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Dec 15th

Banana Pancake Goodness

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banana_IMG_2714_LRAs another year comes to a close, we are armed with more healthy recipes, and we’re making smart choices about nutrition. The wisdom we’ve gained nutritionally can be applied to preparing family favorites in a new and more wholesome way, rather than relying on packaged, store-bought mixes. These hearty pancakes are especially nice on lazy holiday weekends with no particular place to go and nothing urgent to attend to…

Ingredients

1½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup rolled oats, ground in blender
¼ cup rolled oats, not ground
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 ¾ cup almond or other non-dairy milk
1 banana, mashed
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp of oil for pan(optional)
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, for serving
maple syrup, for serving

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, and spices until well combined. Add the almond milk, mashed banana and vanilla. Gently fold the liquids in, but don’t over-mix, keeping batter lumpy.

Heat a nonstick or stainless steel pan over medium heat until several droplets of water dropped on the surface bounce off of it. Adding a small amount of oil is optional. These will do fine without the oil if the nonstick surface is clear of marks and residue.

Spoon roughly 1/3 cup batter for each pancake onto the pan, 2 per pan if your pan is 10” or larger. Keep an inch or 2 in between, since the batter will expand slightly after pouring.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes until the tops appear almost dry and the bottoms start to brown lightly.

Gently turn the pancakes over with a flexible spatula and cook for 2 to 3 minutes more.

If you prefer to make just a few pancakes, the remaining batter will keep for several days in the fridge since it’s dairy & egg-free.

Serve the pancakes topped with chocolate chips and maple syrup. A small amount of chips goes a long way, melting deliciously onto the pancakes.

Makes 6-8 pancakes, roughly 7” in size

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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Nov 16th

Pumpkin, Squared

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pumpkin_sqWhen the going gets tough, healthy comfort food can really come in handy – keeping you from devouring lots of less healthy fare. And, what better comfort food than pumpkin with its fibrous, wholesome goodness? These pumpkin squares are a fun & different twist on a familiar holiday season treat. If you prefer to keep it vegan, see the eggless option below.
(Makes 9-12 pumpkin squares)

Pumpkin Square Ingredients

1/2 cup canned pumpkin, with no additives
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, or honey
Ener-G Foods egg replacer, equivalent of 2 eggs (vegan option), OR 2 regular eggs (non-vegan option), choose 1 or the other
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup candied ginger, sliced thin

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, (reserving a small amount of ginger to sprinkle on top of batter), and mix well.
Pour batter into a lightly oiled 8”x 8” pyrex baking dish or metal baking pan, and sprinkle reserved ginger pieces on top.
Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned and the center is firm.

Cashew Cream Ingredients (optional topping):

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup water
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp cinnamon
dash of salt

Directions

Blend all cashew cream ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add a generous dollop to each square when ready to eat.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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Sep 14th

Mellow Mushroom Medley

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shrooms2_LRPreparing batch meals on the weekend can make for a much calmer and more balanced work week. I often double this mushroom recipe to make several work lunches. In the midst of a hectic work week, this small amount of self-care on the weekend can add up to enhanced peace of mind in knowing that several meals are taken care of.

This healthy comfort food with its whole grains, hearty gravy and savory veggies is very filling and satisfying. It’s sure to bring balance to your week.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 8 oz, mushrooms of choice(cremini, shiitake, portobello or a combination)
  • 1/3 cup cooking wine of choice (optional)
  • 2 TB whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup veggie broth or water
  • 2 TB low sodium tamari sauce (optional)
  • 1 bunch of kale or swiss chard
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Rinse quinoa well and then cook according to package directions
Chop and measure out all other ingredients while quinoa is cooking
Heat a nonstick or stainless steel pan over medium heat until several droplets of water dropped on the surface bounce off of it.
Add onions and stir frequently for several minutes until they start to turn translucent.
Add in minced garlic and cook for one additional minute.
Add mushrooms and cook for several minutes until most of moisture has cooked out of them and the surface of the pan starts to brown
Pour in wine or water and stir ingredients to deglaze pan
Mix in the flour with a spatula to coat the veggies evenly
Pour in broth or water, gently stirring with the spatula until flour is mixed in and gravy start to form
Turn heat up to bring the gravy to a simmer, which will help to thicken it up
Add tamari, salt, and pepper to taste, and remove from heat
Steam kale briefly in a pot over boiling water until it’s just wilted.
Layer kale and veggies over a bed of quinoa.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

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Aug 15th

Bold Berry Frozen Treat

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bold_bluebHave you ever felt powerless against the urge to eat junk food, or to grab a 3 PM vending machine fix at work? When you prepare your own sweets at home, you gain the power to decide exactly what ingredients go into your snacks. And, when your dessert is based on wholesome fruit without added sugar, you can’t go wrong. You may find yourself savoring smaller portion sizes too, knowing that your own time and effort went into preparing the treat. More power to you in making healthier choices!

Ingredients:

3 ripe, medium bananas, cut into rounds and frozen
1 cup blueberries, frozen
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. almond or cashew butter (optional)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and spin in a food processor until smooth, stopping & scraping the sides down with a spatula a couple times. This will take 3-5 minutes. When it appears soft and creamy, with no chunks of fruit, it’s done. It can be eaten right away if you like a melty consistency, or it can be allowed to firm up more in the freezer. Makes roughly 1.5 pints, or 4 to 6 portions. Left-over portions will freeze more solid than dairy ice cream & will need several more minutes of thaw time. You’ll want to brush your teeth right away after this one, to get rid of any blue residue.
Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.
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Jul 15th

Victorious Vegi-dillas

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Makes 4-6 folded tortillas 

IMG_7324_rt_smCooking healthier meals can sometimes involve a lot of trial and error. I’ve been trying to come up with a winning quesadilla for months with limited success. They often come out looking great, but tasting bland.

After much persistence and quite a few boring meals, I’ve come up with a healthy quesadilla worthy of putting into regular rotation. It’s surprisingly quick and easy to make, now that all of the experimentation is done.

It’s always inspiring to me when my efforts yield new, healthy meal choices that I can savor and share. Here’s to ongoing perseverance with your healthy-living efforts!

Ingredients:

1 bag 8″ whole wheat tortillas
1 15 or 16 oz can refried beans, either pinto or black beans (low-fat and vegetarian varieties are available in the natural food sections of many grocery stores)
1 small red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 bunch of scallions, finely diced
1 clove of garlic (omit if there’s garlic in the refried beans)
1-2 cu fresh baby spinach
3/4 cu frozen corn (Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods fire-roasted corn adds some smoky flavor. Regular frozen corn is also good)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 tsp oil of choice

Directions:

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat and cook scallions and garlic until lightly browned.

Add in refried beans and frozen corn and heat until just warmed. Stir cayenne pepper into bean mixture.

Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. No oil is needed, really!

While pan is heating, lay a tortilla onto a plate and spread a few tablespoons of the bean mixture across half of the tortilla. Then layer on a few red pepper slices and enough spinach leaves to cover the half.

Fold tortilla over and flatten it, pressing edges together to form a loose seal.

Place the folded tortilla on the pan and cook for about 2½ minutes on each side, flipping a few times to make sure it doesn’t burn.

Make enough quesadillas to eat at one meal. Any unused bean mixture can be refrigerated until you’re ready to make another round. It’s a great weeknight meal that can be made in 5 to 10 minutes.

Serve topped with salsa, guacamole or vegan sour cream.

Gwen Coveny is an enthusiastic foodie with a focus on creative, vegetarian entrees and healthy treats. She spends countless hours experimenting with recipes and she finds joy in getting friends and family to try new things. Stay tuned for more culinary inspiration from Gwen in 2015.

 

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