Kale and Navy Bean Soup {Vegetarian Collection}

School started up again Tuesday, and I was sooo not ready for it. I want to continue eating fresh peaches and running outside in a tank top. I don’t want to do homework! YUCK!

I do love fall though – my favorite season, so there is a bright side to this whole September thing.

I’d like to say that I crossed every single item off of my summer bucket list, but sadly, I can’t. I didn’t go to a drive-in movie theater and I didn’t make homemade pickles…but I DID…go camping on a lake with my boy.

I also made strawberry jam with handpicked strawberries..

AND something unexpected, and not on my list at all…I got engaged!! So who cares that I didn’t make pickles!? They can wait until next year.

I’m also continuing with my 30 things to do before 30 list, and have it coming along nicely. On that list is to cook my way through a cookbook from front to back, and I have made soooo many awesome recipes from Canadian Living’s The Vegetarian Collection (my book of choice). This is a recipe from that book, and I’m excited to share it with you since it was so tasty. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

To begin, heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven; add onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, 4 cups of water…

And then add your potato, sweet potato and beans. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Add kale and parsley, simmer, covered, until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

That’s it! I highly recommend this soup. Enjoy!

Kale and Navy Bean Soup
Recipe from the The Vegetarian Collection
Makes 8 regular and 10 small servings
Per 1 of 10 servings: 202 calories | 10g protein | 4g total fat | 35g carbohydrates | 4g fibre | 5 WW points +

Ingredients:
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock
4 cups water
2 cups (500 mL) diced peeled potato (about 2)
1 large sweet potato
2 cans (19 oz/540 mL) navy or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups (1.5 L) shredded deveined kale or spinach
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice

Directions:
In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, 4 cups of water, potato, sweet potato and beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Add kale and parsley, simmer, covered, until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Note: To make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Like this soup?
Try other Vegetarian Collection recipes like this Lentil Feta Salad!

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Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

This past weekend the boy and I crossed the border to visit with the Grandparents. While in the States I saw some awesome State Trooper hats, a robbed bank, and the biggest supermarket that I’ve ever seen, but most importantly, I bought and tried Biscoff spread!

Along with all the awesomeness, the Grandparents made sure that Paul and I were well fed and had cookies and sweets at every meal (very important). I had the best time, but am now feeling like I need a day off “bad stuff”. So, this morning I blended together this beauty. A peanut butter and banana smoothie that tastes delicious, but is super healthy to boot!

To make this, place all ingredients into a blender with the heavy stuff on the bottom.

Blend on high until very smooth.

Enjoy! You’ll love it.

Green Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
Makes 1 smoothie
Recipe taken from Healthy Food For Living
5 weight watchers points plus per smoothie

Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk of choice (I used 1%)
1 medium-sized ripe frozen banana
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I used 0%)
2 Tbsp quick oats
1 Tbsp unnatural smooth peanut butter
2 big handfuls washed and dried baby spinach
a few dashes ground cinnamon, optional

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high until very smooth.

Honey Bee Cookies

Do you listen to audiobooks? Last summer while doing field work, I went through tens of books just listening to my ipod. It’s such a great way to get through a book when you’re too zonked in the evening to read for very long, and also helps pass the time.

One of my favorite books from last summer was Wicked, and since then I have been waiting and checking the internet like a crazy person to see when the show would come to Ottawa. Well, it turns out it came!! AND I went last night. It exceeded my expectations and I absolutely loved it!

After the show I came home to some cookies. Even with this crazy heat and no air conditioning, I still need a good cookie once and a while. A cookie to hold up and yell “Take THAT 60 hour work weeks”! They really are a necessity….and a great way to celebrate after a musical.

To make these, preheat the oven, and then beat together the butter, brown sugar, honey and egg in a medium bowl until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally.

Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Mix together. This dough is unreal.

Drop spoon fulls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet.

Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the edges are beginning to brown. The cookies will still look shiny when they’re done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy!

Honey Bee Cookies
Recipe taken from A Cozy Kitchen
Makes 18-20 cookies
Only 4 Weight Watchers Points + per cookie

Ingredients:
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
1 egg
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, honey and egg in a medium bowl until smooth, scraping the sides occasionally. Stir in all remaining ingredients.

Drop spoon fulls of dough onto a greased or lined baking sheet. Bake for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until the cookies are set and the edges are beginning to brown. The cookies will still look shiny when they’re done.

Allow them to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy!

Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie for Smoothie Week {and an Amazon Giveaway}!

Giveaway Closed

I hate to point out the obvious, but summer totally came early. It’s completely acceptable to wear a bathing suit under your dress and it’s totally acceptable to avoid your black kitty on these crazy hot days. My evil feline has become even more of a cuddle bug when the weather is hot out…yeah, she has a sense of humour.

So naturally, I’ve been making a lot of smoothies and thought I’d share a bunch of wicked awesome blended (and healthy) treats with you this week. This is big for me. Since I started this blog I have never (ever ever) posted for five days straight – but baby, I’m all yours from today until Friday! And I’m giving away a gift card. Awesome.

To make this smoothie combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your frozen banana and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Enjoy!

Banana Bread Green Monster Smoothie
Serves one (or two small servings)
Recipe lightly adapted from Full Measure of Happiness
7 Weight Watchers Points plus per recipe

Ingredients:
1 ripe banana, frozen
1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)
2 handfuls fresh spinach leaves
1/8 C walnuts
1/4 C oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
Combine the ingredients in your blender, with the light stuff on bottom (spinach, oats, cinnamon, walnuts). Then add your banana (and ice, if your banana isn’t frozen), and pour the milk over the top.

Blend until everything is nice and smooth.

Amazon Giveaway Details:
Now that we’ve made this delicious treat, I thought I would ask YOU! Yes, you, to tell me your favorite smoothie recipe! That’s all you have to do to be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

For three EXTRA entries:

Just let me know you did the following (and if you follow me on Facebook and Pinterest already, let me know!)

1. Twitter Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar and then tweet the following:
“I entered to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card from @katrinadingle! Check it! http://bit.ly/NF2Nvb #smoothietime”

2. Like Warm Vanilla Sugar on Facebook

3. Follow Warm Vanilla Sugar on Pinterest

NOTES:
-Contest ends Saturday, June 23, 2012 and winner will be chosen randomly.
-Open to everyone world wide!

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola Bars

Because I have excess pumpkin from my Pumpkin Molasses Cookies, I decided to look over a few of my favorite blogs for some ideas. I came across so many good looking pumpkin recipes (with half of them on Sugar Crafter’s blog) but found this granola bar recipe on The Comfort of Cooking’s blog and thought I could turn this into a healthy snack.

The pumpkin, applesauce and honey flavours burst together in your mouth. When mixed with the rolled oats and cranberries this granola bar becomes the perfect healthy snack!

Let’s get baking. First, preheat your oven and spray your 8 x 8-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth. I shouldn’t have used my red bowls to take pictures with….sorry for the ugliness! haha

Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set. Under baked bars are yucky. Yeah, I said it – yucky. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Pumpkin Cranberry Granola bars
Adapted loosely from The Comfort of Cooking’s Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Makes 10-12 granola bars
3 weight watchers points for for 1 of 12 bars

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk oats, spices, and salt together. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and vanilla extract until smooth.
4. Pour over oats and stir well, until all of the oats are moist. Stir in cranberries.
5. Evenly press oat mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown. The pumpkin keeps the bars moist, so make sure they are golden and set -you don’t want them to be under-baked!
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars.

Blue, Blueberry and Banana Muffins

These muffins are blue. Not sad, but literally the colour blue. The combination of moist, banana batter with thawed frozen blueberries make this batter dance together and swirl.

I love the combination of banana and berry in muffin form. My absolute favorite muffin is my Strawberry Banana Muffin recipe, but this is definitely a close second, and an absolute hit with my boyfriend who requested I make these “as soon as the bananas rot”. Nice wording, I know.

To make these muffins line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.

Combine the egg, mashed banana, and melted butter in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly blended.

Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just moist.

Add the blueberries until the mixture starts to become nice and blue. If you don’t want blue muffins, use fresh blueberries, or coat your thawed frozen blueberries with flour before adding them to your muffin batter.

Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched, and are nicely browned.

After you take the muffins out of the oven, immediately place them on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Blueberry Banana Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
5 weight watchers points per muffin

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (3 or 4 large bananas)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3/4 cup blueberries (I used thawed wild blueberries)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with baking cups (you can grease the muffin pan if you don’t have muffin cups).
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
Combine the egg, mashed banana, and melted butter in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly blended.
Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just moist.
Add the blueberries until the mixture starts to become nice and blue. If you don’t want blue muffins, use fresh blueberries, or coat your thawed frozen blueberries with flour before adding them to your muffin batter.
Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.
Remove muffins from pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.

Easy, Peanut Butter n’ Oat, Low-cal Cookies

Finally, a healthy, tasty, cookie. I’m happy.

Many of the low calorie cookie creations out there are just plain bad.They’re either too dry, or too hard, and can never stand up to their buttery friends. This cookie is different. I got the recipe from the Crazy Plates cookbook, and love it! It’s super easy too. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, cream together brown sugar, margarine, peanut butter, and buttermilk.

Add dry ingredients ad stir to form a smooth dough. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll dough into 1-1/2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using a fork, flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness.

Bake for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overbake, as cookies will dry out. Remove cookies from tray immediately and cool on wire rack….or don’t. They’re super good warm!!

Easy, Peanut Butter Oat, Low-cal Cookies
Recipe taken from Crazy Plates
Makes 30 cookies
Per cookie: 2 weight watchers points, 80 calories, 2.7g fat, 0.4g fiber1.6g protein

Ingredients:
1-1/4 cups AP flour
1 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 tsp each baking soda and salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup light margarine or butter
1/3 cup light peanut butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In another medium, cream together brown sugar, margarine, peanut butter, and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients ad stir to form a smooth dough. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Roll dough into 1-1/2-inch balls, and place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheet. Using a fork, flatten cookies to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake for 10 minutes. Be careful not to overbake, as cookies will dry out.
5. Remove cookies from tray immediately and cool on wire rack. Store covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container.

Oat-tastic Low Fat Banana Bread

If I’m being perfectly honest, I must admit that my day to day eating habits are pretty healthy. Because I’m a vegetarian, I eat according to the vegetarian food guide and am constantly consuming tons of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, soy, nuts and seeds. I have a soft spot for chocolate, and sweets in general, but I don’t binge on these foods when I’m by myself. When I’m baking for myself I tend to bake healthy foods – such as Light and Lemony Poppyseed Bread, Energy-Packed Granola Bars, and this oatmeal banana bread.

This bread is packed full of fiber filled oats, and yummy ripe bananas. As you may have noticed, I love making muffins and breads with bananas. They are so tasty, and easy to bake.

So I hope you’re ready to get bakin’. This bread freezes so well. You just slice it, and then wrap it up individually. Perfect.

Begin by stirring together dry ingredients, including the oats and cinnamon. Look at those yummy oats!

In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil and whole egg and mix thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Batter will be fairly thick.

In a medium sized bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions. Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 8 equally sized slices

I got this awesome recipe from Joy the Baker. It makes 1 loaf. Cut it into 8 slices for 4 weight watchers points per slice.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp  salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 tsp canola oil
1 large egg, beaten
2 medium egg whites, beaten
3 large bananas, ripe
1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned oats

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients including the oats and cinnamon.
2. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas with a potato masher or fork. Add oil and whole egg and mix thoroughly.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Batter will be fairly thick.
4. In a medium sized bowl, with an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until medium stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions.
5. Pour batter into pan and bake until top of loaf is firm to touch, 45 to 50 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Flip out and cool on a wire rack for another 10 minutes. Slice loaf into 8 equally sized slices

Tangy Stewed Rhubarb

She’s here! And thank goodness she is. Welcome back rhu-BARB! Doesn’t she look great?!

Rhubarb season is one of my absolute favorites. Rhubarb brings out a sassy, tangy, flavour in baking that makes my mouth water. Luckily, rhubarb is super healthy, and low calorie as well (even though I like to dip it raw in sugar). I love the way my mouth puckers up after a big bite of a raw stalk. It’s saying “GOOD MORNING”!

Let’s get started, shall we? Begin by washing your rhubarb. Chop up the rhubarb into one-inch pieces and place into a large saucepan.

Add sugar, water, vanilla and lemon juice.

Cook over medium heat until the rhubarb is completely cooked, and blends together. You don’t want any hard chunks!

You can serve this on toast. It’s so yummy!

This recipe makes 8 servings, and is 2 weight watchers points per serving (1 serving = 1/4 cup).

Ingredients:
6 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. Rinse, and chop rhubarb into one-inch chunks and place into a large saucepan.
2. Add all other ingredients and cook on medium heat until rhubarb has completely cooked and turned into a “stew”. You don’t want any hard chunks. This should take about 20 minutes.
3. Allow to cool completely and serve with toast (if having it for breakfast), over ice cream (if having it for dessert), or eat it plain!
4. This stores in the fridge for up to one week.

Strawberry Banana Muffins

Mornings are my favorite. The birds are chirping, the rays of sun peak through the clouds, and the rush hour traffic sounds like it’s in my kitchen. Wait. What? Yes, I live in the city, and it is LOUD. Thank goodness I’m moving in a few months. You see, living in the city is good for convenience and convenience only. I don’t have a car so it’s nice to be able to walk anywhere and everywhere I want to go but I miss the stillness of my Nanny’s waterfront. I miss being able to walk in front of my house and be completely positive that I wont see anyone. Maybe someone in a canoe, but that’s about it.

To cheer myself up, and shake the city blues, I decided to make my favorite muffin: Strawberry banana.

Strawberries are hands down my favorite fruit. I must say that I like every fruit, but nothing will ever take the place of my beloved strawberry. It’s plump, it’s juicy, it’s delicious. And mixed with banana? Yes please!

Oh boy, I got so caught up in describing the deliciousness of these beauties that I forgot to mention they’re healthy! This recipe makes 12 perfect muffins that are 3.5 weight watchers points each. Heck, eat two!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick of butter, (6 tablespoons) melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large ripe bananas
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced (I don’t think frozen strawberries would work in this recipe)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake/muffin pan with liners. In a medium bowl, measure out and mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk egg and sugar together until well combined. Add melted butter. Mix well. Add vanilla. Squish bananas into the mixture. A nice squish should break the bananas up well enough to be incorporated into the batter.
3. Add strawberries to the dry mixture. Toss until strawberries are well coated with flour mixture. Add dry strawberry mixture to the wet mixture. Use a VERY light hand to mix at this point. The more mixing you do the tougher the muffin so try not to over mix.


4. Divide batter equally in liners. Bake until golden brown, about 22-30 minutes.

5. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Then enjoy.