Category Archives: Breakfast

Wild Blueberry Lemon Muffins

You know what they say, you never forget how to ride a bike…

…err, I mean, bake. I’ve been making my usual staples time and time again (apple nutmeg muffins, I’m looking at you!), but this weekend I finally got back into the kitchen to experiment. I made vanilla donuts, two types of reduced-sugar and -fat frostings, gluten-free + vegan donuts, and wild blueberry muffins.

I just couldn’t help myself! Even though just the thought of turning the oven on the summer heat makes me sweat, the breeze that flowed through my kitchen made the rising temperaturse much more bearable. There’s just nothing like a warm summer breeze, sweet fresh blueberries, and good company. After all, part of the fun of baking is sharing with the ones you love.

Welcome back to you, summer! I see many more fresh salads, sweet berries, and tantalizing treats to come.

Wild Blueberry and Lemon Muffins

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  •  3/4 cup wild blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 2 TBS warm water, whisked together
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 TBS Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract (optional)
  • zest from 1 lemon + extra for garnish
  • oats (for garnish)
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. 
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and wild blueberries. 
  3. In another bowl, combine prepared egg replacer, sugar, almond milk, earth balance/coconut oil, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon zest. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. 
  5. Evenly distribute batter into 6 muffin cups. (If you have a 12-cup muffin tin, you can easily double the batter or fill half of the tin with water instead of batter to ensure even baking.) 
  6. Sprinkle oats and extra lemon zest on each muffin, if desired. 
  7. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into each muffin comes out clean. 
  8. Cool on a wire-rack. Enjoy with freshly squeezed lemonade. 

In the Dark

Yesterday, the day I usually photograph my What I Ate Wednesday eats, my house lost power. It was a complete shock because the weather was not very hot (which is usually the cause of power outages thanks to the numerous air conditions running). Consequently, I was unable to document my eats as usual. No power meant no oven, no microwave, no lights. It was time to get creative.

I must have been wearing a pair of crabby pants because the minor inconvenience made me quite irritable and grouchy. I was a complete grump—I’ll own up to it. Fortunately, I used it as a learning experience. Instead of giving into myself and just going to sleep early, I stayed up late (as usual) and tried to find things to do. Sure, cooking was a challenge by candle light and flashlight, but reading was actually enjoyable. I very rarely read without any other stimulation (music, lights, tv, etc.), and by the end I found myself more relaxed than ever. Surprisingly, all my anxieties were gone.

Once I realized that I really had no immediate need for electricity and could get along just fine, I wondered what was really bothering me. It came down to this:

  1. Fear. I am very routien-oriented and fear any kind of deviation. Although I did not need power to survive, not having it made me feel off balance and fear the unknown. Ultimately, I was afraid that a bigger problem was at hand. I felt unsafe and powerless.
  2. Hunger. Truth be told, my blood sugar was low, and I needed food FAST. Usually I can keep my hunger-induced grouchiness under control (relatively), but not yesterday.
The first reason, fear, was difficult to remedy. By reading quietly, I finally relaxed. However, I know that the problem is much deeper. I’m a work in progress! Luckily, the second problem was much easier to solve. Here’s some of the eats that the camera caught before the power went out:

Vegan + Gluten-Free Strawberry Scones (made with avocado instead of butter/earth balance)

Roasted Asparagus and Tomato Salad with Chickpeas, Basil, and Tomato Sauce (Nooch sprinkles on top!)

Vegan Ceasar Salad (Made with Raw Avocado Dressing)

Blacked Tofu with Crispy Kale, Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus, and Eggplant Fries

In the end, I’m almost glad the power went out. It gave me a chance to relax completely and served as a learning experience. In the end, I’m just thankful to have power in the first place. I now realize that I often take this precious gift for granted.

What do you like to cook when the power’s out? What’s one thing you’re thankful for today?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Free At Last

Well, hello there! How are you on this beautiful Monday? It’s been much too long since we last chatted!

Now that senior testing week and AP exams are over, I’m finally free. I still have one month of school left before I graduate, but it is going to be pretty chill. Instead of going to classes like usual, I am doing an internship at my school’s early childhood center. I look forward to waking up each morning, knowing that I get to play with 16 loveable, sweet, energetic 4-and-5-year-olds all day long.

This weekend was devoted to recovering lost sleep (I’m still greatly in debt!), college shopping with my mom, and just enjoying the smile beauty of summer. Because of that, I haven’t been concocting anything too blog worthy lately. However, I would still like to share a few things I have been enjoying amidst studying.

Now that summer is here to stay, my salad cravings have been out of control. I enjoyed both of these salads (one with roasted asparagus, the other with roasted broccoli and carrots) right before AP exams.

There were the perfect light, fresh foods to keep me fueled through 6 (yes, SIX!) grueling hours of testing.

I was also lucky enough to enjoy big, succulent long-stem strawberries from my great uncle. For Christmas, he gave my grandmother a subscription to Harry and David’s fruit of the month club. Her and I look forward to sharing the box every month. It is honestly some of the freshest, juiciest fruit I’ve ever tasted!

We’ve had quite an abundance of strawberries in my house lately, so I decided to make showcase them in homemade scones.

I made these scones super healthy by using whole grain (gluten-free) flour, stevia instead of sugar, and even avocado instead of butter! These scones were definitely not the butter-and-sugar-laden bricks my great-grandmother used to enjoy with tea, but I’m sure she would have enjoyed them just the same.

 

What foods are you enjoying with the increase in temperature? Have you ever tried to health-ify one of your family’s recipes? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

 

Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

These muffins speak for themselves.

Fluffy muffins filled with sweet cinnamon-coated apples and topped with a beautiful brown-sugar oatmeal streusel.

 

Why? Because let’s be honest: it’s really all about that beautiful crumb. It’s perfect for delicately picking apart piece by piece with your fingers, savoring every bite or just grabbing for an afternoon on the go. With bakery-style muffins, this time vegan and just a little bit healthier, it’s good that muffins can be enjoyed all day long… not that that ever stopped anyone before.

Vegan Apple Streusel Muffins with Oatmeal Crumb Topping

Makes 12 muffins 

Streusel Topping: 

  • 1/4 cup flour (can use AP Gluten-free)
  • 1/3 cup oats (use certified-GF if you have a sensitivity)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 TBS Earth Balance

Batter: 

  • 1-1/4 cup flour (can use AP Gluten-free)
  • 1 cup rolled oats (use certified-GF if you have a sensitivity)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 TBS oil
  • 1.5 tsp egg replacer + 2 TBS warm water (prepared) OR 1 TBS flax meal + 3 TBS warm water (prepared)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large apple, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease or line a muffin tin.
  2. To make streusel topping: Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut Earth Balance into mixture using two knifes. The texture should be crumbly.
  3. To make batter: In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix almond milk, oil, prepared egg replacer mixture, and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry and mix to combine. Stir in chopped apples.
  4. Evenly distribute muffin batter into 12 muffin cups. Top with a generous tablespoon or two of streusel topping.
  5. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling wrack.
  6. Enjoy warm or cold.

What’s your favorite kind of muffin? Do you like sweet, bakery-style muffins or more hearty ones? 

 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

18 Things for 18 [What I Ate Wednesday]

Hey there, beautiful people! (Side note: does anyone else love when someone calls them that? My yoga teacher called me beautiful yesterday, and it made me smile. Anyway.) How’s your Wednesday shaking up?

Today is a particularly special day over here. Not only is it What I Ate Wednesday  (veggie edition—Jenn, you’re after my own heart!), but it’s also my 18th birthday. It’s hard to believe, but now I’m finally an adult…technically, at least. So what kind of things can I do now that I’m 18? Here’s 18 examples to commemorate the day:

  1. Sue someone/be sued
  2. Work more hours (no more child labor laws for me!)
  3. Buy spray paint
  4. Rent a hotel room
  5. Skydive
  6. Become an undercover cop
  7. Buy a monkey (with a license)
  8. Drive an ice cream truck
  9. Enter a contest/sweepstakes (i.e., “You must be 18 or older” –> That’s me!)
  10. Become a flight attendant
  11. Vote
  12. Get married/divorced
  13. Rent an apartment
  14. Change your name
  15. Pay a utility bill (boo!)
  16. Work with out needing to take breaks (I’m going to miss those!)
  17. Start your own business
  18. Have the freedom and independence you didn’t have before

While some of these are a little rediculous (can you really see me skydiving?), I am pretty excited about the normal rights, such as voting and renting an aprartment.

What was most exciting about your 18th birthday? How did you celebrate? 

***

And now, without further ado, What I Ate Wednesday: Birthday Edition!

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Breakfast

My breakfast wasn’t actually all that interesting. (It was a breakfast salad, if you were wondering—Yum!) However, I’m currently working on a recipe that would start anyone’s day off right: vegan apple crumble muffins with streusel topping. I can’t wait to share the recipe!

**

Lunch: salad with sundried tomato lentil burgers, roasted asparagus, and roasted broccoli

I made a batch of sundried tomato lentil burgers this weekend so lunch prep would be a breeze. I used Trader Joe’s precooked lentils so even making the burgers was easy. Healthy eating is all about knowing how to make it work for you. It’s hard to make excuses when everything is so simple!

**

Dinner: leftover lentils with roasted purple sweet potatoes, asparagus, red bell peppers, and kale (with lots of nooch!)

I definitely fulfilled my veg-pledge this week by centering my dinner around my favorite veggies. Sometimes I just crave a huge plate of roasted veggies. In truth, I would eat roasted vegetables all day, every day if I could.

For a little balance, though, I was happy to add some lentils to the meal. Not only are these Trader Joe’s lentils fast and easy, but they’re also delicious! I love to eat them cold, straight out of the refrigerator. Yum!

I can’t wait for today’s special birthday eats today. My mom is taking me to Chipolte after yoga, so I see lots of yummy black beans and guacamole in my future. I see a kabocha squash “cake” coming up, too. I may be 2 years older and wiser (I hope!), but I guess not much has changed since I was sixteen.

What are you eating today? What kind of cake do you like on your birthday? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Time Flies [What I Ate Wednesday]

One thing I’ve learned over the past few days is that time flies. Maybe I should revise that; time flies when I  have a million things to do, but it seems to drag when I count down until the weekend. Does anyone else feel like that?

Somehow it’s already Wednesday. How does that happen? Regardless of all the things I have to do, there’s comfort knowing that What I Ate Wednesday will come every week and be a fun time to share meals, even if only through the computer. Let’s do this!

Breakfast: breakfast salad with chocolate protein dressing 

No surprises here! The thing about healthy eating is that it’s sometimes hard to adapt a new routine. But once you’re on the healthy eating train, it’s actually easier to keep going. Case in point: it was easier for me to prepare a breakfast salad than to think of a potentially less healthy alternative. Since time was of the essence, I went with it. I couldn’t be happier that I did. Seriously, breakfast salads are my new favorite thing.

Lunch: salad with ABC roasted vegetables (asparagus, beets, broccoli, cauliflower) and chickpeas 

Here’s another example of food prepping ease. Since I was already chopping romaine lettuce for my breakfast, I decided to throw in some extra and use it for lunch, too. The night before I had roasted some veggies while using the oven for dinner, so prepping the rest of my lunch was a breeze.

Dinner: blackened tofu with sauteed kale and roasted asparagus and red bell pepers

I’ve been crazy about tofu lately. Usually I just eat it plain (after crisping it on the stove top), but this time I decided to do something a little different. It was a complete success!

The tofu was firm, chewy, and even a little spicy. I love enjoying the natural flavor of food, but sometimes it’s fun to ramp it up a little bit (or a lot a bit, as was the case!). I can’t wait to share the recipe with you all later this week.

Naturally I also worked on a dessert recipe, too. I’m on a quest to find the best vegan brownie recipe, so this was just another trial. This brownie’s claim to fame was it’s slight banana sweetness and ooey-gooey fudgey texture. These got rave reviews, but I still want to try more recipes. Regardless, I’ll be sure to post the recipe because they were just too good not to share.

What are you enjoying today? Do you have a healthy eating prep method or ways to keep yourself on track? 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

Au Naturale

Some things are just better left au naturale.

Case in point: since making my college decision, my mom and I keep joking about the Californification process. I’m already apart of USC’s Class of 2016 Facebook page (900 members strong so far!), so I have an idea of the personality of my class. One thing I’ve noticed: at least 80% of the girls are blond. My mom half-teases me that I’ll join that number soon enough.

While I can’t say I’m not curious about what I’d look like as a blonde, I really do love my natural hair color and would hate to lose it. Who knows, maybe as  a brunette, I’ll stand out in the crowd (for better or for worse).

What I do know, however, is that I am happy with who I am. If I feel like changing my hair color (or anything else for that matter), it will be for fun, not because I feel like I have to in order to fit in.

blonde? brunette? who knows!

Just like with these vegan banana donuts, some things are better just left au naturale. You can dress them up with a simple glaze, dip them in chocolate, or just leave them as is. No matter what, they will still be the same wonderfully delicious donuts inside. And that’s what counts.

Vegan Banana Donuts 

Makes 6 donuts 

  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBS flour (can use All-Purpose Gluten-free)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 bananas, mashed (should yield a little more than 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut is lovely here, but canola will work)
  • 1 TBS Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 TBS water, prepared according to directions on box
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350*F. Coat donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mashed bannas, oil, prepared egg replacer, vanilla extract, and sugar with a fork until evenly incorporated.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  5. Evenly distribute batter among 6 donut cavities. (I recommend using a small ice cream scooper for this.)
  6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the donut comes out clean.
  7. Let donuts rest in pan for ~5 minutes before removing. Place on wire rack to cool.
Have you ever changed something about your appearance? What was it? And do you think I would look good blonde? Haha.
Have a lovely day!
Mandiee