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, 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.

 

 

breakfast, easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Maple Pumpkin Granola (GF, Vegan)

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I have been ready for fall for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the sunshine and warm weather as much as the next person, but not all the time. There is something so comforting about the changing leaves, a slight chill in the area and the coziness of drinking a cup of tea and baking on a Sunday afternoon when it’s grey out. I also think that pumpkin is an underrated squash that only really gets hype around Halloween and Thanksgiving and love using it in all my cooking, including both savory things and sweet.

I’ve been craving some hearty granola, but most of the stuff you buy in the store has a lot of sugar and is highly processed. I wanted some granola that had all of the flavors of fall I love so much, but without the refined sugar. My criteria also included something with healthy fat and lots of plant protein.

Enter my maple pumpkin granola. It’s sweetened with a little maple syrup and some apple juice, pecans and pumpkin seeds for crunch, raw pumpkin for some yummy pumpkin flavor, flax meal for heart healthy omega 3’s and coconut flakes for something a little different.

I am so happy with how this granola turned out, my kitchen smelled amazing  and I could hardly wait to sample this when it came out of the oven. Not only is it delicious but it far exceeded my nutritional criteria and contains vitamins A and C, healthy fat, lots of protein, fiber and iron. I hope you will love this just as much as me, this was so easy to throw together in a few minutes and enjoy all week as breakfast or just a tasty snack.


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Maple Pumpkin Granola

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Bake time : 45 minutes

Ingredients :

2 cups raw oats

2/3 cup raw pecans

2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (can also use raw)

1/3 cup unsweetened raw coconut flakes

1/3 cup flax meal

1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup apple juice unsweetened

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup raw pumpkin

Instructions :

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix.

Combine apple juice, maple syrup and pumpkin in medium size bowl. Microwave coconut oil to melt and add to remaining wet ingredients.

Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix thoroughly to coat.

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Spread on a large cookie sheet to cover. Bake for 20 minutes and stir. Bake for additional 20-25 minutes until golden brown and remove from oven and allow to sit and cool.

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Enjoy with almond milk or over yogurt or just by the handful which I ended up doing because it was too delicious to not snack on!

easy, gluten free, quick, snacks, vegan

Easy Energy?!

What? It’s that simple? Well, sort of. Choosing to put good fuel into your body will keep you going and help you tackle those meetings, your workout, and anything else that comes your way. A little planning will help you continue to stay on track no matter how busy, and these bites are just the thing for that! Whether I’m running to school, work or just a workout when I want something slightly sweet but also nutritionally balanced, I reach for these. They take minutes to pull together and are the perfect balance of protein, heart healthy omegas and fiber to help you feel full between meals and feel satiated! Enjoy!

Date Almond Bites 

Prep Time : 1 hour | Cook time : 10 minutes

Ingredients :

1 cup oats

10 dates

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions :

1. Combine oats, cinnamon, chia seeds and coconut flakes in your food processor. Pulse until oats have broken down and you get a meal that looks like this.

2. Add dates and almonds to your food processor and continue to pulse until mixture begins to come together.

3. Your mixture will begin to ball up in your food processor, when this happens, pause and scrape down the sides and continue to pulse until it resembles this.

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4. When you get the mixture, dump out your food processor and roll into 1 inch size balls and store in the fridge. When you need a quick snack grab a few and take them with you. Hope you enjoy!

dinner, gluten free, risotto, vegan, vegetarian

Spring Risotto with Vegetables

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We all have a dish that we’ve mastered and love to make. Maybe, this dish also happens to be something people love and are easily impressed with. In my case this is risotto.

I know we’ve talked about risotto before, but I love it so much and it’s really become the thing I make for dinner when I don’t want to think about cooking. The good thing about risotto is that you can really add anything to it and make it delicious. Once you master the basics of cooking the rice, the possibilities are endless for what you can make.

My hope is that I’ll inundate you with enough risotto recipes over time that one of them will really spark your interest to try it. Then, as time goes on, you’ll try another and another until it too is your go to dinner option when you want something delicious, easy and comforting.

Since I’m starting to feel springy I decided to throw together a risotto with some green veggies to help get those much needed daily vitamins and antioxidants in the most delicious way possible. This recipe is vegan (without the fried egg) and offers great protein from the edamame even if you choose to forgo the egg option. It’s creamy, comforting and feels decadent without a lot of empty calories.

I encourage you to try this one, but if it’s not this risotto, then hopefully the next, or the one after that 🙂

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Spring Risotto with Asparagus, Zucchini and Edamame

Prep Time : 10 minutes | Cook Time : 40 minutes | Serves 4

Ingredients : 

1 cup arborio rice

1 32 ounce vegetable broth

1/4 cup house white wine

1 small yellow onion

2 cloves garlic

2 medium zucchini

1 large bunch asparagus

1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame

2 eggs (optional)

1 tablespoon vegan margarine

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons avocado oil

salt & pepper

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Instructions : 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add broth to a medium saucepan and warm over low heat.

3. Wash and clean asparagus and zucchini if desired. Slice zucchini lengthwise twice and chop into medium size pieces shown above. Cut off ends of asparagus and slice stalks into bite size pieces. Toss with avocado oil and salt and pepper and place on baking sheet and place in oven once preheated. Cook for 15 minutes stirring once and check doneness. You want them to be cooked  but still a bit firm since you will add them to the risotto and cook further.

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4. While you’re waiting for the oven to preheat, dice onion and garlic. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and melt margarine over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute to soften and release aroma, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add rice to pan and saute for about 3-4 minutes until rice is a bit toasty. Add wine to pan and cook until absorbed.

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5. Once all the wine has been absorbed, start adding broth a bit at a time. I honestly never measure this because I always end up using all the broth so just pour some in and use your best judgement. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring often until liquid is absorbed. Repeat until broth is gone.

6. When vegetables are done, remove from oven and set aside. Remove edamame from freezer and cook according to instructions and set aside.

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7. Taste risotto to test doneness-best part of the process 😉 and when it’s almost done add your vegetables. A good way to know this is that you have 1/4-1/2 cup of broth left and its a BIT crunchier than you would normally like. We want to it to stay a bit al dente but not fight back.

8. Continue to cook with vegetables and until all broth is gone. Season with salt and pepper to your liking, in my experience this and a good broth with the roasted veggies will add enough flavor but I think nutritional yeast could be good or even garlic powder.

9. When it’s done, scoop it into your bowls and get ready to feast and enjoy! If you want to add a fried egg, see below.

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10. You decided you wanted a little something extra did you? No shame in that friend! I’m going to assume you’ve fried an egg before but for the sake of explanation I’ll continue. Get yourself a small skillet, spray with non stick spray and heat over medium heat. Crack your egg into pan and cook just until the white is opaque and flip, about 1-2 minutes. Flip over and cook for about another minute, you don’t want to overcook because you want the yolk to be runny. Something like this.

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11. After you flip that sucker over and it’s done, throw it on your risotto, break open that yolk, stir and get to enjoying!

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Happy feasting!