My crazy Family Living in Japan

Military Family Living Abroad

Yummy balls!! April 26, 2010

Filed under: recipes,Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 15:31
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Today I was trying to come up with a little healtier alternative to the typical “sweets” snack. I am such a HUGE snacker. If I am sitting, I have this need to “snack”. I know it is a horrible habit, but I am trying to snack less, and snack on healthier things!  I have seen many “ball” recipes, though lots of them use sugar and chocolate, neither of which is all that healthy. I came up with my own little take on the “ball” – there are so many things you can do with this type of a snack.


2 Cups of dates, (Dried, chopped)

1/3 Cup Water

1/2 Tblsp Vanilla

1 Cup Chopped Almonds

2 Tblsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 Cup Coconut

Combine dates, and water in a saucepan on the stove. Cook over low heat, mashing and stirring frequently. Cook about 10 minutes until the dates are all mushy and soft. Once done, remove from heat.

Stir in Vanilla.

Pour date mixture into a bowl, add 1/2 Cup chopped almonds and cocoa powder. (If still too gooey, add more chopped Almonds)  Stir well.

Put into refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Once cooled, use a small – med scoop to make balls. Roll them in shredded coconut or almonds and place on wax paper.  Once done, return them to the fridge to “set” up (if you don’t eat them all before hand)

These are SOOO yummy!!! I hope you enjoy them as much as my family did!


Lentils. . . . What is that? April 17, 2010

Filed under: recipes,Vegan Recipes,Your Health — Annastasia @ 15:42
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Lentils. .. . . what the heck is a lentil?!?!?!

Let me tell you! Lentils are part of the legume family.  They come from an annual plant and grow in a pod. The seeds inside are “lens” shaped and SUPER good for you!

Lentils come in MANY colors; brown, red, green, black and others.  They can be found near the other dried legumes (black eyed peas, split peas, black beans, etc.) in your local grocery store. They usually run approx $0.74 per pound ~ so they are really affordable! has rated lentils as one of the world’s healthiest foods!

Let me break down some of the nutritional info for you ~

For comparison sake, a 6oz broiled porterhouse steak has 38 grams of protein, 44 grams of fat – 16 of them saturated.  That is ¾ the total daily recommended intake for saturated fat!! On the other side, 1 cup cooked lentils provides 18 grams of protein and <1 gram of fat! So this little 1 cup of lentils provides roughly 40% of your daily recommended intake for protein and 65% of the daily recommended intake for fiber! That is super good for you!  In India, families normally eat lentils at least 2 times a day. They are usually served with bread and/or rice.

Just for review – Lentils are SUPER good for you and cheap to buy!  But. . . are they easy to cook? What the heck do I do with the things?? YES and YES – they are both easy to cook, and super yummy to eat!! Cooking is usually 30min or less, with no “overnight” soaking such as other legumes.  I do not suggest using a pressure cooker to cook these, as they are done so fast on their own, this is not necessary.  Lentils can be made into a variety of dishes; they are also SUPER yummy to sprout!! You can put sprouted lentils on your salads and tacos for a super yummy good for you boost!

Now, I want you to all go out and buy some lentils and try one of these recipes I have provided for you!! Both of these recipes were created by me, so let me know what you think!! Leave a comment below if you tried them!


Lentil Patties

1  Cup uncooked Lentils

2.5 Cup water

1 Tblsp Low Sodium Soy sauce (Kikkoman)

¾ Cup Oatmeal; fine ground (use blender)

¾ Cup Corn flakes

2.5 Tblsp Old Bay seasoning

½ Cup Ketchup

½ Cup “parmesan cheese” (see recipe below)


1)Rinse and pick through lentils.  Add lentils and water to saucepan. Bring to a boil. Let boil for 4 minutes. Reduce heat to med-low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes or until soft and done.  Add more water if needed!  Once done, remove from stove, and let cool 10 minutes.

2)In a large bowl, add lentils, Soy sauce, Oatmeal, Corn flake crumbs, Old Bay, ketchup and parmesan cheese.  Mix all together well.  Once all well combined, form into “patties”. Fry in a small amount of oil 1 -2 min each side, or bake at 200°F for 15 min.

Enjoy on hamburger bun with all the fixings, or eat alone. It is super yummy either way!!

Parmesan Cheese –

Ground together equal amounts of whole unsalted cashews and nutritional yeast.  Add garlic powder to taste. Store in refrigerator and use on anything you would normally put parmesan cheese on!


Lentil Sloppy Joes

1 cup lentils
2 cup water
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon green pepper flakes*
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic (the kind in the spice section)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 1/4 cups water


1) Rinse and pick through lentils.  Add two cups water to pan with lentils and bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 55 minutes until tender, but not mushy.

2) For the sauce, combine the minced onion, salt, sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, green pepper flakes, cornstarch, minced garlic, celery seeds. Combine well and set aside.

3) When lentils are done, add the tomato paste and water.  Stir in the sauce seasoning.  Combine well and heat through.

Serve on whole wheat buns or over brown rice. Makes excellent left over’s too!!!

Note: the dry ingredients can be combined and stored in snack size baggies for your own homemade sloppy joe seasoning to use anytime.

*If you can not find green pepper flakes, add fresh green pepper sautéed until soft.


Cupcakin? I LOVE cupcakes! April 15, 2010

Filed under: Life,recipes,Vegan Recipes,Your Health — Annastasia @ 08:11
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I must be getting old, or the new slang terms are coming out faster than I can learn them. I just learned of a term called “cupcakin”. I for one love cupcakin, I also love making cupcakes. *giggle* I am sure by now you have formed in your head what it is that you think “cupcakin” might be.

I will explain it for you –

Call it cuddling, flirting, canoodling, kissing, whispering sweet nothings, holding, spooning, foreplay, pillow talk, or whatever else you want to, it all amounts to the same thing… You were Cupcakin!

Urban dictionary says this ~

To kiss your significant other over and over in a flirtatious, adoring manner. Canoodling and repeated kissing because two people are smitten with each other.

He was cupcakin’ her neck all night long.

I don’t know about you, but with an explination like that I love “cupackin” even more! I wonder what it means when I am “making cupcakes“? 🙂  So apparently if you are cupcakin with someone a lot younger than you (of legal age though folks), then they are called your twinkie!  My husband is younger than me, I think I will start calling him my “twinkie” ~ LOL!  Oh how I miss twinkies!! They are so full of nasty crap for you, perservatives and the like ~ I don’t eat them anymore.  Luckily Shmooed Food has  recipe posted for homemade vegan twinkies!  YAY!! I can enjoy the sweet yumminess of little cream filled cakes again!

I decided to make these today, though I do not have a twinkie pan.  I know there is a video on youtube that you can watch here that demonstrates how to make your own out of foil. I didn’t have this much ambition so I went with regular old cupcakes in a greased down muffin tin.  Then I used my Pampered Chef easy accent decorator to fill them with some yummy cream filling.  I added 1/2 tsp of banana extract to mine (per kiwi’s request).

Did you know twinkies were originally made with banana cream centers? It only switched to vanilla cream during the war when there was a shortage of bananas.

So we went with banana.  I used the fluffy white cake recipe from Shmooed food, and they turned out delightful! Then, they cooled, and I filled them with yummy banana cream!!  They weren’t shaped like a twinkie, but YUMMO they were still SOO good!! I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did! Jennifer McCann is amazing, she is the author of the vegan lunch box cookbooks.  I own both and they are great! You can check them out HERE and HERE.

Now go get to Cupcakin’!!!


Lunch of a SuperMom April 14, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 13:09
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A lot of my friends refer to me as “SuperMom”. Though let me tell you, I don’t always feel so “Super”.  One thing I almost always make time for is food. I love food.  Today one of my friends on Facebook was talking about hummus, and cucumber sandwiches (though I don’t think together). This suddenly sounded SUPER yummy for lunch today – so I made the most amazing sandwich EVER today!

I used the Idea mentioned above and it turned out so good I thought I would share my recipe here with you all! I hope you love it as much as I did!

What I used:

Thomas Whole Wheat bagel (These have 10 grams of protein!)

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper hummus

Home sprouted organic alfalfa sprouts

Tomato (local grown of course)




Toast the bagel.  Spread with Hummus on both sides.  Top with tomato, avacado, cucumber, and sprouts.  Enjoy!


Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1 can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup lemon juice

4 or 5 cloves of garlic (Minced)

1/2 -3/4 C Roasted Red Peppers

salt (optional)

parsley (Optional)

ground cumin (Optional)


Add Tahini and lemon juice into blender.  Blend until creamy and “milk” like.  Add Garlic, blend well again.  Add Roasted Red peppers, blend until smooth.  Add Chickpeas, and blend until smooth. When all is blended well, pour into a bowl.  Stir in salt, parsley, and cumin (if using).  Enjoy on sandwiches, with pita chips, or tortilla chips. It is also great as a vegetable dip!


You can learn more about hummus here.


Muffins are for Mondays April 13, 2010

Filed under: Vegan Recipes — Annastasia @ 20:59

I almost always seem to make muffins on Mondays. I am not sure why this is, maybe to have some yumminess to start off the week. Either way, these are two of my families favorite recipes for muffins!

Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins    

1 Cup Flour

1 Tblsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cornmeal (we prefer it with yellow cornmeal, but white works just as well)

1/2 cup Vegetable oil

1/4 cup Applesauce

3/4 cup soy milk (I use vanilla soy milk)

3/4 blueberries (Frozen or Fresh)

1) Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C)

2) Mix All dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

3) Combine all wet ingredients (vegetable oil, applesauce, soymilk) mix well.

4) Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened.

5) Add blueberries and flod gently into batter. DO NOT overmix!

Pour into muffin pan. Fill each cup 3/4 full.

For extra large muffins cook 30 min, for regular size muffins cook 15-20 min.


The Zante Currant is a variety of small, sweet, seedless black grape. They are very small and intensely flavoured. They can be eaten raw, especially when ripe, when they are sweet to the taste. They may also be referred to as table grapes for this purpose. More commonly they are used for making raisins and occasionally wine. When dried, they are often referred to as dried currants or just “currants”.  For simplicity purpose, these can be purchased at most major grocery stores. Sun-Maid makes a brand, which are normally next to the raisins.

Oat Apple Currant Muffins

1 cup Currants
1 cup cored, peeled and chopped apple
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup all-purpose Organic flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup uncooked oats (I use old fashioned)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar


Preheat oven to 400°F

1) Combine currants, apple, oil, soy milk, applesauce and sugar in a medium mixing bowl.
2) Stir  together flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a separate bowl.
3) Add dry mixture  into wet mixture. Stir just until combined.
4) Pour into 12 lined muffin cups.
5) Sprinkle  top of batter with 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar per muffin cup.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.