Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins + Some Exciting News!

Hey all!

*sigh* Where to begin? I feel so out of touch with the blogging world, it's been a good three weeks since I've posted anything and I've barely read other people's blogs. Life just gets crazy sometimes and since this blog is currently just a hobby for me it's usually the first to go. I've been busy with finishing up my certificate program, planning a trip to Puerto Rico with my bestie, planning out my new business, learning how to design a website, planning other trips, planning a wedding... 'cause oh yeah....


Sam and I are super excited, but really busy planning a destination wedding in less than 6 months. If you guys have any tips or words of advice, I'd love to hear them!

But for now, back to the muffins!

This recipe was a result of one of those oh-so-wonderful times when you pull things from your refrigerator and pantry and throw them together in the hope that it turns into something delicious...and then it does. I get so excited when that happens! I could go on and on about how wonderful these muffins taste and how the zestiness (totally a word) of the oranges and the tartness of the cranberries are the perfect way to invigorate your taste buds first thing in the morning, but I'm not.
 They're good. Just trust me.

Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffins

Adapted from this recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon flax seed + 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup unrefined coconut oil, melted
  • 1 orange, juiced and zested
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 2/3 cup whole spelt flour
  • 3/4 cup pure cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries, sliced
Makes 12 muffins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin with coconut oil or line with muffin liners and set aside. In a small bowl combine flax seeds with water and set aside. In a large bowl, combine coconut oil, orange juice and zest, flax seed mix and apple cider vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the dry mix to the wet and stir slightly. Add in the almond milk and stir til just combined, be careful not to over mix. Fold in the cranberries. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins so that they are each 3/4 of the way full or the batter is dispersed evenly. Place muffin tin in the oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted into one of the muffins and removed cleanly. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes before serving. Try not to eat them all. 

What do you do to help you stay focused and get things accomplished when you're busy?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Some days I am very, very happy to live in Texas. Today is one of those days. While Facebook is filled with posts of how ridiculously cold everyone else is in the rest of the country, I'm enjoying a bright, sunny, 70 degree day. Which is great because I've been craving my favorite dessert smoothie lately and it doesn't taste quite the same when you're bundled up in the blanket. 

The other day I mentioned how my New Year's resolution is to consciously include more greens in my diet. Last year I made a point to make sure I had greens at least once a day, this year I'm doubling that; it's my goal to consume greens at least twice a day. This smoothie is perfect for helping achieve that goal. After indulging in holiday treats for the last few weeks we have the tendency to quit treating ourselves cold turkey. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes that leads to back-sliding and never sticking with our goals. It's my belief that we should never deprive ourselves or stop treating ourselves. We work hard and life's too short to cut out all indulgences. Instead I like to find healthy ways to incorporate the things I love that way I can stick with my goals for the long haul. Whether you love dark, leafy greens like me or hate them, but know you should eat them, this smoothie is perfect for you. Assuming you love chocolate, bananas and peanut butter of course. 

I love this smoothie for many reasons:
1) It's chocolate.
2) It tastes like dessert.
3) It blends up in minutes.
4) It's filling and satisfying, yet gives you a burst of energy.
5) It's loaded with good stuff like magnesium, antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, potassium, fiber, iron and other important vitamins.
6) Its basically the perfect PMS smoothie (not that you have to be a girl or experiencing those symptoms to enjoy it).

Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • Giant handful of your favorite greens (I did a mix of spinach and kale)
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 dark chocolate chips
Makes 1-2 servings.
Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth (you may need to stir or add more almond milk depending on how powerful your blender is). Pour into your favorite glass, pop in a straw, sit back and enjoy.

-If you don't have any frozen bananas on hand, feel free to use a fresh, ripe banana and add 4-6 ice cubes to make it colder.
-Feel free to adjust the amounts to your specific tastes, most times I make this I don't measure the ingredients I just toss in whatever looks good. 

Fun fact: Today is my 100th post! So I'd just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who reads this blog and for all the comments and feedback both on here and Facebook. It means so much to me! If there is anything you'd like to see more of on the blog, please don't hesitate to ask!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas in Pictures and Recipes

I just want to look back at 2013 one more time, is that cool? Sam and I had such a fun time visiting my family in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was a whirlwind of a trip (I was definitely ready for some Joy-time by the end), but it was great to spend the Christmas surrounded by family. So today I'd like to keep it simple and share some of my favorite photos from the trip along with some of the recipes I made while we were gone. (I apologize the pictures are not the best, I didn't want to lug my DSLR there, so I used a point and shoot for the first time in a long time and the lighting was less than ideal).

While visiting my sister in NH, we brought Sam to the camp I went to growing and later worked at for a couple years.
Christmas Eve I made my Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, but instead of raisins I added dried cranberries and dark chocolate chips.
The Fam wearing their new pajama pants on Christmas Eve. 
I made these Vegan Sugar Cookies from Oh Lady Cakes. I doubled the batch and instead of using sour cream I substituted 3 tablespoons of  unsweetened applesauce and 2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk. Super tasty!
After going to an indoor trampoline park and realizing it was full of little children that at least one of us would inevitably injure, we decided to go duck pin bowling instead. I hadn't been bowling in years and we ended up going again the next day.
My sister requested cinnmon rolls for breakfast on Christmas morning. This recipe from Minimalist Baker worked out perfectly! My dad topped his with sliced almonds for an even tastier treat.
It was so cozy sitting by the Christmas Tree.

After going to one of my favorite Rhode Island restaurants, Crazy Burger, I insisted that we all go to the beach. I miss the ocean way too much.
It's not often Sam and I get dressed up so we thought we should capture the rare moment.
My biscotti kick followed me out east. I made my Hazelnut Biscotti recipe, but instead of hazelnuts I added sliced almonds, some almond meal and mini dark chocolate chips. 
*Not Pictured: I also made my Whole Wheat Rosemary Bread into dinner rolls.

I hope you all had wonderful holidays with your family and friends as well!
What delicious food did you make?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

12 Vegan Recipes to Help Incorporate More Greens into Your Diet

Happy New Year!!!
I feel like it has been so long since I've posted. I've been busy doing the spend-time-with-the-family-during-the-holidays thing. Sam and I arrived back in Texas last night from our 12 day trip to the east coast. Later this week I'll be posting pictures and sharing a bunch of recipes we made over the holidays, but for now let's talk resolutions. It is the new year after all.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that the number one new year's resolution made each year is to be healthier and/ or lose weight. Which is good since our country is in dire need of a health make-over, but bad because no one sticks to it, it's too vague of a goal. So for those of you looking to get healthy or to lose weight this year I encourage you to make more specific and attainable goals such as going on a walk four times a week or eating a healthy breakfast everyday. My get healthy goal this year is to add dark, leafy greens to at least two out of three meals a day. 

Dark, leafy greens are nutrient powerhouses and the simple act of adding them into dishes that you already make will go along way in helping you absorb valuable vitamins and minerals that you may not be getting enough of. You know what happens when your body doesn't get the nutrients it needs? It craves more food. Which means you eat more food which in turn means you most likely gain weight, not to mention your body will still be missing those nutrients causing a whole host of health problems. So if you haven't made a health goal for this year, may I suggest you try adding more greens and just more vegetables in general?

Below I've listed some delicious recipes that incorporate greens to help give you some ideas of how to add them into our own diet. I specifically chose recipes that don't make you feel like your biting into a giant leaf of kale. Whenever I feel like I need an extra boost of nutrition I add some greens to whatever I'm making; I may add shredded spinach to guacamole, ripped kale to pizza or make a hummus wrap on a leaf of chard instead of a tortilla. The important thing is that you still enjoy what you're eating, life's too short not to. I hope the recipes below help you begin your healthiest year yet!

*Please note that the photos below belong to the corresponding blogs, to access them just click the link below the photos. *


Lemon, Olive Oil, and Roasted Garlic Pasta with Spinach + Lentils // edible perspective #glutenfree #vegan


Sneaky Green Apple Fruit Leather


-Chard and Collards-

Better Than Restaurant Falafel

Chard, Lentil, and Potato Slow Cooker Soup

There you have it. What are your favorite ways to sneak extra greens into your diet?
What are your resolutions this year?