Saturday, July 7, 2012

Super-Charge Me! Cookies and Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal (Oil Free, Wheat Free)

We've had a lot going on around here. My sister and her husband just had their first baby, a girl! Adjusting to a new infant has been work around the clock for them. All of our family and friends have tried and continue to make efforts to try and ease their burden and help with their transition into parenthood.

And, my older brother is getting married next week, WAHOO! I love his fiance and am so excited to have her as my sixth sister! I'll be traveling to Utah to attend his wedding and reception. Afterwards we are heading to Oregon for a conference that my husband is attending.

So I hope to continue blogging over the next few weeks and maybe show a bit about the food we eat on the road. It takes additional effort, but if we try, it is doable and delicious. This is what Dr. McDougall says about eating out (or eating on the road!)

I love what he says about oil! I am so gonna' try that.

(Oh, and BTW, Dr. McDougall has a lot of these videos on his website, I highly recommend you watch these, they are awesome! Just click on the link above and watch the short videos of interest to you.)

Besides having to eat out more because of travel, most of our car snack food will consist of cut carrots and celery (we find that on the road we just want to munch endlessly!) a lot of bananas, grapes, oranges and nectarines, chickpea "tuna" salad sandwiches, and PB&J sandwiches. But part of our car food will also be the Super-Charge Me Cookies by Dreena Burton, made oil free with a minor modification. I LOVE THESE COOKIES!

I have found that the most successful cookies that are made oil free usually have nut butter in them, and other add-ins such as oats, nuts, shredded coconut, chocolate chips and dried fruits (these give crunch and texture, instead of cakey cookies).

This recipe meets all of the above criteria, giving them a nice texture of crunch on the outside and chewy on the inside.

They are also more enjoyable if the original recipe requires only 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil. The less oil the recipe calls for, the better the recipe turns out when I replace it with fruit purees. In this recipe I use applesauce and I love it.

1 Tablespoon of applesauce is only about 17 calories (none of which are from fat) and 1 Tablespoon of oil is 130 calories, all of which are from fat. Oil is also the cause of my oily skin. Sounds ridiculous, but for me, it is true. My skin has been revolutionized by eliminating oil. But more on that, later! (Thank you, Katie, for encouraging me to try to be oil free by asking about skin improvement!!! You totally motivated me!)

I am going to double or maybe even quadruple this recipe and we will eat them on the road. My kids LOVE these cookies also, and that's saying a lot as they usually prefer the cookies made with oil.

Also, I have discovered a new hot cereal that I absolutely LOVE and highly recommend.

It is very easy to make, gluten and oil free, and it tastes so good I think I am in heaven! It will make you feel fabulous and energetic, too! I encourage you to give it a try; four bags of these cost about $11 on Amazon. I am sure places like Sunflower Market and Whole Foods Market will carry it also.

Just a teaspoon or two of brown sugar, some fresh fruit like peaches, bananas or nectarines, some non-dairy milk, and you will have yourself a warm, delicious and energizing quick breakfast.

You will especially enjoy it if you like cream of wheat cereal but want a lighter version, or if you are an oatmeal person. Although I must say that this has quite a bit more texture than oatmeal--the corn gives it a bit of crunch with the creamy taste.

I hope you make and enjoy these easy cookies as much as we do. I also would love to hear if you try the Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal, and what you think of it.

Happy eating!

Super-Charge Me! Cookies
From Dreena Burton's website:
Ingredients (11-12 cookies)

1 cup rolled oats or quick oats
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/4 tsp (rounded) sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 –1/3 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit
3–4 tbsp carob or chocolate chips (optional; or use more dried fruit, nuts, or seeds)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup flax meal (not flax seed)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (can also sub agave nectar or honey)
3 tbsp almond butter (may use cashew, peanut, hemp seed butter)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp applesauce


Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and carob or chocolate chips, sift in baking powder, and stir until well combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in applesauce. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart, and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 11-12 cookies

Friday, July 6, 2012

Seasoned Lentil and Bulgur "Ground Beef" (Gluten Free Option)

Many people have approached me recently and remarked, “How do you stay so slender?”

My kids and I on our daily run & bike ride.
I am in NO way saying this to be boastful or prideful. I'm actually a bit surprised because it feels like it's nothing really special that I have done by myself. I enjoy a lot of meals that I have been enjoying my whole life, but just with some healthier replacements. My mantra is that you take a food or meal that is healthy, and you create or find replacements to make it healthier, and continue to enjoy those meals. Often physical changes happen so gradually that I don't notice or think about them. I wish I could say, "It's the power of magical food!"

I am saying this, however, because eating plant-based whole foods has some serious side-benefits and people notice.

I’ll be purchasing groceries at the checkout, or casually conversing with a friend, and the questions start coming; from family to friends and strangers alike, they all have similar questions.

In that space of time between the question and my response I realize I have a key opportunity to teach life-saving principles. I have tried many approaches to see which one meets with the most success.

Have you found a well-received response to these types of questions?

Yes, this is my baby, I know we have dramatically different coloring!

Recently a friend stated, “You’re looking great by the way, and it’s not just the skinny, it’s the long hair, and the improved skin, etc.”

My response?

“You know, I have never been able to grow my hair out long before in my whole life. I have been eating a lot of leafy greens and it has completely changed my hair.”

Her response, “So, what, is that like, Folate?”

She immediately wanted to know how she could avoid eating the leafy greens and get the same benefit from an isolated supplement. CRASH, and burn! Another lost opportunity to teach what I have learned to be so completely valuable in my life.

You see, her response is totally legit. It’s normal. No one wants to hear that they are going to have to give up comfort food so they can half-starve as they try to feel some sense of satiation from lettuce leaves and raw carrots. What they don’t understand, and what I have so often failed to properly explain, is just how well and how much I eat with this lifestyle. If those who ask these questions get the idea from me that I only eat salads made from iceberg lettuce and a few thinly sliced carrots with no dressing, they mentally quit before they even physically start.

I definitely CANNOT tell people that I am vegan, or their imaginations conjure up some light, airy crackers that have no substance, and hippies doing dances to save the cows and pigs.

When asked how I stay so slender at the checkout stand, I have crashed and burned again when I respond, “I eat produce, tons and tons of fresh produce.” A look of complete disinterest came over the women's face as she averted her eyes and found something else to discuss with someone else.

And my heart sinks. I did not properly represent what I eat. With this lifestyle I enjoy cookies, pancakes, waffles, smoothies, casseroles, muffins, sandwiches, pizza, burgers, soups, salads, desserts, oatmeal, cereal, ice cream, pasta, mashed potatoes, and on and on and on. Etc, etc, etc! How can I represent these foods in one sentence?

What has been my most successful response?


Thank you, Dr. McDougall, I think I love you!

Recently my most well-received response, met with additional curiosity, desire to change, and understanding:

“Just continue eating what you currently enjoy, and add more starch. Eat MORE rice, beans and legumes, bread, corn, potatoes, pasta, oatmeal, grains, etc. and you will lose weight and feel better. And if you REALLY want to lose weight, throw in some fruit and vegetables on the side.”

People can wrap their head around that, and all of us want to be told that the answer lies in eating more.

So many of us have been told that starches are fattening. What a depressing thought! The most comforting and health-promoting foods in the world have been condemned as evil and unhealthy. I am here to show you with my photos and my personal experience that starch, along with fruits and veggies are the answer. Yet according to many of today's diet gurus we're supposed to feel good and lose weight after eating bacon, butter, steak, and cheese. This creates so much confusion for so many people, including myself before I discovered the power of whole foods.

Even more of us have been told to restrict our portion sizes. Eat less. Go ahead and eat everything you see, just less of it. I am here to state that this is an impossible task. One in which I have never had enough self-discipline to master. It is not a long term feasible plan. The body will fight to get the satiation that it needs to survive, and I am NOT a self-disciplined person.

Still not convinced that starches are what make me thin? Watch this little video from Dr. McDougall's website. My pictures plus this video should tell us something about the power of starch and whole foods!

So, I am here to provide you with a smash-hit recipe. Approved by extended family carnivores. This is not airy, it is not a cracker, nor is it lettuce and thinly sliced carrots. It's substantive, savory, and sensational. It's starch. It's my tried-and-true replacement for ground beef recipes. It's oil free, and if you use it in your recipes to replace the beef, it will help you lose weight.

So far I have used it in Sloppy Joe's and Shepherd's Pie. Each recipe was met with rave reviews, and each one is very simple:

Basic Idea for Shepherd's Pie:

1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds Lentil and Bulgur Ground Beef Replacement (depending on how meaty you like your shepherd's pie)
(an optional sauteed onion)
2 cans of Campbell's condensed tomato soup (Yes, it's vegan!)
4-6 cups steamed vegetable (carrots, broccoli and peas work best, or a combo)
1 large batch of your favorite home-made mashed potatoes (preferably oil free and seasoned well with salt and pepper)

Stir to thoroughly combine one pound ground beef replacement with optional sauteed onion and 2 cans condensed tomato soup. Layer in oven safe dish starting with "meat" and soup mixture, then veggies, then mashed potatoes and heat through in the oven. (About 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes).

For the Sloppy Joe's:

3/4 to 1 pound Lentil and Bulgur Ground Beef Replacement
1 can of Hunt's Manwich Thick and Chunky Sloppy Joe Sauce
1/2 of a medium onion, sauteed
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed, and lightly smashed with a fork or pastry blender (OPTIONAL)
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4- 1/2 cup ketchup
Salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together in a skillet on the stove-top and heat through. Simply slap it on down onto a hamburger bun with some lettuce or spinach and some ketchup and you have a manly man's Sloppy Joe.

I am not sure how the recipe works for beef recipes that do not call for tomato sauce added to the beef. I will have to try that out. If you would like me to, I could try to post specific recipes using the ground beef replacement. There were rave reviews by my omnivorous extended family members about how good the Shepherd's Pie and Sloppy Joe's were, and I am fairly confident you will enjoy it in those two dishes.

Seasoned Lentil and Bulgur "Ground Beef" Replacement
(Tweaked from two recipes: Nofu Love Loaf from Dreena Burton's "Let Them Eat Vegan," and tweaked spice combination from Neva Brackett's, "Seven Secrets.")


1 cup brown (green) lentils, rinsed
2 cups vegan vegetable stock
2/3 cup water
2-3 bay leaves
3/4 cup bulgur (use GF-certified steel-cut oats for gluten-free version)
1 cup water, boiled
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 tablespoon (rounded) beef-like seasoning (I used Superior Touch Better Than Bouillion Vegetable Base, pictured above)
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions for stovetop:

Combine the lentils, vegetable stock, 2/3 cup of water, and bay leaves in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until just about tender. Once done, add the bulgur, seasonings, and boiling water, cover, and cook on medium-low heat for another 8 to 9 minutes.

Once the bulgur is cooked, remove the bay leaves and stir very well. Transfer the mixture to a large skillet or baking dish to layer for Shepherd's pie (with the tomato soup added) or mix with Hunt's Manwich Thick and Chunky Sloppy Joe Sauce as directed for Sloppy Joe's. Also freezes wonderfully in a freezer gallon Ziploc baggie for later use.

Instructions for Pressure Cooker: (my preferred method, makes the lentils and bulgur perfectly cooked and seasoned, my pressure cooker is electric.)

Combine the lentils, vegetable stock, 2/3 cup of water, and bay leaves in a pressure cooker. Cover and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Once done, add the bulgur, seasonings, and boiling water, cover, and pressure cook on high for another 6 to 7 minutes.

Once the bulgur is cooked, remove the bay leaves and stir very well. Transfer the mixture to a large skillet or baking dish to layer for Shepherd's pie (with the tomato soup added) or mix with Hunt's Manwich Thick and Chunky Sloppy Joe Sauce as directed for Sloppy Joe's. Also freezes wonderfully in a freezer gallon Ziploc baggie for later use.