Tag Archives: vegan

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!

The 5 Biggest Greenwashing Tactics (And How to Avoid Them)

Greenwashing. It sounds nice, right, like using all natural soap to clean your baby’s hair, or making the house sparkly clean with only baking soda and lemon. I suppose that would be green-washing. But, tragically, the reality isn’t nearly as idyllic.

Greenwashing is essentially what happens when a company tries to make their products, services, or whole organization appear eco-friendly, even when it’s not. It’s similar to the food claims that something is “all natural” and “fat free” or even “vegan”. These may sounds fancy and healthy, but really carry little meaning in regards to overall health. Similarly, products that are greenwashed may make you feel like you’re making a good choice, but in reality they can be just as harmful as their conventional alternatives. I’ve compiled a list of what I believe are the most common forms of greenwashing that I see nearly every day.

1. “All natural” 

So, just like in food labels, this doesn’t really mean anything because there are essentially no governing bodies to determine what gets this label and what doesn’t. Just because something is in a green or brown packaging and boasts that it’s natural, doesn’t necessarily mean that it is– or that you want it near your body. Verify the ingredients list, and check for certifications, such as being organic or a biobased product. usda_organic-logo

Speaking of that green and brown packaging– that counts too! Companies will try to market their products in subtle ways that make us reach for them without thinking.

2. “vegan”

This one should be cool, right? But a certain company, whom we shall call “Farnier Gructis” has started proudly marketing certain products as “vegan formula”. But the products are still tested on animals, which isn’t very cool. Or, by my morals and definitions, vegan. Which brings me to the next topic:

3. This Product Not Tested On Animals

Oof. This carries a lot of questions. Were the ingredients tested on animals? Are other products by the company tested on animals? Always look for a certification, such as Leaping Bunny or PETA’s cruelty free logo– they will show which products are cruelty free and vegan!

 

4. Recyclable container/packaging

Ugh. This one is super hard, because obviously recycling is good, but not the best option. Opt for products that are packaged in recycled and recyclable packaging– or, better yet, little to no packaging. Paper and glass are much more easily and cleanly recycled than plastic.

5. Made with “xxx”

No, not moonshine. Saying a product is made with something doesn’t really even mean it’s a major part. If your fruity tooty mango shampoo has more chemicals than mango, it’s really time to let that go, man. Ha.

Spend a little time researching the brands and products you buy. Find if they test on animals, if they have certifications, where you can buy them for the cheapest. Knowing which makeup brands and cleaning supplies have a good reputation can make greener shopping easy. I like Mrs. Meyers’ cleaning supplies, and I sometimes use Seventh Generation as well, or brandless.com. If you can’t find products that suit you, just remember that nearly everything (including you!) can be cleaned with baking soda, vinegar, castile soap, and essential oils– there are tons of recipes on Pinterest, from shampoo to dish detergents.

I challenge you to open your eyes a little more while doing your shopping, and maybe make your home a little greener, a little brighter, and a little cleaner!

xoxo Emma

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

PUMPKIN SEASON IS HERE!

There is nothing better than a pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin! Am I #relatable enough?

Real talk, my gorgeous boyfriend ordered about 8 cans of pumpkin purée from Thrive Market, so I have a lot of materials to experiment with! Isn’t that fabulous? My gorgeous boyfriend has also convinced me to start lifting…. less fabulous. So protein shakes are my best friends more than ever right now.

This pumpkin spice protein shake uses vanilla protein powder (as opposed to my usual chocolate) and has a whole serving of pumpkin purée. And it is aaaaaaaamazing.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Shake

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened non-dairy mylk
  • 1-2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • (optional) 1 tbs maple syrup or almond butter

Directions: Blend everything together for the perfect breakfast or post workout snack!

 

 

Vegan With a Vengeance: Why I Eat (and Don’t Eat) What I Eat

This is a catchall research post. That’s right, hardcore research, with links to actual sites and everything. Because I am so tired of arguing with people about my choices. You want the short answer, the one I give to little kids? I’m vegan because thinking about cows makes me cry. That’s really what it boils down to. But big picture, the real thinking behind it, gets kind of disgusting. Not appropriate dinner conversation. But here we go.

Ethics

This one is kind of obvious. In 2015, 9.2 billion farm animals were slaughtered for food, according to the USDA. Of these animals, almost 29 million were cattle, 115 million were hogs, and a staggering 8.8 BILLION were chickens. These figures don’t even include rabbits, fish, or crustaceans (source).

This one seems kind of obvious, but apparently “bacon is sooooo good” is an equivalent argument, according to many people. Anyway…

Dairy can be just as deadly. Cows are naturally social creatures, much like humans. But when a cow gives birth (after being forcibly artificially inseminated), the calf is taken away within hours. The mother is then milked and eventually inseminated again for the process to begin again. Female calves are raised to be the next generation to undergo a life of pain, while male calves are sold for beef or, more often, killed for veal (source). So much for the “it hurts the cow if she isn’t milked” thing, right?

Finally, we come to chickens. Eggs are okay, right? Sorry. Even the happiest, free range-est chickens have still been bred to lay over three times the amount of eggs their ancestors did a century ago. Beaks are often culled (cut or trimmed) on baby chicks; the unlucky males are gassed or ground up (source, source).

 

Environment

This is one that I started learning about AFTER I had already stopped eating animal products, but it’s incredibly simple if you think about it. Crops are sown, grown, and harvested only to be fed to animals, which are then fed to people. The process is inefficient. 80% of the deforestation in the Amazon is due to cattle raising. Sure, you’re recycled paper and reusable cups are helping, but you know what isn’t? Your Big Mac. (source).

Health

To be honest, this isn’t as much of a factor for me. I mean, does the thought of putting pus-filled cheese and heavily antibiotic-treated chicken into my body disgust me now? Yes. Was it a factor when I first stopped eating animal products? Nah. But this may help convince some people. Vegans tend to be thinner (which, obviously, does not mean healthier, but is still appealing to the general population), have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and a lower risk of high blood pressure, as well as the higher availability of important nutrients such as folic acid and fiber (source).

Disclaimer

I’m not a professional. Obviously. I’m just showing my reasoning. And I know that not everyone has the resources and the drive to plan food and be so careful, and that’s okay. But attacking people for a choice that they are making, whether it is for their health or the environment or because of personal convictions. is not okay. If you want to ask questions because you are curious, then ask! If you want to ask questions to ridicule… what are you even doing? Seriously, dude.

A final anecdote, to finish off a kind of heavy little post:

My brother in law was talking to me, and pointing out that I had all these enzymes in my body that I wasn’t using because I don’t eat meat; why would I have them if I wasn’t supposed to use them, that kind of thing.  I became frustrated and finally yelled “YOU HAVE NIPPLES!” which ended the conversation abruptly.

I hope this has been helpful, if anyone has any questions or helpful links, please comment. Thanks!

 

 

 

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!!!