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Breakfast Cookies (vegan + gluten-free)

Cookies for breakfast!?  Yes.

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I’m always looking for portable snacks that are wholesome and healthful.  These cookies are loaded with oats, almond flour, flaxseed, walnuts, dried fruit and almond butter to make a nutritious on-the-go sweet treat anytime of day.  I usually enjoy them as a mid-morning snack.  But they can also serve as a healthy and filling dessert or late night snack.   My toddler makes them with me so they are super simple and quick.

They are naturally vegan and gluten-free and don’t contain any oil, butter or refined carbs or sugars.  They are lightly sweetened with agave nectar.  Because agave syrup is sweeter than sugar, you can use less of it for the same effect.  The chocolate chips and cranberries also add a bit of sweetness to the cookies.

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The recipe calls for 1 cup of almond flour which is a popular and healthful option for gluten-free baking that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein (six grams in one serving). Almond meal is a good source of fiber, Vitamin E and magnesium. It also provides iron and calcium (60 milligrams in one serving).

The recipe also calls for 1 cup of oat flour.  According to the Whole Grains Council, oats are higher in protein and healthful fats and lower in carbohydrates than most other whole grains. They help you feel fuller longer, which helps control your weight, and can help lower blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol. Their soluble fiber also helps control blood sugar.

The cookies are soft, moist, chewy and satisfying.  Enjoy :)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat flour (ground up oats work fine too) – use gluten-free if desired
  • 1 cup almond flour or meal
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces (small)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life which are vegan and soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch fine grain sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (room temperature works best so it is runny and easier to stir)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar light
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients (oat flour, almond flour, flaxseed, walnuts, cranberries, chocolate chips, hemp seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt).  Add cinnamon if using.
  3. Add the wet ingredients (almond butter, almond milk, agave and vanilla) and stir to combine until  well incorporated.  The batter will be thick and dry.
  4. Using your hands roll batter into small balls (about 18) and place on baking sheet.  I like to keep them round instead of flat but either works.
  5. Bake for 8 minutes in oven.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack.  Enjoy immediately or cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

 

 

 

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Cranberry Pecan Quinoa

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa

I am currently the lucky recipient of a winter Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and this week received a beautiful acorn squash in my batch of local goodies (along with some mushrooms and green onions).  Acorn squash has a mellow flavor and yet meaty and satisfying texture.  It is considered a good source of the antioxidant vitamin C which is perfect for boosting immunity during cold season.  Without vitamin C in adequate quantities, out body’s best defense against disease (our immune system) is left without fuel.

I wanted to do something special with the squash.  Something that was filling and warming during this cold February we are having.  So, I stuffed it with protein-filled quinoa, dried fruit, nuts and hearty veggies.  The flavor combination of savory from the garlic and shallot and also sweet from the maple syrup, dried cranberries and pecans works well with the mellow acorn squash.

This dish is naturally gluten-free and vegan.  My non-vegan husband raved about this recipe and filled up on just the half I served.

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided in half
  • 1 medium sized shallot, minced
  • 1/2 medium sized bell pepper (any color)
  • 6 mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 2 green onions, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon grade B maple syrup
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut the acorn squash in half vertically (down the stem) and remove all seeds. Place each half, cut-side down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Puncture a few holes in the skin of each squash. Bake in oven for 40 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. While the squash is cooking, prepare the quinoa stuffing.  In a large pan, saute shallot, bell pepper, mushroom and peas in oil and a pinch of salt on medium heat until shallots are translucent and bell pepper is tender (5-10 minutes).  Add cooked quinoa, cranberries, green onions, pecans, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for another minute stirring all ingredients together.
  4. Remove squash from oven. Place 1/2 cup of the quinoa mixture into the bowl of the squash. Serve immediately.  Note: You will have some extra quinoa which you can enjoy on the side or as leftovers for lunch the next day.
Posted in dairy-free, entree, gluten-free, quinoa, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

But how!?  The answer is…avocado!

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Avocado??  Yes.  I was skeptical at the thought of avocado and chocolate together in one dish.  While I love both independently, I wasn’t sure how they would jive together.  I can honestly say (and my husband wholeheartedly agrees) this mousse is so silky, creamy and velvety… it is hard to believe there is no heavy cream or egg in the ingredients list.  It is full of decadent chocolate flavor and yet it is raw, gluten-free and vegan.  And it isn’t loaded with sugar – only 2 tablespoons of sweetener in the whole batch.

So what is in it exactly?  Heart healthy avocado and unsweetened cocoa powder.  Plus, almond milk, vanilla, a touch of sweetness from agave, organic cane sugar and a pinch of salt.  This decadent dessert is sure to make your sweetheart swoon this Valentine’s Day.

It is the easiest and quickest dessert out there so you can quickly whip it up for your heartthrob without any stress.  No oven, no stove and no fancy kitchen tools.

Garnish the mousse with fresh raspberries for an elegant presentation that is sure to impress.  Or, use it as a dip for fresh fruit such as bananas, strawberries, raspberries or blackberries.  You can feel good knowing the ingredients in this luxurious mousse are truly healthful and beneficial.  Happy early Valentine’s Day!

Health Benefits of Avocado: The amazingly creamy avocado contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and nutrients that actually reduce your cholesterol levels, promote healthy vision and potentially protect against cancer.  They contain folate, vitamins E, C, and B6.  Plus, they are high in dietary fiber – great for overall heart health and digestion.  And, avocados contain 60% more potassium per ounce than bananas!

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 avocado (chilled in the refrigerator prior to using)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or rice milk, hemp milk, soy milk) – chilled in the refrigerator prior to using
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in mini food processor and process until smooth.  You may need to use a mini spatula to scrape down the edges of the food processor to help get everything incorporated.
  2. You can enjoy immediately or store in refrigerator and enjoy for 2-3 days.
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Nutty Granola with Hemp Seed & Flaxseed

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I’m always looking for a healthy and inspiring way to wake up and kickstart my day.  Solution? Granola without the guilt!  This gluten-free, vegan granola is full of heart-healthy fiber from the oats, hemp seeds and flaxseeds.  It contains heart-healthy fats from the hemp seeds, almonds, almond flour and walnuts.  And it doesn’t contain any artificial sugars.  Just a touch of maple syrup and dried cranberries for balanced sweetness.

This homemade granola is easy to prepare and doesn’t require any special granola making secret skills ;)  The warm cinnamon smell will quickly fill up your kitchen as it bakes in the oven.  The granola clusters make a wonderful on-the-go snack or can be enjoyed with almond milk (or any milk of choice) topped with fresh berries.  You can also serve atop oatmeal, parfaits or smoothies.  And I encourage you to have fun trying it out with different nuts, seeds, dried fruit and sweeteners to make it your own.

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Servings: Makes about 6 cups of granola so about twelve 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almond flour or meal
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds (not ground)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons pure grade B maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener of choice)
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (not wax paper)
  2. In a mini food processor, process the raw almonds and walnuts for 5 seconds until finely chopped.  It is okay to have a combination of larger pieces and powdery meal. Add this mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  3. To the mixing bowl, add the oats, almond flour, hemp seeds, cranberries, raisins, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt.  Stir to combine.
  4. Add the maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract and stir thoroughly to combine.
  5. Place the granola mixture on the prepared baking sheet.  Using a spatula, gently press down until the granola is about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for 18 minutes until granola is lightly golden around the edges.
  6. Cool the granola on the baking pan for 1 full hour (at least) before breaking it apart into clusters.  This allows the sugars to harden.
  7. Break the granola into pieces and store in a glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

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Trail-Mix Chocolate Bark

A Crispy Dark Chocolate Bark with Apricots, Cashews, Walnuts & Cranberries

gluten-free, vegan, soy-free, no added sugar

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Dessert doesn’t have to be difficult to make or unhealthy.  This is an extremely easy, no-bake recipe that boasts protein, fiber, healthy fats, whole grains and dried fruit.

This recipe is really the ultimate decadent (and yet healthy) chocolate dessert.  It is a true crowd pleaser and just divine.  Anyone who likes chocolate bark will like this ‘trail mix-like’ spin on the recipe.  Loaded with healthy and wholesome ingredients: brown rice crisp cereal, walnuts, cashews, dried apricots and dried cranberries (and then coated in dark chocolate) – it offers a crunchy, chewy and slightly crispy texture and savory flavor.  Both walnuts and cashews are softer nuts so it makes it easy to consume.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup dark chocolate (I use Enjoy Life Mega Chunks)
  • 1 cup brown rice crisp cereal
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted and salted cashew halves
  • 10 dried apricots, diced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts

Preparation

  1. Place chocolate in large glass bowl and place in microwave for 2 minutes and 30 seconds
  2. Stir until all chocolate is melted using a mini spatula
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until chocolate is evenly coating all ingredients
  4. Place on small baking sheet lined with wax paper
  5. Place baking sheet in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes until chocolate has fully hardened
  6. Break into pieces of desired size and enjoy!
  7. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks

 

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Creamy Quinoa-Veggie Stew

Out with the old, in with the stew!  This unique and healthy stew is sure to help kick off your 2015 on the right foot.

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This creamy, vegan stew is perfectly satisfying during this frigid weather.  Loaded with protein-filled quinoa and health-boosting veggies – it is the perfect way to stay healthy while indulging in a comfort-food-like recipe.  It is spiced to perfection and literally warms you from the inside out.

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Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight in water)
  • 6 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 sweet or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped small
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (with juice) – I use organic, no salt added, plain (no added spices)
  • 2 tablespoons of Spice Blend (see below)
  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 2-3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spice Blend

  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the spices together in a leftover spice jar.  Secure the lid and shake to combine.  This will make a bit more than you need for this recipe.  You can use in pasta or other soup and stew recipes.  Shake the jar before using again.

Preparation

  1. Soak the cashews overnight in water. In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews with 1 cup of vegetable broth and blend on the highest speed until smooth.  Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the carrots, bell pepper, potato, celery, diced tomatoes with their juices, quinoa, remaining 5 cups broth, cashew cream and spices.  Stir well to combine.  Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-low heat.
  4. Simmer the stew uncovered for 20 minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Season with salt and black pepper.  During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the spinach.
  5. Serve immediately or store in airtight glass containers in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.  Also freezes well.  Just leave room for the stew to expand in the freezer.

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This recipe was inspired by the OhSheGlows.com 10-spice vegetable soup with cashew cream.

Posted in dairy-free, entree, gluten-free, lunch, quinoa, soup, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Arugula & Sweet Potatoes

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

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These crispy quinoa cakes are packed with arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet potatoes, shallots and sunflower seeds.  Delicious!  My husband says he loves them over salmon cakes.  And they actually stay together very well.

They pair well over an arugula salad with avocado and roasted sweet potatoes and drizzled with tahini sauce or lemon-tahini dressing.  These cakes are also wonderful served on their own or as a side dish.  Recipe inspired by OhSheGlows.com.

Servings: makes a dozen patties

Crispy Quinoa Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup arugula (pulsed until fine in food processor)
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats (ground into a fine flour with a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato (finely grated using the pulse feature on a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (finely chopped using the pulse feature on a food processor)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (roasted & salted)
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour or regular all-purpose flour
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Mix the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
  3. Combine and stir all ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Shape into 1/4-cup patties by packing into a measuring cup tightly before placing on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!
Crispy Quinoa Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 cakes
 
These crispy quinoa cakes are packed with arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet potatoes, shallots and sunflower seeds. They pair well over an arugula salad with avocado and roasted sweet potatoes and drizzled with tahini sauce or lemon-tahini dressing. These cakes are also wonderful served on their own or as a side dish. Recipe inspired by OhSheGlows.com.
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup arugula (pulsed until fine in food processor)
  • ½ cup gluten-free rolled oats (ground into a fine flour with a food processor)
  • ½ cup sweet potato (finely grated using the pulse feature on a food processor)
  • ¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (finely chopped using the pulse feature on a food processor)
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds (roasted & salted)
  • 3 tablespoons finely diced shallot
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon runny tahini paste
  • 1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice flour or regular all-purpose flour
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. Mix the ground flaxseed and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
  3. Combine and stir all ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Shape into ¼-cup patties by packing into a measuring cup tightly before placing on the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 5-8 until golden and firm.
  6. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then enjoy!
Posted in dairy-free, entree, gluten-free, lunch, quinoa, side, side dish, vegan, vegetarian | Tagged | Courses: | Leave a comment

Homemade Almond Cranberry-Chia Granola (gluten-free)

My sweet sister-in-law, Jenny, has always made the best homemade granola.  It is always healthy tasting and has those nice big clusters we all love in granola.  I finally asked her for her recipe and tested it out myself.  It was easier than expected!

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So forget overpriced store-bought granola and try this simple recipe which makes a massive amount of granola that can be stored for up to 2 weeks.  You can get creative with the recipe and try it with different nuts and different types of dried fruit.

Enjoy by itself, with non-fat Greek yogurt or your favorite milk.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds (or whole flax seeds)
  • 5 cups old fashioned oats (gluten-free if desired) – don’t use quick oats
  • 2 cups raw slivered almonds (or raw almonds chopped coarsely)
  • 2 cups dried cranberries (or any dried fruit such as golden raisins, diced apricots or cherries)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt and canola oil.
  4. Fold in the oats and almonds until coated
  5. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet.  Spread out to the edges and pack it down using a spatula.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes then rotate baking sheet 180 degrees.  Bake another 20-25 minutes until lightly brown.  Cool on wire rack for one hour (until room temperature).
  7. Break cooled granola into pieces of desired size.  Stir in dried fruit

Storage

  • Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks
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Mayo-Free Coleslaw featured in Soom Tahini’s Best of 2014 Cookbook

My mayo-free coleslaw was recently featured in a fantastic (and free) online cookbook.  You can access the full cookbook here.  Flip through to page 20 to find my recipe for Mayo-Free Coleslaw and enjoy!

Soom Tahini

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Easy Dinner Idea with Precut Veggies: Shaved Brussels Sprouts

My Shaved Brussels Sprouts recipe was recently featured on Oprah.com

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Shaved Brussels Sprouts: A Totally New Rendition

If you’ve never been a big fan of Brussels sprouts, it’s probably because you’ve never had them thinly sliced. Eating them this way is a completely different experience, since the slaw-like slices get more completely covered in whatever you’re flavoring them with. In this recipe, it’s red onion or shallot, olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken broth, garlic and a surprise ingredient: honey or agave nectar. Serve them alongside some quinoa and grilled chicken and a ho-hum meal will be completely transformed.

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 cups shaved Brussels sprouts (1 full bag of Trader Joe’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts)
1/2 red onion or shallot, diced
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. chicken broth
2 garlic cloves
1/2 Tbsp. honey or light agave nectar
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Heat oil in large sauté pan to medium heat and add onions, Brussels sprouts, salt and pepper.

After stirring for 2 to 3 minutes, add chicken broth, garlic and honey (or agave nectar) and stir on low heat for another couple of minutes (taste along the way to get the right amount of crunch from your sprouts—some like Brussels sprouts crunchy, but some prefer them to be more wilted).

Add walnuts, if desired.

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