Archive for Vegan

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

vegan paleo biscotti

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

It’s the week before Christmas! That means that I bought about a pound of chocolate “for my mother-in-law” (who loves chocolate) and promptly “ate most of it.” For some folks that sounds like a typical holiday season mistake, but for someone like me who rarely consumes sugar, it’s painful afterward! I told Matt to try to pry it from my hands, but that’s not working. THUS, I’ve decided to create something that will encourage a healthy “after dinner snack” to replace my steady consumption of a tall glass of red wine and chocolate candy (which both nutritionally and calorically ruins my uber-healthy dinners!) So my plan tonight is to hide the rest of my mother-in-law’s chocolate, and enjoy this Holiday Biscotti alongside a peppermint tea! I’ll let you know how it goes….

Biscotti is Italian for twice baked cookie (just kidding, but that’s essentially what it is). In my opinion, biscotti is even easier to perfect than cookies, because it’s supposed to be burnt, so don’t let the fancy name deter you! We are hosting Christmas this year, and this is so great that I might make this holiday biscotti for my family, but add some pistachios for that festive flash of red & green! Biscotti is also really delicious with almond extract flavor and/or orange zest!

Vegan & Paleo Holiday Biscotti (makes 8-10)

You will need 2 hours and….

1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/2 cup of organic oats
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon on cinnamon
1 cup of dried fruit of your choice- I did cherries for tart sweetness and Turkish apricots for deeper sweetness
optional nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together dry ingredients
  3. Add in Maple syrup and ix until thoroughly incorporated
  4. Stir in dried fruit and nuts by hand
  5. Use your hands to form a large rectangular slab of dough/log on cookie sheet topped with parchment paper
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely (45 mins-1 hour)
  8. With a bread knife, slice on the diagonal and lay out biscotti individually
  9.  Bake again for 15 minutes or until crispy
  10. Serve with tea or coffee!

 

Superfood;Superwoman

Image result for pumpkin pie smoothie

Admittedly, the “superfood” craze is a little silly, but it still blows my mind that adding a little tablespoon of chia seeds to my morning smoothie can afford me enough protein and fiber to really keep me full through my strenuous workouts.

My newest smoothie addition is…

Maca, a root grown high in the Peruvian mountains, used by ancient Incas to increase both fertility and virility. Today, holistics prescribe Maca root powder for chronic fatigue syndrome, fertility issues, hormone imbalance, and low libido. It’s important to start off using Maca in very small doses since it IS a potent superfood. The really great thing about increasing energy and vitality via Maca is that it does not tax the adrenals the way that caffeine does. Your energy is much more slow burning and long lasting. This is great news for the large percentage of the population suffering with adrenal fatigue, which correlates with hormone imbalance in women and causes a lot of stress on our systems.

I’ve instagrammed my use of collagen and chlorophyll in fruit smoothies. To make my smoothies more “Seasonal” this fall, I use Maca in combination with 8 oz. of almond milk, 1 banana, 1/2 a cup of pumpkin puree, a slice of ginger root, a few drops of vanilla extract and 1 tbsp. of cinnamon to create a delicious pumpkin pie smoothie. I’m really looking forward to sharing more details with you about the direct effect of Maca on my quality of life!

Vegan Balls of Energy

protein balls

I don’t know about you, but I am anything but a “ball of energy” this time of year. Every year around this time, Matt gets really excited about the giant bags of candy in super stores and buys one (or two) for our “trick-or -treaters.” I suspect (pray) being in a family-friendly neighborhood for the first time this year will bring us more than our previous record 4 trick-or-treaters.

Anyway, every year I also decide that having a bite-sized Butterfinger or a teeny-weeny Twix nightly wont bother my stomach or my monstrous aversion to sugar. Thus begins the slippery slope of the holiday season.

That’s why I am SO excited about my recipe for this perfectly nutritious snack-size “ball of energy.” You can eat 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert or have 2 or 3 for breakfast with coffee! It’s perfect for on-the-go energy and nutrition. I use plant-based protein, as opposed to whey, but I assume whey protein powder would work the same way, since this is a no-bake snack. The taste reminds me of those No Bake Oatmeal Cookies from my childhood, but these pack a punch of protein with no sugar, additives, or packaging! I made these this Sunday, so now I have a healthy go-to snack and dessert for the week. They also give me a small energy-packed morsel to enjoy before for my morning workouts!

I’ve got to be honest, it’s one week after I finished Whole 30, and almost everything in my fridge is STILL homemade! I may have the luxury of a great work schedule and no kids just yet, but I have really worked hard this year on what nutrition is right for me and my family and I’m proud of myself. Sometimes that includes a few store-bought brands, but more often then not, it involves a lot of whole food ingredients + meal prep. And I’ve happily mastered that… for now! I hope you enjoy this new recipe!

Vegan Energy Balls (Makes 20 +)

4 scoops of your favorite protein powder ( I use plant-based chocolate)
2 cups of organic oats
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup of maple syrup or agave
1 cup of almond butter

  1. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
  2. Form into balls by rubbing  both sides with your cup-shaped palm.
  3. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set
  5. Now they are ready to eat and be kept in glass tupperware in your fridge!

The Best Chili I Ever Made: kale & butternut squash edition

best chli i ever made

The Chili with my newest stag head

It’s a rainy September day in Wilmington, and we are currently basking in bowls of the best chili I ever made. There are a few “secret” ingredients in this recipe that I think are important elements to the chili.

spicy sweet

Growing up, my mom made meaty spaghetti sauce that was delicious; both spicy and sweet. She used regular processed sugar in our sauce, but for mine, I used 90% DARK CHOCOLATE. I used 2 squares of an organic bar (about 1 oz.) and it added a rich, sweet element, especially in combination with the sweet BUTTERNUT SQUASH.

To achieve the spicy element that pairs so well with sweetness, I used 1/8 cup of RED CHILI FLAKES. I love these on everything: avocado toast, cauliflower pizza, ice cream (just kidding!) They really are one of my favorite cheap flavor punches. Additionally, I used a can of GREEN CHILIS to deepen the spicy note.

why bison?

Bison is a lean meat that has the flavor of beef, but is packed with less fat and more protein. See my OTHER bison chili recipe for more details! I also like that bison is raised in humane, sustainable practices.

mushrooms

Meaty mushrooms are the key to the texture of this dish. I DID NOT use beans in this recipe because I wanted there to be an easy Vegan Sub out for this chili. Thus, if you are not eating meat, you can simply sub in 1 can of Navy Beans and 1-2 cans of Kidney Beans for your Bison/ Beef. Because there are mushrooms in this chili, it tastes MEATY both ways! Mushrooms are essential to good vegetarian meals. Thank you, FUNGI!

kale

Because Kale.

And those are the secrets for the Best Chili I ever Made!

Butternut Squash, Kale & Mushroom Chili (6-10 servings)

1 butternut squash, sliced and chunked (I used Trader Joe’s pre-chunked)
1 bunch of kale (your preferred type)
1 pound of Bison or Beef (OR sub 2-3 beans as described above)1 can of organic tomato paste
3-4 cups of vegetable broth ( I use the 32 oz box when I don’t use my own which is about 4 cups, but 3 will suffice)
1 large zucchini
1 red onion
1 can of green chilis
1/8 cup of chili flakes
salt and pepper
1 oz. of dark chocolate
cooking oil

  1. In your large chili pot, use cooking fat or oil to saute your chopped onion on medium heat
  2. Add in the beef and dark chocolate
  3. Break down beef, browning in oil for about 3 minutes
  4. Add in butternut squash, mushrooms, chopped zucchini, tomato paste, vegetable broth, green chilis, and spices
  5. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, and then turn down to low heat for 1 hour. It will look soupy- That’s good!
  6. Stir in kale and cook until kale is softened and absorbs extra liquid

Cuddle up and enjoy!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower Mashed potatoes

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

My mother-in-law visited last weekend and made Matt some good old fashioned mashed potatoes! I decided to try my hand at Cauliflower Mash one more time and….

It was SO amazing and flavorful! You don’t get that heavy feeing that comes with regular white potatoes and the cauliflower is so much easier to digest. Additionally, cauliflower is chock full of vitamins C and K and folate, which is especially important for pregnant/nursing women and for kids! Note, different people have different tolerances for cruciferous veg!

I made NomNomPaleo’s Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” and they turned out perfect! If you want them to be totally smooth, you have to process in a good food processor for about 7 minutes. However, I took some puree out early, which I will use as “Cauliflower Grits” for Paleo Shrimp & Grits this weekend! Lightbulb!

saucy vegan

I was feeling decadent because of my Wednesday Orange Theory Fitness workout, which burned 600 + calories (plus after burn). So I grated my favorite cheese into the Cauliflower mixture and baked it for 15 minutes on 350. I really like getting a flavor burst out of natural foods, so I decided to use an aging red pepper to make a roasted red pepper sauce to pour over my salmon, asparagus, and Cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was incredible and would be delicious on pork, fish, or chicken and is a Vegan sauce for pasta & veggies.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce- makes ~ 1 cup

1 Large Red Bell Pepper

1/4 cup almond milk

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cayenne

salt and black pepper to taste

  1. The key step to this recipe is just slow roasting your pepper(s). I put mine in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes on each side. When I removed it from the oven, I cut off the stem and the seeds/membranes pulled out easily.
  2. Combine other ingredients with your pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Should be warm enough to serve, but you can also prepare ahead of time and reheat!

 

Chocolate Lover’s Pie

sugar free gluten free vegan chocolate pieThis pie is Sugarfree, Gluten Free, and  Vegan! I’m using fewer animal products in my recipes to 1) save money and 2) support a more plant based lifestyle for healthy living and 3) lend my support to local and humanely farmed food by not using factory farm products.

I LOVE dark chocolate. In graduate school I used to eat chocolate every evening after my classes to unwind and because my day was stressful and my diet was so restricted at this time, I could feel the endorphins lighting up and dancing around in my brain after the first bite. I love using 100% cacao in my recipes and I love the health benefits of this treat. I prefer to sweeten it with maple syrup and/or dates, so my sweet concoctions often end up being Vegan!

Check out this recipe and let me know what you think!

You will need 45 minutes and….
For the crust:

1 cup Almond flour
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil or Vegan ‘Butter’ spread (softened)
Combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and use a mixer to incorporate thoroughly. The mixture should be grainy and spreadable in a pie dish when complete.

*My crust is extra dark because I baked the crust in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes before I baked the pie. I thought this would help it to set. It’s not too done, but the prebake is optional.

For the pie:

3 heaping Tbsp. 100% cocoa powder
1 avocado2 tbsp flaxseed mixed into 2 tbsp water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup of pure, organic maple syrup

Combine wet ingredients with avocado and blend thoroughly until smooth. Use a spatula to mix in your cocoa powder by hand to avoid losing any powder

Pour dark chocolate mixture into crust and bake on 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool and set for 20 minutes before cutting to serve

It’s Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 ways

Normally I wouldn’t start on my soup craze until September, but I turned up with a bad cold this rainy Monday morning, and there’s nothin
g better. Luckily I tried out (and tweaked to perfection) this lovely Cauliflower Soup Recipe. I can’t wait to post a picture of what it looks like with It's Almost Soup Season: Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 waysthe curry powder in it! Cauliflower is such a superstar in the kitchen– from bread to pizzas, to rice to mash, and soup too! Versatility is key for me. Check out the simple recipe below, adapted from Paleo Leap and look for my DIY video later this week for the incredible Bacon-Wrapped Dates in the corner of my Cauliflower Soup photo!

Creamy, Dairy-free Cauliflower Soup, 2 Ways (8 servings, easily doubled)

1 head cauliflower
1 cup of light coconut milk ( I like the Trader Joe’s brand with no sugar or additives)
3 cups of chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan soup, chicken has more flavor and homemade is always best)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 Tb thyme
cooking fat
GENEROUS salt and black pepper

*Garnish with crumbled bacon (pictured with cheddar cheese because I had bacon wrapped dates! yum!)

for 2nd way: add 2 Tb. Curry Powder, 2 Tb turmeric, and Cilantro garnish at the end! 

  1. Preheat Oven to 425 degrees; Combine chopped onion, garlic, and cauliflower head onto a sheet pan and bake roast for 30 minutes
  2. Move your roasted mixture to a large pot and add chicken stock and herbs. Let this mixture come to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. After flavors are incorporated through simmer, turn heat off, remove bay leaf,  and use hand-held mixer/ emulsifier (or move to a blender/processor) to blend into a creamy consistency
  4. Once all your cauliflower is broken down, stir in your coconut milk, and then you can add spices (salt and pepper to taste).
    * if you choose to make it the 2nd way with curry powder and turmeric, your soup will be a bright golden color, garnish with cilantro.
  5. I like to serve in large bowls with crumbled bacon as a garnish. I’m not dairy-intolerant, I eat low lactose, so I also enjoy this soup with aged cheddar shredded on top, which has a very low lactose content.

This is also a great soup to enjoy with my grain-free bread