Archive for Vegan

Paleo Holiday Cookies

It’s that time of year again! Last year, Matt and I made almond flour cut-out cookies in the shape of snowflakes and Christmas trees while we watched a Star Wars Marathon in preparation to see the new Star Wars movie on Friday, December 15th. We never did! I ended up going to the Hospital to have Alba that day…And Matt brought the dozens of uneaten, messily-iced cookies to our recovery room to share with the nurses 🙂

If you’re attending a cookie party or participating in a swap, I have some great recipes already on my website.

And now I have two more options for you! The first is a famous no-bake Fudgy Oat Drop Cookie that you can pull together in less than 10 minutes if you have an hour or so to let them set up in the fridge. Everyone loves this cookie and you can’t miss with it as a last minute option!

The second is a Paleo version of my favorite thumbprint cookie, Ginger Molasses Peppermint Bark cookies, that my roommate Lilli used to make. Instead of putting the white/red striped kisses in them, I use sugar-free/paleo peppermint bark. These cookies are a big hit with my in-laws and after having them on my first trial, they requested them for Christmas Day! They are not paleo or sugar-free, so that tells me that these will be a big hit with any cookie consumer!

Fudgy Oat Drop Cookies

Sugar/flour/dairy/egg free

Makes 12 cookies

  • 2 cups of Organic rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic 100% cacao
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 drop almond extract
  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor. Mix or pulse gently ( so as not to break up oats too much)
  2. Form into 2-3 inch cookies and place on a plate lined with parchment
  3. Chill until set

Ginger-Molasses Peppermint Bark Cookies

 

  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses (treacle) or maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Extra 1/4 cup coconut sugar for rolling cookies
  1. Preheat Oven to 350
  2. Cream butter, sugar, and molasses/maple syrup
  3. Combine dry ingredients
  4. Add in vanilla, Egg and butter/sugar/maple mixture
  5. When mixture is combined, use two spoons to scoop out 1 inch cookies
  6. Roll Cookies in coconut sugar and place 2 inches apart on a parchment lined sheet pan
  7. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until brown, and when you take them out of the oven IMMEDIATELY place a peppermint Kiss or Paleo Peppermint bark on top of each cookie so it slightly melts!

 

 

Try something NEW: 10 Alternative Thanksgiving sides and accompaniments EVERYONE will love

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away! Does anyone else’s family eat totally differently, with an array of allergies and preferences? One Vegetarian (or vegan), me, the token paleo, someone is always part-time gluten-free or Keto, various people have serious or subtle allergies to nuts (me and my cousins), or new restrictions like broccoli (also ME. I AM the problem). There is a lot to keep track of, and it’s hard to please everyone all the time. I hope that I’m bringing a solution to you in the following whole food, easy-to-make options for Thanksgiving. Whether you’re hosting, contributing to a potluck, or pulling together a “Friendsgiving” celebration, these dishes can help you to both please a crowd and branch out at the same time. It’s easy to dazzle tastebuds with loads of sugar coating or generous amounts of butter and cream, but you can also dazzle in a healthy way this holiday season. All my recipes are inspired by comfort foods and big flavors, so you can give the gift of a healthy side-dish that doesn’t “taste healthy” as my husband puts it!turmeric cocktail

For a spectacular and dazzling appetizer pair, try my Fall Turmeric Cocktail with Bacon-Wrapped Dates or shooters of Lori’s Butternut, Fennel & Leek Soup with a fennel garnish on top! For a different, but classically delicious Italian spin on traditional squash, try Acorn Squash Agrodocle, an uniquely delicious side that I recently posted.

Butternut Sage Quinoa

For a protein-packed vegetarian side (Vegan if you replace the butter with oil), try my very popular dish that everyone at Friendsgiving wanted the recipe for, Butternut Squash and Sage Quinoa with Macadamia nuts

For your sometimes gluten-free, one-time vegetarian, newly keto cousin, who you never know what the hell they might eat, try my spin on my Granny’s classic Tart Cranberry Relish.

Tart Cranberry Relish

Thanksgiving can also be stressful. Whether you’re hosting, spending time with the in-laws, or navigating your own colorful family, this holiday can be tricky. It can also get monotonous with everyone clinging to their favorite tradition. This is going to make me sound like a grinch, but it’s hard for me to endorse even the most sentimental traditions when they’re often made up of non-foods: canned cranberry sauce, marshmallow/sugary toppings, evaporated/condensed milk, instant puddings, the list goes on… Tradition is important, sure. It’s also important to have a balance, which is why I like to introduce new WHOLE food recipes that are totally homemade, but easy and with no artificial ingredients. THESE are the traditions that I want the children in my family to remember and adopt so that they can have sentimental favorites that also benefit their health.

In my mind, the most important Thanksgiving tradition is the Pumpkin Pie, and thus, I think it is my most important recipe for you to try. I encourage you to whip up some full-fat coconut milk, sweetened with a bit of vanilla extract and honey or maple syrup to top it! This recipe is dairy free, vegetarian, gluten free, and paleo.

If Pumpkin pie is not your thing, I encourage you to try my newest recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding (coming 11/11) or my crowd-pleasing and nut-free Sunflower Sesame Seed Cookies

And finally, you will need some nourishment in the morning as you prepare the day’s Thanksgiving meal and watch the Parade! My Pumpkin Coffee Cake is my best recipe to date! It is melt-in-your-mouth perfection and would be an EXCELLENT way to say “Thank you” to your Thanksgiving host or “Good Morning!” to your house guests!

If this was helpful to you AT ALL, please drop a comment and let me know. It would make my holiday to know that one of the recipes I’ve created has made it to another family’s precious dinner table!

paleo pumpkin coffee cake

BBQ Jackfruit Nachos {Vegan/Paleo}

This recipe is not only healthy for a comfort food like Nachos, it is also super cheap, at under $12 for the ingredients. I got everything from Trader Joe’s. I love their plantain chips, but they also have some great multigrain/ Quinoa tortilla chips. Jackfruit doesn’t really taste like chicken, but it has a similar texture and the flavor is neutral and covered completely by the BBQ sauce, so it is a great “imposter.” I fed these nachos to Matt and his friend, Jake, and they had no idea it wasn’t chicken until I told them. Those BBQ flavors are strong and that is what your palate focuses on, along with yummy fats like cheese and guacamole.

Eating meatless meals is often cheaper, and a good balance to my paleo diet. I love experimenting with vegan foods because, like paleo, it is such an anti-inflammatory diet, if you do it right! I know I suggest going without cheese for the Vegan version, and some people probably think that’s crazy for nachos. HOWEVER, I have been on a strict AIP paleo regiment and had nachos with sweet potato fries or plantain chips that are served just with veggies, pulled chicken, and tons of flavorful guacamole and THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS. If you opt out on the cheese, for either a strict paleo or vegan meal, I strongly suggest you double the guacamole and you will be absolutely satisfied on every front! Fat, protein, and carb!

You can find sugar-free BBQ sauces in stores, but if you prefer to make one at home, I combine:

  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon
  • 1 Pinch each of: all spice, salt, pepper, hungarian paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic

Jackfruit Nachos

  • Tortilla or plantain chips (paleo) (1.99)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use cheddar and pepper jack) (3.99)
  • 1 can of jackfruit, marinated in *paleo barbecue sauce (0.99)
  • 1 cup of black beans (0.89)
  • 1/2 of a thinly sliced red onion ( a few cents for all veggies)
  • 1 thinly chopped celery stalk
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 avocados, mashed, liberally salted, and topped with juice of one lime for a basic guac! (2.99)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. The only purpose here is to melt cheese and warm through jackfruit
  2. Spread chips out on a parchment lined baking sheet so that they are touching, but do not cover one another up
  3. Sprinkle on half of cheese first (this will help other ingredients stick)
  4. sprinkle black beans,onion and celery on
  5. evenly spread BBQ marinated jackfruit over chips, feel free to dump extra marinade on
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and “BBQ” is warmed through
  8. If you used parchment, you can easily pick up nachos and transfer to a platter
  9. THEN top with your cherry tomatoes and avocado, so you don’t lose any to the sheet pan!
  10. I also top with some bonus PICKLED red onions, because I love them!

For Paleo Version

Sub out tortilla chips for Plantain Chips

For Vegan Version

No Cheese or sub with vegan cheese

More Guac Please!

Acorn Squash “Agrodolce”

Agrodolce is Italian for sweet and sour. This dish is just that, with a bit of spice at the end to round out the gorgeous flavor. It’s also super easy and completely paleo, accomplishing all those flavor bombs without sugar or starchy thickeners. This is on my list for Halloween and potlucks this fall. Its something that has familiar ingredients, so it won’t scare people away, but the taste is absolutely new and different. My friends and family get so excited about this simple dish! What do you think of the way I spooked it up with the black rice underneath? Happy Halloween Week!

Acorn Squash Agrodolce

Serves 2-4 Takes 30 minutes and…

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 pinches of crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Microwave your acorn squash for 3-4 minutes to make slicing easier!
  3. Cut Squash in half, remove all seeds and pulp and slice halves into 1/2 inch half moon slices
  4. Place squash slices on a lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and bake for 25-30 minutes until fork tender
  5. While squash bakes, make your Agrodolce: combine maple syrup, red wine vinegar, butter/oil, red pepper, nutmeg, and sage in a saucepan, on med-high and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and continue to reduce Agrodolce until syrupy and think
  7. Add currants
  8. Remove acorn squash from the oven, plate it, and then pour agrodolce syrup over it!

Additionally, you could add chopped nuts as a topper. I plated my squash over black rice for a very Halloweeny look! What do you think? Spooky, spicy, sweet?

Fall Turmeric Cocktail

I fall into that category of people who love being healthy, but are not willing to give up alcohol all together. I will admit that I drink a lot less now that we have a baby, and I feel a LOT better,and that’s no coincidence, BUT this post is about a delicious fall cocktail I want to share with you! And I totally believe in moderation in all things!

I love fall spices. I believe in grating fresh nutmeg into everything. I also love cinnamon, ginger, and ground clove to a fault. I put it on our apple sauce in the morning! This cocktail gives you the warmth and spice of all of those flavors, with a dash of acidity to lighten it, and all the health benefits of the root, turmeric.

I try to throw turmeric in whenever I can because it helps so much with inflammation, which we all battle, and digestion, which is great for me. It’s easy to add turmeric because it doesn’t have an overwhelming flavor and it adds that gorgeous goldenrod color!

If you don’t drink alcohol, but you want to enjoy these spices, it would be easy to leave it out and replace it with more juice or seltzer. As far as swap outs for the rest, I think having a fresh orange is important, and to me, the bitters really round out that “Fall” cocktail feel. I think tequila or gin would work just as well as vodka, and triple sec is optional. Oh, and I think citrus or cinnamon vodka would be amazing!

Recipe is below! Let me know what you think if you try it!

Fall Turmeric Cocktail

To a cocktail shaker add:

  • Juice of one Orange (fresh is best!)
  • 1 tsp Orange zest
  • 1 splash lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp each: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp each: ginger and turmeric
  • 3 oz (2 shots) vodka (flavored would be great if you have it!)
  • 1.5 oz (1 shot) triple sec, cointreau, or citrus liqueur
  • Bitters to taste (most people like 5 drops or so, I like a LOT because I love bitter)
  • ice
  1. Shake until ice is broken up
  2. Pour into glass and add seltzer water as desired and a sprig of rosemary or orange peel to garnish
  3. ENJOY! Kick your feet up by the fire, and relax! You deserve it 🙂

 

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

I’m going to be straight up with you. I wish I was a person who could grab a protein bar or granola bar off the shelf. It would make life a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, they make me feel bad because they’re often loaded with fillers or gluten and ALWAYS loaded with sugar. I am allergic to some nuts, so Rx Bars are a “No-Go,” and there is truly a limit to how many Lara Bars I can consume. In fact, I’ve sort of broken up with dates lately because I really can’t take that many! Unlike Maple Syrup, the date flavor gets old for me.

Thus were born my own granola bars. These can be made vegan by leaving out the egg as a binder, but without the egg binding them, they would likely turn out more like granola (so add nut milk or yogurt and grab a spoon!)

I know making your own granola bars sounds a little “extra,” but you literally just have to stir all ingredients together in one bowl and then level them off and bake in a 9X9 pan. If you are unsatisfied with store bought granola bars for any reason, give these a shot!

It’s also the giving season, and these would be a great, impressive, and HEALTHY addition to any homemade gift basket or Fall potluck. These can also be made safe and nut free by using sunflower butter 🙂

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

You will need 30 minutes and….

  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds/ pepitas
  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy free!)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup nut butter or sunflower butter
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 TBSP/ 1 Packet plain gelatin (make sure to sprinkle this evenly so it does not clump!)
  • 1 egg

Direction

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, being careful to sprinkle gelatin evenly
  3. line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper and pack in mixture evenly and tightly
  4. Bake for 30 minutes
  5. Let cool for 15 inutes before cutting into squares
  6. Go for a hike!

VEGAN Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Cookies

vegan cookies

I am so excited when I get to share vegan recipes that are nut, grain, and sugar free! This recipe ticks every common allergen box, so I can deliver to the widest range of consumers out there, which is my goal. Speaking of goals, I’m really trying to consume fewer animal products, so creating vegan treats is a priority for me lately.

Because they have virtually NO allergens, these cookies are a great option for kids’ party potlucks or schools that allow homemade treats. Personally, I really wanted to find a cookie we could enjoy at home without worrying about Alba being exposed to nuts or honey, which are not recommended for kids under 2.

This is a chewy cookie, and would be great for ice cream sandwiches or packing lunch or a picnic because they are not crumbly or over-soft.

Now, let’s get to this Vegan recipe so you can cooking! If you are not a vegan, or do not have an egg allergy, please feel free to use 1 large egg white in place of the flax egg!

Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Vegan Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch/powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate covered sunflower seeds
  • The last one is variable! I have used:
    • 1. A vegan egg replacer from Bob’s red mill that contains potato starch, psyllium husk, and tapioca
    • 2. One LARGE egg WHITE only
    • 3. One Flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2 tbsp water)
Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine Coconut sugar, maple syrup, and egg white (or replacement) with electric mixer (you need a good mix on these!)
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except chocolate covered sunflower seeds and mix until smooooooth
  4. Stir in chocolate covered sunflower seed with a spoon
  5. Spoon mixture onto parchment covered cookie sheet. THESE COOKIES SPREAD A LOT so you will need 2 cookie sheets. You can make 12 medium sized cookies or about 16 small cookies.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden. I think I have a hot stove, so my bake times are always on the low side!

My hope is that you get to enjoy these delicious vegan, nut free, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free….Phew! (ha ha ha) cookies with ALL of the people you love! They are delightfully colorful and would make a great addition to your upcoming Halloween or Friendsgiving celebrations!

Thanks for visiting the blog!

 

 

Fall Spiced Paleo Caramel Apple Butter

I had so much fun making these sweet favors for my baby shower last weekend! All of our guests were gifted my Paleo Caramel Apple Butter and my Paleo Pumpkin Spice Latte mix in the adorable mini mason jars below! My family also made some incredible appetizers that I could enjoy too, which was so nice! We had a pumpkin and apple quinoa salad, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, and bleu cheese stuffed dates before a beautiful cake from Edible Art. I promised I would post the Caramel Apple Butter Recipe, and it’s taken a full week, but here it is!

This apple butter is not overly sweet like some store bought brands. It contains ZERO sugar or thickeners, so it’s all natural and flavored with pumpkin pie spices. I love this as a new fall staple in our house because it’s basically just a mixture of all my favorite fall flavors, and it’s easy to make! Store this in a mason jar in the fridge for the season and enjoy it on GF toast, biscuits, ice cream, pancakes, or on a cheese plate (I love it with cheddar on a rice cracker). I have also been stirring it into my oatmeal and yogurt lately! Let me know how you like to eat your apple butter in the comments!

Paleo Caramel Apple Butter

Makes several jars full! Keep one (or two) for yourself and give the remaining as gifts!

  • 6-8 cored, chopped fuji apples
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water or apple juice
  • 4 Tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground clove
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cardamom

For the Caramel

  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on the stove, combine chopped apples and all remaining ingredients (except for the caramel ingredients!)
  2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees
  3. Stir mixture until apples are covered in liquid and allow the mixture to come to a simmer on the stovetop.
  4. Move your apple mixture to an oven safe baking dish and into the oven for 2-3 hours, until apples are browned and easily mashed. Mine took about 2 and a half hours.
  5. While your apples bake, you can make your caramel! Simply combine your coconut milk and coconut sugar in a pot on the stove. Stir constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
  6. Once your caramel is boiling, turn the stove down to “medium-low” so that your caramel is at a low simmer, and add in your vanilla and pinch of salt.
  7. Continue to stir until well-incorporated, this whole process should take less than 15 minutes.
  8. Remove your apple mixture from the oven and use an emersion blender to puree it (if you do not have an emersion blender, you can move the contents to a blender or food processor to puree)
  9. Stir in your caramel, and voila! Your Paleo Caramel Apple Butter is ready to jar and enjoy!
  • Fun fact: If you’d like to enjoy some stewed apples, simply omit caramel, take your apples out of the oven a little bit earlier (after only 30-45 minutes),  and do not puree them. This is a delicious fall side dish to serve with pork, chicken, or your breakfast oatmeal! Yum! I often do not get to make much apple butter around here because we stop the process early to eat the delicious/nutritious stewed apples!

paleo caramel apple butter

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