I say mix it all together until smooth.  (The batter will be runny.)  If using frozen blueberries, use just under 2/3 c non-dairy milk.  Pour the batter into a non-stick 8” square pan and sprinkle the blueberries over the batter.  Bake for about 45 min at 350˚.

This is such an easy recipe to pull together as it’s quick and uses basic ingredients you’re likely to have on hand.  It works well with cherries, strawberries, peaches, apples- any fruit you’d make cobbler with.

 

Berry Pops

To entice my niece to eat blueberries one day, I went the gimmicky route, stuck them on pretzel sticks, and called them “Blueberry Pops”.  The first plate of Blueberry Pops disappeared so quickly that I turned the ingredients over to my girls to make the second and third batches.  Since then we have also enjoyed Blackberry Pops and Raspberry Pops- antioxidants with a salty crunch!

 

 

References

Carlsen MH et al. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide.  Nutrition Journal 2010 9:3.

www.nutritionfacts.org/video/best-berries/

Feeding a Crowd

We are beach bound soon and lucky enough to be spending vacation with extended family, so I’ve been thinking of what meals to feed a large group.  veggie_prepSince we won’t have a Vegetable Preparing Room as on the WWII USS North Carolina or industrial sized vats to cook in, all we need is some advanced planning.

Similar to our strategy with the Three Bean Salad, plan your meals with different continents in mind.  One theme we will likely have is Mediterranean night with rice and lentils, falafel (from a box mix and baked instead of fried), za’atar bread using prepared za’atar spice mix and olive oil on prepared whole wheat pizza dough, tzatziki sauce (non-dairy yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt) and cucumber tomato salad (red wine or cider vinegar with a little sugar, salt, and pepper).

I’m also going to try a Shortcut Gazpacho by doctoring up freshly prepared salsa and tomato juice.  For lunches, we’ll have Black Bean Mango Salsa, whole wheat pasta salad with lots of finely diced raw veggies, and “healthy” grilled Elvis sandwiches with peanut butter, bananas, and honey or agave nectar, in addition to the typical PB&Js and tomato sandwiches.  For me, vatvacation is all about having fun and eating well without spending a ton of time in the kitchen.

These are some of the tried-and-true recipes that we now can count on to feed the whole crowd in a healthy way.

 

Rice Bowls

In Asia, rice has been the basis of breakfast, lunch, and dinner for over 10,000 years.McDougall   Provide lots of warm brown rice and some of the suggested toppings below for a make it yourself dinner sure to please a range of picky tastes.  If it’s in your budget, buying freshly prepared salsa will save a lot of chopping time.

Cooked brown rice, about 1 cup per child and 2 cups per adult

Black beans, rinsed and served warm or mixed with salsa (not blended as in Easy Black Bean Dip)

Salsa, salsa verde, or Black Bean Mango Salsa

Avocado, diced, or Easy Guacamole

Organic corn or pico de gallo

Set out your family’s favorite toppings and let everyone build their own rice bowl.  To use up leftovers, use whole wheat tortillas to make burritos or make the Oven Baked Tortilla Chips for loaded nachos.

 

Easy Guacamole

½ avocado per person

¼ c frozen green peas per person

Add to taste:

Salsa or diced tomato, onion, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno (seeded and minced)

Fresh lime juice

Salt

In a blender or food processor, puree the avocados and peas.  Add the remaining ingredients and puree if a creamy texture is desired.  Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed.

No one will be able to taste the peas and the added benefit (other than not being able to taste the peas) is that it reduces the cost of the guacamole by requiring less of the most expensive ingredient.

 

Basic Lasagna

While spaghetti is by far the easiest and cheapest way to feed a large crowd, it doesn’t take a whole lot more work to make lasagna.  The secret to delicious vegan lasagna is the creamy Cashew Ricotta below developed by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero of the Veganomican.

Lasagna noodles (1 box per lasagna) or 1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and very thinly sliced

Marinara sauce (2 jars per lasagna)

Cashew Ricotta (2 cups per lasagna)

Optional veggies:  fresh spinach, sliced mushrooms, shredded squash or zucchini, etc.

Optional seasonings: minced garlic, fresh basil, oregano, etc.

Spray the casserole dish with EVOO and spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom.  Start with the noodles or eggplant slices, then alternate layers of sauce and cashew ricotta, working in the optional ingredients.

Cover and bake at 375° for about 45 minutes.

Without adding a significant amount of work, two lasagnas can be assembled at the same time- one with lots of delicious veggies and a basic one for the not-so-adventurous eaters.  A longer cooking time will be needed.

 

Cashew Ricotta

½ c cashew pieces, soaked in cold water to soften then drained

12 oz shelf stable organic tofu (like Mori Nu)

¼ c fresh lemon juice

1T EVOO

2-4 cloves garlic

1.5 t dried basil

1.5 t salt

If you forget to soak the cashew pieces in cold water before making the ricotta, microwave them in water for 30 seconds and then drain.  Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor and puree.  One batch makes about 2 cups, which is enough for one large lasagna.

 

Apple Pie Oatmeal

½ c dry oatmeal per child and 1 c dry oatmeal per adult

½ apple per person, peeled and diced

Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Water (2 c water for each 1 c dry oatmeal)

Combine all ingredients in a covered pot and cook over medium heat until boiling, then reduce to low.  Add more water as necessary and continue cooking until apples are tender.  Serve with a dollop of non-dairy vanilla yogurt or a splash of non-dairy vanilla milk just before serving to help cool.  An alternative is to cook the apples separately in advance and reheat when ready to serve.

This concept also works wonderfully with peaches, blueberries, and strawberries.

 

References

McDougall, John and McDougall, Mary. The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good. 2012

 

Not So Eggstraordinary

The Harvard Physician Health Study I (1982-1995) was designed to test the benefits and risks of aspirin and beta carotene, respectively, in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  Twenty-two thousand male physicians between the ages of 40 and 84 bad_eggyears old residing in the US participated in the study.  The results demonstrated that low dose aspirin decreased the risk of a first myocardial infarction by 44%, which led to widespread recommendations for adults at risk of myocardial infarction to take a low dose aspirin daily.  Beta carotene was found to have no effect in the prevention of cancer.  However, in one of the many secondary findings, this study also linked egg consumption (≥ 1 egg/day) to Type 2 diabetes [Djousse Diabetes Care], heart failure [Djousse Circ], and premature death (mortality) [Djousse AJCN].

One 50-63 g egg (corresponding to large to jumbo size) contains approximately 200 mg of cholesterol.  The American Heart Association’s Nutritional Committee recommends less than 300 mg cholesterol per day, or if your LDL cholesterol level is ≥ 100 mg/dL, then less than 200 mg cholesterol/day.

However the most recent Dietary Reference Intakes published by the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine, and Food and Nutrition Board Dietary Reference Intake report indicates that “the body can synthesize its needs for saturated fatty acids and cholesterol from other sources” and “There is an incremental increase in plasma total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations with increased intake of saturated or trans fatty acids or with cholesterol at even very low levels in the diet.  Therefore, the intakes of each should be minimized while consuming a nutritionally adequate diet.”  It took numerous links to find this recommendation, though, because the egg industry has been promoting the benefits of eggs for decades.  I agree with T. Colin Campbell that it’s no wonder the public is confused about dietary recommendations.

Based on the Harvard Physician Study I association of egg consumption to diabetes [Djousse Diabetes Care], heart failure [Djousse Circ], and mortality [Djousse AJCN], and findings from a pooled analysis of prospective studies in women suggesting a possible modest increase in breast cancer risk with egg consumption [Missmer et al], it is worthwhile to consider reducing or eliminating your consumption of eggs.  Success with one or two egg substitutes will provide enough confidence to experiment with the huge range of inexpensive (and healthier) egg substitutes available.

One egg is between 3 and 4 T in volume, which is the same as 45 to 60 mL, or just under 1/4 cup.  Therefore egg substitutes range in volume from 3 T to 1/4 cup.  The choice of egg substitute depends on the function of the egg in the recipe.  When the egg is serving as a binder or thickener, appropriate substitutes may be mashed potatoes, cooked rice, oatmeal, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, nut butter, silken tofu, or tomato paste.  When the egg is primarily providing moisture, use fruit, fruit puree, or non-dairy yogurt, and increase the cooking time to account for the increased density.  When egg is acting as an emulsifier (helping things bind that wouldn’t normally bind), use silken tofu.  When the egg is functioning as a leavener, also add 1/4 t baking powder to whatever substitute you have chosen.  And finally, when egg is providing color, include a pinch of turmeric.

Egg_Substitute

 

Replacing more than two eggs in a recipe (like quiche) will change the integrity of the recipe, so pureed silken tofu is recommended.  When making a cake with more than two eggs, try using 1 T white vinegar, 1 T water, and 1 teaspoon baking powder for each egg.  To replace one egg white, dissolve 1 T plain agar powder into 1 T water and beat to mix.  Chill for 15 minutes, then beat again.

These egg substitutes aren’t fool proof and it does take some experimentation to figure it out.  The binding function can be particularly tricky- for example, it’s hard to make a veggie burger that holds up on an outdoor grill.  But it’s worth the effort to find the right egg substitute for each recipe- you are worth it, and your health will definitely benefit from eliminating eggs from your diet.

Here are a few simple recipes to give you experience with an egg substitute in something you’ve probably made before.  The brownies and muffins are great for when you don’t have time to make them  from scratch.  The French toast recipe requires no additional work than regular French toast.  Homemade mayonnaise is much easier than I ever expected and much cheaper than the store bought versions- it makes the Kale Potato Salad recipe a breeze for picnics and summer potlucks.

 

Brownies (from a box)

Certain name brand brownie mixes do not contain milk, such as Ghirardelli Double Chocolate.  Substitute the egg with 1 T ground flax seeds or chia seeds mixed with 3 T water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.  If you’d like low fat brownies, replace the oil with the same volume of pureed fruit, such as applesauce.  Once the egg substitute has thickened, add to the brownie mix and bake as directed, increasing the baking time if needed.

For the hard core, sugar free vegans out there, black bean brownie recipes are quite the craze recently.  I’ve tried a couple of recipes but haven’t been impressed.  These are next on my list to try though as I’ve enjoyed some of Chocolate Covered Katie’s other recipes.

 

Muffins (from a box)

Certain name brand muffin mixes do not contain milk, such as Duncan Hines Simple Mornings Blueberry.  Substitute the 2 eggs with 2 T ground flax seeds mixed with 6 T water and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes.  If you’d like low fat muffins, replace the oil with the same volume of pureed fruit, such as applesauce, banana, or pumpkin.  Once the egg substitute has thickened, add to the muffin mix and bake as directed, increasing the baking time if needed.

 

French Toast (adapted from Rebar)

1 loaf multi grain or whole wheat bread

1 banana

2 c non dairy milk (vanilla, if available)

1/4 t nutmeg

1/4 t cinnamon

1.5 t arrowroot powder or organic cornstarch

1/4 t salt

Blend all ingredients (except bread) until smooth and pour into a large shallow bowl.  Pre-heat the pan or skillet very well and spray or brush with oil.  Dip the slices of bread into the batter, drain, and place on the hot skillet.  Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook on the reverse side.  Serve immediately or transfer to a cooling rack (to prevent the slices from becoming soggy) until ready to serve.  Leftovers freeze well with wax paper in between slices.  To reheat, toast each slice, flip it over, and toast again.

 

Mayo (adapted from The Candle Cafe)

1 c soy milk, unflavored and unsweetened

2.5 c safflower oil (if you substitute, use a very neutral flavored oil)

1.5 T cider vinegar

1/4 t dry mustard

1 T agave nectar

1 T sea salt

dash of freshly ground pepper

Place the soy milk in a blender and with the blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil.  Continue adding the oil until it is all absorbed.  Stop the blender and add the remaining ingredients.  Blend quickly to incorporate.  Makes about 3 cups.

This is a fool proof recipe and a great base for variations, like adding chipotle, cajun, or wasabi seasonings.  Unfortunately the fat content is extremely high, so use sparingly (or when convincing others that a whole food, plant based diet is tasty).  Another mayo recipe that takes a bit more work (not as foolproof) but is very low fat and quite versatile was developed by Bryanna Clark Grogan, a powerhouse in the vegan cookbook arena

 

Kale Potato Salad (adapted from Snarky Vegan)

6-8 medium sized gold potatoes, chopped

2 c kale, stems removed [link to video] and chopped or torn into small pieces

1 onion, diced

3 celery stalks, chopped

1/2 – 3/4 c vegan mayo

1 T yellow mustard

1/4 c sweet pickle relish

salt or garlic salt and pepper to taste

Boil the potatoes, chop the kale, and mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.  Make sure the flavor of the mayo mixture is just right before you add it to the potatoes, as it’s easier to adjust now.  Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl.  Add the chopped kale to the potatoes and stir.  Fold in the mayo mixture.  Serve immediately or chill.

 

References

Djoussé L, Gaziano JM. Egg consumption and risk of heart failure in the Physicians’ Health Study. [abstract]  Circulation 2008; 117:512-6.

Djoussé L, Gaziano JM. Egg consumption in relation to cardiovascular disease and mortality: the Physicians’ Health Study. [abstract]  Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87:964-9.

Djoussé L, Gaziano JM, Buring JE, Lee IM. Egg consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in men and women. [abstract]  Diabetes Care 2009 Feb; 32(2):295-300.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.

Missmer SA, Smith-WArner SA, Speigelman D, et al. “Meat and dairy consumption and breast cancer: a pooled analysis of cohort studies.” Int J Epidemiol 31 (2002):78-85.

2012. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl

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