Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunrise Morning Cookies

All of us have those mornings when we just don’t seem to have enough time to sit down to breakfast, but we definitely want to start the morning with something in our tummies. I personally cannot skip breakfast, but find that when school is about to start or we are heading out on a road trip, a quick grab-and-go bite is just what I want. These Sunrise Morning Cookies are exactly what you need for those mornings (and they make the perfect snack throughout the day). They are lightly sweetened and are packed with healthy ingredients like pistachios, apricots, oats and flax seeds. I also added hemp seeds for some added protein, but if you don’t have any or can’t find them, you can skip them and still have delicious cookies.
Sunrise Morning Cookies 3 Tablespoons ground flax seed mixed into 9 Tablespoons room-temperature water 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant) 1/2 cup vegan butter 1/4 cup coconut oil 3/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or golden brown sugar) 3/4 cup cane sugar 3/4 cup finely diced dried apricots 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1/4 cup golden raisins 1 Tablespoon raw hemp seeds (optional) 1/2 cup shelled roasted pistachio nuts 1. Preheat you oven to 375 degrees. 2. Make your flax seeds and water. Set aside. 3. Mix all dry ingredients (from flour to oats). Set aside. 4. In a large stand mixer, blend vegan butter, coconut oil, and sugars on medium until mixture is lightly whipped and golden. With mixer running on low, add 1 cup of the dry ingredients at a time until all are incorporated. Add in the dried fruits, hemp seeds and pistachio nuts just until incorporated. 5. Using two large spoons, scoop up about 2 – 3 Tablespoons of dough and form into a ball. Flatten out slightly and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Repeat the process using all of the dough. 6. Bake 17 minutes, or until the cookies are golden on top. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cooking from the baking sheet.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

This is a one-dish wonder. It is really easy and tastes great. It is also really filling and packed with healthy ingredients. The cornbread that I made was plain, but feel free to stir in some honey or some diced green chiles to suit your taste buds.
Chili Cornbread Casserole 1 can vegetarian chili 1 can pinto beans 1 medium onion, diced 1 cup frozen corn kernels 1 1/2 cups veggie crumbles 1 package cornbread, mixed according to package directions 1. In a glass baking dish, mix the chili, beans, onion, corn, and veggie crumbles. Top with the cornbread mix. 2. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the top of the cornbread is golden and a fork inserted into the center comes out cleanly.

Gaiam TV

This post is the first in what I hope will be a series of posts that encourage creativity, inspiration, and a bit of relaxing “me” time. Since the New Year is still early and resolutions are still somewhat relevant, I had to share an exciting find. Gaiam TV is a dream come true. The site which is currently offering a free trial to new members. I am a fan of yoga and stretching to loosen up my muscles after a long day in the classroom, but get bored with the same old DVD routines. Gaiam TV, which is an online streaming library, has a ton of different options for yoga as well as one of my favorite stretching routines, AM and PM Stretching. Plus, with health videos focused on living well, I am able to feel good about my indulgence. With workouts by favorites like Rodney Yee and Jillian Michaels, I found myself hooked early on. I can stream a workout whenever it fits into my schedule and know how many of my friends could benefit from this. I was so excited to share my find with you and hope that it helps you find a little bit of relaxation and enjoyment off the shelf.

Maple Sweet Potato Hummus

This hummus is the perfect snack for any get together or after school munch time. It is slightly sweet because of a hint of maple syrup and some cinnamon, but it is packed with sweet potatoes and garbanzo beans. This is perfect with apple slices or graham crackers. Plus, there is enough to last for one big party or several days after school (it can also be divided into a few glass containers and frozen for up to 3 weeks.
Maple Sweet Potato Hummus 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans 2 cups cubed sweet potatoes, steamed until tender (or 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes) 2 Tablespoons maple syrup 1 Tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 3 Tablespoons olive oil (more as needed) 1. Combine the garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes in a food processor and process until smooth and free of lumps. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, and ginger, and while mixing, slowly add olive oil (add more if hummus consistency is too thick). Hummus should be smooth and creamy. Refrigerate any hummus that won’t be eaten immediately.


If you are a fan of international thrillers, suspenseful plots, and unexpected endings, then you will be a fan of Ratlines, a powerful novel by Stuart Neville. Set in Ireland in the 1960s, on the eve of President John F. Kennedy’s visit, Albert Ryan, a former soldier who now works for the government is assigned to investigate a series of murders targeting former Nazis who now reside in Ireland. Reluctant to take on the mission (as it indirectly involves protecting General Skorzeny, a famed Nazi who has the power and money to control people), Ryan begins to investigate the murders only to find that he is in way over his head. He discovers that a young lady who caught his eye was a plant on behalf of Skorzeny, and he is confronted by an agent who wants to gain control of Skorzeny’s “ratlines” (the channels through which the General funnels Nazi money that he has channeled away from his kameraden). Without a distinct ally, Ryan falls victim to viscous attacks against him and his family, and must discover how to outwit both the Nazi General and those trying to blackmail Skorzeny. Ratlines is an action packed novel that had more twists and turns than I expected. It had multiple levels of suspense and an ending that I didn’t see coming.

Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity Cookbook

I love to cook and as a dairy-free vegetarian, I often feel that I do a pretty decent job staying healthy. Dr. Mao’s Secrets of Longevity Cookbook, however, proved to be an invaluable resource with tons of advice, vegan-friendly recipes, and detailed information on how to make every meal a bit healthier. Dr. Mao’s begins with an ingredient breakdown and examines healthy eating practices, including offering suggestions for substitutions that are healthier options. There are multiple menu plan suggestions that are really useful and enough vegan-friendly options that this cookbook proved really valuable. The first couple chapters are helpful at establishing sound dietary guidelines on subjects ranging from caffeine to dairy and from gluten to supplements. These are really helpful, but I loved the recipes as they made the suggestions much more tangible. With recipes like Vegan Milk, Dr. Mao’s Hot Herbal Cereal, Eggless Tofu Scramble, and Squash Peanut Soup, there are plenty of vegan recipes. Plus, with options like Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup, Creamy Sweet Potato Soup, Mango Avocado Salad, Broccoli Stir-Fry with Yam Noodles, and Stuffed Pumpkin, there are satisfying vegetarian options that are packed with nutrients and sure to please even non-vegans. I loved this book and the recipes, although really healthy, are tasty and fairly easy (no crazy steps or hard-to-find ingredients here).