Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Everyone in my house is under the weather and being that I found some energy today, I knew we needed a treat to lift our spirits.  I had way too many bananas that were very ripe (we can never get through bananas fast enough it seems), so I knew I wanted to base the recipe around those suckers.  I have a staple, go-to banana muffin recipe which I make without having to think or look at ingredients, but I wanted something more indulgent.  I decided the best way to take them to the next level was with a crumb top.  Everything is better with crumble topping, right?

I didn’t want to use up all my newfound energy, so I did not pull out the mixer, and I used only one bowl.  These muffins, I tell you, are so moist, perfectly sweet, filling, and really nicely textured.  They were made for your morning coffee.  Oh, and they are vegan.

I must say, they definitely put a smile on some faces today.  Thank goodness for crumble toppings.

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Makes 11 muffins

Adapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Crumble Top:

  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 5 tablespoons spelt flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Pour applesauce into a large bowl.  Add banana and mash with a fork.
  • Add brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk for about one minute.
  • Add vanilla and melted coconut oil and stir.
  • Add flour and oats and stir with a spatula until just combined. Fold in walnuts.
  • Divide batter among 11 lined muffin tins, I used silicone muffin cup liners.
  • Wipe down your mixing bowl and add crumble ingredients. Mash with a fork until you get a crumbly consistency.  Spoon crumble over muffin tops.

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  • Bake for 22 minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then remove from muffin tin and serve.  You can store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
  • Enjoy!

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

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Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Banana Nut Crumb Muffins

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

I have to thank my blogger buddy Celeste from Honk If You’re Vegan for coming to the rescue with a great idea for me.  I needed to come up with a vegan, nut-free, kid-friendly Valentine treat for my son to bring to daycare tomorrow to share with his classmates and educator.  I really wanted something a little healthier, but still sweet and fun.  Celeste suggested these great rice crispy squares.  I loved the idea of only 5 ingredients!  I jazzed them up by dipping them in semi-sweet vegan chocolate, and then adding some sprinkles.  Although the sprinkles are vegan, they are not completely additive-free, but I figured one rice crispy heart won’t be the end of the world.  Also, my husband said don’t be the worst ‘healthy mom’, add the sprinkles.  So, the sprinkles went on.

Although the rice crispies are not very sweet on their own (which I prefer), the texture turns out almost exactly like the marshmallow ones we grew up on.  I used a small heart-shaped cookie cutter to later shape them.  Sonny took care of decorating the clear bags with cute stickers which we later used to package each heart.

So, a happy Valentine’s Day to you all.  If anything, a little reminder to be grateful for the love we all have within us.  And thank you Celeste for the awesome idea!

Vegan Chocolate Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

adapted from Healthful Pursuit

Makes 1 9×13 pan (14 hearts)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups crispy rice cereal
  • ¼ cup ground flax seed
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • ⅔ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 100 gram bar of semi-sweet baking chocolate
  • vegan sprinkles, to decorate

Directions:

  1. Lightly oil a 9×13 pan with coconut oil (or other oil of your choice).  Set aside.
  2. Place rice cereal and ground flax seed in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
  3. In a medium-sized sauce pan or frying pan, add rice syrup, sunflower seed butter and vanilla extract. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until ingredients have liquified, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour syrup over rice crisp mixture and stir to coat.
  5. Once all crisps have been coated, drop the mixture into the prepared pan and even it out with a spatula, pressing down firmly.
  6. Allow to sit for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before using your cookie cutter to cut into heart shapes.  This is a little bit of a workout with pressing down firmly through the rice crispies.

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  1. Using a double boiler or a saucepan filled with water with a metal bowl over top, melt the chocolate.  Remove the bowl from saucepan.
  2. Carefully dip one side of the hearts into the chocolate.  Use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Place on a wire rack to cool.  Once you’ve dipped all the hearts, add sprinkles.
  3. Place in the refrigerator (still on the wire rack) to allow the chocolate to harden.  This should take 20-30 minutes.
  4. Remove from refrigerator and place in small gift bags, or go ahead and enjoy.  Keep refrigerated for up to a week.

Vegan Chocolate-Dipped Rice Crispy Hearts

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Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

I am way too excited about this recipe.  I have entered a time machine and gone back to my childhood.  The only difference is, I’m not eating yellow #5 and #6.  And it doesn’t come out of a box.  Even if you’re not buying Kraft Dinner, homemade versions of mac and cheese are usually loaded with butter, cheese and other unhealthy ingredients.  This mac and cheese is 100% vegan and so healthy!  I’m just smiling ear to ear knowing what I used to make it, and seeing how much my family loved it.  I think you’re all going to love this one just as much as we did.

The cheese in this recipe is a combination of roasted sweet potato, mustard and nutritional yeast.  The result is a nostalgic mac and cheese with a grown up edge and a rich, creamy, and satisfying dish!  My son pushed the mushrooms aside, but I couldn’t resist them.

Roasted Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the mac and cheese:

  • 500 grams gluten-free elbow macaroni
  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 3 cups), cubed
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of your choice)
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon tamari (or regular soy sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For garnish: a handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

For the mushrooms:

  • 8 ounces mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place sweet potato cubes onto lightly greased baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  Place in preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until tender, turning once half way through.

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  • In the meanwhile, boil your pasta according to packaging instructions.  Drain and place pasta back in the pot.
  • In a medium bowl, combine lemon juice, dijon, garlic powder, chili flakes, nutritional yeast, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
  • In a small pan, sauté mushrooms in oil on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Remove sweet potatoes from oven (don’t turn off the heat) and add sweet potatoes to the bowl with all your seasonings and almond milk.  Mash well, combining all ingredients.  Don’t worry if you have a few clumps.  If the mixture is a little too thick, add another splash of almond milk.
  • Add macaroni noodles to the bowl, and fold all ingredients together.  Spoon all into a casserole dish, top with mushrooms and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Remove and sprinkle freshly chopped parsley overtop.  Dig in!

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos

Tofu Scramble and Kale Burritos

Growing up, one of my favourite things to have for dinner was breakfast.  It’s so fun for kids and I truly enjoy it just as much now, as a grown up (gulp).  I wasn’t too sure how my little guy would react to scrambled tofu instead of eggs, but it was a great success.  It’s amazing what a little turmeric can do to give the tofu such a great colour.  Although I made these for dinner, they make a great breakfast or even lunch (I reheated them today and they were delicious).

Who doesn’t like a breakfast burrito, right? I wanted to show the nutritional value of this vegan version compared to a typical egg burrito.  I live for super tasty food that is also nutritious.  Here is what it looks like:

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So, as you see you’re still getting a high protein breakfast, but one which is vegan and cholesterol-free!  Ready in about 25 minutes.

Tofu Scramble and Kale Burritos

Scrambled Tofu + Kale Breakfast Burritos

Makes 5-6 burritos

Ingredients:

  • 6 flat breads (I used whole wheat and flax)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1  14 oz block extra firm tofu, pressed for 10 minutes, crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon hungarian paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Turn on oven to the lowest heat, place flat breads on a baking sheet, and pop in the oven to heat while you prepare the tofu scramble.
  • Heat coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
  • Add the bell pepper and kale and continue sauteéing until the kale is slightly wilted, approx. 5 more minutes.
  • Add crumbled tofu to the pan, along with the nutritional yeast, turmeric, sage, cumin, salt and pepper and fold all to combine.  Heat for another 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
  • Spoon tofu scramble onto warmed flat bread.  Fold into a burrito, serve, and enjoy!

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Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie

If your mornings are anything like mine, they don’t offer too much time before we need to scurry off to preschool and work.  My son, like me, also doesn’t have much of an appetite first thing in the morning.  Smoothies have come to the rescue, for both of us.  He’s always liked fruity smoothies, who doesn’t, but he was a little reluctant when he saw a bunch of baby spinach leaves going into this morning’s smoothie.  I guaranteed him this drink was packed with all the awesome things that make him strong and healthy.  Moments later we had a green-smoothie-guzzling boy.  You really don’t taste the spinach in here, it’s just an added antioxidant bonus!  It also doesn’t need any sweetener, as the fruit is sweet enough.  If you don’t have flax seeds, go ahead and use chia seeds, but don’t skip this ingredient.  It’s another one of those amazing hidden ingredients which you do not taste but are bursting with nutrients like omega-3 and fiber.

Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie

Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie

Makes approx. 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup organic baby spinach
  • 1 cup organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries
  • 1 small organic banana
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender.  Let your child do the whizzing, it works wonders in helping them eat/drink what they help prepare.
  • Drink immediately, enjoy!

Berry Green Breakfast Smoothie

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Spicy Bulgur Chili

I’ll start by saying that this is not ideally something that you would cook up like I did on a weeknight after work.  It’s best done on the weekend, in big batches, and reheated throughout the week for a super delicious, hearty, vegan chili.  I say this because the cooking time is a little long, and the longer it cooks, the better it tastes.  So squeeze it into your weekend plans instead, k?
The second thing I must tell you about this chili is that it is most definitely the best vegan chili I’ve had.  My husband was skeptical, kind of bored of the idea of beans, but the addition of bulgur gives the chili a fabulous texture.  This recipe was created because we all needed a little bit of warming.  With temperatures close to -35ºC in Montreal, we needed some heat!  And heat we got!  My son is used to spicy food, so he enjoyed this, but you can always use less jalapeño to satisfy the whole family if they’re not used to the heat.

Spicy Vegan Bulgur Chili

Spicy Bulgur Chili Recipe
Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 2 cups shredded carrot
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 10 fresh plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 cup bulgur
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. If you find it too thick, add a splash of water.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro.
  • Enjoy!

Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

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Although we are nearing the holidays and I’d normally be dreaming up all kinds of chocolatey desserts, I have decided to take control of my sugar cravings and nip them in the butt before Christmas rolls in and the indulgences would start.  It really is unbelievable how little time it takes to kick the sugar habit, usually within 2-3 days I no longer crave it.  On this day though, I was trying to stick to my goal, but I wanted a little something sweet.  I decided rather than caving, I’d smother some squash in maple syrup and not beat myself up over it!  My husband said it was the best way he’s ever had butternut squash. I’d love to know what you think!

This meal went over well with my preschooler.  I’m always trying to sneak kale into his meals, and if you’re curious, I find the easiest most enjoyable way is to add it into soups.  That’s another blog post, though.  Back to the rice bowl.

The only pain in the butt about preparing this meal is peeling the squash.  I find the quickest way to do it is by cutting off the stem and bottom of squash, slicing the squash in half then placing it so a flat end is on the cutting board.  Then, using a vegetable peeler, peel in a downward motion.  Perhaps a tutorial would be helpful!  The rest of the process is very simple and fairly quick.

I also want to remind you all that there are five days left to enter my holiday giveaway.  Here is the link if you haven’t checked it out yet.  If you want your Vegan Bible, then I encourage you to enter!

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Maple Roasted Butternut Squash + Kale Rice Bowl

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup cashews, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup brown rice (I used a mix of brown/wild rice)

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Directions:

  • Boil rice according to packaging directions.
  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Place the cubed squash in a large bowl.  Add maple syrup, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.  Using your hands or a silicone spatula, mix all the ingredients making sure the squash is well covered in the maple syrup and seasoning.
  • Spread out the cubes on a lightly greased baking sheet.
  • Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until fork tender.  Turn on the broiler and place baking sheet under the broiler for 1-2 minutes to really caramelize the squash.  Careful not to burn them!  Lower the heat back to 425°F and toast your cashews for approximately 5 minutes.
  • Steam your kale and top with onion flakes.
  • To assemble, scoop rice into bowl, top with kale, squash and toasted cashews.
  • Enjoy!

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