balance, breakfast, brunch, dessert, easy, gluten free, health, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan

Berry Good Raspberry Cheesecakes

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So, my hubby and I recently watched the documentary “What the Health” – have you seen this? I have lived on a mostly plant based diet my entire life, with the exception of the occasional dairy/seafood add in. My husband however, eats meat and dairy and just about everything. I am not one to push my lifestyle or dietary choices on other, and completely respect other options. After watching this documentary though, at the suggestion of a friend, he decided he wanted to try eliminating meat/dairy from his diet.

I was a full fledged vegan a few years back, and in the more recent years got a bit lazy with the inclusion of greek yogurt and eggs. One of my new year’s resolutions was to go back to being completely plant based with the nutritional know-how I had after getting my degree in nutrition.

I have been working a lot more on trying new things and working with ingredients I already have in the kitchen. I also recently discovered I have an allergy to cane sugar and like most of us, could stand to avoid this anyway. I have been experimenting with baking with dates and using alternatives like maple syrup since I feel that they are a healthier and often tastier option anyway.

I’ve played around with dairy substitutes but I love cashews for their healthy fats, protein and creaminess when it comes to desserts. I literally threw these together the other night before we ran out the door to a comedy show after soaking some cashews all afternoon. I used what I had in the kitchen and they came together wonderfully. You can use any fruit in these, I used raspberry because I love them and the color was divine. Same goes for the hazelnuts in the crust, almonds would be fine but I loved the flavor of these. Another great thing about this recipe is the simplicity of the ingredients, not counting the water there are 8 unique things in the crust and filling combined.

Hope you enjoy – let me know if you try them. I even had one of these for breakfast the other day, when you make things that use whole foods, and plant based foods, you never have to feel guilty about indulging. These are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants and vitamins- that’s a win for everyone.


 

Plant Powered Raspberry Cheesecake Bites (vegan, paleo, gluten free)

Servings : 6 | Prep time | 1 hours | Hands on time : 30  minutes

Ingredients : 

Crust

  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 5 dates

Filling

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries

Directions :

  1. Pour boiling water over cashews and allow to sit for 1 hour covered. You can wrap a towel around your bowl to further insulate.
  2. For the crust, combine oats and nuts in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add dates and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add melted oil and maple syrup and allow to mix until a somewhat sticky mixture forms. Evenly divide mixture into muffin tin or use a spring form pan.
  3. Combine soaked cashews, 1/4 cup cold fresh water, maple syrup, coconut oil, lemon juice in a food processor or high powered blender to until creamy. Add in raspberries and mix until berries are incorporated. Pour evenly into crusts and top with additional frozen raspberries if you like. Put in freezer for 30 minutes until firm. Can store in fridge as well, or freezer for a nice frozen treat for up a week

 

Have fun with these, I promise you won’t miss the dairy!

 

 

balance, breakfast, brunch, easy, gluten free, health, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan

Obsessed with Omegas

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I like to think of granola as a treat, or something for dessert because they are often so sweet, especially the ones you get from the grocery store or in cafes. My husband has been eating a lot of it lately and I remembered how easy it is to throw together, so I decided to whip some up on Sunday.

I felt like baking, but I’ve been avoiding refined sugar so far this year and knew that making some cookies would just be too much temptation, but a healthier option like granola would fit the bill. I also wanted to make something that checked the boxes I require in a snack : healthy fat, protein, fiber and tasty!

This granola is all of those things, it took 40 minutes from start to finish, including 30 minutes of baking time. Give it a try the next time you want a healthy snack, tasty breakfast or just to impress your brunch guests or make your house smell amazing! The secret is the almond extract – you can leave it out but it adds an extra touch that makes this granola irresistible.



Omega Rich Almond Butter Granola

Prep time : 10 minutes | Cook time : 30 minutes

Ingredients :

Dry –

  • 3 cups organic gluten free oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 4 tablespoons flax meal
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Wet –

  • 1/2 cup creamy unsalted almond butter
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Mix together almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract and microwave for 30 minutes until coconut oil is melted and stir to combine.
  4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir to coat all ingredients.
  5. Layer on baking sheet with silpat or spray with non-stick spray.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, remove from open and let sit for 15 minutes before breaking up and serving. Can be stored on counter for up to a week but I doubt it will last that long in your house.


granola

This granola is packed with protein, fiber and lots of healthy fats and has much less sugar than store bought options.  Walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds are full of omega 3’s which many western diets are lacking, and 1 tablespoon of flax includes 3 grams of fiber – almost 11% of your daily amount.

You’ll find lots of iron, magnesium, b vitamins and calcium in this snack so you can feel good about noshing on it any time of day!

Give it a try and let me know how you like it!

Cheers!

balance, breakfast, dessert, easy, gluten free, health, pumpkin, quick, recipe, smoothie, vegan

Fall in love with Pumpkin

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Ok, so I know I don’t have to sell anyone on how awesome pumpkin is, it’s easily the most popular fall flavor, we find it in lattes, muffins, patches, skincare and basic hashtags all over instagram. Aside from being trendy, pumpkin is actually super good for you.

Pumpkin is packed with fiber which helps you feel fuller longer so adding this tasty member of the squash family to your oatmeal, smoothies or even soup is a great healthy choice. They are also packed with vitamin C to help you fight that fall cold and full of beta carotene and antioxidants to help lower blood pressure and even improve eyesight. we often think of bananas when we think of potassium, but pumpkin also boasts this nutrient helping you recover from those tough fall runs in the rain.

Give this delicious smoothie a try the next time you want a pumpkin drink, it’s vegan, gluten free and full of fiber and vitamins. For an extra boost add your favorite plant based protein powder.

Perfect Pumpkin Smoothie

½ cup pumpkin puree

½ banana

⅓ cup oats

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 ice cubes

1 cup nondairy milk

 

If you just can’t get enough pumpkin, you may want to try a pumpkin body scrub. Penelope and the Beauty Bar in the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Seattle has a full body polish or foot scrub and massage to take your pumpkin pampering to the next level. Pumpkin is great for the skin because of all of it’s fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids which are often found in high end skin products. The vitamin C and A help sooth skin and boost collagen production to help prevent the signs of aging.

I checked out their food scrub and I have to say, even though my tootsies are tucked warmly away inside my boots this season, they are so incredibly smooth and soft. I walked away from my scrub feeling so relaxed and refreshed, my technician did an amazing job and my feet smelled amazing afterwards.

The benefits don’t stop there, you can make pumpkin lotion, lip balm and even face masks.

If you are interested in a DIY version, give this one a try from One Green Planet

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)

  • Mix sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon together. Mix with pumpkin. Put on skin, scrub in circular motion, and rinse. All smooth and clean!

 

Hope you have fun this fall and find a new way to enjoy our favorite fall flavor – let me know your favorite unique ways to use pumpkin! #squashgoals

balance, breakfast, brunch, dinner, easy, health, quick, recipe, tips

How to Meal Prep Like a Boss

Summer has finally arrived in Seattle, which means we are busier than ever, and staying on track and eating healthy can be difficult. I get it – you’ve got parks to visits, kayaks to float in and microbrews to drink in the sun. That’s where a little planning and prepping one day a week can make a big difference in your life. If you are busy, want to lose weight, eat healthier or just like to get all your cooking done at once, this is the way to go.

It can seem daunting at first to plan that far ahead (I know it was for me) but hopefully these tips will help make it easier and get you going towards successful meal prepping.

Start Simple
This isn’t really the time to start eating crazy foods you aren’t used to, at least for the first few weeks. Think about putting together foods you already like and know how to prepare, this will save you time to begin with.

Master Breakfast
If you already eat oatmeal, try doing overnight oats. I love oats because they are high in fiber, and can be super nutritious for a filling and healthy breakfast. If you’re more of an egg person, you can prep the veggies for a scramble or omelette ahead of time and throw them in the pan in the morning with some already beaten eggs and whip up a breakfast in just a few minutes. Better yet, bake egg muffins all at once and have breakfast all week.

Shop Smart
Don’t head to the store without a plan, you run the risk of roaming the aisles and buying foods that don’t really go together. Plan out what you’re going to have for the week and make a list to take to the store, you’ll save time, money and sanity.

Be Snack Savvy
Pre-packaged minimally processed bars like Kind and RX make great snacks that take absolutely no work. If you’re looking for more whole food options, buying things in bulk like string cheese and hard boiling a bunch of eggs ahead of time are great to grab on the go.

Get Freezin’
Making large batches of food ahead of time and freezing them is a great way to save time. You can throw tomorrow’s dinner in the fridge to thaw before you head to work and come home to a dinner that will require a few minutes in the microwave. Or, if you’re into smoothies, try making homemade smoothie kits of frozen fruit and veggies and then after a workout or whenever, throw it in a blender with your milk or water of choice and you’re good to go.

Choose Grains Wisely
Pick grains you can use for multiple meals and cook a big batch on Sunday. Quinoa is great for breakfast in place of oatmeal, or you can throw it into salads for extra protein, or serve your fish or chicken for dinner on top of it.

Spread Your Food Out
On a sheet pan that is. Roasting veggies and protein in big batches in the oven is a super easy way to prepare a lot of food at once. You can throw these in salads, or use them for low maintenance dinner ideas.

Slow It Down
If you have a slow cooker- bust that thing out! You can make all sorts of food in your slow cooker, and it doesn’t just have to be soup. You can make quiches, oatmeal bakes, lasagna, enchiladas, roasts, the sky’s the limit. Set it to go before you leave work, come home to a delicious meal you can reheat all week.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and prep yourself for a week of healthy eating and spend less time in the kitchen. If you are looking for or in the need of some awesome meal prep ideas then make sure to check out my pinterest board.

balance, breakfast, easy, fitness, health, quick, recipe, running, snacks

Hidden Veggies

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Smooth Moves

Got someone who just doesn’t get enough veggies? Or just want to add more veggies to your diet without effort or even really tasting them? I’ve got the perfect solution for you- smoothies!

Smoothies are my favorite go-to for a quick breakfast or after a workout when I don’t have time to throw something else together. When putting together a smoothie, it’s important to consider all of the elements that make up a balanced meal, including healthy fat, protein and fiber. Without all of these, you are at risk of spiking your blood sugar quickly which can sabotage weight loss and cause you to be hungry again soon and reach for something else.

The rules I like to follow when I make a smoothie are a 1:2 ratio of fruit and veggies, for every fruit serving, I include 2 servings of vegetables, and include fat and protein.

Pick 1 fruit, 2 vegetables, 1 liquid, 1 fat, 1 protein, 2-3 ice cubes = your complete smoothie.

Here are some of my favorites :

Fruit :

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, or mixed berries
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1 packaged unsweetened acai puree

Veggies :

  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1-2 beets
  • 1/4-1/2 sweet potato

Liquid :

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk or regular milk
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut water
  • 1 cup cold water

Fat :

  • 1-2 tbsp nut butter
  • 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw nuts
  • 1/4 avocado

Protein

  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop plant based protein powder
  • 3 tbsp powdered peanut butter

 

Be mindful of portion sizes and remember, if weight loss is your goal or even maintenance, a smoothie is a great option, but not in addition to all of your regular foods, otherwise you’ll have a caloric excess. If you are trying to gain weight, increase protein and fat content and consume in addition to your regular diet.

Happy blending, you’re only limited by your creativity, I promise you won’t even know the veggies are in there and can get 1/2 of your servings of both fruit and veggies in one smoothie!

Let me know what you’ve tried!

 

balance, chocolate, easy, fitness, health, movement, tips, travel

Staying on track during travel

It’s inevitable, whether it’s during the holidays or just for a special occasion, we all find ourselves making our way through the long security line and shuffling to the gate to dash off to some exciting destination. As fun as travel can be, sometimes the options at the airport are not always the healthiest when you’re trying to stay on track.

I have done a lot more traveling in the last few years, and coincidentally, my health has become an even greater priority as well, so how do you make healthy choices when you’re on the go? Here are some ways I manage to make sure I feel great and don’t have to sacrifice healthy choices during travel.

 

  1. Plan ahead! Since I always keep healthy food in the house, it’s not a big leap for me to grab smart choices when I’m leaving the house. If I have a lot of time I will bake some protein muffins ahead of time or make some nut and seed bars. If I am short on time, I make sure to grab a couple pieces of fruit that travel well like apples and bananas, and make my own trail mix. The possibilities here are endless, you can throw together any combination of nuts, seeds, dried fruit and even some dark chocolate chips if you need a it of sweetness. Some great store bought bars I love are KIND bars and RX bars, both have no artificial ingredients and are high in protein and healthy fat without added sugar. Having healthier options in your bag will make it so much easier to walk right past that cinnamon in the food court or avoid unhealthy snacks on the plane.
  2. Hydrate! So often we mistake thirst for hunger, and this can happen even more when we’re traveling and scattered. I always pack a large water bottle in my carry-on luggage and fill it half full on the way to the airport. I finish the water before we get to the airport so I start my trip hydrated and then fill up the water bottle as soon as we get through security. You can carry this onto the plane and this way you’re in control of your hydration, not waiting for the flight attendants to bring you a tiny cup of water : ) Avoid drinking alcohol on the flight which will only contribute to dehydration which leaves your skin feeling icky and can cause you to overeat. Feel free to grab a free bevvie on the plane, just stay away from juices and soda, stick to sparkling water, coffee or tea.
  3. Move, move and move some more. Sitting on long flights can leave you feeling sore and sleepy and can zap your daily move goals. I always get to the airport early enough that I can get through security and do a few laps through the terminal before getting on the plane. Since I know I will be sitting for a few hours, I like to get any movement I can in before boarding. Also, when my flight isn’t super early, if I know I’m going to be sitting during a long fight, I set my alarm, drag my booty out of bed and squeeze in a quick run before a flight. Knowing I got my workout in before travel makes me feel more balanced, less stressed and happy knowing I didn’t have to compromise my fitness goals on a travel day. If you’re on an especially long flight, try to get up eat least once an hour to stretch your legs and move a little bit.
  4. Know your stuff – if you absolutely can’t bring your own snacks and have to eat airport food, do your research. Don’t get lazy or call it vacation calories, be smart about your choices. Read the menu, look for things that are at least half vegetables, and skip the added bread or chips that come on the side. Don’t be afraid to ask for things modified, restaurants are often very willing to be accommodating if you check. Make sure to watch portion sizes as well, often the size that you get is more than one serving, so try wrapping up half right away for later and eating half right away. This can also be super helpful after a long flight when you land and feel ravenous and keep you from grabbing something else unhealthy before you get to your destination.

 

Happy travels – DM me with the ways you stay on track while traveling!

balance, brunch, easy, gluten free, quick, recipe, snacks, vegan, vegetarian

Tropical Oat Bars

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Sometimes, you want to eat seasonally, like enjoying ice cream in the summer to beat the heat, or cozy up with a hot bowl of soup in the winter to warm up. And sometimes, it just gets so damn cold that you decide to protest the weather and fantasize about a dreamy tropical getaway and have to make some snacks that help you do just that.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions, but I almost always go refined sugar free in January as a body refresh and reset. I do pretty well at resisting the baked goods during the holidays but even I occasionally find myself indulging in more than my fair share of homemade cinnamon rolls, pumpkin pie and holiday cookies. I am a firm believer in enjoying your food always and embracing the treats of the season are a part of enjoying time with family and remembering traditions. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate a break from it all come January.

Going refined sugar free works really well for me, I work well with boundaries and telling myself that I am not having something is often easier than I will eat less of something.

I love snacking on whole foods when I’m running between school, work or just heading to a workout, but many bars you find in stores are loaded with extra sugar or just weird ingredients. That, and I can make my own bars in about 15 minutes for a lot less.

Here are some tropical banana, oat, toasted coconut and almond bars that are naturally sweetened, full of healthy fat and fiber to help get you through these long, dark winter days. You could always add some dried pineapple or mango for an extra tropical feel, just make sure your dried fruit doesn’t have any added sugar.


 

Tropical Oat Bars

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Total Time : 15 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1 1/2 cups oats (I used Trader Joe’s Gluten Free)

1 cup roasted and unsalted almonds

1/2 pepitas

1 cup banana chips

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions :

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  • In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil, maple syrup and honey over heat on low until simmering.
  • Spread oats and coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (watch to make sure they don’t burn)
  • When oats and coconut flakes are done, mix in a  bowl with almonds, pepitas and banana chips and cover with oil and syrup mixture.

 

 

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  • Mix to combine and pour into 9X9 baking pan.
  • Place in refrigerator until solid, slice and enjoy. Store in refrigerator.