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Sometimes, I’m certain that my body is boycotting the fact that I removed it from New England. According to all of my friends’ facebook statuses, it’s been snowing in Massachusetts since I left in October. Practically non-stop. In fact, by some weird coincidence, every time it snows in Mass, the temperature spikes here in Toowoomba.

Despite this, I occasionally forget I am not in a cold climate. Last week when I purchased quinoa and vegetable soup from the health store? Yeah, it’s been in the 90s and it’s still sitting in my fridge. The other morning when I rolled out of bed and put on my comfy yoga pants, tshirt and hoody and went in the kitchen and made this apple Quinoa Flake Bake? Yeah, I ate half because it was too heavy and then changed into shorts and a tanktop. I don’t know what I was thinking.

It does benefit those stuck in cold climates, though! This is a fast, single-serving, hearty stick-to-your-ribs breakfast that is perfect for a snow day.

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Apple Quinoa Flake Bake
from Healthful Pursuit

  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1 tbsp sugar (I used coconut sugar but regular white sugar will work fine)
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • handful of chopped walnuts
  • handful of coconut

optional toppings: natural peanut butter (I used Teddy’s), maple syrup, raisins, apple, etc.

Directions

Prepare a 16oz. microwave/oven safe dish by oiling with a dab of coconut oil. Set aside. Drop all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until fully incorporated. Press mixture into prepare dish and even out with fork.

Microwave option: Place in the microwave and cook for 3 1/2 minutes. You’ll know when it’s done when it rises slightly, is harder to the touch, and pulls away from the sides of the dish. Don’t bake it too long, or you’ll have a chocolate Frisbee!

Oven option (WV note: I have not tried this in the oven): Place in a preheated oven at 350F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Allow to rest for 1 minute before tipping over onto a plate and smothering with your favorite toppings.

Though tasty and filling, this has the texture of baked oatmeal when it is complete, which is a little dry for me. I would suggest topping with peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter of your choice) and/or maple syrup. That’s a personal preference, though. Taste it first and see what you think.

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This also pairs well with a hot beverage, sweats, warm slippers and lots of blankets.

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So, this post is going to be short and sweet, my friends. After spending 4 straight days in bed watching Law and Order: SVU (with four straight nights of nightmares. Seriously, what is wrong with me?), I went back to work today and decided it was time to get that New Years Resolution thing in full swing (yes, I know it’s 2 weeks into the New Years. What’s your point?). So, I ran at the gym at lunch. Then, Melinda asked me if I wanted to go do hot yoga with her tonight. I’d never done it before but I was all, sure.Why not?

Oh man…I’m running on fumes right now. Fumes I tell you! I tried to shower after hot yoga (eew! So. Much. Sweat.) and I could barely muster up the energy to scrub the shampoo in my hair. I’m seriously going to have the worst hair day ever tomorrow!

So here is what I am eating for lunch this week. It’s super yummy. I’m a fan of wheat berries. I thought Waldorf salads typically had a creamy dressing but the dressing with this recipe was actually extremely similar to the dressing that I posted with the Strawberry Chickpea Salad, except not quite as good. When I realized that, I just made the dressing from that recipe and called it a day.

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Wheat berry Waldorf Salad with Cinnamond Dijon Dressing
Salad from Midwest Living; Dressing from Peas and Thank you

Salad:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup wheat berries, rinsed
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored and chopped (1-1/2 cups)
  • 1 large Braeburn, Jonagold or Rome Beauty apple, unpeeled, cored and chopped (1-1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, dried tart cherries and/or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup seedless green and/or red grapes, halved
  • 6 -8 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves (or lettuce of choice. For a more filling lunch, I did 2 cups of romaine)
  • almonds or peanuts, I preferred salted

Cinnamon Dijon Dressing:

  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • 3 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T. lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground ginger
  • ½ t. salt
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

Directions:

  1. For wheat berries: In a small bowl, combine the water and wheat berries. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 6 o 24 hours. Do not drain; transfer to a medium saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, about 30 minutes or until tender with a firm, chewy texture. Drain; transfer to bowl to cool. (I soaked mine for as little as 4 hours and cooked them for 50 minutes and they came out fine)
  2. For dressing: In a screw-top jar, combine all the dressing ingredients. Cover and shake well to combine. Drizzle dressing over warm wheat berries and toss until covered. You should have about half the jar left. Put aside and drizzle extra over salad when your eating it if needed.
  3. In a large bowl, combine apples, celery, cranberries and grapes. Stir in wheat berry mixture; mix well. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours if not serving immediately.
  4. To serve, arrange lettuce cups on a large platter or divide them among individual salad plates. Spoon salad into the lettuce. Sprinkle with nuts. Makes 6 to 8 side salads. For lunches, I chopped 2 cups of lettuce up and placed it in a separate container. In the morning, I added about 1/2 – 2/3 cup of the wheat berry mixture to the lettuce and just took it to work like that. It made about 4 lunch servings.

You can’t go wrong with this salad- it has the crispy apples, the crunchy celery and almonds, the chewy craisins and wheat berries and the sweet cinnamon dressing. It’s a nice change up from the usual veggie salad

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yeah…your lucky there’s pictures with this. I think I sleep-typed most of that entry…

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Oh, December. The month where it’s sort of ok to start your morning off with peppermint hot chocolate, have three desserts during the day, go to a Christmas party for dinner and then come home and have a candy cane as your watching TV at night.

It’s a little insane. I mean, I love it, but it’s a little insane.

So, to help balance out the complete excess of sugar, I tried to prep something health for dinner this week. I mean, I still wanted it to be sorta festive because, hello, it’s December. I would be the uncool blog on the block if I didn’t provide you with something festive each and every post, but seriously. There is more to life then cookies.

I mean, not much else because cookies rock but a bit more.

So here is a kale salad. It has green stuff and it has red stuff so you know, when you combine it, it’s festive. This totally counts as a holiday post now, right? I have holiday colors… How about you  turn on some holiday tunes while your reading the rest to make up for the fact that there is no sugar in this.

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Crispy Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Pomagranite
slightly modified from How Sweet Eats
s
erves 2

ingredients:

1 large bunch of kale, torn from stems and torn into pieces
2 teaspoons coconut oil, melted, or olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Field Roast vegan sausage, Smoked Apple Sage
1 shallot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, diced small
1 honeycrisp apple, diced small
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup toasted pecans
1/4 cup pomegranate arils

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place kale in a large bowl and massage oil, apple cider, nutmeg, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon salt  for 1-2 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes. Toss well and roast for 5-10 minutes more, until slightly crispy but not golden.

While kale is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add sausage. Cook until heated through and turning golden. Set aside. Add the shallot, garlic, sweet potatoes and apples to the skillet, tossing with remaining salt and cinnamon. You want the sweet potato and apple finely diced, only slightly larger than the pom arils. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.

In a small saucepan, add pecans and toast over low heat for 5-6 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside.

Combine kale with apples and sweet potatoes, pecans, sausage and pom arils. Jessica at How Sweet Eats was correct when she said you don’t need dressing for this salad. The sauteed sweet potato and apple, combined with the oil/vinegar mix on the kale makes it plenty flavorful.

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Now that I have given you a healthy recipe, I feel less guilty about planning on giving you a cookie recipe for tomorrow. It will be chocolate-y and peppermint-y and booze-y and you will love it. I promise. I will then most likely follow that up with about 800 other chocolate peppermint recipes because, seriously, I’m obsessed with that flavor combo this season. More on that tomorrow, though.

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Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

Do you know what I slept in last night? Are you ready for this? I’m going to tell you in the order they would have to be put on:

-black tights

-knee high socks

-fleece boot slippers

-legwarmers

-leggings

-flannel PJ bottoms

-tshirt

-long sleeve shirt

-hoodie

-scarf

-fingerless gloves

Ridiculous? Yes. Was I warm and toasty in bed? Yes!

I told you my apartment was cold. I wasn’t joking!!

Because my roommates and I have not turned on the heat yet (its suppose to get up to the 60s at the end of the week and we are waiting to plastic our windows so we aren’t heating the outside), all I can think of is hot things like:

-blankets

-hoodies

-hot showers

-hot tea

-hot coffee

-hot soup

-Ryan Gosling without a shirt on

Hey, Whatever works!

I was actually planning on giving you guys a homemade peanut butter cup recipe today but really, I should have posted that last week so that you were all prepared for the Halloween onslaught of non-vegan candy. If you are anything like me, you’ve shoved your face with seen so much candy the last few days that having more presented to you would simply be over kill. Plus, peanut butter cups are best served cold and I can’t even think of going near my refrigerator.

So here’s more soup. This is approximately my 100th soup recipe since I started this a month ago. I’m probably the worst blogger ever. But its cold outside (or inside, if your me). And our bodies want to hibernate.  And soup is so good for that! Plus, you can pack it in nice to-go containers and bring it to lunch so it saves you time AND warms you up AND its stuffed with good stuff.

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup
courtesy of my friend, Melissa Constantine

makes 3-5 servings

2 bags of frozen butternut squash or 2-3 fresh butternut squash, depending on the size, cut into 1″ cubes (I used frozen)
3 apples (not red delicious), peeled and chopped
1/2 an onion
1 large container of veggie broth
1 stick of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 tsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice
Brown sugar- optional
Cream (such as the cashew cream I made for the Mushroom Onion Soup)- optional
Sunflower seeds/pecans- optional

Melt the butter slowly, and add the onion. Cook the onion just a bit, then add in apples. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Add in butternut squash. It cooks faster, so add it last. Stir. Add broth. Let bubble, stirring every once in while for an hour, or until the squash has completely fallen apart and the apples are easily squashed with a spoon.

Add about a tsp of pumpkin pie spice, then blend with an Immersion blender. Don’t have an Immersion blender? A Regular blender works just as well. Puree until consistently smooth.

Taste it and decide if you would like to add the optional ingredients such as brown sugar, if you want it sweeter, or a few tablespoons of cashew cream, if you want it thicker.

I opted not to add these ingredients. I think the apple made the soup sweet enough and I was planning on having the soup for lunch so wanted it to be on the lighter side, so opted out of the cream. If I was serving this for dinner or wanted an extra kick of protein, I would most likely add the cashew cream.

I did sprinkle with sunflower seeds and pecans, though. I love smooth soups for lunch but I like adding that little bit of crunch. It helps me from feeling like I’m not eating hot baby food.

Lunch for the week. Yeah!

Do you think Ryan Gosling is single? I bet he has his heat on. Or, you know, enough body heat for two…

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Twofer Monday

So you should probably know something about me before I launch into this first post and that is

I Love Fall!

It’s hands down my favorite season. I love apple picking, pumpkin carving, boots, my birthday * cought Oct 8 cough*, hoodies, halloween, colorful leaves, etc etc. I love it all!

Especially being able to bake again! My lovely apartment in  Boston lacks some of the more cushy things in life, an AC being one of them. So in the summer baking is 100% off limits. Actually, short of lying in front of a fan and breathing, pretty much everything is off limits.

So last year, I was so excited when the weather cooled and I was allowed to bake again that I went a little overboard. Cue the weekly baked goods for my work. I get to over due it with the baking AND not have to eat it. I was pretty excited. I’m doing that again this year so expect Monday blogs to be chuck full of delicious baked goods.

This week is donuts! And not just one kind. Oh no, we have two- pumpkin spice and apple cider. Why you ask? Well, I was going to do just pumpkin spice, which I had tried once already and loved, but when I shared the super exciting news that this is what I decided on for my first blog post and fall baked good, one of my friends I work with immediately replied, “oh… I don’t like pumpkin”.

whomp, whomp.

So, at the last minute, feeling really bad that he wouldn’t be able to try the first weekly bake good, I also decided to make apple cider donuts as well. Because I’m just awesome like that!

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts

from Oh She Glows

Pumpkin Doughnuts:

  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp non-dairy milk ( I used unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup canned pureed pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter substitute), melted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp of baking soda
    1 tsp cinnamon+ 1/2 tsp ginger + 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or 1.75 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
    1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of whole wheat pasty flour
Cinnamon sugar:
  • 1/4 cup Earth balance (or other non-dairy butter substitute), melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp  cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two mini doughnut pans or two regular sized doughnut pans with Earth Balance (or other butter substitute).

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, brown sugar (sift if clumpy), and melted Earth Balance (or other butter sub).

3. Add in the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flours). Mix until just combined.

4. Using a ‘zip-lock’ baggie or pastry bag, spoon the batter into the bag and then secure it with the zip lock or rubber band. Twist the bag slightly and then cut off a hole at the corner to ‘pipe’ out the batter. Pipe the dough around the circle and gently flatten down with slightly wet fingers to smooth. Repeat.

5. Bake  for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until they gently spring back when touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully using a butter knife to remove. Place on cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

6. Cinnamon Sugar: Melt Earth Balance in a small bowl and dip the cooled doughnuts into butter one at a time. Transfer the dipped doughnut into a bag with the cinnamon sugar and shake until coated thoroughly. Doughnuts keep for 2-3 days. (I used both a plastic bag and a brown paper and I found the brown paper helped absorb some of that extra butter…or it could just be wishful thinking)

I absolutely LOVED this recipe and there wouldn’t be anything that I would tweak about it. I made the first batch without pastry flour and it came out great. The second patch was with pastry flour and it was much more fluffly. Both were delicious so don’t worry if you don’t have pastry flour.

Mini Apple Cider Doughnuts

from Peas and Thank you

  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2Tbsp vegan margarine (ie Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • cinnamon and sugar for dusting (I used the exact same method as I used for the pumpkin doughnuts)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt.
  3. In a measuring cup or smaller bowl, mix together apple cider, sugars, molasses, applesauce, melted margarine or coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  4. Add cider mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into a greased donut pan (or muffin tin).
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until donuts are slightly browned and firm. (the mini doughnuts, like the pumpkin doughnuts, only took 10 minutes because they were mini)
  7. Dust with cinnamon and sugar while still warm, if desired (who doesn’t desire more cinnamon and sugar! I definitely shook these babies in cinnamon and sugar, just like above)
This recipe isn’t too bad. I like it but I don’t love it. The molasses is very strong and I think I would have omitted a TBSP. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this was a last minuted addition so I didn’t have time for a trial run. My roommates swear that these are great so it is possible I’m suffering from doughnut overload!

Happy fall everyone and enjoy your doughnuts!!

PS. Clearly, with all the doughnuts being dunked in butter around here this isn’t a ‘health’ blog. I will hopefully have a good balance of healthy and comfort food. So don’t be scared of all the cinnamon and butter!! (As for the picture- though I love them, this isn’t a product placement for Flour bakery. I mooched extra brown bags off them for this recipe. This is just to show you the nice butter absorption. yum!)

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