Fluffy, crunchy Vegan Zucchini Loaf with Raisins & Pepitas (vegan, soy free, no oil, low sugar)

So yesterday I was visiting my favorite local spot Becky’s in Marblehead, MA and picked up a gorgeous zucchini. I instantly thought “ZUCCHINI LOAF” but wanted to do some research, because vegan/egg free/low sugar/whole wheat zucchini loaf has generally failed to live up to my expectations. It’s usually soggy and gummy, or FULL of sugar and fat.

I looked at a lot of recipes, and found that I liked Oh She Glows Zucchini and Walnut and King Arthur’s Whole Wheat Zucchini Loaf. I used a little bit from each recipe, the simplicity of King Arthur’s with the Vegan-ness of Oh She Glows. I reduced the sugar of both, and baked in a cake pan not a loaf pan to cut down the chance of gumminess or sogginess in the bread.image1 (14)This bread is DELICIOUS. Even Pete, who lives off of air and washable crayons, loved his. And this is healthy enough to munch on for dinner, or breakfast. Ha! So, with a deep bow to both Oh She Glows and King Arthur:

Fluffy, crunchy Vegan Zucchini Loaf with Raisins & Pepitasimage2 (11)

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup preferred ratio of raisins and pepitas/pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp baking spices (I have a baking spices mix from Penzey’s that has nutmeg, ginger, clove, mace, and cinnamon)
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp cup brown sugar

Wet Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup rice milk (or preferred milk)
  • 1 flax egg: 1 Tbsp ground flax plus 1/4 cup water, let stand for 5 minutes
  • 1 large or 2 medium zucchini, shredded (about 1 & 1/2 cup)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350, get a 9″ cake pan and grease/line it as you see fit.
  2. Combine dry ingredients
  3. Combine wet ingredients
  4. Mix together wet and dry, being sure to NOT overmix.
  5. Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes. Bread should be golden brown, and bouncy not spongey to the touch. You can do the toothpick trick if you like.
  6. Remove from pan immediately and let cool on a baking rack. The backing rack is key to reduce the moisture going back INTO the bread. If you cannot find yours, you might need to be crafty. See below…

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Roasted Squash Burritos with Cashew Cilantro Sauce (vegan, gf, soy free)

Today was hard, and I wanted comfort food. Specifically, I wanted burritos, but I wanted to make burritos that were nutrient-packed, full of veggies, and yummy. And I wanted them not full of empty calories. I also wanted lots of good protein and whole grains. I wanted low salt and no added sugar. I wanted my children to eat their dinner. I wanted these burritos to be ooey and gooey and crispy and cheesy. I WANTED A PONY I WANTED IT ALL BWAAHAHAH.

I combined some staples I had lying about, got a little excited with the blender, and POOF: I got it. I was in heaven, and my daughter had fourths. (The fourths she stole by climbing onto the counter and sticking her face in the pan.) (We’ve all been there, Margaret…)

IMG_1588The recipe makes 12 6″ burritos, or, if you are me, 6 burritos plus a tub to freeze for when you’re too burnt-out to cook.

And here is a small note on the sauce: Cashews are dairy free and nutritious, but they are not low calorie. This recipe calls for 1 cup of cashews, which is about 700 calories, and makes a bit over 3 cups of sauce. That means a reasonably generous serving size for the sauce would be about 1/3 cup per burrito, about 75 calories. (My picture shows more than that on the burritos, because my children helped me plate… Children are bad for your waist line in this way.) Just so you know.

Roasted Squash Burritos with Cashew Cilantro Sauce

Ingredients

IMG_1568Filling

  • 2 Fat cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 Cups cooked Brown rice and/or cooked Qinoa
  • 1 can black beans (unsalted, no chlorides)
  • 1/2 cup salsa of your choice, or more peppers and tomatoes
  • 3 tsp of cumin (or to taste)
  • 1 roasted butternut squash, cut into pieces and roasted with salt and olive oil, then mashed (Note: my squash was dry, because it is that sad non-squashy time of year, so I had to add water and puree it in the blender. If you have a nice, moist squash, you can just squish it with your fork)
  • 6″ corn tortillas ( I like the Whole Foods brand)

Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 handful Cilantro
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Filling: Sautee onions and garlic with dash of olive oil until soft and caramelized. Add in peppers and tomatoes, cook until softened (about 2 minutes). Add in your rice quinoa, and beans. Then stir in your salsa and your cumin. Taste. If it needs more of something, add it. Add the squash. Set aside.IMG_1559.JPG
  2. Sauce: Combine all in a blender. Add more water or more cashews to get to a “queso” consistency. My ratios might not work 100%, as it will depend on how dry your cashews are. Add lime juice and salt to taste. I found I needed just a pinch of salt and 2 limes to get the tang I was going for. IMG_1557.JPG
  3. Roll the sauce in the tortillas and place seam-down on a slightly oiled baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes. Watch so they do not burn.
  4. Adding the sauce:
    1. Option 1: Remove and add the sauce, place back in the oven for another ten minutes.
    2. Option 2: Heat up the sauce. Pour over plated burritos.
  5. Let cool and serve with pepitas, cilantro, salsa, etc.

 

All hail the yummy Kale chips (no oil, low salt, vegan, soy free)

I know Kale chips are overdone–EVERYBODY has a recipe and EVERYONE is selling them at the low, low cost of just $6/Tbsp. Many of you might be over kale and kale chips, because they’ve been everywhere. I get it, but I have have to tell you: I am not over kale chips. Specifically, I am not over THESE kale chips.

These are high in iron, protein, and B-12’s, healthy and delicious. And they are pretty easy to make. The method requires cooking them for about 20 minutes at a moderate heat (300 degrees F) and then basically turning the oven to its lowest setting or just using the lightbulb to heat the oven (or your dehydrator if you’re fancy) and sllooowwwwlllllyyy taking the moisture out of them. This way, they do not need fat to be crispy and they have LOT of that yummy crispy umami taste.

All Hail the Yummy Kale Chips

IMG_1590Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine with kale with the dressing. It should be sopping with it. Spread on a no-stick baking sheet.
  2. Cook in oven @300 for 20 mins. Check and stir occasionally. Turn oven down if you notice any browning. It should look kind of like a hot, gooey mess at this point. You should be questioning my judgement, or looking back over the recipe to make sure you did not double or half something. Do not despair. Keep going.
  3. Methods of cooking from here:
    • Quicker method: Turn oven to 170 or lowest setting. Check every hour or so. Let kale cook for about 4 hours.
    • Easier method: Turn your oven light on, and leave the chips in the oven overnight. The oven will be about 100 degrees with the light on, and they will be either done or very close to done by morning.
    • Fancy Pants: Or use your dehydrator if you’re one of those fancy people. The Run Beet is jealous of your fancy ways.

Final note:

One of the easiest things about this recipe is that you can stop cooking at any time, take the kale chips out, use your oven, and then just stick them back in. Just remember, REMEMBER, to let the oven cool down first. You would have all had this recipe a week sooner, by my batch last week got burned to Hell. I, um, still ate it out of the pan, but it was pretty gnarly looking.

Oops I made Goddess Dressing. Let’s eat all the veggies (vegan, soy free)

Ok, so I came up with this great Kale recipe using tahini and nutritional yeast and hummus and then realized that I was just covering the kale with gorgeous dressing and dehydrating it and scoffing it up. And that is ok, because this is a super healthy recipe.

I figured I could make the dressing a separate post, since it is a separate recipe. You can double it to have extra for salads and dipping, or use this much for the kale chips in the next recipe.

Oops I Made Goddess Dressing

image3 (3)Dressing

  • 1/2 cup hummus
  • 2 Tbsp Tahini
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp Soy or Coconut aminos, or to taste
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Spices to taste (my favorite right now is Zahtar hyssop aromatic)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Add warm water and stir until you have “dressing/dip” consistency.

 

 

My teeth oh my God my teeth: aka Go eat a cookie

I am not looking forward to seeing my dentist tomorrow about the issue of low enamel and a possible chipped tooth from said low enamel. I saw an endocrinologist last week about hair loss and low vitamin levels and sluggish metabolic rate, because multiple organs responsible for endocrine function just gave up a few years ago, and also I’ve damaged my intestines and don’t absorb food the way I should. On a related note, I went to the ER twice two weeks ago because of inflammation in my stomach, related to said above inability to digest my food properly. My diet has been limited as a result, and I’m finding the online vegan community pretty awesome as I adjust to this new challenge while ensuring that I am keeping up with macro and micro nutrient requirements.

Ok, kids.

I know many have it worse. I know that many people get out of the other end of anorexia with heart issues or bone issues. I know that many die young, or just never recover and live their lives in agony. I am HAPPY to have a healthy relationship with food and to have a family and husband who are extraordinarily supportive. I am SO happy that I was able to have very healthy children. I am happy that, for the most part, my body IS healthy and so beautiful and it mostly works and functions and takes me to wonderful places (like the starts of races!). But, I am also sad, because I am 32 and all like hashtagoldlady.
This is actually why I write these blog posts, and why I share these recipes and talk about eating positively and eating healthily. There is a lot of, for lack of a better term, crap out there on blogs talking about juice fasting or cutting out carbs or kimchi diets or going gluten free for no damn good reason at all. They separate food into “clean” and then other, like food has an inherent value attached to it. Like if you eat the wrong food, you are “unclean” or “bad.” It is the wild wild west of bad advice and 1 million ways to feel really crappy about yourself.

So, here is a picture of me when I was anorexic. I hope this will be taken as it is, a pretty sad picture. And what is sadder is not the size I was or that my bicep is nearly as big as my waist, but that at the time this photo was taken, I was trying to determine if I was too fat to be seen in public.

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A waist the size of your arm and a dirty mirror are both possible but I guarantee you that neither is worth it.

I want to remind everyone to eat lots of whole grains, lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, good lean proteins, and to also allow yourself that cookie when you want it. Food nourishes our bodies and our minds, and helps both work properly. Get out and enjoy that your body WORKS. It’s glorious. Feed it. You all deserve to be happy, healthy people for your whole lives. A healthy body and a healthy mind are privileges, and I hope those each of you blessed with one can treat it with all of the respect it deserves.

And with that, I share with you one of my favorite recipes, the Original Nestle Tollhouse Cookie recipe. Make it, with whatever allergy modifications you may need, share it with those who you love, and think of how happy you are to be healthy and whole.

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Go, now. Enjoy. Nom nom.
Cassie

Working on new recipes

I’ve been having a blast experimenting with new recipes and thinking of new ways to feed my family and myself in a healthful way.

In the past two days, I’ve tried green curry (success!), oatmeal brownie bites (needs work), chickpea meatless balls (needs lots of tweaking), and samosa chickpea and lentil burgers (needs tweaking… the 3 year old added some extra ingredients that may or may not have helped the recipe…). It was all tasty. Excited to have more recipes to share this week.

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More updates soon…

Cassie

Seriously easy breakfast Pumpkin custard (vegan, gluten free)

So, last night I was looking at a can of pumpkin that I had purchased some weeks ago with the idea of making bread, but that never happened and then WOOSH I thought of actually not the recipe that I ended up making at all. Sometimes things change mid-stream.

Anyway, this is an easy pumpkin “custard” that is yummy as an add on to breakfast, a snack, or a dessert. We ate ours with oatmeal and it was applauded so raucously by the 1 year old that I had to scrape pumpkin off of the walls.

Seriously easy breakfast Pumpkin custard

image1 (10)Ingredients

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (I am old school and like One-Pie)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • To taste: Honey or preferred sweetener
  • To taste: Cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, mace, ginger, and cardamom.
  • Dash of salt

Directions

  1. Mix well, let refrigerate overnight
  2. Serve cold or warm the next morning with a grain such as granola, oatmeal, toast. Enjoy!

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