Vegan Chocolate Lava Cake

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I realized whenever people ask what my sweet craving is, my go to is chocolate lava cake. A warm chocolate lava cake with a gooey interior  that is so rich a decadent it puts you on cloud 9; YES HANDS DOWN THAT IS WHAT I WANT. I don’t want a regular chocolate cake, I want the LAVA!!! Now, I’ve been experimenting with lava cakes, trying to see if an alternative recipe can be made. Possibly a vegan one? Or low fat? Or gluten free? It has been difficult because the science behind the cake requires eggs, butter, gluten, etc. I’m still constantly experimenting, but I have come up with a glorious vegan recipe that is out of this world! I’m so excited to share it because it’s pretty darn good.


Vegan Chocolate Lava Cake

yield: 3 lava cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. all-purpose
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp. margarine or oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. cold water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 squares of baking dark chocolate (I used Baker’s chocolate)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat  oven to 395 F. And lightly grease all all of the inside of 3 ramekins. Set them aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk sugar and water until completely dissolved. Add melted margarine (at a very slow rate and whisking rapidly to prevent chunks) OR oil. Add vinegar or lemon juice and lemon and whisk.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl.
  4. Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry and fold or whisk gently until evenly incorporated. Pour batter into ramekins until 3/4 full and add 2 pieces of dark chocolate into the center of each lava cake.
  5. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes and cool on a cooling rack for 3 min. when finished baking.
  6. Dust lava cake with powdered sugar or a generous scoop of ice cream.
lava cake

Vegan Chocolate lava cake

The recipe easily serves 3 people with 3 scrumptious cakes, but I may have eaten 2 in one sitting, which I highly recommend against but I honestly could not control myself. And I’ve been craving a lava cake for so ages, so eating 2 in moderation is totally fine!

These lava cakes are the ultimate crowd pleaser and it’s difficult to fathom that they are vegan! What are you waiting for? It’s time to make this right NOW!

 

Best Ever Healthy Banana Bread (Vegan, Oil-Free, GF)

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As I strolled around my kitchen, staring at the sad image of limited items in my pantry, I wondered if I should even attempt to make banana bread. The 3 limp and dark bananas laying on my counter top had an imminent death and I wanted to make use of them because all bananas deserve to turn into something beautiful rather than end up in my backyard’s soil. I’ve successfully made healthy banana bread in the past, but I had some source of fat replacement such as Greek yogurt or applesauce. But today, I had neither. However, my food science course has taught me a lot this year, making me more knowledgeable than ever on how I can ingeniously utilize my pantry staples. And with some playing around, I somehow created my BEST ever healthy banana bread. It was so surprisingly moist and flavorful versus an expected dense and dry bread. Well, science really does wonders…


Healthy Banana Bread (Oil-Free, GF, Vegan)

yield: 1 loaf OR 3 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. oat flour (I made my own; instructions below)
  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/3 c. sweetened soymilk, unsweetened may also be used, just add more of the sugar source
  • 8 dates (medjool or regular) soaked in hot water for 5 min. (use 12 dates if you used unsweetened soymilk)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tbsp. ACV or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. To make oat flour (if necessary), blend 2 cups of oats in batches in a high speed blender. Blend until a fine flour is formed and sift all the flour! The sifting is necessary for the bread to be as flaky and smooth as possible. Discard any extra chunks left behind or blend until it’s able to sift through the sieve.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, baking powder and soda, and salt.
  4. Mix the soymilk with ACV or vinegar in a small bowl. It should curdle in a minute or two.
  5. In a blender or food processor, blend the dates until a caramel paste is formed. You can add a tsp. of the hot water to help the mixture blend as well.
  6. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas and add the curdled soymilk, date paste, and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
  7. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mix and stir until the batter is completely homogeneous. OPTIONAL: Add in some nuts, dried fruit, or chocolate chips:)
  8. In a greased loaf pan or one lined with parchment paper, pour the batter in. If using a loaf pan, bake for 50 min. If using mini loaf pans, bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Remove loaves from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for a minimum of 5 minutes.
banana bread

baked loaves

I honestly cannot contain my excitement over how scrumptious this banana bread is. If you take a moment and consider what your are eating, you’re basically eating a bowl of oatmeal in solid form! All the fiber, antioxidants, and minerals from the oat flour, potassium from bananas, and Vitamin B6 and B12 from the soymilk help to keep your body full of energy without any ounce of fat! It’s hard to believe, but this banana bread is actually gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, and oil-free!! It’s a long pretentious list of “healthiness”, but why not make a delicious, moist cake-dessert healthy? It’s a win-win right here.

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moist and flaky

And thus, I sat at my table and feasted on the best-ever healthy banana bread with a cup of cold milk. As you could tell, it was a beautiful moment.

 

Matcha Mochi Donut Holes (GF + Vegan)

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It is quite exhilarating to know that mochi has been exponentially gaining popularity among the Western population, especially as a frozen yogurt topping. But mochi is a fabulous ingredient that adds great texture to many foods, so a combination of a mochi and donut couldn’t possibly go wrong, right? Indeed, the addition of mochi upgrades the texture and interior appearance of these delicate and delightful desserts.

Today I made matcha flavored donut holes simply because I’ve had a large bag of matcha powder in my pantry that I don’t use enough of, but other flavor ideas include chocolate (cocoa powder), peanut butter (PB2 powdered peanut butter), almond (almond extract), and much more. The recipe makes approximately 40 donut holes, but I must warn you, you may only end with 30 donut holes due to excess “sampling” whilst frying. Or, at least, that is what my uncontrollable self did… I actually consumed 10 donut holes within a span of 10 minutes or so, but they were far too addicting!


Matcha Mochi Donut Holes (GF + Vegan)

(Scroll below recipe for step pictures)

yield: 40 donut holes

Ingredients:

Mochi filling:

  • 1/4 c. sweet rice flour
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened non-dairy milk

Donut dough:

  • 1 1/2 c. sweet rice flour
  • 1/3 c. unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil or margarine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Optional: matcha glaze or sugar dust

  • glaze: 1/2 c. powdered sugar + 1 1/2 tsp. non-dairy milk (might need more or less; add slowly) + 1/2 tsp. matcha powder
  • sugar dust: 1/4 c. powdered sugar + 1 tsp. matcha powder

Directions:

  1. To make the mochi filling, combine the sweet rice flour and milk, and mix until well incorporated. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave, and microwave for another 15 until the dough has formed a sticky, clearer, bouncy dough. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sweet rice flour, baking powder, matcha powder, and sugar.
  3. Add in the milk and melted oil and fold in the mixture, until a solid dough forms. The dough should not stick to your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add some rice flour or if it is too dry, add some milk.
  4. Flour a work surface with sweet rice flour and knead the dough for approx. 30 seconds on the work surface. Roll the dough 1 in. thick log and cut approx. 3/4 in. wide pieces.
  5. Take the microwaved mochi dough and inch a small ball from the dough. Place the dough in the middle of the matcha 3/4 in. wide pieces and roll into a circular ball. Repeat for all other donut holes.
  6. Heat oil in a deep pot at 350 °F. Place a few donut holes in the pot and fry the donut holes until they are medium golden brown on the exterior. Place on a cooling rack.
  7. Test a donut hole by cutting open the middle and ensure that the interior dough is cooked all the way through. The dough on the inside should be nice and fluffy with a gooey, melty, cheese-like mochi filling.
  8. Top the donut holes with a matcha glaze or dust.
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Using Mochiko Rice Flour

dough

Rolled mochi dough log

cuts

Cut dough into desired size

rack

Cool holes on a cooling rack

 

The texture of these donut holes are a bit more firm as they form a crispier exterior and maintain a bright green fluffy interior, and I personally enjoy the texture over traditional donut holes. Traditional donut holes can often feel too oily and overglazed, so I highly recommend testing out these mochi donut holes!

-Jamie

 

 

Soft Maple Cookies (Oil-Free, GF, Vegan, Refined Sugar Free)

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I have recently been intrigued by a website called Feasting on Fruit, where the author, Natalie, creates mostly sweet but also savory recipes that uses fruit to replace the fats or the refined sugars. After watching some of her videos, I was a little skeptical of these recipes because some of the outcomes looked a little dry, but I decided to try a few of her recipes and was pleasantly surprised with how scrumptious the desserts were. It is so difficult to fathom that these desserts are good for you and made with natural ingredients. I was inspired by Natalie to make up my own recipe, and using her techniques, which often involves using a date paste as the fat and sugar, I came up with a soft maple cookie recipe that is out of this world. I highly recommend you all to check out Natalie’s site, and without further ado, let’s get baking!


Soft Maple Cookies

yield: 8-10 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c. oat flour
  • 10 pitted dates soaked in hot water (any type of dates work)
  • 1/3 c. non- dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. maple extract
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F.
  2. Place the dates in a food processor and pulse while slowly adding in the non-dairy milk. Do not add all the milk in at once because it may splash all over the place out of the food processor. Then add in the maple extract. A sticky date paste will form.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the oat flour, baking powder, chia seeds, and cornstarch until evenly incorporated.
  4. Pour the date paste into the dry mixture and mix until a dough is formed.
  5. Using wet hands, roll the dough into balls and flatten to form a small cookie. You can decorate the top with some cacao nibs or sprinkle with nuts!
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. Take out and enjoy!

These cookies taste best when they’re fresh out of the oven and piping with hot steam. They won’t have a gooey consistency, but will instead taste soft, moist, and cake-y. Let’s also not forget to mention that your entire kitchen will smell like maple 🙂

Soft maple cookies

 

 

 

Creamy Spinach Pot Pie

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The perfect Winter dish to battle the unforgiving cold outdoors is one that pipes clouds of steam and consists of rich, creamy sauces. With a dearth of fresh ingredients at home, I had to cleverly improvise a recipe to finish off all the perishable products in the fridge so that I could head out for a trip without coming home to spoiled food.

Thus, this isn’t your traditional pot pie. It’s simply a mix of things cooked together to form a beautiful product. I was pleased with the outcome, and I served it to a few friends who thankfully all enjoyed the “pot pie”! It is simple, cheap, quick, and easy to make and could be the star of an elegant Winter dinner.


Creamy Spinach Pot Pie

yield: 4 pies

Ingredients:

  • 1 8 oz. can pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 2 large carrots
  • 7 oz. frozen spinach
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 5 oz. frozen peas
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheese (optional; use for extra goodness)
  • 3 strips bacon (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash)

Directions (photos below!):

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
  2. Thinly slice the carrots into circles and dice the bacon into cubes.
  3. Cook the bacon in a pan until the fat is rendered and drain the bacon and set aside. Using the bacon grease, saute the carrots for about 5 minutes and then toss in the frozen peas and spinach until all the vegetables are completely cooked and combined.
  4. Add the cream cheese into the vegetables and stir slowly until the cream cheese is completely melted. Add the 3 tbsp. of milk to thin the mixture. Add in the bacon and stir until mixture is completely combined.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for a couple minutes until a rich, thick consistency is reached.
  6. Roll out the chilled crescent dough and using the ramekin as the template, cut 1 cm. around the ramekin to form the circle of dough that will cover the pot pie. You can also use a mini cookie cutter to cut out a shape to garnish the top of the pie. I used a mini star cookie cutter.
  7. Once the dough shapes are cut out, take the ramekins and spray the insides with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon in the ramekins about 1/2 c. of the vegetable, cream mixture, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and top with the crescent dough. Using a fork, press down the outsides of the dough against the ramekin rim.
  8. Beat an egg in a small bowl, and using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash onto the crescent dough.
  9. Repeat until all ramekins are complete. Bake at 350 °F for 10 min.

 

Spoon the vegetables into the ramekins

cut the dough

Use a fork to press down the edges of the crescent dough

covered pies

brush

egg wash

fresh out the oven

perfect winter meal

Forget about the gym at the moment and make these pot pies! I promise you that they will be a huge hit among the dinner table!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

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almond flour cookies

Vegan AND gluten-free???? That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. As much as I love “treat yo self” days where I can enjoy a warm, gooey pizookie with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, my GI tract often feels discomfort from the gluten and lactose gone into those cookies due to my unfortunate food intolerance to the two. However, when I made these vegan chocolate chip cookies, I felt more energized and suffered no discomfort at all because everything that went in to the cookie was really clean, pure, and minimally processed!!


 

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF)

yield: 14 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. almond flour/almond meal
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 flax/chia egg (3 tbsp. water + 1 tbsp. flax meal/chia seeds)
  • 3 tbsp. vegan sweetener (or honey if not vegan)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • dash of vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1/4 c. dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, combine water and flax/chia and set for a minimum of 5 minutes for the chia egg to form.
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, baking soda, and salt and combine well.
  3. Add the solid yet softened coconut oil, sweetener, vanilla, and egg until all the contents are mixed throughout. Mix in the chocolate chips.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees C. Form the cookies and place on a non stick baking tray.
  5. Bake the cookies for approx. 11 minutes or until the cookie is baked completely through.

These cookies are really to die for and I’ll often eat one as part of my breakfast or as a snack on the go. They also freeze really well so you could make a big batch and save them up, but I honestly finished all these cookies in just a few days :/

-Jamie

Microwave English Muffin (Vegan + GF)

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This is a recipe taken from Big Man’s World that is absolutely simple, foolproof, and healthy! I have made these for breakfast multiple times and they never disappoint. The great thing about this recipe is that it is low-cost, vegan, and gluten-free so it’s an ideal bread alternative for someone with Celiac’s disease. All the ingredients used are natural and are a great source of fiber from rolled oats and alpha-linoleic acid from the chia seeds. I ended up making an eggs benedict-type of breakfast with the English muffin, it goes great with almond butter (check out how to make homemade almond butter!), jam (check out how to make homemade chia jam!), honey, ricotta… really whatever you have on hand would serve as a great topping for the muffins.


Microwave English Muffin (Vegan + GF)

yield: 1 large English muffin

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup rolled oats (gluten free, if necessary)
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or flax meal
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce (I used a quick homemade apple sauce where I microwaved apple slices and placed in a food processor)
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk

Instructions:

  1. In a blender or food processor, process the oats, chia/flax seeds, and baking powder until a fine and evenly mixed powder forms
  2. Transfer to a small cup, bowl, or ramekin, and add the applesauce and nondairy milk, and mix until dough forms. Flatten the top of the dough.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes on high.
  4. Let it cool for 2 minutes and then slice, toast (optional), and enjoy with your toppings of choice!

On a side note, I made my English muffin breakfast a tad crazy as I loaded on the toppings, but I am all for creativity so top as you please! I included caramelized onions, tomatoes, goat cheese, cucumber slices, and turkey bacon.

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pre-microwave

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post-microwave

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a close up on the goodness

-Jamie

Banana Carrot Cake Breakfast Bars (Vegan + GF)

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Packed with protein and fiber!

The best way to use up downright blackened bananas is to make desserts because they are far too soft to enjoy, yet they are the sweetest at this point. In the past couple weeks, I’ve been terrible at consuming my bananas at their peak aesthetic and have been forced to make banana bread from the charcoal-black colored bananas. However, I am shocked to find myself say that I’ve gotten tired from banana bread, since I’ve baked a surplus of loaves, but today two blackened bananas lay on my counter and I couldn’t stand tossing them in the compost bin. Making banana bread was obviously not an option, so I decided to make some banana carrot cake breakfast bars, which also helped me use up some carrots in my fridge! A win-win situation, and I know have scrumptious to-go breakfast bars!


 

Banana Carrot Cake Breakfast Bars

yield: 12 squares

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. rolled oats
  • 3/4 c. almond meal
  • 3 tbsp. vegan sweetener (agave/ maple syrup)
  • 2 tbsp. almond butter (check out how to make homemade almond butter)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 c. grated carrots
  • 1/4 c. flax seeds
  • 2 overly ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp. applesauce or flavorless oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
  2. Place the rolled oats and almond meal into a food processor and pulse until the mixture becomes coarse crumbs, but has not completely turned into oat flour yet. Then add the cinnamon, ginger, and flax seeds and pulse until the flax seeds have become slightly chopped.
  3. Add in the sweetener, almond butter, bananas, and applesauce/oil and pulse until the mixture begins to clump together and is thoroughly incorporated.
  4. Pour in the grated carrots and pulse for about 10 seconds, or until the carrots are combined into the mixture.
  5. Pour into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. I also used a pan that cuts the bars before baking, which is convenient.
  6. Optional: Top your bars with walnuts, chocolate chips, or any toppings of your choice. I put dark chocolate chips on half of my bars.

These breakfast bars are perfect on the go and a great option for breakfast because they’re low in sugar and high in fiber and protein, certain to keep you full for your busy mornings!

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pre-baked bars

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baked bars

Matcha Energy Bites (Vegan + GF)

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Matcha energy bites

Here I am, yet posting another matcha recipe because matcha is a gorgeous, dainty ingredient that provides antioxidants for the body. Today’s recipe is matcha energy bites, which I played around with by gradually adding ingredients I believed would accompany each other well. On first attempt, the result was divine: perfect consistency, not too sweet, and packed with flavor! Pleased and legitimately overjoyed, I devoured four energy bites in one sitting and uncontrollably reached for more. I really do hope you try this recipe out because these bites are delectable!


 

Matcha Energy Bites

yield: 16 balls (1 in. diameter)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2. tsp matcha powder
  • 3/4 c. rolled oats
  • 7 medjool dates soaked in hot water
  • 1/2 c. almond flour
  • 20 almonds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds.
  • t tbsp. flax seeds

Directions:

  1. Remove the pits from the dates and soak in hot water for at least 10 minutes. This helps soften the dates, adding moisture, and making them easier to blend.
  2. Place rolled oats in a food processor and process until a fine oat flour is formed. Add in the matcha powder, almond flour, chia and flax seeds, and pulse until the flour is well incorporated.
  3. Add the soaked dates and pulse until a smooth, dough-consistency mixture forms.
  4. Place the mixture into a medium-sized bowl.
  5. Place the 20 almonds into the empty food processor and pulse until the almonds become “roughly chopped”. This will add crunchy texture to the energy bites and also cleans any leftover sticky mixture left in the food processor. Add the chopped almonds into the mixture in the bowl and thoroughly incorporate with a fork or spatula.
  6. Using clean hands, damp with a little bit of water, and roll the mixture into balls. You can also dust with a little bit of cocoa or matcha powder if you’d like!

These energy bites are great for a snack and can last in the fridge for up to two weeks!

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Soft and chewy

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Pulse the mixture

 

Power Smoothie Bowl (Vegan)

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Power Smoothie Bowl

To say that I love smoothie bowls would be honestly be an understatement. I enjoy having a smoothie bowl for breakfast, lunch, and sometimes even dinner to pack in potassium, fiber, and folic acid for the day! While I am more than happy to consume a bowl of sliced fruits topped with granola, there is something extremely refreshing about an icy, cold mixture that cools the body down during the sizzling summer days. The seemingly never ending list of smoothie bowl pro’s often conceals the fact that smoothie bowls are alarmingly high in sugar content (ahh!!), and I hate how my body feels lethargic when I consumer too much sugar. The fructose in fruit is all-natural, but consuming many grams of fructose does not benefit the body, and so I have concocted an flawless blend of fruits that keep the sugar content in a smoothie bowl relatively low. 🙂


 

Power Smoothie Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 c. frozen spinach or kale
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/3 c. sliced frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 c. non-frozen mango
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened (vanilla) almond milk

Directions:

  1. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor or powerful blender until smooth.
  2. Top with toppings of your choice! I used fresh dragon fruit, mango, pumpkin seeds, unfrosted bran flakes, and chia seeds.
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Blend all ingredients together

The major sweetener in this smoothie bowl was the non-frozen mango, and it’s important to use non-frozen because it’ll make the smoothie bowl sweeter since it’s really the only sweetener here. Although bananas and strawberries can be sweet, they lose sweetness once they are frozen so they don’t contribute much sweet flavor to the smoothie bowl.

This power smoothie bowl kept be full for 5 hours and I felt exceptionally energetic after consumption!