Tag Archives: gluten free

Vegan Chai Granola

IMG_2425This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to get my yoga teacher certification through a one month course at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in the Bahamas. I felt like I had prepared pretty well for the month (waking up a little earlier, practicing yoga every day), but, wow, was I wrong. We woke up every morning at 5:30 to go to morning Satsang at 6 (a half-hour of silent meditation on a hardwood floor, followed by chanting and a lecture), then two hours of hatha yoga practice. At 10, we had a brief break for brunch (say that 5 times fast!), followed by karma yoga. Being the youngest person in the YTT course, I was given the odd jobs around the kitchen— re-arranging and wiping down the pantry, scrubbing down the cleaning closet, and scrubbing the ovens twice a week. After karma yoga, it was time for chanting practice or Bhagavad Gita class, depending on the day, followed by a short break. Then a two-hour lecture, and another two-hour hatha yoga class (this time, learning how to teach). At six, we had dinner, and at eight was another two-hour Satsang. Then bed, wake up, and repeat for 30 days.

It was, in a word, exhausting. 

I’ve never been a huge breakfast person, but by the time brunch rolled around at 10, I was starving. While brunch usually consisted of a buffet of fruits, vegetables, and grains, I adopted a go-to meal: homemade granola, soy milk, and peanut butter with a side of chai. I found that this mixture kept me full until dinner at 6, and I knew I was getting enough protein to keep healthy.

While I worked in the kitchen, I also got to meet the sweetest girl (aptly made Honey!) who made the granola every day, and smelled it as it cooked. I love making granola, but I had only ever liked this pumpkin spice granola recipe (which is amazing). I prefer to keep pumpkin spice recipes for the fall, to preserve the sanctity of the flavor. However, I realized that a chai spiced granola would be absolutely amazing, with almond butter as a perfect binding agent.

If you’ve never made homemade granola, have no fear. It’s just about the easiest thing to make and smells absolutely a-m-a-z-i-n-g. It’s important to check for crispness as the granola approaches the later stages, and to mix up the pan periodically to prevent scorching. Feel free to double the batch, but make sure your granola has enough room on the pan. This makes a great breakfast with plant milk and fruit, a topping for smoothies or shakes, and even just a snack on it’s own. I love to make extra and give jars to friends and professors!

Vegan Chai Granola

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

– 3 cups oats (any kind will do; I like old-fashioned

–¼ cup uncooked quinoa

– ½ cup almond milk (creamy is best; not the best recipe for homemade)

– ½ cup maple syrup 

— ½ cup nuts or seeds (pecans or raw sunflower seeds work best)

— ¼ cup ground flaxseeds 

— 2 tsp chai spice 

— 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Toast the oats and quinoa on a baking sheet, about ten minutes. 
  2. While oats and quinoa are toasting, mix together other ingredients in a large bowl. 
  3. Pour oats and quinoa into bowl and mix everything. Spread back onto baking sheet. 
  4. Drop the oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake granola for 20 minutes. 
  5. Stir granola, and return to oven for 20 minutes. 
  6. Continue to check and stir at 5 to 10 minute intervals until quinoa is crunchy. 
  7. Let cool. Store in a jar or airtight container for up to a week. Serve with non-dairy milk. 

Did you like this recipe? Any suggestions? Let me know!

Happy baking!

vegan chai granola

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (with Hidden Veggies)

Has anyone else noticed that it’s almost impossible to find vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream? I know Enlightened and So Delicious each have one, and I’ve been able to get the So Delicious one (with no added sugar! love!), but they’re hard to find in my vicinity. I love peanut butter and cookie dough, of course, but sometimes you just want mint chip!

I know that a smoothie isn’t *exactly* ice cream, but I find that sometimes, a little bit of taste can be sacrificed for a whole lot of convenience, price, and nutrition.

gooplacequoteOkay, so I am absolutely NOT selling this recipe, am I? It’s delicious, I promise, especially if you want to shake it up from the usual smoothies or curb an ice cream craving. _private_var_mobile_Containers_Data_Application_46EADC96-5C6C-4FEB-A334-975FF1CB379A_tmp_7DDFAEDC-9144-483A-A8F8-D4FCB16E6245_Image

This one does use protein powder, but it’s optional. I’m still doing some research, but I’ve read about questionable ingredients in some protein powders, so I may start cutting it out of my diet. For now, I still have some in my pantry to use up, so it stays.

The color is pretty deep, definitely greener than your typical ice cream or green smoothie, but I really like how it turns out. I may try to top with berries for a nice Christmas colored variation!

You could definitely top with chocolate chips instead of cacao nibs, or whatever you normally put in a smoothie bowl I think the cacao nibs give it a really great chocolatey flavor.

Without further ado!

Mint Chocolate Chip Smoothie (with Hidden Veggies)

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

    -1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, oat, and cashew are all wonderful)

  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
  • -1 cup raw spinach

    -1 scoop spirulina powder (I use Kos)

    -1/2 tsp vanilla extract

    -1/2 tsp peppermint extract

    -2 scoops vanilla protein powder (optional, but recommended)

    -cacao nibs or chocolate chips for topping

    other toppings: chia seeds, coconut flakes, flaxseeds, etc.

Directions

  1. In your blender, add all ingredients except toppings.
  2. Blend until smooth. If it’s too thick, you can add a little almond milk; if it’s too thin, add some spinach and ice cubes. If you want to drink instead, add around 1/2 cup almond milk.
  3. Pour into your bowl and top with toppings!

Interested in more smoothies? Check out my Pumpkin Berry Halloween smoothie! Want another way to sneak greens into your diet? Try this pesto.

Happy baking!

mint chocolate chip smoothie

 

Super Easy Superfood Latte Mix

I’m a huge coffee drinker. I actually drink about 6 cups a day (or more) while I’m at school, just because I wake up early for class and it’s kind of go-go-go until 10 or 11 pm. A girl needs energy. Plus, there’s unlimited coffee in the dining hall, so while my darling boyfriend is eating his 9th plate of food, I can load up on caffeine.

I could probably talk for hours (or pages, I suppose) about why coffee is the best thing in the world. For example, the global switch from drinking beer or water mixed with wine (using the alcohol to kill off bacteria) to drinking mainly tea and coffee (using boiling to kill off bacteria) essentially took the world off of depressants and gave it a swift kick. No wonder we love so quickly these days!

Anyway! I love coffee. So do a lot of people. Let’s make coffee work for us.

While I was in Hawaii last year, I fell in love with a superfood chai at a local cafe. I can’t remember the exact blend, but I distinctly remember it having turmeric, and thinking “wow, I thought I hated turmeric! This is amazing!”

I also drank many, many expensive protein shakes at the Kauai Juice Company, and I because enchanted with a certain Island Protein shake, that tasted like vanilla cake batter. All of the ingredients were familiar- in fact, things I used in my own protein shakes- except maca. Its a wonderful, butterscotch flavored root with lots of fiber. And it’s delicious.

So here is my accidental ode to last year’s vacation, a simple mix to add to your coffee for a little boost of taste and energy. It’s really great for those of us who realize that breakfast isn’t always a good idea (if I eat a full breakfast, I either feel nauseous or incredibly hungry for the rest of the day. It’s a bit of a lose-lose).

Superfood Latte Mix

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

1/4 cup stevia in the raw

1/4 cup raw cacao powder (I love this)

2 tbs maca powder

2 tsp organic turmeric

Directions:

Whisk all ingredients together and transfer to a clean jar. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons to a cup of coffee, along with a splash of almond milk or cashew milk.

May this grant you delicious coffee and lots of energy. Happy baking!

Almond Butter Chia Bars

Vacation time! The slower (yet still very busy) part of my summer is over, and from now on is pretty go go go, and the go go go-ing. I’m typing this on a boat on my way to Canada from Seattle.

Yay, airports. Traveling. New places. Always tons of vegan options, right? And all fairly priced? Yeah. No. So you kind of have to plan a little bit. On Monday I threw together these super easy bars, just four ingredients, vegan, paleo, and no added sugars. This was my breakfast this morning 🙂

You only need four ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds

For this recipe, I used one package of dates (around 12 oz), 1/2 cup of almonds, 4 tbs almond butter, and 1/4 cup of chia seeds to make 8 bars.

To make:

  1. Put all ingredients in your food processor.
  2. Process until you have a soft, crumbly dough.
  3. Press into an 8 by 8 pan- you may want to line with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to compact the bars as much as possible.
  4. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
  5. Cut bars, store in beeswax wraps. Keeps best in the fridge- otherwise, they’re still fine but a bit crumbly.

Happy baking!!!

Paleo Vegan Almond Butter Cups

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Probably a lot of things. A million dollars. The ability to shapeshift. A sense of purpose in life. So, probably a lot of things. But this recipe is also one of those things. So let’s try again.

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? How about a treat that’s paleo, vegan lower in sugar and calories, free from refined sugars, and made with completely homemade ingredients and fair trade chocolate? Now, many people would say that DOESN’T sound better, but you don’t really need those people in your life.

I made these for my dad a few weeks ago and he was really pleased. Now any time I make treats that aren’t paleo, he’s a little disappointed. But sometimes there is an emotional emergency that requires slutty brownies (those delicious layers of chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies, and brownies. Totally drool worthy. )

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Good for vegans. Good for… err… cavemen? Paleos? Definitely not good for dogs. I think he forgives me though. DSC09021.JPG

Ingredients: 

  1. Spread melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of reusable silicone baking cups (or paper ones). DSC09010DSC09012.JPG
  2. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.
  3. Melt almond butter until pourable. Pour into chocolate cups- the amount is up to you. Don’t let the power go to your head. DSC09014.JPG
  4. Let set until tops are solid- this will prevent the next chocolate layer from sinking in.
  5. Pour on remaining chocolate, spread to cover all of the almond butter.
  6. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.

Make sure to keep these cold, especially in the summer. The coconut oil chocolate melts at really low temperatures. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, feel free to add stevia or maple syrup to the almond butter, or add a little extra maple syrup while making the chocolate. Happy baking!

Homemade Almond Butter

You already know how much I loooooooooooove peanut butter. There are very few things I love more than peanut butter: dogs, coffee, my family, my boyfriend, chocolate… okay, maybe there are quite a few things. But you get the point. And most of those things can be improved with peanut butter. If you put a teaspoon of it on the tip of a dog’s nose, you both have nearly endless entertainment!

Since my dad is currently following the Paleo diet, I have had to tweak some recipes or find new ones (gotta love Pinterest!). A lot of these take almond butter which is…. expensive. At school, a 16 oz jar of almond butter is around $15. Only $9.99 on sale, though! What a bargain!

The other problem is that it is completely delicious, and doesn’t last long when I’m in the house. On a recent trip, I actually ate two of those squeeze packets of almond butter… one right after the other. Nothing to put it on. Just almond butter. And it was delicious.

But it’s not hard to make by yourself at all! The trick is to toast the nuts beforehand and to be patient. You absolutely need a decent food processor for this.

Ingredients: 

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup
  1. Toast the almonds at 250F for about ten minutes.
  2. Transfer toasted almonds to food processor. Blend for about ten minutes, checking and scraping the bowl every few minutes. It will quickly look like thisDSC09048.JPG
  3. Once it starts to turn from a flour texture to something slightly, but still dry, you have two options: to continue mixing until the texture you want is achieved (which may take a while…) or add in the melted oil and maple syrup to speed up the process and create a smoother, creamier, sweeter almond butter.
  4. Continue blending until smooth and transfer to a jar. Keep in the fridge for best results. DSC09060.JPG

Comment your favorite paleo recipes, and if you try this recipe, tell me how it turns out. Happy baking!

Protein Cookies: Snickerdoodle

I am back with another classic cookie variation on my protein cookies! Snickerdoodles have always been a favorite of mine, and they’re so simple to make, and yummy to eat. These are also super simple to make:

Ingredients: 

  1. Mix in about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cookie, dough, until evenly distributed.
  2.  Mix together remaining cinnamon and coconut sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Roll cookie dough into four small balls.
  4. Roll each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  5. Place them on a baking sheet and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Nutrition:

Comment if you tried this and what your thoughts are. Happy baking!

Nutrition (for one cookie): 81 calories; 11.8 grams carbs, 5.3 grams fiber, 4.4 grams sugar; 1.7 grams fat, 4.7 grams protein. DSC09037.JPG