Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Oatmeal Muffin Mix 5 Ways, Egg and Dairy Free

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins from your Own Mix
These muffins are delicious, and I could make them today, when many items aren't available at  my local grocery store.

I usually make my muffins with White Whole Wheat Flour, or Whole Wheat Pastry Flour.

Neither one of these is available in the current Pandemic. Well, I did find one bag that was being price-gouged for $28. online (with shipping) - but that doesn't really count, does it?

It has also occurred to me that eggs, butter, and milk might be in short supply in some places right now - but this recipe doesn't require any of those!

In fact, this recipe doesn't even require oil - and it turns out delicious! So delicious, in fact, that I'll probably keep making them this way when the stores are re-stocked : )

I don't want to make Muffins with strictly All Purpose Flour, because they're neither as tasty nor as healthy as whole grain ones.

I DO, however, have Quick Oats on hand. And I've made muffins from Oat Flour before.

So, I began thinking - could I adapt my current muffin recipe to work with Oats?

Yesterday morning was the test, and it worked great!

I tested it with a Pumpkin variation yesterday morning, and the results were superb. I made full sized muffins instead of the Mini Muffins in this post:

Pumpkin Muffins

This morning, I tested my Blueberry Muffin recipe with this mix - and it was delicious, too!

Blueberry Muffins

I've not tested it with my other regular variations, but I can see that they should all work quite well.

To make Oat Flour at home, simply whir Quick Oats (or Old Fashioned Oats) for a few minutes in a food processor till finely ground. Measure AFTER grinding. The ground oats will not be as fine and powdery as All Purpose Flour - and that's okay. It only takes a minute or two.

Of course, the beauty of making your own mixes is that you can improvise according to your dietary needs & preferences and availability of ingredients.

If you wish to double or half this recipe - no problems.

I like to make my muffins a little short - only filling the cup 1/2 full instead of the normal 3/4. I like more top on my muffin ; )  If you make taller muffins, you'll probably end up with about 8 per batch.

Here's the Recipe:

Stuffedveggies Vegan Oatmeal Muffin Mix 
3 Cups Homemade Oat Flour (see note above)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar *
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
2 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch**
1 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon (optional)

Stuffedveggies MYO Vegan Oatmeal Muffin Mix

*Sugar adds tenderness and helps crisp the exterior when baking muffins. You can easily replace Sugar with Turbinado Sugar or Brown Sugar. You can also substitute non-caloric sweetener that measures like sugar, but the texture will change slightly. I like to use 1/2 sugar and 1/2 calorie-free sweetener that measures like Sugar - like Splenda or Apriva. I'm sure a similar Stevia product would also work, though I have not tested it.

**Tapioca Starch may be substituted with Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder - these all act as an egg substitute in a dry mix.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal Muffins:
(1 Dozen)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and oil muffin tin
Stir Together
2 Cups Mix
1/2 Cup Canned Pumpkin
3/4 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 cup water (or so) - Stir In enough water to make consistency of Fast Food Milkshake.

Spoon into prepared muffin tin
Sprinkle generously with Cinnamon Sugar (optional)
Bake 25 minutes, or until done.

If you like these, try these other variations - designed for my whole wheat mix, but will work with this one:

Blueberry Muffins

Zucchini Muffins  

Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Banana Walnut Muffins

Cranberry Streusel Muffins

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Monday, March 23, 2020

MYO Maple Instant Oatmeal Mix, Sugar Free

MYO Maple Instant Oatmeal Mix, Sugar Free
Do you like Maple Instant Oatmeal, but want to control your sugar intake?

Are the Sugar Free Instant Oats on the market too pricey for you?

Do you want to avoid certain ingredients in your Oats?

Making your own Instant Oatmeal is a great way to save money, help the environment by reducing packaging, AND control the ingredients of the food you eat.

It's a win-win-win!

It's also super easy - arguably as easy as finding the right package of the instant stuff on the grocer's shelf.

When I was young, I thought Instant Oatmeal was some sort of magically prepared industrial product that mere mortals couldn't make at home. Then, one day I learned that it's simply the size of the Rolled Oat that governs the time of soaking in hot water. Old Fashioned Oats are largest, and so take longer to cook. Quick Oats are smaller. And Instant Oats are the smallest. It's simply a matter of chopping them into smaller bits, which can be done in a blender or food processor.

For my recipe, I simply use Quick Oats, but if you need them to cook faster, simply run them in your blender for a few spins to chop them smaller (But, not into powder! That would produce Oat Flour)

Of course, if you want to make sugary Oatmeal instead of sugar-free, simply substitute sugar (brown or white) for the calorie-free sweetener. 

This is my recipe:

Sugar Free Maple Instant Oatmeal 
Measure into Canister or Zippered Bag
2 Cups Quick Oats
Sprinkle with
1 Tablespoon Maple Flavoring or Extract
Close container and shake well to thoroughly distribute flavoring

*Pour into shallow microwavable dish, and microwave one minute. Stir and allow too cool about 15 minutes. Repeat. This step dries extra liquid from extract/flavoring, and is not necessary if mixture will be used immediately, or within a short time*

3/4 Cup Non Caloric Sweetener that Measures Like Sugar (Such as Splenda, or a Stevia Product)
3/4 teaspoon Salt
Close Container and shake well to thoroughly mix ingredients

To make one serving:
1/2 Cup Mix
3/4 Cup Boiling Water (more or less, depending how thick you like it)
Wait three minutes.

This can also be measured into individual packets of 1/2 cup each if you prefer.


Instant Oatmeal Cups
Measure individual portions into reusable lidded containers of about 1 1/2 cup capacity, to meal prep grab-and-go for breakfast at the office or on a road trip.

Meal Prep Sugar Free Instant Oatmeal

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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Prepping Tips and Pantry Recipes for Vegans

Vegan Prepper Tips & Pantry Recipes
There are lots of great vegetarian, vegan and Lenten foods that can be used in a crisis situation, but knowing what to stock and how to use it is a little different for vegans than it is for omnivores.

If you're vegetarian, vegan or observing Lent, you probably won't want to live off SPAM and Vienna Sausages!

Every prepping situation is different.

We needed certain supplies last year, when a tornado hit our town and we were without power & potable water for a few days.

This year, our needs are a little different as we face a pandemic.

So, versatility matters!

Vegan diets are typically based on Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Legumes. Some Vegans also eat Meat or Dairy Analogs.

I know we usually love our fresh foods, but if you're in a situation in which you need to be aware of germs, then packaged, processed, or peel-able foods may be safer. Other times, you'll have a power outage and a whole refrigerator of produce that needs to be used before it spoils. So, some of these recipes use fresh produce, some use only pantry items.

So, let's look at what to buy, and how to use those ingredients.

Which of these recipes will work for you will depend on your access to condiments, spices, refrigeration, fresh produce, and cooking facilities. Some recipes here will work for each common preparedness scenario.

I'm writing this for the reader who is in an urban or suburban setting and doesn't live self-sufficiently "off the grid." This post is assuming that money and time are an issue, and is full of frugal and quick recipes.

Government websites are very helpful for a general awareness of how to stock for an emergency.

This is a resource from FEMA

And this is one from the CDC

Here are some things to consider when stocking your pantry:

Processed Foods

For a handy list of vegan processed foods, I like this list from PETA.

(Although I strongly disagree with some of their methods and ideology, their info is still helpful)

PETA's List of "Accidentally Vegan" Processed Foods

Don't forget that your Dollar Store can be a great source of all sorts of processed foods that happen to be vegan - everything from cookies & crackers, to breakfast foods and soymilk.


The Government's current recommendation is that every household have enough water to allow for at least three days, and sometimes up to a two week supply at the rate of 1 gallon per person per day. Although that may not be feasible for everyone, it is a good idea to have some water on hand if you can. 

Whole Grains are much more likely to go rancid, spoil, or attract pests than their refined counterparts. For an emergency food supply, a stock of refined grain products might be in order. But, it's your choice. If you choose whole grains, make sure you rotate them through in a timely fashion, and store them at cool temperatures as much as possible.

Also, make sure you store grains in sealed canisters, not in cardboard or paper boxes that they often come in. One package with bugs can infest a whole pantry if they aren't stored properly. And, sometimes mistakes happen in the supply chain, and grains have bugs when you purchase them, so transfer them to a canister right away.

I use screw-top plastic canisters from the dollar tree. Gallon pickle jars with screw-top lids are also popular with some. 

In some crisis situations, you may be without power, and cooking a hot meal that requires long simmering may be difficult or impossible. Several Vegan staples can be prepared by just adding water. Sometimes the water doesn't even have to be hot:

Bulgur Wheat
A whole grain that is pre-cooked. It doesn't have an infinite shelf life, but I find it usually lasts several months in the pantry. You can combine one part Bulgur and one part water, and (ideally) refrigerate for a few hours until water is absorbed. If Hot water is available, then the time to absorb the water is reduced to about 1/2 hour! Then it's ready to eat!

The amount of water needed might vary by preference. Some people prefer one part grain to 2 parts water, then drain and press dry at serving time. But I prefer a 1:1 ratio, just adding dressing to moisten at serving time.

Here are a couple of recipes for Bulgur

A no-cook recipe:

If you have a working stove burner, this one does not require soaking the bulgur in advance, simply follow the directions in the recipe:
Bulgur Pilaf ( Pourgouri )

 Couscous (not the pearl-sized Israeli kind, but the super small Moroccan kind) 
To make Couscous, simply use one part couscous and two parts boiling water (1/3 cup couscous to 2/3 boiling water for a single person). Cover 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. You're ready to add other ingredients to make a meal : )

For a simple instant meal, I sometimes boil a handful of frozen veggies and a handful of canned beans in 2/3 cup water, then add 1/3 cup couscous, remove from heat & cover. 5 minutes later, you can add your favorite seasoning, and a crunchy topping like nuts - and enjoy!

No-cook recipes:
Couscous Fattoush Salad 

Italian Lunchbox Salad 

Southwestern Lunchbox Salad   

Couscous can be substituted for Quinoa in many Quinoa Salad recipes, like this one:

Quinoa and Lime Salad

Quick Oats
Quick Oats can be combined with cool liquid and covered for about 15 minutes before eating. Or, with boiling water can be ready in about 3 minutes.

Oats can be used for Overnight Oats when cooking is not possible
Oats, Easy, Cool & Creamy Summer 

or, if you can boil water, make your own Instant Oatmeal!

MYO Maple Instant Oatmeal

Minute Rice
I know it's not as good as the "real" stuff - but in a pinch, it works. Just follow the directions on the box. 

Lentil & Rice Salad (Use canned Lentils if electricity is not available)

Mix & Match Italian Rice Salad

Of course, Crackers can be eaten right out of the box, or with a little peanut butter or hummus : )

Remember, smaller shapes tend to have shorter cooking times. Whole grain pastas, while wholesome, have shorter shelf life and longer cooking times. And, you may be able to reduce cooking time using this method 

Italian Pasta Salad with Fat Free Vinaigrette

Vacation Soup    (this is very versatile, and can be made with whatever veggies you have - or none at all : )

I usually stock All Purpose Flour & White Whole Wheat Flour. Remember that the whole grain has a shorter shelf life, and requires a longer baking time. These are great for making bread and making my own mixes. Don't forget to stock other basic vegan baking ingredients such as baking powder, sugar or sweetener, salt, tapioca starch, cornmeal, etc.

If you have a range top or working burner, but not an oven:

Five Traditional Breads to Make Without an Oven

Cornbread, Ten Minute Summer 

From Vegan Whole Grain Pancake & Waffle Mix (JUST ADD WATER! : )
      Blueberry Pancakes
      Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
      Grilled Banana Pancakes
      Strawberry Pancakes 

If you are able to bake, try these:

From Vegan Muffin Mix
      Apple Cinnamon Muffins
      Vegan Pumpkin Mini Muffins
      Banana Walnut Muffins
      Blueberry Muffins, Quick, Easy, Healthy 
      Cranberry Streusel Muffins
      Zucchini Mini Muffins

From Stir & Pour Yeast Bread Mix 
      Stir & Pour Garlic Bread Sticks 
      Stir & Pour Cinnamon Sugar Bread Sticks 
      Stir & Pour Dinner Rolls 
      Stir & Pour Toasting & Sandwich Loaf 
      Stir & Pour Focaccia 
      Stir & Pour Thin Sandwich Buns 

And, if you have access to a working microwave:
3 Minute Blueberry Muffin for 1 
      Chocolate Muffin for One, 3 Minute, Double Chocolate  

Legumes or Beans

In a situation in which you have no power, canned legumes are best.

They are also the easiest package to decontaminate.

If you do have power, dried legumes certainly give you a lot more bang for your buck!

Make sure that any canned legumes you buy don't have meat (bacon, fatback, etc). I find that many manufacturers use the word "seasoned" to mean "cooked with meat." Check the ingredients.

Split Red Lentils are the fastest to cook among dried legumes, then other split lentils, then split peas, then various kinds of beans - some taking longer than others. Some of the longest cooking times are Chickpeas and Soybeans. Check cooking times for whichever dried legumes you stock up on, in case cooking fuel is at a premium in your situation.

These are no-cook recipes:

Black Bean and Corn Salad

Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Fruited Black-Eyed Pea Salad

And this recipe that I think I've made every time I've needed a food when the power was out. Almost any kind of bean will work in a pinch : )
White Bean Salad

If you have more ability to cook or simmer, these are great choices:

Black Bean Soup (Slow Cooker)


Family Favorite Lentil Soup
Lemony Dal
Masala Dal
Red Lentil Soup - Moroccan or Sephardic Styles

Split Pea Soup

Claire's Southern Delight

Fruits and Vegetables

Canned or Dried will be the most reliable supplies here. And, once again, Canned goods are easier to decontaminate, if needed.

When buying canned Fruits and Veggies, take into account where substitutions can be made for foods you normally use fresh. For instance, I use celery for added crunch in a grain or bean salad. But, in a crisis, I might substitute Sliced Water Chestnuts from a can for a similar crunch.

Olives and Capers and Marinated Artichokes are little luxuries that can really make a meal more palatable when fresh fruits and veggies aren't an option.

 This is a favorite Fruit Salad, made from canned Mandarin Oranges, and Bananas and Apples which can be peeled if need be:

Fruit Salad

If you can access a microwave, you can try these:
Three Minute, Three Bite Brownie for One
Easy Microwave Fudge for One 

Nuts and Seeds

If your family enjoys nuts and seeds, they're great for an emergency, as they take little space and provide lots of energy.

Peanut Powder is also good, and can be used to make these great recipes
 3 Minute Asian Peanut Sauce 
Or LOWFAT Lowfat Asian Peanut Sauce
      Asian Peanut Noodles 

      Asian Peanut Rice Bowl 

      Asian Peanut Wrap  



Texturized vegetable protein has a very long shelf life, and can be reconstituted using just boiling water. It takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you add to it. Be cautious, though. It is very high in fiber, and can be gassy for some folks. For this reason, it might be best to use it as an occasional addition to your diet, rather than an everyday staple.

Quite frequently, TVP mince can be used in place of something like ground beef in a fried rice, or in chili.  The larger chunks can be used in place of meat to make a stew.

Like this:
Philippine Style Fried Rice

If TVP is something you'd like to explore, there are lots of recipes to experiment with out there, like these:
40+ TVP Recipes

Aseptic Tofu or Non-Dairy Milks

I buy Soymilk from the Dollar Store. Aseptic Silken tofu can also be handy in a pinch.

If you have access to a blender, and almond butter, you can make your own Almond Milk in just two minutes!

Two Minute Almond Milk

In addition to all these ideas, you might also try keeping a copy of this book on your shelf:

Apocalypse Chow

It has lots of great recipes & prepping ideas. (This isn't an affiliate link - just a product I like)

*SPAM is a Registered Trademark

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Monday, March 16, 2020

Vegan Dump Dinners - Minestrone Soup in Freezer

Minestrone - Vegan Dump Dinner
I love Dump Dinners during Lenten Seasons, since they allow me to keep my focus off of cooking, and still come home from an Evening Service to a ready-to-eat, nutritious, hot meal.

This Minestrone Soup is just perfect.

It is especially attractive because you can throw it together mostly from frozen and canned foods you have on hand, taking just minutes to get into the freezer.

Fill Gallon Zipper Type Freezer bag with the following
1 Cup Chopped Onion (from the Freezer)
1 (12 oz) bag Vegetable Soup Mix (or a variety of Italian Style Veggies to your taste, such as: Green Beans, Peas, Carrots, Corn, Zucchini, Cauliflower, etc) (From the Freezer)
3 Cups Shredded Cabbage (Fresh)
1 Tablespoon Fresh Minced Garlic (from a jar)
2 Cups Spaghetti or Pizza Sauce (from a jar)
2 tsp Oregano (dried)
1 tsp Basil (dried)
1 (15 oz) Can Great Northern Beans, with their liquid (or Canellinis)
2 to 4 Ribs Celery, sliced
Salt to taste (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1 Bouillon Cube

Seal Bag, label, and Freeze

Minestrone in Freezer - Vegan Dump Dinner

To prepare:
Add Contents of Bag to Slow Cooker
Pour over top,
4 Cups Boiling Water (or, use cold water & allow about 1/2 hour additional cooking time)

Cook on High, 4 hours, or until veggies are tender

During last 15 minutes, add
1 Cup Dried Pasta (Shells, Bowties, or broken Spaghetti all work well)
(if desired, a cup of frozen peas can also be added at this time, to add some color contrast at serving time)

Serve with Crusty Bread & Salad.

Omnivores might like to add Parmesan to their portions.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Lenten Menu 2020

Here's a Lenten Menu for this year.

I've planned 35 dinner menus, and asked the family to make a note on the calendar for any meal they want to see again this Lent, in order to fill those last few days.

We've also created a backup plan. If a meal is served that is not a favorite of any family member, they may choose from another meal's leftovers, or one of their own list of easy, healthy favorites. (No sugary breakfast cereal or popcorn for dinner replacement option!)

After each meal, leftovers get packaged either for the next day's lunch, or put in the freezer for an easy backup meal another night.

With these menus, I usually serve some or all of the following:
Fresh Homemade Bread (usually one of these quick, easy recipes):
Easy Yeast Bread in the Slow Cooker
Homemade Yeast Bread

Pita Bread, Stove Top
Easy, No Knead, Greek Olive Crescents (Eliopites) \ 
Stir & Pour Garlic Bread Sticks 

Crescent Rolls, Easy, No Knead, Vegan
Dinner Rolls, Vegan, Soft & Fluffy, No Knead, Refrigerator  

Hummus & Veggies
Hummus with Capers
Hummus, Roasted Red Pepper, Copycat Sabra 
Hummus, Smoky  
Green Salad

Breakfasts might include the following:
Cold Cereal
Pancakes from my own mix

Lunches are usually leftovers from a previous night or one of the following:
Instant Noodles
Vegan Mac n' Cheese from a Homemade Mix
Hummus, Bread & Dip

Here's the list:

1. Lentil Soup

2. Fasolia Yachni

3. Minestrone (Dump Dinner) Recipe to come!

4. Lemon Rice with Peas & Cashews (Make Double Seasoning for Lentils next week)

5. Spaghetti with Sauce (from a Jar)

6. Black Bean Burritos (Dump Dinner)

7. Fasolia Vrasta

8. Fasolakia Yachni (Dump Dinner)

9. Tabbouli, Dolmades (from a can), Hummus & Veggies

10. Revythia (Slow Cooker)

11. Lemon Dal (use seasonings prepared for Lemon Rice last week)

12. Orzo Pilaf & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

13. Calzone Casserole

14. Chili over Rice (Dump Dinner)

15. Bulgur Pilaf

16. Peas & Artichokes Yachni (Dump Dinner)

17. Eggplant Stew (Dump Dinner)

18. Curried Chickpeas over Rice (Dump Dinner)

19. Cheeseless Pizza

20. Greek Black-Eyed Peas

21. Gigantes (Dump Dinner)

22. Stuffed Manicotti

23. Bamies (Dump Dinner)

24. Shepherd's Pie

25. Barbecue Wheatballs with Rice, Corn & Slaw

26. Black Bean Soup (Slow Cooker) & Tomatoes

27. Veggie Burgers &amp (From Grocery's Freezer Section); Oven Fries

28. Stir Fry Veggies over Rice

29. Claire's Delight (Dump Dinner) Served with Rice, Tortillas

30. Calzone Casserole
31. Moujendra

32. Mediterranean Chickpeas over Rice

33. Skyline at home (copycat)

34. Indian Spiced Black-Eyed Peas (Dump Dinner)

35. Tourlu-Tourlu (will research recipe : )

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