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!

1 Ingredient Almond Butter

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Homemade almond butter

If only almond butter were as cheap as peanut butter, I would have jars after jars of almond butter orderly lined up on my pantry shelves. But unfortunately, a typical 12 oz. jar costs at least $7 and at the rate that I consume almond butter, I’ll be exceptionally broke in no time. However, I recently whipped up a batch of homemade almond butter at home, resulting in a jar made at a fraction of the cost of store-bought AND the recipe requires 1 ingredient ONLY. You heard that right, 1 ingredient almond butter? I was utterly shocked as well, but through experimenting, I found that the natural oils in the almonds is enough to make the spread creamy. No added sweeteners, fats, or preservatives. Need I say more?


 

1 Ingredient Almond Butter

yield: 12 oz.

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. unsalted almonds ( roasted or raw, doesn’t matter)

Directions:

  1. Spread the almonds out on a baking sheet and bake at 300°C for around 8 minutes. This activates the oils in the almonds and gives the almond butter a deep, decadent roasted flavor. Once baked, remove the almonds from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes to prevent heat from touching the plastic food processor.
  2. Pour the almonds into a food processor with a blade and process for 15-20 minutes. I used the “chop” mode and kept the processor running consistently. After every 2-3 minutes, I scraped down the sides with a spatula so that the mixture would all be on the bottom of the food processor. side note: the almonds will become a coarse texture, like almond butter. After more processing, the almonds start to look like a thick paste, and you’ll be tempted to add oil because it’ll look too dry, but DON’T, just continue to process for about 5 additional minutes. 
  3. After 20 minutes, the almonds should have become almond butter: thick and creamy, and your entire kitchen will smell like almond paradise.
  4. Store the almond in an airtight jar and store at room temperature. Because the almond butter is literally almonds, the butter can last for up to a year.

If you had enough patience to finally see the almonds transform to almond butter, I want to congratulate you!! It’ll be difficult for me to ever buy almond butter, knowing that I can save money by making it at home as well knowing that it is only made with 1 ingredient.

Enjoy you almond butter with toast, make cookies, or muffins, or simply eat it out of the jar!

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Processed almond butter after 20 minutes

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Store in an airtight container

Matcha Buns 2 Flavors: Taro and Adzuki Beans (Vegan)

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Taro matcha buns

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Adzuki matcha buns

Matcha has been around in East Asian cuisine for as long as I can think of, but the superfine green tea powder has recently gained mass popularity in the United States with dishes from matcha lattes to matcha croissants! This ingredient is high in antioxidants and provides a natural bright, luscious hue to foods. From seeing matcha ice cream, mochi, to lattes, I haven’t seen matcha baozi (buns) served at any cafe or restaurant and today I decided to put a unique twist on these buns by stuffing the buns with two typical Asian flavors: adzuki beans and taro, which both have deep colors that pair well with the earthy green color from the matcha. Not to mention, this recipe is vegan!!!


 

Steamed Matcha Buns

yield: 8 buns

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 1/4 c. all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
  • 1/2 c. lukewarm water
  • 5 tsp. white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. active yeast
  • 1 tsp. flavorless oil
  • 1 tsp. matcha powder
  • flavorless oil (for brushing)
  • red and purple food coloring for labeling the flavors(optional)

For Adzuki beans filling (yield 4; double if you want to yield 8):

  • 6 tbsp. canned adzuki beans

For taro filling, recipe can be found from my Sweet Soft Taro-Filled Flatbread recipe. However, I added 1-2 drops of purple food coloring to enhance the color so that the green bun and purple filling colors would contrast better.

Directions (step by step pictures down below):

  1. Pour lukewarm water into a medium-sized bowl, along with the sugar. Mix thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Sprinkle the yeast into the liquid and mix thoroughly until dissolved. Then add the matcha powder until the liquid is completely mixed.
  3. Pour the flour in and knead with a fork or hands for 8 minutes. Add the oil and knead for an additional minute.
  4. Pour the dough onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 5 min. Ball the dough up and cover with a bowl for 30 min. to let it rise.
  5. After 30 min, the dough should have risen a little bit. Punch the middle of the dough to release air bubbles; gently knead the dough for 30 sec. then ball it up and cover with a bowl for another 20 min.
  6. After 20 min, the dough should risen more and the dough should be soft and fluffy.
  7. Cut the dough into 8 even pieces and ball them up and place on the side.
  8. For each ball of dough, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out, making sure that the sides are thin and the middle is much thicker. The flattened dough should be about 2 1/2 in. in diameter. Place a heaping 1 1/2 tbsp. filling (taro or adzuki) in the middle and pinch the sides in, sealing tightly so that the filling does not come out.
  9. Use your hands to rotate the bun so that the top is completely smooth and the bun is perfectly round.
  10. Place in a steamer using muffin liners and brush the top of the buns with a little bit of oil.
  11. I then used a toothpick to put a tiny dot on the buns to indicate which flavor is which. I used purple food coloring for taro and red for adzuki beans.
  12. Cover the steamer with a lid and let the buns rise for at least 15 min.
  13. Place 1/2 c. water in a large wok or pot and steam the buns (covered) on high heat for 10 min.
  14. Then remove the lid and continue to steam on high heat for an additional 5 min.
  15. Remove the steamer and let the buns cool for 15 min. If you don’t cool the buns enough, the muffin liners will be difficult to remove.
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Matcha dough ball

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Cover with a bowl to let the dough rise

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I used canned adzuki beans from a Korean grocery store

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Portion dough into 8 even pieces

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Ball the dough up

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Stuff with a generous amount of adzuki beans

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Stuff with a generous amount of taro

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Seal the edges (this is the bottom of the bun)

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Place buns in the steamer

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I color coded the two flavors with food coloring

Cut open the buns carefully and mentally says “Oooh and Aaah” because the colors are just too gorgeous, and the buns taste just as good as it looks!

-Jamie

Strawberry Chia Jam

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Chia jam used on my nut and seeds bread

Jam and peanut butter make the quintessential combination, and although peanut butter provides health benefits such as protein and Vitamin E, jam is often straight up added sugars, packed with preservatives. Thus, I wasn’t too big of a fan of jam ever because the flavors felt all too sweet and artificial for me.

Luckily, health enthusiasts have been genius enough to conceive up a recipe called “Chia Jam” which I think is pure genius. By using chia’s nature to form a gel to make the jam without having to use any added corn syrup or sticky starches cuts calories drastically and actually makes the jam healthy! I attempted a strawberry chia jam recipe and it was an absolute success, and better yet, you are able to control the sweetness of your jam. Since I don’t have too big of a sweet tooth, I think that mine was perfectly sweet enough to my liking.

Strawberry Chia Jam


 

Ingredients:

yield: 1/2 c. jam

  • 9 medium-sized strawberries
  • 1 tsp. honey (use agave or maple syrup if vegan); this part is totally up to your tastebuds, so keep adding sweetener to your liking
  • 4 tbsp. chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Place the strawberries and sweetener in a food processor and pulse for about 20 seconds, or until the jam has become a puree.
  2. Place the puree in an airtight container and add the chia seeds. Combine the mixture and place in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.
  3. The jam should be a thick, spreadable texture.

I am still extremely amazed at how genius this recipe is and I enjoyed it on toast, in a peanut butter sandwich, and even made thumbprint cookies using the jam!

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pulse the strawberries in a food processor

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Chia seed and fruit puree

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chia and puree before the fridge

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chia jam

-Jamie

A Glorious Loaf of Bread: Nut and Seed Bread Recipe (GF and Vegan)

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Topped with chia jam and avocado

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Nuts and seeds bread

Loitering among the miscellany of breads and baked goods in Central Market continuously induces contentment because wheat-infused air and the overwhelming display of intricately-crafted balls of gluten rings perfection. I’m a bread enthusiast, constantly exploring the art of bread-making. In front of my eyes was a glut of bread samples, and I shamelessly began the carb-adventure with a plain ciabatta bread, working through hatch pepper cheddar scones, lemon ricotta cookies, purple wheat bread, and ending with a “seed bread” packed with poppy and sunflower seeds. Instantly, I fell for the seed bread as I reached for seconds and thirds because seeds in bread provides an earthy taste and crunchy texture that I love.

However, stores rarely add enough seeds and nuts to my liking, and if they do, they loaf costs around a whopping $11. It only seemed sensible to make my own, packed with nuts and seeds, resulting in a high-protein, high-fiber, healthy loaf of bread. I formulated a vegan and gluten-free recipe, inspired by a Paleo, Stone-Age Nordic Bread Recipe, which comprises a variety of nuts and seeds.


 

Nut and Seed Bread

yield: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. flax seeds
  • 1/2 c. nuts (almonds, walnuts, or hazelnuts; any nuts work) I used raw almonds
  • 1 c. gluten-free rolled oats
  • 4 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp. oil (I used coconut oil, but you can use olive oil if you would like an olive scented loaf)

Directions:

  1. Cut the nuts in half (I found this to be beneficial because whole almonds made the loaf a bit more difficult to slice). Then, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let the loaf sit for at least 5 hours.
  3. Bake the loaf in a pre-heated 350 °C oven for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove the loaf from the pan and bake on the wire rack for 30 minutes.
  5. Cool the loaf on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes, which will allow the bread to firm up, making it easy to slice.

A little of this bread goes a long way because it is packed with protein, fiber, and OMEGA-3s that cause satiety for a long period of time. You can top your bread with any toppings you would like, but a couple ideas include avocado and strawberry chia jam, which I will post a recipe for tomorrow.

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Pre-baked loaf

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Baked loaf

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Two breakfast toast options

-Jamie

Healthy Lunch Idea #13: 3-Ingredient Vegan Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

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So, sweet potato pizza crust doesn’t really taste like your typical pizza crust, but if you like sweet potatoes, you will fall in love with this recipe. It’s extremely filling and guilt-free, and for all you vegans out there… this recipe is completely animal friendly. For this simple recipe, you only need one large sweet potato, oats, and flax seed. Chances are if you are vegan or health-conscious, you probably have these ingredients in your kitchen right now. And if you do not have flax seeds, you could bind your dough together with other vegan options such as hummus or any vegan dairy product such as vegan cream cheese. If you are not vegan, you could use an egg or dairy products. Nonetheless, the outcome will still be more nutritious than a flour pizza crust.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 3/4 c. oats
  • 2 tbsp. flax + 4 tbsp. water = 2 thick flax eggs (don’t put too much water because you want your crust to crisp up in the oven)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • Toppings: hummus, vegan cheese, and roasted asparagus

Instructions:

  1.  Peel sweet potato and cut into chunks. Place in a food processor and pulse until the chunks look like shreds.
  2. Add the oats, oil, salt and pepper, and flax egg and pulse until the mixture is well combined.
  3. Pour mixture into a bowl and stir with a spatula to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Spread onto a pan to where the mixture is 1/2 cm. thick. Place in the oven and back at 400 degrees for 30 min. Check on the crust once in a while to make sure the sides are not burned.
  5. Once the pizza crust has crisped up, meaning most the moisture has been taken out, place your toppings and back for an additional 5 min.
  6. Take pizza out and place out for about 5 min. Serve and enjoy!

This sweet potato pizza crust is a great way to get veggies into every single bite. I ate half the pizza in one sitting but no worries; it’s just like eating a baked sweet potato with toppings.

-Jamie