plant based

Blueberry Wheat Germ Muffins

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A couple of months ago we won a “health food basket” through a local giveaway and in it came a huge bag of wheat germ. This isn’t an ingredient we normally use, so after sitting in the refrigerator for awhile I decided to find a way to use it up. Other than adding it to smoothies, I’ve worked it into a few recipes, including this one for muffins!

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These were delicious! They held up well and their packed with healthy ingredients.

Blueberry Wheat Germ Muffins

1 1/2 cup wheat germ

1 cup wheat flour

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 1/2 tsps baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

sprinkle of sea salt

1 cup almond milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup applesauce

2 tbsps molasses

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries (i used frozen)

Steps

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix almond milk and ACV together and set aside.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add in milk mixture, molasses, oil, applesauce, and vanilla.

Mix well and then add in blueberries, stirring until distributed throughout.

Spray muffin pan and then pour in batter, filling each well most of the way.

Bake for about 28-30 minutes. You can test if their done by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean, though keep in mind the blueberries will be wet. The dough should not be.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin.

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Th finished product! Store in a  airtight container (they are best warm!). Enjoy!

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Go Macro Review + Giveaway

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I’ve partnered with Go Macro Macro Bars to host my first giveaway on the blog! As a busy college student who doesn’t always have access to a kitchen/fridge I like to have healthy vegan snacks like GoMacro in my bag.

I love that their snacks are 100% vegan with wholesome ingredients that focus on sustainability. They are 100% vegan, USDA certified organic, certified non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and made from mostly raw ingredients. (also if you pick up a tray of their bars at the store the tray is compostable!) GoMacro also does great work for communities, from sponsoring animal sanctuaries to donating bars for community events and children’s schools. I love when a company gives back to the community and focuses on promoting the values they instill in their products.

Plus they’re super tasty! They come in a wide range of flavors.

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The Flavors I sampled were:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

Cherries + Berries

Sesame Butter + Dates

Cashew Caramel

Apples + Walnuts

Peanut Butter

Granola + Coconut

Cashew Butter

Sunflower Butter + Chocolate

Banana + Almond Butter

Almond Butter + Carob

All MacroBars are USDA organic, non-GMO project verified, kosher, gluten free and vegan certified. They come in such a wide array of flavors that there’s something for everyone. I particularly loved the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip with big chocolate chunks in it, the creamy and sweet Cashew Caramel, the banana bread-esque Banana + Almond Butter, and the tart Cherries + Berries.

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The sesame butter and dates was also delicious and if you like the slight bitterness of tahini, you’ll love the sesame in this bar.

GoMacro has also given me a discount code to share with all of you for 40% off a one-time order! Head over to Go Macro and enter code “BLOGGER” at checkout and you’ll get 40% off your first order.

I absolutely love these mini bars as a light pick-me-up snack and so I’m excited to share with all of you! The mini bars are all about 90-100 calories and great tossed on top of morning oats or a smoothie. They also are a good treat throughout the day to keep me going.

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Head over to my Rafflecopter giveaway to enter! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Make sure to follow them on social media for more updates, specials, and giveaways!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/gomacro/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gomacro

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/gomacro/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/gomacro/

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The giveaway is live for 3 days so enter away! DSCN2081

Why Vegan? My Vegan Story.

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I don’t have a particular day that I can look back on to say that’s the day I went vegan. I went vegetarian in high school, mostly because I didn’t want an animal to die so that I could eat, but also because that was the beginning of my struggle with disordered eating. I’m not implying that not eating animals is an eating disorder in the slightest! It’s just that it’s easier to restrict food when you don’t eat certain things. I was also very passionate about ending the use of animals for entertainment and was passionate about animal welfare. I became more curious and interested in veganism towards the end of my senior year. I wanted to make the most ethical decision that I could about my diet and live in a way that reflected my proclaimed love for animals. I was realizing that welfare is NOT enough and that liberation should be the pursuit and goal of the animal rights movement. But living at home where I was the only one that was even vegetarian was hard and I wasn’t the one paying for groceries. I ate plant-based 95% of the time that summer and did a lot of online research: looking up vegan recipes, facts about dairy and eggs, and making sure I could be healthy on a vegan diet. Of course I could be healthy!! Such a huge misconception that I had to unlearn.

And as I entered college, living on my own for the first time, in a city that was much more vegan friendly I took the plunge. I bought all my own groceries, finally kicked my greek yogurt habit and stopped buying products with honey. Unfortunately my freshman year of college was also when my eating disorder really manifested. I was living on my own and so I could control everything I ate and I could exercise whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted without anyone looking over my shoulder. That led to extreme weight loss, depression and anxiety. And resulted in me spending what would have been my last few weeks of my first year of college in an eating disorder treatment program, living at a hospital. I was told that I could not be vegan and that it was most likely part of my disorder. I remember distinctly being pulled aside by a therapist who told me vegans can’t be healthy (Um…she wasn’t even trained in nutrition). That was the moment I became inspired to recover AS a vegan just to spite them, to show them that they were wrong. Those 3 weeks I spent in the hospital will stay with me forever. I was vegetarian while in there, because I was forced to eat eggs and dairy which was horrifying to me and made recovery 100x harder.

When I was discharged I went back to veganism with a vengeance. I ate a lot more, saw a therapist to work on the underlying issues that actually triggered my eating disorder, and challenged myself everyday to get better. I recovered as a vegan, which helped because I wasn’t only eating for myself, but in a way that aligned with my values, a way that allowed me to practice the love I felt for other species and our planet. And I began to speak about veganism. I want to raise awareness and normalize the term “vegan” so it won’t be met with confusion or an eye roll but instead with real understanding. I want to show that vegans can, not only be healthy, but thrive. I also began to speak out about leather, fur, zoos, experimentation and other forms of exploitation.

And now I’m at the point where activism is becoming my current passion. The animals cannot make their voices heard by humans, so we have to make sure their stories get told. We have to change society radically to stop the massacre of billions of sentient beings everyday. That’s not an outrageous pursuit! That’s not a far-fetched thought. It’s not weird, or strange, or odd to be vegan. It’s just the end result of living my values. I want to live compassionately. I want to live in a way that’s sustainable for the planet. That’s what veganism is all about and that is why I’m vegan.

What are your vegan stories?

Tofu Picatta: An Old Family Favorite done Vegan

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A couple weeks ago we received a bag of fancy Morrel mushrooms from a family friend who had gone mushroom hunting. These cost $38 a pound!!! Seriously. So we were lucky to get some for free to try. My mom, dad, and I all love mushrooms, but we usually stick to crimini, button, or portabello.

Right away my dad wanted to make picatta! An old family favorite. We had chicken picatta a lot growing up (I try not to dwell on the meat I ate growing up). But it was actually my dads idea to try to do a meat free version with extra firm tofu and that definitely made me happy. I love when my family is excited to try meat free meals!

We served it up with lentils, and sautéed morels with zucchini and onion. It was so good! My dad even said he liked the tofu version better than the chicken 🙂 Veg for the win!

Tofu Picatta

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetIngredients

1 block extra firm organic tofu

1/4 cup whole wheat flour

dash sea salt

dash black pepper

1 tbsp EVOO

1 cup low sodium veggie broth

1 tbsp garlic

1/4 cup vegan white wine

juice from half a lemon (about 1-2 tbsp)

1 tbsp capers

other half a lemon thinly sliced

finely chopped parsely for topping

Steps

  1. Press tofu for about 10-15 minutes. I used a tofu press, but you can always do it with heavy books 🙂
  2. Place flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. slice tofu and coat in mixture on both sides.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp EVOO in pan on medium high and once hot add the tofu slices. Cook until golden on both sides. About 6 minutes total. IMG_2874
  4. Remove tofu from pan and add in wine to pan. Add minced garlic. And simmer for 30 seconds. Then add in broth, lemon juice, capers, and heat for 1 minute. Add tofu slices back into pan so they can soak in the flavor. IMG_2876
  5. Add lemon slices onto top of cooking tofu.IMG_2878
  6. Remove from pan and serve garnished with parsley.

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Enjoy!

Tumeric Spiced Hummus Recipe

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So I’m almost a month into my summer vacation and I’ve got to say it’s so nice to be home. It’s nice not having assignments/reading for class to do. It’s nice being home with family and friends. And it’s so nice to have access to a full kitchen!

My mom and I have been cooking and baking a lot this summer and having so much fun working our way through some cookbooks! ImageImageI usually don’t buy cookbooks because it’s SO easy to find recipes online and I’ve gotten fairly good at improvising when it comes to cooking. However I’ve been following Angela’s Blog Oh She Glows for years and so when her cookbook came out I just had to have it. She’s one of the first bloggers I followed when I got into the vegan lifestyle.

Isa’s recipes are all so simple and delicious and great for my omnivore friends!

This morning I made Angela’s Glo Bars as well as her Marinated Mushrooms.

ImageImageImageThese were fairly simple and they actually stayed together! I’ve made granola bars in the past but they just crumble, so I was so happy these worked out. I’m going to send a couple to work with my dad.

The mushrooms were also easy! ImageImageImageThey’re now marinating in the fridge and I can’t wait to try them. I was one of those kids that hated mushrooms, but in the last few years I’ve come to love them! I always keep them on hand and throw them in any dish I can. Maybe my tastebuds have changed a bit since my diet changed, but mushrooms are awesome and a nutritional powerhouse.

I also recently made Tumeric Spiced Hummus on a whim. Hummus is a serious staple for me. I’ve been known to eat a spoonful straight from the container. Haha!

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Tumeric Spiced Hummus

2 cans chickpeas with liquid reserved

1/3 cup tahini

1 tsp tumeric

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp hot sauce

1/2 tsp sea salt

1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Steps

1) Combine all ingredients, using 1/4 cup of reserved liquid, in a food processor and mix until well combined. If the mixture is too thick add a little more reserved liquid.

2) Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 10 days.

My favorite ways to eat hummus lately have been with veggiesImage

On toast and with crackers! Enjoy!

Blueberry Almond Coconut Granola

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Granola is one of those things that goes fast in our house. My parents love to snack on it and it makes a great breakfast with some fresh fruit and non dairy milk or yogurt. It’s so easy to make yourself so I hardly ever buy it. It’s also super fun to experiment with and make variations of. 

When we started to run low I looked in the fridge and saw that our pure organic whole blueberry jam was running low and thus the Blueberry Almond Coconut Granola was born. 😉 

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Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds 

1/4 cup almonds

1/4 cup buckwheat groats

2 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp blueberry flax seed mix from Trader Joe’s 

2 tbsp amaranth

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

2 tbsp melted coconut oil

1 tbsp coconut sugar

2 tbsp almond butter

1 large spoonful whole fruit blueberry jam

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Steps: 

Preheat oven to 400. 

1) Mix all dry ingredients including spices. Then add in brown rice syrup, oil, almond butter, jam, and vanilla. Mix well! 

2) Spread out on silicone lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Watch carefully so it doesn’t burn. 

3) Let cool and then store in airtight container. ImageImage

Berkeley Adventures

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Yesterday my mom picked me up from school to head home for my little brother’s 18th birthday! (ok so maybe he’s not so little anymore, but he’ll always be my little brother)

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Picture from 1998

We headed to Berkeley with the plan of picking up some vegan cinnamon rolls from Cinnaholic. They’ve been on my list of places to go for a couple years and so I was super excited, but before we headed there we stopped and got lunch at Herbivore: Earthly Grill. Another vegan restaurant on my must-go list. 

Their menu was overwhelming! So many choices! My mom and I probably took at least 20 minutes to finally decide on what we wanted to order. Since it was a Sunday they were serving brunch until 2 so I ended up going with a brunch item despite they’re outrageously delicious sounding lunch/dinner menu. (check out the menu here: http://www.herbivorerestaurant.com/Main_menu.pdf

We also shared their ginger ale made with fresh ginger, raw agave, lemon and lime juice and sparkling water! Yum! The fresh ginger gave it a nice spice and the agave balanced it out without being too sweet. 

I ordered their Southwestern Tofu Scramble (admittedly after eyeing a few neighboring tables who ordered the same thing). ImageTofu Scramble, Chipotle salsa, Guac, House Potatoes, Black Beans and sour cream (they use Daiya products). 

It was phenomenal. The Guac was awesome and had large chunks of avocado. The potatoes were amazing! Slightly spicy with a toasty deliciousness. The salsa and tofu scramble were both excellent and packed with flavor. 

It also came with vegan blueberry cornbread. ImageYup. So good. It was a surprisingly delicious addition. I need this recipe. 

After we left with full stomachs we agreed that we definitely need to come back and try more of their extensive menu. I wish there was one in Santa Cruz. Insanely good, approachable vegan food. 

Then it was time to stop by Cinnaholic! 

ImageImageThere were so many flavors of icing and toppings I was overwhelmed. It was SO hard to pick! Thankfully the cashier was super helpful and suggested good/ popular combos. Since my brother is a huge Oreo fan we got him a traditional vanilla with oreo topping. And since it was his birthday another one with pb frosting and brownie chunk toppings, and a roll with banana frosting and blueberries. 

I went for a almond frosting and raspberries combo. ImageImageI don’t find many vegan baked goods near me so I was excited. 

However, in all honesty I still battle disordered thoughts. I think I put way more thought into eating this cinnamon roll than most people put into eating foods. i kept feeling the need to justify eating an unhealthy treat. Vegan or not. But I pushed those thoughts aside and fully enjoyed it as breakfast with my family this morning. 

Worth every bite. These seriously live up to the hype. Gooey and warm. Sweet but not too sweet. The almond raspberry combo was delicious! 

When I go back in the future I want to try one with blackberry frosting. Sounds so good! 

As you can tell my brother also enjoyed his: ImageAnd no he didn’t eat all 3 at once. Haha! 

Even though he’s reluctant to admit enjoying vegan foods (yup. he’s “one of those” lol) he did love it. 

We also got the chance to visit the Republic of V (new all vegan grocery store in Berkeley, CA) and Lush Cosmetics. ImageImageImage

These were some of my vegan goodies I picked up on our day adventures. I’m finally trying out a dry shampoo bar from Lush after hearing great things! I also picked up some charity pot lotion, which feels amazing on my skin. It makes my skin super soft and smooth and feels awesome. It also smells great without fragrances and artificial ingredients. I picked up some tahini on sale at Republic of V and superfood fudge spread after sampling it at the store. So good! I’m thinking it will be delicious with some fresh fruit. Image

 

I also picked up a new Hurraw chapstick (I love their chapstick)! The grapefruit smells awesome. I already love it! And a very cute vegan pin to add to my backpack pin collection. ImageIt was an awesome day! I definitely see another Berkeley trip in the near future!