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

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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

 

Sweet Treat…

These little treats are seriously so easy and incredibly tasty!  My husband as I have mentioned before loves anything that is orange flavored especially one that is in pastry form!  I saw a recipe for a puff pastry cookie with tons of sugar and orange juice that he thought would be delicious.  So I decided to give them a try to see if I could cut down on the sugar and make them a little less horrible calorie wise!

These definitely are not considered a “healthy” option but every now and then we all crave something sweet and a tiny bit bad for you so why not indulge every now and then!  The ingredients are very simple and all you will need to purchase is the puff pastry dough.  I found mine in the freezer section and read the ingredients a million times and it doesn’t seem that there are any dairy products listed so I also got to enjoy these treats!
IMG_0618 Ingredients:

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets

Cinnamon to taste

Splenda Brown Sugar To Taste

1/2 Fresh Orange Squeezed (Zest is optional)

Calories– 1/6 of the Sheet is 160 (will vary on how large your cookie cutter is)

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Disregard the Coconut Oil it’s not needed in this recipe!

IMG_0609 Directions:

  1. Let the Pastry Dough thaw out until the sheets can easily be separated about 30 minutes
  2. Carefully tear the sheets into three strips where they were folded
  3. Take half of your orange and squeeze some juice on the sheet and then top with brown sugar and cinnamon
  4. Take a cookie cutter of your choice or just cut into squares and layer two on top of each other
  5. Place onto a non-stick baking sheet or line with parchment paper
  6. Place in a 400 degree oven and let bake for 15-20 minutes or when they are golden brown and have doubled in size!
  7. Let cool and enjoy!IMG_0608

IMG_0605IMG_0606IMG_0610IMG_0615IMG_0617xo Meg

Foodie Faves…

I have been obsessing over some new products that I have recently found at our local grocery store!  So obviously I wanted to share with you guys!!  Just as a reference I am still trying to stick to a mostly vegan diet and limit the amount of processed foods that I eat because I have been feeling awesome!  I would say that 90% of the time the foods I eat are plant or grain based, but sometimes I do eat things that are packaged and do not have dairy listed as an ingredient, but states that it could have traces where it was produced.  If I really am craving it then I eat it, for example the homemade mac and cheese my mom made for Easter!  It was delicious and completely worth the treat, but I noticed a difference and haven’t had dairy since.

It is all about what makes you feel good and what works for your lifestyle!  I think no matter if you are vegan or not these are some great products to try out you might just like them!

First I want to start off with an easy snack or breakfast idea that is tasty but filling at the same time.  I use Ezekiel bread which is sold in the frozen bread isle and it is made from sprouted grains and contains no flour or dairy products.  All you have to do is store it in the freezer and toast it when you are ready to eat it, top with some raw almond butter and of course a banana and it’s the perfect treat!

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Total Calories: 340- Two slices of bread, 1T almond butter, and one medium banana
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This is my all-time favorite almond butter and a little goes a long way!

IMG_0493 My husband actually brought these home from the grocery store yesterday for the babe but I tried a few and they are so good!  Quaker makes a whole bunch of other flavored rice cakes that are delicious like the chocolate and the cheddar you just have to make sure that you portion them out or before you know it the whole bag is gone!  They are a great sweet treat and at 110 calories for 13 rice cakes it makes a perfect snack!IMG_0494 IMG_0497I am in love with this almond milk and if you also drink it I hope that you can find it in your local stores to try it out!  I talked about the Almond Breeze in  previous post which I still love, but my grocery store is always out of it so I had to try something else one week and I ended up loving this one by Califa Farms.  It does have 50 calories per cup compared to the 30 of Almond Breeze but it makes my coffee taste delicious and almost a little creamier which I love!  We use this all the time in smoothies too and it works perfectly!
IMG_0498 If you are ever craving chocolate especially at night I am obsessed with these Dole Dipper they are only 100 calories for the pack and they are basically frozen banana slices covered in dark chocolate and they are so good!

IMG_0500This is my favorite to-to sauce if I am not making it homemade, I always like to have some on hand for a quick-lunch or dinner option.  It is perfect over spaghetti squash or organic pasta and sautéed veggies!  It has 80 for 1/2c but the flavor is so good that you don’t need any more than that on a serving of pasta or squash!

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xo Meg

Go-to Salad…

Lately I have been on a major salad kick!  The great thing about salads is that you can basically add anything you want to fit your particular cravings.  I always seem to go through periods of eating a lot of the same thing and then switching to something different, before I was eating a vegan diet I was eating a lot of salads but then I stopped because I was having a hard time finding dressings without any dairy products.  Then I realized on of my families standby dressing mixes was dairy-free and could be made with lower fat as well.

To start with the salad I usually go with organic mixed baby greens and then top with whatever veggies I have on hand.  Pictured below I topped the greens with 1/4c of quinoa, cucumber, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and half an avocado.  Some other great toppings I use are chopped pecans, black beans, salsa, and even homemade guacamole!  If you eat meat you can use grilled chicken, ground turkey, anything you feel like!IMG_0070 IMG_0075 This is the salad dressing that we love using, you buy the seasoning packets and then you can make them fresh at home and just keep it in your refrigerator.  We use extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and water then you simply add the seasoning and shake it up!  It takes like two seconds and is super easy and has a really great flavor.  IMG_0076 So if you read the preparation instructions it shows a low-fat option and we usually use a little more than 1/4c of water and less oil and the dressing still taste delicious and has a lot of flavor.  IMG_0077 IMG_0080 You can make this dressing in really any container that you have in your kitchen we have even made it in a ziplock container before because we don’t have a specific salad dressing bottle but a mason jar would also be another great option.  We have a bunch of blender bottles so we just use one of those and its great because you can easily pour it right onto your salad. IMG_0078

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Salads are a great way to increase the amount of veggies you are eating but they don’t have to be boring you can pretty much add whatever you want to switch up the texture and taste!  Just make sure to measure out your dressing so that you aren’t adding tons of extra calories to a really nutritious waist friendly meal!

xo Meg

 

Orange Muffins…

This is a pretty quick and easy recipe for orange muffins that have no dairy, eggs, or butter!  I was craving something light and bright and saw I had a huge bowl of oranges to use and decided to try to come up with a muffin of some sort.  They turned out pretty good although the texture is not like a regular muffin because they have no butter but they are still really good and hit that sweet note I was looking for!

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Recipe

2 Oranges

1T Flax Seed Meal + 3 T Water (Egg Substitute)

1/2c Unsweetened Apple Sauce

1/4c Truvia

1c Oat Flour

3/4c Oats

1t Baking Powder

1t Baking Soda

Topping: 2t Splenda Brown Sugar, Pinch of Cinnamon, 1T Chopped Pecans

*Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pour into muffin cups, bake for about 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

IMG_0057 IMG_0049 IMG_0058 You can use this flax and water substitute in any baking dish to replace eggs!  All you have to do is take 1T of ground flax seeds in a small bowl and combine with 3T of water and let sit for a few minutes until it becomes a thick consistency. IMG_0059 IMG_0060 IMG_0061 IMG_0062 Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture onto the muffins before you put them into the oven for a little extra sweetness and crunch.IMG_0067The perfect sweet treat for a beautiful spring morning!

xo Meg