Veggies-for-Breakfast Muffins

I have officially pulled myself out of the Thanksgiving coma. It was nice to live in a fog of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie for a few days, but my body was definitely missing its giant helpings of raw fruits and vegetables. And I don’t even want to think about dessert for a few weeks.

That being said, let’s make muffins!

I promise I’m not contradicting my anti-dessert claim, here. These are not “dessert-masquerading-as-breakfast” muffins. They are not double chocolate chunk muffins. They are not gooey gobs of sugar and fat that destroy the good name of “blueberry” muffins.

No, they are made of fruits and vegetables, like all good muffins should be! This is a tasty breakfast idea for those of you who are getting tired of oatmeal (a.k.a WEIRDOS). This recipe is from VegNews and I followed it to a T (that’s how great the ingredient list looked!).

Veggies for Breakfast Muffins
Makes 6 giant muffins or 12 regular 🙂

Ingredients:

1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1 apple, grated
1-3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small cup, add water and ground flaxseed, stirring with a fork. Let it sit for 5 minutes, until mixture thickens.

2. In a small bowl, combine agave nectar, maple syrup, vanilla, and applesauce. Add in zucchini, carrot, and apple. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. To agave mixture, add flaxseed mixture and stir to combine. Mix dry ingredients to wet, and stir to combine.


3. Divide batter evenly into muffin tins and top with walnuts, if using. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

4. Spread butter or jam as desired, serve, and enjoy!

My husband gobbled all of these up before I even had a chance to eat a second one! I guess I’ll have to whip up another batch; after all, you can’t eat too many veggies, right?

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate

The predicted temperature today was 80 degrees; it hasn’t reached 60 all day long.  This feels pretty cold when you live in Texas and just experienced a record-breaking scorcher of a summer.  I am absolutely ready for winter; I can’t seem to stop shopping for boots, coats, and sweaters.  One of the greatest things (I said one of the greatest things; there are many more I can think of) about cold weather is curling up in a cozy blanket with a good book and preferably with a steaming cup of hot chocolate, make that cheesecake hot chocolate.

The first thing you will need to do is make your cheesecake mixture.  Now it may seem silly to make an entire cheesecake batter just to make hot chocolate, but trust me, it will not go to waste.  This batter is great for making fruit parfaits and for eating entire spoonfuls right out of the bowl.  This batter is also destined to be featured in future cheesecake recipes and also in an upcoming post for cream puffs. 

Cheesecake Batter

  •  1 package Mori-Nu silken tofu (you can find this on Amazon or at your local health food store)
  • 1 package/container neufchatel cheese or vegan cream cheese
  • Juice from one lemon or lime
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup agave nectar/honey/maple syrup (or combination)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth, eat a large spoonful. 

Now it’s time to make magic.

Cheesecake Hot Chocolate

  • 2 cups unsweetened milk (I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup cheesecake batter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Bring milk and cheesecake batter to a boil.

 Add in vanilla, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.  Keep at a boil, stirring constantly, until completely blended.

 Grab your cozy blanket, book (or Kindle), and enjoy this extra creamy chocolate delight.

 ~Elesha, a skinnyfat girl

10 Rules for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is at our place this year. I’ve never made Thanksgiving dinner before, meaning I’m super excited and a tad nervous. My mother-in-law is making the turkey, which is quite a weight off my shoulders. I’m a fairly laid back person, but I could eaily see myself completely losing it if I ruined a turkey. Still, with about 12 different dishes to make from scratch, I’m open to the idea that I could become slightly overwhelmed by the whole thing. With that in mind, I’ve set some rules that will hopefully help things go smoothly.

1. Do as much as possible in advance. When Thanksgiving morning rolls around, your house should already be spotless. Your food should be chopped, cooked, baked, chilled, boiled, and prepped as much as possible. And do your very thorough shopping several days before. Check your grocery list twice. Three times, even. Trust me, if you forgot to pick up a can of pumpkin it’s going to be nearly impossible to find a can on Thanksgiving day. If you forgot the potatoes, well, there’s just no excuse for that one. Hang up your apron, you’re probably not ready for this.

2. Buy plasticware for table settings. Hobby Lobby sells really beautiful and festive disposable plates, utensils, and napkins that look just as good as the real deal but make cleaning up way easier!

3. Don’t burn stuff.

4. Keep multi-tasking to a bare minimum. In other words, focus on one thing at a time…which will make you less likely to burn stuff. I know we all want to save time and do a million things at once, but when you’ve got three things in the oven and four on the stovetop, well, its going to get ugly. I’m willing to bet money you don’t have seven kitchen timers.

5. Trick your husband (or significant other) into helping. If you successfully do this and then realize he’s more of a menace than a help, trick him into staying out of the way for the entire day instead. Just say, “Hey, do you wanna watch the game?” Rather than peel potatoes? Why yes, he does wanna watch the game. Now that you mention it, he probably wants to watch both games. This may also work with the Macy’s parade. If he is anti-baton-twirling and/or broadway musical numbers, remind him about the Snoopy float. As a last resort, send him to pick up a pretend item you need from the store. You just bought yourself at least one uninterrupted hour!

6. Don’t waste time on any other food but Thanksgiving dinner. As this means there is no “official” breakfast or lunch that day, graze on things as you make them – green beans, potatoes, scraps of uncooked pie crust, etc. I usually get pretty full on pie crust alone.

7. Wash dishes as you go. Load the dishwasher often and start a load as soon as it’s full. And for God’s sake, don’t dirty another dish unless absolutely necessary!  Dishes could easily become your downfall, which leads me to…

8. Don’t collapse on the floor, sobbing. In this state, you may be tempted to declare that Thanksgiving is canceled, you’re never cooking again, and everyone and the dog can stick it where the sun don’t shine/go to H-E-double hockey sticks/die. You may also be especially upset with a particular dish and throw it across the room or at an innocent family member. To prevent this meltdown, try sticking to the above guidelines.

9. Schedule time to take a shower. After a long day in the kitchen, you’re going to be sweaty and covered with Thanksgiving goo, so as important as folding napkins into pretty shapes may seem 20 minutes before the guests arrive, showering is actually a bigger priority. You may also want to put on clothes that are not sweatpants and a t-shirt. Brushing your teeth can’t hurt, either.

10. Don’t stress. Thanksgiving should be a wonderful and thoroughly enjoyable holiday. If you’re reading this, you probably love to cook, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t take it easy and have fun in the kitchen. Enjoy the time with your family and friends, but more importantly, eat as much as you can physically fit inside of you and appreciate the fact that you’re such a darn good cook. After all, it’s the only day of the year where it’s acceptable to be a complete glutton!

So that’s the plan. If  you follow these guidelines, the preparation should be relatively stress-free. Happy Cooking!

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Hi, my name is Becky and I’m a recovering chocoholic. I once had a collection of about 50 Hershey’s milk chocolate bar wrappers that I made into a giant frame for my bedroom wall. It was serious.

I still have a deep love for all things chocolate (except for chocolate cake, which is strange, right?), but I’ve developed an even deeper love for healthy living. While Hershey bars don’t exactly fit into a healthy lifestyle, that doesn’t mean I have to give up chocolate! In fact, dark chocolate actually has health benefits, which is why I’m perfectly comfortable indulging my chocolate addiction with a piece of chocolate mousse pie.

Okay, two pieces.

Of course, even dark chocolate should be eaten in moderation. If this pie was all chocolate it would be super high-calorie, which is fine if you only want a small slice of pie. But really, is one tiny slice of pie satisfying? I want two big slices! That’s why we’re adding tofu. A whole block of it. Don’t freak out, you won’t even notice it’s there!

Tofu never ceases to amaze me. It can take on any form and any flavor with ease. It’s the chameleon of the food kingdom. It can be  the highlight of a meal, like in this asian-inspired glazed tofu recipe, or it can be a completely hidden ingredient, like in this chocolate mousse pie. Tofu not only makes this pie a perfect balance of firm and creamy, but adds a ton of protein. Add the nut crust and you’ve practically got yourself a protein pie!

This recipe is taken from Chocolate-Covered Katie, a great source for healthy dessert recipes. Check her out!

Chocolate Mousse Pie with Nut Crust
Adapted from this recipe, makes one 8-serving pie

Ingredients
For mousse:
1 box Mori-Nu lite firm silken tofu (available at health food stores or amazon)
1 and 1/3 cups chocolate chips (NOT unsweetened; I like Ghiradelli semi-sweet or 60%)
2 T cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp nondairy milk
Dash or two of salt
2 – 3 T agave or honey (optional, depending on desired sweetness)

For crust:
(Note: you can use a pre-made graham cracker or granola crust, which is easier and less expensive, but also less healthy and less delicious!)
1.5 cups nuts 
3 T vegan butter substitute
1 – 2 T sweetener of choice

Instructions

Step 1: Pulse the nuts in the food processor until finely ground. You can use whatever nuts you have – I use a combination of walnuts, almonds, and pecans, which taste excellent! Add the butter and sweetener (I used a stevia blend) and pulse again until well mixed.


Step 2: Press the nut mixture into a 9″ pie plate and bake at 325 for 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Step 3: Put all pie ingredients into the food processor except for the chocolate chips. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, then use a rubber spatula to scoop the chocolate into the food processor. It’s fine if you lick the spatula clean. We all do it.

Step 4: Blend mousse ingredients until smooth, pour into nut crust, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. 


Step 5: Serve with fresh strawberries, raspberries, chocolate shavings, or coconut whipped cream (easily made by refrigerating canned full-fat coconut milk until thick)…or all of the above!


Bet you didn’t expect tofu to make all your chocolate mousse dreams come true! I suggest buying quite a few boxes of tofu, because this pie will immediately beocome a household favorite that you’ll want to make again and again. And then probably again a third time. Besides that, you may or may not need a box for an upcoming recipe that involves cheesecake and brownies…

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

Potato Corn Chowder

Last weekend I traveled to Michigan to visit some dear friends. My life has been a whirlwind ever since, so I’m glad to finally be able to relax and have time to post (and cook!). I put together a little collage to share some of the highlights of my trip.

We were the elements for Halloween – earth, fire, wind, and water – and went out to eat looking all glamorous and sparkly. I’m still finding glitter on my face a week later. My flight was out of Chicago the next day, and before I left we ate in the city at our favorite place in the world, Friends Sushi. They have the best vegetarian sushi on the planet. It was a marvelous weekend, but it’s nice to be back; there’s nothing quite so comfortable as coming home and sleeping in one’s own bed, except for maybe a bowl of hot soup.

I grew up in New England, chowder capital of the world – namely, clam. My family didn’t eat clams, but my mom made a mean corn or fish chowder. Chowder nights were an exciting event, and I remember many exclamations of “Mom’s making corn chowder for dinner!”

I’ve shared my enthusiasm about soup season before. Once the air has even the slightest hint of a chill to it, I’m ready for soup of every kind, every day of the week! However, at least in my biased, Massachusetts opinion, no soup will ever be as comforting and delicious as corn chowder. Chowder wears the crown.

So here’s my own personal recipe for thick, creamy potato corn chowder, no heavy cream or butter required.

Potato Corn Chowder
Makes approximately 8 servings

8 cups vegetable stock
3 lbs red potatoes, washed and chopped
1 large white or yellow onion, diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 t olive oil (to saute onions)
2 cups corn (or 2 small cans)
1 cup Silk creamer, unsweetened
1 – 2 T Smart Balance Lite (optional, for buttery flavor)
Dried herbs (optional: parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves)
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1 T fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Thinly sliced green onions and/or chopped basil, for garnish

Step 1: Bring vegetable stock to a simmer in a large pot. At the same time, saute the diced onion and crushed garlic in olive oil in a pan over medium low heat.


Step 2: While your broth simmers and your onions saute, chop your potatoes into bite-size pieces. I realize it sounds like I’m asking you to be a crazy multi-tasker here, but I promise it’s not as stressful as it sounds.

Step 3: When the onions are clear and tender, add them to the broth. Stir in optional dried herbs and butter substitute. You don’t have to be precise – I added a few generous shakes of the herbs listed above, but you can add more or less or omit entirely depending what you like. Add the potatoes, and let simmer until soft.

Step 4: Strain out 2 – 3 cups of softened potatoes into the blender (or fill the blender until it’s about 2/3 full). Pour the silk creamer on top of the potatoes in the blender and blend thoroughly until smooth. If it’s too thick, add a little broth so it will blend more easily. It should be very thick and creamy (and hot, so be careful!). Pour the blender contents back into the soup.

Step 5: Add the corn and fresh herbs. Fresh parsley and basil play a huge role in the flavor of this chowder. While you can use dried substitutes, the results will not be nearly as satisfying. Use the fresh stuff – corn chowder deserves the best! 🙂

Step 6: Finally, bring to a very light simmer while stirring and at the first sign of a tiny bubble, turn off the burner. Add salt and pepper to taste until your tastebuds dance with delight. Garnish with more fresh herbs and green onions and serve!

Aah, there’s nothing like a belly full of hot chowder on a cold November evening!

~ Becky, a skinnyfat girl

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