Best Breakfast Muffin…

I absolutely love these muffins and actually made two batches of them in one week!  My daughter and husband also love these and they are the perfect bite of energy and tastiness to grab on the go or have for a sweet treat!IMG_2480 I listed the original recipe here, but every time I make them I end up tweaking them a little bit just depending on the ingredients I have in my kitchen.  I have to say that these were by far the best yet!IMG_2482 Normally I will have two of these oat muffins along with my coffee and a bowl of berries for breakfast and it is very filling, nutritious, and delicious! IMG_2471

Muffin Recipe:

1.5c Unsweetened Sugar Free Vanilla Almond Milk

2t Apple Cider Vinegar

1.5c Old Fashioned Rolled Oats

1/2c Oat Flour

2/3c Coconut Flour

1.5t Baking Powder

1/2t Baking Soda

3/4t Salt

1.5T Ground Cinnamon (or to taste)

1/2c Unsweetened Apple Sauce

5T Truvia Baking Blend

1t Vanilla Extract

2 Large Ripe Bananas

Extras:

1/4 to 1/2 c Dairy Free Chocolate Chips, Cranberries or Blueberries to add to batter

Top them Off:

1/4c Chopped Walnuts to top ( I have also used hazelnuts and almond slivers)

Sprinkle each muffin with a dash of Truvia Brown Sugar

IMG_2476For this particular recipe I first combine all of the wet ingredients and set aside while I mix all of the dry ingredients.  Next mash the bananas and add to the dry ingredients and combine, then add in all of the wet ingredients and stir to combine.  Next pour into your muffin pans and top with your choice of chopped nut then bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean, around 15 minutes depending on your oven.
IMG_2483I really love these muffins because they are delicious and very filling at the same time and make for a perfect grab and go breakfast for you or your kids!  Not that my daughter has a nut allergy or anything but I just skip the nuts for her, she’s not a fan!

xo Meg

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Mangolicious…

Ok so this is probably by far the best smoothie I have had in a long time!! It turned out so good and I just threw random things into the blender.  I feel like that’s always how it happens just random amounts of things always turns out the best!IMG_2399 I added two bananas today and it made the smoothie super creamy and almost like a milkshake!  My daughter loved it and kept asking for more ice cream so that’s always a good sign!

IMG_2404Ingredients:

2 Bananas

16oz Sugar Free Vanilla Almond Milk

Handful of Frozen Mango

Handful of Frozen Pineapple

*Optional: Top with fresh berries

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I find that two bananas makes the texture delicious and I never add ice to my smoothies, I find that it can water down the flavor and leave annoying chunks that never seem to get blended enough.  Using some frozen fruit helps with the texture and keeping it cold!

xo Meg

The Crockpot…

If anyone knows me they know I despise crackpots partially from the terrifying scent of hot pork that would literally over take our entire house as kids! (sorry mom you know I love you!) Between the hot pork and beef stew I never thought I could look at a crock pot without wanting to throw it out the window.

When my husband and I got married we didn’t even register for one because I was convinced I would never use this odd kitchen contraption.  Fast forward 5 years I finally have been convinced of their convince and endless cooking possibilities!  Thanks to my brother-in law who recently moved out of the country we inherited his crock pot and I have been using it ever since!IMG_2162I have found that I can make all the soups I normally make without having to watch my baby and the pot at the same time!  They are super easy and clean up is a breeze which I am sure most of you know but I am new to the crock pot community lol!

One of the first soups I tested out was a vegan lentil soup that turned out really delicious and was super easy!  The first step was to rinse and drain one bag of lentils and put them into the crock pot.IMG_2160 Next up was to figure out what kinds of veggies I wanted to go with them and used up some of what was left in the fridge, including mushrooms, carrots, celery, and half an onion.IMG_2165 I just placed them on top of the lentils and added some seasonings which consisted of black pepper, salt, and celery seasoning.  I also added in some chopped garlic.  Then I just covered the veggies with about 6-8 cups of veggie broth and cooked on low for about 6-8 hours.  IMG_2161 IMG_2166I started it in the morning and it was ready for dinner!  This soup turned out great and is perfect for the winter making a really filling and hearty soup without any meat!
IMG_2159xo Meg

Peaches & Cream…

Hey guys!! Hope you are all doing great and staying on track if like me you gave yourself some new healthy goals for 2015!  I am just trying to stay on track and keep eating more fruit and veggies everyday!

IMG_2184One of the easiest and tastiest ways for me to get a healthy serving of fruit is to make a smoothie.  Sometimes I have one for breakfast and sometimes I have them later in the day or at night if I am craving something sweet!

IMG_2174 I usually always have a variety of frozen fruit in my freezer because my hubs and daughter both love smoothies too!  Normally we have strawberries, mango, pineapple, and mixed berries on hand but recently we picked up sliced frozen peaches and I have been obsessed you guys!! They are seriously so good and I love combining them with mango and pineapples!

Recipe

1c Unsweetened vanilla or regular Almond Milk

1 Small Ripe Banana

1/2c Frozen Strawberries

1c Frozen Peaches

1/2c Frozen Pineapple

*Throw it all in a blender and enjoy!*

Approximate Calorie Count- 269

IMG_2180So I have mentioned previously that I usually just drink almond milk and I highly suggest you guys give it a try if you have never tasted it before.  My husband never wanted to try it and then after he realized you literally can’t taste the difference in smoothies he is now a huge fan as well!  This is a really simple change that will help cut a few calories and eliminate diary from a snack while still tasting delicious and being a great healthy option!

xo Meg

Crispy Critters…

So if you can’t already tell I absolutely love Halloween!  I think it is such a fun time of the year where you can have crazy colors and decorations all over your house and enjoy the fall weather!  So I thought I would show you how we made these little crispy critter treats for the hubs!

Rice crispy treats are probably one of his favorite things to eat so I figured we would make a batch and decorate them for Halloween.  This is another great activity to do with your little ones because it is so easy and has minimal ingredients. I did substitute the butter for vegetable oil and they turned out just fine you can’t tell at all! IMG_0948 So what you will need…

  • 6 cups of crispy rice cereal
  • 1 bag of marshmallows, we used the mini
  • 2-3 T vegetable oil
  • festive cookie cutters & sprinkles

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First we put the entire bag of mini mallows into a glass microwave safe bowl along with the oil and then followed the directions and heated them while occasionally stirring for 2-3 minutes.IMG_0960 Next we just poured the melted mallows over the crispy cereal and tried to stir it quickly.  IMG_0962 Then I poured them onto a well sprayed baking sheet and pressed them down with a flat spatula. IMG_0963Sprinkles are next, obviously the most fun part of the entire project!
IMG_0965 After they sat and had completely cooled I just took the cookie cutters and cut out the different critter!  We had a bunch of the edges left over so we just snaked on those and are saving the cute ones for daddy!IMG_1020 IMG_1019xo Meg

Saucy…

I could go on and on about all the different ways to use marinara sauce, it is super easy, low-cal, and delicious!  I usually make a big batch of it and then use it for multiple meals during the week, or use some and freeze the rest.

I always have diced tomatoes and tomato sauce (the plain canned version) in my pantry they are great to whip up chili, tacos, and marinara.  I love having these on hand because they can be used so many different ways and you can easily throw them together on a busy night.

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Ingredients Needed:

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 large can tomato sauce

1 T basil

1 T oregano

1 t red pepper flakes (or to taste)

2-3 T extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

Calories: approximately 65 per 1/2 cup

To get started you simple put some olive oil in a large pan or sauce pot next I like to quickly saute my minced garlic with the seasonings to release some of their flavors before adding in the tomatoes.  IMG_3402 After that simply add in the diced tomatoes I usually use a large can or two smaller cans.  IMG_3403 Then you add in a large can of tomato sauce.  IMG_3404 Let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes and then let cook on low heat for around an hour.  I never add any sugar or anything like that because when you let the tomatoes cook slowly for a longer period of time you get a really delicious tasting sauce with out adding in anything bad for you!IMG_0860 I always use this marinara for home-made pizzas and I find that even with a vegan style pizza it adds tons of flavor to the veggies and I really don’t miss the cheese at all!  Of course I always make two and the second one has all the cheesy goodness of a regular pizza that my hubs and daughter love!IMG_0851 IMG_0863 IMG_0853Then of course you have your traditional uses like with pasta, one of my husbands faves is with homemade chicken cutlets.  You can also make chicken parmesan by simply taking the chicken cutlets topping with sauce and fresh mozzarella and throw it under the broiler for a few minutes and it is so yummy!

IMG_3426 IMG_3428 IMG_3429Xo Meg

Meal Prep Monday…

Now that it’s getting a little cooler out I am getting back into cooking and baking on a regular basis, yes we still ate over the summer 😉 but mostly just grilling.  I really do enjoy cooking just not when its 98 degrees out and have to turn on the oven!  So I decided to make up a couple batches of our staples to have for snacks and lunches for the next few days.

First on the agenda was to bake some healthy sweet treats to have for snacks or even for breakfast.  I took a few months of eating fish and dairy and haven’t been feeling that amazing and lacking energy so I am kicking off fall with motivation to get back into a vegan based diet.

IMG_0839 These banana bites are a perfect grab and go snack that my daughter loves as well!  I have the entire recipe listed here in a previous post, the only difference is that these chocolate chips pictured below are vegan.  My daughter was such a big helper and she decided she needed a few sprinkles on her half of the muffins 🙂

  • The ingredients are incredibly simple and contain no eggs or dairy and are about 40 calories per banana bite!
    IMG_0841Next on the list was to make a huge pot of veggie soup which is one of my favorite recipes that I came up with last fall by using farm fresh ingredients from our local farm box.  You can check out the original recipe here, but what I love the most is that you can alter the ingredients to whatever you happen to have on hand!  IMG_0766 This version is completely vegan and is super tasty approved by the entire family including my dad!  This particular version is fully of fresh veggies and protein that will keep you feeling full and nourished at the same time.  This is perfect for lunches or can be served alongside a main dish such as grilled chicken or steak if you are meat eater.  IMG_0757 First step is to gather up all the spices and chop your veggies so that when your pot is hot you can quickly start to add everything together without burning the onions and garlic! IMG_0772 Saute half a red onion in extra virgin olive oil until they become slightly translucent and then add in as much minced garlic as you like along with all of the spices (will be listed below) to release all of the flavors.  IMG_0775I love adding white beans into soup, not only are they delicious but they leave you feeling full and satisfied without adding any meat or pasta.  
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    Along with chopping up all of your veggies you will want to thinly slice a head of collard greens and make sure to really rinse them to remove any sand or dirt that may have been left behind.
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    Next into the pot go your harder veggies like butternut squash and zucchini, allow them to saute for a few minutes or until they start to get some color and soften just a little.
    IMG_0791Then add in a large can of diced tomatoesIMG_0792Followed by 8 cups of water and veggie base, or you could use a traditional vegetable broth I would recommend a low-sodium option.
    IMG_0793 After the liquid comes to a bubble add in all of the collard greens and let them soften until they turn a darker green.  Then add any remaining ingredients that don’t need to cook for too long, like the beans or sliced mushrooms.  IMG_0798

Ingredients Used:

1/2 T Minced Garlic

1t Celery Salt

1t Red Pepper Flakes (or to taste)

Salt & Ground Black Pepper

8 Cups of Veggie Broth

1 Large Can Diced Tomatoes

2 Cans of White Beans

1/2 Red Onion Chopped

1 Head of Collard Greens or other hearty green

1 Butternut Squash Cubed

1 Zucchini

xo Meg

Boost your Brown Rice…

Brown rice is a staple in our house because one everybody likes it and two it’s pretty versatile and quick to make!  I found this Royal Blend with Flax at our local BJ’s and it seriously is delicious, I am officially obsessed with it!  Now this does take longer than the average ten minutes to boil, but it is worth every extra minute because the taste is out of this world.  I make mine with a little bit of vegetable broth instead of all water and it adds so much flavor your wouldn’t even believe it!

IMG_1663 According to the package you take one cup of the rice blend with two cups of water and let boil for twenty minutes.  I find it to be still crunchy and bland tasting so I amped it up a little by adding 1tsp of vegetable base that you can find in the isle the chicken broth and added another half cup of water.  I also increased the cooking time until at least thirty-five minutes or until it’s the texture that you and your family prefer!  To this rice, water, and veggie paste I also add about a tablespoon of olive oil and then let it all simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and then simply fluff with a fork and serve!IMG_1141 To this rice you can also add in whatever veggies or meat you like and make it more of a stir-fry or you could just choose to use it as a side dish.  Either way it has tons of flavor and is very filling!IMG_1139 IMG_1137 IMG_1662 Pictured above I chose to serve it plain with sautéed spinach and grilled asparagus for me, and below for the hubs and my daughter with steamed broccoli and a grilled London-broil marinated in Italian dressing by Good Seasons.

IMG_1666I highly recommend checking out the grain aisle of your local grocery store and seeing what kinds of rice blends you can find, it’s good to switch it up every now and then so you don’t get bored with eating the same thing all the time!! If you have any faves leave a comment down below I would love to hear what you guys like!!

xo Meg

Lemon Pound Cake…

This is a pretty standard pound cake recipe that I made the other weekend for a picnic because I thought my mom and Eric would really like it!  My mom always gets the lemon pound cake from Starbucks so I thought it would be fun to make a homemade version for her to try!  I found this recipe from The Food Network and it was very easy to make and they said that it turned out pretty tasty!  The only thing that I did differently was use Truvia in place of the sugar because we didn’t have any regular sugar on hand.  I also decided to do a lemon frosting instead of a glaze but you can substitute according to your taste.  You could also easily switch this recipe up and use orange or any other freshly juiced fruit! IMG_9011 IMG_8944

Recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened at room temperature
1 cup sugar, plus 1/3 cup or Truvia
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon juice, plus 1/3 cup

*Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and start by combining butter and sugar together, add in vanilla, eggs one at a time.  In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients together and then slowly combine into the wet ingredients alternating with the lemon juice until everything is combined.  In a loaf pan lined with parchment paper and then sprayed with a non-stick baking spray pour in the batter and then bake until a utensil comes out clean!

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Frosting

1c Powdered sugar

1/4c freshly squeezed lemon juice

*Feel free to adjust the lemon juice to create a thinner or thicker icing.
IMG_8973 IMG_8974 IMG_8976 IMG_8997 IMG_9007 IMG_9012This would be great served with fresh berries on top and is great to bring to a picnic or party!

xo Meg

Summer Pasta…

I adapted this recipe from my lovely mom who has made this for years at most of our summer picnics and dinners for as long as I can remember!  It’s super easy but yummy and perfect for summer!  The best part about this recipe is that you can customize it to your taste and the veggies that you like to eat.  When my mom makes it she usually incorporates a white cheddar cheese and pepperoni but since I am not eating meat or dairy I simply left those out.

To start off you want to choose pasta that you like, I chose a whole grain bow-tie pasta and simply boiled a box of it on the stove.  You could also use quinoa or even a blend of wild rice and it would also be supper yummy!   The next step is to make your salad dressing.  I really like the Good Seasons Italian that you have to make yourself.  I find that the ingredients are very simple and you can determine how much oil you want to add into the dressing.  I use a shaker bottle and add 1/4c oil, 1/4c water, and 1/4c balsamic vinegar and shake it all up.

The next step is to choose what veggies you want to add to the salad and I chose things that I happened to have on hand like cherry tomatoes, frozen sweet peas, fresh broccoli, and black olives.  Your options are really limitless if you eat meat you could also add grilled chicken or even shrimp to make a simple meal all in one.
IMG_8985 After your pasta is ready quickly steam your broccoli and then rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process and toss all of your veggies into the warm pasta.  For the peas just throw them in still frozen they will defrost with the warm pasta and won’t get mushy and gross!  The last step is to add the bottle of dressing and toss together!  IMG_8986 This makes a perfect side dish or even a main entrée if you aren’t a meat-eater!  I think that this is great to bring to a party or picnic especially if you are a non-meat eater because this is something that most people will enjoy and won’t scare people off being labeled a “vegan” dish.  For some reason when you say vegan people get all nervous thinking that there are weird crazy ingredients when it really just means no meat or dairy and lots of tasty veggies! IMG_8987xo Meg