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Cranberry Orange Pumpkin Mini Muffins

I made these muffins for a client that has a number of food restrictions. They turned out perfect. What else I liked is that they were all made in a food processor for easy clean up. The hint of orange smells divine.

These muffins would be great for a brunch, snack, and breakfast. They really are good for anytime.

First Blend:

  • 1 large banana, very ripe
  • 1/2 cup of blended orange segments
  • 1/2 orange, zested

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Process the banana, orange and orange zest until smooth and creamy.

Second Blend:

  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c Date Paste
  • 1 tbsp flax seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp Baking Spice Blend
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/8 cup pecans
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Add all the following ingredients to the food processor: pumpkin puree, Date Paste, flax seeds, Baking Spice Blend, pure vanilla extract, pecans, baking soda, and baking powder. Blend until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Stir-In:

  • 1/2 c cranberries, frozen or fresh

Stir in the cranberries into the batter. Spoon batter into prepared mini muffin pans. Bake for 17-20 minutes.

Note: Want bigger muffins? You can use regular size (12 well) muffin tines and bake them for 35-40 minutes. This recipe makes 24 mini muffins.

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Tempeh – Mushroom Lettuce Wraps with Simple Brown Rice

This is such a flavorful simple dish that I do not know why I did not make it sooner. I think I was a little intimidated by the tempeh, since I had never used it before. Silly me.

I rarely make things more than twice, but this just might make it on a regular rotation. You can omit the tempeh and increase the mushrooms if you like. I would triple the amount of mushrooms if you do so.

These lettuce wraps would be great for a crowd. Make some with Forbidden Rice Spring Rolls and Peanut Sauce and you have a wonderful meal.

  • 1-2 recipes Chinese Brown Sauce
  • Simple Brown Rice
  • 8 oz Tempeh, rinsed, steamed, chopped
  • 10 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 5 oz. water chestnuts, chopped
  • Lettuce, iceberg or butter leaf
  • Lime, garnish
  • Green onions cut on the bias, garnish, optional

Make the Chinese Brown Sauce first. You can even make this 1-2 days in advance. I made two recipes of the Chinese Brown Sauce because it is that good, and the mushrooms and tempeh soak up the sauce. I had some leftover, however, if you like to spoon it on top of the lettuce wrap go for it.

Note: The Chinese Brown Sauce is a good one to keep in your refrigerator at all times. It is great for stir-fries, Asian noodles or just as a dipping sauce for spring rolls. It really is that good.

Rinse the tempeh and then steam for 15 minutes. The steaming softens the tempeh, making it more like a sponge to soak up the the flavor you will be pouring on it.

Make the Simple Brown Rice. While the Simple Brown Rice is resting; add the tempeh, mushrooms and water chestnuts to a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly. I use a ceramic non-stick skillet. If you do not have one, make sure you have some vegetable broth on hand in case the tempeh-mushroom mixture starts to stick. Just add a little vegetable broth if this happens and it will loosen the tempeh-mushroom mixture from the skillet.

The Tempeh-Mushroom mixture cooks very fast. It is done when you see that the tempeh is golden and the mushrooms have reduced.

Reduce heat and add the Chinese Brown Sauce to the Tempeh-Mushroom mixture. Thoroughly stir so that the sauce completely coats the Tempeh-Mushroom mixture.

Assemble wraps and add a squeeze of lime. The lime really enhances the flavors of all the ingredients.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Baked Spinach-Artichoke & Tomato Caserecce

This recipe came about because I wanted to use some leftovers in a different way. I had some Spinach Artichoke Dip and some Cashew Béchamel – Basic White Sauce. So I combined the two and added a few other ingredients to make this incredible, company worthy pasta dish.

Prepare caserecce according to package directions. Reserve 1-2 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta. Drain the pasta and return to the pot it was cooked in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add the Spinach Artichoke Dip, Cashew Béchamel – Basic White Sauce, cherry tomatoes and the sun-dried tomatoes and the pasta water to the pot. Stir all the ingredients, until they are well incorporated.

Transfer pasta mixture to a baking dish. Bake about 35-40 minutes.

Note: You can use the pot you cooked the pasta in if it is ovenproof. By doing this there is less clean up.

While the pasta is baking mix up the topping.

Topping:

  • 1/2 c GF Bread Crumbs
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp All-Purpose Seasoning
  • 1/4 c parsley, fresh, chopped

In a medium bowl mix together all the topping ingredients and set aside.

Sprinkle topping on to the Baked Spinach-Artichoke & Tomato Caserecce.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Curried Coconut-Butternut Squash Soup

It has been a while since I have made a soup so I thought this would be perfect. What is even better is that it can be made in your slow cooker or your instant pot. Whichever method you use it will be delicious – I promise. Silky, Velvety. Delicious.

  • 4 c butternut squash, peeled, cubed 1/2-inch
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 c apple (My favorites are fuji, honey crisp or pink lady), cored, chopped
  • 3/4 c shallots, minced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, fresh, minced
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 c + 4 tsp canned light coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp lime juice, zested, fresh – use zest for garnish
  • 1/4 c pumpkin seeds, divided

Combine squash, broth, apple, shallots, ginger, garlic, curry powder and salt into a slow cooker/instant pot.

I used the instant pot method.

Slow Cooker:  Cover the slow cooker with lid and cook on low until vegetables are tender, about 7 hours. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk and lime juice.

Instant Pot: I used the bean/legume setting (this setting takes about 15 minutes). You should follow the manufacturer’s directions. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk and lime juice.

In a high speed blender, blend soup in batches, until the soup is all blended. Divide into 4 bowls. Garnish with 1 tsp each of coconut milk and some pumpkin seeds.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Oatmeal Cookie Parfait

I probably should have called this – If You Don’t First Succeed Turn It into a Parfait. Remember, I mentioned I had to make a second batch of the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies.  They were too dry. They reminded me more of granola. Since they were granola like, I decided to make parfaits with them.

The cookies fit perfectly into a small mason jar. Then I layered some ingredients. These parfaits make the perfect portable snack. You can change it up with different kinds of fruit.

Layer in order of the ingredients.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies

It took me two batches to get these cookies right. The first batch was too dry, yet the flavor was delicious. I have plans for the drier batch. I am thinking a breakfast cookie yogurt parfait with some berries. I added applesauce and that made all the difference.

These are the perfect cookies to put in the lunch box. They are WFPB, Vegan and Gluten-Free. This recipe makes 24 cookies, just enough for yourself and to share with your loved ones. There is no guilt with these cookies, so enjoy.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 c GF oat flour
  • 2 c GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Spice Blend
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Salt

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Wet Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 c almond butter
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 c applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Mix together the wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Stir-Ins:

  • 3/4 c chocolate chips

Stir in the chocolate chips into the dry ingredients; coating the chips with the flour mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Drop the cookie batter by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden.

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Note: You can make the oat flour by grinding rolled oats in a spice/coffee grinder.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro

It is time to get back to work. We had a wonderful time with family over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. However, it is time to get back in the kitchen and create some new meals.

I’ll be honest I do not repeat meals very often, except if there are leftovers. I like creating new dishes with varying flavor profiles. I guess it is because I do not want to get bored serving the same things over and over again. Some people like having a set routine, knowing what they are going to make and when. This works for me sometimes, but most of the time I like to let inspiration have its way.

I have been thinking of making this dish – Spaghetti Squash Pomodoro for a few weeks. I finally have been able to do this such thing. It is a fairly simple recipe that does not require a lot of ingredients. Most of the time is hands off.

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  • 1 spaghetti squash, uncooked, halved, seeded
  • 1/2 c GF bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp oregano, divided, 1 tsp/1 tsp
  • vegetable broth, as needed to sauté
  • 1/2 c onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c tomatoes, cherry, quartered
  • 1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon zested, and use 1/2 the lemon for juice
  • 1/4 c parsley, chopped
  • 6 tbsp nutritional yeast divided 3 tbsp/3 tbsp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a parchment/silicon mat lined baking sheet. sprinkle 1 tsp oregano onto the squash halves. Roast squash for a about 35-40 minutes, until strands of the squash separate when scraped with a fork. Scrape all the squash into strands.

While the squash is roasting, place bread crumbs in a large skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until toasted, about 5 minutes. Remove bread crumbs form skill and stir in 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast, 1 tsp of oregano and lemon zest together. Set breadcrumb mixture aside.

Sauté onion in the same skillet over medium heat. Cook onions until golden, Add squash tomatoes, garlic and oregano. Cook until tomatoes are heated through. Add juice of half a lemon. Add remaining nutritional yeast and stir. Top with breadcrumb mixture.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

I love pumpkin season, streusel and muffins so I decided to combine the three to give you this incredibly light muffin. You can even feel the lightness of the muffin as you spoon it into the tins. Usually streusel has butter, but I use almond butter instead to keep in the WFPB realm. I used Date Paste instead of sugar and a couple of other substitutions to increase the nutritional value and keep it in our line of eating.

These muffins would be great for Christmas morning or as part of a brunch for New Year’s Day. It is so nice to feel like you are indulging, but it is really just the normal healthy way you eat.

Streusel:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Dry Ingredients:

Add all the dry ingredients into a food processor and process until the oats have turned into a flour and all the ingredients are well blended.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 c Date Paste
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c almond yogurt (I like Kite Hill)
  • 1/4 c almond milk, unsweetened, vanilla
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Add all the wet ingredients to a stand mixer and mix until they are well incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix slowly. That way you will not be covered with the flour mixture. Gradually increase speed until all the ingredients are completely combined.

Note: Until I figure out a way to keep the muffins from sticking to the tin I still spray the tin with a cooking spray. Let me know if you have an idea for this little problem.

Evenly distribute batter into the prepared muffin wells. Spoon about a tablespoon of streusel on top of each of the muffins.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Let cool about 10 minutes in the tin and then remove from muffin wells. You do not want the muffins to get soggy from sitting in the tin.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

Note: The first batch of these were not quite sweet enough, yet it did not stop us from eating them. They are that good. So adjustment of just a little maple syrup will add a little more sweetness. If you prefer something less sweet you can skip the maple syrup and it will be still so delicious.

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Lentil Loaf Vegan/WFPB

I have been wanting to try my hand at making a Lentil Loaf to replace the meatloaf I would make occasionally. It turned out better than I had hoped for. This is a fairly simple recipe that can be assembled ahead of time and popped in the oven later.

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The flavor is amazing. You can use the sauce in this recipe to top the loaf or use my Best Mushroom Gravy. Serve the Lentil Loaf with Light and Creamy Mashed Potatoes and some Roasted Green Beans. This is a comfort meal to the max.

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  • 2 1/2 c french lentil, soaked (1 1/4 c dry)
  • 3/4 c onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, diced
  • 3/4 c celery stalks, diced
  • 2 c baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp All-purpose Seasoning, divided, 1/2tbsp – 1/2 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp bbq sauce (your favorite)
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c GF Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large skillet over medium heat sauté, onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, and 1/2 tbsp All-Purpose Seasoning. Sauté veggies until they are softened. Add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant.

In a food processor add lentils, cooked vegetables, remaining All-Purpose Seasoning, tomato paste, bbq sauce, flax meal, rolled oats and Gluten-free bread crumbs. Pulse until it is a chunky dough.

Form the dough into a loaf on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sauce.

Sauce:

  • 2/3 c ketchup
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Mix the ingredients together and spoon the sauce on top of loaf. Return to oven and bake for 10 additional minutes.

Remove from oven and let loaf rest for at least 10 minutes. The rest time is important so the loaf firms up.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

 

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Smokey Southwestern Sweet Pepper Crisps

These crisps were made in a dehydrator. It was fun to watch the transformation take place in the dehydrator. You could use the oven at its lowest setting. However, you would need to adjust the time, since the oven does not go as low in temperature as a dehydrator.

First blend:

  • 3/4 c golden flax seeds, ground, then soaked in double amount of water
  • 3/4 c raw almonds, soaked for 2-3 hours, until soft, drained

Blend together flax seeds and soaked almonds until smooth in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl.

Stir-in:

  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes, soaked and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp Smokey Southwestern Seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Himalayan salt (optional)

Process the pepper, shallot, sun-dried tomatoes, Smokey Southwestern Seasoning and Himalayan salt until smooth. Add to the nut and flax mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. I used my hands to do this step.

Set the dehydrator at 115 degrees.

Using a non-stick dehydrator sheet and an offset spatula, spread the mixture evenly onto the sheet, no more than 1/4 inch thickness.

Dry for 2-3 hours. Remove after 2-3 hours and flip the mixture over onto another non-stick dehydrator sheet. Return to dehydrator and dry for an additional 6 hours.

Cut into triangles. I used a pizza cutter for this step.

Serve with your favorite dip or hummus.

Note: Do not be afraid to experiment with the stir-ins. Make up your own flavors and have fun with it.