4-Ingredient Nutella

26 May

4-Ingredients

simple…delicious…wholesome.

Nutella is such a beloved indulgence for so so many. The thing about nutella (besides the fact that the commercial lies to you) is that the taste of hazelnuts + cocoa has so much potential to actually be a healthy indulgence. It is the loads of refined sugar, palm oil, lecithin, and artificial vanilla which makes it a horrible option to spread on toast for breakfast (like suggested in the commercial).

 

On the other hand…you can make your own nutella, which is better AND good for you! 4-ingredients vs. 9-ingredients

 

Vegan Nutella

1.5-2 cups of roasted hazelnuts

1/2 can of light coconut milk (or full fat)

4-5 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

Agave to taste (I used about 2 Tbs)

pinch of sea salt (optional)

Roast hazelnuts at 350 for about 10-20 minutes. Let cool slightly and remove the skins as much as possible. (I got lazy and threw some in with the skin on). Put them in the Vitamix or food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Add water or more coconut milk to thin if needed. Vanilla extract is a great addition + some cinnamon. Blend until creamy and enjoy!

 

Use to drizzle on fruit (I enjoyed some over a bowl of sliced strawberries, kiwi, and pears) or spread on sprouted whole grain toast, a banana, oatmeal, or even a sweet potato!

 

p.s. I will be in Charleston, South Carolina this summer with Campus Crusade for Christ doing Summer Project-10 weeks of fellowship, community, and evangelism. While I am there I will be working at Earth Fare in the prepared foods department! I am hoping to find some time to update the blog with some new posts, maybe about what I am doing & learning. I am extremely excited for Charleston and can’t wait to see the great things The Lord has planned!

Heart Health!

8 Mar

The time has come when I can finally make some time for a new post! Although spring break will be over before I feel like it has started, I have had a little time to take a break from my crazy schedule and unwind & relax a bit. I have missed having time to not only blog, but look at other blogs, get great food ideas, and try out some new recipes.

February was Heart Disease Awareness Month. With Student Dietetic Association, we did a “heart health” nutrition booth at the gym, I also recently shadowed a RD who works with a pediatric cardiologist, & I just watched the documentary “Forks over Knives”. So…heart health has been on my mind a bunch these past couple weeks. Some quick heart health facts….

  • Omega 3 vs. Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Both alpha linolenic acid (n-3) and alpha linoleic acid (n-6) are essential for good health and brain function with the proper ratio of about 1:2 or 1:3 (O-3:O-6). Yet most Americans get more like 1: 15-25. Too much of omega-6 has been shown to actually compete with omega-3 in your body, lowering you ability to take in n-3 and properly convert that n-3 to DHA (which is essential for physiological & brain development-that our bodies can’t make on our own). Too much omega-6 if pro inflammatory= heart disease! Inflammation is the main cause of so many diseases we encounter, but especially heart disease.
  • So why do Americans eat so much omega-6!? Omega-6 is found in all vegetable oils, some grains, and meats. Soybean oil is the #1 provider of omega-6 because almost all processed, take-out, and prepared foods at restaurants are loaded with vegetable oils (especially for cooking).
  • Focus on getting as much omega-3 as possible every day. The best sources are flax seed (make sure you grind it and don’t heat it up!) & Walnuts. I try to eat these two everyday. Salmon is very high as well…if you eat fish (make sure it is wild though)
  • Omega-3 reduces inflammation, prevent blood clotting, increases your body’s response to insulin, lowers the amount of lipids in your blood, and so so much more.

A Quick Heart Healthy idea:

Healthy Heart Breakfast or Snack Bowl

1-2 Tbs  of ground flax seed

1-2 Tbs of ground chia seed

(1:3 ratio of chia/flax to water/milk for a thick egg-like consistency. So use ~6 Tbs or so of liquid. About 1/4 + 1/8 cup roughly)

unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup chopped apple

1-2 large dates chopped

1/2 -1 tsp cinnamon (I would do a full tsp)

1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg

Add-ins:  chopped walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, extra vanilla, scoop of dark cocoa powder, cashews, dark cocoa nibs, frozen organic berries, sliced banana. Or sprinkle some lacuma powder, maca powder, or another whole food supplement.

–> The options are endless!

Combine ground flax and chia with almond milk, let it rest a couple of minute. Add more or less almond milk to get the right consistency. Then stir in the remaining ingredients! You can make this thicker by added slightly less almond milk. This is perfect to make in a tupperware to take on the go. You can even add in “raw” rolled oats if you want!

 

I highly recommend watching the documentary Forks Over Knives, it is a very informative movie that gives a ton of information on the research and scientific evidence between the obvious results and conclusions that a plant-based vegan diet is a direct cause of lowering/eliminating heart disease. It observes different cultures and countries throughout the world, comparing groups of people who ate plant diets vs. meat and dairy diets. The casein in animal products (regardless of it being low/non-fat or organic products) is the key component in triggering diseases and cancer. I love how the research given in these studies is very clear, especially in trends over time concerning groups of people or individual’s diets and cancer specifically. Netflix it!

 

Raw Sunflower Burgers (from Choosing Raw)

1 cup sunflower seeds (not pre-soaked)
2-3 tbsp tamari, nama shoyu, or braggs liquid aminos
2 cups greens or green juice pulp (kale, parsley, celery, romaine, cucumber, broccoli) I used fresh spinach-because I didn’t have the pulp)
1/4 cup ground flax meal
2 tbsp mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano + some other herb you like. I added some rosmarry

Grind Sunflower seeds in food processor, then add the rest of the ingredients. Form into 3-5 burger patties. Place on parchment paper on the dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 4 hours at 115 degrees then flip and dehydrate for another 4 hours.

New Dehydrator I got for Christmas!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were DELICIOUS! Raw burgers are so so worth the long wait. I put on top of a bed of romaine with red peppers, corn, green peppers, red onion, & some hemp seed pesto (also from Choosing Raw!) These flavors together were as far from bland as you can possibly get.

Calm Before the Storm

13 Jan

Right before it is time to go back to school is that mix between relaxation, boredom, and a scramble to get all the things done that were on your list to do before next semester. Today was surprisingly on the relaxing side. It rained all day making the perfect opportunity to do some [Pinterest] crafts (that were on my list to do), finish up my one book I read over break (i am not but i know I AM, by Louie Giglio), and making a homemade almond spice latte (:

Pinterest inspired (:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Spice Latte

Makes one large mug full

  • 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ground nutmeg to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 cup strongly brewed almond roasted coffee (regular coffee will do)
  • 2-3 drops of almond extract
  • light agave nectar (to taste)

Heat over medium heat in saucepan, or warm in microwave, stirring to combine.

Goes great with some raw apple crisp or even raw chocolate-coconut pudding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raw Chocolate-Coconut Pudding with Pomegranate

  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 2-3 scoops dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • handful of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 4-6 dates (depending on desired sweetness)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional-I just like adding cinnamon to everything 🙂
  • pomegranate seeds to top

Combine in vitamix or food processor and enjoy!

Raw Raspberry Dream Cheesecake

9 Jan

Okay this cheesecake was beyond delicious. It was creamy and the perfect sweetness. I adapted the recipe from here. I added a little cinnamon to the crust and almost doubled the recipe to make it in a larger pan. This cashew base became a great consistency once it froze then defrosted a bit. You can  enjoy a slice of decadent cheesecake full of healthful cashews, almonds, dates, and raspberries! Desserts are awesome to take to parties or for others if introducing them to vegan and/or raw foods. Everybody loves raw desserts…who can’t!?!?

Raw Raspberry Dream Cheesecake (Dairy free, gluten free, guilt-free)

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds (or sub pecans or walnuts-but almonds are my preference)
  • 1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  •  1/4 tsp.  sea salt (Himalayan)

Filling

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
  • juice of 1-2 lemons (I used 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla bean
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup raw agave or honey
  • 1-1.5 cup frozen raspberries thawed. (or just fresh)
  • Add small amounts of water at a time if too thick

* I almost doubled everything to use a larger spring-form pan. You can’t really go wrong-the thickness will just vary.

*The filling should be a thick batter consistency, not as thick as a pudding though.

Directions:
1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt  and cinnamon and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness. Mine became a very thick and sticky consistency. It does not necessarily need to be wet, just make sure the crust will hold together. Scoop out crust mixture in a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
2. Heat coconut oil and agave or honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the vitamix place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth.
4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it) over crust.  I did less than I should have, so even though it may seem like too much pour more rather than less and  smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling in the vitamix and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid. You want to make sure there is a thicker white layer, but still a good bold pink color for the top layer!
5. To serve, remove from freezer 15-30 minutes prior to eating. It is best to use a very sharp and smooth knife to cut slices. Keep in the freezer, if you have any leftovers (:

This went pretty fast in my house. I think it was difficult for my parents to save me a piece since I left for Atlanta for 4 days right after I made it. But I mean Passion Conference as soooooooo worth leaving to have most of my cheesecake eaten. I will just have to make some more before I go back to school-maybe lemon, pumpkin, or blueberry?

Cherry-Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

28 Dec

Ever since going vegan I have been on the ultimate search to find a delicious bread pudding recipe, since bread pudding has always been one of my weaknesses. I haven’t put too much effort in my search yet, but I will definitely find the perfect recipe. This one I just threw together, and it turned out to be great-not too sweet, with the coconut complimenting the tart cherries perfectly. I almost added dark chocolate chips, but opted out to keep it more simple. You can really change this recipe up making several variations. I would have added more coconut milk (or another nut milk)  because I like my bread pudding more soggy and not as dry. But it is a personal preference.

Cherry Coconut Almond Bread Pudding

  • 5 1/2 cups stale whole grain bread (Left out to stale at least overnight-lightly covered)
  • 3 Tbs pure maple syrup
  • 1  3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbs arrowroot powder (could sub tapioca starch)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350, lightly grease bottom of casserole dish or 4 ramekins with coconut oil and then sprinkle with a couple Tbs of coconut. You could also sprinkle with sucanat or brown sugar-but I omitted.
  2. Whisk together all wet ingredients, arrowroot powder, cinnamon, salt, cherries, almonds and 1/4 cup coconut.  Place  bread cubes in the mixture and let sit for 15 minutes to soak up all the liquid.
  3. Press bread into dish or ramekins and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut and more cherries if desired. Bake 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden on top. If you prefer your bread pudding more wet, just take it out of the oven earlier-it is not like there are any unsafe raw ingredients!
  4. It is always the best to eat while still warm! Enjoy with a cup of hot tea. I recommend vanilla rooibos chai 🙂

Spiced Pecan Butter

22 Dec

I just love making nut butters, of all kinds. It is definitely one of my favorite things to make. There is such a huge difference in flavor between eating raw nuts, and eating raw nut butters. I think it has to do with braking down the fats and natural oils in the process. I would say cashew butter is my go-to nut butter to make. I usually buy raw almond butter at Trader Joes, just because I love theirs so much. Walnut butter is not my favorite-I would rather eat raw soaked walnuts. But this pecan butter was exceptional.

Spiced Pecan Butter

2+ cups of raw pecans

1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract (or a vanilla bean to be extra flavorful)

1/2 tsp of organic cinnamon-or to taste

1/8 tsp nutmeg

Combine in vitamix on high, using your tamper constantly pressing the ground nuts into the blade at all times. You may need to add more pecans if there is not enough to reach the tamper to push the grounds into the blade. It will become pecan flour, then the oils will release and turn into a butter the more you blend and the vitamix heats up more.  No oil is necessary. This is delicious to eat on a banana, apple, whole grain muffins or breads, in oatmeal, on banana ice cream, or just eating a spoonful plain like I love to do. You could even freeze by spoonfulls on wax paper and have on hand as a great snack.

Pecans are rich in oleic acid-a monounsaturated fat, that lowers LDL cholesterol. They also have a polyphenolic antioxidant called ellagic acid, along with vitamin E that lowers free radicals protecting your body from disease and cancer.

This would make a great Christmas gift with a red bow around the jar!

These Adagio Tea samplers I bought online on cyber Monday. I got free shipping! You can go online and customize any way you like! You can mix chai with coconut, vanilla, chestnut, sweet potato, or whatever you like. They are mostly all loose leaf teas. The only downfall is that they are not organic or fair trade. But still a pretty cool tea company.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

22 Dec

Why is it the most wonderful time of the year? We get to celebrate Jesus’ birth. We get to eat great food with family and friends. We get to indulge a little. We get to share joy with others. We get to give to others, and try to find peace amidst the craziness of the season.

I had to make Christmas cookies, after all it is tradition and I am all about sticking to tradition. This year I adapted, created and baked some great vegan cookies! They were all definitely not as healthful as I usually would make, but I allowed a little more sugar for this occasion. But yes it is absolutely possible to eat healthy during the holiday. It’s not giving up anything, just making things your own. In a “lighter” way. Not “lighter” giving up fats, but lighter in a sense of real ingredients. Real foods.

Perfect Pecan Cookies

Recipe here.

I actually followed this recipe to the T, since I made them with Karly when we had a tea date at my house (: They turned out wonderfully, soft and not too too sweet, great flavor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Crescent Shortbread

These were excellent, tasted like shortbread. A little too much sugar for me, but I love the strength of the almond flavor in these cookies.

  • 2  cups spelt flout
  • 1/2 Cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • pinch of sea salt

Beat softened butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy, add vanilla and almond extract. Add dry ingredients to wet, and blend until combined. Work dough on floured surface and lightly knead. Then scoop balls of dough and shape into crescent shapes and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Minty Double Chocolate-Carob Cookies

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil (not melted, but room temperature)
  • scant 1/2 c. raw sugar or sucanant
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. flax meal mixed with 3 T. water)
  • 1/2 c. almond or spelt flour
  • 1/4 c. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 oz. carob chips
  • 1 tsp mint/peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Beat the coconut oil and sugar until well combined then add in flax the flax egg and mix well.

Sift the spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix into wet ingredients. Add a tiny bit of water if the batter seems too dry. Stir in the carob chips. Form into disc shapes, about 1 Tbs per cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes. These will expand/flatten. Cook completely before serving. These may be prone to getting crumbly-but they would be perfect on top of some cashew or almond ice cream!!!