Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vegan and Gluten Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

"I can't believe these are vegan AND gluten free!" my friend Andrea exclaimed when she first tried these; and it's true!

They're moist, delicious, and only 70 calories a pop! I seriously had to check the recipe a few times to make sure I had done it right, because it seemed WAY too good to be true!

Here's The Skinny

Each cookie has 70 scrumptious calories!


Makes 24 cookies

1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
 3/4 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup original almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon coconut oil (or canola oil if you like to use that)
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

Measure the milk in a measuring cup, and add the extract and coconut oil. If using coconut oil, make sure it's dissolved; you may need to heat it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Add the applesauce and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir in the raisins!

Arrange balls of dough on two cookie sheets, 12 per sheet. With a spoon, flatten the balls gently.

Bake them in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Be sure not to over bake these! Err on the side of caution. Since these don't have any any animal products in them, being slightly undercooked won't be a problem!

You couldn't ask for an easier recipe with a bigger pay off!


Sunday, August 26, 2012

Vegan Buckwheat Blueberry Muffins

First, I have to apologize for not posting anything on here lately! The last month has been crazy busy, and hasn't allowed much time for me to experiment in the kitchen. Happily though, I was able to get back into the groove this morning by changing around the blueberry muffin recipe from a few weeks back.

The changes I made were small, with a big pay off! I used 1/2 cup buckwheat flour to replace some of the whole wheat flour, and then based on that, I decided that almond would compliment the buckwheat flavors, so I used almond extract to replace the vanilla. The last change was small--I only had the original almond milk instead of unsweetened, so in went the original! Surprisingly, I could actually taste a small difference, and I liked it!

Recipe (makes 6 to 8 muffins)

Dry ingredients (which I like to mix together the night before to make my morning easier)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup raw sugar

1/2 cup original almond milk
2 tablespoons trans-fat-free shortening, melted
3/4 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or thawed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To assemble, mix together the dry and wet ingredients in different bowls; I like to measure the almond milk and then just use the measuring cup for all the wet ingredients to save on dishes and hassle.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir until just combined. Then carefully stir in the blueberries, being careful that you don't squish them!

Line or grease a muffin tin, and then use an ice cream scoop to easily distribute the batter into 6-8 muffins. I somehow almost always end up with 7.

Then pop them in the oven for 20 minutes, rotating the tins halfway through so they cook evenly! Resist the temptation to scarf them up right away, and wait 10-15 minutes for them to cool just a bit.

Here's the skinny:

Each muffin (made 7 big muffins, last time I made 8 smaller ones):

200 calories
4.7 grams of fiber
3.8 grams of protein
4.8% of your daily iron
4.6 grams of fat (varies A LOT based on the type of shortening)

Using the buckwheat flour was a great choice, adding protein, fiber and iron to the muffins! I also really like the more nutty taste it adds.

I am completely in love with the almond instead of vanilla! I know I'm a big fan of almond flavoring, so if you're not, experiment on your own! You could try coconut extract and then maybe add some mini chocolate chips...make these your own!

These muffins are pretty filling! I'm not the kind of girl who takes a bite of a cookie and says she's full, but after eating one of these muffins I felt pretty satisfied! They are kind of really delicious, so I may or may not have gone against my better judgement and eaten another one, but that was actually too much. So one muffin could be the perfect on-the-go breakfast!

Next time I'm using more buckwheat flour. I didn't want to overpower the recipe so I was a little wary this time, but I definitely think it can handle some more. I'm also going to use oat flour to replace the whole wheat flour to make these gluten free. I try to make only one or two changes at a time so I can see where the taste differences come from which is why the muffins didn't go gluten free this time, but since I loved the buckwheat I'm going for it! So next time the flour ratio will be 3/4 cup buckwheat flour and 1/2 cup oat flour.

Another idea in the back of my head is adding some very finely chopped almonds. That will definitely add calories and fat, but they would make the recipe a better investment because of the added protein.

Try the recipe, and let me know what you think! You can always comment here, or tweet me @kirstenmhowell

Monday, August 6, 2012

Crustless Feta, Spinach, Sundried Tomato Quiche!

Want a delicious, cheesy, easy, and HEALTHY weeknight meal or packable lunch? Then look no further!

This quiche doesn't have a crust, so you can skip the calories, carbs, and hassle! And believe me, you don't notice that it's even missing. Thank you Anna for the recipe inspiration!

This quiche is SO delicious! I'm kind of raving now, so I'll get on to the details.

Here's the skinny:

Each piece (recipe makes 8 servings) has about 185 scrumptious calories!


5 eggs
1/2 cup fat free cottage cheese
8 oz. mozzarella
1/4 cup crumbled fat free feta
About half an onion
About three tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes
3 cups fresh or frozen spinach

Saute the spinach if you're using fresh spinach. Then whisk the eggs until fluffy, and add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl! How easy is that?

Grease a 9x13 dish, and pour in the egg mixture. Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees, for about 25-35 minutes, or until firm.

And you're done! You won't believe that this quiche is less than 200 calories a piece! So having seconds? Don't mind if I do!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Incredible (Gluten Free) Protein Bars!

I've mentioned before that I try to put a lot of emphasis on protein consumption. But, I always felt that even though protein bars technically had a lot of protein in them, they never really filled me up or satisfied me. Over the weekend though, I was introduced to the idea of making your own protein bars, and a bar that actually keeps me full and energized for a LONG TIME! Added bonus? They're ridiculously easy to make - you don't even have to bake them! You have got to try these!

Here's the skinny:

Each bar has about 200 calories, 9 grams of protein, and 6.5 grams of fiber.

What I love about these is that you can so easily change the recipe based on what you like. Don't want cranberries? Mix in some mini chocolate chips! Or use almond butter instead of peanut butter if that floats your boat.

I personally don't eat products with soy in them, because I was warned by my doctor that soy is really bad for us. So I searched high and low for a protein powder without soy. (I used the vanilla hemp protein powder from Trader Joes, and next time I plan to try the Raw brand powder)

Side note: I used hemp protein powder to make these, which is why they're so dark and slightly green. But if you make them with normal powder they will turn out the color of a traditional granola-type bar :)

Makes 24 bars

2 cups protein powder1
3/4 ground oatmeal (just pulse it in a food processor a few times)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple sauce

Heat the peanut butter and apple sauce in a sauce pan until they soften together.

Mix together the dry ingredients, and then pour the peanut butter mixture into the oatmeal mixture and combine.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 pan with parchment paper. Press the "dough" into the pan, and stick it in the fridge for a few hours.

Cut into squares! Ta da! You're done!