Warm Cinnamon Apple and Almond Butter Smoothie

Cinnamon Apple Almond Smoothie

Cinnamon apples are definitely a fall delight for the tastebuds. So this warm smoothie hits the spot from fall throughout the winter months.

This one takes a little extra prep work to prepare it just like I prefer it. Even though I use a Vitamix blender, I like to do a bit of the cooking on the stovetop. This is because I like to use banana as a sweetener, but I don’t want to blend a banana in the Vitamix until it becomes steamy. If you do not have a Vitamix (or blender that can handle hot liquids), blend the ingredients first and then warm them on the stovetop.

I hope this smoothies provides a great start to your day. Enjoy!

Tips: Using frozen bananas, you can also use these same ingredients to make a cold smoothie.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 – 2 bananas, room temperature – unless you want a cold smoothie (or another sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (or 1/2 cup fresh apples that have been stewed on the stovetop using water)
  • 1 cup of water or use plant-based milk for extra creaminess
  • 1 – 2 TBS Almond Butter
  • Dash of cinnamon spice (or any winter spice you like or a combination of more than one)
  • 1 cup of spinach (optional) – I just like to get leafy greens in any way that I can and spinach is hardly noticeable.
  • 1/2 avocado (optional) – Definitely add avocado if you do not use bananas. This will help to thicken the smoothie. If using avocado, I suggest skipping the spinach or the smoothie will be very green.

DIRECTIONS (For a warm smoothie):

  1. Warm the applesauce (apples) and water (or plant-based milk) on the stovetop until you reach a desirable temperature.
  2. Add the warm ingredients to the Vitamix and blend with the remaining ingredients.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Artichoke Dip

Spinach artichoke dip is expected to be cheesy, right? That’s right, so just because this is a vegan dish made using only plants, doesn’t mean it cannot trick their tastebuds. This dish will convince others, despite there not being any cheese and no trace of nutritional yeast inside of this dish. (Nutritional yeast is the usual ingredient for plant-based recipes that provide the “cheezy” flavors.) Yet, the plant-based yogurt adds tartness and the cashews and potato add the creamy texture.

My husband loves artichokes, so he was my inspiration for trying out this dish. This recipe caught my eye as I was scrolling through some of Nisha’s YouTube (RainbowPlantLife) Videos. Nisha’s recipes have all been wonderful. I’m not a huge fan of artichokes, but this was very tasty and I look forward to making it again.

Also, be sure to check out the nutrition comparison facts below for the REAL details about how this plant-based recipe is low in calories, low in fat and is cholesterol FREE!

More Inspiration:

There are so many more ways you can use this recipe to create new dishes. See the video at the bottom of this post to see the steps and two additional ways I used this dip.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 12 to 14 ounces of artichokes (can or jar), marinated (or not)
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened dairy-free yogurt (unsweetened coconut yogurt will make for the creamiest, but I used HEB almond yogurt the first time I made this and it was good.)
  • 1 1/2 TBSP cooking wine (Or even rice vinegar. I used a bit of both. The original recipe used distilled vinegar.)
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews (soak in warm water if not using a high-speed blender)
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt (may require less if using marinated artichokes)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 packed cup cooked, peeled gold potato
  • OPTIONAL: red pepper flakes, for garnish, pita chips or veggies for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and 5 TBSP (]water to a small pan over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. The original recipe says to add the spinach to the pan in small batches, stirring and tossing the spinach until it is well cooked and wilted before adding the next batch. Repeat until all the spinach is cooked well. This will take about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off. But, since I chopped the spinach using the pulse function of the food processor, I added all to the pan at once and stirred only a few minutes to allow it to wilt. Then I turned off the heat.
  4. The original recipe says to roughly chop the artichokes into quarters. But my artichokes were already quartered and I put them into the food processor to chop even more. This will release lots of liquid, so drain the excess. Squeeze out the excess liquid so it doesn’t end up watery. I used a fine strainer and pressed the artichokes into the strainer using the back of a spoon. Add the artichokes to the cooked spinach mixture, and set aside.
  5. Add the yogurt, vinegar/wine, cashews (soaked if necessary), salt, and pepper to a high-powered blender or food processor. Starting slowly, blend the ingredients. Add the potato also to the blender, blend on high until completely. smooth. Scrape the sides if needed, and blend once more. Pour over the spinach and artichoke mixture and stir to combine well.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9-inch cast-iron skillet, pie dish, or an 8-inch square baking dish. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until the top looks firm and set and is bubbly. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. For a kick, add some red pepper flakes on top before serving with pita chips or veggies.

NOTES/TIPS

  • A food processor will make this an easy and quick recipe. I used one to chop and mince onions before cooking. I also used it to chop the artichokes and to chop the spinach (each chopped separately).
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid pesticides.
  • As always, don’t forget to taste your dish prior to calling it “done” (of course, before baking it)
  • I based this recipe on the one I found at https://youtu.be/_w4YMgSROd4?t=366 (Nisha is one of my favorite vegan/plant-based YouTubers)

NUTRITION COMPARISON FACTS:

Potato Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound of hashbrowns (or shredded potatoes, see notes/tips below)
  • 8-10 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (or even finely diced)
  • 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped
  • dried parsley flakes (to be sprinkled on top)

Cheezy Sauce:

  • 2 cups plant-based milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews (or use 1/4 cup of cashew flour)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch**
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon miso paste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt (or to your taste preferences)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

**Try to find a NON-GMO cornstarch

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Saute the mushrooms and onions in a bit of water/broth over medium-high heat until tender the onions become translucent and caramelized. Add water/broth as needed to prevent sticking.
  3. Combine the “cheeze” ingredients in a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Taste to make sure it’s to your liking.
  4. Pour half of the blended cheese sauce into the bowl of hash browns and mix until thoroughly combined.
  5. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Begin to add layers: “cheeze” sauce, potatoes, onions & mushrooms, chopped spinach. Make two layers and top it all off with “cheeze” sauce.
  6. I like to top with more parchment paper (but this is optional) bake for 30 minutes, and then remove the top so that it can brown and the sauce can thicken. (Or you can simply bake uncovered in the oven.)
  7. Sprinkle with dried parsley.

NOTES/TIPS

  • I think the onions are the star of this dish that adds the most flavor. I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar to help with the caramelization of the onions. (You can use any vinegar you have for cooking.)
  • I like to salt and pepper the potatoes as I layer them.
  • Taste your “cheeze” sauce prior to using it in the dish so that you can make adjustments to suit your taste buds.
  • Look for organic potatoes to avoid added ingredients and preservatives.
  • If shredding your own potatoes, make sure to dry them well – using a kitchen towel or paper towels.
  • I’ve also used sliced potatoes to make this recipe. Use a mandoline slicer for best results
  • This recipe is originally from https://www.plantpurenation.com/blogs/recipes/breakfast-potato-casserole

Oatmeal Bars with Berries and Seeds

oatmeal bars with blueberries and pumpkin seeds

I usually just have a bowl of oatmeal in the mornings to keep things quick and easy. There are many options when it comes to adding flavor to oatmeal.  Similarly, the same is true for these oatmeal bars. You can easily switch out the types of berries and seeds.

Berry options include blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or cherries. Also, I suggest using your favorite nut or seed in this recipe. The recipe shown in the photo uses blueberries and pumpkin seeds.

Oh, and as always, you can use whatever sweetener is your favorite. Even a banana or pureed dates would be excellent options. 

With these oatmeal bars, you can be just as creative as you can with a bowl of oatmeal. 

And, guess what else? This recipe allows you to begin your day with G-BOMBS! G-BOMBS is an acronym that you can use to remember the best anti-cancer, health-promoting foods on the planet. These are the foods that you should eat every day, making up a significant proportion of your diet. 

Here are links to our podcasts regarding G-BOMBS. Each episode includes some ideas on how to incorporate them into your diet.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1+ 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1+ ½ cups oat flour
  • 1+ ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 TBS ground flaxseeds
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 1  to  2 cups of berries
  • 1/2 cup nuts or seeds
  • 1/3 cup liquid sweetener  (or pureed bananas/dates)

Directions:

  1. Mix the ground flaxseeds and applesauce. Put to the side.
  2. Add all the remaining dry ingredients and the nuts/seeds to your mixing bowl.
  3. Add the liquid sweetener and applesauce mix and mix well. The mixture will be thick. You can add water or nutmilk if you need to make it thinner, but it should not be runny and much thicker than pancake mix.
  4. Gently stir in the berries.
  5. Place some parchment paper on the bottom of a square (8×8 or 9×9) baking pan for easy removal once baked. Press mixture into a square cooking pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned on the top and edges.

Looking for other ways to enjoy oatmeal? Check out Oatmeal Options.

Vegan Cheese Sauce – Upgraded!

CheezeVitaMix

Have you ever heard of “cheese” sauce that is made with “oats”? Here are three reasons why this is a winner in my book:

1 – Much cheaper than cashews (which was the nut of choice for making “cheeze” sauce).

2 – Extremely low-fat. About 1.5 grams for the entire 6 cups!  By today’s standards, that’s really “no-fat”, but we know that all food groups contain some amount of fat, even fruits.

3. It’s delicious!

This is definitely my new “goto”, UPGRADED “cheese” sauce. I am updating this recipe to reflect the additions that I made to the original recipe. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules (or 1 roasted garlic clove – my addition)
  •  2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (my addition)
  • 1 12-oz. jar Roasted Red Bell Peppers in water for the lowest fat possible
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pecan or Apple liquid smoke (optional, I didn’t use this)
  • 4 cups warm water

Note: Make sure to cook the cheese sauce until it’s steamy to create the thickest sauce.

Tip to make this more TEX-MEX: The first time I made this I substituted salsa for some of the roasted red bell peppers. Or you can simply add to the “cheese” sauce once done.

Directions:

  1. Dump all the ingredients into a high-speed blender (that can cook contents).
  2. Blend until steam forms and the machine will sound like it has completed the job. (The sound changes from blending to like it’s just spinning its wheels). This takes about 5 minutes depending on how warm/hot the water is that you start with.
  3. Voila! You are done. Pour into a bowl or jar that you can easily scoop out of. It will thicken even more as it cools.

I used this “cheese” sauce in a Tex-Mex casserole. (See the recipe.)

CheezeyCasserole

I’m not sure how I came across “Jill’s 5-minute Game Changer [Vegan] Cheese Sauce “! I had my doubts for sure, but in her video, she was so confident that I had to give it a try and boy am I glad I did. My video shows TEX-MEX varieties. Adding salsa truly makes this a game-changer cheese sauce.

“Cheezey ” Tortilla Tex-Mex Casserole

CheezeyCasserole

The first night I ever made this “cheeze” sauce, I immediately knew I had to try using it in a Tex-Mex Casserole.

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla chips (or you can use flour or corn tortillas to replace the layers of chips)
  • “Cheeze” sauce (See the recipe.)
  • Cooked onions and bell peppers (about 1/2 each item), or any other vegetable you would like – remember to season your vegetables
  • Your favorite bottled salsa (or home-made)
  • Cooked brown rice

Directions:

Layer the casserole as follows:

  1. Tortilla Chips, crushed
  2. “Cheeze”
  3. Onions and Bell Peppers
  4. A few dollops of salsa
  5. A mixture of black beans and pinto beans
  6. Brown rice
  7. (Repeat 1 – 6 again)
  8. Top with a layer of “cheeze” that has been thinned using a bit of salsa and water/broth
  9. Cover and bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through.

Serve with a side of veggies and don’t forget the guacamole and/or pico de gallo. Enjoy!

 

Greens, Beans, Onions, and Mushrooms (G-Bombs Part I)

Hi everyone! We have started another “Immunity Series” on the Podcast. For the next few weeks, we will be focusing on G-BOMBS as defined by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. ”G-BOMBS” is an acronym that you can use to remember the best anti-cancer, health-promoting foods on the planet. G-Bombs are Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds. These are the foods that you should eat every day, making up a significant proportion of your diet. They are extremely effective at preventing chronic disease, including cancer, and promoting health and longevity.

Listen to “PODCAST EPISODE 11 – IMMUNITY – ‘G’ IN G-BOMBS“.

Do you like kale? Well, here is a recipe that I think you will enjoy that includes 4 of these foods that you should be eating daily: Greens (kale), beans, onions, and mushrooms.

I chose kale greens for this recipe because they are quick to cook and actually only require wilting. This way you can have a dish prepared in no time.

Servings: About 4 when served as a side dish

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1-1/2 bunch of Kale greens
  • 15 oz of black beans, rinsed (or your favorite) – That’s about 1 can or use any you already have in the freezer.
  • 1/2 onion (red or yellow, preferably a sweeter onion)
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms of your choice (feel free to mix mushroom varieties)
  • 2 to 4 small garlic cloves
  • Any dried vegetable soup mix that includes vegetables such as onions, herbs, and carrots (see notes below).
  • Water to steam the veggies (or you can use a veggie broth)
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions: (Choose a non-stick pan with a ceramic coating for extra safety. If you want to use a stainless-steel pan, make sure that it has a heavy bottom. A heavy stainless steel wok works well.)

  1. Wash greens thoroughly if not already clean. No need to dry. Set them aside.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup of water/broth to the pan and immediately add the onions and mushrooms. Continue to cook until the onions are translucent, stirring, and adding water/broth (1 to 2 TBS) as necessary. 
  3. When onions are translucent, add the garlic and the vegetable soup mix and cook for about another minute. Again adding water/broth as necessary to rehydrate the dried vegetable soup mix. You may choose to cover the vegetables at this point to allow all the water/broth to soak in, especially if the dry vegetables are still hard. 
  4. Next, add the beans and water/liquid of your choice until the beans are thoroughly heated. (If using a can, it’s especially important to rinse the beans before adding them to this dish.)
  5. Lastly, add the kale to the pan and stir, adding water/broth if necessary until they are wilted to your desired tenderness. You could also cover at this point for a bit to allow the kale to wilt even quicker.
  6. Uncover, taste, and add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice or quinoa or use to stuff a baked potato! YUMMY!

Notes: The Dried Soup Vegetable Mix is one that I get from my local “Texas” store,  H-E-B. The soup mix doesn’t have many spices added to it other than the dried vegetables and herbs, yet you can definitely use one that has added spices. Just be careful that if your soup mix contains salt, it’s likely that you will not need to add any additional salt.

Greens Beans Onions Mushrooms

 

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is sometimes my Saturday or Sunday breakfast. When I want to take a break from the usual oatmeal I will prepare this dish. It does take a bit more time than a bowl of oatmeal, but it’s well worth it.

The best part is that it contains plenty of vegetables. And incorporating vegetables into your first meal is a great start to any day.  I used the typical vegetables of onions, bell peppers, and spinach in this recipe, but you can add any vegetable you like. For instance, on this particular day, I added celery. Yet, my favorite part is the addition of potatoes. The potatoes are sure to fill you up and prepare you to focus on the work that’s ahead.

But, hey, this could also be a lunch or even a dinner meal. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups of yellow or white flesh potatoes (even red-skinned potatoes), cubed and pre-cooked in the oven if possible
  • 1/2 package of firm or extra-firm tofu (ORGANIC if possible), liquid removed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 of a bell pepper (whichever you like)
  • 1/4 to 1/2  of a small onion (whichever you like, substitute scallions or green onions too)
  • 1/2 – 1 stalk of celery
  • a handful or two of fresh spinach
  • Seasonings (See suggestion below.)

Directions:

  1. Add vegetables to a (preferably non-stick) skillet with a bit of water to begin sauteing (skip the oil, continue to add small amounts of water to prevent the vegetables from sticking).
  2. Once they have softened, continue to cook until the water evaporates and the onions begin to carmelize.
  3. If you have pre-cooked potatoes, go to step 5.
  4. If you have not pre-cooked the potatoes, remove the vegetables from the skillet. Then add cubed potatoes and water (plus salt/pepper if you’d like). Add about 1/2 cup of water at a time and cover the skillet slightly to allow the potatoes to steam and simmer. Add more water as necessary. End cooking the potatoes when they are done and the water is absorbed. Add vegetables back to the pan. Go to step 6.
  5. If you have pre-cooked potatoes, add the pre-cooked potatoes to the pan.
  6. Add tofu and seasonings and stir until well mixed, heated, and until most of the water has evaporated.
  7. Don’t forget to taste

I like to serve with fresh avocado slices and fresh pico de gallo (or simply fresh onions and tomatoes are a good option too.)

Seasoning Mix: The goal is to add some sort of yellow color so that the scramble will resemble eggs. Here is a recipe I found at NutritionStudies.org. You can create this mix and then sprinkle it onto the scramble to satisfy your desired taste.

  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Other possible add-ins:

  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh peas
  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes

Toppings:

  • Tomatoes or Fresh Salsa
  • Avocado or Guacamole

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato

This recipe is an example of how you can quickly assemble a satisfying meal in 15 minutes or less. If you like “Tex-Mex”, you are going to enjoy this vegan, plant-based recipe. (A video for this recipe is below.)

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potato Recipe:
(Feel free to use other varieties of the ingredients listed below for onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, and even the beans)

Pre-prepared:  2 Oven-baked Sweet Potatoes (or use the microwave to cook the sweet potatoes in less than 10 minutes)

Toppings To cook:
1/4 cup of chopped red onions
1/8 cup of chopped yellow bell peppers
3/4 – 1 cup baby Bella mushrooms
1 – 2 cups of black beans (pre-cooked or canned)

Additional Toppings:
Cashew Cilantro Cream Sauce
Chopped avocado
Chopped cilantro
Sriracha sauce  (At home we use this brand that is preservative-free. You can likely find it at your local grocery store.)

Directions:

  1. Add onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms to a pan over medium heat. Add 1-2 TBS of water or broth to begin the cooking process. Continue adding a little water or broth as needed to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Cook until slightly caramelized.
  2. Add the black beans to the pan with the veggies and allow them to heat up.

To Serve:

  1. Cut each baked potato in half length-wise.
  2. Add vegetable toppings
  3. Add any additional toppings that you would like.

Note: I have also added wilted Kale to this recipe. If you like Kale, you will like the addition of it in the recipe also.

 

3 Ingredient Date Balls

Date Ball Snacks

 

Date ball snacks are quick and easy to make using only 3 ingredients and a food processor. Loaded with real food for energy, vitamins, and minerals. This makes 12 – 15  1-inch size date balls.

Ingredients:

  • 6 dates, pittedDate Ball Ingredients
  • 3/4 to 1 cup dehydrated apples
  • 1 cup of walnuts (or any of your favorite nut)
  • pinch of salt (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients into the food processor and process until well mixed.
  2. Form into balls. You can use a tablespoon to measure out the mixture.

Date Ball After Mixing

Notes:

  1. I usually make my own dehydrated apples. This way I can avoid added sugars and sulphur-treated appples. So be sure to look for “unsulphured” apples.
  2. I also soak the nuts for 4 – 6 hours and dehydrate them with the apples. Soaking nuts/seeds helps them to be more digestible.
  3. I’m sure you can substitute seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin) if you have an allergy to nuts. Start by adding only 1/2 cup of seeds.

Another similar recipe that uses only 2 ingredients: Homemade Larabars