Pita Bowls

Named by my son, because all I could come up with were things like; garbanzo taco-ish things in a pita. You see why his name won. This is actually adapted from a recipe in Country Beans called “Mexi-Pita Bar”.

Here it is the way we make them.

1 can garbanzo beans rinsed and drained.

Mix together with:
1/4 teaspoon each; cumin, garlic powder, and sea salt (Real Salt at our house)
Heaping 1/8 teaspoon onion powder

Heat on the stove, or set on top of the toaster oven while you use it to heat up the pitas. This last option only works if you do not need your beans to be really warm, just slightly warmed up.

Cut 3 whole grain pitas in half, and fill each with 1/6th of the bean mixture.

Top with:
Shredded lettuce
Sliced tomatoes (grape tomatoes in winter)
Diced onions
Sliced black olives
Shredded Daiya cheese substitute (optional)
Salsa
“Sour Cream” – Use one of the many non-dairy recipes floating around, or mix Vegenaise with lemon juice to taste.

For a gluten free version, leave out the pita and use a bowl instead. Still delicious!

Kid-Friendly Version

Fill pita halves with the garbanzo bean mixture. The seasonings called for work in our house. If you need to, use smaller amounts of the spices on all or part of the garbanzos. I suggest using some of the seasonings if possible, just to work towards more possibilities in the future.

Top with any of the above options that will be eaten without too much complaint. Here, that meant lettuce and black olives. My son does not love lettuce, but he doesn’t hate it either, and it’s good for him, so on his pita it goes.

Grated carrots are another option for getting more veggies onto a child friendly version of this dinner.

Another option for younger children would be to serve this all separately. A pita, garbanzo beans, & veggies in separate piles.

C

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Non-Queso Quesadilla

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Lunch today.

Inspired by the deliciousness of the refried beans for last nights’ burritos. I knew I did not want another burrito for lunch, but I did want those re-fried pinto beans. And so, this particular non-queso quesadilla was born.

It’s just refried beans, sliced avocado, thinly sliced onions, and sliced grape tomatoes layered between two tortillas (rice flour in this case) and warmed through on the stove-top.

Served, of course, slathered with salsa.

C

Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet – and Lindsay Nixon’s new book

Once again as Lindsay releases her newest masterpiece the opportunity to participate in a blog tour has arrived.

HappyHerbivoreLight&Lean_FrontCover

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions. I feel they were really all answered with the first one, but here they are for your enlightenment also.

Me – From what I understand this book is a bit of a departure from your other cookbooks in that it contains advice and exercises to assist in weight loss in addition to the recipes. Where did the idea for this come from?

Lindsay – I’m not sure I’d say it’s a departure. Happy Herbivore Light & Lean is still a lot like her sister books in my series. I continue to embrace my healthy, fuss-free, everyday ingredient cooking style. I’m still focusing on whole, plant foods, vegan recipes, keeping it low fat and super healthy. Each book I’ve written has had a theme and this book’s theme brings in a wholistic look at health. Making it about the whole body, not just what we put in our mouth 😉

I was very much inspired by my meals plans. While the recipes in this cookbook are different than the recipes I provide my clients through my meal plan service, I used the same approach: caloric density. More food, less calories. Focusing on ingredients that are satiating, and so forth.

One of my missions with Happy Herbivore is to disprove all the myths that eating healthy is hard, complicated or expensive. It’s actually delicious, easy, affordable and beautiful. I think the same misconceptions exist around exercise and fitness. You don’t need a lot of time, or fancy equipment or expensive gym memberships. You can do it all in your home, in minutes a day, no matter what your starting point. I’m showing that—celebrating it—in my new book.

Me – Are these techniques you used initially in your own weight loss, or based on routines you have developed over time/input from others?

Lindsay – I was a personal trainer for many years.

Me – And lastly, all of your books focus on no-oil, no added fat, plant based cooking, which of course is great for health. Do the recipes in this book differ in any significant way, and if so, how?

Lindsay – I’m using the same cooking style, but this time I was very focused on calorie density, as well as total calories.

Now, this is a pre-release interview and I haven’t seen an actual copy of the book yet. But, judging from her past books and from what I know about this one, I expect it to be an excellent resource for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle (not always the same thing). Here’s a sample recipe, straight from the new book, which looks delicious to me.

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Thai Crunch
Single serving
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Single Serving

Before I was plant-based, I loved the Thai Crunch salad at California Pizza Kitchen. I finally decided to re-create a lighter vegan version of it for this cookbook. It’s easy, fresh, fast, and satisfying. (I also loved their Original BBQ Chicken Chopped salad, hence my BBQ Salad [in full cookbook] recipe!) By the way, CPK is one of the vegan-friendliest restaurant chains in the US. They have a PDF online indicating which menu items are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

4 c napa cabbage, red cabbage, or lettuce (or a combination)
1 carrot, julienned
2 green onions, sliced
¼ – ½ c edamame
½ cucumber, sliced or diced
Thai Peanut Dressing
crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
cilantro (optional)
lime wedges (garnish)

Toss cabbage/lettuce, carrot, green onions, edamame, and cucumber together in a salad bowl, then top with Thai Peanut Dressing, crushed peanuts, and cilantro (if using), and garnish with a lime wedge. (I also love squeezing fresh lime juice over the salad.)

Chef’s Note: For a soy-free version, substitute chickpeas for the edamame.Per Serving

Calories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.7g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39.4g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.7g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.3g
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.3g
WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Thai Peanut Dressing
Makes ¼ cup
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Pantry

Creamy, delicious—here’s a lower fat and lower calorie DIY peanut sauce.

1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
juice of 1 lime wedge
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
1 ¼ tsp rice vinegar
garlic powder
ground ginger
1–2 drops Asian hot sauce (e.g., Sriracha)
1 tbsp nondairy milk

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter with water, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce or
tamari, rice vinegar, a few dashes of garlic powder and ground ginger, plus hot sauce. Microwave for
10–20 seconds (so peanut butter is melty), whisk into a sauce, and then whisk in nondairy milk. Taste, adding more hot sauce as desired.

Chef’s Note: For a richer sauce, substitute coconut milk for the nondairy.

Per Serving
Thai Peanut Dressing (1 tbsp)
Calories . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1.4g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 0g
Protein. . . . . . . . . . .0.9g
WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

The Evolution of Popcorn at our House

We used to eat popcorn just like everyone else (o.k. probably not everyone), with butter and salt. Air popped of course. I don’t like to use a microwave if there is  another handy option and we have a stand alone, plug in, air-popper. (Maybe there is a more official sounding name for that?)

Then, in an attempt to cut down on our butter consumption, I started to mix the butter with olive oil. Half and half at first and then 100% olive oil.

Then one day I decided to try the Barlean’s Flax Seed oil in our fridge. I may have mixed it with olive oil at first, but if so it rapidly transitioned to straight flax seed oil. I mention the brand because while it is the only one I’ve ever used, I have heard that some/a lot of others taste less than delicious.

So, now when I make popcorn I use flax seed oil, Redmond’s sea salt, and “yellows” (which is actually nutritional yeast). Yumm.

As the popcorn pops out into the receptacle (generally a bowl), I squirt the flax oil out from the handy dandy squeeze bottle it comes in. This alone makes it worth the switch ;-), so much faster and easier than melting butter or spooning olive oil on. Next, when it has finished popping we sprinkle on the Redmond’s sea salt (and really you could use other salt, but why?). And then, for those desiring it, top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast – my personal favorite.

Now, you’ll notice that this is still not lowfat popcorn. I have tried using a Misto sprayer filled with olive oil, and it could be filled with flax instead, but personally I’m not satisfied with the coverage. Still, I would recommend that as an option if you want a lower fat, but still oiled popcorn option.

C

A few other smoothies

The peanut butter option has become a sort of stand by for those times when we are low on fruit options, but still want a smoothie.

Peanut Butter Smoothie

2 bananas, fresh or frozen
1 to 2 Tablespoons peanut butter (the good stuff – no added sugar, etc.), to taste
1 Tablespoons or so of agave, to taste
1 Tablespoon vanilla glycerite
Water or non-dairy milk to cover.

Blend together well and enjoy.

I really love this, my banana hating dh will drink it too, but my peanut butter hating son won’t touch it. Oh well.

A Chocolate Treat

2 bananas, fresh or frozen
Water to the top of the bananas (once in the blender)
3 Tablespoons Cocoa powder
3 to 4 Tablespoons agave
1/4 cup cashews
1 Tablespoon vanilla glycerite (optional)

Blend Well and enjoy!

A few notes; the cashews and water combined are actually functioning as a milk substitute here. So, you could make a similar smoothie using a non-dairy milk instead of water and leaving out the cashews entirely. Or leave the cashews in for an even creamier treat.

C

Super Delicious Smoothie

I kept waiting to post this until I had a photo, but in the interest of getting it on the blog before either the world or the government shutdown end, here is the recipe anyway.

1 orange, peeled
1 ripe banana (frozen)
1/2 to 3/4 cup fresh blueberries (but I’m sure you could use frozen too)
1/4 cup Orange Juice Concentrate
1 Tablespoon agave
2 teaspoons green ormus blend (Ormus Greens by SunWarrior)
1/2 Tablespoon Sun Warrior vanilla protien
Water added to the top of the ingredients
1 Tablespoon chia seeds, blend or stir briefly after this addition and let the mixture sit for a few minutes.

Than blend everything up well and enjoy!

I’m not sure how essential the protien powder and greens are. I suspect that the taste wouldn’t change much without them since they are in such small amounts.

C

Snickerdoodles – the best whole grain recipe out there!

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Well, at least I think so.
I had tried to convert the recipe used in my past white sugar and white flour eating life, but it just did not translate well. I saw another recipe online whose ingredients were fine, they just looked a bit dry to me, but it inspired me to give this classic cookie another chance.
Just make sure you don’t leave out half the Sucanat, they aren’t quite the same that way. 😉

1/2 cup Organic Palm Oil Shortening
1/2 cup Unrefined Coconut Oil
1 cup Sucanat
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
3 1/4 cups Whole Spelt Flour
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1-2 Tablespoons water, as needed

2 teaspoons Turbinado Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine the Shortening, Coconut Oil, and Sucanat in a large bowl and blend well. Add the Maple Syrup and blend to combine.
In a smaller bowl mix together the flour, Cream of Tartar, Baking Soda and Salt. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet, adding water as needed. You will probably only need 1 Tablespoon of the water. Essentially, you want a dough that stays together and is not crumbly and not too wet.
Combine the cinnamon & sugar mixture in a small bowl. Form balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (I use a cookie scoop) from the dough and roll them in the cinnamon/sugar mixture before placing them on the cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. If using an ice cream scoop for extra large cookies increases the baking time to 15 minutes.

*Regarding the baking time and temperature. I use a baking stone, so I things seem to bake a little hotter. If using a metal cookie sheet you may need to raise the temperature 25 degrees, or possibly extend the baking time by a few minutes.

C