Quinoa Salad with Citrus Dressing

Quinoa Salad with Citrus Dressing

There are some people in my family who are not the biggest fans of quinoa, and that includes me. I love that quinoa is packed with protein, but sometimes I don’t really dig the taste or texture. I have been experimenting with different ways to prepare and serve quinoa to make it more enticing, and I will say that this quinoa salad was actually really tasty and satisfying. I think the crunch from the red cabbage and the cashews really helped, as well as the citrus flavor from the dressing.

This dish is perfect to bring to a party, as the longer you let it marinade together, the better it tastes. It also can be served cold, so there’s no worrying about keeping your food hot. This dish would make a perfect side for Easter as well. This salad really is tasty, even my mom liked it and she REALLY doesn’t like quinoa. I hope if you try it out that it pleases your family as much as it pleased mine.

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Ingredients:

1 ½ cup quinoa (soaked for a minimum or 2 hours or overnight)

2 cups water

½ head of red cabbage

1 head of rainbow chard

1 cucumber

1 bell pepper

4 cloves of garlic

1 cup of avocado oil

1 tbsp. dried oregano

1 lemon

1 orange

½ tsp. salt

½ cup cashews (or whatever nut you like)

Directions:

In a small sauce pot add two cups of water and the soaked quinoa. Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce the heat to simmer and cover the quinoa. Let the quinoa cook for 20 minutes, and then stand for another 15 without removing the cover. While the quinoa is cooking place the garlic, avocado oil, and salt to a high speed blender. Next zest the lemon and place the zest in the blender along with the juice of that lemon and the juice of 1 orange. Blend together until creamy. Once the dressing is made, start to prep you vegetables. I finely diced my cucumber and pepper, and shredded the cabbage, and finely sliced the rainbow chard.

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Once all ingredients are ready, place them in a large bowl and combine. Finally top with cashews and enjoy J.


Vegan Monster Cookies

Vegan Monster Cookies– and my thoughts on food freedom and body relationships

For a very long time I have struggled with my relationship with food and with my body. I can remember being in middle school and feeling fat and how that made me ugly. I remember being in high school and weighing 105 pounds and feeling proud of that, feeling good that I was a size 0. I remember throwing up my food because I had eaten far too much. I remember all of these things and they make me sad. After I had my daughter I tried to focus on what my body had just done, which if you don’t know what grow freaking baby, and how proud I should feel about that. But I won’t lie and say that I didn’t feel pressure to lose all of my baby weight, I looked in the mirror and I did not like my body and that’s a shame.

 

Writing this actually brings me to tears, because I have been so horrible to myself.

 

This relationship of highs and lows continued. I would smash out HIIT workouts, go to the gym as often as I could, do endless amounts of cardio and I didn’t even realize that all of these things that were considered healthy were actually hurting me because I was doing them for the wrong reasons.

These past few months, as I have recognized that I need to make some changes in order to really make my relationship with myself better I started to consciously pay attention to my actions.

I found that every time I lifted my shirt to look at myself, touched my belly, I was judging myself, only finding myself worthy if there was nothing to pinch or grab, and I realized how sad that was. I actually feel shame writing this.

That I had allowed myself to worry about things like calories, when there are so many with nothing to eat.

That I had allowed myself to develop a toxic relationship with food, something that brings me so much joy.

That I had allowed myself to be reduced to a physical body that had done great and beautiful and wonderful things for me.

That I had allowed myself to take away the meaning of true beauty and replace it with a fabrication of meaningless nothing.

So I have started to try to speak to myself with love, with gratitude, with kindness.

Because I am worth more, and so are you.

 

With all of this being said, now let me get to the point, which is a recipe for vegan monster cookies.

Being on this journey has caused me to examine my relationship with food. I have tried every fad you can possibly think of, deprived my body of carbs and loaded it with protein, and all of these things left me feeling bad about food. Now, the only “diet” I follow is a vegan one, and that has nothing to do with my health and everything to do with my beliefs. Now, if I want a cookie I eat a cookie and I don’t feel bad about it. If I want two cookies, well then I eat two cookies, and I still don’t feel bad about it. And if I want a salad then I eat that salad and I don’t give myself a high-five over it. Nothing is off limits, nothing is good or bad, it is simply food. Cooking allows us to create, to nourish the souls of others through the love we pour into our cooking, and to bring us together.

 

These cookies are an expression of my love and creativity however stupid or trivial that may seem. My three-year old loves them and helped make them, so making them allowed us to share time together. Eating them together helped us to bond and have fun and enjoy the fruits of our labor. I hope making these also brings you joy and laughter, and I hope anyone who reads this post who struggles with body issues, or eating disorders knows they aren’t alone.

Monster Cookies

Ingredients:

 

1 ½ cups oat flour (you can use white flour, whole-wheat flour whatever you want. I like oat flour for the fiber, because happy poops make for a happy tummy)

 

2/3rd cup Coconut Sugar (again use white sugar if you want, but probably use less or it might be too sweet. Or use maple syrup, or whatever sweetener suits you)

 

3 tbsp. Chickpea Flour + 3 tbsp. water for the egg replacer

 

2/3rd cup peanut butter (or whatever nut butter you like)

 

3 tbsp. coconut oil

 

1 tsp. baking powder

 

1tsp. vanilla extract

 

¼ tsp. salt

 

2 tbsp. Almond Milk

 

1 cup dairy free chocolate chips ( I use enjoy life), 1 cup unreal vegan dark chocolate peanut gems, and ½ cup of Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter cups cut into pieces. Now these are the additions I added because that is what was in my pantry, but this is what makes them monster cookies, using whatever sweets you have on hand.

 

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Directions

 

Pre heat your oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a silpat mat, or grease your baking sheet and use nothing. Combine the chickpea flour in water in a small bowl and set aside. Next combine all of the other dry ingredients, so the oat flour baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar and stir this mixture together. In a microwave safe bowl heat up the coconut oil and peanut butter so that they are runny. Add the melted mixture to the dry ingredients. Next, add the chickpea flour mixture, the vanilla extract and about 2 tbsp. of almond milk. Next, fold in all of your toppings and taste test this batter. No need to worry about salmonella because no eggsJ.  Finally use an ice-cream scoop and scoop the cookies onto the baking sheet. I had to do this twice to make all of my cookies. As a rule of thumb I only like to put one baking sheet in at a time. I know this may be more time consuming but the cookies will cook better. Place these bad boys in the oven for about 8-12 minutes depending on your oven, and how you like your cookies. Let these cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes, and remember they will continue to cook a little on the baking sheet. Enjoy.

 

If you are looking for another cookie recipe to try, here is my recipe for chocolate chip cookies or ginger molasses cookies.


Comforting Vegan Vegetable Noodle Soup

A few weeks ago my husband and daughter came down with the flu. Given the fact this flu season has been so horrendous I was worried about both of them very much, and wanted to make some nourishing comforting food to help their bodies fight the flu and heal. I made this comforting vegetable soup using orzo and these vegetable bouillon cubes, and let me tell you the pasta and the bouillon make all of the difference. I had never used either ingredient when trying to make a comforting vegetable noodle soup, and the simple addition of these two ingredients take this soup to a whole new level. I mean this is restaurant worthy soup, I can’t even explain how delicious it is. And it takes very little time to prep, cook, and clean up after. This soup is great if your or your loved ones are sick, if it’s cold out, or if you just want some freaking delicious soup.

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Ingredients

5-6 Vegetable Bouillon Cubes

2 tbsp. avocado oil

8 cups of filtered water

1 container of Whole Wheat Orzo Pasta

1 leek

1 small yellow onion

1 bunch of rainbow chard

1 small bunch of cilantro

2-3 small carrots

3 cloves of garlic

1 small nub of turmeric

1 small nub of ginger

Salt

Pepper

Instructions

In a large soup pot heat the avocado oil over medium to medium low heat. In a food processor add the cubed onion, the white and light green part of the leek and the carrots and pulse until finely chopped. Add this to the heated oil and stir continuously for about 5 minutes. While the onion, carrot and leek are cooking add the garlic, turmeric, and ginger to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add these ingredients to the pot and cook for another 3-5 minutes stirring regularly. Once the ingredients seem cooked and smell fragrant add the water and bouillon cubes to the pot and break up the cubes with your spoon. As the water heats up the bouillon will dissolve. Bring this mixture to a boil and then turn the heat to low simmer and cover the pot. Cook for 30 minutes. While the soup is cooking rinse your rainbow chard and finely dice it. After the 30 minutes is over bring your soup back to a boil and add the orzo. Boil the orzo for 6 minutes and then add the rainbow chard and continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes. Finally, enjoy this soup topped with some fresh cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. I honestly didn’t need to add any salt because the bouillon cube has so much flavor.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

Peanut Butter Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

 

My sister came over this past week to help watch our toddler, and if anyone has a sister they know how special they are. Not only did she watch my baby and take great care of her, she also made these sweet treats for me. I wanted to make them the night before Valentine’s Day, but my husband and daughter both got the flu and we had to take her to the doctor. My sister, who is a great baker, volunteered to try out this recipe for me and it turned out sooooooo delicious. These peanut butter chocolate rice crispy treats are made with eight simple ingredients and are the perfect treat to bring to a party to share.

 

Ingredients

1 cup Rolled oats

1 cup Brown rice puffs

Maple syrup**

Oat flour**

Peanut butter**

Salt

Coconut oil

Dairy free chocolate chips

 

Line a square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a bowl combine rolled oats and brown rice puffs. In a microwave safe bowl add ½ cup of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and melt together. Pour that into the oats and brown rice puffs, and add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Combine this mixture. Press this mixture into the bottom of the baking pan and set in freezer. Next combine add the oat flour into a bowl. In the same microwave safe bowl combine 1 cup of peanut butter and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and melt together. Add a pinch of sea salt and then combine this mixture with the oat flour and ¼ cup maple syrup. Pour this mixture over the base layer and place the pan back in the freezer. Finally in the same microwave safe bowl, melt 1 cup of dairy free chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Spread this mixture on top and leave in the refrigerator over night to set.

Rice Crispy Treats

** Maple Syrup can be subbed for agave

** Oat Flour can be subbed for coconut flour

**Peanut butter can be subbed for nut butter of choice


Vegan Nutella

I can’t believe I missed world Nutella day. When I wasn’t a vegan I loved Nutella, I would put it on anything. It’s chocolate and hazelnut goodness. Recently my husband and I went to an acai bowl joint up the street, and they served traditional Nutella on some of their bowls. I thought that was a great idea, but wanted to make it vegan. I went home and did some testing, and let me tell you this vegan Nutella recipe tastes even better than the original Nutella. Also, this version has significantly less sugar than the original, has no processed sugar and it made from 5 simple ingredients. This Nutella is one you can feel good about serving to your family and friends, or maybe just eat it all by yourself.

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Ingredients:

1 cup Hazelnuts

2 tbsp. maple syrup (can sub for coconut sugar)

4 tbsp. nut milk of choice

2-3 tbsp. cocoa powder

A pinch of sea salt

 

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat mat. Place the hazelnuts on the sheet and roast them checking every 3 minutes. After about 10 minutes your nuts should be roasted. Place them in a towel and roll them around until the skins easily fall off. In a food processor combine all ingredients, including the hazelnuts and process until smooth. You may want to add more nutmilk if you like a silkier texture. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days (if it lasts that long).IMG_8118


What I Eat in a Day

Hello,

Let me start off this post by saying that I don’t ever count calories, track my food, or try to “hit” certain macro nutrients. These things aren’t healthy for my mental well-being. I, like many other people, have had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body in the past. Becoming a vegan really helped me with this, but I’ve also had to work on my perception of food. This is why I don’t label food “good” or “bad”. I eat mostly whole, plant-based food, but I have learned to listen to my body and to feed it what it is craving rather than what I think it should have. Your body knows. If you’re hungry eat, if you don’t want a salad don’t force yourself. Life is short and meant to be enjoyed.

Although I’ve been sharing weekly meal plans, I also wanted to share a typical what I eat in a day. I have been learning to listen to my body and eat what it wants, when it wants. Lately, that has meant a smoothie for breakfast to get in a huge dose of micro nutrients to fuel my brain. This one had tropeaka alkaline greenstropeaka lean protein in vanillatropeaka camu powder, fresh o.j., a handful of dino kale, a handful of spinach, and frozen mango’s and bananas.

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For a snack before lunch I had these delicious blueberries, they were so good I ended up eating the whole pint

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For lunch I had this mixture of wild rice and lentils, topped with sautéed red onion, mushrooms and spinach. I also added seared tofu, kraut, fresh spinach, some home-made chimichurri, and half an avocado.

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In the afternoon I had an orange and half of a couple of my cookie-dough protein bites

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Finally, for dinner I had a huge salad with mixed greens, romaine, red peppers, kraut, corn, and cashews. I used my favorite avocado dressing, which you can find in this week’s weekly meal plan.


Weekly Meal Plan Week 3

Hello Hello Hello!

 

** This week is very budget friendly, easy, and a little repetitive because I find it easier to make big batches of things and then not have to cook as much so I have time for things like school work, toddler bath time, and oh more school work

I’m sorry I missed last week’s meal plan, if there is actually anyone following them. I have been a little busy with work, school, and my family and sometimes you need to prioritize. And sometimes this means you have to let go of doing certain things to do your best in the other areas of your life. I’ve really been focusing on positivity this month, because I think it’s easy to get down, feel overwhelmed, and constantly compare yourself to others. As I try to live more intentionally, I let go of thoughts that don’t serve me. So instead of beating myself up about not getting to last week’s meal post for you, I’m focusing on pouring all of my love and positivity into this week’s meal plan. This week I’m also going to do something a little different. I’m going to provide snack options for you and encourage you to listen to your body and feed it when it’s hungry, and feed it what it’s craving when it’s hungry. Sometimes a snack of an apple is all my body needs, but other times my body needs or wants peanut butter toast and bananas. It’s important stop focusing on calories and start focusing on listening to your body, and not associating food with shame, or labeling it was “bad” or “good”. Lately, in the morning I’ve been having smoothies, as I’m trying to maximize my nutrient intake right now to feed my brain. Someone at work commented, and told me they also love a green smoothie because they are on a diet. This same person told me how they struggled with gaining and losing the same 30 pounds, and my suggestion as it always is, is to stop dieting and start listening to your body. Eat foods because they fuel your body, your brain, and your spirit. Ok, enough with this hippie shiz onto the eats…

Grocery List:

2 Heads Romaine lettuce

Big container of mixed greens

Big container of baby spinach

Pack of pink lady apples

2 pints of raspberries

4 mangos

10 naval oranges

4 Sweet potatoes (or you could buy frozen sweet potato fries)

2 bunches of basil

1 red onion

1 yellow onion

2 tomatoes

1 big pack of frozen mango

4 red bell peppers

2 cucumbers

Brocollini (or whatever veg you want for burger night)

Lentils

Brown Rice

Quinoa

2 cans chickpeas

Package of Beyond Burger, or your favorite veg burger

Frozen organic corn

Pack of buns if that’s how you like to eat your burger

6 large Hass Avocados

Dave’s Killer Bagels

Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese

Farm Culture Kraut

Cashews

Pine Nuts

Tofu (2 packs)

Nutritional yeast

2 heads of Garlic

Turmeric

2 Boxes Bananza chickpea pasta

Rice Cakes

Nut Butter

Nut Milk

pasta pesto

Sunday:

Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie

Lunch: Salad topped with my favorite avocado dressing and roasted chickpeas

Dinner: Beyond Meat Burgers topped with my garlic aioli, sweet potato fries, and some brocollini

 

Monday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything Bagel, almond milk cream cheese, and kraut

Lunch: Big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: Golden Lentil Soup with Baguette

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Tuesday:

Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie

Lunch: Big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: Pesto Pasta with side salad

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything Bagel, almond milk cream cheese, and kraut

Lunch: Leftover Lentil Soup

Dinner: Change it up, why not try a big bowl of oats slathered in nut butter, granola, and topped with a banana? Or you might want a big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

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Thursday:

Breakfast: Lean Green Smoothie

Lunch: A big salad of mixed greens, romaine, bell peppers, onion, corn, and quinoa, topped with cashews and my favorite avocado dressing

Dinner: leftover pesto pasta

 

Friday:

Breakfast: Dave’s Killer Everything bagel with almond milk cream cheese and kraut

Lunch: Chipotle bowl with brown rice, sofritas, salsa, and guac

Dinner: Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chickpeas

 

Snack options:

These delicious cookie dough bites

Rice cake, nut butter, and banana

Fruit of choice

Veggies and hummus

 

garlic aioli

Recipes:

Tropical Smoothie-

1-2 cups frozen mango, ½ bananas, 1 cup fresh oj, 1 tsp camu powder, 2 tbsp. vanilla protein powder (I use tropaeka), 1 tbsp. alkaline greens (tropaeka)

As a side note, I’m adding these powders to my smoothie because I’m increasing my antioxidants and overall nutrition to feed my brain during this time, but you don’t need them.

 

My Favorite Avocado Dressing:

Smash one avocado with 2 tbsp. maple syrup and 1 tbsp. Dijon. Sprinkle with salt and use half of mixture on top of salad. This is best made fresh.

 

Turmeric Quinoa

Rinse and drain 1 cup of quinoa. In a pot, add 1 cup of water, 1 cup of the rinsed quinoa, and 1 tbsp. turmeric powder. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover with a lid for 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the quinoa sit for five minutes and then fluff with a fork. Store in an airtight container in your fridge for 5 days.