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)

IMG_0602
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!

IMG_0487
Total Calories: 340- Two slices of bread, 1T almond butter, and one medium banana
Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 5.23.41 PM
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!

IMG_0469

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

IMG_0068

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!

IMG_0064

 

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

Date Almond Rolls…

A few months back I had no idea that these tiny treats even existed, and now I eat them all the time!  I randomly stumbled upon them at our local BJ’s wholesale club and figured I would give them a try because they are raw and contain just two ingredients, dates and almonds.  Seriously these things are like miniature candy bars they are sweet but have that crunch from the almonds and are kind of gooey in the middle.  I will eat them mostly by themselves as a little snack two is a serving size and do have a decent amount of calories considering how tiny they are but they are packed with flavor, vitamins, and nutrients.

IMG_7071

IMG_7051

I just saw an episode of Giada at Home on the Food Network and she made a Banana Walnut Smoothie that looked really good with almond milk, walnuts, and a few other ingredients.  I decided to put my own spin on in and use these little date rolls in place of the walnuts that hers called for.

Recipe

1c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1 Banana

1 Almond Date Roll

3/4c Frozen Mango

3/4c Frozen Pineapple

Total Calories: 296 for entire recipe which is great for breakfast or for a snack you could split the recipe into two servings at 148 calories per serving of course this will vary depending on the brands and size of banana.

IMG_7052

I definitely noticed a difference with the dates, they added just a little bit of extra sweetness and combined with the banana gave a perfect creamy texture that was delicious!  I will be making this over and over again this summer it’s so good!

xo Meg

Smoothie Season…

Spring and summer are quickly approaching and I can’t wait until the weather stays warmer!  Smoothies and fresh juices are my favorite things to eat/drink when it’s warm out.  This is one of my fave recipes that is delicious, vegan, and low-cal!

IMG_7707 Recipe

1c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

1/2c Frozen Mango

1/2c Pineapple

1/2c Frozen Strawberries

IMG_7705 Another delicious treat that we have been loving lately is frozen yogurt.  Surprisingly our local fro-yo spot always has a dairy-free option and they have been so good!  My fave flavor is pomegranate raspberry sorbet topped with some fresh fruit.  This is a great low-cal treat on a hot day!IMG_7699 IMG_7758-Topped with a little granola, peanuts, and sugar free 100% dark chocolate
IMG_7775The last and in my opinion best snack no matter what the temperature is would be fruit.  Lately I have been loving pineapple it has the perfect sweetness and a perfect snack for anytime of the day!

xo Meg

Pizza Night…

I mean seriously who doesn’t love pizza? Growing up as kids we always looked forward to Friday night pizza after a long week of cooking homemade delish meals it was a good way to give my mom a night off from cooking.  It also helped that our hometown has an Italian pizza shop on pretty much every corner so there were lots of options!  Pizza is one of my husbands all-time favorite meals I swear he could live on cheese pizza alone, but since we have been moving all over we realized how hard it is to find a decent slice!  When we lived in Washington the only place we found homemade pizza was at the Nordstrom Cafe in the Tacoma mall of all places they seriously have the best food there!

IMG_0813

For a while we ended up trying to make our own with the store bought crust that comes in a can and it was good but didn’t taste the real deal.  So I decided that I was going to try and make dough from scratch and turns out its really pretty simple! You can use this recipe for foccacia bread which is amazing or bake a loaf bread.  The great thing is that it’s so simple you can flavor it however you want.  You could use garlic oil, rosemary, or Italian seasonings and they all work wonderfully!

Recipe

1 Packet Rapid Highly Active Yeast

4c Unbleached All Purpose Flour

1/2c Olive Oil (I use Garlic infused)

1/2c Warm Water

1t Sugar (I use Truvia)

1 Salt

Seasonings of your choice

Directions:

  1. First you want to take your yeast packet and warm water and combine them with the sugar to activate the yeast.  Do this in a separate glass cup or small bowl and wait until it gets really frothy looking.  If your yeast doesn’t work for some reason you can just start over without wasting all of the flour.  Make sure the water is warm to the touch but not scalding hot!
  2. I use my Kitchen Aide mixer with the dough hook to combine the rest of the ingredients.  Put the flour, oil, salt, and yeast mixture in and slowly mix until it forms a smooth ball.
  3. Leave in the mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and put in the microwave or any non-drafty place to let it rise for about and hour.
  4. Remove the dough and place in your bread loaf, a sheet pan for foccacia, or shape into large circle on a floured surface for pizza!
  5. A helpful tip is to lightly flour a large flat pan and spread the dough out so you won’t risk ripping the dough to move it into the oven.
  6. Top with anything you like! For us its spinach and garlic for me (vegan friendly option) and plain sauce and cheese for the rest of the fam!

IMG_0811

IMG_4039
same exact dough recipe as the pizza just spread out onto a sheet pan with sides and topped with sea salt and Italian seasonings!

xo Meg

Vegan Pancakes…

I have really been craving pancakes lately but I thought that it would be really difficult making them without using any dairy or eggs.  The old pancakes I used to make all of the time were a protein pancake and they were delicious, but trying to stick to a vegan diet means no more for me!  So I have played around with a couple different versions and so far my daughter and I really like this combination!

IMG_7300

Recipe

1/2c Oats

1/2c Oat Flour

1T Coconut Flour

2T Ground Flax seed

2T Wheat Germ

1c Unsweetened Almond Milk

1 Ripe Banana Mashed

1t Truvia

Cinnamon to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then let your pan get super hot, use a little coconut oil and scoop out the pancakes and let them cook.  After they are done on both sides I topped them with a little honey for my daughter and she loved them!  You could add in mini chocolate chips or blueberries as well.  These are definitely more dense than a typical pancake but the flavor is really tasty!

IMG_7294 IMG_7295 IMG_7296 IMG_7299After I figured out a recipe that worked for me I made these a second time in a waffle maker and then froze the extras.  The next day I popped them into the toaster and they were perfect!!  You can also freeze the extra pancakes and they turn out really great when you want them later!

xo Meg

Couscous…

I am in love with this ancient grain, it is a nice change from quinoa and rice and goes perfectly with veggies!  This is super easy to make because you put it in a pot with water and let it absorb all of the water until it is light and fluffy.  For 1 cup of couscous it is about 176 calories with less than 1 gram of fat and about 6 grams of protein depending on the particular brand you purchase.
IMG_7250 IMG_7242 For this dish I started by cooking the couscous with water and followed the instructions on the package.  Next I sautéed some red onion with a little extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Next I tossed in some zucchini and the juice of one lemon.  You could add chicken, steak, or any other veggie that you have on hand and it would be delicious!  IMG_7243 IMG_7244 IMG_7248This dish is pretty low in calories and would make a perfect side dish if you are eating meat I would just cut the portion to maybe half a cup instead of a full cup.  The lemon added the perfect kick to the dish and to top it off I added a little bit of a ripe avocado and it was so good I can’t wait to make it again! This was super easy and you could use a variety of different ingredients and flavors to suit your families taste buds!

xo Meg

Vegan Blueberry Muffins…

So these are a variation of my banana muffin, but I changed a couple of the ingredients to use up some blueberries that I had left over from this week.  They tasted great and have slightly fewer calories than the banana muffins.

The main ingredient that I substituted was oat flour for the regular flour.  I felt like it had more nutritional properties than regular white flour and I wanted to see how it would hold up in baking.  Oat flour is literally just finely ground oats personally I think that it is a coarser texture than regular flour but I didn’t notice it at all when the muffins were done.  Some benefits of oats/oat flour are, good sources of vitamins, minerals, protein, helps stabilize blood sugar, good source of fiber, and heart healthy.

I also substituted the walnuts for pecans but you can use almonds or completely skip the nuts all together if you don’t like them.

These are a perfect grab and go breakfast especially since they have heart healthy whole grains they will keep you full for a couple of hours and are a nice change to your standard bowl of oatmeal.

IMG_7211

Recipe

1.5c Unsweetened Sugar Free Vanilla Almond Milk

2t Apple Cider Vinegar

2 & 2/3c Oat Flour

1/4c Coconut Flour

1.5t Baking Powder

1/2t Baking Soda

3/4t Salt

2t Ground Cinnamon (or to taste)

1/3c Unsweetened Apple Sauce

5T Truvia Baking Blend

1t Vanilla Extract

1.5c Fresh Blueberries

1 Ripe Bananas

Crumb Topping

1t Cinnamon (or to taste)

1/4c Chopped Pecans

1T Splenda Brown Sugar

Calories– 104 Per Muffin (Batter makes aprx. 18 muffins)

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, in a small bowl mix together the almond milk and vinegar and let sit for a couple of minutes until you start to see the texture change.  Next Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mash up the banana and then combine all of the wet ingredients and stir well.  Next step is to combine all of the wet with the dry and stir until well combined.  Fold in the blueberries and then scoop into a bread loaf pan or muffin tins and then start your crumb topping.  In a small bowl combine your cinnamon, brown sugar, and crushed pecans.  Stir mixture together and top each muffin with desired amount.  Pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

IMG_7196 IMG_7197 Since the texture of the oat flour is coarser I would recommend sifting the flour or using a whisk to make sure that you get most of the lumps out before adding the wet ingredients.  IMG_7198 IMG_7199 IMG_7200 IMG_7201IMG_7202 IMG_7206 IMG_7209I think that these turned out great with the blueberries and I loved how they tasted with the oat and coconut flour combination.  I will deff be using oat flour for the rest of my baking I ordered mine off of amazon and it came in a pack of four but I am sure that you could find it in your local grocery store with the rest of the Bob’s Redmill products!

xo Meg