Three Things for Monday

I have just three quick things to share on this Monday morning. Then I’m off to classes!

First, one final call for any questions that you all would like to know about Lindsay Nixon and her new cookbook Happy Herbivore Light and Lean. I already have a list of interview question ideas to send but if anyone has suggestions they are welcomed!

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Second, a quick recipe to share 🙂

Pumpkin Bread Bake with Pumpkin Frosting (Grain-Free)

Pumpkin Bread Bake with Pumpkin Frosting

Adapted from my Banana Bread Bake – Makes 2 servings

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Nut-Free, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly

Pumpkin Bread Bake with Pumpkin Frosting (Grain-Free)

Bread ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Frosting ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (use coconut yogurt to make dairy-free)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour (more or less as needed)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil/grease two large ramekins (I used a Pyrex 4-cup round bowl like this one that is around 6 inches in diameter).
  2. Crack the eggs into a food processor and blend until it is one solid color. When the eggs are blended add the pumpkin puree and blend until smooth.
  3. Then add in the coconut flour, spices and salt. Blend again until fully incorporated.
  4. Now you should add the baking soda, but wait to do this until the oven is fully heated and right before you are ready to pour the batter and bake. You don’t want the baking soda to react and then the mixture to sit for too long. So, once the oven reaches 375 degrees, add the baking soda and blend again for a few seconds.
  5. Pour the batter into the ramekins and place them directly into the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown. The top should spring back to the touch and the edges should begin to look barely darkened.
  6. Meanwhile mix up the frosting in a small bowl. Add coconut flour as necessary to thicken it up. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Let the breads cool for a few minutes when done, remove onto a plate and top with frosting to serve.

Recipe notes: I made this a two-serving recipe but it can easily be a single-serving. The bread would be 3 eggs, 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp coconut flour, 1 tbsp cinnamon, dash of nutmeg/ginger, dash of salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda. And the frosting would be 2 tbsp yogurt, 1 tbsp pumpkin puree, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tbsp honey, dash of salt, 1 1/2 tsp coconut flour. For half of the recipe you should check the bread at 30 minutes as it will probably take less time than the 40 minutes for two ramekins.

Pumpkin Bread Bake with Pumpkin Frosting (Grain-Free)

Third… the winner of The China Study Cookbook!

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Using the True Random Number Generator the winner of the giveaway is:

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Congratulations Sarah from Slices of Sarah Pie! Please e-mail me at alleyhays [dot] gmail [dot] com with your address so that BenBella Books can get you the cbook right away 🙂

Thank you for all who entered. If you didn’t win the cookbook and would still like a copy, you can purchase both the kindle and paperback editions on Amazon.

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I’d say all three of these things are pretty marvellous, wouldn’t you? That’s why I’m linking up to Katie at Healthy Diva Eat’s MIMM.

What I Cooked Up (WIAW)

Good morning and happy What I Ate Wednesday! I’m very excited to share with you all of the things that I cooked up over the weekend for my family members. This time I didn’t even have to break the rules to participate in WIAW because I actually have a food picture for every meal of the day! (Even though they aren’t exactly MY eats… It’s one step closer 😉 ).

Thank you to Jenn for hosting WIAW. Be sure to check out the other great bloggers who linked up their daily meals today!

wiaw-breakfast

I feel very confident in saying that there isn’t anything better than a bread-type good for breakfast. Whether it be pancakes or waffles, muffins or bagels, they just have a way of filling that craving that only bread can do. I think that’s probably why there are so many new healthy takes always emerging on breakfast breads. People just love them.

Today I am going to be no different in that here is my newest take on a healthy breakfast bread (adapted from Pencils and Pancakes’ recipe only because I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand at the time). It’s delicious, high in protein, includes only quality ingredients, and doesn’t contain any added unhealthy sugars! Plus, as always, it’s gluten-free 🙂 For the topping I made a slightly modified (note: sweeter) version of Yeah… Imma Eat That’s frosting recipe. Paired together they are a match made in heaven.

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting

Wheat/Gluten/Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Nut-Free Option, Paleo/GAPS-Friendly, No Sugar Added

Makes 1 large serving for breakfast or 2 smaller servings for a snack

Bread Recipe adapted from Pencils and Pancakes

Frosting Recipe adapted from Yeah…Imma Eat That

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

Bread Ingredients:

  • 3 large eggs (preferably organic or cage-free)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • dash of sea salt (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp nut butter (use sunbutter to make nut-free)
  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (use coconut yogurt to make it dairy-free)
  • coconut flour (optional- use if needed to thicken up the frosting if it seems too thin)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil/grease a large ramekin (I used a pyrex 4-cup round bowl like this one that is around 6 inches in diameter).
  2. Crack the eggs into a food processor and blend until it is one solid color. Meanwhile peel the banana and when the eggs are blended add the banana and blend until smooth.
  3. Then add in the coconut flour, cinnamon and salt. Blend again until fully incorporated.
  4. Now you should add the baking soda, but wait to do this until the oven is fully heated and right before you are ready to pour the batter and bake. You don’t want the baking soda to react and then the mixture to sit for too long. So, once the oven reaches 375 degrees, add the baking soda and blend again for a few seconds.
  5. Pour the batter into the ramekin and place it directly into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. The top should spring back to the touch and the edges should begin to look barely darkened.
  6. Meanwhile mix up the frosting in a small bowl. Add a sprinkle of coconut flour if necessary to thicken it up. If using a low fat/fat-free yogurt this may be necessary. Place in the fridge until ready to use.
  7. Let cool for a few minutes, remove onto a plate and top with frosting to serve. (I did not use all of the frosting so you may have some leftover).

Banana Bread Bake with Nut Butter Frosting (Grain-Free with Nut/Dairy-Free Options)

wiaw-lunch

Lucky for you, the rest of the recipes for today’s WIAW have already been posted as well, so no waiting around like usual. This recipe that I made comes from The China Study Cookbook. I shared the recipe excerpt on Monday as part of my (very long) review on the cookbook. Be sure to check it out and make this incredibly easy, vegan meal. And while you’re there, you might as well join the giveaway to win your own copy of the book!

Dominican Beans

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

While the recipe makes multiple servings, it isn’t something that you have to eat right away. We saved about half of the beans for my parents to take for lunch for the week. As for the salad on the bottom, I made just enough for two. If you want the prep to be even quicker you could cut up all of the vegetables ahead of time, assemble the salads as needed, and then just heat up whatever portion of the beans you want for the topping. Easy peasy.

Dominican Beans from The China Study Cookbook (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

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Egg in a Squash

This recipe is so fast and simple that it’s no wonder that so many bloggers have tried it in just the few short weeks since Meg at A Dash of Meg posted about it. Egg in a Squash is really just what it sounds like. I took half of a cooked dumpling squash (cooked using this method), cracked in an organic egg, and then baked it at 425 degrees for about 35-40 minutes.

Egg in a Squash

Meg’s original directions call for a slightly shorter cooking time, but for this first try I didn’t want to take any risks so I made sure the egg was thoroughly cooked. If you like runny yolks though, follow Meg’s instructions. I will probably try that next time and see how my Dad likes it.

Egg in a Squash

wiaw-dessert

Apple crisp is basically the quintessential fall dessert (along with pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. of course 😉 ). But really, apple crisp was one of my favorite desserts that our school cafeterias served growing up. I’m not sure what they put in it, but man was it good!

No worries with this one though. All of the ingredients are easily recognizable. Originally this recipe was for pear crisp but I just did a little swapping and made an apple version instead (see below the second picture for my alterations).

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

I did change a few things from the first recipe, but both are equally amazing. This time I used coconut oil in place of the butter/ghee to make it dairy-free as well as vegan. And obviously I used apples in place of the pears (I only needed 5 apples though versus the 6 pears in the original recipe). Also, I covered the apple crisp in foil for about half of the baking time, as well as doubled the time that I left it in the oven so that the apples got cooked completely. Soft and delicious. If you make it, I’d suggest focusing more on the texture of the fruit for how long it needs to be in the oven, and the look of the crisp for whether or not you need to top it with foil so that it doesn’t burn.

Apple Crisp (Grain-Free and Vegan)

And guess what?! I think I can call this another mission accomplished for my Friday Food Finds #13. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to say that 🙂 I made 3 out of the 5 recipes from that post so it’s definitely a success. I still have my eye on making the other two and I’ll let you know if I try them.

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My Friday post may be a little shortened this week, and my commenting may be somewhat sporadic as well as I have midterms all week long. Today I have a quiz in Statistics, tomorrow I have a quiz in Business Communications and an exam in Music Cultures, and then on Friday I have an Astronomy exam plus an Accounting quiz. Wow. Typing that out makes me realize how busy I really am going to be! While I may not have much time to post on here, I will for sure be keeping my Instagram updated so follow me on there for my latest life updates 🙂

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Questions for you:

Do you like bready breakfast foods?

Have you entered my giveaway yet?

What is your favorite simple meal?

The China Study Cookbook Giveaway (MIMM)

Good morning everyone and happy Monday.

As I mentioned on Friday, I have a special treat for you today. A few weeks ago I was contacted by a marketing associate from BenBella Books wondering if I would like to review one of their more recently published cookbooks. I’ve worked with them in the past on reviewing a copy of Happy Herbivore Abroad last December and that was such a great experience that I didn’t even hesitate to agree again.

Now, some of you may question why I am reviewing a vegan cookbook when some of my blog’s recipes contain animals products. Really it is quite simple. First and foremost my reasoning is that I just plain love cookbooks. I’ve said this before, but I actually read them like novels in bed as I go to sleep, and this one was no exception. Second, I really appreciate the focus on vegetables and fruits that vegan books tend to have, unlike many of my (while still thoroughly enjoyed) dessert cookbooks. Finally, as someone with a dairy and egg allergy, vegan cookbooks offer a host of wonderful recipes and techniques that benefit me and others with allergies greatly.

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With that explained, let me give you a run down of what all you are going to see in this review post of The China Study Cookbook. First I am going to start off with a summary of the book and a little background information of the author. Then we will dive right into the recipes that I have made from the cookbook so far, one being an excerpt that you can try out for yourself. After discussing the recipes I will sum up my final thoughts on the cookbook and give you all of the details on the best part – the giveaway!

Let’s get started.

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Here is the book summary taken right from the publisher’s website:

The China Study, with 850,000 copies sold, has been hailed as one of the most important health and nutrition books ever published. It revealed that the traditional Western diet has led to our modern health crisis and the widespread growth of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Based on the most comprehensive nutrition study ever conducted, the book reveals that a plant-based diet leads to optimal health with the power to halt or reverse many diseases.

The China Study Cookbook takes these scientific findings and puts them to action. Written by LeAnne Campbell, daughter of The China Study author T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and mother of two hungry teenagers, The China Study Cookbook features delicious, easily prepared plant-based recipes with no added fat and minimal sugar and salt that promote optimal health.

From her Breakfast Home-Fry Hash and Fabulous Sweet Potato Enchiladas to No-Bake Peanut Butter Bars and Cheese(less) Cake, all of LeAnne’s recipes follow three important principles:

1. Optimal nutrition is based on eating food rather than nutrient supplements

2. The closer that foods are to their native states—prepared with minimal cooking, salting, and processing—the greater the long-term health benefits of eating them

3. It is best to choose locally and organically grown produce whenever possible

Filled with helpful tips on substitutions, keeping foods nutrient-rich, and transitioning to a plant-based diet, The China Study Cookbook shows how to transform individual health and the health of the entire family.

From inside the back cover here is a little more information about the author:

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Leanne Campbell, PhD, lives in Durham, North Carolina. She has been preparing meals based on a whole food, plant-based diet for almost twenty years. LeAnne has raised two sons—Steven and Nelson, now nineteen and eighteen years of age—on this diet. As a working mother, LeAnne has found ways to prepare quick and easy meals without using animals products or added oils.

These are the recipes that I have tried so far and a further explanation of what the book includes:

The book starts with a nice summary of the author’s personal transition to a plant-based diet and goes on to explain in great detail how to transition to a plant-based diet if you choose, and what essentials you will need to know on that journey. This section was one of my favorite parts of the book. Whether or not you agree with a vegan, plant-based lifestyle, you can’t help but be inspired by LeAnne’s dedication to health for both herself and her family. Also, the Q&A where the author was asked about her sons’ experiences with a plant-based diet really resonated with me since I too have to follow a diet that is out of the norm among my college classmates.

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Still, while I very much enjoyed reading this introduction to the cookbook, the recipes were obviously the main focus for me. They were divided into several sections based on what type of recipe they were (Breakfast Dishes, Soups, Sandwiches, Desserts, etc.) and in each section the recipes were listed in alphabetical order for ease of use which I appreciated.

A few of the recipes that stood out to me were the Sesame Noodle Salad, Tasty Tostados, Veggie Fajita Wraps, African Vegetables, Dominican Beans, Mama’s Kitchen Pasta with Marinara Sauce, Cranberry Applesauce, Vegan Chocolate Cake, Garlic Green Beans and Mushrooms, Quick Butternut Squash, Date Fruit Pie, and Nutty Noodles with Vegetables. Alright, so maybe these were more than a few. There were just so many to pick from!

Ultimately I settled on making two recipes to share in this review.

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The first one was the Vegan Chocolate Cake which I made for my brother in cupcake form. I had to substitute in a few ingredients (pumpkin puree for the applesauce and whole wheat pastry flour for the spelt) but it still came out wonderful. There was also a frosting recipe given that was supposed to be paired along with the vegan cake, however I’ll admit that I didn’t want to push my luck with a tofu frosting on my brother. Instead I just made a basic chocolate glaze. I would encourage you to try out the frosting recipe though because it sounds delicious and probably would fool most (excluding my brother who has had one too many healthy dessert terrors thanks to yours truly).

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The second recipe that I made was the Domincan Beans from the Entrees section of the cookbook. This recipe was so incredibly easy to make. I came home at about 12:00pm from church and by 1:00pm I was plating up the meal for my parents to devour. Once again I had to make some substitutions based on what we had in house, but it turned out fabulous and we will be making the bean portion of the recipe again and again for a quick side to round out future meals.

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Lucky for you all, I have been given permission to share the recipe for the beans with you today straight from the pages of The China Study Cookbook.

Dominican Beans

Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 35 minutes

Makes 6–8 servings

What really makes this dish is the salad served on top. The crunchy freshness of the vegetables and the tanginess of the dressing make for a perfect combination.

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For the beans

  • ¼ cup vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup diced butternut squash
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cans pinto beans
  • ½ tablespoon Mexican oregano leaves, dried
  • ½ teaspoon thyme, dried
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 cups cooked brown rice, for serving

For the salad

  • 2 cups sliced lettuce
  • 2 cups cabbage, sliced into strips
  • ¾ cup sliced cucumber
  • ¾ cup sliced cooked beets
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • Balsamic rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

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 Directions

  1. For the beans, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable broth in a large stock pot and sauté the onion and garlic over medium-high heat until soft. Add green pepper, squash, cilantro, and two more tablespoons vegetable broth. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add water, tomato paste, beans, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. If needed, add an additional 1/2 cup water. Season with salt.
  3. While the beans are cooking, make the salad. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  4. Serve beans over rice and top with salad.

Tip – Black or red beans can be substituted for the pinto beans.

Recipe notes from me: Like I said above, I had to make a few substitutions when making this recipe, so I will include them here. Instead of the fresh garlic and herbs which were not available at my grocery store, I used organic dried replacements. Instead of the pinto beans and tomato paste I used the organic navy beans and tomato puree that we had on hand (increasing the tomato puree to about 1/3 cup). Also, in place of the sliced lettuce and cabbage I just bought a bag of pre-washed organic lettuce mix that included red cabbage. We don’t usually eat rice at home so I just made some cauliflower rice instead. (Oh, and I also forgot to add the tomatoes… Whoops!).

This is my review of the cookbook from GoodReads.com:

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The China Study Cookbook will appeal to both herbivores and carnivores alike. What’s important is its focus on whole foods and the emphasis that it places on including a lot of fresh produce in one’s diet. I really enjoyed the introduction from the author and her personal story of going plant-based as it did a great job of setting the stage and putting me in the right mindset for looking at the vegan recipes. Also, the two recipes that I have tried so far were great. The Vegan Chocolate Cake and Dominican Beans are a must if you buy this cookbook. In the future I hope to also make the Nutty Noodles with Vegetables! (Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book to review but all thoughts and opinions are my own).

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I hope that after this post you are now even more excited to get your own copy of The China Study Cookbook!

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Here is how you can participate in this great giveaway…

There are five ways that you can win a free copy of The China Study Cookbook (for international citizens residing  outside of the U.S. or Canada you will receive an e-book version of the cookbook):

1. Follow Eating 4 Balance via Bloglovin.

2. Follow me on my (very new) Instagram account.

3. Follow me on Pinterest.

4. Share your favorite vegan cookbook/author/blogger.

5. Follow BenBella Books on Twitter to see their latest releases.

Leave a separate comment below for each entry. Make sure to include a valid e-mail address so that I can get a hold of you if (when) you win. This giveaway will last a total of 7 days. It starts on October 14, and ends on October 21 at midnight EST. No entries will be counted after that time.

I will pick the winner randomly, and announce who won here on Monday, October 22 as long as all goes according to plan. The winner will also receive an e-mail from me. If the winner does not respond back with their full name and a viable shipping address (if from the U.S. or Canada) within one week, then I will randomly pick another winner, of which the same rules apply.