Category Archives: Snacks

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins

I have been reading Jenna’s blog for years, which means that for a long time, I have been drooling over her recipes! But it’s possible that I have either a) never made any of them myself or b) I have but it’s been so long that I can’t remember.

Well, whichever situation it is, I finally remedied that!

Jenna has a lot of vegan recipes on Eat Live Run but I chose to recreate her originally non-vegan Cinnamon Toast Muffins because I knew they were something my husband and friends would enjoy and that I could easily make some substitutes for myself in order to make it vegan.

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Cinnamon Toast Muffins by Jenna @ Eat Live Run)

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Ener-G egg replacer “egg” (1.5 tsp powder + 2 tbsp warm water)

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

Dash of salt

Topping: 4 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), 1/2 cup organic sugar, 1 heaping tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in one big bowl and the wet ingredients in a second, smaller bowl. Combine the two together and mix until well combined (I always have trouble with flour sticking to the bottom of my bowl so I make sure to scrape the bottom really good as I mix). Bake in a greased muffin tin for 25 minutes, poke center muffin with toothpick to make sure they are done.

To make the topping, melt the butter on the stove and then stir in the sugar and cinnamon. I thought mine was too chunky so I added a little water, then it was too runny so I couldn’t get it to stick very well. Next time I will just roll the muffins in the chunks 🙂

This recipe yielded 8 muffins for me, I actually used the wrong measuring cup for the flour, milk, and sugar and you will see that Jenna’s original recipe called for more of those three ingredients, so if I had managed to do that correctly, I may have gotten 9 or 10. But they were still awfully delicious!

I took these for dessert to my in-laws house a while back and everyone seemed to enjoy them, but I also had some for breakfast, which I have to say they were probably better suited for. I recommend 10 seconds in the microwave, plus a smear of peanut butter.

Thanks Jenna for sharing amazing recipes with the world. I will definitely make this one again!

Have you tried any great recipes recently? Feel free to share in the comments section!

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New Larabar flavor?

I don’t know if this is truly a new flavor or just new to me, but I am loving the “new” Larabar I tried this week 🙂

New flavor

Blueberry Muffin is delicious! I think it might just be a new favorite. The only place I have seen them is Whole Foods.

Happy Tuesday! 🙂

Free lunch!

After a really sweaty workout, I decided to check out a health fair taking place on campus. It was geared mostly toward students but they were happy to see staff people there too 🙂

I am so glad that I went because I ended up getting free food!

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This veggie wrap was unbelievably tasty and impressive. I can’t remember the last time I actually found real, good vegan food at a health fair (sadly).

The wrap, along with some hummus and pita chips (not pictured) ended up being my lunch, instead of the veggie burger that has been in the freezer at work going on two days now 😉

We also got some free snacks for later!

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I ended up having the apple with some peanut butter for a snack just now 🙂

Miss me?

I’ve had a few friends recently share with me that they miss seeing the things I eat every day. While I have no intention of going back to posting every morsel that goes in my mouth, I do miss taking the pictures and it gave me a bit of a blogging confidence boost, knowing that I’ve been missed 🙂

So, here you go. My snack plate from a party we had at work today.

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Two kinds of hummus, pita slices, chips, salsa, veggies and tabbouleh. Yum!

This shall be part of my lunch today 🙂

Oh and I may have had this too, since I made them.

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Happy Monday!

Not Quite Nutella

Back in my pre-vegan days, one of my favorite guilty pleasures was the creamy, chocolately, hazelnutty spread known as Nutella.

I was first introduced to Nutella by Mrs. Mays, my high school French teacher. Then I rediscovered it a few years ago when I needed something to take to a party to share and the rest was history.

I was in love. I ate Nutella on bread, in oatmeal, mixed in with dry cereal, many many times. Check out this picture from February 2009:

But as much as I love Nutella, when I decided to go vegan in October 2009, I had to say goodbye. If only Nutella didn’t contain milk…it might be the only thing I really “miss” since giving up animal products.

I’m too lazy to make a homemade version myself so I’ve been curious to know if there is a vegan-friendly Nutella-like product on the market.

Then I found this:

I had seen the Justin’s Chocolate Nut Butters raved about on the blogs of both Heather and Matt, two of my favorites. So when I found it at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago, I decided I had to see for myself.

I probably could’ve picked something better to try it on (like some French bread maybe?) but I drizzled it over my pumpkin oatbran on Friday morning. You know how I love pumpkin!

Now, don’t get me wrong or let the title fool you. This was a delicious breakfast and it left me full for hours!

But it wasn’t Nutella. Not quite anyway.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s just been so long since I’ve had the stuff that I don’t even remember what it tastes like? The Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut butter had a good flavor, but reminded me more of Dark Chocolate Dreams PB than Nutella.

It’s got to be the skim milk (note: Nutella also contains whey). Even the generic Kroger-brand version of the stuff is good. But I don’t do dairy anymore. Not even for Nutella.

Oh well. Perhaps I will give it another shot in the future on something other than pumpkin oatbran. What do you think?

Should I break down and try to recreate the stuff myself? Anybody got a recipe?

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Redux

If pumpkin just totally disgusts you, then you may want to avoid this blog for…say, three months?

Turns out they had Libby’s canned pumpkin at the Walmart grocery store, so I stocked up, big time.

After a couple bowls of pumpkin oat bran, I decided that it was time to get baking with the stuff. After all, I did buy 10 cans of it. Yes, 10.

It’s my precioussssss….

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have probably seen a few different takes on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The original recipe was not vegan, as it contained eggs, but I have been tweaking it over the past year to make these muffins friendly to my diet and still very delicious!

The last time I made them, they came out a little dry and stuck to the paper. I hate that!

I decided to give them another go this week for Girl’s Night Potluck on Wednesday. When I busted out the paper, I checked the date on it for fun.

I have apparently been using this recipe since 2008!

I made a few substitutions, quite a few actually, so I will share the recipe with you since it varies so much from the original (see picture and link above).

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Agave nectar
  • 2 Flax “eggs” (2 tbsp milled flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin (accept NO substitutes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (because I love it that much)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • A few shakes of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the Kroger brand which has no dairy)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375* (reduced heat due to use of agave nectar. See tips on that here)
  • Line muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
  • Mix the flax “eggs” and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Mix the agave, flax “eggs” and oil in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add in pumpkin (I omitted water due to use of agave nectar).
  • In a separate, larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill cups evenly and cook for 18-20 minutes (reduced cooking time for agave nectar as well).

The biggest change I made this time was with these two things:

I think the last time (when they stuck to the paper) I also used the Ener-G egg replacer, which is a good product but for baked goods, flax “eggs” work so much better. That’s just my opinion!

This is actually quite an easy recipe to follow and it made my kitchen smell really good!

So…how were they?

Pretty much perfect. They were sweet, moist, and delicious. No paper sticking this time too! My friends were ooh-ing and aww-ing all night so I’m guessing that they liked them too. 🙂

I am definitely sticking with this version of the recipe for a while. May have to print out this blog post and replace that old paper from 2008!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

New Larabar Flavors

When the Larabar people saw my guest spot over at Woman’s Day, they offered to send me samples of the new flavors: 

Larabars!

Carrot Cake, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Chocolate Chip Brownie!

I was so excited to try these as I love Larabars and every time they come out with a new flavor, I end up loving it (much like the recent Tropical Fruit Tart).

The Carrot Cake flavor (not pictured) was pretty good but the other two really blew me away!

Best Larabar ever! The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough was amazing! I love the chocolate chips being mixed right into the bar as most of you know, I’m quite fond of chocolate chips, ha ha.

I was ready to declare this one my new favorite until…

Another new Lara! HOLY MOLEY!

While it’s more dessert-like and less snack-like, the Chocolate Chip Brownie Larabar is very, very good. It is definitely my favorite of the three new flavors.

Thanks Larabar for sending the samples! I look forward to purchasing some on my own very soon 🙂

Disclaimer: These samples were sent to me for free but I was under no obligation to review them, or review them positively, nor was I compensated for my review.

Protein powders

Since I am back to working out a lot more these days, especially with Body Pump classes becoming a regular part of my routine, I have been experimenting more with different protein sources so I can be sure to consume some after a workout to rebuild my muscles.

I’ve found a lot of new things to try recently that I’ve really enjoyed. But, one thing I’ve not yet been able to get right is protein powder.

For one thing, it’s kind of hard to find good, vegan brands. Our Whole Foods doesn’t carry very many and I found a container of soy protein powder on sale at Walmart only to find out it contains a milk ingredient. What the heck?!

I have tried a few recently that I found at Amazing Grace (I should shop there more often)!

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After a workout one evening, I decided to mix this up with some almond milk and leftover (cold) decaf coffee. I made an iced coffee/protein shake 🙂

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It tasted alright. Actually it tasted good but I can never seem to get the protein powder to blend very well. I know some recommend that you don’t even use the blender but shake it by hand. To me, that just tastes worse. I’ve done it!

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I also tried the chocolate, which I believe I have had before. Once again, it was okay, but is there any way to not have it taste so chalky?

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I think for the time being, I am just going to stick to other sources of protein. I even bought a few Odwalla protein drinks since I stink at making my own, ha ha.

Do you use protein powders? Any recommendations?

Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt

Before I gave up dairy products, I was a big fan of Greek yogurt because it was high in protein and contained very little sugar (I stuck to the plain variety). Ever since I became vegan, I have been struggling to find a non-dairy yogurt that met my high standards. And I have tried a lot of them!

Most of the flavored soy yogurts (and even some plain, like Whole Soy & Co) I have tried have sugar grams at least in the double digits (some even in the 20’s). I’ve tried just about every brand of soy yogurt on the market.

I even tried coconut milk yogurt but I really did not care for it at all. Since my last container of plain soy yogurt ran out, I had sort of given up and decided to take a break from yogurt for a while.

But then I found another brand, Wildwood, at a local health food store and I knew I had to give it a try.

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The first flavor I had was blueberry (16g sugar):

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This one was pretty good. A bit on the sweet side but I felt that it went very well with my blueberry granola 🙂

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Then strawberry (17g sugar):

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This one was okay too, just as sweet as the blueberry, maybe a little moreso. You know how when you eat really sweet yogurt it sort of stays with you (like an aftertaste)? Yeah.

I also tried the vanilla, which managed to escape the camera. It was actually sweeter than the first two flavors I tried (21g sugar, good Lord). I didn’t care much for this one at all, it was pretty overwhelming. I was surprised it had more sugar than the other two.

And then finally…drumroll please…

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This is THE BEST SOY YOGURT I’VE EVER HAD which contains just 4g sugar and 6g protein! I apparently saved the best for last. It was so creamy and to me tasted even better than the overpowering sweetness of the other three flavors.

This is my perfect vegan yogurt. It also boasts 5g fiber!

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I am beyond thrilled. I had heard of this product before but I did not know anywhere in Louisville sold this brand since they don’t seem to carry it at Whole Foods (although they do have Wildwood Probiotic drinks there). I sort of found it by accident one leisurely Saturday while out shopping!

But I will be making more trips to Amazing Grace to pick up some more of this stuff. I can’t wait to make overnight oats with it 😉

If you bring it, they’ll eat it

This past Sunday, I started a new “coffee shop” at church for our youth group before Sunday School. Each week, our goal is to have coffee, hot chocolate, tea, OJ, etc. for them to enjoy, plus some snacks (or breakfast for some of them) to munch on while they hang out with their peers before their classes start.

As we were planning for this the week prior, there were some suggestions made about what sort of snacks I could get. But I decided almost immediately that if I am in charge (and I am), there was no way I going to promote unhealthy eating  (donuts, pastries, and other junk like that). When I was their age (12-18), I was overweight, then obese, because of the foods I ate and my lack of regular exercise. So it’s a sensitive area for me.

I am not going to be preachy or try to make anyone feel bad, but I am going to do my best to make sure that these kids get some healthy snacks, while they are in my “care” at least.

So, in lieu of donuts and other nutritionally void items that have unfortunately become a staple in our community, I covered the counter of my “coffee shop” with a big ol’ plate of fruit (apples and bananas), granola bars (low cal, low fat), and two dozen vegan muffins!

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Well, okay, so really like 21 because I ate one of each to make sure they were edible and the second batch only yielded 11 muffins to begin with. 😉

First, I made a batch of Apple Spice muffins from one of my vegan cookbooks. When I remember which one, I’ll post it here.

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I took the suggestion of the author and made this using applesauce instead of apples to save time. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for these very much. They just didn’t have enough spice to them and they stuck to the paper, a lot. I may try to tweak this recipe at a later date!

However, these Banana Nut Muffins from another one of my cookbooks and they were phenomenal! No sticking either 😉

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I used two very ripe bananas in this recipe and they came out so moist and sweet. I may have to make these again just to have at home!

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The best part about all of this is that the kids ate everything! Even the sort of bland apple muffins I made. They had no idea the muffins were vegan either. 😉 

No one complained about there being no donuts. And they kept coming back for more fruit! It made me feel so good. I can’t wait to do it all over again this Sunday.

Speaking of which, I need your help: healthy muffin recipes are endless but I’d like to change it up a bit too so we’re not having essentially the same thing every week.

What other healthy (and fairly inexpensive) breakfast foods should I make (or buy) for the coffee shop?

I’m thinking one week, I’ll try out an oatmeal “buffet” but perhaps after they’ve gotten to know me a little better 😉