Tag 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. 
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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

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? 

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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

Snow in April [What I Ate Wednesday]

Oh, hello there! How’s your week shaping up?

Have you ever had one of those days where absolutely nothing sounds good? While packing my lunch Monday night, I was pretty excited about my usual salad duo (breakfast + lunch). Come Tuesday at school, even my delicious packed food didn’t sound all that appealing. Regardless, I still got in some veggies in celebration of Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday. The show must go on!

For breakfast, I had a slight variation on last week’s breakfast salad with chcolate dressing (recipe here).

Even though my appetite wasn’t feeling it, my taste buds most certainly were. I’m pretty sure I could eat breakfast salads for the rest of my life; they’re just so refreshing!

However, I wasn’t so lucky at lunch time. We had a long assembly at school yesterday, so my lunch was delayed until almost 2PM. By that time I was so hungary I had lost all my appetite. Does that ever happen to anyone else?

In addition, the cold weather whipped my salad cravings right away. It was actually snowing as I walked to lunch! Um, Mother Nature, don’t you know it’s April? Please send some warmer weather our way… or at least some april showers instead of snow. Please and thank you.

I didn’t have much time to eat lunch, nor was I very enthousiastic about eating my beautiful, cold salad (seriously, who am I?), so I just ate what I could and supplemented with the snacks I had in my backpack. I always travel prepared!

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to have a warm dinner. I roasted some veggies in the oven and made crispy tofu on the stove top. If the warmth of the satisfying, hot meal didn’t warm me up inside, the heat from the oven sure did. I devoured my meal before I even had a chance to snap more than one picture. Looks like my appetite returned, after all.

After dinner, I worked on a new dessert, vegan banana donuts. I had originally planned to make the donuts, lightly glaze them in coconut milk + powdered sugar, then dip them in toasted coconut.

However before I had the chance, my family devoured half the batch! I guess that’s the test of a good donut: loving them even without icing.

Does your appetite change depending on the weather? How do you transition swiftly from one season to the next?

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee

The Waiting Game [What I Ate Wednesday]

~~~Have you entered my giveaway? It ends Thursday night. Click here to enter!~~~

I woke up this morning with a gasp. It’s Tuesday, I thought (though it’s really What I Ate Wednesday now). Suddenly I felt a wave of excitement and nervousness pass over me. My head felt like it had been spun around a million times as my heart was about to beat right out of my chest.

Only two days, I whispered. Two more days until this rocky road of waiting will be over. Two more days until I find out if I have been admitted to my dream school…If my 15 years of hard work at school has paid off…

With my stomach in knots, I focused on what doing what I knew I could rather than what I couldn’t (aka change the decision). For breakfast, I grabbed a few apple nutmeg muffins and some fresh fruit to munch on.

I then proceeded to park myself in front of my new book, The Help, while I snuggled under a heap of warm blankets. I was so engrossed by the dynamic story that my worry faded away. My stomach, however, brought me back to reality when it growled. Luckily, lunch was already waiting for me in the fridge: a chilled chickpea, broccoli, and fig salad.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned by eating plant-based, it’s that greens make me feel absolutely amazing. So in my never-ending quest to sneak greens in my diet whenever possible, I served the salad over a large bed of crisp romaine lettuce.

I also added some more salad toppers to my serving-bowl-for-one salad. I like my salads large and in charge!

Since I’m still home for spring break, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the kitchen. Baking is my go-to relaxation because it brings out my creativity. I was definitely thankful for some time away from thinking about college!

…and my family was more than thankful for the caramelized banana-stuffed peanut butter cupcakes I made. I’m glad my baking works both ways!

Once the cupcakes were finished, I jetted off to hot vinyasa yoga, as is my daily routine. Even though I was hot from class, the chill in the wind outside cooled me off pretty quickly. (Seriously, what’s up with this weather?) Naturally I was craving something conforting for dinner.

Enter vegan butternut squash mac and cheese made with brown rice spirals. I almost debated eating the sauce straight up as soup. It was so good, I wanted to swim in it. Maybe next time.

For now, though, I was happy to bring back the pasta of my childhood, served up with crispy kale & marinara sauce and roasted asparagus. It was delish to say the least.

And since I just can’t get enough of The Help, after dinner I settled down on the couch to read more. While I was reading, I also enjoyed a crunchy apple (with cinnamon!) and sipped on hot ginger snap tea.

A new-to-me dark chocolate (THE BEST!) was also involved. Fearless Chocolates, I’m speechless (and officially hooked!).

How do you deal with nerves/excitement? What’s your favorite book? 

Reminder: my giveaway is open until Thursday night. Please click here to enter. 

Have a lovely day!

Mandiee