Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes

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I got these beautiful stuffing tomatoes at the farmer’s market recently, and since I had never stuffed anything but a pepper, I knew I had to buy them.  This is a pretty simple dish, very customizable, healthy, and fast to prepare.  This would make a great appetizer, although I ended up eating it for lunch!

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  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp italian seasoning
  • 10 stuffing tomatoes 
  • daiya vegan mozzarella cheese

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the quinoa to the water, and toss in the spices.  Cook the quinoa, covered and over low heat, 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.   Take the tops off the tomatoes, and using your finger dig out all the seeds.  With a pairing knife you then want to take out the center so that that tomato is hollow inside.   

Stuff each tomato with the quinoa, making sure its nice and stuffed in there, I used a spoon to stuff it down deep without breaking the outside.  Place them in a baking dish and cover with the cheese, and cook for 15 minutes.

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Sesame Garlic Tempeh Wraps

Many people are concerned about the consumption of soy products.  Eating soy will not make men grow breats, and it will not make little girls go into puberty before they are ready.  In actuality, because of the estrogen like properties, it actually helps fight cancer, especially testicular cancer in men.  The fermented soy bean has been eaten in asia for centuries with no issues.  The problem arises with the highly processed soy products like the oils, the soy protien isolates found in a lot of  vegan junk foods, TVP…and of course the non organic GMO soy bean.  When eaten in its whole form it has numerous health benefits.  

Tempeh is a very overlooked protein source, and one that I’m not exactly too fond of.  But, I recently picked up Tofurky sesame garlic pre-marinated Tempeh, and I have fallen in love!  The fermentation process of the soybeans is what gives tempeh its unique nutty flavor, and makes the proteins more readily digestible.  There have also been studies that showed that the calcium absorbed from tempeh was comparable to a glass of milk.   (World’s Healthiest Foods, http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=126) 

 

I paired this delicious tempeh with some fresh picked farmer’s market tomato’s and cucumbers.  The entire sandwich comes together in less then 10 minutes, and its a great way for a tempeh noobie to get to know this nutritious food.

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Sesame Garlic Tempeh Wraps

  • 1 package Tofurky sesame  garlic tempeh
  • hummus
  • 2 slices fresh organic tomato
  • 4 thin slices organic cucumber
  • 1 spinach  sandwich wrap

 

In a  saute pan, heat coconut oil over high heat. When the pan sizzles if you throw a small drop of water on it, add the tempeh, and brown on each side for 2 minutes.  

Spread the hummus evenly on the wrap, then place the cucumber and tomato on  top of the hummus.  Then place the Tempeh, and roll the wrap up.  

Simple huh?  Enjoy!

Raw Sesame Ball Bites

sesame ball bites If you like halava you will love this recipe! I broke my food processor when I made my Chocolate Pistacio  snack balls.  It was a sad day.  But all is well now!   My new one came yesterday and its way better then my old one!   Everything always has a silver lining, lol.

These are naturally sweetened, healthy, and totally raw! And if your balls come out more like logs, its okay, no one is judging…right??  LOL

Sesame Ball Bites:

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds for the outside

Put everything in a food processor except the toasted sesame seeds.  Pulse until everything is nicely mixed and grated up.  Take the “dough” and roll it in your hands into palm sized balls.  Roll in the toasted sesame seeds.  Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set, and enjoy!

Peanut butter Granola bars

I know I said the last granola bar recipe was going to be my last granola recipe, but I wanted to really show the versatility in making these.  So THIS is my last granola bar recipe.  I promise.

For this recipe, I replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter and almond butter.  Because all you really need is a fat of some kind.  (You could use butter, bananas)

I soaked my chia seeds this time because I was having an issue with the ones on the outside of my bars falling off.  I seem to have solved that problem this time.

Not only did these come out really crunchy, but they are also the cheapest granola bars I have made to date.  I just kind of threw them together with whatever I had on hand.  (Time to food shop!)

Peanut butter Granola bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds, soaked for a minute
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pepitas and dried cranberries)

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20-30 minutes (it should be nice and browned on the top)  and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

 

 

 

Chocolate Pistacio Snack Balls

chocolate pistachio nut balls

 

These little guys pack a punch, and its as easy as throwing things into a food processor, and then rolling them into a ball.  They are basically raw, except the pistachios I used are roasted…but use sesame seeds or coconut on the outside instead and you have yourself a healthy raw snack.  This is another one that is really versatile.   I think next time I’ll use almond butter and walnuts, with sesame seed on the outside.

There’s no added sugar in these, being naturally sweetened by the dates.  They are also filled with healthy fats, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates for energy.  Plus pistachios are natural mood boosters, so eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Snack Balls

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios,

For the outside:

  • ground up shelled pistachios

Process everything in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.  Roll them into  palm sized balls and then roll them in the extra pistachios to coat them.    Place them in the freezer to set for a half hour.  Enjoy!

These stay good for a up to a week in the fridge, and up to two in the freezer.

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

strawberry granola bars

Okay, so I may be a little obsessed over Granola bars.  I’ve made 3 more batches since my last blog post.  I even ordered a bar pan from pampered chef.  It isn’t here yet, but I’m super excited about it.  I promise, this will be my last post  with a granola bar recipe because I think after this one you guys will get the point about how to make them, and how  customizable they are.  But this one is REALLY good, and I had to share.

I used coconut sugar in this recipe, which has trace amounts of nutrients, and a lower GI then regular sugar, so its at least a tiny bit healthier for you then using brown sugar but it  tastes about the same.  There’s also flax and chia seed in here for added omega 3’s and some weight loss boosters.   The preserve I used are natural, grape juice sweetened preserves, so make sure you read your ingredients,  you don’t want anything with high fructose corn syrup.  And of course, buy organic whenever you can!

Oh and my normal camera’s battery is dead so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, sorry about that.  These guys really deserve better photos.  I’ll take other ones later when the battery charges =)

strawberry granola bars

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pistachios, freeze dried strawberries, flax seeds, and chia seeds)
  • Strawberry preserves

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×10 pan with oil.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the preserves.  I do this by hand.  When its all nicely combined, press most of  it into the pan, reserving about 1/4 of it for the top.  Spread a thin layer of the preservers over the top of the granola mix in the pan, I used the back of a spoon to do this.  Then top with the rest of the granola.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool at least 2 hours, I stuck mine in the fridge over night. Its much easier to cut into bars after it has cooled off.

 

Cut into bars and enjoy!  These freeze great too.

 

Healthy Homemade Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

Cinamon Raison Cranberry Granola Bars

 

Jackson is 5 weeks old now and I’m almost used to being sleep deprived!  Thank god for my husband, I’m going to miss him so much when he goes underway…which is coming up pretty soon.  Although I have yet to venture into a store with my two munchkins alone (Fred Meyer doesn’t count because they have one hour day care lol) there are certain things that I’m getting really good at, like multi tasking!

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Bath time AND bed time? I got this!!

I’m not really sure what I would do without baby wearing at this point.  I’m actually typing this up while my LO is sound asleep on my chest in my Beco Gemini LOL.  One thing that is really hard though, is dealing with my ravenous hunger.  I feel like a bottomless pit.  (Breastfeeding will do that to a woman.)   At night, when my little guy wakes up at 4 am and won’t go  back to bed, I have a choice…either go downstairs and make myself food (and risk stimulating Jackson to the point of no return and NEVER GETTING BACK TO SLEEP AGAIN) or stocking my bedside table with easy snacks.   I chose the latter.

So today I decided to cook up some really healthy and filling granola bars.  You’ll never buy store bought again when you see how easy it is to make these guys, and you can totally customize them, adding any nuts and dried fruits you want.  Plus, they are totally kid friendly.  Not to mention, homemade are much healthier then store bought, which are loaded with sugars and preservatives.

Oh! And to any other breastfeeding mama’s out there, oats and almonds are great for milk production.  Not that you needed another reason to make these easy treats!

So the first recipe is my Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola, and then just for fun I whipped up Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bars.  Because you can never have too many  healthy snacks.  They are egg free, dairy free, and can be gluten free if you use gluten free oats.

Chocolate Cherry Granola bar

Chocolate Cherry Granola Bar

I sweetened these with farmer’s market honey and organic molasses.   The molasses add magnesium and potassium while giving it a nice rich dark flavor that lends itself nicely to the dark chocolate.  Plus its filled with flax seeds, pepitas, and slivered almonds giving you healthy proteins, and omega 3’s for lasting energy.  Coconut oil is packed with lauric acid, which protects the immune system and is great for nursing infants.   If you’ve followed along with my older blog posts, you know that I’m not big on using a lot of oils in my cooking, even healthy coconut oil, but when nursing, a mother needs all the healthy fats she can get.  Coconut oil is one of the best oils there is for you, plus in these bars it gives an incredible coconuty flavor.    If you would like to skip it though, you can substitute applesauce.

Dark Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars

  • 2 Cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • 1/4 cup organic molasses
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup  almond flour
  • 2 tbs flax seeds
  • 1/3 cup pepitas
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • pinch of salt

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20 minutes and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.

Cinamon Raisin Cranberry Granola bar

These next bars have way fewer ingredients, but I was on a role with the first batch and I already had the oven hot, so I figured I’d make another flavor.  Why not, right?  They freeze well and they keep for a long time (at least 2 weeks) so it never hurts to make extra.  I skipped the oil this time and went straight for the applesauce, mostly for the flavor.

Cinnamon Raisin Cranberry Granola Bars

  • 3 Cups rolled oats (I didn’t used gluten free for this recipe, but feel free to do so, it won’t change the flavor or the measurements)
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 4 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs flax seed
  • 1/2 cup organic raisins
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup organic honey
  • pinch of salt

 

Creamy Spinach and Portabella Pasta

 

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach pasta

I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, I am now 39 weeks pregnant and standing up for too long in the kitchen isn’t exactly the highlight of my day.  But I will say that this dish doesn’t take long at all to cook, you just need to prepare the cashews a couple hours in advance by soaking them.  Altogether, this dish took about 15 minutes to cook.  Of course, I used my food processor to chop my garlic and my parsley, so I kind of cheated.  And the cashew cream was made in my Vitamix (which I highly suggest all kitchens have! lol)  But cooking in stock speeds up the process tremendously, while making it 100x more healthy.

I had made this once before and had wanted to put it up my blog but we ate it so fast that I didn’t get to take a picture!  This time around, I made sure to get a picture in before hand, with the help of my mom who is here from NJ waiting for her new grandson to be born.  =)

  • Pasta of your choice (or rice, as my husband had it)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps, diced (keep them diced fairly big, this is the “meat” of the dish)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (For flavor only, feel free to omit)
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cashew cream (Recipe here)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley

 

In a saute pan, heat up the vegetable stock until steaming and then add the onions and mushrooms.  Cover and cook  over medium heat for 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes are over, remove the cover and continue to cook, letting some of the liquid cook off, which should take another 2 minutes or so.  Be careful not to burn off too much liquid or the food will begin sticking to the pan.

Add the garlic, the vegan butter (if using) and the can of tomatoes.  Cook over medium heat another 2 minutes, stirring to mix it all together.  Stir in the lemon juice, the nutritional yeast, and the cashew cream.  Your sauce should turn from a brown liquid to a nice thick white-ish brown color.  When it starts to bubble, lower the heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a side of parsley, and possibly extra cashew cream.

 

 

Strawberry Banana Muffins

strawberry banana muffins

These muffins are so good!  Oooey and gooey and sweet, with minimal effort to put them together.  They are a hit with the kids as well.  There are two options for making these muffins:

  1. The applesauce replaces any oil or butter you would want, and it gives the muffins a great flavor, but if you feel you want that buttery taste, feel free to use earth balance, which I’ve included in the recipe as well.
  2. The egg replacer works wonderfully to hold it all together, but if you want to make them vegetarian instead, one egg will suffice to make these nice and light and fluffy!  Just omit the water that follows in the ingredient list.
  • 2 Cups Pancake mix
  • 1 cup vanilla milk
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (you can also use vegan butter, such as Earth balance, keep the measurement the same, 1/4 cup)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-g egg replacer (dry) (if making it non vegan, 1 egg will be enough here, omit the 1 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 dashes Trader Joes Stevia
  • 2 strawberries, cut into 6 slices
  • Coconut oil, for coating the muffin tins

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add all the ingredients together except for the strawberries and coconut oil in a mixing bowl, and with a hand mixer on high, 5 minutes.  There are going to be some lumps in it because of the bananas, and this is okay!  As long as you don’t see any dry lumps, but of course feel free to mix it a bit more if you feel the need.

with your hand, or a paper towel, spread the coconut oil around the inside of the muffin tins to prevent sticking.  You don’t need that much, just enough to coat the inside of the tins.   Using a spoon, fill the tins with enough mixture to fill 1/3 of the tin.  Don’t overfill it.

unbaked muffins

Place 1 slice of strawberry down the middle of each muffin, and put in the over for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

 

Enjoy these for breakfast, or for a light afternoon snack.  I’ve been snacking on them all day, but shh don’t tell anyone!  =)