Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins

So I am one of those people that like to know what exactly is in my food.  When I walked by a bakery a few days a go I saw what's labeled "Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins" and I LOVE PB & CHOC! and I also LOVE LOVE LOVEE MUFFINS! However I am a vegan first of all and I don't want to eat something that will make my waist line grow sideways :) lol. So I decided to experiment and make my own PB + chocolate muffins.  I mainly use spelt / sprouted flour for my baked goods but any flour is doable :) This is definitely more calorie and sugar friendly than most muffins sold at the stores! Like a skinny version of peanut butter chocolate chip muffin! :)

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
vegan, makes 4 big muffins

1  cup spelt flour / sprouted whole wheat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
 1/3 tsp sea salt/himalayan salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup rolled whole grain oats

1/4 cup almond milk or water + 1 tsp chia seeds
1 large banana, mashed (or 1/2 cup apple sauce)
3/4 cup agave/maple syrup or stevia
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2-3 Tbsp virgin coconut oil (or another veggie oil)
  5-6 tbsp cup of PB2 (after mixed in water)

fold in: 
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, vegan OR 
1/2 cup of crushed vegan chocolate bar, I used endangered species vegan chocolate
pecans or walnuts - optional


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the chia seeds + liquid, allow to sit and soak for a few minutes until seeds plump.
3. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl. Add in the wet ingredients including the chia seed mixture.
4. Warm the oil and peanut butter in the microwave until soft and liquid in texture. Pour into your batter and fold well. The batter should be about room temperature at this point - you don't want it too warm or it will melt the chips.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Pour into muffin cups.
7. Bake for about 18-20 minutes at 375 degrees. Serve warm.or chilled :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Zucchini Pasta with Tomato Basil Sauce

I am a HUGE noodle / pasta fan so I was so happy when I discovered the wonderful zucchini pasta! Great option for those of you who are looking for a great quick easy healthy dinner recipe that is family friendly! <3 
Zucchini pasta - I used a potato peeler! easy peasy! :) then I soaked it in hot water for about two minutes to soften it.

Below is a recipe that I follow for my homemade sauce BUT I also LOVE Trader Joe's organic sauces! :) Courtesy of yummly kitchen! I add mushrooms to it as well! I sprinkled nutritional yeast on top as "cheese" or you can use vegan cheese or any reduced fat cheese :)

this is a great basic marinara to have on hand, and I'll be glad to have extra in the freezer the next time I'm making spaghetti or lasagna. If you're freezing in canning jars, just be sure to leave at least 1" for expansion.

Makes 3 quarts (cut this recipe in half if you don't want a huge amount)

15 pounds fresh Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions 
8 cloves garlic
2 cups dry white wine 
1 large bunch fresh basil 
Salt and pepper to taste 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wash tomatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place tomatoes cut-side-down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Roast for 10 minutes. Cool and peel the skins off and discard. Place peeled tomatoes in a large bowl. Crush with clean hands, or chop tomatoes. Discard any tough stems.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has cooked off. Add the tomatoes and simmer over low heat until reduced by one third to one half, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend with an immersion blender if you would like a less chunky sauce.

*A note on freezing - you can freeze sauce in a freezer-safe storage container with a lid, or in a mason jar like I did. Be sure to to bring your sauce to room temperature before freezing, and leave at least 1-inch of room from the top of the jar to allow the sauce to expand without the jar exploding.

Vegan Fudgey Black Bean Brownies with Peanut Butter Swirl


OMG! I've been wanting brownies for a while now! Thanks to the snow day today I got to spend some much needed quality time with my sweet ole' lil kitchen ;) and here's one of my products! planning to make Vegan Chocolate Blueberry muffins later tonight :

Fudgey Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies
vegan, makes 1 tray of brownies, 9" square or circle baking pan
*nutritional info below based on slicing up 12 pieces per recipe*

(2) 15 ounce cans of black beans (unsalted) - drain and rinse
7 large Medjool dates, pits removed
4 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted, organic
1/2 cup agave syrup - you can use stevia if you're worried about the sugar content :)
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup spelt flour (or any flour to substitute)
1 tsp flax seeds (optional) - def try to get some though :)
2 Tbsp Maca powder (optional)
1/2-1 tsp instant coffee (optional)

3 Tbsp peanut butter + 1 tsp coconut or safflower oil
1/3 cup raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup chocolate chips, vegan
(optional, not shown) 1/4 cup coconut flakes

Notes: The flax seeds add a bit of 'egg replacing' body to the brownies, but are optional. If you do not add them, you may want to add in an extra Tbsp of flour.

Nutritional info per piece (12 pieces per recipe)
Calories: 188kcal, Fat: 6g, Fiber: 6g, Protein: 6g, Carbs: 31g
Iron: 11% RDA, Calcium: 5% RDA


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Add the dates (pitted), black beans, agave syrup, salt, vanilla extract, coconut oil (melted state), and optional flax seeds to a high speed blender (Vitamix) or a food processor. Start on low and blend until very smooth.

3. Transfer this mixture to a large mixing bowl and fold in the cocoa powder, flour, cinnamon, instant coffee and Maca powder.

4. Grease your baking pan and pour in the brownie mixture. Smooth out with a spatula.

5. Heat the peanut butter and oil together so that you have a very liquid peanut butter mixture. Swirl that over top the brownie batter and swirl into brownies with a knife.

6. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts over top that. (Coconut flakes are optional.

7. Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes. Allow to cool at least fifteen minutes before slicing - serve warm for more messy, soft brownies that kind of fall apart when you eat them. Or allow an hour to cool for more firm, slice-able brownies.

Store on the countertop if serving within one day. Or store in the fridge for up to one week. You will need to warm the chilled brownies in microwave or oven before serving. Bon Appetit guys! :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pre-workout Shake

Okay so I am a HUGE fan of Green Smoothies! My workout today is BBL High & Tight + Bum Bum. I have to be honest with you, I am not proud of how much I ate the past few days! They were all very healthy meals but I must've ate for two people! I think its because of the stress with classes starting back up etc. Anyways I was kind of hungry, lately I have been experimenting with my diet, a large portion of my food intake consists of raw fruits and vegetables.  I did not want to do my workouts hungry but I don't want to wait an hour either! So I decided to make this Green Pre-workout Shake :) I used a bit of clementine juice as well right before I had it. I love citrus!

Ingredients :
1. 1 cup almond milk
2. 1 tsb PB2 or all natural peanut butter (no oils added)
3. 1/2 banana
4. 2-3 cups of spinach
5. Spirulina vanilla protein powder  (or protein of your choice. I used Spiru-tein)
6. Lime juice - just a few drops if you want to give it some zest!
7. 1 tsp of agave (you can use raw organic honey as well :) ) or to your liking
8. pinch of stevia - optional


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Black Bean Lettuce Sandwhich

Okay so some of you might think this looks a little on the weird side but believe if or not it tastes pretty amazing I gotta say!

> 2 tsb hummus (I used trader joes three layer)
> 2 romaine lettuce leaves
> 1/4 cup black beans
> 3 oz mushrooms
> 1/4 medium sized avocado - sliced thin and vertical
> 1/3 red bell pepper - sliced thinly vertically
> 1/2 cup of alfalfa and onion sprouts
> herbal seasoning (I use 21 salute seasonings from trader joes) and Bragg aminos

Heat up mushrooms with NO OIL. Should take about 30 seconds, make sure your pan is hot!
Smear both lettuce leaves with hummus on one side, place avocado, red bell pepper then sprouts then mushroomsthen finally beans. Add a few drops of Bragg amino liquids and sprinkle herbal seasoning. Cover with the other lettuce leaf! Yum! :) you can add salsa to if you want! Spice it up <3

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baked Sweet Potato : Healthy comfort food

So hard to take an "a la carte" picture lol! it's definitely a messy dish but it's definitely amazing tasting! Comfort food made vegan (or lean ;)), clean and easy!
Clean eating does not mean you need to give up comfort food! This was an experiment I tried today and I gotta say its pretty damn delicious! Easy to and the vegan option comes out to be about 400 calories / serving but it depends on your potato. Mine was 300g :) try this out its simple and OIL FREE. Which means its low in fat to!

1. 1 medium sweet potato
2. 1/2 cup cooked TVP (textured vegetable protein) OR ground turkey for non vegs :)
3. 1/4 raw yellow onions - chopped
4. 1/3 container of sliced baby Bella mushrooms
5. 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
6. Oil free spaghetti sauce (I used organic mushroom spaghetti sauce from trader joes)
7. 2 - 3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
8. Herbal seasoning to taste (I used 21 solute seasoning from trader joes)
9. Basil leaf - optional but I think it would add an amazing flavor if had it! Unfortunately I ran out!
10. Chili powder to taste-optional

1. Preheat over to 400F, pierce sweet potato few times with a fork / knife, bake for 35-45 mins.
2. Meanwhile you can soak your tvp for 5-10 mins
3. Heat up your pan. USE NO OIL. You can if you choose to but there is no need.
4. (Place turkey on the pan at this point if you choose the non-vegan option)Toss in onions and mushrooms, they have their own juices to cook in so you do not need to use oil. However if you are using turkey you might want to use a tiny amount of oil 1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil.
5. Pour 1/2 cup of marinara sauce ad in garlic and basil at this point
6. Vegan option : Drain TVP and add in to the sauce
7. Let it simmer while u add the herbal seasoning and chili powder.
8. Slice sweet potato in half the. Serve sauce on it :)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Truth About Breakfast Cereals

Ah! here's my own modified BIG RIP BOWL from the Engine 2 diet! SO DELICIOUS! argh!Here's what I put in it: 

1/4 cup Ezekiel 4:9 almond
1/4 cup Uncle Sam Cereal
1/4 cup raw old fashioned oats
1 sliced kiwi
1/3 of sliced bananas
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
2 tsb walnuts (had to crack them myself with a crowbar on my kitchen floor! LOL)
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1/4 tsp flax seeds
1/3 cup blueberries
1 raspberry
2/3 cup of almond milk

But here is the complete list of ingredients in the Engine 2's "BIG RIP BOWL"

1/4 cup raw old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup Grape Nuts or Ezekiel brand equivalent
1/4 cup bite-size shredded wheat
1/4 cup Uncle Sam cereal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons walnuts
1 banana, sliced
1 kiwi, sliced
Segments of one grapefruit and juice
¾ cup milk substitute of choice

Notice how the cereals with refined sugars and artificial ingredients are decorated with vibrant colours and appear to be much more festive than the "healthier" section of cereal aisle? Hmm.. I wonder what Trix and KiX is trying to distract you from perhaps their poor list of ingredients?

So I usually never really crave cereal, but I was watching the movie "engine 2" from the makers of forks over knifes and they were talking about breakfast cereals so I went on boight a box of ezekiel cereal :). Did you know that most cereals are practically just a big bowl of sugar?  Don't be fooled by Special K. Even the ones that says "now made with whole grain" could be a trick.  The Special K Blueberry cereal was one of my all time favorites! And I actually thought I was doing my body a favor by solely eating that in the mornings! 

I'm sure most of us have seen the Special K commercials. It promotes having a small waist line and that its super healthy and much better than any other cereal out there.  Unfortunately, just like many other cereals out there it's all sugar.. :( and man made chemicals. Have you ever stopped and checked the back of your cereals beyond how many grams of fats, fibre, protein and carbs?  So lets take this Special K label for example, ok so  90 calories, great, 2g of fat that's ok, only 85 mg of sodium okay that's good, 7g of sugar... Hmmm probably from the blueberries you would think, 3g of fibre that's pretty okay right ? Sounds reasonable? So you put it in your shopping cart and you move on to the next aisle.  Unfortunately, it's not how many calories or fat the cereal has that matters, it is WHAT IS ACTUALLY IN IT that matters the most! Lets compare the Special K label vs Ezekiel 4:9 cereal. 

So the top label is Special K and the bottom is the Ezekiel cereal. Just look at the difference. The first label has a TON of additives! And the way the ingredients are usually listed is by what's in there the most. So right of the bat you can see SUGAR is one of the top ingredients.  And them noticed how it says "blueberry flavored pieces" so it's pretty much saying that there is in fact no real blueberries in the cereal itself BUT there are a ton of man made chemicals that are added to this cereal though and notice how many oil additives they're actually putting into the cereal? Soybean, palm, HYDROGENATED PALM KERNEL OIL... then lets not forget the fructose, dextrose, soy lecithin, milk, and along with some ingredients that you can't even pronounce and sounds like it belongs in a lab.. Note that there is a vast difference between natural sugars and refines/ processed sugars. Another common thing you might find on cereal boxes is the "HIGH IN FIBER" or "NOW MADE WITH WHOLE GRAIN" sign on the front of it. Again, NEVER go by the front of the boxes! Always check the ingredients! While one of the ingredients might be a whole ingredients and higher in fiber, it might also be a big cluster of sugar.  At that point, it wont even matter whether you have 4g of extra fiber or 6g extra because you are essentially fueling your body with refines sugars!

So here are some things to avoid in cereals:
1. If the word "whole" is nowhere to be seen in the ingredients list.  Look at the label on the Ezekiel cereal above, every cereal's label should resemble that label.  If the word "whole" doesn't appear behind each ingredient, then it's refined.  As with sugar, you need to compare the amount of whole grains to the overall serving size. If the serving size and grams of whole grains are close, that means the cereal is almost 100% whole grain. Although sometimes you will come accross a few execptions, some cereals out there actually do not have 100% whole grain ingredients in it because the cereal might be filled with other highly nutritious ingredients such as, nuts, flax seeds, fruits (REAL fruits) etc. 

2. IGNORE "HIGH IN FIBER".  Especially cereals that do not have the word "whole" before each grain.  If you notice, the Special K label above mentioned "soluble corn fiber".  These fibers such as corn fiber, soy fiber or even oat fibers that are in cereals made without whole ingredients are a form of isolated fibers which gives you ZERO benefits.  Stick with INTACT fibers from whole ingredients! 

3. Here is a list I got from CNN :)
-- Fake fruits: The "strawberries" in your Kellogg's Strawberry Delight Bite Size Mini-Wheats are most likely a mixture of food dyes and gelatin (yuck), according to Liebman. The "raspberries" floating in your bowl are likely to have more salt than raspberry powder. "If you see fruit on the front, you have to read the ingredient list and look for real fruit," says Liebman.
-- Yogurt clusters: Yogurt sounds like it should be healthy, but yogurt coating is essentially oil and sugar and has no health benefits
-- "Slimming" cereals: Many cereals, especially those that are "high in fiber," claim you can drop a pant size if you eat a bowl for every meal. Sure, people who eat more fiber and whole grains tend to weigh less, but most cereals can't claim to cause weight loss — especially not if most of the "fiber" in them is processed.
-- Low in saturated fat: Many cereals claim they're low in saturated fat and are, therefore, good for your heart. Well, duh. Liebman says any food low in saturated fat can make that claim.
-- Calorie counts: Cereals, especially heavier ones with granola, are higher in calories than people realize. Think about how tiny a serving size of a quarter-cup is. Are you really only going to eat that much cereal for breakfast? "Calories really do count," says Liebman. "People tend to fill up the bowl, eat it, and fill it again. They assume cereal is a low-calorie, healthy food."

Now here are things to LOOK FOR:
1. No refined/man made ingredients. Easy rule of thumb:  make sure you can pronounce everything on the back of the box.
2. Whole ingredients - make sure every grain that is in it has the word "whole" behind it. the first two ingredients, at the very least should be whole grains, fruit, (nonGMO) soy, or bran.
3. Look for 3g of fiber in lighter cereals and 6g on heavier cereals.  Remember though, the ingredients list should consist of WHOLE ingredients in order for the fiber to matter! 
4. No artificial sweeteners like aspartame or our best friend, the lovely high fructose corn syrup.