Meal Prep Hack: Chia Pudding

As I’m a student again and pretty busy, we have consistently meal prepped our food. We’ve very good and successful in doing this almost every week. This has reduced the amount of food we waste to almost nothing, but, more importantly, it has reduced my level of stress dramatically. I hate the feeling I get when I get home from school after a busy day, hangry, nervous and stressed, only to find that there’s nothing ready for me to eat.

One of the things I consistently prep every week is my chia pudding. I’ve been liking this a lot, and my friend La végé d’à côté suggested that I tried this as a healthy snack. Because I’m extra lazy, I prep an entire batch for the week, so that I’m always prepared in case I get hungry.

Here is what you need:

  • 8 tbs of chia whole chia seeds
  • 3 cups of plant milk (I use unsweetened vanilla oat milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Simply mix everything up in a clean glass container and place it in your fridge overnight. I give it a shake when go into the kitchen to make sure everything is doing ok during the first evening. After that it’s ready!

What I do once this is ready and waiting in the fridge: Every night when I prepare my lunch, I place 1/2 cup of chia pudding (it’s about 5 tablespoons) in a small mason jar and fill up the rest with frozen berries (my favourite is frozen dark cherries that I get from Costco: so fancy and delicious!). The next morning, it’s ready to enjoy! I really don’t miss the sugar because of the fruit and vanilla (a nice trick I learned when I went sugar free for two months). I find this super filling, and it makes the perfect snack to bring with me at school. I like that it provides a healthy dose of omegas and fiber. Mainly, I just love how delicious this is!

Let me know if you try it out!

Anne

Simple Pumpkin Cookies!

Pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! It seems to be everywhere these days, and for good reasons! It’s seasonal, comforting and so versatile. We’ve been having some pumpkin soup every week for a while now, and I don’t get tired of how smooth, sweet and nutritious it is. If you know anything about me, however, you know that I have a clear sweet tooth. So, here come the simplest, most delicious and satisfying pumpkin cookies!

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Here’s what you need for 12-15 cookies:

  • 1 cup of oats (I used quick because that’s what I have, but use the kind you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves powder (optional, but really nice)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree (I used a can. Make sure it’s just pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

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Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare a cookie sheet: lightly oil it. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Place the dry ingredients (oats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, cinnamon, cloves powder and salt) into your food processor or blender, and mix until you get a smooth powder. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, maple syrup and tahini) to the dry mix and mix until well combined. Mix in the chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds.
  4. Use one spoonful of the cookie dough and form your cookie shapes. These won’t spread so you can prepare them in any shape you like.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes or until they are slightly golden. These will be soft when they come out of the oven, so let them rest for 10 minutes before you enjoy them!

I really hope you give these a try because they are delicious and so quick to make. Let me know if you try this recipe out!

 

 

Cinnamon Swirl Muffins

A few days ago, Vegan Richa’s picture of her cinnamon swirl cake showed up on my Facebook wall, and it looked amazing! Of course, I had to try it out. I made a gluten-free batter and divided it to make muffins for a great breakfast-to-go option, and here we are!

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I won’t copy out her recipe here, but please visit her amazing blog to check it out. You’ll find my modifications bellow to make it gluten-free. The resulting muffins a super soft and flavourful. They are the perfect partners if you are looking for a break, a pause from the world. Curl up with your favourite book, a cup of tea and one of these muffins to be transported into cinnamon dream-land.

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Here’s what I changed:

  • 1 cup of non-dairy milk: I used 1 1/3 cups of oat milk instead of soy or almond. I added the 1/3 cup once everything was mixed together because I thought the batter was a bit too thick for muffins. It turned out perfect for 12 muffins.
  • 2 cups of flour: I used 1 cup of millet flour and 1 cup of sorghum flour
  • I included the 1 tbs of corn starch.
  • For the muffins, I placed 2 tbs of batter before sprinkling on some of the cinnamon sugar. I topped each muffin with another 2 tbs of batter and some more cinnamon sugar.
  • I baked these for 25 minutes.

I hope you’ll give these muffins a try as they are really yummy and so simple to make! I love that you find the surprise cinnamon sugar layer in the middle. They are not too sweet but just sweet enough. I think they might be new favourites, so try them out and let me know what you think!

 

 

Simple and Fresh Pesto

I love basil! And this year is the first year we actually have happy basil plants. It can only mean one thing: PESTO TIME!

Pesto is so fresh and delicious it’s always very exciting to have some in the kitchen. The traditional recipes call for pine nuts, but, hum, these are really expensive! I kept things simple using ingredients that are always in my pantry, and I’m more than satisfied with the result. Here’s my simple, simple, simple pesto recipe!

Here’s what you need:

  • Enough fresh basil to fill up your blender, about 5 cups (leaves and tender stems)
  • 2 tbs tahini
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 whole lemon, rind removed
  • 1 tsp salt (I used coarse sea salt)
  • pepper, chipotle pepper flakes, or red pepper flakes to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. Wash the basil and pat dry.
  2. Transfer all the ingredients, but the olive oil, into your blender and blend.
  3. Slowly add the olive oil until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Transfer to an air-tight container and keep in the fridge.
  5. Enjoy on everything!

I love this pesto because it is great on everything: sandwiches, as a salad dressing and, of course, pasta. I used raw kelp noodles for a lighter no cook meal, and it was delicious! Let me know what your recipe for pesto is!

 

Simple dumplings and a special collab!

Dumplings are my favourite to make (and eat) because you can pretty much put anything you like inside, and they’ll turn out amazing. They are also so fun to prepare and feel like origami in the kitchen. As tomorrow is my birthday, I wanted to bring something a bit special: ahoy all crocheters out there, not only will you get a recipe, you’ll also get an amazing crochet tutorial for your very own fantastic yarn-dumplings! This special tutorial was made to order by my cousin over at Yarntastic Vibes. Go check her out: she’s a pretty amazing lady!

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For the recipe, I pretty much use whatever is in my fridge to make the filling paste in my food processor. Of course, you can chop everything up by hand, but I prefer to use my food processor for a faster solution. I’m sharing my basic recipe here, but you’ll also find a list of great additions below.

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Here is what you need:

For the filling:

  • 1/2 block firm tofu (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 green onion stalks
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup cabbage
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste

For the wrapping and cooking:

  • Dumpling wraps, rounds: I find these at my local Asian grocery store. They are very cheap, vegan (flour and water) and very convenient.
  • 1 tbs sesame oil

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 tsp vinegar (I like to use balsamic, but of course Chinese black vinegar would be ideal)
  • 3 tsp soy sauce

Other possible add-ons:

  • mushrooms: oyster mushrooms give a really nice shew, but any kind will work
  • cooked beans: great substitute for the tofu, if you prefer to go soy-free
  • spinach or other leafy greens: dumplings are a perfect way to hide our greens!
  • kimchi: for dumplings with a kick
  • nuts: for a bitier bite

Here is what you do:

  1. Cut out the ends of your carrot, and pulse in your food processor until you have small chunks. You want to stop just before you get a smooth, homogeneous mixture so that your dumplings have a bit of crunchiness. Transfer the carrots to a bowl.
  2. Place the rest of your filling ingredients in your food processor and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to the carrots and mix well.
  3. Form your dumplings by placing one teaspoon of filling in the centre of your wrapper. Circle the rim of your wrapper with some water to help it stick and fold one side over the other. Press firmly to seal, or pleat for a more traditional look. Check out Mary’s Test Kitchen’s tutorial. Repeat until you are out of filling.
  4. To cook, place your sesame oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is warm, place your dumplings. Let cook for a few minutes, and add 1/2 cup of water to the pan. Cover and let cook until all the water has evaporated. You might need to add more water depending on the size of your pan. You know your dumplings are cooked once the wrapper is slightly more translucent on the rim. At that point, uncover and let your dumplings grill until they are nice and golden on their bottoms. Serve hot and enjoy with the dipping sauce!

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Making dumplings might be intimidating, but it’s actually very simple. I find that you don’t really need to cook the filling before you make the dumplings: the vegetables maintain a nice crunch that way! I love how versatile and impressive this looks. Let me know if you try this out!

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If cooking is not quite your thing, check out the following crochet tutorial for another fun dumpling night!

Hi there my Lighthearted friends, it’s SO nice to meet you all! Before we get started with today’s appetizer, I would like to thank my cousin for letting me be her guest on her blog for the day…thank you cousin <3! Anyways I would like to introduce myself to you all before we get started with this delicious appetizer. My name is Annie, and I am the behind the scenes person of Yarntastic Vibes. I love to knit and crochet but mostly am a full-time crocheter. I love to watch my imaginations come to life with the hooks and create my own colour works with the needles. However, I only knit seasonally since knitting takes a little longer for me. Well with that being said, let’s get started with the appetizer, shall we! Don’t worry friends this dish is fairly easy to cook up and it’s delicious as well ;). I will walk you through it step by step, I promise! 

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Here are the main ingredients that you will need in order to make your dumplings:  

  • A size 4.25 hook (or US size G) 
  • A couple of grams of tan coloured yarn  
  • Some stuffing  
  • Yarn needle  
  • And scissors 

Some abbreviations that you will need to know: 

  • ML = Magic Loop  
  • SCS = Single Crochets  
  • DCS = Double Crochets 
  • INC = Increase  
  • CH = Chain  

Now that you’ve gathered all of your ingredients and knowledge, it’s time to make the dumpling wraps!  

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Dumpling Wraps (Make 4):  

Round 1) Create 6 scs in ML (6) 

 [[or you could also chain 2 and then make 6 scs into the second st from the hook]] 

 Round 2) Create 2 scs in each st around (12) 

Round 3) *1 sc in next st, 1 inc* around for 6x (18) 

Round 4) *1 sc in next 2 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (24 

Round 5) *1 sc in next 3 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (30 

Round 6) *1 sc in next 4 sts, 1 inc* around for 6x (36 

We’re not done yet, we still have to do the detailing of the fork’s imprint! To do so, fold your dumpling wrap with the tail end on the inside like so… 

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 Now take your hook and insert it into the next st then chain 3 and then turn your work over. 

 annies 4

Next, yarn over, insert your hook into the next st and pull through, yarn over once more, and pull through for your first double crochet…  

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Since you made the first two double crochets with the chain 3 and your first DC, you would want to make 3 more DCs for a total of 5 DCs for a single bobble stitch.  

 You would want to make a total of 8 bobble stitches along with a sc around the seem to make the dumplings look like this…  

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Remember to stuff your dumpling before you close it off with your last bobble stitch!  

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Here’s my favourite part of crocheting. Cut off about 5 inches of yarn and thread it through your yarn needle. Take the yarn needle and pass it through the stitches on the inside of the dumplings to hide the tail, and voila! You have your very first side dish of dumplings :D! Congratulations you!  

annies dumplings1

Well, that was fun! Thanks again Anne for letting me be your guest blogger today :). I’ll pass the baton over to you now so you can sign us off <3.  

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing tutorial, Annie! Go visit her page, and let us know if you try our dumplings out!

Protein cookies: these are addictive!

My gym stocks Complete Cookies by Lenny and Larry … and these cookies are addictive! I mean, you train really hard and then you get to stuff your face with these delicious cookies. It’s a bit counterproductive, but they are hard to resist! Anyways, when I realized they were not particularly good for you (lots of fats and sugars) and had a ton of ingredients (including palm oil), I decided to try and make my own.

protein cookies 2

I stumbled upon this very detailed recipe and decided to give it a try. I changed it a bit, and I thought I’d share my favourite flavours here.

Here is what you need for 2 big cookies or 4 regular cookies:

  • 3 tbs almond flour
  • 30 g protein powder (I used Iron Vegan’s vanilla athlete’s blend)
  • 2 tbs nut or seed butter
  • 1 tsp to 1tbs coconut nectar or maple syrup (depending on your taste)
  • 2-3 tbs oat milk

Flavour combinations:

  • Birthday cake: 1 tsp vanilla extract + 1 tbs sprinkles
  • Hazelnut chocolate: 1 tbsp chocolate chips + 1 tbsp whole hazelnuts (also use hazelnut butter if you can find it)
  • Double chocolate: 1 tsp cocoa powder + 1 tbs chocolate chips
  • Choco-coconut: 1 tbs coconut flakes + 1 tbs chocolate chips
  • Peanut butter – chocolate: use peanut butter + 1 tbs chocolate chips

protein-cookies

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).
  2. Mix all the ingredients for your flavour combination in a large bowl until well combined. You might need to add a bit more milk to make every thing smooth. I found that 3 tbs were good for some of the flavours with dryer ingredients.
  3. Devide the batter to form 2 or 4 cookies.
  4. Place on a lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool completely (if you can) before eating them. Store in an air-tight containter. Enjoy!

I really enjoyed making these because the combinations you can come up with are endless. Since you are only making 2 cookies at a time, you can easily mix and match the flavours.  Let me know if you try this out!

 

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Serving: 1 cookie (half the recipe)

 

 

 

 

 

Banana Bread Muffins

I’ve been on a food waste reducing mission since the beginning of the year. I’ve tried to really keep track of the food I buy so that minimal amounts of it end up in the trash.

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With that in mind, when I saw that two perfectly innocent bananas were starting to get rather tanned, I made this banana bread. It’s a simple one-bowl recipe, packed with flavour and good ingredients. Plus, it’s refined sugar-free! Well, if you don’t count the chocolate chips… that doesn’t count, right?

banana-muffin

Here is what you need:

  • 2 tbs ground flax seeds + 6 tbs water
  • 2 ripe bananas (we’re talking brown spots here)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (I pureed some raw apple with my stick blender for this, but if you’re out, an extra mushed banana will also work great)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 3/4 cup oat flour (I made mine in my blender using regular oats)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • to make them extra cute: extra chocolate chips + some sliced banana

Here is what you do:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flax seeds and water together and let sit for 5 minutes or until they form a gel-like substance.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C) and oil your muffin tin.
  3. Mash up the two bananas with the flax mixture until smooth.
  4. Add in the rest of the ingredients one by one. Whisk until smooth between each addition.
  5. Fill up your muffin tins with two tablespoons of the batter.
  6. To decorate, add a few chocolate chips and a banana slice to the top of each muffin.
  7. Place in your oven for 25-30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin and enjoy!

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Super simple, super delicious! These are not too sweet, so the chocolate chips really add in a nice touch. Also, because they are made with oat flour, they are perfect for breakfast and will keep you full for quite some time. Let me know if you try them out!

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Chocolate Overload, Cheat Day Brownies

I love chocolate. If I could, that’s the only thing that I would eat. This is why I’m always trying new chocolate recipes. Well, this one is perfect if you’re looking for a rich, cakey brownie. Seriously, it’s delicious and not too sweet, which makes it perfect for the dark chocolate lover of your life… oh, and they’re gluten-free too!

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Here is what you need:

  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 tbs arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbs potato starch
  • 1/4 cup black bean flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3 tbs chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup olive or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 1 handful of chocolate chips
  • 1 handful almonds

Here is what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease your brownie pan.
  2. Melt the 3 tbs of chocolate chips and mix in the apple sauce, and oil. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the different flours and starches, sugar, cocoa powder and salt.
  4. Add in the liquid chocolate mix and vanilla, and mix well. Add in the warm water until you have a smooth batter.
  5. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and almonds.
  6. Pour the batter into the brownie pan and bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the brownie cool down for 30 minutes before cutting it. Store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!

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This is glorious! I cut this up to make 16 brownie bites that are easy to take with me in case I might be craving chocolate. This is super simple to prepare and so delicious. You just have to try it out!

 

 

Blueberry Cheesecake – A raw vegan treat

It’s blueberry season over here, and they have been so good. I love that blueberries are so tasty and so beneficial for the digestive system. This cake is slightly tart, creamy and purely delicious! The hardest part is really just waiting for it to set overnight. It’s perfect for a family dinner or an end-of-summer picnic.

blueberry-cheesecake

Here is what you need:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Process the almonds in your food processor until they form a loose flour.
  2. Add the dates and the vanilla and process until the mix is smooth and starts to stick together. If you take a small handful of the mixture, it should stay together after it has been pressed.
  3. Spread the mixture at the bottom of a springform pan. Use a glass to even it out. Let sit in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the cake.

For the cheese layer:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for at least 1 hour
  • 2 tbs coconut oil
  • 2 to 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • the juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • a little almond milk, as needed
  1. Place all of the ingredients in your food processor and processor until you get a smooth cream. You might need to add a little bit of milk to help smooth everything.
  2. Pour over the crust and put the cake back in the fridge. Let sit for 15 minutes.

For the blueberry layer:

  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries
  1. Process 1 1/2 cups of the blueberries in your food processor until completely smooth.
  2. Pour over the cheese layer and sprinkle the rest of the blueberries all of the cake.
  3. Place the cake back in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

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I really hope you try this recipe because it’s so delicious! I’m always amazed to see how thick the blueberry layer sets to be all naturally.

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The cake is very refreshing and perfect to end a meal. Let me know if you try it out!

Coconut yogurt: this time it worked!

I have been trying out different ways to make vegan yogurt, but so far all of my attempts have failed horribly. There is nothing fun about waking up to a weird and pungeant smell and realizing that it is the soy yogurt experiment that has gone wrong… really wrong!

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Last week however, I realized that I had some boxes of coconut milk in my pantry and that they were about to go bad. I decided that this was the perfect excuse to try making vegan yogurt again.

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Now, my budget this summer is pretty tight, so there was no way I was going to spend 50$ (and maybe more) on probiotic pills. I know that these little pills would mean that I would be able to make hundreds of batches of vegan yogurt, but no. I went to my trusted local health food store, and realized that they didn’t even have those pills. So, double no. They did have already made coconut yougurt however. After checking the ingredients and seeing the “live cultures” listed as part of the ingredients, I decided that I could spare this 6$ for my experiment.

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The process of making yogurt is fairly simple. You mix live cultures with your milk, stir everything well, let this sit overnight in a warm place, move everything to the fridge, and voila! I used to love making goat’s milk yogurt and kefir before going vegan, so my hopes were up on this coconut yogurt.

Here is what I used:

  • 1L coconut milk
  • 350g plain store-bought coconut yogurt (I used the one from Silk)

Here is what I did:

  1. In a large container, I mixed the coconut milk and the yogurt with a wisk until everything was homogenous.
  2. I covered the top of my container with a paper towel tied with a rubber band and placed it in my oven (with the light turned on).
  3. 12 hours later I moved the container to the fridge and let the yogurt set for 8 more hours.

The result? Well, you have two options here. The fattier part of the coconut milk yogurt will gatter to the top of your container and give you this incredibly thick and rich yogurt. The bottom part will be more liquid and perfect to add to smoothies. The first option is to keep these two phases separate and to enjoy the great diversity that this recipe gives you. The second option is to take out your trusty wisk and to wisk everything together. The result will be a smooth drinkable yogurt that is perfect for parfaits and smoothies. I have to say I did both and can’t believe how thick and creamy the top layer is.

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The taste of this yogurt is tangy with the slightest coconut aftertaste. It really is super smooth and so delicious. Now, for the next batch, just remember to keep 1 cup of already made yogurt that you will use as a starter. Infinite vegan yogurt, here we come!