Vegan Lefse

I am not Norwegian, but my husband is. When I was first introduced to this traditional flatbread I thought it was delicious. Then I learned how it was made. Lots and lots of cream and butter. Yikes! You would think by now, in all these years that I have been married, that I would have tried a healthier version. But nope. I asked around and no one could tell me any other way to make lefse other than using a lot of butter or cream or instant potato flakes.

Finally, I decided I would play around in the kitchen and see what happens if I try to make lefse myself. Without cream and butter, and with actual potatoes, not flakes.

Lefse had long been a family tradtion in Norway, with families gathering around to make this together. It was more about the togetherness than it was about the lefse. However, that has been changing, as more Norwegians are purchasing, rather than making it from scratch. Even in the Midwest, where the Norwegian community is quite strong, store-bought lefse is more popular. At a Scandinavian store in Minneapolis, Minnesota, generally $80,000 worth of lefse is sold annually.

Since I am all about family and traditions, what I love about this recipe is that super simple to make. Everyone can get back in the kitchen together and have a batch (or 2 or 3) of lefse ready in no time at all.

I use cooled mashed potatoes, so I find it easier to make the potatoes the day before, that way when you are ready to make the lefse, the potatoes are ready and waiting for you.

2 cups mashed potatoes, cooled

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1 tbsp tapioca starch

1 tbsp brown rice flour (plus more for rolling)

1/4 tsp xanthan gum

  1. In a bowl, mix together of the ingredients except the potatoes.
  2. Add 1/4 cup of the flour mixture into the bowl of mashed potatoes, mixing it well each time, until fully combined.
  3. Pull out about 2 tbsp sized portions of the dough and press out on a floured surface until thin (about as thin as a tortilla).
  4. Carefully, with a large metal spatula, transfer the flattened lefse onto a hot griddle and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Transfer the cooked lefse to a plate covered with a towel to keep the warm while working on the rest.

Pumpkin Cake

You can have your cake and eat it, too! Especially when it is pumpkin cake! Anything with pumpkin is delicious, right?! Especially in the fall.

I have made this with maple syrup to sweeten it and also with unsweetened applesauce to reduce the sugar load. Both are equally delicious, but the syrup version is a tad sweeter.

This moist and spongy cake is great for breakfast, dessert, or a snack.

1 3/4 cup oat flour (you can purchase oat flour, or grind your own oats in a food processor for a more hearty texture which is my personal preference for this recipe)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 tbsp aquafaba or chia egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup OR unsweetened applesauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

 

Cinnamon Raisin Apple Muffin

When I was a kid, cinnamon raisin bagels were my favorite. Not exactly a health food, though. Boo. Loaded with processed sugar and processed grains I never eat bagels anymore. Unless I make them myself. Which I don’t do very often. Breads were always my weakness so I know my triggers and tend to just stay clear of them. I never met a bread, muffin, or bagel I didn’t like.

I had some apples still hanging out in the fridge from our trip to the apple orchard a few weeks ago (we got a LOT of apples!) and I had a small bag of organic raisins hanging out in the pantry. I wanted to “clean” the fridge and pantry before a grocery run so I figured a cinnamon-apple-raisin muffin would help clear some prime real estate in the fridge and on the pantry shelf.

I ground my own oatmeal to make the oat flour for this recipe. It gives it a more hearty texture and keeps me from using an overly processed oat flour that can be purchased from the store. I like to keep my grains whole, thank you very much. 😉

I sometimes use 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar in this recipe. Sometimes I don’t. It’s entirely up to you. They are pretty sweet without it thanks to the applesauce and apples. If you choose not use the palm sugar, then reduce the applesauce by 1/2 cup.

2 cup oat flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp cinnamon

1/2  tsp allspice

1/4 cup coconut palm sugar

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup apples, peeled and diced

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Add the apples and raisins.
  6. Spoon the batter into a silicon muffin pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

 

 

Huevos Rancheros

Tofu is actually good for you.

Certain industries would like for you to believe soy contributes to breast cancer because of the estrogen it contains. They’d like you to believe milk and dairy is better for you. But milk and dairy has a great deal of estrogen. If you think about it, that doesn’t make much sense, does it? I mean, how could a plant estrogen be bad for you but a non-human mammal estrogen be good?

Soy, a plant estrogen (phytoestrogen), has an antiestrogenic effect. What that means is it lowers breast cancer risk. It blocks “dirty” estrogens from getting into the cell. Consuming estrogens from mammals floods our system with entirely too much estrogen and has a proestrogenic effect. Phytoestrogens lower breast cancer risk. What’s even more amazing, for those who have had breast cancer, phytoestrogens reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence by 25%!

Bottom line, you’re better off eating foods that don’t contain hormones from another mammal.

You are also better off not eating foods that contain cholesterol. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Therefore, cholesterol is not considered an essential nutrient. The cholesterol in eggs is considered a major factor in fatty liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. Yikes! Consuming cholesterol makes your blood “fatty” and sticky. This sticky blood sticks to artery linings and makes them stiff and narrows the passage of blood flow. This is a major factor in heart disease.

So skip the hormones and cholesterol. But don’t skip the savory breakfast! Just adjust your recipe. Like I did with this one, using tofu instead of eggs, I can have my huevos rancheros and eat it, too! 🙂

8 oz extra firm organic non-GMO tofu

2 yukon gold potatoes, diced small

1 green pepper, diced small

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced small

Himalayan sea salt & ground pepper, to taste

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup salsa

slices of toast or tortillas

  1. Boil diced potato and cook until fork tender.
  2. In a large skillet, with a splash of veggie broth (or water), crumble tofu and cook with diced pepper.
  3. Add the turmeric, chili powder, salt & pepper and mix until well coated.
  4. Add the cooked potatoes to the skillet with the tofu. Stir in the diced tomatoes.
  5. Remove from heat. Serve over toast or tortillas. Top with a dollop of salsa.

 

Coconut Kefir

Let’s talk about the gut. Over 70% of our immune cells are in the GUT. When we have dis-ease in the body, it is because our gut has been compromised and can no longer break down foods into nutrients it recognizes. Most of the diseases we suffer from are coming from the intestinal tract.

When we kill of the good bacteria, the bad bacteria proliferate and take over. The normal body functions cannot perform correctly, and this leads to illness and disease.

Here are just some of ways your body is telling you that you need to heal your gut (there are many more clues and signals your body sends you):

** abdominal pain

** anxiety

** behavioral problems

** cognitive decline

** brain fog

** constipation

** diarrhea

** hives

** depression

** fatigue

** insomnia

** joint pain

** chronic sinus infection/ear infection/bronchitis

** dark circles under eyes

Fermented foods:

  • Fermented foods are foods that grow bacteria on or in them and have been through a process called lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process of lactofermentation preserves the food, all the while inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria. It also creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics.
  • Fermented food are one of the best detoxifying agents as they are capable of drawing out a wide range of toxins and heavy metals.
  • Fermented foods directly inoculate your gut with live bacteria that will crowd out unhealthy bacteria and prohibit the bad bacteria from flourishing.
  • Fermented foods have also been shown to break the food down to a more digestible form. (you are what you eat, but more importantly – you are what you digest)
  • Fermented foods/probiotics are more effective when combined with a high-fiber diet so be sure to eat an abundance of plant foods. Meat and cheese are devoid of any fiber whatsoever, and can even contribute to killing off good bacteria.

Ingredients:

kefir powder (starter grains)

2 cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk

** Follow starter grains package instructions to know how much starter culture to use. For the brand I used, I needed the whole pre-measured package (5g) for 1 quart of milk. Brands may vary slightly but this is generally how all kefir would be made **

  1. Dump packet of starter grains into quart sized mason jar.
  2. Empty the contents of 2 cans of full fat unsweetened coconut milk into the jar.
  3. Stir to mix well being sure that no lumps remain.
  4. Cover with a mesh cloth or wash cloth and secure with rubber-band (metal lids could halt the process of fermentation).
  5. Leave out at room temperature for at least 24 -48 hours. At this point put it in the refrigerator to stop fermentation and keep it fresh. It will only last at room temp for 1-2 days. You can store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks.

Blueberry Muffins

Perfectly delicious.

Breakfast, dessert, or snack, these are delightfully sweet without the sugar crash that follows with traditional muffin recipes.

The phytonutrients in blueberries have been shown to protect against cognitive diseases (including Alzheimer’s disease), protect against macular degeneration, and lower cancer risk by boosting production of cancer fighting immune cells.

Wild blueberries are best because they are smaller, but not completely necessary. Fresh blueberries are fine. If they are real large you can cut them in half. Frozen blueberries can be used but you might want to up the baking time a few minutes so your muffins aren’t soggy.

2/3 cup oat milk (cashew milk or almond milk work, too)

1 tbsp ground chia seeds

1 tsp apple cider vinegar (unpasteurized)

2 cups oat flour (or any gluten free blend you like)

2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup berries

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prep a muffin tin with liners, or use a silicone muffin pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, chia seeds, and apple cider vinegar together.
  3. In a medium bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add in the wet ingredients, and the milk/chia/acv mixture. Stir well. Incorporate the berries using a rubber spatula so you don’t bust open the berries.
  4. Fill muffin cup 3/4 full and bake for 22-25 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean).
  5. Let muffins cool, then carefully remove them from the muffin pan.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles with Sweet Potato Butter

Waffles are such a traditional breakfast food, and one of my favorite breakfast foods. But I have always been a “waffle-snob” and prefer fresh made, never toasted. Those frozen packaged waffles are gross, if you ask me. They don’t even taste like waffles. And they certainly don’t have real food wholesome ingredients. Since it is incredibly easy to make homemade waffles, I always have. You should, too.

“Best waffles ever!” is the response I get when I serve these. And the sweet potato butter on top is to die for. It adds the perfect touch of sweetness without refined, damaging sugar. It tastes similar to pumpkin pie filling. Maybe that’s why we love it so much in my house!

Dairy butter and even vegan butter, which typically contains palm oil, can be highly damaging to the body. The health benefits of sweet potatoes:

anti-inflammatory

anti-aging

promote a healthy digestive tract

high in folate which is necessary for DNA synthesis

strengthens the immune system

prevents heart disease

improves eyesight

maintains fluid and electrolyte balance in cells

reduces water retention

helps normalize heartbeat

For those reasons listed above, I like to make sweet potato butter rather than use oil-based butters. With a great taste and a huge boost to my health…sign me up!

Sweet Potato Butter

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

2 tbsp unsweetened plant milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Boil peeled and diced potatoes until fork tender. Drain then place in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until smooth and creamy. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Cinnamon Oatmeal Waffles

3/4 cup unsweetened plant milk

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup aquafaba

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup brown rice flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch of Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Add all liquid ingredients to a bowl and whisk until combined.
  2. In a food processor, add the dry ingredients and pulse until a course flour forms.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and mix well. Let the batter stand for 5 minutes while you warm up your waffle iron.
  4. Cook waffles according to waffle iron instructions.
  5. Serve warm with a dollop of sweet potato butter! (tip from my son: you can’t go wrong with a drizzle of maple syrup on top 😉 )

 

Chocolate Chip Coconut Pancakes

So simple. So delicious.

They freeze well, too. So make a couple batches and freeze them to pop in the oven when you want an ultimate quick meal.

Confession time: we don’t usually eat traditional breakfast foods at breakfast time. We eat them for lunch or dinner. Somehow breakfast food tastes better when it isn’t breakfast. 🙂

If you have never added shredded coconut flakes to your pancakes, you are in for a treat! They add such a distinct sweetness without overpowering the pancake, so even if you don’t like coconut, you’ll love these.

1 chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia seed + 3 tbsp of water = mix in a small dish and set aside for a moment until it gets gelatinous)

1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 cup oatmeal

2 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tbsp baking powder

1 cup unsweetened plant milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 handful dairy-free mini chocolate chips

  1. Make chia egg.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, along with the chia egg.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Heat a griddle to medium heat and ladle out about 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook for 5-6 minutes on one side, or until browned. Then flip and cook another 5 minutes.

Storage tips: Place leftover pancakes in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. To reheat, bake in the oven at 350. 15 minutes for refrigerated pancakes and 25 minutes for frozen pancakes.

Breakfast Scramble Burrito

love this meal! It is hugely nutritious, full of plant foods, and high in vegan protein.

I serve this with my flatbread to make it a tortilla or burrito. It is great for breakfast, but I make it for dinner sometimes, too. It’s always a clear winner in my house.

Mushrooms has serious health benefits. So if you haven’t had them before, I urge you to try this meal. I used cremini mushrooms and they have a mild taste. Mushrooms support heart health, fight cancer, boost immunity, lower inflammation, improve energy, support brain function, and are even a good source of vitamin D.  So chop ’em up and toss ’em in!

1 package extra firm tofu, cubed (non-GMO, organic)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups onion, diced

1 cup potato, diced

1.5 cups cremini mushrooms, diced

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp lemon juice (or 3 drops Young Living lemon essential oil)

Himalyan sea salt/pepper, to taste

  1. Drain cubed tofu.
  2. Heat a large skillet and saute the garlic and onion for a few minutes using a splash of vegetable broth or water. Add the diced potato and mushroom and saute for 12 minutes, covered. Reduce heat and stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add in the tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon, and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, covered, until potato is cooked through.
  4. Serve on flatbread and add any toppings or garnishments you like. Lettuce, salsa, pineapple, vegan cheese sauce….the possibilities are endless!