Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Veggie Cookies

After a weekend in Houston, sharing my food knowledge with my sister in law Jami, she showed me one of her gems... these cookies. They're yummy... and what's even better?! There isn't a single unhealthy thing in them!!

1/3 cup applesauce {or 1/3 cup oil}
1/2 cup agave nectar {or 3/4 cup honey}
2 tablespoons flax meal
3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon baking powder {the previous 3 or 1 egg}
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup nut dust & seeds of your choice {combo of almonds, walnuts, pecans,
1 cup craisins, raisins or chocolate chips

Mix wet ingredients, add dry ingredients. And then mix in oats, nuts/seeds and chocolate chips/craisins/raisins. Put cooking spray on a baking sheet and drop mix by spoonfuls or use a cookie scoop. These don't spread out like others do, so you can put them kinda close.

Bake 375*F for 10-12 minutes.

Let cool, then freeze. Seriously. Let 'em cool, then put in a freezer ziplock or container and stick them in the freezer. They taste good at room temp, or straight out of the oven. Just ask my kids... they tore them up!! But they're so much better, frozen and then eaten right out of the freezer.

And when your daughter asks you, "Mom, are these healthy? Can I have another one?" You can yes... why yes you can!
makes 36-37 cookies
(with a big cookie scoop)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans

I love me some roasted garlic... and all throughout a soup - yum! This was awesome soup, amazingly healthy... the only downfall was we were eating hot soup in 97* weather. I followed the recipe, but added some kale at the end. And it called for a can of navy beans, but I added the leftovers from the Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms. Perfect. It made a ton of soup, so I froze half of it for a later don't-feel-like-cooking day.

2 bulbs garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, diced as small as possible
1 cup long-grain brown rice (I actually love the short-grain brown rice from the bulk bins at Sprouts, I always have that on-hand, so I use that)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 teaspoons salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can navy beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2 cups)

PREHEAT the oven to 425*F. Roast the garlic for about 45 minutes, until soft. You should be able to feel if it's soft by pressing with a knife or your finger.

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent.

Add the rice, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, then fill up the can with water twice and add the water (that's 56 ounces of water).

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Remove the garlic from the oven. When it is cool enough to handle, squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and into a small bowl. Use a for to mash the garlic to a relatively smooth consistency, then add to the soup once the rice is nearly tender.

When the rice is completely cooked, add the beans and heat through. Then it's ready to serve - just remove the bay leaves beforehand.

shayne {yum} jen {yum!} ava {eh.} nolan {"it's gooood!"} corynn {!}

Veganomicon, pg 137
serves 10 to 12
time: 45 minutes

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spinach Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes

Spinach Linguine with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes
When I made the pesto earlier in the day, it was heavenly... and I knew any addition to it would be awesome too. And it was. I'm going to try this pesto with the sandwiches we love from Corner Bakery.

1/2 pound spinach linguine (i used brown rice spinach spaghetti)
2 tablespoons of fat-free oil substitute
1 medium-size red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white cooking wine, veggie broth, or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Basil-Cilantro Pesto (see below)
1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced in fourths

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the linguine according to the package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Once you've added the pasta to the water, proceed with the recipe.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute the onion in the oil substitute until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more. Add the white wine, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute or two. Lower the heat to low. At this point, the linguine should be done.

When the linguine is ready, don't drain it. Use a pasta spoon to transfer it to the pan in batches. This is a good method because you can use the pasta water to thin out the pesto and make sure that everything gets evenly coated. When you add one batch, add a bit of the pesto, too, and using the pasta spoon, saute to coat. Proceed with the rest of the pasta and pesto until you've added all of it. If it seems dry, add extra splashes of pasta water.

Add the artichoke hearts and toss to coat. Cook gently over low heat just until the artichokes are heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately!

Veganomicon, pg 191
serves 4
Cook Time: 35 minutes

Basil-Cilantro Pesto
In the book they say this is their "cheapskate" pesto because they're using a cheaper nut, almonds, instead of the traditional pine nuts. I guess "cheapskate" translates to awesome in my book, because that's what this stuff was... awesome! I could eat it by the spoonful. And with using my fat-free oil substitute instead of oil - I could... and did... and not feel a bit bad about it!

2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup slivered  or sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free oil substitute

Place the basil, cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides occasionally. With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the oil substitute. Blend until relatively smooth and no large chunks of almonds are left. If you don't have a food processor and are using a blender (i did this so i didn't have to get out the big food processor), then just add the olive oil at the end, since many blenders aren't equipped with and opening to drizzle into.
Veganomicon, pg 214
makes about 1 cup
time: 10 minutes

Jen {Mmmm} Shayne {yum} Ava {yum} Nolan {yum} Corynn {}

Banana-Wheat Germ Muffins

YUM! I was thinking we'd have some left over for snacks tomorrow. Should have known better, that my 3 adult size proportions kids would finish them off. Shayne and I of course helped. I made with safflower oil, next time I'll just do applesauce. They seemed a little heavy because of the oil.

1 cup plain soy milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 very ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola oil/applesauce
shy 1/3 cup agave nectar (or 1/3 cup sugar)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375*F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Pour the soy milk into a measuring cup and add the vinegar to it. Set it aside to curdle.

Meanwhile, mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add the soy milk mixture to the bowl along with the oil, agave nectar, and vanilla, and mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add this to the banana mixture and use a wooden spoon to gently stir the ingredients, until all the dry ingredients are just moistened.

Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full and bake for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and, once cool enough to handle, transfer to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. You can also serve them warm, if you like!

Veganomicon, pg 226
makes 12 muffins
time: about 40 minutes

shayne {new faves!} jen {yum!} ava {double yum!} nolan {yum!} corynn {yum!}

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rustic White Beans and Mushrooms

This was one of the first recipes I tried from my library checked out copy of Veganomicon... and it was good enough for me to want to buy the book - thanks to those mushrooms. It was also my first time to cook old beans, and see just how bad beans can not turn out. I tried it this time with the Sage Bread Crumb topping, which made the dish this go-round. It made a lot, even for our big appetite family... and we're not huge on leftovers... So I was glad I found the leftovers useful in the Tomato-Rice Soup with Roasted Garlic and Navy Beans. Score!
Veganomicon, pg 120
serves 6 to 8
time: about 65 minutes (not including bean-soaking time) 

shayne {eh.} jen {alright} ava {loved the beans, hated the shrooms} nolan {good} corynn {loved!}

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

These are from The Kind Diet, and were really good... although I'm still deciding how I feel about carob (considered a "healthier" alternative to cocoa because it's caffeine free and has three times as much calcium then cocoa powder). I also used puffed millet instead of the graham crackers - and I liked the additional crunch. I just love eating sweets that I don't need to feel bad about.

Wainbow Waps

I am so, so, soooo excited about these. Other then drinking shrek shakes, my kids aren't over the moon about vegetables. They'll do broccoli and corn, and maybe a few others. But slowly I've been wearing them down. First, salad. And now, wraps. I've learned with kids that if you give something a cool name, put it in a wrap or on a bun and get them involved making/assembling stuff - they're almost golden to eat whatever. Though I guess it also takes a bit of "molding" like I've been doing lately, also.  

Nolan has always eaten these well, the kid loves anything in a tortilla - and sprouts and avocado are his favorite. Ava has taken a bit more "brainwashing". So, after they had already downed their pb&j's for lunch - and weren't ravishing animals anymore...I offered them a wrap. I was about to make some wraps for Shayne and I when I got my bright idea of calling them WAINBOW WAPS (totally fun to say) and having them help make them. I think that's what won Ava over.

The kids now eat 2 of them for lunch. This is what we had in them today - on picture day...
a multi-grain tortilla, hummus (below), black beans, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, shredded carrots, yellow peppers, sprouts, avocado and black beans


2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
{i didn't have and used a can of navy beans & pinto beans - so yum!}
1/3 cup fat-free oil substitute (or olive oil)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons sesame tahini
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup water, more or less for desired thickness
pinch of ground cumin or ground coriander (optional - did both)
salt and pepper
paprika (preferably Hungarian smoked - or just smoked)

Place half the chickpeas and oil substitute in a blender {makes it more creamier then a big ole food processor}. Pulse several times, stopping to stir with a rubber spatula. When the mixture is almost pureed and creamy, add the remaining chickpeas and oil, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, cumin, and a little salt. Pulse, stopping to stir several times, until the mixture is very creamy. Season with salt and pepper; add more lemon juice to taste if necessary.

Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 30 minutes before serving. To serve: spread into a shallow bowl, dust with paprika, and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil on top. (i just added the paprika when i mixed and forgot about the pretty drizzle of olive oil - no need for cute presentation for lunch)

I've added 2 roasted red peppers to this, and it turned out yummy. Another recipe variation is to add 2-3 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill and parsley to it. Can't wait to try that since my "Ranch Hummus" I made for Ava a while back didn't turn out so stellar.

Veganomicon, pg 67
serves 4
time: 10 minutes, plus chill time

Monday, May 24, 2010

Soyrizo Black Bean Soup with Tender Barley Cornbread

This is one of the first recipes I converted over to our new lifestyle diet. We all love it, and there's never any leftovers. If you want the "real deal", check it out here on Lugubrious Delights or straight from Racheal Ray herself.

1 pound soyrizo (i get it at Sprouts)
1 small onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Salt and ground black pepper
4 14-ounce cans black beans, drained
3/4 to 1 quart vegetable stock, depending on desired thickness
1 ripe avocado
1 lime, cut in wedges
1/2 cup (about a handful) flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, chopped

Place a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add some water to thinly cover the bottom and add the soyrizo. Cook until cooked through (see package instructions for cooking details), about 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.

Add some more water to the pan to thinly cover and add the onion, garlic, serrano peppers, smoked paprika, salt and ground black pepper to the pan, and cook until the onions are tender, 5-6 minutes. Keep any eye on the water, add more to prevent sticking and to keep steam-frying.

Add the black beans and vegetable stock to the pan, and bring the liquids up to a bubble. Ladle a couple of scoops of the soup into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the soyrizo. 

Serve the soup topped with avocado, a squirt of lime juice and cilantro. YUM!

all love, love, love this one!

Tender Barley Cornbread
This cornbread is awesome. Super healthy and super fast. It's our new staple. I just ground barley up in my food processor instead of buying overpriced barley flour. Plus, I love the texture the little pieces that don't get quite so ground give.  When it's all done baking, while it's still warm, I spread a little agave nectar on top to sweeten it a little more.

3/4 cup yellow stone-ground cornmeal
1/2 cup barley flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour (regular or pastry flour)
2 tablespoons sugar (or a tad shy of 2 T. agave nectar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup reduced-fat soy milk
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat the oven to 425*F. Whisk together the cornmeal, barley and whole wheat flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add the soy milk and applesauce and stir just until mixed. Scrape into and 8" x 8" nonstick baking pan and smooth the top. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cut the hot cornbread into squares.

all love, love, love this one!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Banana-Berry Oatmeal Bar

These are from a book by Kelly Freston, Quantum Wellness. Who, I'm not gonna lie, I saw on Oprah... and was interested to see more of what she was about. She had a lot of good stuff in her book - agreed on all of her food stuff. And if I didn't turn somewhere else for my spiritual well-being - I'd probably groove on a lot of her stuff.

BUT, her food was good. I'm excited to add this to my list of healthy snacks/treats and they freeze well. Which turns out to be awesome for me when I forget to close the freezer door, thawed out 3 bags of berries.... and needed to find something to do with them.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1/3 cup agave nectar
4 ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 425*F.

Lightly grease a 13" x 9" baking pan.

In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the agave nectar, bananas, and vanilla.

Gradually add the flour and oats, alternating, into the banana mixture until incorporated. If it is getting too thick, add vanilla soy milk. Fold in the berries and nuts.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes or until golden (my Texas climate took 21 minutes - so watch 'em). Cool and cut into bars.

Makes 2 dozen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Berry Steel Cut Oatmeal

Berry Steel Cut Oatmeal

We all eat a variation of this for breakfast every morning. I'll post the basic and the different variations. 

Morning of Cooking Method: Add 1 cup of oats and 3 cups of water, bring to boil - lower heat and cook til your desired texture. Usually 20-30 minutes. I really like them this way, but with the way we slowly get and how starving we all are in the mornings - it's hard to pull off that cooking time.

So, we usually do the Night Before cooking method. Which is arguably the healthier way to eat the oats. Since they're not being exposed to heat for a long period of time, it doesn't break down the nutrients. So... the night before, boil 3 cups of water. Once the water is boiling, add 1 cup of steel cut oats or groats, take off heat, stir and then put the lid on it. The oats will "cook" overnight. In the morning just warm the pot up enjoy!

Mine & Coco's variation:
oatmeal, berry blend (blueberry, marion berry & raspberry - from Cosstco), bananas, nut dust & agave nectar
(the blueberry/banana combo is heavenly - but then when I added in the raspberries - it put it out of the park! I could eat that every morning for the rest of my life - oh wait - i do. Although this warm summer is causing me to start out the day sweating - no bueno. So, I just don't warm it up as much as I'd like to)

Ava's preferred variation:
oatmeal, blueberries, bananas, nut dust & agave nectar

Nolan's preferred variation:
oatmeal, strawberries, bananas, nut dust & agave nectar
(though he'd prefer bran flakes & bananas, I'm trying to wean him off)

Shayne's variation:
oatmeal, Splenda & silk
(and then he chokes it down - hasn't quite been converted)

Monday, May 10, 2010


From my girl Rachael Ray... modified for our belly bites. She will always and forever remain "my girl" for giving me some of my most favorite meals - even if we've changed what goes into our bellies. I'll just keep modifying.

Shayne loves this and said he could eat this once a week... It's a lot of the same ingredients as our favorite tilapia dish - so I figured it'd be a for sure thing with him. I told Shayne when we decided to change our eating that I'd die finding meals that left him fulfilled and happy the way his meat made him - and this is one of them. Yeah!! If you want to see the RR version, with meat - check it out here.

1 pound whole wheat or whole grain spaghetti
2 leeks, thinly sliced and thoroughly cleaned {I usually use just one}
A couple of generous handfuls shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inches ginger root, grated
1/3 cup Tamari (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos - healthier and a quarter of the sodium)
2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
2 limes, zest and juice of 1, the other cut into wedges, divided
Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
2 cups shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce
Cilantro or basil, chopped, for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add salt and cook pasta to al dente.

When the pasta goes into the water, heat some water (enough to fill the bottom of the pan) in a large skillet over high heat add leeks and mushrooms to the skillet and stir-fry 2 minutes. Keep adding water once it's evaporated out. Add garlic and ginger, and cook a minute more. Stir in Tamari (or Liquid Aminos), agave syrup or honey, lime zest and juice, and hot sauce to taste.

In a large serving bowl, toss veggies with the meat, noodles and lettuce to combine. Garnish with cilantro or basil and serve with lime wedges alongside.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Shrek Shakes: REborn.

{I tried to make the Shrek Shake look a little more glamorous or enticing... did it work?}
Since my first post on Shrek Shakes - over a year and a half ago, I've changed them up a little. I highly recommend them... it's the best way to get greens into yours and your kids diets.

I've converted a few people to Shrek Shakes, which I am very, very proud of. I was going to make a flow chart of who I've converted - one of these days. It makes me so happy when someone else tells me they're eating them regularly. Or when I see my nephew gulp his down and ask for more. happy. Or when my old bishop's wife tells me she's taught her 10th graders in her health class how to make them. happy. Or when my son asks for them out of no where. happy.

Basically you want to get as many greens into the shake/smoothie that you can handle. In first starting out - have more fruits then greens - then gradually add in more greens.

a tablespoon of flax seed for each person that's going to drink it.
Blend in blender, until it's ground into a fine meal. Grinding it enhances their digestibility and therefore their nutritional value. Don't buy the already ground stuff - buy it whole. A lot of the nutritional value is depleted once it's ground and then sits. (Sprouts $0.79/lb) 1-2 bananas other then the greens, this is the key to the shake. I wouldn't eat a shake without the bananas. They give the shake the smooth, creamy texture you want... which combat the texture the pureed greens put off. 2 handfuls of berries strawberries and a berry blend are our favorites. If your kids are leery about drinking a green smoothie - put blueberries in them - and the color will be more of a purpley. Fill with enough water to cover and blend. Carrot. Helps sweeten it a little. Blend. Add in your greens. Any greens...and as much as you can handle. Blend after each bit, this is what'll take some work... breaking down all the greens. Unless you've got one of those covetous BlendTec's that I'm saving up for. But make sure you've got it good and blended... Spinach - enough to reach the top. Blend that down, and then do it again. (any, I get mine at Costco: $3.59/lb organic) Add 2 -3 big leaves of collard greens, blend. (any store $0.99-$1.29 - depending on season and size of bunch) 2-3 leaves of kale, blend. For a long time. Kale really needs to be broken down so the body can absorb all of it's nutritional value - and so it doesn't leave kale bits in it... so not cool to come across one of those in a bite! (any store $0.99-$1.29 - depending on season and size of bunch) a splash of vanilla. This is a new thing I've added since the beginning, and I love the way it tastes. I tried it after falling in love with the vanilla flavored protein powder I used while I was running a ton and training. Then add some sweetener, either: squeeze of agave nectar, or 1-2 med jool date(s) (Costco or Sprouts) and/or a scoop of Coconut oil is also makes it taste amazing and has great benefits... Then I add 5-6 cubes of ice, blend. I cannot stand a warm shrek shake, no bueno.

Then you're all done! My family will drink a pitcher full, Shayne and I drink big plastic cups full and the kids drink the little Ikea cups full. They're awesome and is the single greatest thing I have ever done for my family - nutritionally!

And yeah, you do get sick of them every once in awhile... so you go on a Shrek Shake Strike, which I did last week. But then you gain 5 lbs., and quickly get back on them... because I'm sure it all plays off of each other.