Pina Colada Smoothie

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I have another great smoothie recipe to share with you all today! It combines two of my favorite tropical fruits: pineapple and coconut. The pineapple provides lots of natural sweetness, and the coconut milk adds a thick, creamy texture. Think of it as a virgin pina colada…. with protein powder.

This is a more high-calorie smoothies than I usually featured, and would not be helpful for those of you looking to lose some weight. The coconut milk contains a lot of fat (which is why it is soo delicious). If you want to slim this recipe down a little bit, substituting coconut water for the milk would still provide a subtle coconut flavor without all the calories. Coconut water is a great source of hydration, and is packed with potassium. However, I personally do not love the taste and somewhat slimy quality of coconut water. I will be sticking with my fatty coconut smoothie or nothing at all ūüėČ

Pina Colada Smoothie

1/4 cup coconut milk

3/4 cup water

1 banana, frozen

1/4 cup cubed pineapple, frozen

1 scoop protein powder

Add the liquids and then the solids to a blend. Blend until smooth.

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***In case you were desperately wondering when my camera will arrive as much as I am (which I’m guessing no one is), it officially left Miami yesterday at 6pm. I will be continually refreshing USPS in search of its latest location!

One Hour Whole Wheat Bread

Making homemade bread is something that I have always wanted to accomplish, but never felt the desire to spend six hours on the process. I figured that one day I would take the time to do some research,¬†experiment, and then find a bread recipe that works for my life. However, in general I do not eat bread very often, so I didn’t feel like I was really missing out on much by¬†occasionally¬†buying a manufactured loaf instead of making my own.

For no apparent reason, on Tuesday I randomly became¬†obsessed¬†with the idea of making bread. None of the blogs I read regularly posted about bread or bread recipes, and I honestly cannot remember what lit a fire underneath me. But whatever the cause, I spent the better part of my lunch hour scouring the internet for bread recipes that looked feasible for my time constraints (under ¬†hours from start to finish) and knowledge (so…you have to add yeast to flour, right?).

This one hour bread recipe from Single Housewife scored high on both those criteria, so I rushed to buy some yeast and a bread pan after work.

 

While the bread took me closer to an hour and a half to make, I was still pleased with how it turned out. I used all whole wheat flour, so it was quite a dense loaf. The camera I am using right now is not good enough to show detail, but if I could take close up shots, you would see the dried cranberries and almonds that I threw into the batter. I liked the extra sweetness the cranberries added, without making it a dessert loaf.

 

I have demolished the loaf without much help from my roommate! It has been perfect for a grab and go breakfast, after toasting and slathering with PB Crave.

I will probably try the recipe again with a couple of alternations to make the bread less dense and more fruity, but for the next week or so I think my body needs to recover from the shock of gluten overload!

Anyone have other simple bread recipes or mix in ideas?

Vegan Pancakes

I am a huge breakfast person. I love pretty much every possible breakfast food, and will eat breakfast foods at any time. Of course, my favorite is definitely oatmeal (I actually brought some overnight oats for lunch yesterday), but pancakes take a close second.

Well, technically pancakes are tied for second with eggs and bacon. The competition is rather fierce.

Regardless, I have been on a serious pancake kick this week. In five days, I have made pancakes four times. With all of this experience, I have crafted my favorite vegan pancake recipe. They are vegan mostly because I have run out of eggs and am procrastinating grocery shopping (thus why I made oatmeal for lunch).

I decided to use all whole wheat flour for this recipe (instead of half and half with white flour), and the pancakes are still light and fluffy! But if you are not a fan of heartier pancakes, I would use a blend of white and wheat flours. I am weird and top my pancakes with heaps of applesauce and greek yogurt, drizzled with maple syrup; which should explain the pictures.

Vegan Pancakes

makes 4 pancakes

2/3 cup whole wheat flour

1 T baking soda

1/8 t salt

1 packet stevia

2/3 cup+ 2 T almond milk

1 T coconut oil, melted

Directions: Mix and sift the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and oil, and pour onto the dry. Stir until just combined. Heat and lightly oil a large frying pan. Scoop about 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. Cook until brown on both sides and serve warm.

Spinach Barley Salad

I have a new favorite salad.

Actually to be honest, I was never a huge fan of the romaine lettuce, deli meat, and balsamic vinegar salads that I ate three times a week all year…Or maybe I liked it in the beginning, but just got trapped in the ease of making the same thing everyday. Either way, I never tried anything new. Until I concocted this fresh, lemony, sweet, and crunchy creation-there is so much going on in this salad!

All the flavors combine to form a perfect summertime salad with enough substance to be eaten as a meal. I also think it would be great as a side for a potluck or summer picnic!

Spinach Barley Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

3 cups fresh spinach

1 cup cooked barley

1/2 cup parsley, chopped

1/2 cup walnut pieces, toasted

1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

Dressing

juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup)

1 T olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

Combine the salad ingredients. Add the lemon juice and oil to a small bowl and microwave for a minute. Whisk to combine the salt. Immediately pour over the salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve warm or cold-I prefer warm ūüôā

note: I microwaved the dressing because I prefer my spinach to be a little wilted; but if you want a cold salad, this step is unnecessary.

What is your favorite dish to bring to summer potlucks or gatherings? 

Midnight Banana Muffins

Last week I bought way too many bananas (like 12), and they have been browning on my table over the past few days.

As much as I love a banana breakfast bowl, I knew I could not eat one every day for the next week(s). All yesterday, I mulled over several banana recipes but did not latch on to a specific idea that sounded both delicious and healthy.

Last night when I returned home around 11:30, I walked in the door and saw the bananas again. I was struck with a desire to eat them in some type of baked good immediately inspiration to make banana bread and searched around some of my favoriate blogs to find a good recipe.

I wanted to bake something on the healthy side, without sacrificing taste. These muffins definitely achieve the balance of (mostly) good for you ingredients and supreme deliciousness. You will not even know they are vegan/pretty healthy! That being said, if you do not include the chocolate chips (shame on you) I would recommend adding a bit more sweetener.

In an attempt to save as much time as possible, and get to bed before 1am, I made muffins instead of bread, but this recipe will work with either. Bread will have a longer baking time, probably around 45-50 minutes. This recipe probably makes enough for 16ish normal size muffins, but I refused to do any more dishes than necessary, so I managed to cram most of the batter into my 12 muffin tins (and eat the rest raw-hurrah for vegan baking!). These ginormous babies are the result.

Vegan Banana Nut Muffins

adapted from Hill’s Healthy Banana Bread

makes 12 really large muffins

Ingredients:

dry

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

wet

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup almond milk

1/2 cup agave

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

fold-ins

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels (use vegan if that is important to you-I didn’t)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Add the wet to the dry. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Scoop into muffin tins (I sprayed mine with a bit of oil first). Bake for 18-22 minutes.

The muffins proved to be a perfect midnight (literally) snack, and I was in bed by 1:10.

Perfect.

Apple Tartlets

yumm…

Let’s talk about how these little baked oatmeal tartlets are so warm and delicious (not that I have been feeling quite sick the past couple of days despite my best efforts to ignore my symptoms :/). Let’s focus on how each one is lovingly wrapped in thin sheet of apple, and the fact that your brunch friends will be so impressed with the presentation. And that you will secretly know how easy they are to make. We can talk about how they are vegetarian and vegan without trying to imitate something they’re not…

Okay, that’s all the enthusiasm I can muster ¬†up for today (I am not the most fun sick person to be around). After sleeping about 12 hours last night I was able to fight off my fever, and now I just sound like a frog. I guess these are baby steps to wellness. In the meantime, I will be drinking EmergenC and waiting for someone to whip up a batch of these Baked Oatmeal Bites for me ūüėČ

Apple Tarlets (or Baked Apple Oatmeal Bites)

makes 12 mini muffin-sized bites

Ingredients:

Filling

1/2 cup instant oats

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 Tbsp almond milk

2 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp dried cranberries, minced

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla

Crust

1 med apple

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 and spray the mini muffin tins with oil. Combine all filling ingredients and stir well, set aside. Peel apple and then use a potato peeler to shave thin slices of the apple until only the core remains (for me, it was easiest when the slices were about 1/2 wide). Arrange the apple slices into a crust around the muffin tin, approximately 3-4 slices per tin. Scoop the filling into the apple crusts using a teaspoon. Bake for 9-11 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a drying rack.

A Chocolate Crazed Weekend

Pretty much since the day I gave up chocolate for Lent, I have been looking forward to stuffing myself full of chocolate on Easter. I daydreamed about chocolate and thought about how much better food would taste once I could flavor everything with cocoa powder. I even moved my cocoa powder into a cabinet that I rarely open to stave off temptation.

When Easter weekend came around I went chocolate crazy. On Friday, I cataloged everything I wanted to eat, with corresponding grocery and baking dish lists. Even though I ignored all serving size information, most of these desserts kept me guilt free as well. I got the below three recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie, one of the best dessert blogs ever! All of her recipes are vegan, and she also includes a lot of options for gluten-free folks as well.

1. Deep Dish Cookie Pie: Hands down my favorite. It was more of the consistency of cookie dough than a cookie, but I loved every bite.

Nothing illustrates how delicious this was better than a comment that Perry made when he first tasted the pie. I had given him a sample platter of all the pies and he after biting into this one he said, “Wow, this is amazing, too bad it’s unhealthy and you can’t put this recipe on your blog.” And because I am mature, I laughed¬†maniacally¬†and told him it was “full of beans-so there, yeah desserts can be healthy and delicious! what now?”.

2. Chocolate Bar Pie: Although nothing can compare to the cookie dough pie, I really loved this pie as well. It was more of an “adult” dessert because of its richness and flavors. I did not use a pie crust so the result was more of a mousse, but it was deliciously chocolately and creamy. Out of all the recipes, this was was the easiest to prepare and I could probably make it using the Bullet instead of a food processor. Claire served as my outside seal of approval on this recipe and went back for seconds-usually she is a bit skeptical of my healthy foods.

3. Chocolate Strawberry Truffle Pie

The above picture pretty much sums up my feelings on this recipe. I just kept blending and blending and blending… While the consistency never reached perfect smoothness, the flavor of the pie was great! I subbed cherries for strawberries, and thought that both the cherries and chocolate were highlighted and neither was overpowering.

4. Reese’s Eggs: Ok, I really should not count these…but I have to because they are so delicious and I think they have a superior chocolate to peanut butter ratio than the regular Reese’s.

Did you make any fun Easter desserts this weekend? Or just any great healthy-ish desserts? What are your favorite Easter candies?