Vegan Oatmeal Cookies

Merry Christmas Eve and happy first night of Chanukkah!

The holidays are a great time to enjoy special treats, but not everything that tastes good has to be terrible for you. I baked up these oatmeal cookies a week ago for some skeptical friends and they were shocked at how delicious they were. Both gluten free and vegan, these cookies get their chewy texture from coconut oil and a nice molassesy flavor from coconut sugar. They are also really quick to make and easy to bring along to your next holiday party.

Makes 20 cookies

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/4 cup milk of choice
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons apple sauce
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup gluten free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup coconut or turbinado sugar
2 packets monk fruit/stevia
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

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Directions:
In a small bowl mix up flaxseed, milk, coconut oil and apple sauce into a bowl and let sit for 5-10 minutes to gel and create your flax egg. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine all remaining ingredients.

Once the flax mixture has thickened, pour this into the larger bowl of try ingredients and thoroughly combine. Using your hands, form the dough into a large ball in your bowl and place into your freezer for 15 minutes (allowing the coconut oil to re-harden).

When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350 and remove the dough. On a greased or silpat lined cookie sheet, drop heaping tablespoons of dough. Lightly flatten the tops of each of the cookie dough balls and place into the oven for 12-16 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool.

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Butternut Squash Soup

I’m back!

It has been a while since I last posted but sometimes life is busy and recently I just haven’t had time to blog. However, I have not stopped cooking and I have plenty of recipes up my sleeve to share with you all!

To start off, I wanted to bring you a seasonal recipe, butternut squash soup! This is a lighter take on the beloved classic that it super easy to make and something all will enjoy.

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash
1 teaspoon olive or coconut oil
1/3 large white onion
1 teaspoon salt
4 garlic cloves, minced/diced
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2-4 cups vegetable broth
1/2-1 cup non dairy milk (I used cashew)
1 tablespoon butter or olive/coconut oil

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Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your butternut squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds.

Spray each side of the butternut squash with olive or coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place your the squash face side down on your lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until brown and caramelized. Remove squash from the oven and allow to cool, still keeping it face side down.

While the butternut cools, place a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil in a sauté pan and heat to medium heat. Dice 1/3 medium white onion and place into the sauté pan. Once onion softens, place the minced garlic cloves in the pan and allow to sauté with onions for an additional minute. Turn off heat and once slightly cooled, place this onion garlic mixture into your blender.

Now that the butternut is cooled, using a spoon scrape the insides into the blender as well. Begin by adding 2 cups of vegetable stock and a half cup of milk of choice in the blender along with all the spices, maple syrup and tablespoon of butter/oil. Puree the mixture until smooth. To achieve desired thick/thinness optionally add more vegetable broth and or milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy on its own or sprinkle with breadcrumbs or toasted nuts for a heartier dish.

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Protein Bites

When on the go I always like to carry an arsenal of snacks with me. It is easy to bring along nuts, fruits, etc. but in terms of protein sources, it can be a little trickier. I try to stay away from prepackaged protein bars as they tend to have super funky ingredients, so I decided to set out to create my own fun protein treats!
These pumpkin spice bites are vegan, high in protein, a good source of fiber and super easy to take on the go. They also taste like cookie dough so who wouldn’t want that?! These are perfect as a snack or dessert, and if you eat the entire recipe it’s only ~160 calories.

Ingredients:
1 serving vegan protein powder (I used Earthblends Non GMO Vanilla Pea Protein)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
2-3 teaspoons syrup of choice (I used a pre biotic fiber syrup but agave, honey, maple syrup, etc. all work)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ – ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (can also use just cinnamon or a mixture of cloves, cardamon, etc.)
⅛ teaspoon butter extract, optional, but surprisingly vegan!
½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Sweetener to taste

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Directions:
Whisk together the 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water to create a “flax egg”. Place this mixture in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.
Remove flax mixture from fridge and add in protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and optional butter extract and sweetener (liquid stevia works great). Stir and then add in 2 teaspoons of syrup and stir entire mixture with a spoon. Depending on how try your mixture is, add in another teaspoon of syrup. Do not lose faith though, and keep mixing! It will take a bit for a thick dough to form. If mixture really is too dry then, add in a teaspoon or two of water, but be wary of adding in additional liquid.
Once dough is fully formed, using your hands create 4-5 balls. Place these fridge and allow them to set up for at least 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed, place about a ½ tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa on a dish and individually roll each ball to coat in the cocoa.
Keep in the fridge for optimal texture, but refrigeration is not necessary.

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Garlic Balsamic Mushrooms

One of my favorite items at the Whole Foods salad bar is the balsamic mushrooms. The simple flavor combo gave me the inspiration to make my own super quick mushroom side dish. What’s great about this recipe is it only takes minutes to make but has rich flavor without all the added oil.

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Ingredients:
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ tablespoon Vegetable broth/water
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:
Spray a pan with coconut or olive oil and place minced garlic in the pan. Stir around for a minute to lightly sauté the garlic.
Add in the sliced mushrooms.
Stir the mushrooms around frequently and add in your veggie broth/water so mushrooms begin to sizzle. Allow mushrooms to cook for an additional minute and then drizzle on the balsamic vinegar along with the onion powder and black pepper. Mix around mushrooms thoroughly so they are evenly coated by the balsamic vinegar.
Once mushrooms achieve a browned color with golden edges, they are complete.

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5 Minute Tofu Cabbage Roll-Ups

This recipe is another one of my more idea recipes than an actual step by step one. I end up making these a lot actually either for a snack or dinner when I am in a pinch. I generally go for the spicy route but you can use whatever seasonings you desire. Get creative with your marinade or make it easy for yourself and use a store bought sauce such as teriyaki or BBQ. I also like to place my filling in cabbage leaves but feel free to use taco shells or wraps!

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Ingredients:
Tofu
Marinade: I used 1 tablespoon siracha, ¼ teaspoon each of chili powder, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, ½ tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste with salt and pepper to taste
Cabbage leaves
Salsa/pico de gallo/vinegar based slaw
Optional: additional vegetables, seeds or herbs for topping

Directions:
Mix together marinade ingredients into a bowl. Once fully whisked, crumble tofu into the bowl with the marinade. Toss to coat and let sit for at least 10 minutes in the fridge. For added crispiness, you can add almond flour or an other flour of choice into the mixture for a more “breaded” texture.
Spray a sauté pan with coconut oil and once heated, place marinated tofu into the pan. Using a wooden spoon, continuously mix around the tofu so it does not stick to the pan. You want the tofu to brown and become crispy.
Once complete, remove tofu from pan and place desired amount in lettuce cups. Top with sauce and veggies of choice.

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Served with salmon wrapped asparagus and garlic toast topped with bruschetta

Mixed Berry Mint Sorbet

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With summer in full swing, there is nothing better than kicking back and enjoying a sweet cold treat. One of my favorite summer desserts is sorbet. Though my true love will always be ice cream, sometimes you need a lighter and fruitier alternative, and that’s where this super lightened up and tasty mint mixed berry sorbet comes in.
This recipe is vegan, just a few wholesome ingredients, and could not be easier to make.

Ingredients:
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 juice from a wedge of lime
3-5 mint leaves
Sweetener of choice (stevia, agave, honey, coconut sugar, etc.)
Water, as needed

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Directions:
Place all ingredients into a blender and begin blending. You do not need to use sweetener but it definitely adds to the flavor. I used a combo of a bit of stevia and some coconut sugar for a nice depth of flavor.
You will definitely need to shake up the blender as you are going as you want to add as little water as possible to achieve a true sorbet consistency. When the mixture will blend no more, add water by the tablespoon, blend, and if needed, add some more.
Scoop and devour!

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Spiced Skillet Apples

Hello friends and happy earth day!
It’s been a while I know since I last posted but I have been making recipes but have been just too busy to think about uploading.
Anyways today I am coming at you with a super simple yet delicious recipe. It is sweet on its own but the addition of a tad of natural sugars makes it taste especially decadent yet it is healthy enough to have for breakfast!

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Ingredients:
1 apple
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon honey/coconut sugar/agave (can omit)

Optional for topping: Shredded coconut, oats, yogurt, chia/hemp seeds, nuts, etc.

Serves 1

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Directions:
Chop your apple into about 1/2 inch cubes.
Place cubes into a skillet heated to medium heat (if you’re worried about sticking spray with some coconut oil).
Add in spices and stir around to coat.
Cover apples to allow them to soften for 1-2 minutes.
Lift lid and continue to stir occasionally.
Meanwhile in a small bowl mix vanilla, salt and sweetener of choice with a tablespoon if water and drizzle it over the apple mixture and stir.
Once browned and coated, remove apples from skillet and top with toppings of choice!

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Cauliflower Alfredo

The problem with so many creamy fattening foods is that they are so darn delicious. You can go to the store and buy many “light” alternatives, but while these options may be lower in calories, they are often sky high in chemical additives and strange ingredients you can’t pronounce.
So what’s a health and taste conscious person to do? Experiment and make your own recipes of course!
I’ve been using cauliflower a TON lately as a swap for things from rice to oats to mashed potatoes. One night while I was making a cauliflower mash I noticed the creamy texture you can get from pureeing cauliflower and thought, wow this could make an awesome sauce!
This recipe is super simple and you can adjust it to your own tastes with additional seasonings like cayenne, or a more buttery flavor with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. With a vegan option and 2 ginormous servings for 60 calories, it’s an all around win.

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Serves heaping ½ cup servings or 4 heaping ¼ cup servings

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups raw cauliflower florets (160g)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2-4 tablespoons grated parmesan or nutritional yeast (to desired cheesy taste)
1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:
Place all ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Cover the mixture and let it simmer for around 15 minutes until cauliflower is completely soft.
Using a blender or food processor, blend the mixture until smooth.

Serve on top of pasta, zucchini noodles, veggies, or just about anything! Maybe not ice cream though…

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Vegan Sugar Free Meringues

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I was pretty skeptical when I heard you could use chickpea brine (now called “aquafaba”) to make into meringues. Even if they did whip up, wouldn’t they taste like hummus meringues? Not that there is anything wrong with hummus but it’s not necessarily what I would consider a good flavor for a dessert cookie.
Despite my skepticism, I decided to give it a shot and I was happily surprised! Though they did not hold their shape like meringues made with egg whites, they were a nice sweet treat with a great crunch and they certainly fluffed up like regular ‘ol egg whites.
I made my meringues with stevia which could be one of the reasons that the meringues didn’t hold their shape as well, but I played around a bit with the stevia I used when making several batches of these meringues and my findings were as follows-
Do NOT use liquid stevia. I put my meringues in the oven using liquid stevia and asked my boyfriend to take them out when the timer rang when I was on a run and he was very confused when he took out an empty tray from the oven… I’m guessing the liquid stevia didn’t hold up so the meringues just became liquid again and then cooked off. As far as granular stevia, a lot of the brands don’t mix well. My best suggestion is to blend your granulated stevia in a food processor or blender to make a powdered stevia so it mixes well into the mixture and doesn’t have the same strong after taste as the straight granulated stevia.

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Ingredients:
Chickpea brine from a 16oz can of chickpeas (approximately 3/4 cup)
2/3 cup sugar of choice (coconut sugar, white sugar, stevia, etc.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of cream of tartar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Strain chickpeas and place all chickpea brine/ aquafaba into a large bowl. Using a stand or handheld mixer, beat mixture on high for 10-15 minutes. You’re going to want to kill me for how long this takes but I promise it’s worth it!
Once the brine has reached stiff peaks, gently beat in your sweetener, vanilla and cream of tartar.
Now like a sheet pan or tray with parchment paper or a silpat and begin placing your meringue mixture on the pan. You can either try making a more traditional meringue shape by spooning your mixture into a pastry bag (or a makeshift one like I did by snipping the corner of a ziploc bag) or you can simply spoon the mixture by the 1 1/2- 2 tablespoons full.
Bake the meringues for 60 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Enjoy!

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Cheezy Green Bean Crisps

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016 filled with delicious food of course.
Let’s start this year of right with a super simple snack. I find that when I make my own snacks at home, they’re less processed than what I can buy in stores, I save money, and I get to make recipes exactly for what I crave. When I have healthy snacks on hand it makes it a lot easier to eat well and not tear open a bag of chips.
For this recipe I used a dehydrator but you could also try baking them in the oven though they may not achieve the same crispiness that you get from using a dehydrator. Feel free to change up all the spices to make it exactly to your liking!

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Ingredients:
16 oz green beans
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder

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Directions:
Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss to evenly coat the green beans.
Place in your dehydrator for 8-12 hours until crispy and enjoy!

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