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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!

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 🙂

Vegfest 2011

8 Oct

I went home 2 weekends ago for many reasons, but Vegfest 2011 in DC was one of the main contributors. This was just like a mini version of Green Festival! My friend Colleen first found out about it and told me, so I couldn’t miss it. I seem to drop everything to go to events like this, who knows when I’ll be able to go again? This was a Vegan/Vegetarian festival at George Washington University with a ton of exhibitors/vendors from mainly the DC area. There were many different businesses, food places, animal activists, and TON of vegan bakeries-including Sticky Fingers Bakery which is a famous vegan bakery in DC that was on Cupcake Wars on Food Network many times! We talked to the owner Doron Petersan who has a cupcake cook book, and was so so nice! (How awesome is it to have vegan representatives on food network!?) She gave use sample of her chocolate cupcake winner and it was the best chocolate I have ever had-even before my pre-vegan days. That is a big statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhh coconut delight!

We got so many free samples and informational handouts. Throughout the day there were different speakers, book signings (cupcake eating contests), and cooking demos. Dr. Michael Gregor was there, who is a M.D. and puts out nutritional videos that people can subscribe to. He takes the medical literature/articles, and summarized them to make it easier for people to understand and apply. He talks about the data and facts behind studies and findings, and it is just amazing how everything points back to how human are meant to be eating a plant-based diet today. He went through all the medical schooling and has all the credentials of a doctor and is brilliant. And he chooses to not put animal products into his body because he knows it is not good for us. I feel like he has so much more “pull” with people than those in the integrative/functional/holistic/homeopathic field. They are certified in some way, but clearly not the same way as doctors. Part of the reason is that when someone gets sick or when something is wrong with their health, they must “go to the doctors”. When in reality doctors often treat the symptoms and not the cause. I am so glad there are vegan doctors like Dr. Greger, so he can reach those people who only listen to “doctors”, and may be positively influenced in their way of eating. This is mainly why I am going through my Undergrad in dietetics/ a dietetic internship to get become a RD (registered dietician). Although I could go to school for two years and become certified in integrative nutrition (which I really just want to do sometime),  I’ve decided to go through the 4 years then a 1-2 year internship to  become more “recognized” and “accredited”. I am not saying that people certified in integrative,  holistic, homeopathy, or osteopathy are not accredited, because they most definitely are-just not in the same way as other people view it. But it is very hard sometimes to be learning things and told to implement certain habits and guidelines which I am completely opposed to and know it is harmful to one’s health. But that’s a whole new story.

I was asked the other day by a good friend, if I could do anything in the world for my career, what would it be. I couldn’t answer because there is just so much I would love to be doing and combining so many areas of interests. After I become an RD I want to go into integrative and functional nutrition, and some homeopathy, with a focus on sustainability. The nutrition content of food is so important, but there is so much more to just that. (which many RDs do not stress) I am passionate about being a mindful eater, caring for the environment, eating local and organic, and making connections with your food. So much is lost from our food system today, and I want to help bring some of the community and meaning back to the way we eat and how we treat our bodies. I want to help people realize how important it is to treat your body right and how they can do so to live their best life. So I am praying for direction on where I can go with all of my passions, and how I can best use these to serve the Lord, most importantly.

Sorry for that long tangent, but anyways….I waited in line to get my cholesterol checked by Dr. Greger and it was 156. I was a little surprised, but he immediately said it was the coconut products I eat. Yes coconut oil, coconut butter, and coconut milk increase your cholesterol because it has a type of saturated fat, but not in the same way that red meat does. I am doing more research on this subject and will definitely do a blog about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think many people can relate with me when I say that there is nothing like being at a place where everyone there has a similar mindset and passion as you. It is exhilarating for other’s to be on the same page and understand where you are coming from. I have to say there was a huge proportion of animal activist exhibitors, which is not the main reason why I choose to eat vegan, but I was pleasantly surprised to also have a fair representation of environmental as well as  health advocates. Colleen Goudreau is a vegan author and health advocate-author of a ton of books! She was hilarious and did a 30-day vegan challenge. I loved her. She writes The Joy of Vegan Baking, The Vegan Table, Color Me Vegan, and Vegan’s Daily Companion

There was AMAZING food here, with 18 restaurants represented, so many of them completely raw!

Here was lunch…. Raw lasagna (zucchini noodles, cashew cheese, roasted tomato sauce and other veggies- it had ridiculous flavor), raw gingery sprouted black rice, and a lemony garlic kale salad. Honestly, was in my top 10 best meals ever list. I even got a vegan pumpkin whoopee pie at the end of day as a super special treat. When will I ever get a change to get a vegan one of those!?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested here is a list of all the food exhibitors that were there!

Amsterdam Falafelshop – sponsor

Bakeshop

Bread and Brew – sponsor

Burrito Bandits

Cafe Green – sponsor

Curry Mantra

Dama Ethiopian

 Dama Pastry

Everlasting Life Cafe

Fojol Bros. of Benethiopia

Fojol Bros. of Merlindia

Mojo Juice

Saveur India

Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats – sponsor 

Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant – sponsor

Sweet and Natural

Vegan Treats

The day was so amazing and enlightening. Events like this just pump me up and inspire me to work hard to be able to do what I am passionate about in the future.

granola bars to-go

18 Sep

I have desperately appreciated having a nice granola bar I can take on my way out the door, that is not processed or packaged, but made with all real ingredients, by me. I just threw in a TON of ingredients, wrapped them up individually, and popped them in the freezer! Now I did not measure any of the ingredients, so I will do my best to guestimate how much of everything I used…

Almond-Everything-Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats

1/3 ish a cup of raw almond butter

quinoa flakes

unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup chia seeds

couple Tablespoons ground flax

couple Tablespoons of hemp seed

2-3 Tbs coconut oil

A splash vanilla extract

1 VERY ripe banana

1/8 cup unsweetened vegan carob chips

1/8 cup chopped dates

cinnamon & nutmeg

+Anything else you would like

(You can use any type of nut butter, different kinds of dried fruits for sweetness, and other spices like ginger or pumpkin pie spice)

Combine and spread into a glass baking sheet lined with wax paper and chill in fridge. After they are firm, cut into squares and wrap individually in plastic wrap and keep them into the freezer-and they are ready to take on the go. They defrost great once they’ve been out  for a little. These are full of protein with such a huge variety of amino acids from 5 different types of seeds, almond butter, and quinoa flakes. When aiming to get a lot of protein variety is key, because if you constantly eat the same source of plant protein you will always lack those amino acids that other foods contain, so to eat true complete plant protein sources, you must eat a vast variety. Our body is constantly craving variety to acquire all our essential vitamins and minerals anyways!

coconut & curry

15 Aug

I found this new coconut spread at wholefoods made by Earth Balance that I decided to splurge on and buy! They had a special table set up with 2 dollar coupons, so I couldn’t resist. Earth Balance makes different types of nut butters, soy milks, and vegan margarines. I usually would never buy a vegan butter or margarine, but this is a coconut spread that is completely organic coconut with just a little organic canola-that I thought would be something fun to try. It came with a little booklet of recipes to use it with, so I picked a curried coconut kale one.

Toasty Coconutty Chickpeas and Curried Kale

4 Tbs Earth Balance Coconut spread, divided

2 cups cooked chickpeas, patted dry

3 Tbs finely shredded unsweetened coconut

1 small onion, sliced or chopped (1/2 cup)

2 Tbs minced ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1 large bunch of kale (about 4 cups)

1 cup coconut milk

1 Tbs curry powder

1 Tbs raw agave syrup

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 or 400. Melt 2 Tbs of the coconut spread and combine with chickpeas and coconut to coat evenly. Spread chickpeas evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and toast 20-25 minutes.

Heat remaining 2 Tbs of coconut spread in saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook 3-5 minutes. Add kale and cook about 5 minutes. (the less cooked you can bare, the better-to preserve more nutrients) Add coconut milk, curry powder, agave, and salt. Cover and simmer about 4 minutes. Divide curried kale into bowls and top with coconutty chickpeas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-Now, I was hesitant to make this just because I greatly avoid heating/cooking kale as much as possible. Kale is a super food that is probably the best leafy green you could nourish yourself with. But just like all raw plant foods, heating this super green kills the powerful, alive enzymes along with the vitamins and minerals anywhere from 40-90%. (Vitamin C especially  is lost when heating all fruits & veggies.)

Raw kale on the other hand has 35 calories in one cup, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. Not to mention about 3 grams of protein in just a small cup. Now that’s a super food. And if you think thats crazy, just check out spirulina! I will save that for another post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The coconut and ginger flavors are great with the chickpeas on top. I know I  just gave this cooked kale recipe after saying how horrible it can be to not eat kale raw, but every once in a while I do believe in trying a new recipe to expand my horizons, even though it kills all the good stuff. I will have my raw kale tomorrow.

the oil of coconuts

23 Jul

My new love is for coconut oil. I love all natural coconut products (whether its coconut water, meat, milk, oil, mana etc..) Coconut are truly a blessing from God. I will discuss more later.


I decided to use my vegetable spiralizer in some new ways…so I made sweet potato fries! I never make these, so it was a special (not raw) treat! I baked them in a tiny bit of coconut oil and a little bit of salt and pepper.

There is so much confusion among all the oils, but coconut oil is for sure the best oil to use whenever there is heat involved or not. It is pretty much the only oil that does not oxidize/go rancid and is completely heat stable. Yes it is almost entirely saturated fat-but it is one of the best most natural oils for you. This saturated fat raises your good (HDL) cholesterol and lowers your bad (LDL) and is known to help speed up metabolism. It is heart healthy-preventing platelets from sticking together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coconut oil also helps you better absorb the fat soluble vitamins (E,D,A,K). It is not like other oils, because it is not stored as fat in your body-but rather more like a carb and is broken down fast and used as energy. This oil also is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. It great for healing all around. And I haven’t even mentioned its topical uses.

Yep, pretty amazing…I’m a big fan.

Some cashew butter with several teaspoons of coconut oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I usually don’t add anything to my nut butters except the nuts, but I tried something new and will never go back. The coconut oil boosts the nutrition aspect-although does add a lot more calories for those who count them. But it gave the cashew butter an amazing flavor and it was super creamy. So 2 ingredients. Cashews + coconut oil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will definitely be having more posts involving coconut oil (: