One Vegan Way to Start Your Day…

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The original of this recipe, which was given to me by a sweet friend of mine, is called “Take A Hike Scones.”  I tweaked some of the ingredients to create this version, which works best for my bod and taste buds.  I don’t promote eating vegan margarine daily, but this tasty treat definitely gives you the feeling of having a baked good without all of the refined sugars and carbs.  I think most people who are scared by the thought of “healthy” and “vegan” foods would actually really enjoy these morsels of goodness!  Try them, you will like them!  And your heart will, too!  The whole wheat flour, flaxseeds, oats, and pumpkin seeds give them staying power to help keep you satiated.

VEGAN TAKE A HIKE SCONES:

8 ounces Earth Balance Buttery Sticks vegetable oil spread or other vegan margarine (don’t use shortening)

2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour

2/3 cup organic light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup dried fruit, cut into small dice (any combination: cranberries, apples, apricots, or other fruit) I used baking raisins and cranberries (no sugar added cranberries can be found at Garden Patch in Mishawaka, IN)  And I’ll add here that after making several batches of these my husband pleaded with me to make him some with chocolate chips.  I acquiesced eventually and left out the dried fruit and added cacao chips to his.  (I admit they weren’t half bad. :-))

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup flaxseeds

3/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk

1. Cut the buttery sticks or margarine into chunks and freeze for minimum of 1 hour.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.  Mix in the oats.  Using the dough hook attachment on medium-low speed, cut the frozen margarine into dry ingredients until pea size chunks are left, 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the ingredients as needed as they creep up the sides of the bowl.  (I don’t have an electric mixer with dough hook, so I’ve been using a handheld mixer.  I’m guessing the other way is ideal, but this has worked just fine for me.  I don’t quite achieve the pea-sized chunks it mentions, but the final product doesn’t lack in flavor.  A little more crumbly perhaps-I try to use a plate when I eat one so I can pour all the crumbs in my mouth at the end. :-)

3. Briefly mix in the dried fruits, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds.  Add almond milk (mixture will look soggy, but keep mixing until it reaches a thick, oatmeal-like consistency and isn’t runny, about 1-2 minutes).

4.  I line two cookie sheets with foil for easy clean up, and use a spoon and my hands to create large chunks of the doughy mix and plop them on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.  Scones will puff up and crack on the top.  Cool completely.  Eat and enjoy!  Give them away as gifts!  Who doesn’t like a yummy, healthy, homemade treat?!?

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Heart Healthy Guacamole-Chipotle Restaurant Style

Guacamole can be one of those good-for-you foods that doesn’t take long to whip up and most everyone enjoys!  It’s great to bring to summer picnics or last-minute get togethers.  Pair it with homemade salsa, cut up peppers and carrots for dipping, perhaps a healthier chip and -YUM- you’ve got yourself a nice little snack/meal!   Many have feared the avocado for its higher fat content, but this is the GOOD kind of fat our bodies need.  Mind you, I didn’t say to eat the entire batch in one sitting!!   Enjoy!! :-D

2  Avocados
1/2 of a Jalapeno pepper, seeded, and minced  (leave seeds in for extra kick)
1/4 – 1/2 of a red onion, finely chopped  (I used 1/2 onion for added zing)
2 heaping Tablespoons of Cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 of a lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Begin by scooping out the creamy insides of the avocado and mash with a fork to a smooth consistency.  Combine the rest of  ingredients into a bowl, and mash together until smooth. Add additional lime juice or salt to taste. For extra spicy guacamole, you can leave in the jalapeno seeds!