For most of my life up until a recent heart surgery, I haven’t been able to handle the caffeine in coffee. Instead I turned to green tea for a jolt of energy if I really needed it. Now that I can drink coffee I still prefer the feeling of green tea to the overly intense burst of energy I get from coffee. While I love sipping tea, I thought, why not incorporate it into a smoothie for a healthy breakfast plus a bit of energy. The results were both healthy and delicious! I hope you enjoy this Energizing Matcha Green Smoothie packed with fruit and vegetables that can be prepared ahead for an easy morning breakfast!
1 cup almond or oat milk
2 T vanilla greek yogurt (use vegan yogurt if you’re vegan)
1 green apple cut into cubes
1 frozen banana
¼ - ½ teaspoon of food grade matcha powder
1 T of nut-butter
1 handful of frozen or fresh spinach
Directions to make RIGHT NOW (makes 1 smoothie)
Directions to Make Ahead
I love the heart healthy option of oatmeal in the morning. I recently learned some awesome news about oatmeal, that it can help lower cholesterol and curb inflammation. Eating oatmeal also provides protection from high blood pressure and weight gain and is a good source of fiber too. Check out this article about some of the benefits of eating oatmeal for breakfast.
When coupled with antioxidant rich blueberries, protein packed peanut butter and omega-3 rich chia seed it's such a healthy and delicious start to your morning!
1 cup of steel cut oats
4 cups of unsweetened oat milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 t of vanilla
4 dollops of peanut butter
Blueberry Chia Jam
2 cups of frozen wild blueberries
1 T of lemon juice (or orange juice)
1 T of maple syrup
1 T of chia seeds
Directions to make ahead (makes 4 servings)
Valentine's day is right around the corner and I always try to do something special for my sweetie. He loves when I make breakfast so I began experimenting with using warming gingerbread spices in pancakes and it turned out wonderfully! I can’t wait to make a double batch for him on Valentines morning and to save the leftovers for our week ahead! We found that these are best served with a drizzle of maple syrup but you can get creative with berries, or powdered sugar! We hope you enjoy these Gingerbread spiced pancakes!
½ cup of almond milk
½ tsp apple cider vinegar
1 egg whisked
1 Tbsp molasses
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 Tbsp coconut oil or other vegetable oil
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¾ cup of oat flour (to make your own, add rolled oats to a blender and blend on high until flour forms)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
⅛ tsp cloves
⅛ tsp nutmeg
Directions (makes 6 pancakes)
Recipe inspired and adapted from Minimalist baker (gluten free protein pancakes)
Work trips, they are a blessing and a curse. For one, you get to step out of your ordinary life for a few days, explore new cities, drive through new areas and meet new people. But, it can also be extremely difficult to stick to a healthy routine and is especially challenging for vegetarians and vegans. SURPRISE… not every area of the United States is “vegetarian friendly.” In fact, in my preparations for my upcoming conference in Peoria I began searching for dinner and lunch options and found close to NOTHING suitable for a healthy balanced vegetarian diet. I was surprised because it is A. a college town, and B. one of the larger cities in Illinois outside of Chicago. So, I began preparing Make Ahead solutions for the road. Here are a few Make Ahead options to carry along with you as well as a few food travel tips should you find yourself in a similar situation.
- Breakfast -
Yes, there is the hotel breakfast, BUT it’s hardly ever a healthy option. Bagels, waffles, sugar cereal, these are okay in a pinch, but if you can plan ahead you can bring along a healthy breakfast that will satisfy you until lunch. This time I took along my Vegetarian Breakfast Casserole. I simply divided the casserole into reusable containers and packed it in a cooler and popped it into the hotel fridge. Two great vegan options include our Gingerbread Raisin Granola or Pumpkin Spice Granola with vegan yogurt or almond milk and our Sweet Potato Casserole Oatmeal. All of these options contain enough protein to allow you to pass on the sweet treats in the hotel lobby on your way out.
- Lunch -
I know from experience, that the only options at this conference are for meat eaters. Hotdogs, pepperoni pizza, burgers, fried chicken, even if I was a meat eater, I couldn’t eat that for three days straight. So, I pack a lunch! My go to this time is perfect for vegetarians & vegans. my Chickpea Salad Sandwiches are a good source of veggies, protein and they taste amazing. I simply made the sandwich filling at home, toasted three whole wheat buns, topped it with tasty cheese (not vegan) and wrapped each sandwich in foil. I love this option because I can eat my lunch without heating it and it is also mess free. I also packed a few of my favorite crackers, apples, carrots and hummus to add to my healthy lunch. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout your day.
- Dinner -
I have to admit, this is where I let myself explore and be social. I use a website called Happy Cow to search for Vegetarian friendly places or I enjoy pizza with coworkers. I always make sure to book a hotel that has a gym so I can get in a good workout before indulging and enjoying the evening. If I am alone on my journey, I search the aisles of Target and make a mini spa experience complete with face masks, soft music and my favorite TV shows.
It’s been snowing nearly every weekend this month and it actually feels like we are closer to Christmas than to Spring. I started really craving warm spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon and I learned that certain herbs can make us feel warmer and improve circulation. I began experimenting with a granola that incorporates some of these warming spices and I decided to try a version that resembled the flavors of gingerbread and that includes two "warming spices," ginger and cinnamon. It turned out great and we ate it all week for breakfast with a dollop of vanilla yogurt and frozen blueberries. We hope you enjoy this crunchy and perfectly spiced Gingerbread and Raisin Granola!
3 cups of oats
1 ½ cups of chopped pecans
¼ cup of pepitas
1 tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ cup of molasses or honey or maple syrup*
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
½ cup of raisins**
*Molasses is rather strong but essential for authentic gingerbread flavors. If you don’t like the flavor, honey or maple syrup are great substitutes. You can also use half molasses and half honey so you still get that gingerbread goodness!
*Raisins can be baked with the rest of the ingredients, however, we found that they were a bit hard because they lose their moisture upon baking. There are many granola recipes where raisins are baked along with the granola, but we prefer them to have their original texture, so we suggest adding them after the granola is done baking.
I think winter is really starting to get to me. I’ve been craving things I usually make in the summer like these Very Veggie Enchiladas. I always make these on our family summer vacations to the lake. We all take turns making dinner for our group of 14, and I pretty much always make this. I love how tangy the enchilada sauce is and the veggie filling is perfection! It’s a perfect Make Ahead solution for lunches or dinners for the week. Just simply reheat and you can have a Mexican fiesta any night of the week!
2.5 cups of tomato sauce*
1 T chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp oregano
2 T olive oil
16 ounce of sliced mushrooms
1 green bell pepper diced
1 yellow onion sliced
3 T taco seasoning*
3-4 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
8 flour tortillas
Chopped cilantro for topping
Directions (makes 10 enchiladas)
I found a recipe for a “cake batter smoothie” by Oh She Glows almost 10 years ago. I fell in LOVE with that dessert smoothie/shake and shared it with all of my family and friends as an alternative for a shake like dessert! As the years went on, I found that I was craving the flavors of this smoothie in the morning, so I adapted it to make it suitable and healthy enough for breakfast, but... trust me, it doesn’t taste healthy at all! My sister recently told me that it was a life-saver for her in the early stages of her pregnancy when she couldn’t stomach very much. I hope you enjoy this delicious Make Ahead of Monday favorite!!!
1 cup unsweetened almond or oat milk
1 frozen banana
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 T cocoa powder
1 T Peanut butter**
1 T raw hemp seed*
1 handful of fresh spinach
2 ice cubes
Directions to Make Ahead of Monday -
Directions to make RIGHT NOW -
*We like peanut butter best because it has the most protein content among the nut butters, but other nut butters taste great too!
** Raw hemp seed can be found at Whole Foods and Trader Joes. It’s a great source of plant based protein and can be added to smoothies, and cereal.
I first discovered jackfruit on our vacation to Tucson this fall. I had the very best jackfruit tacos at this incredibly popular vegan Mexican restaurant called Tumerico. If you are in the Tucson area, you should check it out! I couldn’t believe how authentic the jackfruit taco tasted and how filling it was. Since then I have made a few jackfruit recipes and have been experimenting with it in various ways (more to come!). My first creation turned out great and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use this unripe canned jackfruit! If you do not wish to venture into jackfruit, I have an equally yummy option to add chickpeas instead, which can be found in the “notes” section. Chicken noodle soup was always my favorite when I was a meat-eater and this is the closest I have come to replicating those flavors. The best part about soup, is that it’s make-ahead friendly and also can be frozen for a quick meal in the future. I hope you enjoy this Vegan Jackfruit “chicken” Noodle soup!
Vegan Jackfruit “chicken”Noodle Soup
Makes 8 servings
2 - 20oz cans of Jackfruit (in brine or water, not in syrup!)**
2 tsp poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons of olive oil plus more for sauteing jackfruit
5 cloves of garlic chopped
4 large carrots peeled and chopped
4 large celery stalks chopped
1 large yellow onion chopped
1 cup of chopped fresh curly parsley leaves
1 tablespoon of dried basil
8 cups of veggie broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked noodles - preferably Rotini
Vegetarian Taco Dip
The holidays are upon us and there are many parties, events and gigs to attend and prepare for. I was asked to bring an appetizer for our Christmas day gathering and I had very little time to prepare. I was craving something with Mexican flavors so I decided to create a taco dip with the items I had in my pantry and freezer. I ended up using mostly Trader Joe products such as their Vegan refried Beans and my absolute favorites, Pepita Salsa and their Frozen Mexican style roasted corn! We enjoyed the dip with Trader Joe’s Corn Dippers chips! It was a huge success and I thought I should share it as an easy Make Ahead for your next holiday gathering! Enjoy!!
1 can of vegetarian refried beans
1 bag of TJ’s Mexican Style Roasted Corn cooked to package directions (optional)
½ jar of TJ’s Pepita Salsa or any salsa of your choice
1 ½ cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Chopped green onions
Unsweetened Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream
Directions to Make Ahead -
Growing up, I used to hate Thanksgiving foods. I really disliked the taste of turkey (probably a predictor to my vegetarian future), and didn’t care for stuffing and all that jazz. I would basically eat a plate full of mashed potatoes and bread. A few years ago, I was asked to make a dish for my boyfriend’s Thanksgiving celebration. My now husband’s aunt, known as Auntie, requested Sweet Potato Casserole. I have to admit, I wasn’t that excited, because all I could recall about sweet potatoes was a sugary marshmallow mush. I happened upon an AMAZING recipe for Sweet Potato Casserole from Oh She Glows, and it became my FAVORITE Thanksgiving food and I’ve made it every Thanksgiving since! As I was brainstorming creative breakfast make aheads I thought, why not try to recreate that dish for breakfast? I combined creamy and perfectly spiced mashed sweet potatoes with steel cut oatmeal and topped it all with roasted pecans! It was a true recipe WIN! If you like the flavors of Sweet Potato Casserole, you’ll be sure to love this recipe!!
Sweet Potato “casserole” Oatmeal
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes diced in 1 inch cubes
1 cup of steel cut oats
4 cups of almond or oat milk
1 cup of chopped pecans
2 T butter
½ tsp vanilla
1 -2 T maple syrup (I used 2)
½ tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
I am a music teacher, professional musician and a vegetarian. I created this site with the mission to share recipes that make life a little more organized, and enjoyable!