Meatless Monday – (Almost Healthy) Treats!

Last week our high schooler had finals. Fortunately it wasn’t too bad this time around as he had a nice balance of academic and electives each testing day, and none of his grades were at a tipping point one direction or the other. He studied well, and it wasn’t stressful.

A year ago we had a whole different situation. He had suffered a severe concussion playing freshman football. Some of his teachers ignored doctor’s requests to modify his coursework to accommodate his injured brain and he was seriously in danger of failing at least one class, which would mean summer school and we had plans to be out of the country all summer. It was a horrible week, longer really as we helped him prep for weeks in advance and tried to negotiate with a teacher and the school who might as well have had their hands over their ears as they sing-songed, “Nah, nah, nah, nah!”

I had promised Teen I’d make one of his favorite treats, our neighbor’s pumpkin bread, the one she makes for all the neighbors each Christmas, the whole loaf of which Teen claims and won’t share.

But by the end of the week we were all thrashed and, though we got the recipe, we never made it. So I made it this year, to celebrate what a difference a year makes.

And, as my neighbor had predicted I would, I took her completely decadent recipe and make it healthier. You know what? My kid, who tends to have a fairly discerning palate never suspected. Hooray!

This recipe makes a lot – three generous loaves, or in my case, a loaf, a small cake, and at least 16 muffins (I wanted variety – good for quick breakfasts, snacks, lunch boxes). I put the loaf and half of the muffins straight into the freezer so we have some for this week as well. But it’s an easy recipe and if you’re gonna make it, you might as well have some in the freezer.

And just for fun, I’ll throw in one of my new favorite smoothie recipes, my take on Bon Apetit’s “The Greenest Smoothie” (from January 2015). It is indeed a funky green, and I will admit that I was skeptical about this particular combination of ingredients, but I swear it tastes more like a treat than healthy. Just put it in a colored cup with a lid and straw and you can enjoy its delicious flavor without distraction.

Pumpkin Bread
Makes 3 medium bread loaves

1 1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c quick oats
1 c whole wheat flour
2 c organic sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 c unsweetened applesauce
4 “eggs” (I used EnerG Egg Replacer)
1 c cold water
1 15oz can of pumpkin puree
1/2 c agave syrup or your favorite natural sweetener (e.g., brown rice syrup or honey)

Sift and mix all dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well. Grease and flour 3 medium bread pans. Pour mixture into pans, fill half full, and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

Pumpkin Muffins
Pumpkin Muffins

The Greenest Smoothie
Serves 1

1 c almond milk + more if you need it to blend smoothly
1 Tbsp flax oil
1/2 tsp grated peeled ginger
1/2 c frozen pineapple pieces
1/2 frozen banana
1 large handful spinach leaves
1 tsp Trader Joe’s Super Green Drink powder (or matcha, but I couldn’t find any matcha)
1 Tbsp almond butter

Puree ingredients in a blender. Add more almond milk as needed.

green juice

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