Fresh and Nutty Maple Fig Spread

Posted by on July 27, 2010 | 18 Comments

Today I am doing a guest post on The Whole Gang for a continuation of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. But, I also get to post it here. The idea is that I offer a tip for healthy living (whole foods and from scratch kind of stuff), and a recipe. So here you go …

Recipe: Fresh Maple-Fig Spread (recipe below)

fig spread

Tip: Treat yourself to a ‘new to you’ food at least once a month, and a healthy ‘splurge’ food at least once a week

I confess, even though I love whole foods and eating seasonally, I can easily get caught in an ordinary repetitive rut … banana smoothies for breakfast; homemade bread and nut butter for a snack; big salad with greens, carrots, and protein for lunch; an orange or apple for a snack; and a protein, grain, veggie dinner that usually contains broccoli, cauliflower, or a similar common veggie.

It wasn’t until I signed up for a CSA that I discovered the fun and excitement of trialing new-to-me foods. Sure, I still love my banana smoothies and an almost-daily heap of my still favorite veggie, broccoli, but throwing a new food in the mix on occasion really perks up my interest in from-scratch meals, and helps me to expand the variety in my diet.

I tried shooting for one new-to-me food per week, but the pressure was a little too much for me when I didn’t have a CSA for guidance. So I have changed up the program to something more manageable. Now I aim to trial one new-to-me food per month, BUT, each week I pick up at least one “splurge” food that is perhaps something that I have trialed before, but don’t indulge in very often. I guess you would call it re-introducing a food to increase the variety and pleasure in my diet. I often combine this concept with seasonality – a box of organic strawberries at their peak, some fresh ears of local corn mid-summer, or a kabocha squash when it makes its rare appearance at my small town grocer.

Keep in mind, the “new” or “reintroduced” food could be fruit, vegetables, whole grains, organic meats, wild seafood, a drink (think herbal or antioxidant tea, kefir, or kombucha), a wholesome baking ingredient, or even or even a fun “superfood” like maca, acai, or mulberries. The sky is the limit!

For some examples, here are a few creations I made with new-to-me and healthy splurge foods:

As it happened, this month the fruit CSA delivered an item that I couldn’t believe I had never tried before, fresh figs. The dried, wrinkly ones have entered my kitchen on several occasions, but this was my first taste of a fresh fig, and it was delicious! I had several, so I opted to make a spread that would replace my morning nut butter for a for a few days, and even used it to jazz up that banana smoothie …

Fresh Maple-Fig Spread

Feel free to add more fresh figs if you want to highlight the fruit even more. If you only have dried figs on hand, rehydrate them in warm water and puree away.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 1/4 Cup Cashews or Almonds
  • 1/4 Cup Walnuts
  • 6 Medium-Sized Fresh Figs
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (can sub honey or agave)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Grind the cashews or almonds somewhat into a powder (I use an electric spice/coffee grinder). Add all ingredients to your food processor, and pulse, chop, or blend to your desired consistency. I made mine fairly smooth, but with some walnut chunks. Feel free to adjust the sweetness, salt, and spices as desired.

Yields about 1 cup

Smoothie Option – The figs help to sweeten up smoothies, while the nuts add some creaminess, healthy fat, and protein. Here I simply blended about 1/3 cup of the spread with 1 frozen banana (and an extra dash of cinnamon) for a lightly sweet and tasty breakfast treat. Feel free to sweeten to taste if your fruit isn’t quite ripe and/or add some protein powder for a little more muscle in your beverage …

fig smoothie

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Economical Whole-Grain Spelt Tortillas

Posted by on June 24, 2010 | 13 Comments

Usually, I only post recipes that are “my own” in the sense that I made them up in my little head (not to say someone else out there couldn’t have made up a similar one in their own head – really, how many original recipe ideas are truly left?!) or I have significantly altered a recipe. Seriously, I have a hard time leaving those ingredients and directions alone. But once in a while I find a simple gem … one that I just know I shouldn’t mess with … at least not right away.

I actually made this tortilla recipe for the first time last year, and have made it twice since. The first time I did the sandwich roll-ups you see below with some homemade slaw, the second time we used them for fajitas, and the third time I used them for making roll-up snacks, vegan/vegetarian style (sweet and savory). Sorry no pics on the last two, but they were equally good … better even, since my rolling skills improved.

Whole Grain Spelt Tortillas - Vegan

True, I will be fooling around with this wholesome tortilla recipe in the future, it just seems to have so much potential. But, it is also awesome as is, so I really wanted to share it with you here. Plus, I love, love, love that they use so few ingredients (no additives!), are totally whole grain, and quite economical (have you seen the price of good tortillas these days?). Oh yes, and they are tasty too … husband approved.

 

Whole Grain Spelt Tortilla

Rolling out the tortilla dough is more of an art than I expected, and does take some practice. If you happen to have a tortilla press, this recipe will be insanely fast. If not, allow a little extra time for rolling and cooking … you will speed up with practice. Also, I like my tortillas burrito-sized, so I just make 6. Eight makes them a generous taco-size in my opinion.

Recipe from Recipezaar. This recipe is Vegan / Vegetarian, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and Sugar-Free.

  • 2 Cups Spelt Flour (whole grain)
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Salt (I like to use half the amount, but your call)
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Hot Water

In a bowl, mix all ingredients well. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Divide into 8 equal parts [6 for larger tortillas] and let sit, covered, another 20 minutes.

Roll each ball out to a 6- or 7-inch circle shape. I’ve found it helps to flatten each ball with your hand. Then take the rolling pin and roll from the center outwards, back and forth a few times as you go around the circle. When it starts to get thinner, take your left hand (if you’re right handed) and turn the tortilla a couple inches. Use your right hand to use the rolling pin (holding in the middle) and roll from the center outwards. Keep turning and rolling until it is paper thin.

Preheat a skillet on medium high heat. Place a tortilla into the skillet and watch until bubbles form. This won’t take long [about 30 to 60 seconds].

After bubbles form, and the bottom is lightly brown (or there are darker spots), flip over, press down once or twice [I prefer not to press down, this is an option], and cook for about 30-45 seconds, or if smoke appears.

Cook remaining tortillas, watching carefully, and place in a plastic bag, with wet paper towels in between them (or at least on top and bottom of stack) to keep them soft and moist.

These are best if used fresh, but you can refrigerate them if needed [careful as they can dry out], or remove the paper towels and freeze. 

Yields 6 to 8 whole grain tortillas

Whole Grain Spelt Tortillas - Vegan

Blog Events:

Submitted this recipe to Family Food Fridays

Famous Flax ‘n Oat Bar Recipe

Posted by on April 7, 2010 | 33 Comments

Okay, we all have a different definition of famous – but the wonderful folks at Enjoy Life Foods have featured this recipe on their blog. You can view the full post here on the ELF blog.

Chocolate Chip Flax 'n Oat Bars

I know, I know, it isn’t exactly Martha Stewart, but this company is fairly big, and one of my favorites. They use a dedicated allergen-free and gluten-free facility, which is hard to find these days. And, some of their products are surprisingly awesome. I love, love, love their mini chocolate chips (yes, they are even soy-lecithin-free), and their soft cookies. They are gluten-free, which I am not, but still awesome all around. I enjoy their granola too, but I am mostly a bake-at-home granola eater.

Anyway, I really wanted to have the recipe here for you all to access on my blog too, so here you go …

Chocolate Chip Flax 'n Oat Bars

 

No Bake Chocolate Chip Flax ‘n Oat Bars

Recipe adapted from my No Bake Granola Bar recipe in Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living.

Since I often make mini-batches of no bake snacks, but I don’t have an assortment of mini-pans, I typically make “rounds” instead of bars using silicon muffin pans. No cutting or greasing required, and anytime we need a snack, we just pop one out! This recipe is dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and optionally gluten-free, nut-free, and/or vegan.

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, optionally Gluten-Free, optionally Nut-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • 3 Tablespoons Maple Syrup, Honey, Corn Syrup, or Agave Nectar (your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar or Evaporated Cane Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut or Palm Oil (not shortening)
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter, SunButter, or Your Favorite Nut or Seed Butter
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Generous Pinch or Two of Salt (omit if using salted nut or seed butter)
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 Cup Quick or Rolled Oats (use certified gluten-free oats or give quinoa flakes a go for gluten-free)
  • 1 Cup Perky’s Crunchy Flax Cereal (can sub their rice cereal or crispy rice cereal)
  • 1/2 Cup Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips

In a medium-sized saucepan or skillet, combine the two sweeteners and the oil, and gently warm over low heat while stirring until the sugar crystals have dissolved. This should just take a couple of minutes.

Stir in the nut or seed butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes.

Stir in the flaxseed, followed by the oats and cereal.

Now you have two choices here. If you want the chocolate chips to stay intact, let the mixture cool for few more minutes, and then stir in the chocolate chips. Or, if you are antsy like me, stir in the chocolate chips right away. They may melt a little against the warm pan, but I like them that way.

The mixture will be crumbly, but that is okay. Press it firmly into an 8 x 8 pan (use saran wrap or wax paper over your hand if it threatens to stick while pressing) or into 10 to 12 muffin tins. Make sure it is packed in there nicely, then place the bars into the freezer to chill for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cut into bars or pop them out and eat. I store them in the refrigerator, this keeps them fresh and from getting too soft.

Yields 10 to 12 snack bars

Chocolate Chip Flax 'n Oat Bars - Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Don’t Pinch My Blog, I’ve Got a Green Recipe!

Posted by on March 17, 2010 | 15 Comments

As mentioned in my last post, we are on week one of our first CSA. It was like Christmas pulling out one surprise veggie after another … until I got to the final item, the lump of coal at the bottom. “What’s this?” I said. It didn’t quite look like kale or chard, but similar. I went to the inventory sheet and my fears were realized – collard greens.

My first and only experience with collard greens was purchasing them in a bag on sale at a mega-grocer about seven years ago. Terrible, terrible, terrible. But determined to polish off that entire CSA box and give every veggie a fair trial, I headed to one of my favorite healthy cookbooks, Whole Life Nutrition. I was confident that Alissa (gotta love her name) would have a recipe to turn those greens into something good. In fact, she had two. One was for Apple-Spiced Collard Greens, which sounded rather tasty, but I didn’t have any apple juice on hand. The second was for Collard Green and Hummus Roll-ups. Now hummus, that is something I almost always have on hand!

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

My version is more of a guide / idea than a recipe, but let me tell you, it really worked to turn those nice big collard leaves (perfectly flat and excellent to work with, unlike kale or stiff chard leaves) into a tasty large snack or small meal – however you view it. And I realize Collard Greens don’t exactly shout “St. Patrick’s Day,” but hey, they are GREEN!

Now it is quite possible that there will be more of these collard greens in today’s CSA box, so please do tell … Do you have any ideas or favorite recipes for using Collard Greens?

 

Collard Green and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • Collard Green Leaves, nice full healthy ones
  • Hummus, your flavor of choice
  • Carrots, for shredding
  • Avocado, sliced (optional – I didn’t have any)
  • Leftover Chicken (optional – omit for a vegan option)
  • Olives (optional – my hummus was kalamata olive hummus so I could resist)
  • Other Veggie Toppings of Choice (go wild!)

Lay the leaves flat, and cut them in half, carefully cutting out that thick stem. Spread each leaf half with your favorite hummus (I was using an olive hummus, hence the darker color), and sprinkle with grated or shredded carrot.

Okay, get ready, this is my first ever step by step photo – except it is just one step …

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Now, simply roll them up tight for a very light snack (I did this once, and they were tasty just like this!), or top them with your choice of toppings. The second time I made them I had some leftover chicken and olives, so I went with this, which made thicker rolls.

Yields as many as you like

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Jam-Filled Snackin’ Muffins (or Soda Rolls)

Posted by on March 10, 2010 | 12 Comments

I swear, sometimes I feel like Celine reads my mind when it comes to trialing out baked goodie recipes. I purchased some all-fruit spread solely for the purpose of coming up with some jam-filled muffins and PB&J granola for my husband’s morning snack … when low and behold, I opened her new book 500 Vegan Recipes (co-written with Joni Marie Newman) to discover recipes for both!

Vegan Jam-Filled Soda Rolls

She calls these muffins “rolls,” which I suppose is fair since they really aren’t very sweet, save for the jam surprise in the middle. Nonetheless, they are perfectly yummy and satisfying for breakfast. I had to modify the recipe a wee bit, based on what I had on hand. I did use honey (sorry, I know it isn’t strict vegan practice, and have no fear, 500 Vegan Recipes is honey-free!), but you can stick with their suggested sweetener or agave as I have noted.

 

Jam-Filled Snackin’ Muffins (or Soda Rolls)

Recipe adapted from 500 Vegan Recipes by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman

They do specifically recommend soymilk for this recipe since it curdles best; though you may have success with other milk alternatives. Though we don’t typically stock soy in our house, I was reviewing this soymilk for Go Dairy Free, so I decided to use it here. This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and optionally Soy-Free and Refined Sugar-Free.

  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1-1/4 Cups Plain Soymilk (see above note for other soy-free milk alternatives)
  • 1-1/4 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 Cup Whole or White Spelt Flour (I used whole spelt)
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey, Raw Sugar or Agave Nectar (I used un-vegan honey)
  • 2 Tablespoons Oil (I used extra-light olive, but you could use grapeseed, canola, or melted coconut oil)
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  •  1/4 Cup Jam or All-Fruit Spread
  • Melted non-dairy margarine (optional)

 Preheat your oven to 400ºF, and lightly grease 12 muffin cups.

Combine the vinegar and soymilk in a medium-sized bowl or glass measuring cup, and allow it to sit as the vinegar “curdles” the soymilk.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add the sweetener, oil, and applesauce to the now curdled soymilk. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture in your large bowl, and gently stir until just combined. No over-mixing!

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of the batter in each muffin cup. Top each mound of batter with 1 teaspoon of jam. Top the jam with the remaining batter (another heaping tablespoon per cup).

Bake for 15 minutes. As soon as you remove the rolls from the oven, brush the tops with non-dairy margarine if desired. Personally, I would skip this step next time, as I wasn’t a big fan of the salty margarine topping … but I am sure many people would love it. Pop the muffins out (they seemed to come out of the cups nicely, even while still quite hot) and indulge.

Yields a dozen sweet and savory muffins

Vegan Jam-Filled Soda Rolls

Banana-Oat SuperDad Snack Bars

Posted by on October 9, 2009 | 29 Comments

My dad is one of the most awesome guys I know (have to include the hubby in this one), and he really is my best friend. I can always count on him for anything, including lifting heavy boxes and trucking furniture up and down stairs.

Though he really wasn’t thrilled that we were moving away, my dad showed up on moving day and gave us every ounce of energy he had. That little man did the work of ten (and I even caught him doing sit-ups in between trips!). Seriously, my husband and I were in awe.

I look forward to being in as awesome shape as he is now in my 60’s. While we were taking water breaks, he just kept on going, and going, and going. Okay, he did take a few breaks to snack on these banana oat bars …

Banana-Oat Superdad Snack Bars (Dairy-Free)

Bananas and oats have to be my dad’s two favorite foods, but he shies away from baked goodies since in his mind they are all loaded with sugar and refined flours. So I created these whole-grain, naturally-sweetened snack bars to keep us all powered up and happy.

Admitedly, my husband and grandma (the two sugar fiends) preferred the blueberry-cashew bars I made (still working on the recipe, as I thought they were too crumbly). However, my dad and I were loyalists to these snack bars, which had a dense, but somewhat cakey consistency. In fact, after the pan was gone (that very same day), dad asked me to make more!

Banana-Oat SuperDad Snack Bars

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Free of Refined Sugars, and Optionally Wheat-Free / Gluten-Free (seek out some of those certified gluten-free oats)

  • 1-1/4 Cups Quick Oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 Cup Agave Nectar or Honey*
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, melted or softened (or oil of your choice)
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 Cup Flour (I ground more oats in my spice grinder to a flour consistency, feel free to use the flour of your choosing … AP, whole wheat, or even almond flour)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Egg (brought to room temperature if using coconut oil)
  • 1 Cup Mashed, Ripe Banana (about 3 small or 2 large)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut (I used unsweetened)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease an 8 x 8 baking dish.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, agave or honey, oil, and vanilla. Briefly set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Briefly set aside.

Returning to your mixing bowl, stir in the egg, banana, and coconut, until everything is well combined. Stir in the reserved flour mixture (since I was using oat flour without gluten, I wasn’t worried about over-mixing. Be careful not to overmix if you are using a wheat-based flour).

The batter will be a little thick. Spread it evenly in your greased baking dish, and pop it in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before cutting. Can be stored in the fridge if you like ’em chilled (I do).

* According to our taste buds, these bars were perfectly sweet, but if you prefer a sweeter treat, feel free to up the agave or honey to 1/3 cup or add a couple tablespoons of Sucanat or brown sugar.

Cinnamon Raisin Version

The above recipe is my slightly coconutty version. You can mix up the flavors if you wish. The following changes will give you a cinnamon raisin banana oat bar:

  • Substitute grapeseed oil or other neutral-tasting oil for the coconut oil
  • Substitute 1/2 cup of raisins for the coconut
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more if you like!)
  • Substitute maple syrup for the agave/honey (optional)

Yields about 9 snack bars

bananaoatbars3

Blog Events: I shared this post with Fight Back Fridays.

Hearty Oat Chocolate Chippers (Gluten-Free & Vegan)

Posted by on June 25, 2009 | 16 Comments

Though I have finally migrated from the “Lite Bites” section of Cookies for Everyone! to the “Drop Cookies,” I still went straight for the Hearty Chocolate Chippers. My cookie cravings lately seem to be intertwined with my body’s call for nutrition. But a cookie is a cookie after all, and still a worthy indulgence in my book. 

Oaty / Hearty Chocolate Chippers

As you can see, my cookies are a bit on the toasty side. Not burnt by any means, and still utterly delicious, but about 2 minutes past their prime. I believe there is a slight faux pas in the original recipe, which calls for too long of a cooking time (me thinks the 2’s should be 1’s). Luckily, I caught them before they turned into hockey pucks, and while they were still tender and delicious! I have adapted the recipe below to reflect the correct cooking time and any of my minor ingredient changes. Enjoy!

Hearty Oat Chocolate Chippers

Adapted from Cookies for Everyone! by Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free*, Egg-Free, Peanut-Free, Tree Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Wheat-Free, and relatively Low Fat. See ingredient links and notes for best options to keeping this “free-from” profile.

  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar, Packed
  • 1/4 Cup Grapeseed, Canola, or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Water or Milk Alternative of choice (plain or vanilla)
  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1/4 Cup Flax Meal
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Cup White or Brown Rice Flour [I used brown. keepin’ them hearty!]
  • 1/2 Cup Oat Flour* [original recipe calls for sorghum flour]
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats**, Quinoa, or Rice Flakes [I used oats]
  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat your oven to 350ºF (180°C, or gas mark 4).

With a mixer or by hand, cream together the brown sugar, oil, water or milk alternative, applesauce, flax, and vanilla until smooth.

Add the remaining ingredients except for the oats and chocolate chips, and mix until dough is well combined.  Add the oats and mix again until all ingredients are combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use a small ice cream/cookie scoop or drop dough by rounded tablespoon onto the baking sheet.  Flatten slightly.

Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned and semi-soft to the touch in the middle.  Let cookies sit for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet.  Remove from baking sheet to a flat surface (like a large plate) or wire rack to cool completely before enjoying.

* To make oat flour (gluten-free or regular), place some oats in your spice grinder and whiz for about 30 seconds, or until they are pulverized into a flour.

** To keep these cookies gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oats or use the sorghum flour and choose quinoa or rice flakes over the oats.

Yields 3 dozen medium-sized chippers

heartychocolatechippers

Giveaways This Week:

Giveaway: Gourmet Tortilla Chip Sampler Packages for Your Summer BBQ’s!!

Posted by on June 11, 2009 | 316 Comments

Healthy, gourmet, and all-natural are rarely terms we associate with the humble tortilla chip, but things are different at Food Should Taste Good. I had the chance to sample all of their completely delicious original flavors a while back … but, now they have four new flavors, and they want you to taste just how good they are! They will send a gift package to three of you (yes, that is 1 .. 2 .. 3 winners!) to include full-size bags of their four new tortilla chip flavors.

My good friend Hannah, author of My Sweet Vegan and blogger extraordinaire at Bittersweet, taste tested each of the new flavors, and I have some highlights and mini-photos from her review to get your taste buds ready:

  • Yellow Corn – “refreshingly clean and crisp tasting”
  • Lime – “the mellow, natural zest that met my tongue was a very pleasant surprise”
  • Cinnamon – “very aromatic from the minute they’re released from the bag”
  • Potato Chive – “these chips proved to have a very rich potato flavor, tasting earthy in the best way possible”

Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips

Special Diet Note: These chips are gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan! Can’t beat that.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post. You can just say hi, you can tell me how much you love this blog (brownie points are tallied), you can tell me which chip flavor you are most excited about, and/or you can put in a special request for a chip flavor you would love to see Food Should Taste Good come up with next.

To enter more than once, Tweet this giveaway via your twitter account, tell your friends on facebook, and/or link to this post from your blog. Be sure to leave a separate comment letting me know you did so! Two of last month’s winners were actually tweets, so every little bit helps!

Comment entries will be open through Tuesday, June 16th, after which time the three winners will be announced. Good luck!

foodshouldtastegoodnew

Though I usually wait until after the giveaways to post up deals from the companies, I know that you will want these whether or not you win, so here goes …

  • Printable Coupon: Join the fan club on the Food Should Taste Good Website (under special offers-coupons), and they will email you a printable coupon for $1.00 off. I have already used mine.
  • Recipe Contest: Once you have these crunchy snacks in hand, get creative and come up with a recipe. Submit your recipe on the contest page and if chosen for that month (one winner per month), you will receive a whole case of chips!

Okay, comment away to enter …

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Filed Under: Giveaways

Homemade Strawberry Julius … The Ultimate Workout Reward!

Posted by on May 1, 2009 | 16 Comments

 

Whew! 5 days into the new fitness program and it is definitelly kicking our butts. Thank you all for your inspiring comments the other day, we are keeping motivated!

Thus far my husband and I have done three days of 90-minute cardio-type weight and muscle training (can we say torture?), an hour of some serious cardio, and 90 minutes of the hardest yoga I have ever done. I am trying to add in some walking along with that to keep these stiff muscles moving! Did I mention we signed up for two-hour long tennis lessons. Call us insane, but we are actually enjoying it … that is, now that the initial bout of cripling pain is wearing off.

So, with this new fitness routine comes an amped up diet. More calories (yes, I said more!), more protein, less sugar, and less fat. The two aspects that are hardest for us are the protein load (to be addressed in another post) and the less sugar. We are sugar addicts around here. Pretty much the only sugar found in the meal plans is slated for post-workout.

Okay, I must admit, that part is genious. Think about it, you can have that wonderfully sweet and thirst-quenching drink and delicious bar … AFTER you finish your workout. Can we say motivation?

strawberryjulius2

The recommended post-workout drinks contain milk in some form or another, so I have had to invent my own. Needless to say, I have spent all week perfecting this post-workout beverage to get the biggest enjoyment bang for my buck. The most important aspect is that the drink have a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Surprisingly, that means a lot of wonderful sugars in the form of fresh fruit and sweetener.

Since I am using Egg White Protein Powder (but you can use another type if you wish), the famous “Julius” immediately came to mind, and since it is officially strawberry season … well, need I say more? Of course, this is a versatile, easy little recipe that you can use as a recovery drink, for added protein (say for those little ones), or as a dessert … just see my notes below. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Rewarding Strawberry “Julius”

This recipe is optional vegan, optional egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free

  • 2 Cups Strawberry Halves
  • ½ Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey or Agave Nectar or 1/4 Cup White Sugar (I use honey)
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch Salt (optional)
  • 2 Cups Ice
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Egg Protein Powder (or enough of your favorite protein powder to equal roughly 16 to 18 grams of protein OR if you aren’t seeking a big protein boost, use 1 large egg white)

Combine the strawberries, water, honey, vanilla, ice, and salt (if using)  in your blender and blend it to a nice smoothie consistency. Add more water or ice as you see fit. Add in the protein powder and just give it a few quick pulses to blend it in.

A Few Quick Notes:

  • If using egg protein powder, it will nicely foam up like a Julius very quickly. I can’t say for other protein powders since I haven’t tried them, but the taste should still be excellent. If not using this for a protein drink, you can also use 1 large egg white (3 T pasteurized egg whites) in place of protein powder.
  • If you aren’t looking for a 4:1 ratio in particular, feel free to reduce the sweetener to your taste. 
  • If you want lower calories, reduce both the sweetener and the protein powder in half (but for optimum indulgence, I don’t recommend it!).
  • If you just want a dessert, go ahead with the protein powder or sub in a pasteurized egg white, or unsweetened milk alternative in place of the water for more of a strawberry smoothie.
  • As is, each serving has about 10g of protein, just under 40g of carbs, and is so incredibly yummy!

Yields 2 yumilicious servings

strawberryjulius

Blog Events: This recipe was submitted to the Strawberry Feast at My Kitchen Treasures.

Virtuous Whole Grain Banana Muffins

Posted by on March 22, 2009 | 19 Comments

In case you haven’t noticed from my past recipes, I am always looking for ways to use up those leftover bananas. For some odd reason, I purchase the same amount of bananas year round, regardless of our internal demand. In the summers, morning smoothies ensure that we go through at least one or two bananas per day, but in the winter and early spring, the last thing on my mind is a monstrously chilly beverage. So here I sit, once again, with a bunch of quickly ripening bananas, simply begging to lend their sweetness to a baked goodie.

Trying desperately to keep it healthy, I was elated when I found a whole wheat banana muffin recipe on Recipezaar that numerous people swore rose beautifully. They did not lie. I altered the recipe in several ways (reducing the fat a touch, adding some flavors, etc.), but still used their moisture ratio as my guide. These muffins turned out, dare I say about a whole grain muffin, relatively light and fluffy! Keep in mind; these are muffins, not cupcakes. They aren’t overly sweet, yet they are perfect (in my opinion) for early morning taste buds or with afternoon tea. I added raisins for an extra jolt of natural sugar, but you can swap them out for nuts, chocolate chips (I can’t stand chocolate in muffins/bread, just me though), blueberries, or other add-ins. You will still need some of that hot water in the ingredient list though (see the recipe to know what I am talking about).

banana-nut frosted banana muffins

I “frosted” one fresh out of the oven with a quick mixture of some leftover mashed banana, nut butter, ground flaxseeds, and some flavors to taste (molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg). For a sweeter added touch, “frost” them with your favorite jam.

Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Banana Muffins

This Recipe is Milk-Free, Soy-Free, Tree Nut-Free, Peanut-Free

  • 1/2 Cup Raisins (or more if you like)
  • Boiling Water (about 1 cup should do)
  • 1-3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Wheat Germ
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Mashed Ripe Banana
  • 1/4 Cup Grapeseed or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Honey or Agave Nectar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Place the raisins in a small bowl, and cover them with the hot/boiling water.

Preheat your oven to 325ºF and grease 12 muffin cups.

In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Briefly set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, blend the banana, oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid. Add 5 tablespoon s (1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon) of the hot raisin water to your mixing bowl.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in your large mixing bowl, stirring just to combine. Do not over mix. The baking soda begins to react as soon as it hits the liquid, so over mixing will cause the muffins to loose some of their fluffiness … a few lumps are okay.

Stir in the plumped raisins, and divide the batter evenly between your 12 muffin cups.

Bake for 20 to 24 minutes, or until they just begin to take on a golden hue, and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin, comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the muffin cups, then remove to a wire rack.

Yields 1 Dozen Muffins

dairy-free banana wheat muffins

Wheat-Free Option:
Use spelt or oat flour in place of the wheat flour, and substitute ground flax for the wheat germ.  I would guess that you could also use your favorite gluten-free flour blend (with xanthan gum as directed) to make them gluten-free / casein-free too if you wished).

Tips:
Be sure the bananas are quite ripe; this will add sweetness to the muffins.
Measure the oil in a ¼ cup, then use the same cup to measure the honey. The oil coating on the measuring cup will help keep the honey from sticking.

Happy Baking!

 

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