Simple Sunday #4: Guilt-free chocolate chip cookies

Some days you don’t just want chocolate, you NEED chocolate. Today was one of those days! My goal was to make a cookie that not only satisfied my chocolate craving, but was also relatively healthy. Since my IT band injury a month ago I’ve been focusing on eating less and healthier, since I can’t run and to aid in my recovery. I REALLY miss running, so hopefully after a few more weeks of PT I can run again. 😦

Well, after searching my vegetarian cookbooks, Instagram, and Pinterest for inspiration I found myself on Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog. She is the queen of healthy, vegan desserts. It was there that I found a great recipe: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/04/27/worlds-healthiest-chocolate-chip-cookies/ . I have made a few modifications to the original, but she gets all the credit for an amazing recipe. I was skeptical to try an egg and butter-free cookie, but I was pleasantly surprised! They were delicious!  Plus at 80 calories per cookie you don’t have to feel guilty about eating one (or two or more 😉 )! So without further ado, roll up your sleeves and let’s get to baking this guilt free, quick, and easy cookie!

Guilt-free chocolate chip cookies

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Yield: 9 cookies

Nutritional analysis: see below

Ingredients

Dry

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

dash of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons cane sugar (I used Trader Joe’s, which is vegan)

2 tablespoons (or more) semi-sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are vegan)

Wet

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon canola oil

4 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Mix the all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, expect for the chocolate chips.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture. I recommend adding the almond milk tablespoon by tablespoon.

4. Roll the dough into 9 balls and place on the greased baking sheet.

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5. Press the chocolate chips into the dough balls.  (NOTE: You may want to use more or less than 2 tablespoons, which is fine! Just know that the nutritional analysis below was performed for cookies with 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips!)

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6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until slightly golden brown.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

8. Enjoy one (or a few)! 😉

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NOTE: The chocolate chips here are not melted because the only chocolate chips I had at my apartment were the frozen ones my boyfriend and I use as a topping for Greek Yogurt. If they were room temperature chips they would have melted in the oven!

Nutritional Analysis (from MyFitnessPal): Calories: 81; Fat: 2.6 g (0.7 saturated); Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 57.2 mg; Potassium: 5.6 mg; Carbohydrates: 13.4 g; Fiber: 0.7 g; Protein: 1.2 g

What is your favorite type of cookie? It’s hard for me to chose one…but if I have to, I’d say any type of peanut butter cookie. Have a great night everyone! 🙂

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Simple Sunday #3: Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Hello friends! I know it’s waaaaaaaay past breakfast/brunch, but I wanted to share a tasty recipe I made this morning anyway.  You won’t believe it’s vegan!! Yes, I know it’s already past five o’clock…That’s what happens when it’s Daylight’s Savings and you lose an hour… You’ll want to make it tomorrow, though. Guaranteed. Or perhaps for dinner tonight. Breakfast for dinner is NOM! Plus this recipe makes enough for leftovers later in the week! 🙂

So I found this recipe where I find many of my ideas…Pinterest. As usual, I was wasting time there a few days ago and I came across a baked oatmeal recipe that seemed easy enough. The recipe had me at chocolate and sold me at peanut butter, so of course I pinned it! 😛 We all know that you actually only make a fraction of the things you pin… BUT, then, this morning my boyfriend suggested we make something new for breakfast. I agreed, but since I was feeling lazy due to “losing” an hour of sleep, I wanted to make something easy and low maintenance.  I knew that this was the morning to try baked oatmeal. My boyfriend and I both loved it. 🙂

Here’s the link to the original recipe that I found on Pinterest : http://laurenkellynutrition.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-baked-oatmeal/. The only changes/modifications I made to the recipe was omitting the mashed banana and salt. So the above website gets all the credit for this amazing recipe, I just wanted to share anyway! : )

As long as you use non-dairy chocolate chips and milk this recipe is vegan! I used Ghirardelli, but as a note only the semi-sweet chips are vegan. The dark chocolate ones are not.

Baked dark chocolate and peanut butter oatmeal

Yield: 6 servings

Nutritional analysis: See below

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Ingredients

2 cups organic oatmeal

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/4 cup organic maple syrup

1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (can use semi-sweet or any other kind too)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

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1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a glass baking dish.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. It may be easier to add the dark chocolate chips last since peanut butter can be tough to stir.

3. Put the mixture into the greased baking dish.

4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

5. Let the baked oatmeal cool for a few minutes and then cut into 6 slices.

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6. Enjoy the chocolatey peanut butter goodness for breakfast (or anytime of day)!! 🙂 I highly recommend pairing the oatmeal with a large, cold glass of almond milk and/or a cup o’ joe! Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days.

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Also, here’s the nutritional analysis of the recipe for those interested. I used MyFitnessPal. It’s 321 calories/serving:

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Question of the day: What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal? Before today my favorite was just regular oatmeal, made in the microwave, topped with berries and/or peanut butter, but now I think I’m a baked oatmeal fan!

Saturday snack #1: Banana Bites and a running update

Hello there friends! Sorry for the hiatus…again. I promise I was not hibernating. Although, the weather here has made me want to lately. 😦 I’ve just neglected blogging after a busy month of graduate school, work, observation hours (for my graduate program), working out, and occasionally socializing. 😛

Running update

Anyway, I was somehow convinced to run a 5k race this morning with my boyfriend outside, which is not my idea of hibernating! Luckily, today was the warmest day of the week at a whooping 20 degrees and I only needed two pairs of gloves to run outside. You would think after 8 years of high school and college cross country and track I’d be a pro at cold weather running, but that is not the case! I still dread it and sometimes don’t know how to properly dress for my runs…

Fortunately, I survived the race, had a bit of fun in the process, and only my face, hands, and feet lost feeling from the cold. 😛 I ran the race unofficially in 20 or 21 pain free minutes, which is great considering I haven’t run more than 10 miles per week or done any speed work since December because of my darn IT band…unfortunately my IT band hurts post race :(. On a happier note, my boyfriend who has been training more than me won! We thought he missed first place by a second or two because he was out kicked, but we were wrong. The race was chip timed and since he started further back he won. 🙂 This race has me excited for running again and yearning for my faster glory days in college. Maybe with some actual training I can prove to myself that my faster days are ahead of me, not behind me. Finger’s crossed that my IT band heals soon… I definitely need some time off and more strengthening and stretching because that race aggregated it. 😦 Hopefully a week or two does the trick so I can increase my mileage and train for races again.

Banana Bites

Now, I have a short recipe to share with all of you.  Looking for a snack that is sweet, healthy, tasty, easy, and quick to make?! Look no further! Banana bites are your answer. You most likely have the ingredients on hand at your house. They are full of healthy fats, protein, and just the right amount of sweetness. They will keep for a few days in the freezer.

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Yield: variable depending on how many bananas used (I made 8 bites)

Ingredients

1-2 bananas

1 tablespoon natural peanut butter

1-2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

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1.  Mix the peanut butter and Greek yogurt together on a plate

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2. Chop the banana(s) into slices

3. Spread the Greek yogurt/peanut butter mixture onto half of the banana slices

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4. Form sandwiches by using other half of the banana slices as the top slices

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5. Put the banana bites into the freezer in a covered container and let freeze for approximately 2 hours.

6. Enjoy! Keep any leftovers in the freezer. They should keep for a few days.

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Have a wonderful night friends and I hope you enjoy this simple, healthy snack! 🙂

Question of the day: Have you been running lately? If so inside or outside?  Any fun races?

Simple Sunday #2: Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Good morning! I hope everyone is having a wonderful and restful weekend. 🙂 I’m enjoying a work free weekend myself, as my new job is only during the week. I have plenty of homework to catch up on, though. Graduate school will do that to you. 😛 Anyway I decided to take a break this morning, to experiment in the kitchen, and I want to share my results with all of you.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins are today’s Simple Sunday recipe. While I am a vegetarian, I sometimes consume and  bake with eggs. Therefore, I was skeptical that vegan muffins would turn out. I accepted the challenge nonetheless. Well, I am glad I did! These vegan muffins turned out just fine! The batter was thicker than muffin batter made with eggs, but otherwise I did not notice much of a difference.

I obtained this recipe from page 11 of the Vegan Outreach leaflet Guide to Cruelty-Free Eating.  The only modifications I made were using frozen blueberries instead of fresh and I did not make a crumb topping, so the muffins would have less sugar and fat. I hope all of you enjoy. 🙂

NOTE: To make these muffins truly vegan you have to make sure you use a vegan sugar. Some sugars are whitened with animal bones, which means they are not vegan. I used Trader Joe’s organic sugar made with evaporated cane juice, which is vegan according to page 5 of this pdf: http://www.traderjoes.com/pdf/lists/list-vegan.pdf.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar

1.5 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil

2/3 cup almond milk or another vegan milk (I used Silk Original Almond Milk)

1 cup frozen or fresh organic blueberries (or a different fruit)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

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2. Mix the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large bowl.

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3. Add the vegan milk and oil to the dry mixture and mix. It will be pretty thick.

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4. Add the frozen blueberries. The mixture may turn blue, but do not be alarmed! 😛 The muffins will not be blue once fully cooked.

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5. Fill the muffin cups nearly to the top with the batter and bake for about 30 minutes. If using fresh fruit reduce the baking time to 20-25 minutes.

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6. Take the muffins out of the oven and allow to cool completely.  Eat! Otherwise store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a few days.

Tip: Since I think muffins taste best warm, I like to reheat them in the microwave when I’m eating day old ones.

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(See, they aren’t blue anymore!)

I hope all of you enjoy the muffins and have a wonderful Sunday! 🙂

Question of the day: What is your favorite type of muffin? My favorite is actually lemon poppy seed, not blueberry!

Simple Sunday #1: Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts. You either love them or hate them. In fact, I read somewhere recently that they are the most hated vegetable in the USA. Luckily, I am a brussel sprout lover.  I credit that to my boyfriend who made me try them a few months ago…Yes, it took me 22 years to try them, but I turned out okay! 😛 You will never know if you are a hater or not unless you try them.

Anyway, we made gnocchi for dinner tonight and felt like trying something new for our vegetable side dish. And voilà! Pecan roasted brussel sprouts were born.  This recipe was adapted from several different recipes so it is not exact. It is super simple though! It is perfect for when you want a quick side dish that is a little fancier than regular steamed vegetables. Also, brussel sprouts are wonderful for your body. Chock full of iron, protein, potassium, and antioxidants, but you didn’t need me to tell you that. 😛 So for my first ever Simple Sunday here is a quick and easy side dish recipe. Enjoy. 🙂

Pecan roasted brussel sprouts

ingredients

16 oz. frozen or fresh brussel sprouts

1 Tablespoon or so of olive oil

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

pinch of garlic

handful of chopped pecans

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet with cooking spray .

2. Pour the 16 oz. of frozen or fresh brussel sprouts into a bowl.

3. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and coat all the sprouts.

4. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. Mix .

5. Add the chopped pecans and pour the mixture onto the greased baking sheet.

before cooking brussel sprouts

6. Bake the brussel sprouts 20-25 minutes or so until slightly browned. Turn the sprouts at least once during cooking.

7. Serve and enjoy. 🙂

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Do you like brussel sprouts? Why or why not? If so, what is your favorite way to eat them?

A cold day calls for some warm minestrone soup

Hello guys! Happy November…well, I guess it’s almost December. I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving and the end of the semester. I promise I have not forgotten this blog. Neglected, yes. Forgotten, no! I know it’s always the same story, but life really got in the way for the last 1.5 months and I am very sorry. 😦

My life has gone through some changes since I last blogged. Telling you guys about them will be a tale for another time. Promise! Once I get it all figured out, of course. I assure you guys, though, that the changes do not have to do with the blog, being vegetarian, or my boyfriend. I plan to continue to blog here as a space to share vegetarian recipes/insight, anything running related, and random ramblings about my life. I am still a vegetarian! Also, do not worry my boyfriend of 5.5 years and I are very much in love and going strong! 🙂

Anyway, I remembered in a previous post that I promised that I would share my favorite Minestrone recipe with you guys. Well, over a month and several batches of minestrone later, I finally remembered! Nothing warms me up or gives me strength on a chilly autumn or winter day like homemade minestrone. I’ve been craving soup after this unusually cold week (on Tuesday with the wind chill it felt like -4 degrees outside!)

Minestrone is very easy to make and relatively inexpensive! This recipe is adapted from Mighty Minestrone on pages 128-129 of The Teen’s Vegetarian Cookbook by Judy Krizmanic.

Minestrone

Yield: 4-6 servings

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ingredients:

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic

2-3 stalks of washed and chopped celery

28 ounce can of diced and peeled tomatoes (fire roasted tomatoes work nicely too)

6 cups of water

1 teaspoon oregano

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons of basil

1 package of frozen vegetables  (16 ounces)

1 can of kidney or garbanzo beans, rinsed, and drained

0.5-1 package of whole wheat elbow or spiral pasta (16 ounces)

salt to taste

1. In a large pot mix together the canned tomatoes, 6 cups of water, 2-3 stalks of celery, and all the spices (including the garlic if you use cloves instead of garlic powder) . Bring to a boil uncovered.

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2. Once the mixture boils reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes add the frozen veggies, kidney beans, and pasta to the large pot. Cook for 20-30 more minutes. Add salt if desired.

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4. Serve. For leftovers, put the uneaten Minestrone into shallow Tupperware containers and refrigerate promptly. Enjoy, a cold day calls for some warm minestrone soup! 🙂

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What is your favorite soup to make when the weather turns cold? Although, I admit I make soup in the summer sometimes and maybe I’m not the only one…Also, is there a soup you’ve always wanted to make, but have not yet?

I’m BACK :), World Vegetarian Day, and sweet potato bites

Whoa, can you believe it’s already October 1st?!  I cannot believe how fast September was. I blinked and it was over! Well, now I want to apologize first hand by saying I am sorry for epically failing on updating this blog. My last post was over three weeks ago and I said I’d try to post at least once a week. Whoops… Work, school, and life got in the way. Plus I am almost done with my first round of nutrition exams- after this upcoming Friday I will be officially done with round one. Thankfully, my job reduced my hours since 20-30 hours per week was way too much for this full time nutrition student! Now  that I have less hours at work I am now in more of a routine for studying, running/working out, commuting to class, and I know what is expected out of me in my classes. Even though I was a cross country athlete in undergrad and had a part time job, I still had to relearn this last month just how important time management is!  Regardless, I promise I am now going to try to update more often. I have thought of so many potential ideas for topics on this blog in the last month- I just haven’t posted them!

Well, I thought what better day to resume more regular updates on my blog than on world vegetarian day!  I hope you all celebrate today by eating a plant based dinner even if you aren’t vegetarian or vegan. 🙂 I plan to make homemade minestrone soup (I’ll share the recipe in a future post)! Not only is Oct. 1st world vegetarian day, but to me it also means fall time.  Nothing screams fall to me like apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, soup, crunchy leaves, crisp autumn runs, cozy sweaters, and hot beverages.

In honor of fall and world vegetarian day, I wanted to share a sweet potato recipe with all of you. It is basically just a healthier and bite sized version of sweet potato fries. Sweet potatoes, which are nutrient superstars, have more potassium than bananas, a healthy dose of fiber, and a good source of vitamins A and C.  The following recipe is easy, makes a perfect snack or side dish, and is made with heart healthy olive oil.

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Sweet Potato Bites

ingredients:

2-3 sweet potatoes

1  Tablespoon olive oil

dash of salt

dash of pepper

instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or use a non stick baking sheet and do not grease it.

3. Chop the sweet potatoes into bite sized pieces. Do not worry about the shape of the pieces.

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4. Put the sweet potatoes in a medium mixing bowl and add the olive oil. Mix the potatoes and oil with your hands. Then, add the salt and pepper to the oil and potato mixture.

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6. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet and bake for 25-35 minutes or more turning the potatoes often and checking regularly to see if they are done. You may want to cook them longer than 35 minutes for crisper bites.

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I hope all of you enjoy this recipe and have great nights!

What is your favorite thing about fall? I personally love apple and pumpkin picking. 🙂