Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Smoothie Tips

Smoothies! I have one every single day because I love that you can fit tons of wholesome food into a jar and take it with you wherever. Every morning for breakfast I have a smoothie and an egg, besides the weekends when I usually have one for lunch or as a snack. Smoothies are also just beautiful in pictures, and they are often what shows up most on my Instagram feed because they are the only thing I can take pictures of in the car. Here are some tips on making wholesome and delicious smoothies!
  • When making green smoothies, always add a very sweet fruit like pineapples or mangos to your smoothie (unless you like the taste of ground-up greens.)
  • Adding super foods like chia seeds and hemp hearts don't affect the taste or texture of your smoothie but help pack them with nutrients. Even adding almonds for extra protein will go unnoticed!
  • Smoothies are the perfect on-the-go snack or meal, so stock up on lots of containers that you can transport them in! I love mason jars (if you follow me on Instagram it's obvious.)I also use the old tomato sauce jars which are perfect for smoothies. Sometimes I use a tumbler similar to this one. 
  • Pay attention to liquid! I don't like using a lot of fruit juices as liquid to thin out my smoothie, because I'm not really a big juice fan. Smoothies are already a lot of sugar, and for someone like me who's not doing the raw vegan thing, I do watch my sugar intake. I like using almond milk and oat milk for my smoothies. I don't normally buy coconut water, but when I do have some on hand I love using that for fruit smoothies.
  • Pay attention to the instructions that come with your blender! I wasn't using my Vitamix right until I saw a demonstration on how to use it at Costco. My smoothies are so much smoother now!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

The name of this recipe should really be Super Duper Healthy But Still Delicious Muffins. Because that is what they are. But I didn't want to seem too eager about them (although I am....) so the name was shortened. I originally made these muffins a few weeks ago, and didn't think to write down the recipe (darn.) But it's okay because I remade them this weekend and they are even better than the first batch. 

According to my Pinterest feed, pumpkin is out and peppermint is in. But no! As much as I love crunchy and sweet chocolate peppermint bark that melts in your mouth a little, pumpkin is a lot more healthier and a lot more versatile. This fall I was mixing pumpkin into evveerrythang. Pumpkin muffins (duh,) pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, and even pumpkin oatmeal. Delish.

I'm also really sorry I haven't posted in so long. First I was really stressed with all of the school work leading up to winter break, then I was in Hawaii (should I post my food pics from there on here? Let me know ↓) And now I've got finals in a week so I'll probably be gone again :(

 But not to worry! Becaauuuse, I am leaving you with these healthy and delicious pumpkin muffins. These are clean, whole wheat, and dairy-free. So enjoy, and GOMAKETHESENOW.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c + 1/8 c almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°. Place paper muffin cup liners in either a mini muffin pan (makes 24 muffins) or a regular muffin pan (makes 12.) Grease papers. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients (the spices all count as one.)Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the last 7 ingredients until just combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two parts, and stir until just combined. Fill muffin tins halfway with the batter, and bake for 10-12 minutes for minis, and 15-17 minutes for large muffins. Let cool on wire rack and eat!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

5 Tips to Stay Healthy Over the Holidays

Happy {almost} Thanksgiving! Holidays are one of the toughest times of the year to stay healthy. There is food everywhere and so many delicious things to indulge in (I'm dreaming of these Mini Apple Pies!)
Photograph from The Chalkboard Mag

A must-make recipe this Thanksgiving is these pumpkin pancakes from Lindsay at Pinch of Yum. I found the recipe when Lindsay first posted it about a month ago and I have made it probably...5 times since? They're fluffy and soft and flavorful and everything a pancake should be, so check those out here.

Time for the tips! Indulging too much over the holidays leaves you feeling yucky afterwards. These tips will ensure that you stay healthy without missing out on all the yummy holiday dishes. Also, follow my Holiday board on Pinterest for everything from recipes to table setting ideas!

Tip #1: Don't restrict {fully}

  • Only restrict quantity. Do you love pumpkin pie? Or creamy, buttery mashed potatoes? Treat yourself, but only to a reasonable portion! Instead of indulging in every unhealthy dish you like, indulge fully in one that you love. Chances are you'll end up going back for larger portions of that one thing you love anyways, and that will lead to overeating. Also remember what I call "the full plate rule:" Fill up your plate with 50% veggies and fruits, 25% protein, and 25% whole grains.
Tip #2: Help with preparations
  • Help cook something for the big meal, even if you aren't hosting. If you're hosting the meal yourself, this one is easy. If someone else is hosting, ask if you can bring a dish or two. This way you know exactly what's going into the food you're eating, and you get to cook something delicious too!
Tip #3: Don't fill up on appetizers
  • This one is truly a tip for anytime. Appetizers tend to starchy foods that are small and addictive (like bread at a restaurant, which I have absolutely no control over, btw.) You have one, and soon one turns into eight. It happens, guys. This tip is all about self-control. If you think you can have just one chip with dip, go for it. But if you don't think you have self-control over salty, crunchy snacks, skip them altogether. 
Tip #4: Get moving!
  • Something people sometimes forget is that Thanksgiving dinner happens at dinnertime (duh.) This means that you have almost a whole day to either sit around watching the parade or to get active! If you have family in town, even better! Even if you are preparing the big meal, just take half an hour out of your day to get active. Go on a walk, do a Turkey trot (I'm finally doing a 5k this year,)ride your bike around the neighborhood, go to the gym (are gyms open on Thanksgiving?) or just go outside and play catch. This can also be a great way to spend time with family and friends.
Tip #5: Take your time
  • Eat slowly. Not just because it's better for digestion, but also because you should enjoy your meal and your time. Thanksgiving is a time to relax and savor the time you have with family and friends. Enjoy every second, be mindful, and of course, be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving! -G

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Banana-Date Smoothie

I don't understand how people (other than raw vegans/plantbased) can drink smoothies for meals. When I eat I want something I can really eat. Like, chew. But when I need a really quick filling snack, smoothies are a great option. This smoothie is made with simple ingredients and if you are one of those people who can get by on ginormous smoothies for breakfast, feel free to double or triple this recipe.

This smoothie may look bland. But no! With cinnamon, dates, and flax, it is bursting with flavor and tons of nutritional boosts. Cinnamon reduces blood sugar, dates are full of fiber, and flax seeds have tons of omega-3 fatty acids. Both your body and your taste buds will thank you.

I made this smoothie last weekend for a snack before we had people over for brunch. Because I cannot wait until 11:30 to eat. What I'm going to eat for breakfast is my motivation for getting out of bed. Is that sad? Haha, but it's true....

Did I already mention there are oats in here? There are! Oats are great to add to smoothies because 1) you'll never even notice they're there, and 2) they help keep you full longer! The benefits of this smoothie are absolutely endless. Enjoy!

  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 date, pitted & chopped
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds
  • a dash of cinnamon
  • 4-6 ice cubes
Blend all ingredients except the ice together in a blender until smooth, with no chunks. Add ice cubs until you reach the desired consistency. Drink up!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

{skinnier} lemon blueberry scones

"The fastest cake in the world," as my dad says. Scone. Or as the British pronounce it, with the e silent, "scon." Get it? Like, "it's gone?" Haha. ha. ha.

Anyways! Scones were probably the first breakfast pastry I learned to make by myself, I think I made them for the first time when I was 10 or 11. It's surprising how easily they come together- don't be intimidated by them! They're way easier than you think and super versatile.

The most popular scone is undoubtedly the blueberry scone- my version also has lemon to give it a bit of a kick. The hardest part of making scones is probably cutting in the butter to make sure your scone has a buttery but crumbly texture. Of course I couldn't find my pastry cutter while I was making these, so I used a knife and fork. And ten minutes later while they were in the oven.....I found the pastry cutter sitting right where I looked before. Like, what.

This recipe was adapted from Cookie and Kate, the changes that I made include adding in different types of flours and also increasing the amount of flour- I don't know why, but the proportions seemed off and the dough was way too wet when I set to work with it, I ended up adding in about 1/4 cup more of flour than the recipe called for. Scone dough should not be wet or super sticky- it should be semi-dry on the outside, and able to hold shape. You should be able to knead it easily without it sticking to your hands too much. Like this:

Enjoy these on a Saturday morning with a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever else ya like. Just enjoy them, k?

Happy baking! -G

Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (plus more as needed)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top (you can use coconut sugar to make this a clean recipe)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat yogurt by Fage, I'm sure regular yogurt would be fine too)
  • 1/2 cup low nonfat milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk together. To make oat flour: Grind 1 cup rolled oats in a food processor or Vitamix-type blender until a floury texture is achieved (around 40 seconds.) If there are still little grainy bits, sift the flour before using. This makes about 1 cup of oat flour.
  3. Cube cold butter and drop into dry ingredients. If you have a pastry cutter, use it to cut the butter into the flour. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use a knife and fork to cut the butter into tiny pieces and mix it into the flour until you have coarse crumbs.
  4. Add blueberries and lemon zest and gently stir. You can use frozen blueberries, no thawing necessary.
  5. Gently mix in milk and yogurt. Eventually you’ll need to use your hands to knead the last of the flour into the dough. If the dough is too wet (according to my directions in the post,) add in more whole wheat pastry flour until desired texture is achieved. I had to add in an extra 1/4 cup. 
  6. Form dough into a circle about that’s about an inch deep all around. Cut the circle into 8 slices.
  7. Separate slices and place on a baking sheet covered in lightly greased parchment paper.
  8. Sprinkle the tops of the scones with a bit of sugar.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ooey Gooey Vegan Chocolate Cake

Guys, I'm sorry for the flash on that picture. It was late. And by late I mean 6:00 in the winter, and dark dark dark outside. Since I get out of school at 2:20 on Fridays (yessss,) I always bake something more complicated on Fridays than I normally would. Something that requires just a bit more time (and by that I mean more than 15 minutes. What can I say? I like the easy stuff.) 

Anyways, the flash. I'm sorry. But for now, we are going to set aside the flash and focus on the cake. This caaaaake. It's ooey gooey melt-in-your-melt chocolatey but not too sweet-y goodness is too much to handle. Except it's not, I handled it just fine and ate 3 pieces, thank you very much. And the 2-ingredient ganache on top is the perfect addition.

I didn't want too overdo it on the ganache since the cake is already so rich, so I thought it would be appropriate to just lick the rest of the spoon myself. That's okay to do, right? Oops.

The cake itself comes together in about 20 minutes, bakes for 35, and cools for an hour. The ganache takes 2 minutes. And if you drizzle on the ganache while the cake is still the slightest bit warm, it'll drip down the edges like this.

Mmmmmm. The secret ingredient to get an ooey gooey vegan chocolate cake without the butter and eggs? You'll never guess. Or maybe you will, because I've already used it in baking here.

Avocadooooe. Makes this cake super moist and heart healthy (at least, I like to think it is.) 

This cake is super easy to make and is a much healthier alternative to regular chocolate cake. Sit down, have a slice (or the whole thing?) and enjoy.

Recipe and directions from Ambitious Kitchen (very slightly adapted by me:)

  • 3 oz good-quality vegan chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
  • 2/3 cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil 
  • 1/2 large very ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened soy, coconut, or almond milk (I like Silk brands)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (I get mine at Whole Foods)
  • For the vegan ganache:
  • 8 oz vegan chocolate, chopped (I used choco chips again)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (I used lite, but any type can be used)

  1. Grease 12-cup bundt cake pan with whatever oil you have on hand. I usually use olive oil. (I used cooking spray) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place a small saucepan over low heat and add in 3 oz of good-quality vegan chocolate and freshly brewed coffee. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  4. In a separate large bowl, beat together mashed avocado, oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Whisk in cooled chocolate and your milk of choice. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips. Your cake batter should be pretty thick. If it’s too thick, add in an extra tablespoon or two of milk.
  5. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and smooth top. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs attached. Let cool in pan an hour on a wire rack before flipping over and transferring to wire rack to finish cooling completely.
  6. To make vegan chocolate ganache:
  7. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add in coconut milk and chopped chocolate. Watch carefully and whisk until chocolate is completely melted. If you want a thinner ganache, add in more coconut milk. Let stand for a few minutes then immediately spoon ganache over cake. Top ganache with sprinkles, more chocolate chips, nuts, or another topping of choice. Cut into 12 slices and serve immediately!

Amazingly Fluffy Gluten-Free Pancakes

Pancaaaaakes. How have I not posted a pancake recipe yet? Considering I have pancakes at least three times a week, I actually have no idea. These brown up perfectly, while staying fluffy on the inside. The recipe was adapted from Lindsay's over at Pinch of Yum.

I actually made these on a weekday morning. Thursday morning. I should have been at school, right? Well, my last couple of days had been crazy, and I just needed to catch up on sleep. I slept till nine and boooyyyy, it felt good. And then I got to wake up and feed myself these pancakes, which I made in my pajamas. If only I could start every morning like that....

I filled these pancakes with shredded apples because it's fall and just makes them so much more delicious. The apples are perfectly in season right now and they're huge. Yes, huge organic apples, like, as big as my face. Seriously. And guys, see, look at the picture! I didn't even need syrup! Yes, they are that good. Don't believe me? Make them for yourself. 

Going, going.....


Recipe adapted from Lindsay's on Pinch of Yum:
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cups buttermilk (substitute ¾ cup milk + 2 tsp. white vinegar)
  • scant 1 cup oat flour (I ground 1 cup oat flour in my Vitamix. You can also use a food processor.)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 apple, shredded
  • Whisk the brown sugar into the egg. When the mixture is smooth, add the oil, vanilla, and buttermilk and whisk for 15 seconds.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl and stir until just combined. Add the water and do a test pour of your batter. It should run off smoothly and not have too many bubbles or a “puffy” look. If it looks too thick and puffy, thin it out a little by adding water, one tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency.
  • Pour ⅓ cup batter into a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. When the edges look dry and the top has bubbles, use a spatula to flip the pancakes. Let them cook for another minute or two, until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and serve!
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