Monday, November 23, 2015

Healthy Chai Spiced Muffins with Oat Crumble

A lot of people associate all things pumpkin with fall. However, my favorite fall (and winter) flavor is Chai. I simply can't resist chai-flavored anything!

Vegan and Healthy Chai Spiced Muffins with Oat Crumble

We had our first snowfall this weekend. It was a gorgeous one too! It stuck to the trees making it a beautiful winter wonderland. Savina woke up and went screaming through the house, "Get up everyone, there's snow on the ground." The boys quickly woke up. Seeing Simon's face as he laid his eyes on the snow was simply priceless. Being 16 months now, he doesn't remember the snow last year and didn't know what to think. He was running from window to window pointing at it and grunting. We ate the quickest breakfast in the history of our house and rushed to get our snow pants on to get outside.

Snow Kids Love Muffins

As we were outside, I began to think that it would've been nice to have some muffins ready on the weekend to really speed breakfast along. I usually make something special for Saturday's since it's our one day that we all get to sit and eat breakfast as a family ... Paul is long gone by the time the kids get up at 6:30 on weekdays! We still had pancakes today, but they were pretty simple pumpkin ones!

After that, muffins were stuck in my mind. We came inside. had some hot chocolate and the kids collected themselves a bit. A little later they were ready for round two. Paul took them out this time. I got to stay in and make some muffins! When they all came in, the house smelled of chai muffins and they were quickly enjoyed by all.

New tradition ... Chai Spiced Muffins on snow days!

A little side note ... yes, 16 is a strange number to make but I think it's quite a blessing. If you have to make a dozen muffins for work or an event, this gives you 4 leftover to enjoy yourself! Or, make your dozen in the muffin tin and fill a ramekin with the leftover to make one gigantic muffin (it takes another 10 minutes to bake) but if you don't like making two batches in your muffin tin, it's perfect. Plus, who doesn't love a gigantic muffin?!

**Vegan and Gluten Free options!

Vegan and Healthy Chai Spiced Muffins with Oat Crumble

Healthy Chai Spiced Muffins with Oat Crumble

Makes 16

Wet Ingredients

1/3 c coconut oil
1/3 c applesauce
1/4 c honey
1/4 c molasses
1/3 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 c almond milk or non-dairy alternative

Dry Ingredients

1 c oats
2 1/2 c flour
2 t cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t cardamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
14 t black pepper
3/4 t salt
3/4 t baking soda


3 T butter
1/3 c coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 c oats
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/4 t cardamon

Vegan Option: Replace maple syrup for honey, 2 flax seed eggs and vegan butter
Gluten Free Option: Use your favorite GF All-Purpose Flour and make sure your oats are gluten free!

Preheat the oven for 375º.

In two separate bowls, mix together your dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Slowly begin mixing them together.

Prepare your muffin pan, and fill each cup 3/4 way full.

Mix together your topping by melting the butter and mixing in remaining ingredients. Top each muffin with a good helping of the crumble topping.

Bake for 17-17 minutes.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Roasted Parsnip and Horseradish Dip

This past two weeks I got some great parsnips from my CSA. I have made soup, I have done fries. I really wanted a dip to snack on. I did a quick google search for parsnip dip and all I could find was parsnip hummus. Sounded good, but a bit flat for my tastebuds that day. Hmmm ... what could I put in my parsnip dip to really tantalize my tastebuds ... horseradish!

 Roasted Parsnip and Horseradish Dip

Lately, I have had a serious horseradish obsession. I will base an entire meal simply around horseradish being the main flavor. All of my sandwiches have veganaise and horseradish on them. All of my dips are cheesy horseradish or mustard, dill and horseradish. I have even done horseradish for my pizza sauce (amazing with a little lemony roasted eggplant and pine nuts by the way). There are no limits to what I won't do with a little horseradish... well, I haven't had it with chocolate and ice cream yet, but I'm sure that idea is out there! Until then, parsnips and horseradish make a perfect pairing in my book!

 Roasted Parsnip and Horseradish Dip

The most painful thing about this dip is it was exactly what I wanted, but it was the last of my parsnips. I really wanted to take a picture so I could share the recipe with you guys, but Paul and I really really really wanted to eat it! So, what happened? Bad, dark pictures, Paul and I got to devour the dip and you get the share in the fun of my recipe creation. I hope you like it as much as we did and sorry for the bad pictures!

And if any of you have a secret horseradish recipe up your sleeve ... please, share it!

Roasted Parsnip and Horseradish Dip

Makes 1 cup

1 lb parsnips
1/2 T olive oil

1/4 c olive oil
1 T prepared horseradish
2 t tahini
2 t lemon juice
1 t garlic powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Preheat oven for 415º.

Peel and trim parsnips. Cut into 1 inch pieces so they are all about the same size. Toss. with the first listed olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes or until nicely browned.

In a bowl, add all ingredients. Puree with your hand blender or use a food processor if needed. Add more olive oil to get the consistency that you like. Also, add more horseradish if you want it a little spicier. From brand to brand, it's hard to tell the 'heat' of the horseradish that you're going to get!

Serve right away if you like it a little warm or refrigerate until cooled and serve.

 Roasted Parsnip and Horseradish Dip

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hot or Cold Vegetarian Crab Dip

I'm not a big fan of food labels. People always ask me what I am. I don't think many people eat by strong boundaries, unless of course if they have allergies or beliefs. For example, I am a vegetarian but have many vegan-tendencies ... I don't use cow's milk or regular mayonnaise, but will eat eggs, cheese and yogurt. I'm not gluten free but I try to use a lot of alternative flours in meals and baking. I think many people have those few exceptions in their life too. I like to consider myself a moderation eater (except no meat or fish), but even more importantly, I am a dipper. Anything that I can dip is a bonus in my book!

Labeling recipes can be so hard for me because almost in all situations, it only takes one substitution for it to go from vegetarian to vegan, gluten-filled to gluten-free, nut-filled or nut-free, dairy filled to dairy-free ... I think you get the idea. This is one of those recipes. A friend and I were recently talking about crab dips. she just had a really good one at a friends house and she felt bad for me since it's been so long since I've had crab dip. This quickly lead to the substitutions conversation about how easy it is to make any recipe fit your diet with a little bit of research.

For instance, I've seen a lot of recipes for jackfruit barbecue instead of using meat. I've always wanted to try one, but I just love my lentil barbecue so much I can't seem to pull the trigger. Since I am a dipper, I was ready to jump on this opportunity a lot faster than the barbecue (even though I use my barbecue as a dip too!). We did I quick google search and saw that a lot of people have used hearts of palm for a seafood substitution. To be honest, I've never used hearts of palm so I was pretty excited to try it. I've always seen it, usually by the artichokes in the grocery store so I knew it wasn't going to be hard or rare ingredient to find.

The hardest part of making this recipe was not hiding the hearts of palm. I wanted to showcase the vegetable amongst everything else I was adding to it. After trying a few different things out, I learned that the size of the hearts of palm was the deal breaker. Don't chop them too small, they should be, at the very least, twice the size as anything else so the texture really shines through. The first time I served this to people they were surprised and asked when we started eating fish again ... and this came from the biggest fisherman that I know! I knew I hit a home run.

Again, with this recipe, simply use veganaise, vegan cream cheese and vegetarian worsteshire sauce and it's vegan! Now, the only thing that I have a hard time deciding is if this should be served hot or cold! Both ways are both so good so I have been doing hot dip on cold days and cold dip on hot days.

Next attempt ... a smoked 'fish' dip! If this worked out so good, I'm interested in using hearts of palm a bit more. Look for that recipe soon.

Vegan Crab Dip

Vegetarian Crab Dip

Makes 2 cups

14 oz can hearts of palm, large chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 c green onions, chopped
1/4 c red bell pepper, diced
2 oz diced pimiento, drained
8 oz cream cheese, softened (regular or vegan)
1/4 c veganaise
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t worsteshire sauce
1/4 t paprika
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Heat a little oil in a pan. Cook the hearts of palm and garlic until hearts of palm are nicely browned on all sides.

Vegan Crab Dip

In a bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.

Serve right away if you would like or refrigerate until ready. If you want a hot crab dip, preheat oven for 350º and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through (time may vary depending on serving dish).

Vegan Crab Dip