Monday, April 18, 2011

Power Breakfast

I have been living in a war zone for two weeks now at my house, dodging landmines sick family members, while disinfecting everything like crazy.  The kitchen has been my safe zone so far, since the landmines sick family members, have mostly infiltrated the rest of the house.  Lucky me.  Arming myself with power-sustaining foods to attack the front lines, has been the key to my success so far.  I was suprisingly stuffed after eating just two of these breakfast bar bad boys.  Once again, many thanks to Love Veggies and Yoga for the inspiration!

Power Breakfast Bars

5 lg - xl Bananas, mashed
4 Cups Gluten-Free Old-fashioned Rolled Oats (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 Cup Ground Flaxseed Meal
2 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 - 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk
2 Cups Frozen Blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas.  Next, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the blueberries.  Mix well.  Lastly, fold in the blueberries.  Coat two loaf pans with cooking spray, and evenly divide the batter between the two pans.  Press mixture into the pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the batter sets up.  Allow the mixture to finish setting up in the pans, on top of the oven.  Turn out loaves to cool on a wire baking rack.  Slice each loaf and serve.  (I yielded 7 slices per loaf.)  Refigerate leftovers.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Going Coconuts!

I've been up since 4:30am this morning attending to a sick four year old, as well as a sick hubby.  So after consuming nearly a 12 cup pot of coffee, I decided I needed fuel for myself.  After perusing the Love Veggies and Yoga blog, I became inspired to create her simple coconut flavored rice with veggies.  Don't ask me why I chose a rice dish for breakfast, but it definately took care of my mexican food craving....for now anyway.  I am now pleasantly stuffed, and ready to deal with my ailing family.  Many thanks to Love Veggies and Yoga!

Coconut-Infused Rice with Veggies

1 Cup Lundberg's White Basmati Rice
1 1/2 Cups So Delicious Coconut Milk
2 tsp. Dried Cilantro, divided
2 tsp. Garlic Powder, divided
2 tsp. Cumin, divided
1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper, divided
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 - 15oz. can Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups Veggie mix (any veggies you would like)
        -- I used a mix of Zucchini, Mushrooms, Red Onion
1/4 Cup Pineapple, diced

Cook rice according to package directions.  Instead of using water or broth, use the coconut milk, and also add in half of the seasonings.  While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the veggies and beans, season with the rest of the seasonings, and saute for 5-10 minutes, or until veggies are tender.  Reduce the heat to simmer and add the pineapple.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.  When the rice is ready, add the veggie mixture into the rice and mix well.  Serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sweet Potato-Spinach Pasta Bake

I'm constantly searching for new and healthy recipes to make for my family.  Lately, I've felt like I've been in a bit of a rut.  Maybe it's because of the weather, or the fact that my oldest son has been out of school for "spring" break, or due to dealing with sick kids over "spring" break.  Yes, I keep quoting the word spring, because even though it's almost May, it seems that spring has taken a very looooonnng detour from here.  The crockpot has definately been on overtime for most of the winter.  So begins my quest for more colorful food.  I found this recipe on one of the many blogs I follow, The Vegan Version.  While our family is nowhere near being vegans, (maybe someday, right?) I have been slowly adopting a more vegetarian diet with my family.  It's a start, anyway.  The original recipe was called Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce.  As I usually do with most recipes I find, I like to adapt them and with this one, took it one step further.  I only had sweet potatoes on hand, and wanted more color for the dish, so also added spinach and mozzarella cheese.  At that point I decided to just throw it all in a pyrex baking dish and make it a casserole.  This recipe makes a lot.  It will be two dinners for my family of four.  Thanks to The Vegan Version blog for helping me bust out of my rut.

Sweet Potato-Spinach Pasta Bake
(adapted recipe from The Vegan Version blog)

2 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chunked
1 Tbsp. Melt Buttery Spread (made with coconut oils)
1/4 Cup Water
1 Rib Celery, diced
1/2 Cup Sweet Onion, diced
2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
1/2 Cup(for cooking)+ 1/2 Cup (for food processor) So Delicious Coconut Milk
1 tsp. Ground Thyme + 1tsp. for sprinkling on top of casserole
1 tsp. Nutmeg + 1 tsp. for sprinkling on top of casserole
1 tsp. Minced Garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
2 - 12oz. pkgs. Lundberg's Organic Brown Rice Pasta - Elbows (Gluten-Free)
Approx 2 Cups Organic Baby Spinach, rough chopped
Approx 1/2 Cup Mozzarella Cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large pot, boil the sweet potatoes until fork tender.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pot, melt the butter over medium heat, then add the celery, onion, garlic, 1 tsp.thyme, 1 tsp. nutmeg, salt & pepper.  Stir well.  Add the water and allow the vegetables cook until very soft.  Add back in the sweet potatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk.  Mix well, and cook until sweet potatoes begin to fall apart.  Place mixture in a food processor.  Slowly add in the other 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk while blending, and blend until smooth.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.  Place pasta and sweet potato mixture back into the large pot and mix well.  If you have a deep dish lasagna pan, this will almost fill it.  Otherwise, use 2 9X13 baking dish's.  Spray baking dish with cooking spray, then place the pasta mixture in the baking dish.  Spread the mixture evenly.  Layer with spinach on top, then layer with mozzarella cheese on top of spinach.  Sprinkle 1 tsp. Thyme, 1 tsp. Nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. Pepper on top of cheese.  Bake in oven for 20 minutes.
Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Getting back on track

Our "staycation" is officially over.  I have mixed feelings about it, but realize now that I really do enjoy routine!  :)  I'm bummed, though not suprised, that I gained 3lbs. over the past week.  Time to cleanse (water, water, water) and focus on the goals.  Before we left for our fun weekend in Denver Saturday morning, I got up super early to make the family breakfast consisting of a veggie quiche made with coconut milk.  Thank goodness for leftovers, because I was able to start my week this morning with a healthy meal.  I won't go into detail of my poor food choices from last week, but will just say that I'm very happy to be cooking again.  Had some hummus & veggies for afternoon snack while unpacking and cleaning house. Then made a nice light veggie & rice dish with tomatoes for dinner.  Since we're still in spring break mode with the kids out of school, I will finish out my week by dusting off my P90X dvd's and getting in at least one hour a day with them.  Hopefully the weather will hold out this week so I can also supplement with evening walks while the kids ride their bikes.