Fast and Easy Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

I’m sitting here watching Teen Mom and got a sudden urge to bake something.  Then I remembered…I don’t have any eggs in the house.  Soooo….I threw some stuff together and the result was YUM!!

Ingredients:

1 box white cake mix

I use this kind of cake mix because it has pudding in it

1/2 cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp baking power

1 tsp cider vinegar

1/2 cup soy or almond milk

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 can pumpkin puree
Directions:

In a cup, combine the cider vinegar with the soy milk and set aside.  In large bowl combine all dry ingredients with the pumpkin puree and mix.  Next, combine vanilla in with the cider vinegar and soy milk.  Pour that into the dry ingredients along with the oil and beat with beater for approximately 3-5 minutes.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 way full with batter (I cover mine with cupcake liners) and bake on 350 degrees for approximately 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean.

These were the most light and fluffy muffins I’ve ever made

Muppet Monday!

As the holidays approach and life gets busier and busier, my posts might be reduced to just a few a week but I promise to try and make them good!

I found this video this morning that combines three of my favorite things — Thanksgiving, Food Network and the Muppets!

 

Roasted Butternut Squash and Veggie Soup

Hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I made some yummy recipes last weekend when it was cold outside and I hoped to share a few of them with you.  The cold didn’t last long, yesterday’s high was almost 90.  Welcome to Texas weather.

My favorite was the soup I made. I’m a terrible food photographer but I did take a pic of the finished product. If you thought soup was hard to make, think again. This is really easy and really good for you too! It takes some pre-dinner prep work but will make your house smell great all day.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Veggie Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium size Buternut Squash

2 celery stalks

2 cups mini-carrots

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp nutmeg

Vegetable Broth

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:

Roast all vegetables first. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds/pulp. Rub the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper and nutmeg. Place flesh side down on baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for almost an hour.

If you have room in your oven, roast the other vegetables at the same time. In a 9×13 baking dish, combine the garlic, carrots and cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for almost an hour.

Once all the veggies are roasted, scoop out the squash flesh into a bowl and put aside. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, saute onion and celery in 2 tbsp olive oil until softened. Add squash and other roasted vegetables to pan and mix well. Pour in vegetable broth until all veggies are completely covered and let simmer for 30 minutes.

Put all contents into a blender (careful, it’s hot!) and puree until smooth and creamy. Add more broth if the soup is too thick for your liking.

Pour into serving bowls and enjoy!

YUM!

Yummy Roasted Chickpeas….Just Cuz

Random post:  I’m finally caught up waking with work today and I’m sitting here reading my favorite blogs and munching on the most yummy snack ever.  Spicy roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I just discovered making them this way a few days ago.  My first attempt went bad — they burnt,  but the ones I have today…aaaaah, party in my mouth.  I thought I’d share the goodness.

So here’s how you make them:

Take a can of chickpeas and rinse them really good. Get all that starchy water off of them.  Then dump them out on some paper towels and dry them off completely. Throw them in a bowl and mix with about 2 tbsp olive oil and spices to your liking.  I used garlic powder,onion powder, red pepper flakes, salt and paprika. Stir them so that all the beans are coated well. Put them in a shallow pan (just a regular aluminum pan worked the best for me) and roast for 35 minutes on 375 degrees, shaking the pan every 10 minutes or so.  After 35 minutes is up, I added just a few squirts of soy sauce and shook them again — baked for another 10 minutes.

You can eat them right away or like me, put them in a bag and take them to work.  Or wherever.  I thought next time I would try using buffalo wing sauce…I love spicy stuff.  Good luck with them, lemme know how you like it!

These are not *exactly* the same chickpeas I’m eating at this very moment, but they will look like this when done. I found this pic on About.com

 

Warning:  It really is true what they say about beans, beans the musical fruit….eating these could be hazardous to the health of those around you.  Seriously.

You’ve been warned

 

Lentils: The Other White Meat

I don’t know why I’m writing about lentils…but as I was cooking up a batch yesterday evening I thought it would be good to share why I love lentils so much.  If you’ve read my other posts you know that I am a vegetarian but my family is not.  This usually results in me cooking two separate dinners….one meaty, one non-meaty.  Sometimes I have a real hard time coming up with new and exciting things to make for myself…but here’s where the lentils come in.

Lentils are versatile.  You can put them in anything.  they are also great meat imposters.  In most recipes that call for ground beef, you can substitute cooked lentils and no one would ever be the wiser.  I make a mean chili with lentils and I was able to successfully fool my son (who is a very picky eater) into thinking he was eating meat.  Not to mention, lentils are very healthy for you; they are high in fiber and protein.  I will usually cook up a batch of lentils and keep them in a Tupperware container in the fridge.  that way, during the week I can add them to anything I am cooking in a pinch when I have nothing else to make myself.

Of course, on their own lentils make a great Greek-type salad.  I’m going to make some this weekend and post the recipe, so keep your eyes out.

Here are some meal ideas in which you can use lentils in place of meat:

~Veggie Burgers
~Chili
~Tacos / Taco Salad
~Meat Sauce (for pasta)
~Lasagna
~”Hamburger” Helper
~Soup

Are there any favorite lentil ideas you would like to share?  Let me know!

Lentils….they’re what’s for dinner.

Hawaiian Vegan Wraps with Cilantro Lime Rice. Vegetarian version too!

 

Cilantro Lime Rice

Long grain or Brown rice

¼ cup lime juice

1/3 package McCormick Mojito Lime Seasoning

Chopped cilantro

Cook rice according to package instructions but substitute ¼ cup of the water for lime juice and add seasoning.  When done, add cilantro to taste and fluff with fork.

It’s like Franks Red Hot Sauce….I put this S*** in everything!

Mojito Lime Portobello mushroom Wraps

2 large portobello mushroom caps, chopped

2/3 packet McCormick  Cilantro Lime seasoning (or to taste, I love this stuff)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 giant burrito size flour tortillas

Shredded Cheese

Chopped cilantro

Butter/margarine

In bowl mix mushrooms with olive oil, vinegar and seasoning.   Toss to coat. Saute mixture on medium heat until mushrooms are cooked through and have the consistency of meat.

Mushroom “meat”

Layer cheese, cilantro and mushrooms on tortilla.  I like to add some of the rice too.

Vegetarians eat good too ya know!

Roll up burrito style.  Brush on butter each side and grill on griddle until both sides are golden and crispy.

Yummy Yummy in my tummy!

What I made for dinner: Mexican Lasagna

I have a slight aversion to rolling corn tortillas in an attempt to make enchiladas. It never works for me and they always end up breaking apart. So instead, I make a lasagna version, which is basically unrolled enchiladas, casserole style. Mine are vegetarian but you can add meat if u like.

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped onions
1-2 chopped jalapeños
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped potatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 can black beans, drained
2 cups salsa
1 pkg shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
24-30 corn tortillas

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sauté onions, tomatoes and potatoes in about 2 tbsp oil until potatoes are soft and tomatoes are cooked down. Add jalapeño.

Add in spices, salt n pepper, tomato paste, beans and cilantro. Sauté another 8-10 minutes on medium heat.

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Grease a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray. Layer 8 corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan (like lasagna!). Then cover with 1/2 of the mixture and 1/3 of the cheese.

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Repeat with another layer of tortillas, remainder of mixture and 1/3 pkg of cheese. Top with another layer of tortillas.

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On the top tortilla layer, cover with the salsa and remaining cheese.

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Cover with foil and pop into oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until bubbly.

My dumb butt forgot to photo the finished product after pulling it out of the oven! I had some very hungry mouths to feed and was forced to dive right in and start serving. So just imagine the last photo above with melted cheese and bubbly goodness.

I did photo my piece before the party in my mouth started:

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Low Fat Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins

I was experimenting and came up with this recipe last night. I wasn’t sure how they would come out but they actually were quite yummy. It’s low fat because there is no butter or oil. I substituted applesauce instead.

*Be sure to use aluminum muffin cups or spray with non-stick spray, as the paper ones tend to stick to the muffin.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tap ginger
2 cups mashed overripe bananas
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 eggs
1 pint blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep muffin pan
2. Mix together bananas, eggs, applesauce and sugar in small bowl.
3. In large bowl, mix dry ingredients well.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until moistened. Fold in blueberries.
5. Drop by spoonfuls in muffin pan and bake for approx 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near middle comes out clean.
6. Cool on wire rack.

Makes 24 muffins

You can make these with or without the blueberries 😉

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Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

I had another bunch of kale and half of a pound of strawberries left that I needed to do something with before going bad. I’ve never made a strawberry vinaigrette before but I thought I’d take a stab at it and it came out pretty good! I hope you think it’s yummy too!

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 pint strawberries, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Directions:

1. Blend strawberries and vinegar in food processor or blender until a liquid consistency is reached.
2. Pour into bowl and whisk in remaining ingredients.
3. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Eggplant Parmesan Pizzas

One of my all-time favorite Italian foods is eggplant parmesan.  It’s not always the healthiest option however it’s one of my comfort foods and I love making (and eating) it when I need to feel…..complete.

This recipe for eggplant parm “pizzas” is a great alternative to making a whole 9x13in pan when you are short on time.  Since I’m a vegetarian but my husband and kids are not, I usually make this for myself when making a meat-meal for them.

This recipe calls for frying the eggplant.  I know it is not the best choice but I have attempted baking the eggplant instead and it just doesn’t taste the same.  However, you can do either.  Baking takes a little longer and the eggplant will come out a bit chewier.

 

Ingredients:

1 whole eggplant, size depending on how hungry you are!

2 eggs

2 cups Italian breadcrumbs

2 cups marinara sauce (from scratch or bottled)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt to taste

Canola or Vegetable Oil for frying

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Scramble eggs in a small bowl, empty breadcrumbs into  a larger bowl

Cut eggplant into ¼ inch thick rounds, skin on

Dredge rounds into egg, then into breadcrumbs to coat

With enough oil in frying pan to cover eggplant rounds (about 1 inch), drop in and fry each for approx.  1-2 minutes on each side until a nice, golden brown color is reached.  Drain on paper towels for about 5 minutes, salt to taste.

Line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.  Place rounds on baking sheet and top each with sauce and cheese.  Bake in oven uncovered for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.