Monday, February 27, 2012

Heartwarming Hotcakes with Strawberries

Celebrate National Pancake Day (February 28th) with some delicious heart-healthy pancakes that are not only vegan but also wheat-free.  They've got oats which are loaded with soluble fiber that helps reduce LDL "bad" cholesterol in the bloodstream.  Throw in some ground flaxseed for omega-3's that can help reduce blood pressure.  And why not add in some antioxidant packed strawberries and almonds for good fat!

Serves 2

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1 small banana, mashed
1/2 cup soy or almond milk
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/3 cup oat flour*
1/4 cup rolled oats (not instant/quick oats)
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup diced strawberries
2 Tbsp slivered almonds


Add the banana, milk, agave to mixing bowl and stir. Then add flour, oats, flaxseed, baking powder and cinnamon and stir to thoroughly combine. Batter will be a little thick but more milk can be added to thin it out if necessary.

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles. Pour about ¼ cup of batter into the pan, use a spatula to spread into a circle (or heart) if needed. Cook until bubbles form in the center, before flipping sprinkle diced strawberries over each pancake, then flip over and cook an additional few minutes.

The best way to serve is to add some agave nectar to a bowl, add a dash of cinnamon and microwave 10-15 seconds to warm.  Drizzle over pancakes and sprinkle with almonds.  Mmm mmm dee-lish!

*Arrowhead Mills makes oat flour which you can find at Whole Foods or if you have a good food processor you can simply make your own by throwing some rolled oats in there.  Just make sure to get it pretty fine.  You can also use regular whole wheat flour if you like.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cashew Butter and Strawberry Topped English Muffin

Not only is this quick breakfast with the tasty combo of cashew butter and strawberries but it has many healthy benefits.  Most of the fat cashews is in the form of oleic acid which is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.  The are also high in magnesium which is vital for bone health. In addition, we have strawberries, a nutritional powerhouse bursting with anti-inflammatories and antioxidants - 1 cup has over 100% of your daily vitamin C! Top all of this on a fiber-rich whole wheat english muffin and you've got a nutrient-packed, filling breakfast!

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Serves 1


1-Whole Wheat English Muffin, toasted
1- Tbsp Cashew Butter
Cinnamon to taste
1/4 cup (or more) diced strawberries


Add cashew butter to a small bowl and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Stir to mix.  If it necessary, microwave 5-10 sec. to soften.  Spread on the english muffin and top with strawberries.

Shopping Tip:
When shopping for any type of whole wheat bread make sure the first ingredient is WHOLE wheat flour and not just wheat flour. When reading ingredients remember that sometimes "wheat flour" is just a disguise for your basic white flour. Whole wheat means that the whole grain has been used, whereas with regular wheat/white flour the most nutritious parts of the grain (bran and germ) have been stripped before processing meaning less nutrients.  Also, use your eyes as judgement by looking at the color of the bread.  Generally the darker the better, so if something says wheat bread but doesn't look much darker than the white bread then it probably isn't any better.  

You can buy cashew butter or make your own with just RAW cashews, which can be healthier than store-bought brands that have roasted the nuts or added salt. It can also be more cost effective. If your grocery store has a bulk section you can buy just what you need. To make it all you have to do is just put some raw cashews in a food processor and let it run a few minutes til it turns the consistency of a nut butter (typically drier than peanut butter).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Faux Chick'n Salad

This vegetarian version of chicken salad is always a hit and it's so easy to make!  These are super tasty in a wrap  topped with roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato and avocado.  You can also serve as mini-wraps (as pictured) for a party, see my note below.

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Serves 4-6


1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 small onion finely diced
2 celery stalks finely diced
2 Tbsp honey mustard
1 Tbsp vegan mayo (I like Earth Balance the best)
Salt and pepper to taste


Add chickpeas to a bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix. Serve in sandwiches or on salads.

Note:  Here's how to serve as mini wraps like pictured:

1.  Get 6 large (10-12") roundish lavash flatbreads or tortillas and cut each in 4 so you have 24 quarter circles. 
2.  Warm them slighly so they're more pliable.  Wrap in alumimun foil and pop them in the oven for 5-10min at 325 degrees. 
3.  On each one, spoon a small amount of chickpea salad, add in toppings (it's important to chop them small so it all fits), and just roll 'em up.  Just don't overstuff them because you want to be able to wrap all the way around so they stay nice and snug.  Eat up!