Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Cinnamon Oatmeal Tea Party Scones

Today I had a tea party with my two oldest girls who are currently 4 1/2 and almost 2.  It was a gorgeous day, and I thought, what better way to end our beautiful time outdoors, than with a little lesson in etiquette! (Of course you can't just teach etiquette to children simply through words...it needs to be acted out through something super fun!)  Tea parties are the perfect way to teach children to use their best manners (waiting until everyone is served to eat, taking small bites, not speaking with food in mouths, please and thank yous, asking to be excused before leaving the table and thanking the hostess for the invitation)...it's also a great way to teach the art of conversation...(asking questions, giving responses, waiting to be spoken to, AGAIN no food in the mouth when  you're speaking...conversation level voices...), but as you all know...you cannot have a proper tea party, without some delicious faux tea (in our case it was chocolate almond milk!), and a delightful something sweet to go with it!  Being that I'm not a huge fan of sugary treats, a scone seemed like a good option...and boy were these delicious!  My little tea party guests gobbled them up (using their very best manners...of course!)...and they had no idea that they were made with whole wheat, oatmeal, and walnuts!

Preheat your oven to 375

Mix all the dry ingredients together:

1 1/4 c. King Arthur's whole wheat flour
1/3 c. brown sugar (I definitely do not use actual brown sugar! I use the Ideal brand xylitol brown sugar)
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
2 t. cinnamon

-With the back of a fork, cut in:

1/2 c. coconut oil (or vegan butter)

-until a uniform crumbled texture forms

-Mix in:

1 c. old fashioned oats
1 c. finely crushed walnuts

-Note: you could also throw in 1/3 c. of dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, or dates

-Add slowly, while stirring gently:

1/3 c. unsweetened almond milk

-Mix until a ball forms that will stay together.  (You may have to add 1-2 T. more of the almond milk)

-Turn out onto a floured surface and press into a circle that's about 7" in diameter (roughly...it's not like this is geometry class!)

-Cut into 8 wedges and place on an ungreased cookie sheet

-If you'd like, sprinkle a little more of the xylitol sugar over the top, along with some cinnamon...this adds an extra touch of sweetness!

-Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the center of a wedge is slightly firm to the touch!

-Note:  if you're using these for a child's tea party, I cut each wedge into 4 or 5 wedges, so that they fit on those ridiculously tiny plates!  Enjoy! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Orange Blueberry Poppyseed Muffin

I'm OBSESSED with giant muffins right now!  My mom had this giant muffin tin at her house that makes 6 huge muffins instead of 12, and I just HAD to try it!  We were having a friend come over to lunch, and my mom was making this amazing salad, so I suggested we have muffins to go along with it (knowing full well that that was my chance to use the giant muffin tin!!)  I came up with this recipe which is a spin off of a lemon poppy seed muffin...mom suggested the blueberries, and man is this an amazing combination!  Moist, sweet, heavy, with plump blueberries and a crunchy crumble on top, this muffin is exploding with flavor and texture...oh, and did I mention there's an incredible orange drizzle to go on top?  AND did I mention that it's extremely healthy and low fat AND low cal?  Your mouth will think you're eating dessert, but your body with think you're being super healthy! Win, win!!!  Here's my warning: once you try them, they are all you'll want to eat...so be careful!

Take 2 T. of ground flax seed and mix it with 6 T. of warm water.  Set aside until it becomes gooey (it'll be ready by the time you're ready to combine the wet and dry ingredients)

-Preheat your oven to 400

Whisk all the dry ingredients together to incorporate fully:

1 c. King Arthur's unbleached cake flour
1 c. King Arthur's whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1t. baking powder
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 c. xylitol sugar (I used the Ideal brand, which I was able to find at my grocery store.  The cool thing about it is, it's a natural sweetener, derived from certain fruits, and it's no cal!)
1 T. poppy seeds


1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (I've actually done this with 1/4 c. coconut oil too, but the applesauce makes it lower in fat, if you're into watching that sort of thing!  And honestly, with the applesauce, you absolutely would NEVER guess this was a low fat muffin!)
3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c. real orange juice...no sugar added, not from concentrate (I used Simply Orange)
2 T. lemon or lime juice...doesn't really matter which
2 T. orange extract
Flax seed mixture from above

-mix everything together with a spoon until well incorporated...try not to over mix. 

Gently fold in:

1 c. fresh blueberries (or 1 c. thawed and drained frozen blueberries, keeping as much juice out of the mixture as possible.)

-Fill muffin tins until all the batter is used up.

The Crumble Topping:

1/2 c. King Arthurs whole wheat flour
1/4 c. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 c. Xylitol Sugar (the same kind as above)
1/4 c. crushed walnuts

-With the back of a fork, mix, pressing against the side of your bowl until a crumble forms

-Spoon 2 t. (heaping) over each muffin batter, fully covering each top

-Place tin in the oven on the center rack and set your timer for 11 minutes

The Orange Drizzle:

1 c. xylitol powdered sugar (not the same as above...it comes in the same packaging, but you need to get the one that says "confectionary" on it)
3 T. orange juice (the same oj you used from above)
1 T. lime juice (or lemon...doesn't make a huge enough difference)

-Once your timer goes off, bump the heat down to 375, and VERY GENTLY rotate the muffin tin so that the front muffins are now in the back...if you bump the muffin tin or move them roughly, they won't raise all the way, and they won't look as pretty! 

-Bake for another 11-13 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

-Let muffins cool in the tin

-Right before serving, drizzle with a good helping of the Orange Drizzle and enjoy!!

-These muffins look like they have a lot of ingredients, but you will never EVER regret making them (unless you eat all 6 muffins in the same day!)...and they are very simple to make...it's not a fussy recipe at all!  I get RAVE reviews from everyone who has tried them, and you will too!!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sweet and Spicy Chik'n Stir fry

So my mom introduced me to these awesome little vegan chik'n strips made by Morning Star...they're amazing!  Great flavor, great texture, and my kids LOVE them!  Tonight is the real test of their awesome-ness...I made this stir fry for my husband, and I'm not telling him that the chicken is really chik'n! (aka-not real!) When coming up with this recipe, my goal was to come up with an amazing Asian dish, that even the harshest critic (aka-my meat loving husband!) would approve of...and you know what?  I think we have a winner!!  Sweet, spicy, chewy, juicy and crunchy, this dish has it all...not to mention it's loaded with protein, veggies, fruit, and can be served over rice or noodles!  How could anyone argue with that...but more importantly, it tastes so amazing, I'm thinking about taking this recipe to the nearest Asian restaurant and showing them how things are done!

In a saute pan over medium heat combine:

2 T. coconut oil
1 package Morning Star Meal Starter Chik'n Strips (I found them in the freezer section at my local grocery store)
3 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. chili garlic sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 t. ground ginger
3 T. agave
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 lime squeezed over everything

-Stir everything together until the chik'n is evenly coated and let saute for 5-7 minutes...occasionally stirring.

-Increase the heat to med/high and add:

1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. agave
1 T. sesame oil

-Toss everything to recoat, and do this from time to time just to make sure things are done nice and evenly...do this for another 3-5 minutes, then add:

1 c. fresh cut pineapple chunks
1 c. broccoli
1/2 c. frozen peas

-Toss again, frequently until broccoli is tender
-Serve over brown rice, rice noodles, or in a lettuce wrap!

-Note: Top with Chow Mein noodles, cashew pieces, mung bean sprouts, fresh cilantro...pick one or choose all of them!

-Note:  grab some vegetable spring rolls and make up a batch of the Spicy Sushi (http://vegmomrecipes.blogspot.com/2010/12/spicy-sushi.html) for a real Asian-inspired meal!