New Blog!

Hi all,

While I’m not abandoning this blog in any fashion whatsoever, I wanted to let you know that I have a new blog, dedicated to blender recipes that take around 30 seconds each.  I hope that you will follow this new blog at as I will be posting delicious, healthy recipes for busy folks like myself. The new blog has just been started, so there isn’t much to see at the moment, but I will be posting there more often since it’s dedicated to quick, easy recipes.

❤ Lauren

Dr Oz’s Green Drink, Made Bearable!

This smoothie is GREEN! 🙂

dr oz smoothie

I’ve really gotten into green smoothies in the past year or so.  I’m known at work as the girl who always brings a jar of “green sludge” for breakfast.  I’ve found that if people don’t see the smoothie and they taste it, they really like it, but the green color just turns people off– reminds them of swamp water or water from a swimming pool that hasn’t been tended to in a few years.  I get that, but I personally love the beautiful, bright green color that most of my smoothies turn out to be.

I recently came across all the internet hype over Dr Oz’s “green drink,” which in fact, is a smoothie, not a juice or whatever else a “drink” would insinuate.  I noticed that it had a lot more veggies and herbs and a lot less fruit than I typically use.  I put equal amounts of fruit and greens in my smoothies and tend to avoid really potent flavors like celery and parsley.  I know these things are good for you, but I prefer them cooked or in cooked foods (in the case of parsley).

Still, I’m a pretty advanced green smoothie drinker, after all, I’ve used greens like dandelion, chard, and collards, so I’ve advanced past the beginner stage!  I decided to try Dr O’s “drink,” which he claims his kids drink every day and love. Oprah called it “a glass of fresh.”  Fresh is good!

The recipe, which seems to vary by what website you happen to be looking at, basically calls for cucumber, spinach, parsley, mint, carrot, apple, celery, lemon, lime, and ginger.  I made the recipe as-is and have to admit, the celery and parsley were all I could really taste.  After a few sips, I thought, “This isn’t great, but it’s tolerable.” I really wanted to pour it out halfway through. By the end of the jar, I felt sick.

So now I have all these ingredients in my fridge and I need to use them. I decided to try again, this time my way, and see if I could make it taste better.  I really enjoyed what I came up with.  Adding in pineapple (which is great for adding a lot of sweetness) and a baby banana somewhat evened out the fruit to veggie ratio.  I also added more lime and lemon juice since it’s really good at cutting through the “green” flavor and brightening the whole thing up.  I hope you like it🙂

Serves 1 (about 16 oz)

1/2 cup cold water
1 big fistfull of fresh baby spinach
1/4 of a large cucumber
sprig of mint (about 8-10 leaves)
small handful parsley (about a palmfull, maybe?)
1 stalk celery
1/2 carrot (a piece about 3 inches long)
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 frozen baby banana (or half of a regular banana)
1/2 cup ice  (if your fruit is not frozen, add more if you like your smoothies really cold)

Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender in the order listed.  Blend on high until smooth and enjoy!

Purple Power Smoothie

Purple is my favorite color, so I love the way this smoothie looks, plus it’s yummy! Cabbage is one of the veggies you won’t taste in a smoothie, so don’t be afraid. It’s loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants!purple power smoothie1

Feel free to add greens to this, as always, but it will change the color. Spinach is another veggie that you won’t taste in a smoothie (and I actually added some to mine, so it isn’t as purple as it would have otherwise been.)

1 container of mixed berry, strawberry, or blueberry yogurt (5 oz or so, usually)
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup purple cabbage
3 large strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup of ice (omit if using frozen berries)
1 cup water
few drops liquid stevia, if desired

I also added a couple tablespoons of hemp hearts to mine, for protein and omega 3.

Blend on high until smooth.

purple power smoothie

Crispy Honey Seitan

In my pre-veg life, when we went out to Chinese restaurants, I loved to order crispy honey chicken.  Something about that sticky sweet sauce was just so good I wanted to lick the plate clean.  I haven’t had anything like that in almost 8 years, but thanks to Isa Moscowitz’s most recent cookbook, Isa Does It, I’ve slightly altered her “Sticky Orange Chicky Stir-Fry” recipe   (which is AMAZING as-is) into what has become a repeat recipe in our home.

I typically add stir fried veggies in with this for a more well-rounded meal.  You can sautee them in the same pan with the seitan and add them in with the sauce a the end.

Serves 4

Two 8 oz packages of sliced seitan (I make my own – it’s much cheaper!)
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 cup orange juice (fresh squeezed is best)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons mirin
1 slightly rounded tablespoon cornstarch
3 gloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1/2 cup green onions, sliced
cooked brown rice or quinoa, for serving

 Heat the sesame oil over slightly-higher-than-medium heat.  Add the seitan slices and brown for about 4 minutes on each side.  Put the seitan aside on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

(At this point, you can add another tablespoon of sesame oil and do your veggies if you like.)

In the same pan (only empty this time), add a wee bit more sesame oil and turn the heat down to medium.  Sautee the garlic and ginger for about 30 seconds and then add the honey, orange juice, and mirin.  Whisk in the cornstarch until it is dissolved. Continue to whisk over the heat until the sauce thickens.  This should take about 5 minutes.

Add in the crispy seitan and veggies (if using) and sprinkle on the green onions.  Heat everything through, making sure it’s coated with the sauce, for about 3 minutes and then serve over brown rice or quinoa.  I also like to sprinkle mine with sesame seeds. 🙂



30-second vegan chocolate chip peanut butter ice cream

imageBecause today, my uterus demands it!

Makes one large serving:
2 frozen bananas
1 rounded tablespoon of unsweetened peanut butter
1 tablespoon dark chocolate chips, plus more for garnish

Slice the frozen bananas and add them to a Vitamix with the peanut butter. Run on high, using the tamper to push the frozen banana into the blades. After about 15 seconds, stop the motor and add in the chocolate chips. Continue blending and pressing until the “ice cream” is smooth but still frozen, maybe 8-10 seconds. Serve topped with additional chocolate chips, if desired (and why wouldn’t it be desired?!).

Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes with Apple Cinnamon Compote

pancakesA healthy version of the apple cinnamon pancakes I adored years ago from IHOP, without any of the fat, cholesterol, sugar, or processed crap!

This makes enough for 8 pancakes with 1/4 cup compote topping each.

Compote ingredients:
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3 tablespoons agave syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt the Earth Balance in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and add the apples. Saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the cinnamon and agave and set aside, but keep warm.

While the apples are cooking, you can go ahead and make the pancake batter.

Pancake ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 cup plant-based milk

*WW pastry flour is lighter than regular ww flour and all of the coarse husks have been removed.  You can use regular ww flour here, but the pancakes will be more dense and not as fluffy.

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder and then add the milk and agave. Mix with a whisk, just until combined. The batter will have some small lumps, but that’s okay. You want to break down the clumps of baking soda and flour, but you don’t want to overmix. Now let the batter sit for 10 minutes while you finish your compote, preheat a skillet for the pancakes, do a few dishes, or whatever. Letting the batter rest will allow the reaction between the salt, baking powder, and wet ingredients to occur. You will start seeing bubbles form on the surface of the batter. This is what will make the pancakes fluffy without the use of eggs.

Preheat a skillet or griddle pan over just-below-medium heat. This is the part where you can keep the pancakes fat free or add a little coconut oil to the skillet, but if you have a good non-stick skillet, no oil is necessary. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour the batter into the skillet. In just under two minutes, bubbles should be forming on the top of the pancake and that is how you know to flip it. I’ve timed mine to just at 1 minute 40 seconds on my stove. Flip and give it another 1 minute 40 seconds (times vary by stove, of course.  Just lift up the edge of the pancake and take a peek, if in doubt).

If you want to keep all of your pancakes warm until you’re done, turn your oven to the “warm” setting and put an oven-save plate on the top rack. As you make the pancakes, add them to the plate.

Healthy Doritoes (Spicy, Cheesy Kale Chips)

Unfortunately I have inherited some sort of crazy chip addiction that all of the women in my family suffer from. I absolutely LOVE chips, perhaps even more than I love peanut butter or chocolate (yes, it’s that serious). My favorites are kettle cooked salt and vinegar chips. NEVER leave me alone with a bag of those. Years ago, I would frequently wolf down an entire bag of Doritoes by myself. Now, of course, I hardly ever have chips, but when I do, it’s hard to control myself, and I avoid Doritoes completely (have you ever read the ingredients list?!).

So what’s a girl with an insane chip addiction to do? Luckily I also have a kale addiction, so enter the kale chip! Even kale naysayers won’t be able to eat just one!

You can buy these in the store, but they’re crazy expensive. $8 for a small bag? No thanks! There are also kale chip aficionados out there that swear you have to use a dehydrator to get good kale chips, but I don’t own a dehydrator. Luckily, they’re insanely delicious right out of an oven, which I own!

Feel free to play around with spices. They’re great with just plain salt, Old bay seasoning, garlic powder, cumin & cayenne, or with cinnamon & honey. This is just my go-to kale chip flavor.

1 bunch of kale, stems removed, leaves torn into large pieces (they will shrink in the oven)
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Preheat your oven to 325.

I find it easiest to wash and dry the kale leaves with the stems still attached. Shake as much water off as you can and then lay the leaves in between paper towels or kitchen towels. **GET THEM AS DRY AS POSSIBLE. This is really important or your chips will be soggy!** If you have a salad spinner, spin them dry.

Once you’ve washed, dried, de-stemmed, and cut up your kale, place it on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Drizzle the oil over the leaves and sprinkle on the salt (as much as you like, but don’t go too crazy) and nutritional yeast. Use your clean hands to massage the oil into the leaves until they are all evenly coated. If you had a really big bunch of kale, add more oil if you feel it’s not enough to be evenly distributed. Now spread them out evenly so that you have a single layer (you may need to use 2 baking sheets).

Bake for about 12 minutes. You may want to check them at 10 or give them as long as 15, but don’t burn them or they’ll be bitter (obviously). They should still be green, but thin and crispy just like potato chips.

Now eat the entire batch and don’t feel and ounce of guilt!

PS You really need to eat these the same day. I tried packing some for a plane ride once and the next day they were soggy and gross!