Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe: Baby Safe Chocolate Cake

My Tiny Dancer has been eating solid foods for a few months, and I love watching her discover new flavors. I really wanted to introduce chocolate to her. But I couldn't figure out how to do this without giving her foods for which she isn't ready. But after much research, I devised a recipe for chocolate cake that includes foods she already eats (and likes) as well as cocoa (and a little maple syrup and Stevia for sweetness). The verdict? I'll let this picture give you an idea.


For Cake:
1 banana (egg substitute)
1 large carrot (peeled)
1 large zucchini (peeled)
1 medium apple (peeled and cored)
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup ground oats
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2  tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup equivalent Stevia (about 16 packets)
1 tbsp maple sugar
1/2 cup hot water (for desired wetness)

For Frosting (from Eat Yourself Skinny):
2 avocados, mashed
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup maple syrup


Preheat oven to 350.

Mash the banana. Shred the vegetables and place in a bowl with maple syrup. Sift together rice flour, ground oats, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and Stevia. Add the banana and dry ingredients to the vegetables. Mix until combined, adding water for desired wetness. Spray cupcake tin with cooking oil. Distribute batter into cupcake tin, and bake for 40 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a knife into center (should come out clean or with dry crumbs on it). Allow to cool before frosting.

To prepare frosting, in a blender or using a hand mixer, mix together the mashed avocados, cocoa powder and maple syrup until smooth. Let sit in the fridge until cupcakes are cool and frosting is stiff.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Vegan Project: Mushroom CheeseFake Sandwiches

I love cheesesteak. What's not the love with the ooey-gooey cheese and thin slices of beef. Well, for a vegan, that description is probably just gross. So, I wanted to see if I could make a mock version of this classic using beautiful portabella mushroom caps as my meat substitute.

2 large portabella mushrooms caps (about 9 oz. each)
2.5 oz sliced bell peppers
2.5 oz sliced onion
1 oz Daiya mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp vegenaise
4 slices low calorie bread (I used Sara Lee multigrain)
1/4 tsp steak seasonin
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Thinly slice the mushrooms.

Coat a pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat, and add mushrooms. Stir mushrooms and cover.

Cook over medium heat until mushrooms have released their liquid (about 7-10 minutes).

Push mushrooms to one side of the pan. Add the onions and peppers and cook until tender (3-5 minutes). Combine with mushrooms. Add mozzarella cheese to top of the mushroom mixture. Heat until melted.

Spread a slice of bread with 1 tbsp vegenaise. Top with cheesy-mushroom mixture. Close sandwich with other slice of bread. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serves 2

Calories - 353
Calories from Fat - 231
Total Fat - 25.7g
Saturated Fat - 2.6g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 805mg
Potassium - 1360mg
Total Carbohydrates - 43.6g
Dietary Fiber - 11.3g
Sugar - 9.1g
Protein - 14.1g
Vitamin A - 3%
Vitamin C - 56%
Calcium - 5%
Iron - 45%

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Vegan Project: Shoney's Strawberry Pie

On Mother's Day, my sister-in-law prepared a lovely strawberry pie. She called it a "Shoney's Strawberry Pie", and I was excited to find a recipe for it. I knew the version she made probably had some animal products in it, and I wanted to see if I could veganize this pie. Challenge accepted!

A quick search of the internet led me to a recipe on (click here for the original recipe). I could tell that veganizing this recipe was going to be a snap. For directions on how to make the pie, just go to the original recipe and substitute the vegan ingredients. Here is my ingredient list and pictures of the process.

1 vegan graham cracker crust
4 cups sliced strawberries
3 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
1 pkg. vegan strawberry gelatin (I used Simply Delish Strawberry Jel)
1 tbsp. strawberry preserves
12 pkt. Stevia
1 cup boiling water

Mix the dry ingredients together.

Add dry ingredients to boiling water and let set.

Add strawberries to jel once set.

Spread into pie crust.

Enjoy with a dollop of vegan whipped cream (optional).

Nutrition Facts*
Serves 8

Calories - 208
Calories from Fat -70
Total Fat - 7.8g
Saturated Fat - 5g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 187mg
Potassium - 127mg
Total Carbohydrates - 37g
Dietary Fiber - 3.4g
Sugar - 14.3g
Protein - 1.8g
Vitamin A - 0%
Vitamin C - 106%
Calcium - 1%
Iron - 4%

* Does not include amount for optional vegan whipped cream.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vegan Project: Buffalo "Tricken" Pizza

1 package of Gardein barbecue wings
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 package of reduced-fat crescent rolls
1/8 cup of vegan ranch dressing
1/8 cup of vegan buffalo wing sauce
3/4 cup of Daiya mozzarella shreds
10 baby carrots, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

Unroll crescent rolls onto a rectangular baking sheet. Press all seams of the crescent roll together to make one big piece of crescent dough. Bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Add Gardein chicken wings, and cook for three minutes on each side until browned. While chicken is cooking, thaw the Gardein sauce pack for three minutes in a bowl of hot water. Toss sauce with chicken for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Once cool to the touch, cut chicken into small pieces.

Mix together the vegan ranch dressing and buffalo sauce in a bowl. Once crescent dough is finished baking, spread the ranch/buffalo mixture all over the dough. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella shreds. Top with chicken pieces, chopped carrots and remaining mozzarella shreds. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and cut into eight pieces.

Nutrition Facts
Serves 8

Calories - 194
Calories from Fat - 93
Total Fat - 10.3g
Saturated Fat - 2.9g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 569mg
Potassium - 30mg
Total Carbohydrates - 19g
Dietary Fiber - 1.0g
Sugar - 4.3g
Protein - 6.8g
Vitamin A - 34%
Vitamin C - 0%
Calcium - 1%
Iron - 8%

Friday, March 14, 2014

Recipe: Greek Smoothie

This is a great lunch option when you have loads of stuff to do but don't want to find yourself scrambling for food at a drive-thru. I've always loved green smoothies, and this one is definitely flavorful. I call it a Greek smoothie because of its Greek yogurt base with overtones of cucumber. I'll definitely be having this again.


6 oz. plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
8 oz. raw cucumber, washed and sliced
1/4 small cantaloupe, cubed
2 packets of Stevia


Add yogurt, cucumber, and melon to a blender being sure the yogurt is on the bottom. This will help with the blending process. Sprinkle on 2 packets of Stevia. Blend to desired consistency (I liked having a few chunks of the fruit and vegetable throughout the smoothie. Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Serves 1

Calories - 165
Calories from Fat - 5
Total Fat - 0.6g
Saturated Fat - 0.1g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 102mg
Potassium - 1037mg
Total Carbohydrates - 24.9g
Dietary Fiber - 2.6g
Sugar - 18.8g
Protein - 20.3g
Vitamin A - 78%
Vitamin C - 82%
Calcium - 27%
Iron - 5%

Friday, September 20, 2013

Recipe: Kale Pesto Sauce

I know I've made a kale pesto previously for my vegetarian pesto pizza. But I really wanted to highlight this sauce on its own as it is really great for pouring over pastas.

4 cups chopped kale
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. chopped nuts (I used pecans for this, but walnuts or almonds would also be good)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. dried basil

Drop the kale, parmesan, garlic, nuts, a splash of broth and basil in a food processor. Turn on food processor to chop all ingredients, and stream in olive oil while chopping. After streaming olive oil, turn off processor and scrap down sides. Turn on processor again and stream in remaining vegetable broth (you may need more to get the right sauce-like consistency).

Voila, your pesto sauce is ready to coat your favorite pasta.

Pesto over tortellini topped with parmesan...delicious!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Vegan Project: Pasta Primavera

Sometimes, things happen for a reason, and that is how this dish came to be. Due to moldy bread, I was unable to make the vegan burgers I wanted, so I turned to my old friend: pasta.

1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
6 oz. sliced mushrooms
1 zucchini, chopped
2 2/3 cups penne
2 cups baby spinach
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce, no-salt added
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 tsp. No Salt, divided
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 oz. vegan cheese (optional)

Fill a large pot with water. Bring to a boil and add 1 tsp. of No Salt to the water. Add pasta and cook for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped peppers and onions and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms along with black pepper, 1 tsp. No Salt, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir to evenly distribute spices. Cover and cook until mushrooms have browned, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Once pasta has cooked, drain water. In same pot over medium heat, add tomato sauce, vegetable broth, spinach, 1 tsp. No Salt, basil and oregano. Cover and cook until spinach has wilted.

Add cooked vegetables and pasta to the tomato sauce. Stir until pasta has started to absorb the sauce (about 3 minutes).

Serve topped with 1/2 oz. of vegan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Facts
Serves 4
Serving Size 388.9g

Calories - 350
Calories from Fat - 75
Total Fat - 8.3g
Saturated Fat - 1.6g
Trans Fat - 0g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 440mg
Total Carbohydrates - 60.2g
Dietary Fiber - 11.1g
Sugar - 10.7g
Protein - 11.9g
Vitamin A - 42%
Vitamin C - 76%
Calcium - 5%
Iron - 22%