Protein Packed Breakfast Cookies

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I like trying new recipes, always. Especially if they are a "healthy" version of something not-so-healthy, like cookies. A friend gave me this recipe for these Protein Packed Breakfast Cookies and after tweaking the recipe a little bit, I found something really delicious (and healthy!) The cookies call for nut butter, which I tried using Sunflower Seed butter the first time and didn't love it, so the recipe below is with almond butter (yum!) There is lots of coconut flakes, hemp seeds (lots of protein there!) and this was my first time baking completely vegan, as I used boiling water and flax seed meal instead of using an egg -- super cool! Check out the recipe below and let me know what you think! 

Protein Packed Breakfast Cookies 

yields 16-20 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon flax meal

  • 3 Tablespoons boiling water

  • 1 cup creamy almond butter

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chunks or chips

  • 1/4 cup walnuts or nuts of your choice (optional)

  • *If you can tolerate eggs, you can replace the flax/boiling water with one egg.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, unless you're using a non-stick baking sheet.

  2. Stir together the flax meal and boiling water; set aside and allow it to sit for at least 10 minutes. It will have the consistency of a raw egg! (so cool).

  3. Mix together the almond butter, coconut sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. mix in the baking soda and sea salt and then stir in all other remaining ingredients (don't forget the flax meal/fake egg!)

  4. Take big scoops of the dough and roll them into balls and place them on the baking sheets spaced about 3 inches apart. Using your fingers gently flatten the dough until its about 1/2 an inch thick.

  5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are turning golden brown at the edges. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet to cool.

  6. Store the cookies uncovered out on the counter (so the air can get to them). They will crunch up on the outside, but still remain soft on the inside. if you store them in an airtight container they will retain too much moisture and crumble easily.

Enjoy! If you love these make sure to try out my No-Bake Energy Protein Ball Recipe! 

Healthy Bowls

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My go-to dinner time meal is a healthy bowl. What is that? Its basically the easiest healthy way to put together a meal, (in my opinion). And you can do meal prep and make enough food for multiple meals throughout the week. There are so many variations for this recipe, and lots of ingredients you can play with but in this blog post I'm going to talk about how I like to assemble a healthy bowl. It takes some prep work, but once you get it down, it can make your life so much easier. (And healthier!) 

What you'll need: 

  • a large bowl (this is my favorite bowl to use from Crate & Barrel)

  • greens (spinach/baby kale)

  • grain: quinoa or brown rice

  • salad dressing/oil and vinegar

  • 2-3 cooked veggie dishes. Roasted cauliflower for example, and/or my go-to brussels sprout recipe.

  • avocado/egg/fruit for topping.

  1. Start with a fresh green like baby kale or baby spinach. Stay away from Tuscan kale, or tougher greens because they take too long to chew. I'm not kidding. You're dinner shouldn't be your workout. Lay the greens on the bottom of your large bowl, and toss with a light dressing like oil and vinegar and lemon, or an Italian dressing.

  2. Cook your grain: quinoa or brown rice. I usually like to cook quinoa, it takes about 15 minutes on the stove. 1 cup of quinoa before cooking can provide up to 4 bowls. Take 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked quinoa and lay on top of the greens, (cold or warm).

  3. Cook your veggie dishes. I recommend making at least 2 for variety. Roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, BBQ Jackfruit, or roast some butternut squash (as seen in photo) with olive oil salt and pepper (400 degrees, 30 min), stir fry broccoli/green beans with sausage/tofu, there's just so many options. Make enough for multiple meals. Lay both veggie dishes separately in the bowl on top of grains.

  4. Top it off with half an avocado for some healthy fats, or try frying an egg over-easy for some more protein. Add some berries or fruit on top for some sweetness and carbohydrates.

Let me know what kind of healthy bowls you come up with! Enjoy! 

 

Curry Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to cook veggies especially in the colder months. Here is an easy recipe for cauliflower. I love this combination of spices as well, it gives it so much flavor, and its incredibly healthy! Don't be afraid to use a lot of curry when cooking with it. A lot of people shy away from it because of the intense color and flavor, but honestly, I've yet to put "too" much curry into any dish i've made. Go big, or go home! Turmeric is definitely a trending spice and you'll see it in cafes -- turmeric lattes, juices, etc. And good thing because it is SO good for you! It's a great anti-inflammatory, and has been said to aid with arthritis. Give this recipe a try as a side, and let me know what you think. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of Yellow Curry

  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • Sea salt & pepper

  • 1 head of cauliflower—cut into 1-inch florets

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

  • chopped parsley or scallions for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except the raisins. Toss everything well to combine and evenly coat the cauliflower.

  3. Roast for 30-40 minutes, rotating tray and flipping cauliflower halfway through.

  4. When cauliflower is tender, remove from the oven and sprinkle raisins on top. Sprinkle herbs on top to serve.

Vegan BBQ "Pulled Pork" (Jackfruit)

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Inspired by Minimalist Baker's BBQ Jackfruit sandwich recipe. 

Jackfruit is a great vegan alternative to a shredded meat. When I saw that Trader Joes was selling canned jackfruit, I knew I had to give it a try! I'm always trying to learn new vegetarian and vegan dishes. I eat meat, but try to less and less. These kinds of recipes are fun experiments for me. Why not get creative AND healthy? This recipe can be used to make sandwiches, or simply put the BBQ jackfruit over a bed of greens, quinoa, and top with some sliced avocado. Enjoy! 

BBQ JACKFRUIT

Ingredients: 

  • 1 20-ounce can young green jackfruit. You can find them in asian grocery stores and Trader Joes.

  • BBQ seasoning (1 Tbsp brown sugar + 1/2 tsp paprika + 1/2 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 tsp salt + 1/4 tsp pepper + 1/4 tsp chili powder)

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce + more for topping

Instructions: 

  1. Rinse, drain, and thoroughly dry jackfruit. Place in a mixing bowl and set aside.

  2. Mix together BBQ seasoning and add to jackfruit. Toss to coat.

  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1-2 Tbsp oil of choice (I use coconut oil) and seasoned jackfruit. Toss and cook for 2-3 minutes to achieve some color.

  4. Add BBQ sauce and thin with water to make a sauce. Stir and reduce heat to low- medium and cook for about 20-30 minutes.

  5. Remove lid and stir occasionally. Use two forks to shred the jackfruit as it cooks down.

  6. Once the jackfruit has been simmered, turn up heat to medium-high and cook for 2-3 more minutes to get a little extra color/texture and to cook off any excess water. Then remove from heat.

  7. Leftover jackfruit keeps for up to a couple days in the fridge.

  8. Enjoy the jackfruit on bread/buns for a sandwich, or over greens and rice. Top with avocado and enjoy!

Go-to Brussels Sprout Recipe

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My go-to brussels sprout recipe! Including a vegetarian/vegan and non-vegetarian option. Brussels sprouts are one of my favorite vegetables to eat in the colder months. Its so easy to make, and comes out great every single time.  

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts

  • 1 cup chicken broth OR vegetable broth

  • 1 medium shallot roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves of garlic diced

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 Tb cooking oil of choice. Coconut oil OR Olive Oil

Instructions: 

1. Rinse Brussels sprouts under cool water. Trim the hard edge from the bottom of each sprout, pull off any loose leaves, and then cut brussels in half. 

2. In a medium to large pan, (I like to use a cast iron pan), heat oil on medium heat. Saute garlic and shallots for 2 min, then add Brussels. Cook Brussels until they appear a little bit brown on the edges, just 3-5 minutes. 

3. Add chicken or vegetable broth to pan and then cover. Reducing heat to medium/low, simmer the sprouts for 7-10 minutes, or until they are easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, and all of the liquid has evaporated.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Enjoy Brussels sprouts as a side to a protein and carb for a balanced and nutritious meal! 

Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Lentils

As you may know already, I love using a slow cooker, especially in the winter time. I love how simple these recipes can be, and the fact that you can set it all up in the morning, and then come home later in the day to a delicious smelling apartment and a warm yummy meal. I've been trying to cook more vegan recipes (just as an experiment, and because its humane and healthy).  Here is one that I love! Tastes great when poured over some Jasmine rice, or brown rice. Definitely give this recipe a try, it will warm you up on those cold winter days! 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 yellow onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 cups green lentils

  • 1 sweet potato

  • 2 carrots

  • 3 Tbsp curry powder (hot or mild)

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes

  • 15 oz can tomato sauce

  • 3 cups vegetable broth

  • 14 oz can coconut milk (full fat)

  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Peel the sweet potato and carrots. Dice the sweet potato into 1/2 in. cubes and slice the carrots.

  2. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, carrots, lentils, curry powder, cumin, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and vegetable broth to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Once cooked, the lentils should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

  3. Stir the can of coconut milk into the lentils. Taste and add salt and pepper or other spices as needed (the amount of salt needed will depend on the the amount of sodium in the broth and the canned tomatoes).

  4. To serve, add cooked rice to a bowl followed by 1 cup of the lentil mixture. Top with finely diced onion and fresh cilantro or parsley. 

  5. This meal is completely vegan and gluten free, enjoy! 

No-Bake Protein Energy Balls

These little delicious nuggets are perfect for on-the-go! A quick bite to give you some protein and energy for wherever you are off to next. I tried a couple of recipes I found online, and created my own version below. Try them out and let me know what you think! 

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats

  • 1/2 cup vanilla whey protein powder (or Vegan protein)

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp flax seeds

  • 1/2 cup smooth natural almond butter (or any nut butter)*

  • 1 tbsp raw honey

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips, raisins or preferred add-in

  • 4-6 T liquid (unsweetened almond milk, coconut, soy, etc.)

  • 1 cup of shredded unsweetened coconut

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add oats, protein powder, cinnamon, chia and flax seeds to a large bowl.

  2. Add in almond butter, honey and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

  3. Add in chocolate chips (or preferred add-in). Mixture should be slightly sticky but still crumbly.

  4. Slowly add in milk, using hands (get dirty!) combine until it comes together in a sticky ball that holds together. If mixture feels too dry, add in more liquid but not so much that it won't hold shape.

  5. Roll into balls using hands.

  6. Roll balls into coconut flakes to coat.

  7. Place on parchment paper in a container to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  8. Store in fridge until ready to eat.

Quick & Easy Raw Zucchini Salad

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This is the easiest salad/side you will ever make. And you don't even need one of those fancy spiralizers that everyone keeps impulse buying. (Although you can use one of those if you'd like.)  It is SO simple, but also SO delicious. I usually eat this as a side, to go along with a protein and a carb. Shout out to my sister-in-law and dietician, Jenn for sharing this quick and easy recipe with me. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 Zucchini

  • vegetable peeler

  • olive oil

  • salt and pepper

  • lemon

Take your fresh zucchini and start peeling it from top to bottom. Letting the peels or "ribbons" fall into a bowl. They can be all different sizes, it doesn't matter! Dress zucchini with Olive Oil, salt, pepper, and lemon to taste. THATS IT. One medium size zucchini usually serves 2. Enjoy! 

Go-to Smoothie Recipe

Summer is the perfect season for smoothies! Smoothies can make a great breakfast, or snack, depending on the ingredients. I like to put rolled oats into my morning smoothie because it makes it more substantial, and filling. It's like having a cup of oatmeal in the morning! Here is my favorite morning smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana

  • 5 frozen strawberries

  • handful of blueberries

  • 2 tbsp greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup of raw rolled oats

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 cup of almond milk

Mix all ingredients into a blender. You can adjust the amount of almond milk depending on how thick you like your smoothie. 

If you're feeling creative and want help coming up with your own smoothie recipe, check out my previous blog post on my smoothie creation techniques. :) Enjoy! 

Homemade Kombucha

My new obsession is making kombucha at home. It requires the perfect amount of work and passiveness, and it doesn't go bad if you forget about it for a few days. I like to compare it to owning a goldfish as a pet -- very minimal maintenance. You check in on it every once in while and its in a big glass jar of liquid. It also kind of fascinates me -- theres a live culture growing and living inside of this liquid, and every day it looks a little different. Call me weird, but I like it. Also, there are tons of health benefits to drinking kombucha. Its amazing for your gut health, which is hugely connected to your immune system and your overall health. I am not a nutritionist or a doctor so I won't get too preachy here, but there are lots and lots of articles you can read about why kombucha is so darn good for you. 

Here's what you need: 

  • 1 gallon glass jar.

  • piece of cut up t-shirt for the top, with a rubber band

  • 6 tea bags (black, oolong, green)

  • 1 cup of white sugar

  • A scoby (there are kits where you can make your own, or you can get one from a friend who already makes kombucha which is what I did.) When your friend gives you their scoby make sure they include 2 cups of kombucha tea from their last batch with the scoby.

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat 5 cups of water. Just hot enough that sugar will melt in the water.

  2. Turn off heat and place 1 cup of white sugar and mix, place tea bags in liquid as well and let steep for a few hours, while simultaneously letting your liquid cool to room temperature.

  3. Remove tea bags and put liquid mixture into your glass gallon container. Fill the rest up with room temperature water. Leaving a few inches at the top for the scoby and cups of past kombucha tea.

  4. Place your scoby into the mixture with kombucha tea. The scoby may sink to the bottom at first and then in a few days float to the top. Its all OK.

  5. Put t-shirt or fabric over the top with rubber band to hold it in place.

Now, depending on how warm the weather is, or how much light is in the room will depend on how quickly your kombucha will be ready. The ideal temperature is 75 degrees, and you should store it in a moderately dark place. You will need to let it sit for 7-30 days, I prefer around 10-14 days personally. The longer you let it sit the more vinegary it will taste. As you let it sit a new scoby will start to form at the top of the liquid, (this is the part that is most fascinating to me.) It looks like a white jelly fish floating at the top, covering the entire surface area of the liquid. It will get thicker and whiter every day. And will probably start forming on day 3 or 5. Here comes another fun part:

S E C O N D   F E R M E N T A T I O N 

If you want to flavor your kombucha, as I like to, I recommend doing a second fermentation. It will also make your kombucha more carbonated, which is fun. So once your kombucha tea is done and cultured, you can poor the liquid into smaller sealable glass containers. Leave a couple inches at the top, so do not fill all the way. From here you can pick which flavor you want. Here are a few that I recommend: beet and ginger; strawberry and ginger; pineapple and ginger. Can you tell I like ginger? Basically any kind of fruit juice is good, because the kombucha will continue to eat off of the sugar from the fruit juice, and create carbonation. Again, i'm not a scientist, just go with it. 

  1. Blend fruit/ginger in a blender. For one gallon of tea I used one raw beet and a chunk of ginger around 2 in x 1 in.

  2. Pour fruit mixture into bottles of kombucha tea (use a funnel). You can strain the pulp out of the fruit, or leave it, up to you!

  3. Seal the bottles and leave on your counter top for 2-3 days.

  4. Use CAUTION when opening the bottles up, there will be carbonation and it can bubble and overflow making a mess. I recommend opening the bottles over the sink and with a kitchen towel on top.

  5. Refrigerate to enjoy cold!

I've read many articles about homemade kombucha, and have talked to a few friends about it as well. It seems there is always something to learn, which is also probably why I like it so much. Any tips or tricks please leave in the comment section below! Happy brewing. 

 

L <3