Salad for Breakfast?! Red Pepper and Ginger Salad Dressing (vegan, raw, gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free)

I don’t know about your kids, but my kids get tired of the same old breakfast. I admit that I buy and prepare the simplest things — oatmeal or cereal — because it’s so easy, it dirties the kitchen the least, and it takes no early preparation. My kids are very good eaters, but my 4-year old loves to keep me on my toes.

This morning, he asked for corn. Yep, just a big bowl of corn. Surprisingly, he wasn’t satisfied, so I threw together his favorite salad dressing since I happened to have all the ingredients on hand. Then I served up a little bowl of chopped lettuce with his salad dressing. He gobbled it up and wanted more. His second bowl was the same, and he wanted more. The third bowl I had run out of lettuce, so I gave him some chopped baby kale and dressing. He wanted a fourth bowl! This boy LOVES him some raw dressing! Without further ado, I am reposting this salad dressing with its own dedicated post that is a hit in our household, it makes a huge quantity that I am able to refrigerate for later use, and because I frequently search my own blog for my favorite recipes, and this is one of the regulars in my searches.

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Tait’s third bowl of breakfast salad.

Red Pepper and Ginger Salad Dressing by Cookie & Kate
Ingredients
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped into big pieces
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons raw local honey
  • ¾ inch piece of ginger or 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Optional: a dash of toasted sesame oil

Directions

Place all ingredients in the order listed above and process in a high speed blender until combined. Enjoy!

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Tait’s tiny bowl of breakfast baby kale with his favorite salad dressing.

 

Pumpkin Bread Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan)

If you are looking for a muffin that you can’t possible screw up, this is the one for you. Rather than a muffin, it’s more of a banana-bread type consistency that I put in muffin cups. It cooks at a lower temperature and for a longer period of time than usual, just like a quick bread. It’s dense and hearty for breakfast or snacks, but sweet enough for dessert. You can even bake them in donut baking tray, and the kids will be thrilled to have donuts for lunch!

I have made this recipe six times now, and I have made it differently every single time. I have doubled it (WOW that made a ton!!), halved it, forgotten one of the three flours and only used two, forgot the flax egg, used honey one time then sugar another time, used half honey half sugar, used only pumpkin and used a combination of pumpkin and delicata squash, made mini muffins and full size muffins, and used a combination of oil and grass fed ghee. The only constant is that I’ve always used homemade pumpkin or squash cooked in my crock pot. I’ve made this by myself, with my kids, and with four sets of kids in the 2nd and 3rd grade. Every time, the results are magic. Without further ado, here is the recipe!

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Both recipes were made with brown rice flour, freshly ground oat flour, and tapioca flour. On the left: recipe was halved and made with organic cane sugar and delicata squash puree / On the right: full recipe was made with honey and pumpkin puree

 

Pumpkin Bread Muffins

Recipe Adapted from Katie Kimball of Kitchen Stewardship

Ingredients

  • 2 flax eggs (each egg = 1 T. flax seed meal + 3 T. warm water)
  • ⅔ c. brown rice flour*
  • ½ c. buckwheat flour*
  • ½ c. arrowroot starch**
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ½ c. honey OR ¾ c. sugar
  • ½ c. melted coconut oil or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
  • 1¼ c. pumpkin puree or any other winter squash (canned or homemade)
  • If needed: ¼ c. cold water

*You can substitute any other medium weight flour, such as oat flour (grind your own oats in your high speed blender if you don’t have them on hand!), buckwheat flour, sorghum flour, or teff flour. Try to use two different flours for each of the medium weight flours. But, this recipe is magic, so it may work just fine with only one type!

**You can substitute any other light weight flour, such as tapioca starch, potato starch, or even organic corn starch.

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make your flax egg(s). Warm your measured water in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, and add flax seed meal to the warm water. Stir and let sit for 5+ minutes, or until it has an egg-like consistency. Set aside.
  3. Add all of your dry ingredients to a bowl. Stir.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the top of the dry ingredients in the same bowl.
  5. Stir as few times as possible, just until dry and wet ingredients are combined. The more you stir, the tougher your muffin bread will be.

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    Oops – My 2nd and 3rd graders over-mixed their batch!

  6. Add up to 1/4 c. of cold water to the mixture if it needs more movement.
  7. Line muffin tins with muffin liners and pour the batter into each liner until it is 3/4 full.
  8. For regular sized muffins, bake for 42-44 minutes; for mini muffins, bake for 20-22 minutes.

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    Yummy finished mini muffins and mini donuts!

Bulletproof Coffee

Has anyone else heard of this new meal replacement? Before you try it, READ THIS! I’d heard about it previously from a nutritionist that a cup of coffee mixed with coconut oil and grass-fed butter (also known as Bulletproof Coffee) would be a great meal replacement because of the calories and fat and a myriad of other performance-related benefits. I assumed this to be true, but about a week later I stumbled across this article in GT Weekly entitled Fat Chance: Is the butter-in-coffee fad really good for you? It turns out that it is IF AND ONLY IF you’re on a strict paleo diet. And how many people can say that they really are? Per the article:

“He’s not giving you the full story physiologically, and what he’s leaving out is really important,” says Dr. Dawn Motyka of KUSP’s Ask Dr. Dawn. For instance: “You absolutely cannot have any starch or sugar with this.” And no matter how tempting it may be, Asprey really should warn his followers not to add sugar. “That would be horrible, because then that fat is just going to circulate in your arteries; you can’t burn it.”

The trend is really only OK for people who are on a strict paleo diet—for more than just that day.

“If you’re eating paleo, after a couple of weeks your body adjusts and you produce different enzymes, and your body starts to burn fat, and when you do that that’s great, but the adaptation relies on you not eating sugars,” says Motyka.

Another article I’m digging is Bulletproof Coffee Pros and Cons, which states:

I would stay away from any radical diet plans and suggestions. The real Bulletproof body you are looking for, is built in the gym and supplied with nutrition from long term planned eating habits, such as the Mediterranean Diet, for example.

Obviously, you can find literature to support whatever view you have at any given time. However, I agree with the last quote, and just eat real food! Plants, lots and lots of plants. All colors of plants, different types of plants — a rainbow of them. I don’t know anyone who ever got sick from eating too many fruits and vegetables.

Don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite indulgences is grabbing a gourmet coffee drink and a pastry. But the next time you consider going for a cup of Bulletproof, be sure to consider it only if you’re on a strict paleo diet.

If you don’t know what a paleo diet is, then you might want to stick with a regular cup of Joe 🙂

Homemade Almond Milk

I always buy raw almonds from the store with the intention of making homemade almond milk, but we usually end up eating them before I get a chance to make it. This week, I saw the bag and remembered to measure out a cup of almonds and soak them in the fridge overnight. Actually, I measured out two cups of almonds, so I could make two batches and have my kids taste test and approve their favorite batch.

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Homemade Almond Milk with Raw Local Honey / Almond Milk with Dates

It’s hard to believe I don’t make my own almond milk regularly because it’s so easy, creamy, healthy, delicious, and there are no added unpronounceable ingredients like Carrageenan, which is found in dairy and non-dairy products alike. Here is a Shopping Guide that will help you stay away from this controversial ingredient.

Homemade Almond Milk

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds (I use Trader Joe’s brand because they are not processed on equipment that processes other tree nuts or peanuts, which is very difficult to find in a nut product.)
  • 2 cups filtered water (for soaking)
  • 3 1/2 cups filtered water (for milk)
  • Optional sweetener: 2 dates or 2 T. raw local honey
  • nut milk bag or cheesecloth (for straining)

Directions

  1. Soak almonds in 2 cups of filtered water overnight. I’ve read that the longer you soak them, the creamier the end result. You can soak them for as little as 1-2 hours or as long as 24 hours. Drain once the desired soaking duration is reached.
  2. Add soaked almonds to a high speed blender, and cover with 3 1/2 cups of water. Option: Add either 2 dates or 2 T. raw local honey to the blender as a sweetener.
  3. Turn on the blender and let it run at maximum speed for one minute. (I used a Vitamix.)
  4. Strain the blended mixture through a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth. Gently press out all of the milk from the bag until the almond pulp inside is very dry and void of any moisture. Don’t use a strainer, as it will not remove enough of the almond pulp, and the end result will be very gritty.

Helpful Hint: Save the almond pulp! It can be used in my homemade Gluten-Free, Vegan Almond Biscotti that I made from scratch that I’ll talk abut later this week!

  1. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 2-3 days, making sure to shake the milk before each serving.

My kids tasted a batch with dates, then a batch with raw local honey, and the honey mixture was the winner for drinking a large cup of almond milk. However, both batches were delicious for smoothies and cereal, which are the two reasons we use non-dairy milk the most. Try it with or without the sweeteners and decide what you prefer best!

Chocolate Protein Smoothie

Our studio, The Dailey Method Willow Glen, began a 30-day workout and clean eating challenge this weekend. Here is my contribution to starting the morning with a delicious, creamy protein smoothie after a 6am workout!

Chocolate Protein Smoothie

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups almond milk (I used a homemade batch sweetened with dates)
1 banana
1 scoop protein powder (I use Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein Powder, Vanilla)
2 tsp raw cacao powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Optional: handful of raw spinach leaves for extra calcium, four ice cubes

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender. Enjoy!

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Chai-Flavored Smoothie

My favorite, favorite go-to smoothie is a chai-flavored one that I found in a recipe book a couple of years ago that tastes so much like my drink of choice from Starbucks, a grande soy chai latte, but without the $5 price tag and all that extra sugar. The gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and vegan recipe below is the smoothie I drink right after my morning workout. I prefer to make a large batch of the spices and store it in an air-tight container, so I can quickly measure 1 tsp of the entire spice blend without measuring out five separate spice jars.

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Chai Smoothie topped with chia seeds

Chai Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/8 tsp ground gloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 T raw local honey or 1/8 tsp stevia (but be sure to read this article to learn how to buy the most natural brands, or see the image below to learn how to make your own stevia extract)
  • 6 ice cubes (or 6 frozen chai tea cubes for the caffeine kick)

Directions

Pour the milk into a blender and add the banana, spices, sweetener, and ice. (As an option, you can pour steeped chai tea into an ice cube tray and add frozen tea cubes to your smoothie.) Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve immediately.

For extra protein:

For extra calcium:

  • Add a handful of fresh spinach leaves with all the other ingredients

For extra electrolytes:

  • Add 1 T chia seeds to your already blended smoothie (pictured above)

To make a large batch of the chai spice blend:

  • Add 4 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground cardamom, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground black pepper – Combine in a small container, and use 1 tsp for each smoothie serving!

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Tofu Scramble

This week we started our Farm Unit in my son’s K/1 class, and I am so excited about all of the wonderful opportunities I will have to teach them about organic vs. conventional, The Dirty Dozen, GMO’s, and so much more! The best part is that we are working closely with our gardening parents, so the kids actually understand that food comes from farm to table!

Today we made a tofu scramble in class and talked about how people who do not eat eggs or dairy can eat scrambled tofu instead of scrambled eggs, and I overemphasized the need for anything soy-based to be ORGANIC. The kids who are not familiar with tofu were surprised it tasted just like the eggs they know from home! We compared dried soybeans to edamame, then got cooking! Another successful meal that the kids devoured. If I made this again as a class project, I would cut back on the onion and not use bell peppers, as the kids ate around those two things.

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SCRAMBLED TOFU

Recipe adapted from Jolinda Hackett’s Easy Tofu Scramble

Ingredients

1 block ORGANIC tofu, firm

1 T vegetable oil (we used sunflower)

1/4 onion (less if for kids-only)

1/4 red bell pepper (omit if for kids-only)

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

2 T soy sauce

1 T nutritional yeast, or to taste

1/4 tsp turmeric, to color

Directions

1. Prepare the tofu: Drain the water from the tofu package and place a layer of paper towels down on a plate. Place the block of tofu on top, then cover with more paper towels. Gently press down on the tofu to press out as much water as possible. Repeat with clean paper towels until they are no longer soaking wet. Using two forks, crumble the tofu block until it is the texture of scrambled eggs.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and bell peppers (if using) until softened and fragrant. Add the crumbled tofu, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix for a couple of minutes.

3. Add soy sauce, and continue to mix.

4. Reduce heat to low. Add nutritional yeast to taste (we used less and less with each batch of children), and add turmeric to stain the tofu an egg-color, if desired. Continue stirring until well-combined (a few more minutes).

5. Remove from heat, plate, and enjoy!

See all of our K/1 Cooking Projects here.