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MCLV Mange: Cookie Monster

When I saw the delicious looking Super Charge Me cookies on Une Vie Saine a few weeks ago I knew that they would soon make their way into my life. The original recipe that Gabriela used was from Dreena Burton‘s Eat, Drink & Be Vegan – like these cookies that I made last year.

Oddly enough, a few days later, before I got a chance to make these, I stumbled on a recipe for Gluten-Free Kitchen Sink Cookies on FitSugar that were derived from the Une Vie Saine’s recipe. Small world!

What I love about these cookies is that not only are they simple, they’re chalk full of tasty, healthy ingredients like flax seeds, almond butter, gluten-free oats and unsweetened coconut. No eggs or butter or cups of oil to pack them with fat and calories like some other cookie recipes out there (or * gasp * store-bought cookies).

And with two cookie occasions coming up – a 3 year old’s birthday and a thank you for a colleague – I finally got around to making a couple batches of these cookies last week. Arianna and I happily puttered around my kitchen pulling various ingredients out of cupboards to use as the “mix-ins” in the different batches.

We ended up making three different, but not terribly distinct, batches. The first was closest to the original recipe with almond butter, raw cacao nibs, and almond chunks. For the second I switched from basic all-purpose gluten-free flour to almond flour and from maple syrup as the sweetener to brown rice syrup. Then I added walnuts, carob chips and more coconut flakes.

The final batch was based on the kitchen sink recipe that I found on FitSugar and without the oats the cookies unfortunately flattened out in the oven. Not. Pretty. They were quite tasty though – the dried cherries were an inspired choice if I do say so myself – so my boyfriend and I took care of them in private. 🙂

I highly recommend trying out this recipe. While they may not exactly be guilt-free, they are cookies after all, they’re a much healthier alternative if you’re already planning to make cookies or are in the mood for a sweet treat.

I even brought some into my office and passed them out around 8am, advertising them as breakfast cookies!

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange installment or check out previous posts from this series to see what you’ve missed so far:

 
 
And don’t forget, tomorrow is the last day to enter the Spring Giveaway to win a $50 gift certificate to Bloomingdale’s!!!
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MCLV Mange: Vegetable Lasagna

After surviving our juice cleanse adventure my friend Arianna and I decided to concentrate on healthy eating for the month of March and scheduled a dinner for the two of us each week for the month. Not going out to eat for great, but ultimately greasy and unhealthy food, mind you. We decided to make dinner for ourselves once a week and rather than open a bottle of red, we’d accompany dinner with either a movie or a walk.

So after our Farmer’s Market Fare warm-up dinner last Sunday, we broke out the big guns on Monday night and attempted the potentially impossible. Vegetable lasagna with no cheese OR pasta.

GASP

I saw a recipe for Gluten-Free, Vegan Zucchini Lasagna on the FitSugar website and despite the scary/intimidating/awful sounding recipe name, I decided that we should give it a try. I mean, the picture looked good and that’s got to mean something, right? Plus the ingredient list was reasonable and the recipe didn’t appear overly complicated, both necessities for a work-night meal when you get up as early as I do.

Honestly, cutting up the zucchini was the most challenging part of the food preparation for me. My mandolin was broken – Um, again – So I had to slice the zucchini by hand. Not. Pretty.

We made a quick trip to my friendly neighborhood Trader Joe’s for the few ingredients that I didn’t already have on hand and picked up both of the tomato-based sauces that the recipe called for. Next time I try this recipe I’ll probably take the time to make the marinara sauce from scratch in advance. Never hurts to have some extra sauce in the freezer!

Simmering the quinoa in the tomato sauce and onion mixture gave it a great flavor, more robust than when you cook it in water alone. Next time I make a pot of quinoa I’m definitely going to try something along these lines, it was quite tasty.

Layering the quinoa, onion & tomato sauce blend, zucchini slices, and marinara sauce was actually sort of fun. I’ve never made lasagna before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was relatively easy to figure out this step, I can’t imagine that things could go terribly awry here regardless of your artistic talents.

Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time that I had “real” lasagna off the top of my head, but I though that this was an excellent dish. The tomato quinoa layer had a savory, nutty flavor, the roasted zucchini slices added a noodle-like texture but with a hearty, fall vegetable taste, and the two types of tomato sauce added a great Italian flair to the meal.

And while it was really tasty right out of the oven, it was a bit messy and hard to plate well.

We each had seconds though and I happily ate the leftovers the next day. The lasagna held its form much better after 24 hours in the fridge though, it definitely looked prettier  and more photogenic the second day.

But we can’t forget, since it was date night we needed a movie to go along with our piping hot bowls full of lasagna. And we put a lot of thought into our movie selection for the evening of course, it wasn’t just what happened to appear at the top of my Netflix queue or anything like that…

How was it? While it was entertaining we decided we couldn’t take Taylor Lautner seriously as anything other than a werewolf. That’s some serious type-casting to deal with kid!

Stay tuned for the next MCLV Mange episode or check out past installments from this series and see what you missed:

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MCLV Mange: Coconut Vegetables

Welcome to a new reader requested segment called MCLV Mange where I’ll provide a recipe or meal idea once or twice a month – Something quick, easy, and healthy. As always, feel free to email me with any questions, requests, or topic suggestions.

Let’s start with something extraordinarily basic that I love – Coconut vegetables. It’s a healthy, simple vegetable dish. High in Vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, manganese, folate, magnesium and phosphorous – Carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower are extraordinarily healthy.

What do you need?

You can pick up veggies at your local market, anything fresh that you’re in the mood for, or even take the quick route and grab a pre-cleaned bag of mixed vegetables like I showed below. Any variety will do! I especially like mixes with sugar snap peas or I’ll get some brussels sprouts, chop them in half and throw them in.

{Trader Joe’s and Safeway both have great, inexpensive options to choose from}

Cook them however you’d like – Steam, boil, sautee – Personally I’m partial to steaming, that way they keep more of their nutrients, stay a bright vibrant color, and still have a slightly crisp texture. Now what is it that makes these veggies my favorite? Just add 1/4 or 1/3 of cup of coconut milk! Coconut milk is an excellent, easily absorbable source of vitamins and nutrients like phosphorus, copper, dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Once you’ve fully coated the vegetables in the desired amount of coconut milk, add your seasonings. Sometimes I leave them with just the coconut milk, but other times I’m in the mood for a more complex flavour. I know it may sound unusual, but garlic is a great accompaniment to the subtle sweetness of coconut milk.

Season to taste and you’re done! Sometimes I even add a little Earth Balance to top things off, though it definitely it isn’t necessary.

You can eat the veggies as part of your main dish and add a baked sweet potato on the side or eat them with a grain (brown rice or quinoa) or meat dish (lean chicken breast or white fish).

Want a pseudo-healthy cocktail idea to round out your evening meal? FitSugar has a creative, low-calorie idea to replace a traditional gin and tonic – an Elderflower Gin Cordial.

Happy eating & stay tuned for the next installment of this tasty new series!

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