peanut butter banana milkshake (vegan, sugar free)

pbmilkshakes Shakes and smoothies are such a “thing” these days.

(Almost) every time I see a shake or smoothie recipe posted on my favorite food blogs or on the pages of a magazine, I think, “I should try that.”

Yet, I rarely make it past this shake.100_2516The one that tastes rich and unwholesome but really is made from a few simple good-for-you ingredients with no dairy or sugar in sight. It is inspired by this recipe over at Healthy. Happy. Life.

Enough said. With summer is in full swing and school starting in less that one month for us, I’m keeping this post short and sweet…

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the peanut butter banana milkshake recipe

peanut butter banana milkshake

Prep Time: 5

Serves: 1

 

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, pre-sliced & frozen, per shake
  • 3 T peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Cinnamon
  • ½-3/4 cup almond milk or other dairy-free milk

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, starting with ½ cup of almond milk.

Blend until smooth, adding more milk if needed to produce a thick, but pourable, shake

Recipe Notes

For a peanut free version, try walnuts.

To keep the recipe raw, use a raw nut butter

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field of greens salad with stadium mustard dressing & crackerjack peanuts

field of greens saladEight years in and we finally signed our middle son up for baseball this year. It was something I’d meant to do several years ago, but somehow it’s hard to think baseball when registration is required in the throes of winter.

An avid sports fan, my husband has been looking forward to this from the birth of our first child. And he’s been teaching our boys especially how to root-root-root for the home team even when they often “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.” (It’s been decades since they won a World Series.)teamI have my own fond baseball memories…the Toronto Blue Jays winning the World Series two years in a row (though we’ve moved away, I’ll always quietly root for them too), my years as a pitcher on our high school slow pitch team, and neighborhood boys breaking out the bats and mitts as soon as the air breathed spring.

100_2672So with baseball season in full swing, I thought it would be fun to create a salad inspired by “American’s pastime.”field of greens CollageCucumbers and marinated mushrooms (an homage to a ball and mitt) nestle on a field of kale and Brussel sprouts. “Crackerjack” peanuts are a nod to the classic stadium snack but are coated with dates to keep the sugar “outta there.” Topping it off is a bittersweet stadium mustard dressing.crackerjackpeanutsA note on the peanuts: If saving money is important to you, it’s cheaper to shell them yourself. Seeing as we had a 5 lb. bag hanging around the house, this is the route I’ve taken lately). However, if time is of the essence, go for the pre-shelled and roasted peanuts. If you splurge on Spanish-roasted peanuts (my favorite choice for this salad), be sure to gently rub them in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the field of greens salad recipe

field of greens salad

Prep Time: 20-30 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Serves: 4-6 people

 

Ingredients

    for the Salad

    • Brussel sprouts, finely chopped
    • Kale, destemmed and chopped
    • Cucumber, sliced

    for the Marinated Mushrooms

    • 4 large Portabella mushroom caps or 16 oz. baby bellas
    • 1/3-1/2 cup coconut aminos
    • oregano
    • garlic powder
    • freshly ground black pepper

    for the “Crackerjack” peanuts

    • ½ cup shelled peanuts or Spanish peanuts
    • 1 T date paste
    • 2-3 T water

    for the Stadium Mustard dressing

    • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
    • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
    • 2 T stadium mustard
    • 2 T tahini
    • 1.5-2 tsp. agave or coconut nectar
    • ½ tsp. regular mustard
    • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
    • few dashes turmeric for color (optional)

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

    Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium high heat, combine date paste and water, stirring to combine. Add peanuts and continue to stir over medium high heat until they begin to clump together and the date paste begins to dry out (about 5-7 minutes). You may need to reduce the heat near the end of the cooking time to prevent the date paste from burning.

    Transfer peanuts to a baking pan and place in oven for another 5 minutes. Remove and cool.

    In a frying pan, add ingredients for the Marinated Mushrooms, bring liquid to a boil, reduce heat and cook until most of the liquid has reduced. Cool.

    For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a jar and shake vigorously to combine.

    Combine kale and Brussel sprouts, then arrange cucumber slices on top followed by the “Crackerjack” peanuts and marinated mushrooms, drizzle with dressing.*

    Recipe Notes

    I like Spanish peanuts best. If using, then gently rub in a clean kitchen towel to remove the skins. Add extra prep time if shelling your own peanuts.

    “Crackerjack” peanuts can be stored in an airtight jar for several days and are great for snacking. The date paste coating may soften a little, especially in humid conditions.

    The dressing stores well in the fridge for several days. I like adding the turmeric for eye-pleasing color. A few dashes goes a long way as the color intensifies slightly over time.

    My favorite way to serve salads is to prepare the base and set out toppings and dressing separately. That way, any leftovers will stay fresh.

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    jolly good potato & leek soup (vegan, oil free)

    100_2326With a new baby welcomed into the monarchy and surprising election results, the Brits have been in the headlines of late. So it seems rather timely to post a recipe that I often associate with England.

    I have a soft spot for the UK since we were blessed to live there for a few years when I was growing up, coupled with the fact that one of my grandmother’s haled from England, a war bride of the 1940’s.

    grandpa nan
    my grandpa & nan on their honeymoon in England

    The first month we lived there, we had tea and cookies every night.

    Back in March, I shared this recipe for vegan cabbage rolls, a nod to the Polish side of my heritage. As much as I’d like to veganize one of the more traditional British meals which my “Nan” often made – roast beef and Yorkshire puddings – it just wouldn’t be the same. Instead, I’ll turn to another recipe traditional to the British Isles…potato and leek soup.

    This is a recipe handed down to me from my mom and is super simple to make. As with many soups, it tastes better the second day, so consider making it ahead of time to let the flavors fully develop.potato leek soupCLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the potato & leek soup recipe

    jolly good potato & leek soup

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

    Serves: 10-12

    Ingredients

    • 2 medium leeks, sliced
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 7 medium organic russet potatoes, peeled & diced
    • ¾ tsp. salt
    • Dashes freshly ground pepper
    • water

    Instructions

    Sauté leeks and onions in a large stock pot in a little water until tender, about 5 minutes.

    Add potatoes and add water until potatoes are loosely floating.

    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add seasonings and simmer until potatoes can be mashed until smooth.

    Add more water if necessary to achieve desired consistency

    Recipe Notes

    Organic potatoes are best to use since potatoes have a high pesticide content.

    The soup tends to thicken as it sits, so you may need to add more water upon reheating.

    The consistency for this soup that I like best is one that is easily pourable without being too watery.

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    sweet potato & lentil soup (vegan, oil-free)

    2009-01-19 17.49.37The first vegan cookbook I ever purchased was Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson*. It was during the season in my life that my oldest son likes to refer to as “the time when we weren’t eating healthy.” I refer to it as the time when I didn’t realize the benefits of eating a plant-based diet.

    But the Lord knew He would bring me to this place, so He gradually encouraged me to go meat-free on more than just Monday. I started by exploring vegan and vegetarian cookbooks in our local library until I stumbled upon Vegan Planet*.

    One of my favorite recipes from the book is Robin’s “Indian-spiced Lentil Soup” on page 78.

    Although soups are most often thought of in the fall and winter, I make them year round. Especially when spring shows its chillier side.
    100_1753

    100_1772

    100_1770

    100_1757And I think this soup is especially spring-like with the bright addition of cilantro, an herb that flourishes in cooler temperatures.

    2009-01-19 17.12.30Spring, summer, fall, winter, here is my version of this sweet potato lentil soup.

    swplentilsoup CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the sweet potato lentil soup recipe

    sweet potato lentil soup

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 60-70 minutes

    Ingredients (6-8)

    • 1 small onion, diced
    • 1 celery rib, chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 small sweet potato, peeled & diced
    • 1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
    • 1 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1 tsp ground coriander
    • 1 ½ cups dried brown lentils
    • 6 cups water
    • ½ cup cilantro leaves, minced
    • ½-3/4 tsp. salt
    • Dashes of pepper

    Instructions

    In a stock pot, sauté onions, celery and garlic in a little water until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes)

    Add sweet potatoes and sauté 5 minutes more.

    Add water, tomatoes and seasonings except the cilantro. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 50 to 55 minutes until the lentils and sweet potato are cooked through.

    Add cilantro and cook 10 minutes more.

    Recipe Notes

    As with most soups, this one tastes even better the second day when the flavors have fully developed.

    This soup freezes well, so make some extra and keep on hand when you need a meal in a pinch.

     *I am an Amazon associate. If you purchase the cookbook through this link, it will provide a small credit to my account.

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    naturally salty sweet peanut butter banana jumblelaya (vegan, nut-free/raw option)

    100_1879Sometimes, I think the best recipes are those that are cobbled together…a little of this, a little of that, nothing measured. Just a few favorite ingredients in a bowl, in a cup, on a plate. Snacking especially lends itself to improv eating.

    Although my go to snack often is enough to satisfy, sometimes, I’m looking for something a little bit more…

    100_1883This snack is by no means intended to approximate the traditional Cajun jambalaya in the rice-veggies-meat sense, but it does mimic the dish’s mish mash approach to pulling ingredients together.

    Peanut butter + banana have long been a favorite of mine. (In my white-bread eating days, it was especially satisfying eat the pb+b on a toasted plain bagel.)

    Add in naturally sweet dried coconut and raisins and the hint of cinnamon and you have an unconventional, yet satisfying snack. I usually toss all these ingredients in a bowl, but for the pictures, I used a small canning jar, because it just looks prettier.

    If you have a nut allergy, substitute in sunflower seed butter. And if you prefer eating raw, use a raw nut butter. I recommend using a salted nut/seed butter as it complements the delicate sweetness of the fruit.

    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the salty sweet peanut butter banana jumblelaya

     Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Banana Jumblelaya

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    1 banana per person
    Raisins
    Unsweetened, shredded dried coconut
    Cinnamon
    Salted peanut butter or nut or seed butter of choice

    1. Slice bananas into a bowl, jar or mug
    2. Sprinkle on cinnamon
    3. Add remaining ingredients in desired quantity
    4. Enjoy!

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    oven-baked sweet potato chips + guacamole (vegan, oil-free)

    2009-01-18 19.13.25I grew up in a home where we ate quite a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. But somehow the avocado eluded us. And guacamole? The first time I tried it I was in my late twenties.

    It was love-at-first-bite.

    guacamole collage But chips, guac’s side kick, are rather low on the healthy eating spectrum, sprouted, organic, GMO-free or not. And despite their salty, crunchy tastiness, I’ve been looking beyond the vegan label to examine what I’m actually putting into my body.  Because eating a plant-based diet doesn’t necessarily = a healthy diet.

    So when I want a healthier compadre for my guacamole, I round up some sweet potatoes and put them to work. According to WebMD, sweet potatoes are full of calcium, potassium and vitamins A & C.sweet potato rounds collageBoth recipes are simple to prepare and contain a small handful of ingredients.

    But before we get to the recipes, I wondered…are there any foods or dishes that somehow eluded you in childhood that you discovered as an adult?

    CLICK TO PRINT A PDF of the guacamole recipe
    CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the oven baked sweet potato chips recipe

    oven baked sweet potato chips & guacamole (oil free, vegan)

    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

    Cook Time: 45-60 minutes

    Keywords: bake raw appetizer snack side gluten-free nut-free oil free paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian garlic avocado cilantro sweet potato Cinco de Mayo Mexican

    Ingredients

      For the Sweet Potato Chips

      • Sweet potatoes
      • Salt
      • Chili powder
      • Cumin

      For the Guacamole

      • 1 avocado
      • 1- 1½ tsp. fresh lime juice
      • 1-2 T cilantro
      • 1 small garlic clove, minced
      • 1 tsp. cumin
      • 1/8 tsp. salt
      • Freshly ground pepper

      Instructions

      For the Sweet Potato Chips

      Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

      Meanwhile, peel sweet potatoes, then slice into rounds about ¼” thick.

      Place rounds on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprinkle with seasonings to your taste.

      Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hours, turning at least once until potatoes are cooked through.

      For the Guacamole

      Peel the avocado, remove pit and mash.

      Add remaining ingredients to the avocado and stir thoroughly.

      Best if served immediately.

      Recipe Notes

      Plan to prepare approximately 1-2 sweet potatoes per person depending on the size of the potato.

      Sweet potato chips are best when freshly cooked, but can be stored in the fridge and then reheated

      Avocados are ripe when their skins are black and they yield gently to the touch.

      A fork or potato masher work well to mash the avocado.

      Sometimes I add in diced onion and/or finely diced tomatoes to mix things up a bit.

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      three-ingredient cinnamon toast (sugar & oil-free, vegan)

      100_1693On this last day of March I’m making a last ditch effort to post a new recipe before we turn the calendar to April. Although it’s been rather quiet here at brownberry tales,  on my side of the screen, it’s been business, and busy-ness, as usual which has led to the starting, but not finishing two other posts.

      Every once and awhile I hit a meal planning slump (such a depressing, clunky word, right?). But honestly, it’s challenging to maintain enthusiasm when planning meals for six palettes that don’t always agree on what tastes good, especially when it comes to plant-based recipes. As a high achiever who loves her family, I want all my peeps to enjoy what they are eating.

      Since inspiration was lacking from traditional dinner recipes, last night, I turned to breakfast. Inspiration found!

      cinnamon toast

      The recipe I’m sharing today is not the one I served last night (pancakes), but it is the recipe I used for a topping. After whipping it up, it reminded me of the cinnamon-sugar topping I used to put on toast. I still have vivid memories of toasting a piece of bread, slathering in with butter, then sprinkling on the cinnamon-sugar mix. Yum! But not so great for the teeth or the body.

      In this version, date paste replaces the sugar and the pecans make an excellent butter substitute. The cinnamon got to stay. 😉

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the cinnamon toast recipe

      3-ingredient Cinnamon Toast

      100_16951/2 c. pecans
      1/4 c. date paste
      1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon*

      serving size: 3-4 pieces of toast

      Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until the oils release in the pecans and the mixture begins to clump together and becomes spreadable. This may take 3-5 minutes. Spread on toast and store any leftovers in the fridge.

      Recipe Notes

      • I used 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
      • My favorite bread is the Ezekiel 4:9 Bread by Food for Life because they use sprouted whole grains, but use gluten-free bread if needed
      • Bring any leftovers to room temperature before using.
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      marinara sauce for pasta or pizza, oil & sugar free

      100_0929For the longest time I could not bring myself to eat pasta with sauce on it.  Chalk it up to getting the flu after eating spaghetti for dinner. Instead, I requested my spaghetti be served with Italian Salad Dressing.

      Years went by until I worked up the nerve to start eating pasta with a little bit of sauce, but it wasn’t until I went to Venice, Italy as a senior in high school that I finally understood why people love pasta.

      I started making my own sauce a few years ago when I switched to eating vegan and also cutting back on oils (most store bought sauces contain oil and many also contain sugar). The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book which also inspired my change in diet.

      Since we are a family of six and this sauce freezes well, I make a large quantity. That way, I only need to prepare this about once a month. It makes enough to fill about five large mason jars plus a few smaller jars for pizza sauce.

      When I don’t have tomatoes on hand from my garden, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes are Muir Glen’s organic diced or whole tomatoes because 1. they’re organic and 2. Muir Glen took the BPA out of their can lining. Thankfully, I can buy these in bulk at BJs to save money.

      marinara sauce collage

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the marinara sauce recipe

      oil & sugar free marinara sauce for pasta or pizza

      Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

      Cook Time: at least 30 minutes

      Ingredients

      • 2 medium-small onions, diced
      • 15-20 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
      • 5 28-oz. canned tomatoes
      • ½ c. fresh basil
      • 3 tsp. dried oregano
      • 2 tsp. salt
      • Dashes freshly ground black pepper
      • 1-2 6-oz cans tomato paste (optional)

      Instructions

      In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic with a little water to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

      Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes in batches to desired sauce consistency.

      Add blended tomatoes to stock pot along with other ingredients except the tomato paste.

      Simmer at least 30 minutes or longer to let flavors develop.

      For pizza sauce, set aside several cups of the pasta sauce and stir in tomato paste until thoroughly combined. Doing so in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat helps with this process.

      Recipe Notes

      I use Muir Glen’s organic whole or diced tomatoes and blend them to a fairly smooth consistency.

      Garlic is the key to a tasty sauce, but if you’re not a big fan of garlic, start with a slightly smaller quantity.

      This recipe makes a lot and it freezes well. One batch usually yields enough sauce for 3-4 pasta meals plus 3-4 pizzas.

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      dark chocolate pudding-mousse (raw)

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      Whenever I had to do a research project for school, I always leaned toward more sober subjects, like “why suntanning is bad for you” or “pollution in the environment.” Why I didn’t think I could combine my fondness for science with something fun like…chocolate…is beyond me.

      My oldest son, on the other hand, gets it. Several times in the past couple of years, he has checked this book out from the library.  The first time was for a research project in second grade and just for fun after that. I like his style.

      reese
      when he dressed as his favorite character – Willy Wonka – for school

      And reading through that book, it suddenly clicked with me why chocolate’s health benefits are  touted…it’s a vegetable! “Eat your veggies” suddenly takes on a whole new meaning.

      Of course, chocolate stops being a health food when paired with sugar and milk. Which is why recipes like this one for Dark Chocolate Pudding-Mousse are the answer to keeping your taste buds and body happy.

      The inspiration for this recipe came from a bonus recipe pack for the Oh She Glows cookbook, but I added a few extra ingredients including the full-fat coconut to further mask the avocado. When you first mix it up, it has the texture of pudding, but will take on the texture of mousse once refrigerated. To keep a more pudding-like consistency, try adding your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk a 1/2 cup at a time (I prefer unsweetened vanilla almond milk).

      pudding mousse photo

      A note of caution: If you are trying to lose weight, eat this recipe sparingly because avocado and full-fat coconut milk are heavy hitters in the fat department, even if it is plant-based fat. On the flip side, if you find yourself shedding too much weight from eating a low-fat, plant-based, carb-light diet, then by all means indulge away.

      And though, spooning it on a plate with sides of mashed potatoes and greens might be carrying it a little too far, I’m all for serving this to my children as an extra treat a breakfast. After all, what better way to start the day than with a cup of fruits and veggies?

      CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the dark chocolate pudding mousse recipe

       

      dark chocolate pudding-mousse

       

      Prep Time: less than 10 minutes

      Keywords: food processor raw dessert snack gluten-free low-sodium paleo soy-free sugar-free vegan coconut milk dates chocolate

      Ingredients

      • 1 ripe avocado
      • 1 14.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
      • 2/3 c. date paste
      • 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (try fair trade!)
      • 2 tsp. vanilla
      • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
      • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
      • 2 T almond butter (optional)
      • unsweetened non-dairy milk as needed

      Instructions

      Peel avocado, remove pit and put in food processor.

      Add date paste, breaking into small pieces to help with the blending.

      Add remaining ingredients (except nondairy milk),

      Blend ingredients until smooth, anywhere from 1-3 minutes.

      If too thick, add nondairy milk 1/4 cup at a time to achieve desired consistency.

      Eat immediately or place in refrigerator for later.

      Recipe Notes

      An avocado that easily yields when gently pressed and is free of bruises works best.

      Be sure to carefully read your stevia package to make sure it is pure as many stevia products are a blend and may include undesired ingredients. I bought my stevia at Trader Joe’s and it came with its own scoop. One hundred percent pure stevia is potent so the scoop is tiny, less than 1/8 tsp.

      I use roasted almond butter in my recipe because that is what I have on hand. If you want to keep it raw, use raw almond butter.

      This recipe thickens as it chills, achieving a mousse-like texture. Adding nondairy milk (I like unsweetened vanilla almond milk best) helps return it to a pudding. This pudding should be consumed within 3 days of eating and must be kept refrigerated.

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