Archive for Breakfast

Good ol’ oatmeal

Never underestimate the power of oats

As I am sure everyone knows by now, I am a breakfast woman at heart. Sure, there’s a lot of fancy things you can make to pull together a breakfast, but sometimes something as simple as oatmeal is best. For over a week now, I have been making myself a bowl of oatmeal before work, and I have yet to get sick of it. It’s hearty, highly versatile, tasty, and above all, warm and filling. It keeps my belly happy and insides warm for the walk to work, and the complex carbohydrates of the oats keeps me going until I can eat lunch. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not talking about the boxed and individually packaged, sugar-laden instant oatmeal here. I mean real, stove-top cooked oats, where one can use their imagine and add whatever their heart desires.

I always have raisins around the house, and I like to add them into the cut of water before I let it boil. It gives new life to the raisins, making them more plump and juicy. Once the water is boiling, I add in the 1/2 cup of oats, and reduce the heat. Next, I will generally add in a good amount of cinnamon, probably more than most people, because I REALLY love cinnamon. Then, depending how I am feeling that morning, I may throw in some nutmeg, a hint of salt, some allspice, and maybe the tiniest bit of cloves. If I am craving something sweet, I will add some brown sugar or maple syrup, but never more than a tablespoon. If I have an apple around, I will dice it up and add when the oats are still cooking as well, making the apples warm and just a little bit soft. Sometimes I will even add a tablespoon or two of applesauce, giving the oats extra sweetness and a nice apple flavor, which goes particularly well with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. When the oatmeal is just about done cooking, I will sometimes throw in chunks of banana, just enough to make the banana warm and soft, yet not too mushy.

I know it might not be as quick and easy as opening a package of instant oatmeal and zapping it in the microwave, but the extra couple of minutes and addition of real ingredients, without all the sugar, is really worth the effort. Your body and taste buds will enjoy it. And if that was not enough, it’s cheap!

Apple Crumbcake Muffin

Delicious!

How could anyone not love the fall? The weather is perfect, the trees are colorful, and all of the best fruits and vegetables are in season. Everything about the season practically begs you to sit around in your most comfortable jeans (or pajama pants) and sweatshirt, drinking coffee and eating muffins. Perhaps these apple crumb cake muffins from Vegan with a Vengeance perhaps?\

I ended up making these because it was a particularly chilly night, which of course immediately puts me in the mood to bake, and because I wanted something already made for the next morning’s breakfast before work. I had everything I needed for this recipe already on hand, including a handful of delicious organic Gala apples. They were very simple to make and turn out to be very rewarding.

I love these muffins because they rise high and look super appealing. You really just want to take a bite out of them the second you see them, and the crumb topping on top only fuels the fire. I normally am not a fan of crumb toppings because I think they make the muffin too sugary, especially for the mornings, but this one complimented the muffin very well.  In addition to looking great, the make the house smell fantastic as well, since there is nothing better than warm apples, nutmeg and cinnamon. They have the perfect amount of spice, and there definitely is that distinct apple flavor, enhanced not only by the grated apple but by the apple chunks as well. The muffin is outrageously soft and moist, and finished with a nice crunch from the brown sugar topping.

I would love to make this again soon, before the fall is over and apples are out of season. They only lasted ONE day in my house. Everyone seemed to agree that they were one of the best muffins I have made. I think I would have to agree.

perfection

Fronch Toast. Oh, do I love breakfast

Fronch Toast and Scrambled Tofu, the real breakfast of champions

Yeah, I know, the couple of days of Vegan MoFo I am spending talking about breakfast foods. Is that any surprise??

Well, I have found the french toast recipe that I will be sticking with from now on. It’s the “fronch” toast recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance. It is breakfast food and dessert all rolled into one. Really though, this french toast has the perfect texture and taste, is not too soggy and doesn’t burn easily. The bread crisps up very nicely, and it even has a faint taste of fried dough. I am in love with this recipe. While it may not be the most healthy thing ever, who really cares sometimes?

  • Loaf of French or Italian bag, baguette shaped, stale (I couldn’t find a baguette to my liking so bought a loaf of thin, regular french bread, and then toasted it prior to making the french toast)
  • 1/2 cup soy creamer (or rice or soy milk) I used Silk’s vanilla soy creamer
  • 1/2 cup plain rice or soy milk
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • several tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

Begin by slicing the bread into 1-inch thick slices, and then toast them if they are not already stale (I will say though, Vegan with a Vengeance says NOT to toast them, but instead to place them in the oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes. I did toast them, however, and they turned out fine).

Put the soy creamer and milk into a wide, shallow bowl (you will dipping the bread into this). Add in the corn starch and stir until it is completely dissolved. At this point, I added some cinnamon to the mixture as well, I really love it on my french toast (and in general). Then, add the chickpea flour and mix until it is all absorbed.

Heat up your skillet and add enough oil to create a layer on the bottom. This should take about a tablespoon of oil. Then, soak the bread in the mixture and place on the skillet. Cook each side for 2 minutes (resist flipping them before this!!), and then flip. They should be golden brown and gorgeous.

These were great without the maple syrup even

I served it with some leftover scrambled tofu and they went perfectly together. It is one of the best breakfasts ever. While I made half of the loaf all at one time, I really had to restrain myself from eating all the pieces. In total I had 4 slices in one sitting which is kind of ridiculous, but what can I say, it is so good. Plus, think of all the cholesterol I’m saving myself from!

Greek Tofu Benedict and Diner Home Fries

Roasted Red Peppers - I should make them more...

I know what you are thinking. Another breakfast post? Again!? Yes. Believe it. The Veganomicon has yet to let me down. After work the other night I was actually in the mood to cook, but definitely wanted breakfast-ish food. I always want breakfast food, so that’s no surprise. In digging through both the fridge and my recipe books, I knew I have everything to make the Greek Tofu Benedict and Diner Home fries, along with Dill-Tahini dressing leftover that I had previously slathered all over kale. These are two things you definitely NEED to make from this book.

This was the first time I roasted my own red peppers and broiled my own tofu (or even used the broiler for that matter. I was always somewhat scared of it for whatever reason. I think I have childhood memories of my mom frying steak to a crisp in it – scary on multiple levels). Roasting your own red peppers is amazing. They smell great and they just feel and taste more authentic. It’s great to have them still warm from the oven when you go to eat them as well. It takes some time but it is totally worth it.

The combination of the tofu, roasted red peppers, dill-tahini dressing and Gimmie Lean Sausage is to die for. It looks nice all stacked up, and they compliment each other better than you would ever believe. It is impressive looking and colorful, and others would think you put a lot more effort into it than you really did. I think it would be really good in sandwich form as well, if you really wanted to mix it up a bit, perhaps with a couple of avocado slices as well. And let’s not forget about the diner home fries as well. Ridiculously simple to make, they are so good, and really taste like something you would get at any good breakfast place.  I liked the colors of the roasted red pepper from the tofu benedict next to the green peppers in the home fries too. Would I make this again? In a heartbeat!

Make this!

Scrambled Tofu

One of my favorite meals...

November has finally come upon us, and that can only mean one thing: Vegan MoFo. Well, that and a bunch of great vegetables are in season (squash, broccoli!), the leaves still have some leaves, and it hasn’t started snowing yet here in Buffalo. I figured I would kick off the month with a recipe probably everyone knows & loves, just for safe-keeping. I have tofu scramble at least two times a week, weather it be slapping it onto a plate or wrapping it into burrito-form. Either way, it is delicious and good for you!

Tofu scramble is one of the best things ever. It’s simple, delicious, and easy to turn to at any given moment. It’s warm, filling, smells great, and is highly adaptable as to whatever veggies you want to cook in it, or with whatever other food you feel like serving it with. It is even awesome as a stand alone dish. That being said, this was one of the first dishes I made out of Vegan with a Vengeance, and I have made it multiple times since. The spices are right on, and it is a fabulous recipe.

And here is the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I used 2)
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • sprinkling of Daiya cheddar cheese

Spices:

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The first thing you want to do is heat the oil in a skillet and saute the onions for 3 minutes. Then add the garlic, saute a little longer, then whatever veggies you choose to use, and then add the spice blend, cooking for about 15 seconds longer. It will smell great by this point. To deglaze the pan and get all the good stuff off the bottom, add 1/4 cup of water and scrape away.

Then you want to crumble the tofu into the skillet. The key here is to crumble it and not mush it. Bigger chunks have more of an egg-like consistency and feel to them, but also taste better. I have made tofu scramble a number of other times with mushy tofu and it doesn’t even compare. Then, let the tofu cook for 15 minutes, adding water if you need to get the tofu to stop sticking to the pan. Add the lemon juice and nutritional yeast. When you are about to be done cooking, sprinkle some Daiya over the tofu and mix.

I added in peppers (green and red) and sliced cherry tomatoes that I had from our farm share, along with a good handful or two of spinach. The cherry tomatoes were an amazing addition because they become just the right amount of soft while cooking, and add a hint of sweetness to the dish. Towards the end of cooking the tofu I sprinkled some Daiya shredded cheddar cheese over the pan and let it melt, incorporating it’s gooey, salty, cheesy greatness all over the entire thing. Because of it, I added slightly less nutritional yeast to the mixture while cooking. Also, another great plus of this dish is that it ended up being three meals for me.

I love scrambled tofu so much. The spice mixture is spot on. I was never really a fan of real scrambled eggs, but this stuff is amazing – and healthy!

Oatmeal Banana Raisin Waffles

Breakfast! My all time favorite. The Brunch section of Vegan with a Vengeance really is spectacular. The Oatmeal Banana Raisin waffles are so good they should be sinful. They seriously are one of the best breakfast foods I have ever made. They are super full of flavor, have one of the best consistencies ever, and smell so good.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup quick-cooking (rolled) oats
  • 1 very ripe medium-size banana
  • 1 1/2 cups soy milk
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • Extra sliced bananas (and/or strawberries) for the top
You will first want to preheat the waffle iron. Then, mix together the flour, baking powder and soda, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Once this is combined, add in the oats. Separate from this, mash the banana very well so there are no chunks left over. Then, add the soy milk, maple syrup and oil. Add the wet and dry ingredients together, and fold in the raisins. Let the waffle batter sit for about 2 minutes to let the oatmeal get moist and soft. Then – the fun part – make the waffles!
You will fall in love with these right away. They have a slightly chewy texture from the oats and the raisins, and are very filling. They taste awesome even without extra maple syrup on top, especially if you add bananas and strawberries for topping. I tried it with and without syrup, and I honestly think it was better without – they are just that good!

Carrot-Raisin Muffins

Gooooood morning

Vegan with a Vengeance really knows how to do breakfast/brunch. In flipping through my recipe books (I do this way too often), I saw this recipe and knew I had all the ingredients. Plus, the spices and carrots have a good autumn feeling to them. I recently bought a huge canister of raisins since they were on sale, so this was a good chance to use them.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I added a little more, as said, I like cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated carrot

Grated carrots are a gorgeous thing

Begin by preheating the over to 400 degrees, and prepare your muffin tin. After this, get out a bowl of hot water to soak your raisins in. This will let them plump up, so they will be juicy and chewy in your muffins. I did this with the dried cranberries in the Zesty Cranberry Crumb Muffins from My Sweet Vegan and it makes the dried fruit so much better.

Then, mix together the baking powder and soda, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt. After this is thoroughly mixed, add the milk, oil and vanilla. Mix this until it is just fully combined. Drain the water from the raisins and gently fold them into the mixture.

Fill the muffin tins to be about three-quarters full (you’ll get about a dozen muffins). These will rise (and look) nicely for you! Let them bake for 18 to 22 minutes, cool, and enjoy!

mmm!

I love these! They are so addicting though. Whenever I even set foot in the kitchen I thought about eating them, so needless to say they didn’t last long at all. They were perfectly moist (especially with the plump raisins) and you could really taste the carrot, yet without it being very overwhelming, which combined with the cinnamon and nutmeg was glorious. It was not over-the-top sugarly like some muffins, which is never something I want in the morning, or out of muffins in general. I know the quality of the pictures isn’t that stunning since the lighting was down right terrible in my kitchen at the time, but these muffins really do have a gorgeous color as well, very golden brown, with shreds of carrots  I can’t wait for there to be more carrots around the house so I can make these again.

Whole wheat apple pancakes!

 

 

Nonconformist pancakes

 

It’s fall and all the apples I see everywhere look absolutely gorgeous. After a streak of having only cereal for breakfast for about a week and a half (how boring), I decided to make a batch of pancake batter the night before a long day at work, so I could wake up and throw the pancakes right onto the griddle, and then be on my way. I made a batch of whole wheat pancakes (the same one I used for my blueberry one as well), and altered it slightly to have an apple spice flavor, including small chunks of apple.

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp applesauce
  • 1  cup almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 apple, diced

 

Good morning!

 

I love these! The warm chunks of real apple, combined with the extra apple flavor from the applesauce in the mix is so good, especially with a good kick of cinnamon. They are super filling and dense from the whole wheat flour, and they aren’t terrible for you, so you don’t have to feel bad about eating them. It was a great way to start the day!

Simple and Sweet French toast #6!

Mmmmm!

Yep, that’s right. More breakfast food. This time around I made the Simple and Sweet French Toast from My Sweet Vegan. I have tried a handful of different vegan french toast recipes out that I stumbled across on the internet, but none of them had really turned out well. The bread would always become too soggy or would ultimately stick to the pan and cause a big mess, or the nice crunchy part would come off while flipping, leaving a pretty sad looking piece of french toast. So with a shred of optimism,  I tried this one out. French toast was something I used to make all the time before being vegan – I really wanted to find a good, solid recipe I could turn to whenever the craving hit.

Overall, I was satisfied with this recipe. I added slightly less sugar because I wasn’t in the mood for eating super sweet french toast – I just didn’t think it would come close to tasting like the real thing. For the most part, the bread did become nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but I did run into the problem again where the bread would resist flipping and soggy parts would remain. In the end I had to cook each side a little longer than recommended to get the pan-fried crispiness back. Perhaps next time I need to toast the bread a little longer before hand, or wait for the bread to become slightly stale. More oil on the pan may have helped as well I suppose. They did, however, taste delicious when all was said and done. I would make them again but there are still other french toast recipes I want to try out first before claiming this recipe as ‘the one.’

A great start

I cannot help but find cereal one of the most boring ways to start the day. It just seems too cold and impersonal. I never feel energized or ready to conquer the day after eating a bowl – usually just still hungry and unmoved (the only exception being Wegman’s Maple Pecan cereal – that stuff is great). A whole grain bagel with Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and a baked apple? Yes, please!

Delicious!

The bagel is a Thomas’ hearty grain 100% whole wheat bagel (because white bread is gross). They are extremely delicious, have 10 grams of protein, and are mildly sweet. There’s also no high fructose corn syrup in them, which I love. I have been making a conscious effort to try and avoid foods which contain it. The baked apple however, is the star of breakfast. The Lexington Coop having AMAZING Crispin apples made it the perfect time to make this.

Baked Apple Breakfast:

  • 1 medium – large Crispin apple
  • 1 1/2 tbsp frozen blueberries
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 1/16 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 4-5 dried banana chips
  • brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees. Then, remove the apple core and hollow the inside of the apple out, leaving around 1/2 inch from the bottom (I ate some of the tasty insides…).  I did it by hand, without a corer, and it can be done! Mix the frozen blueberries with the rolled oats, and then add the banana chips. Coat this mixture with cinnamon, and place inside the hollow apple.  Once the apple is on/in the baking pan, pour your maple syrup over it. If you wish, add a very shallow layer of water to the pan, and this way when juices escape from the apple, you can pour the tasty water over it once it is done cooking in the oven, which should take around 30-40 minutes. Of course, if you are so inclined and do not have hatred for microwaves, these can be placed in a covered bowl and zapped for about 3 to 5 minutes.

The baked apple was so delicious! The rolled oats were somewhat nontraditional, but added a nice chew to the apple. The lack of butter and sugar make it a better breakfast choice than sugar-laden cereals or prepackaged oatmeal. The banana chips softened a lot from both the maple syrup and the moisture from the frozen blueberries, adding yet another level of flavor to the apple. I think the blueberries, banana and apple went together extremely well. The bottom of the apple was so soft and coated in the fruit juice and maple syrup, how could you not love it?

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