Monday, February 19, 2007

Full Meal Muffin with Sheese

Last year I started experimenting with an idea I had for a "Full Meal Muffin" -- a main course muffin that contained all the good stuff (a fruit, a vegetable, whole grains, omega-3's, iron, calcium, and protein) and none of the bad (sugar, oil, salt). I experimented several times but never felt happy with the recipe; I found that even one scoop of protein powder made my muffins gooier and denser than I liked.

I decided to toss the whole idea, but several of you emailed me after the book came out wondering what happened to the muffin. I was surprised so many of you remembered! So, back by popular demand, here it is: a new, improved Full Meal Muffin, sans protein powder but still filled with zucchini, banana, apple juice, omega-3-rich walnuts and iron- and calcium-rich blackstrap molasses.

When Vegan Essentials sent out an email recently stating they had just received a shipment of Sheese all the way from Scotland, I knew I had to give it a try. This vegan cheese from across the Atlantic has been getting rave reviews, and I couldn't wait to try my son out on a healthier alternative to trans-fatty Tofutti. I packed a wedge of "smoked cheddar" Sheese with some unsalted rice crackers.

To finish off the meal we have Brussels sprouts, baby carrots (in a tiny orange-lidded container from BentoTV), and a small Pink Lady apple.

Verdict: My goodness, you would think this kid had a Brussels sprouts deficiency, the way he jumped on those sprouts and gobbled them down! The muffin, crackers, apple, and carrots were next. But the Sheese? "Eeew," he said, taking one microscopic nibble and putting it down.

What, is he crazy? Everyone I've given wedges of this Sheese to has been amazed at how good it tastes; it is far and away the best vegan cheese I have ever tried. Of course, I haven't tried Follow Your Heart yet, but this stuff blows Tofutti out of the water. Maybe it's the smoke flavor he didn't like? 4 stars.

50 comments:

bernusha said...

Oh boy! I could see little Bambina scarfing these muffins down without ever realizing there's a veggie in it! Yeah! Hmmmm....and that cheese sounds like it's worth the try. :)

Dana said...

ohhh, I can't wait to try some myself! We love the follow your heart cheezes, but it's good to try new things, right?
Greta idea on the muffin. We also adore brussel's sprouts *sigh*...

hyphen_helena said...

Looks great! The Full Meal Muffin is an intriguing idea-- I can't wait to make some.

funwithyourfood said...

I'll have to reseach that Sheesh!! My bf loves cheese but i'm trying to ween him off of it. Maybe this will work for him

thanks

Teddy

Ben said...

I think some Scheeses are more kid-friendly than others. Smoked Cheddar and Gouda didn't go over so well with my 4 1/2 year old.

But Cheshire? He loves it!

He likes VeganRella, too, which is definitely an acquired taste for most of us.

Kristin said...

I finally got my hands on some scheeze this weekend (cheddar with chives and gouda). It was awful. I think it had maybe gone bad. It (both of them) tasted like a mixture of blue cheese, goat cheese, and bleach. I took a bite, spit it out, and then rinsed my mouth in the kitchen sink.

Roxy said...

This lunch looks so yummy! The cheese sounds good to me; too bad schmoo didn't like it. I will definitely be making the muffins!

Alexis said...

I didn't like smoked flavor cheese until very recently, certainly not as a kid, so I'm guessing that could be it.

Ellie P. said...

Thank you so much for the Full Meal Muffin recipe. I looked for it in the Vegan Lunch Box cookbook and was disappointed not to find it! I can't wait to make these! This is a completely delicious-looking lunch as usual.

Veganrocks said...

Great sounding muffin! We don't have zucchini here (till August)... what would you sub that's not more carrots??
Thanks!

Veganrocks said...

What an idiot... there are no carrots!!! LOL... ok, I'll sub carrots! (read. before. posting.)

VLyandra said...

I find smoked flavor vegan cheeses make me dry heave. I'm sensitive to the smoke flavoring in them. Maybe Shmoo is too?

And ooh, Full Meal Muffins. If I can get off my lazy butt long enough to make them, they'd be great for on-the-go breakfasts. Thank you so much for the recipe!

Robin said...

This sounds great, I can't wait to try it. One quick question - my kids won't touch raisins, do you think they'd be hidden well enough (i.e. no dark flecks) if I ground them up or would I be better off just leaving them out?

Thanks.

Iris said...

Have you seen

http://recipes.calorierestriction.org/r/files/UploadDetails_1/Megamuffins%203.6.txt

This page is publicly accessible, although I don't think all of the Calorie Restriction Society archives are, but I think registration is free.

I have never made these, and they do include eggs and dairy which would need some substitute. Some people love them, others hate them. There are a large number of ingredients, but the author makes 36 at a time and freezes them, so it's not an everyday chore.

Veg-a-Nut said...

Thank you so much for the recipe for the muffins. I will be making these tonight. I am going to order the mild cheddar cheese. If the smokey flavor is what schmoo did not like I am with him on that. I have never liked any thing smoked.

Bryana said...

It seems to me that eating a vegan diet an caring for the earth go together, so I don't understand the logic behind ordering a spcecialty product from another country, which wastes fuel and other resources, especially when it's something one doesn't need to be a healthy vegan.
It just ends up looking ridiculous and privileged.
Shouldn't we be trying to eat locally, or is everyone vegan for selfish reasons and to self-righteously prove that it can be done?

-a confused mostly-vegan

Jennifershmoo said...

>>One quick question - my kids won't touch raisins, do you think they'd be hidden well enough (i.e. no dark flecks) if I ground them up or would I be better off just leaving them out?

If you grind them I think they'll add a nice sweetness to the muffins, but I'm sure there will be a little dark fleckage going on, too. If that would turn your kids off, just leave them out for a muffin that's still good but not as sweet.

chickadee said...

What a beautiful lunch, as always!

A question, if you don't mind: I don't have experience baking without eggs or some other kind of binder, like flax meal. So I'm wondering how well these muffins hold together? Or does one (or more) of the ingredients bind everything together? Regardless, they sound fabulous and I plan to bake up a batch. Thanks so much for sharing! :D

ps. On an unrelated note, in one of the comments on a previous blog entry, you mentioned soy milk and lemon as a substitute for buttermilk. I recently tried it and was thoroughly pleased with the results! So thanks for that, too!

Jennifershmoo said...

They hold together very well with the mashed banana acting as a binder. Mashed banana is another good egg substitute to bind baked goods together, although it obviously has limited uses -- you don't want everything you make to taste like banana bread! :-)

Ana said...

Thank you so much for improving your Full Meal Muffin Recipe and sharing here with us!
I can't wait to try them!!!
Ana

Robin said...

I'm back to report that my kids loved the muffins - had no idea they were actually eating something healthy, and didn't notice the ground up raisins either. This one is definitely staying in the repertoire. Thanks!

Melissa Crowe said...

To Bryana--of course you are right. Eating vegan _is_ usually about both personal and planetary health for most people. Eating "logically" is an excellent guideline, and I can't argue with you at all.

The only thing I can say in defense of those who seek out things like good-tasting fake cheese, despite the "illogic," is that one's relationship to food is so often not based on logic but highly emotional, and I find that I sometimes need to indulge those food "feelings" in the least harmful ways I can find. Sometimes that means fake cheese (and rarely, I must admit, it even means _real_ cheese). I haven't personally ordered any faux dairy or meat products through the mail, prefering to make my own "uncheeses" and tofu loaves from Vegan Vittles recipes, but I can understand the impulse.

Most of all, I think it's wonderful for vegans to discuss these issues openly and with compassion (the cornerstone of veganism in my book). We are generally people who want to think clearly about our choices and their impacts, so if we start to clam up on the tough calls, we're headed in the wrong direction. I for one appreciate your candor.

Jennifershmoo said...

As a food blogger I try to mix it up and keep it interesting to my readers by picturing and reviewing a wide variety of vegan foods. Sometimes that means I have to order something on the internet because it's not available to me locally.

One of my goals with this project has been to explore and represent the broad array of good foods there are out there for vegans, to prove to people that we are not deprived or limited by our cruelty-free choices.

Besides, I like the idea of supporting a small, vegan-owned store like Vegan Essentials, and trying new things keeps this project fun!

scottishvegan said...

That muffin sounds great. I keep hearing about Scheese and I have yet to try it. It seems expensive to order it in the US so I will wait till I am in Scotland again! I am just happy that everyone is enjoying a vegan Scottish product!

glitter junkie said...

As I'm from the UK, we had Scheese when I first went vegan five years ago. I think it's terrible. My nan made scheese and onion pasties, and it just stayed like it was, and didn't melt at all, not even a little bit. And it's way too chalky to actually taste like cheese. I've given up with hard cheese alternatives. I loved cheese, I gave it up because I love animals and hate factory farming more! Nothing tastes like it enough for me, or has that texture! Soft 'cheeses', not a problem, which is odd. Ah well. Glad you're enjoying the scheese anyway, someone has to!

SallyT said...

I like vegan cheese best in foods rather than as a standout item. I put some Vegan Gourmet mozarella in your Tenessee Corn Pone along with some chopped corn and it was a BIG hit. My daughter claimed the last three muffins for her lunch today before my husband got home! I also made the "best brussel sprouts." My daughter ate a few and asked for more and my son only gagged once (a big improvement). They say that I have to send you that medal I promised. Thanks Jennifer!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>They say that I have to send you that medal I promised. Thanks Jennifer!

LOL! Woo hoo! I won! Wow, I'm so glad to hear the Best Brussels Sprouts were a qualified success! :-)

K-Virtue said...

Hi,

I've long been a fan of your blog, but this is the first time I've posted. I had to b/c I was reading something about the Proverbs 31 woman online that so reminded me of you! I couldn't post the whole thing (it's too long), but here's the site where you can read it: http://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/roh/today.php. Anyway, I'm not a vegan, but you are such an inspiration to me, as a wife/mom/homemaker. Thanks.
Here's the passage:
Today, we come to two verses—verses 14 and 15 9of Proverbs 31]..."She is like the merchant ships [we'll explain that in just a moment].” Verse 15: "She also rises while it is yet night [or still dark], and provides food for her household, and a portion [or tasks] for her maidservants."
....
Here is a woman who cares, practically, to make sure that her family gets fed; and they get well fed. They get balanced and nutritious meals. Now we're looking at a day when women did not have refrigeration, so she was having to go out shopping probably every day for the ingredients needed for every day's meal. She was willing—we see a woman with a heart that's willing—to sacrifice and to make extra effort in order to adequately meet the physical needs of her family."

Roxy said...

In response to Bryana's comment about ordering foods online--I personally do not order things online very often at all, mostly because of the fact that I am a poor college student (lol), but I do not criticize other vegans (like Jennifer) who do. The way I see it, the ecological impact of shipping a vegan product in the mail is no where near the impact of buying "real" cheese and other animal products.

Anyone who has seen the show "Living with Ed" may have noticed that Ed (a very, very, VERY earth-conscious person) recieved eco-products like big rain-collection tubs in the mail seemingly every other week. I don't think he beat himself up over having something shipped in the mail.

Anyway, I hope my point is clear. I think if you chose not to buy things online, more power to you, but I don't see it as the worst thing in the world.

Bonny said...

thanks -- I can't wait to make these! I am always looking for breakfast-on-the-go type recipes for my kiddos :-)

Urban Vegan said...

That is so funny--I guess cheese is an acquired taste. I can't wait to try Sheese.

Love your complete meal muffin idea.

Jennifershmoo said...

Aw, thank you, k-virtue -- that is so sweet!

>>"She also rises while it is yet night [or still dark], and provides food for her household..."

Yes, us moms certainly have been known to do that, especially on school days! LOL

JAMS59 said...

My question is where on bento tv did you find a link to order the little orange lidded container. I am on my 3rd broken lid replacement for my laptop lunch and I may be ready to throw in the towel.

Thank you.

Jennifershmoo said...

Here's a link:

http://stores.ebay.com/Bento-Obento-Shop_Side-Dish-Boxes_W0QQcolZ4QQdirZQ2d1QQfsubZ5341769QQftidZ2QQtZkm

They are listed under "side dish boxes" and come in a set of three. It looks like they have orange, blue, and polka dotted ones right now.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

A full meal muffin! You are like the Willy Wonka of the Vegan world! I hope Schmoo didn't blow up into a giant ball and have to be rolled away! (can you tell we just watched the movie again?)-- Sounds yummy.

Alisyn said...

http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/archive/2007/02/24/have-picky-eaters-try-the-full-meal-muffin.aspx

R2K said...

: )

textual bulldog said...

Hi! I love this blog, and I love this full muffin meal idea. I have been working on creating something a little similar myself... Anyway, I wonder whether you experimented with different protein powders when you were trying to make yours? I use the Pure Advantage vanilla protein powder, and it works great in baking (not gooey and dense at all). I wonder whether you were using a soy based protein powder, and that could be the difference? Both Cosmosveganshoppe and Veganessentials sell the stuff I use, as does my local health food store... It is pea and rice based protein powder, as opposed to soy. I highly recommend it!

http://www.cosmosveganshoppe.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PAVC&Category_Code=PPG&Product_Count=1

textual bulldog said...

http://www.cosmosveganshoppe.com/Merchant2/
merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=PAVC&
Category_Code=PPG&Product_Count=1

Jennifershmoo said...

No, I did not use soy protein powder at all, as I've heard bad things about they way it is processed and produced. I tried brown rice protein powder and a pea and vegetable-based protein powder, although I haven't seen the one you recommend. The pea/brown rice combo sounds good, and I've also heard good things about hemp.

thephnee said...

Hi Jennifer!

My friend made your full meal muffins the other day and they were delicious!
Just sweet enough that I'm sure my diabetic parents will appreciate them for dessert.

As for Sheese vs. FYH, I've tried both and find sheese to be endlessly better, especially the cheddar flavour. It keeps much longer, is needed in smaller amounts and melts more like the real thing, but the biggest plus is that it's tasty right off the package while FYH is only nice when melted.

That said, I doubt I'd like the smoked cheddar flavour because I never liked smoked cheese :)

bazu said...

I'm very intrigued by Sheese, and might order some soon. However, I'm one of those vegans that's given up on cheese. The real thing tastes great, but is filled with pain and cruelty, and the vegan stuff is... not quite there yet. :-P

babygotchins said...

Yum! Those look like the Peas of Mind puffets (www.peasofmind.com) and I've been wondering how to make them at home. Love your blog!

Big Gay Val said...

i made these muffins and my mom LOVES them! she wishes they were a bit sweeter but thinks that the texture is FANTASTIC, evn when they r cold, which is quite an acomplishment. last time, i made them w/ apple cider that was a teeny bit fermented but i plan on making them again tonight w/ apple juice and adding a bit of tofutti cream cheese icing (my own recipe). i hope they turn out as good as last time :). Thanks for the great, healthy recipe.

Helen said...

Scheese is great - if you don't just eat it expecting cheese...

The new formula melts beautifully if you grate it finely. No, not like a high fat hard cow cheese, but it does melt. Mostly I just use it as a condiment though, or make a roux based white sauce with it in, or finely grate it and then pour over boiling water for a runny sauce (this version usually ends up needing a touch of cornflour though cos I never get the amount of water right, lol)

Veg-a-Nut said...

I made these muffins and they are wonderful. I had to make some substitutions with what I had on hand and they are still fantastic. You can see my subs on my blog. Thanks Jen for another fantastic recipe!

Mara said...

You can get trans-fat free tofuti. It comes in a yellow container and it tastes even better! It's hard to find, since grocery stores usually only carry the blue (trans-fatty) container, but if you demand it, they'll stock it. Everyone should request the trans-fat free variety so it will be more readily available!

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, Mara -- I was referring to the Tofutti cheese slices, not the tubs of sour cream or cream cheese, which do come in trans-fat free varieties. As far as I know they have not made trans-fat free versions of their mozzarella and cheddar cheese slices yet. But we'll keep hoping!!

Aarwenn said...

Hi JenniferShmoo,

As someone who lives in Seattle, around many, many sources of FYH, I'll happily ship some to you! (I don't know why I haven't offered this before--always thought one of your other fans taken care of this, I guess.) I always have some in both my freezer (helps it melt better) and my fridge (for just eating slices). It comes in many flavors, all of which are pretty good, but I like the Monterey Jack and Nacho the best. Email me: flauchic AT gmail dot com and let me know if you'd like to receive a personal shipment from Seattle!

Adam said...

Having tried almost all the vegan cheeses, I find the FYH products to be so much better than anything else -- I used to cook at a vegan restaurant and we used the mozzarella on a few dishes including a baked nachos and it is quite delicious and it does melt.

I've never tried the Shreese but I will look for it.