Cleanse & Mend

Yeah, yeah. So you came here last Tuesday and noticed my blog had disappeared, eh? That news is sooooo last week. Ironically enough, it seems that being hacked is just the motivation I was looking for to revamp the site, clean it up a bit so to speak. So to the slimy douchebag out there who decided to ruin my day last Tuesday, I can now say, “thanks, asshat, because now i made my blog fancy.” I can neither confirm nor deny other obscenities that may have come across my innocent lips. And yes, I stuck my tongue out at him, too.

Anyway, I hope you like the new look. Thanks for coming back.

In other news, I thought this would be a good time to fill you in on that weird comment I made the other day about eating vegan for 2 days. It really wasn’t a big deal, but to me, noticeably not eating meat for that long isn’t something I intend to do on the regular (I say this while pounding back a hearty dish of jambalaya – more on that in the future). Sure, I often times go many days without eating meat, but not because I am forcing myself to, but because I choose to (which is different, I promise), because I do enjoy many a vegetarian entree. The vegan eating is the one that gets me – the no dairy, no cheese, no honey, etc.

Nonetheless, I did do it. One day involved a full-on juice detox from a company called Juice to You. I saw a coupon come across one of the many email subscriptions I receive, and since it seemed interesting, and since the bottles were pretty, I figured I may as well give it a try. I survived, and I did eat pretty healthily for a week. The juices were extra tasty, filling, and relatively easy to drink. Did I feel differently? Not really, but it was only a day. Maybe I’ll try the 3-day detox next time – if they release another coupon, that is. Or maybe I’ll just get that juicer I have on my wishlist and make my own.

The juice detox reminded me of a drink/smoothie I hadn’t made since living in Chicago. I’m sure there have got to be a handful of you still reading at this point, and hopefully you aren’t about to “X” out after I tell you this: it was full of spinach and flax seeds, totally vegan, and one of my very favorite smoothies.

Still there?

Okay – there’s a banana and some sweetener in there, too. And oats. I tell ya – there is not one moment where I drink this smoothie and think to myself, “man, this tastes like freaking spinach”. It’s all oat-y and banana-y and milk-y, and you should try it just to see if I’m telling the truth or not. But I promise you, I am. The juice detox reminded me that I need more greens in my diet, and blending them up in a creamy beverage each morning is mindnumbingly easy.

Plus, it saves me from having to drink tea and coffee every morning, putting me on the brink of being addicted again, and thus turning into a total crazy lady in the process of weaning off of said caffeine-ation once I start to feel guilty about it. Clearly, that’s a bad cycle, you see. Now that I say this, consider this smoothie my gift to you in more than one way. You’re welcome.

Spinach, Banana, & Oat Smoothie
makes 1 drink

time commitment: 5 minutes

this drink is super flexible and great for forcing some veggies and fruits into your diet. i’ve added raspberries, an apple, and cranberries before (not together, at different times), and have also added in pomegranate juice and other juices in place of or in addition to the milk. if i had some blueberries, i bet that’d be tasty too.

printable version

1 T whole flax seeds
1 1/2 c baby spinach
1 banana
1/4 c oat bran
1 1/4 c vanilla soy milk
1 T agave nectar or honey

in a blender, whiz the flax seeds around to grind up for about 30 seconds. add spinach, banana, oat bran milk, and agave nectar/honey (in this order to weigh down the spinach) and mix for about 2 minutes until well blended. add ice and blend until desired texture (i usually add about 8 pieces of ice).

For Your Muffin Top

For someone claiming to dream of owning a Bed of Breakfast, you wouldn’t know it from reading this blog. Aside from the granola bars, I haven’t really shared much of anything breakfast-related, other than some waffles (albeit with a kick-ass cherry sauce). I won’t lie – it’s not that I’m not sharing because I’m stingy, selfish, and want to keep all the recipes to myself (or my nonexistent B&B) – it’s because there really aren’t many of them. There… I admitted it. I am a bad breakfast blogger.

I do cook breakfast – if by cook, you mean throwing cereal in a bowl or whipping some homemade jam on a piece of toast. Sometimes, I really do it up; I can make a mean french toast and I thoroughly enjoy the breakfast casserole (stratas, quiche, you name it). I just sleepily & groggily omit the picture-taking, and therefore can’t prove that I’ve really done much cooking at all until at least noon.

And so, I’m pleased to say that, after allowing you all a couple of days to vote on what today’s post would be, over 1/3 of you chose breakfast (over dinner, dessert, and canning)! I must say I was surprised and had actually expected dessert to win, since we haven’t talked about dessert in these parts since those infamous homemade marshmallows; marshmallows that drew thousands of curious, hungry readers. Which reminds me, if you’re still hoping for dessert, specifically of the marshmallow form, you do not want to miss this coming Tuesday’s post! Promise.

Either way though, thanks for playing along. It was fun, wasn’t it? I’ll keep the tradition going as long as the votes are comin’ – hopefully there will be many more next week since I’ve already posted the poll (look to your left, and scroll up, and you’ll see it – aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand vote.). So do it – it’s easy, it’s fun, and it makes me oh so happy to know that I’ll be posting what you ask for. So go ahead, humor me.

I should also add that, since I was surprised, I did not crazily photograph these here muffins, and instead took pictures of pudding, chicken, and marmalade. But nonetheless, you get the jist: they’re ultra sexy, so healthy they’ll make you sick, and so easy you might consider making them weekly for your Monday thru Friday breakfasts (well, maybe alternate between the granola bars and these).

Even better though, is that since they’re healthy, eating these lil’ muffins (and their tops) won’t contribute to your muffin top. You can thank me later :).

Oat Bran & Dried Fruit Muffins
Adapted from Techniques of Healthy Cooking, makes 12-16

portable and filling, these muffins work great for those who are on the go. if stored in an airtight container, they should last through the week (I know because I’ve been eating them all week and they get better each day). should you choose to whip up a batch of these little creatures, I’ve included my adjustment suggestions; I haven’t tried them, but I’m sure they’ll do the trick: make sure your fruit is in small pieces, add a teeny dash of salt, and some vanilla.

printable recipe

5 1/2 oz dried fruit, cut into small pieces (1 heaping cup)
4 oz oat bran (1 1/3 c)
3 oz rolled oats (a little less than 1 c)
2 1/2 oz all purpose flour (~1/2 c)
1 1/2 oz brown sugar (1/4 c)
3/4 oz baking powder (1 1/2 T)
pinch of salt
1 t g cinnamon
5 oz mashed ripe banana (~1 large banana)
2 t grated orange zest
2 oz fresh orange juice
1 oz vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 c skim milk

preheat oven to 400 F. combine dried fruit, all dry ingredients (oat bran through cinnamon), and banana into food processor. Process until evenly mixed. Transfer to large bowl.

in another bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Add this mixture to the dried fruit mixture and fold until just combined.

to make 12 muffins, spoon 1/4 c of batter into each of 12 buttered or sprayed muffin tins, or into disposable muffin cups (for 16, measure ~1 1/2 oz). bake until surface of muffins are golden and until they feel slightly springy when touched, about 20 minutes.

turn the muffins out onto a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.