Archive | May, 2012

May Foodie Penpal!

31 May

This month’s foodie penpal was SO awesome!!  We all loved the Hail Merry rosemary and orange pecans.  Dani even kept trying to snag them.  Then chocolate covered kale chips! What?  I ate these for breakfast one morning when I just couldn’t choke down my shake.  There also was hummus, salsa, coffee, and a bunch of super bars that are vegan and gluten free.  My favorite two were The Mahalo bar and the Crispy Cat bar.  They are truly candy for vegans!  SO good as a treat!  I even looked on Amazon and thought about ordering some!  Unfortunately, they were not available.  Probably better that way! Thank you so much, Shreya, for this FABULOUS box!

Did you know YOU can be a Foodie Penpal?  You don’t have to have a blog.  You just have to love food!  And be open to trying whatever is sent to you.  I love getting my box!

If you’re interested in participating for June, please send  an email to Lindsay at and include the following information:
-Your full name
-Your email address
-Your blog name/address (you don’t have to be a blogger!)
-Your twitter handle (if applicable)
WHETHER YOU ARE A US RESIDENT OR CANADIAN RESIDENT. – this is SUPER important so you get on the right list!
The Lean Green Bean


Chocolate Chip Flax Banana Muffins (vegan, gluten free!)

30 May

We had a whole bunch of bananas that were needing to be used NOW.  Since summer is upon us, Daniella and I spent the morning in the kitchen making these super yummy muffins instead of the school work we would normally be doing!  Reid woke up and spent the entire morning in his room.  If we let him, I do believe the only times he would ever come out of his room would be to eat.  Unfortunately for him, we are forcing him to be with us some, too!  He loves to play Legos and read in his room.  Today, however, the smell of these muffins brought him down.

I used this fabulous book and slighty adapted a recipe.  If you know anyone with food allergies, this book would make a great gift!

Chocolate Chip Flax Banana Muffins

1/4 cup canola oil

1 cup agave

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

2  T freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup milled flaxseeds

2 1/2 cups Cybele Pascal’s gluten free flour mix

3/4 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup vegan chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.  Spray nonstick muffin tin with spray.

2. In the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the canola oil and agave and mix on medium for 20 secs.

3. Add the mashed bananas, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix for 20 more seconds. Add the flax and mix until combined.

4. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix on low until combined.

6.  Add the chocolate chips.

7. Fill the muffin pan 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 25 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

8.  It is my opinion that gluten free baked goods are really dry by day 2.  I always freeze whatever we don’t eat that day or give it away.

YUM!  Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!  I gave a few away and was told by a gluten eating, non vegan that they are “off the hook” good!  Woohoo!


28 May

This is the last week of school!!  Yeehaw!  Here is our meal plan this week:

Tho goal for this week is to use up what we have from our produce co-op and leftovers from my juice fast!
Monday: Cilantro lime quinoa with black beans (and tomato and avocado) with mangoes on the side.
Tuesday: Forks Over Knives sweet potato vegan lasagna. No idea if this will be good!  The link is not to the book, but to one blogger who made it successfully.  Obviously, I will make it gluten free and will not use the corn.
Wednesday: Quinoa taco “meat” on taco salad with fresh pineapple and apple slices for us and Hokeys.
Thursday: LAST DAY OF SCHOOL! Celebrating at Pei Wei!
Friday: homemade pizza night….never gets old!
Saturday: Grilling at neighbor’s house! Love summer and friends who still have us over even despite how hard we are to feed!  This neighbor is so sweet, she made me gluten free, vegan blueberry muffins for something at her house yesterday.  So sweet of you, Cortney!

My health is still so so.  The juice fast knocked out all of the symptoms except fever!!  Woohoo!  That fever really does bring me down every afternoon, so I will be happy when that is gone.  Other than that, I am just super fatigued.  Every morning, I have made my smoothies and gagged them down.  My food is my medicine.  And while it isn’t the most socially fun way to eat, it is paying off, bite by bite!

What is on YOUR menu this week?  Do share!  Two  sweet friends heard my pleas for some new ideas and sent me so many that I am just thrilled!  I wanted to try some of them this week, but needed to get through the produce I have on hand!  Thank you, Kathleen and April!

Juice time

23 May

Well, yesterday I got hit by a Mack truck, it seems. All of the sudden, my fever is up, all of my joints hurt so much that going down my stairs is nearly impossible, my chest hurts, my hair is falling out like crazy, my fingers and toes all went numb when I got cold, and so many other things.

All of my travels and stress finally caught up with me.  I will start a juice fast right now. Haven’t eaten today, so juice it will be all of today and tomorrow.  I will decide what to do from there.

Thanks for walking this journey with me! So grateful for a juicer and fruit and that I am not needing to take Prednisone (yet….or hopefully ever?).

Little by little I am learning how much fudging on my diet my body can take.  If you have a favorite juice combo, post it here!  (not smoothies, just juice for now)

I’m baaaaaack!!!

21 May

I have recently felt like all of my culinary skills were GONE.  But after thinking about it, I remembered that my first love in the kitchen was not cooking.  It has ALWAYS been baking.  I can cook…but it is with desserts where I really hit my stride.

When we went gluten free, it took me a while to be able to find my way with baking.  But I did it.

HOWEVER, taking out the dairy and eggs on top has been uber hard!  Until last week.  Because one simple book changed it all!  Cybele Pascal’s: The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook

HOLY COW!! It is a book for baking without gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame!  (I stole the pic from Amazon, but if you click on it, it will actually take you to Amazon to buy it.  Don’t think about it again.  Just buy it.  )

The Allergen-Free Baker's HandbookWe have made a red velvet cake (only brown), some ginger carrot cupcakes, and a blueberry boy bait breakfast cake.  It is SO great to finally know that I can make stuff for others and they won’t wonder what weird concoction I have come up with!

Today is my birthday.  I told Luck not to make me a cake.  But then after lunch, I thought, “Why not have a birthday cake?”  I knew we would all enjoy it.  And I won’t be keeping it around to snack on because I have got to get back to eating well.  Hawaii, Denver, Mother’s Day, and my birthday have combined with little to no exercise because of my foot with a stress fracture to cause a little girth growth!

I by no means think that baking on a regular basis is healthy.  I don’t.  I don’t want processed foods in our regular life. And while the cake is homemade, the sugar, flours, shortening, etc…are all processed ingredients.   But on birthdays and special occasions, I would much rather our kiddos have stuff from MY kitchen than from anywhere else.

So without further ado….my birthday cake!

Brown Velvet Cake with Velvet Frosting

From Cybele Pascal’s: The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook

(modified only to take out the red food coloring…I didn’t have the natural stuff and figured I really didn’t care about the redness!)

makes one 8-inch layer cake

  • 2 3/4 cups gluten free flour mix (get her cookbook and make her blend of flours.  SO good!)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rice milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 6 tablespoons rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 recipe Velvet Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, line with cutout parchment paper, grease again, and dust with a little cocoa powder.
  2. Whisk together the flour mix, cocoa powder, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine the rice milk and cider vinegar. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the shortening, sugar, egg replacer, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the food coloring and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Sift in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the rice milk mixture, and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  5. Divide the batter between the two pans, and smooth down the surface using a frosting spatula.
  6. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time.
  7. Let cool in the pans on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Cover the cake pan with a large plate, flip, peel off the parchment paper, and flip the cake back onto the rack, right side up, to cool completely. Repeat with the other cake.
  8. Once the cakes have cooled completely, you may use a serrated knife to trim the tops to make them level. Frost with Velvet Frosting. Once the frosting has set, store covered at room temperature. **The original recipe says that it gets better over time.  I totally DISAGREE! Eat this the first day, maybe the second!  And freeze that baby or give it away!**

Velvet Frosting

(this is a bright frosting with a lemony kick)

makes enough to frost one 8-inch layer cake

  • 1 cup dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and salt on medium speed for 1 minute.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar in three batches, beating after each addition.
  3. Add the rice milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth, creamy, and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

YUM!!!! Enjoy!

Meal planning and desperation.

20 May

I am seriously desperate for good, kid friendly meals that fit all of my crazy food criteria.  I feel like I have lost the ability to make food that fits those criteria that the kids will love.  I am in a major funk.  Fortunately, there is one person (besides me) that still likes what I make.  And he loves it all.  I am amazed that he isn’t longing for my meals of meat and chicken!

Meal planning for this week is super fun, since there isn’t much to it!!

Sunday: date with my honey

Monday: Birthday!  Not sure what we are eating, but I am not cooking!  🙂

Tuesday: Kids’ school has a dinner/Spring Showcase and Silent Auction.

Wednesday: Gretchen cooks

Thursday: Sweet potato and veggie lasagna

Friday: pizza night


Now THAT sounds like a good week of eating to me!

Do YOU have any recipes you can share with me???  Are you eating plant based?  If so, share your ideas!  Do you have a meal plan?  Post it here!  (vegan or not)

On the Lupus front, I am still weaning from that LAST pill.  Luck has me at a 1/4 of a pill 2 days and none on the 3rd day.  He will take me to every other day next week, when school stress is all over.  🙂

The next step.

17 May

I don’t have a pic for today’s post.  Just a report.

So on the Lupus front, I am still making huge strides.  I am amazed that after Hawaii, Denver, Dani’s big ballet committment, the end of the school year, soccer, teaching, and so much more…I am actually doing okay.  We still have Dani’s recital, more end of school year stuff, and a few other commitments to go.  But I have a feeling I will make it ;).

I have fevers daily and need to sleep a lot.  But no pleurisy, joint pain, hair loss, would normally follow stress.  I have had to sit out of some meetings and get togethers.  But NOTHING like this time last year.  God is so good to me.


So the news for today is that I have started on the last leg of getting off of ALL prescription meds.  I am now down to one quarter of an antidepressant.  The goal is to take me to zero over the next month.  Please pray for me.  It is hard, hard, hard to come off of this.  I get very down, very emotional, very hopeless.  It will take about a month to zero out and then another month to emotionally stabilize. But the pain will be worth it if, indeed, my body will allow me to go all of the way.

I need prayer, friends!  I want to make it all of the way.  I would LOVE to celebrate my one year of eating plant based with being COMPLETELY med free!  Wouldn’t that be awesome?  My family needs prayer!  It is not easy on them when I am down and out.

All for now!  What would you like to see on here? More recipes?  I don’t feel like I am a good enough cook anymore to share anything.  Hopefully this summer I can work on getting better in the kitchen again. Love to you all!