Make Something Monday: Pumpkin Spice French Toast

This time last week, I transformed my fall weather wishes into pumpkin waffles, hoping the spices would somehow manifest a change of temperature. Today, there’s a cool breeze and crisp autumn smell in the air, so it seems even more appropriate to break out the canned pumpkin once more. Inspired by the Vegan MoFo mastermind herself, I based my gluten-free, corn-free version of this pumpkin french toast on Isa’s recipe in Vegan Brunch. Add to that a little extra fall spice & a dash of agave sweetness & I found a recipe that perfectly satisfied my craving for fall [and, for that matter, my unexplainable recent craving for french toast].

pumpkin french toast

And since I can’t seem to talk about french toast without quoting Leslie Mann’s character from The 40-Year Old Virgin, here’s this:

Ingredients

1 c canned pumpkin [preferably organic]
1 1/2 c So Delicious coconut milk
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
6-8 slices Food for Life gluten-free bread*

Place all ingredients except for bread into blender & process until combined.
In a large bowl, soak bread pieces in mixture for at least 10 minutes on each side.
[For more flavorful french toast, soak pieces for several hours before preparing.]
Lightly grease a medium to large skillet with coconut oil or spray.
Fry each pre-soaked slice over medium heat until golden brown on each side.
Top with real maple syrup & a sprinkle of cinnamon. Enjoy.

*Tidbit of Truth: The awesome thing about making this recipe gluten-free is that, while normally it calls for slightly stale bread, even the best gluten-free bread already seems slightly stale even when it’s fresh out of the package. Not hating, just saying…it’s perfect.

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Make Something Monday: A Healthy Starbucks Iced Green Tea Latte [Vegan]

Last Wednesday was my 29th birthday, which meant a lovely dinner at Karyn’s on Green, followed by an evening of vegan desserts with friends and several rounds of Pac-man & Frogger at our local beercade. Needless to say, much fun was had.

But more importantly [or at least more relevant to today’s post], celebrating a birthday meant receiving a free drink from Starbucks thanks to my trusty rewards card.

starbucks green tea latte iced

As I watched the barista prepare my venti iced soy green tea latte, I observed how incredibly easy it looked: ice, soy milk, & Starbucks’ special blend of matcha powder & way too much sugar were added to my cup, followed by a vigorous shaking.

“I could do that,” I thought, “and with much healthier ingredients too.”

So tonight, I did. And it was delicious.

homemade vegan starbucks green tea latte

No soy. No sugar. Just healthy, green tea goodness.

Ingredients
1 tsp loose matcha powder
approx. 2 c. So Delicious coconut milk [or your favorite soy-free, non-dairy milk]
4-6 ice cubes
agave nectar to taste [I used 2 healthy drizzles, swirled around the jar]

In a 16 ounce lidded jar, combine ice, matcha powder and just enough coconut milk to fill container, leaving about an inch below the rim. Place lid on jar & shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined and a healthy foam forms at the top. If the matcha powder starts to clump slightly, stir about with a spoon until dispersed, then add desired amount of agave & shake one last time. Enjoy while relaxing at home with a baked good or re-place the lid & take it with you to-go [just like the real thing!].

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Thankful Thursday: Gluten-free Vegan on the Go

For me, today is an especially Thankful Thursday. Nick & I just returned from a 3 day camping trip and I’m feeling particularly grateful to be home and in the vicinity of a hot shower.

camping vegan style

I was also quite thankful to find plenty of healthy, gluten-free & vegan snacks to sustain me while surrounded by hot dogs & s’mores. After stocking up at a suburban Wisconsin Walmart [with a surprisingly good selection], here’s the list of supplies Nick & I purchased for dining in the great outdoors:

garlic hummus
organic baby carrots
Odwalla chocolate chip peanut bars
tri-color bell peppers
corn tortillas
lime juce
Nature’s Path coconut chia granola
So Delicious coconut milk
bananas
& a pack of fajita seasoning

With these supplies, I was able to sustain myself quite well during our vacation. On the road, I kept myself satisfied with baby carrots, hummus, bananas, and Odwalla bars. At the camp site, Nick broke out his trusty zombie survival mess kit to whip up yummy pepper fajitas in a lime juice marinade [+ our camp-mates made some delicious veggie-kabobs for me]. Breakfast consisted of dinner leftovers followed by a bowl of granola with coconut milk. All vegan. All gluten-free.

Who says eating healthy is hard away from home?

Other things I’m thankful for this week:

♥ hot showers ♥ aloe vera [for post-camping redness] ♥ avocados on everything ♥ client testimonials about glowing skin & a bigger bra size ♥ my former/current client Stephanie’s blog about her ongoing health coaching experiences ♥ and as always, Nick Conrad

Quick Bite: Tropical Chia Pudding

A note on Chia Seeds: there is really no end to the benefits these little babies provide. They’re hydrating, full of protein, loaded with omega-3’s, and have 5x’s the calcium of milk. They’re also really good at helping with digestion & reducing bloat due to their high fiber content. Make them as pudding or throw them in your smoothies, just don’t eat them dry or they could slightly dehydrate you due to their moisture-absorbing capabilities.

I love chia pudding. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it never fails to satisfy my breakfast hunger. However, sometimes my bag of magic little seeds gets lost in my refrigerator and I forget about them for weeks on end. That’s why, after recommending chia pudding to a health coaching client yesterday, I was happy to revive my craving for them & whipped up this creation this morning:

tropical chia pudding

Minutes after posting this photo of my belated breakfast, a facebook friend exclaimed that it looked so delicious that he MUST try this recipe. It’s an easy recipe, but if you’ve never worked with chia seeds before they can be a bit intimidating, which is why I decided to do a quick post on my recipe.

The bad news is, when it comes to chia pudding, I rarely measure. The good news is, if your pudding still looks a little too runny after 10-15 minutes in the fridge, you can simply add more chia seeds to absorb the excess liquid or let it sit for 10 minutes longer and watch the seeds work their extra-absorbing magic.

Ingredients

For Pudding:
Chia seeds – enough to cover the bottom of your bowl*, keep in mind they’ll expand later
So Delicious coconut milk [or your favorite non-dairy milk] – enough to cover the seeds
a small drizzle of pure maple syrup
a splash of vanilla

For topping:
1 kiwi
1/2 apple
1 handful raw walnuts
a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut, shredded

In a cereal bowl, stir together pudding ingredients & place in fridge for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight, depending on how early you’re preparing your meal.
Once your chia pudding has reached it’s desired texture [which looks something like thick tapioca], cut up your fruit & apply all of your toppings.
Sit down in a patch of sun & enjoy your tropical paradise in a bowl.

*Some recipes call for up to 1/2 cup of chia seeds, but I tend to make smaller servings of chia pudding topped with lots and lots of fruit. I find that I still get the benefits of the seeds without having to break the bank by constantly replenishing my supply. Over time, you’ll find your own preferred serving size. There are no rules. 🙂

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Quick Bite: Single-serving Gluten-free, Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie

One of my favorite films of all time is Stranger Than Fiction. Aside from being madly in love with the city it’s filmed in, I find the entire plot completely adorable. I particularly relate to Ana Pascal’s character, a connection that’s grown stronger over time. You see, when the film was released in 2006, the only baking I’d ever done was boxed mix brownies. I had no idea that flour came in different varieties and could never have foreseen that I would one day consider baking my absolute passion. Since going vegan [and eventually gluten-free], I’ve opened myself up to a whole world of ingredients, which means that the scene in which Harold gives Ana a box full of flours now makes me swoon more than roses.

i bought you flours.

But before that scene happens, this scene happens:

After a really awful, no good day didn’t your mama ever make you milk and cookies?

I think of that line anytime I’m craving warm & gooey cookies straight from the oven. The only problem is, it’s hard to eat gluten-free cookies straight from the oven. They tend to need a bit of time to cool and set up, otherwise they simply fall apart before they reach your mouth. Not to mention the fact that it’s only the first 2 or 3 cookies from a batch that can be consumed in their warm and gooey state. After that, you’re simply left with the fully cooled, properly set up remainder of the batch…still delicious, but more satisfying for the tea-dunking variety of cookie cravings.

That’s why I was so excited to stumble upon Topped With Cinnamon‘s single-serving cookie recipe. Since these cookies are prepared & served in ramekins, it no longer matters whether or not the gluten-free version has cooled and set. And because they’re individual servings, you’re always guaranteed that fresh-from-the-oven gooeyness.

single serving cookie

Serving Tip: I recommend serving these with a glass of So Delicious coconut milk. I’m not usually a huge fan of pouring myself a big ole glass of vegan milk alternative, but in this case, the combination is absolutely divine. I crave it.

So, after a really awful, no good day have some [coconut] milk & [vegan] cookies. 

Ingredients

1 1/2 tsp coconut oil, melted [+ more as needed to achieve desired dough texture]
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla [feel free to over pour ;)]
1/8 tsp sea salt + more for sprinkling
1/8 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp all-purpose gluten-free flour
1-2 tbsp Enjoy Life chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine everything but the chocolate chips & stir until thick & doughy.*
*If dough appears slightly flaky, add up to another tsp of coconut oil to moisten.
Fold in chocolate chips & smooth into an oven-safe ramekin [I used a creme brulee dish].
Top with a sprinkling of salt for extra flavor.
Bake at 35oF for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with coconut milk & eat it hot, straight from the dish.

Make Something Monday: Protein-Packed Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

As a food blogger, I take a lot of photos of my meals.

Yep, I’m one of those annoying instagram users delaying the enjoyment of everyone’s first bite until things are properly documented. For the most part, the only people who actually care about my obsessive food photography are my fellow vegan followers. They enable my addiction with immediate likes and kind comments. Occasionally, however, a food photo catches the attention of more than just the usual suspects. For whatever reason, my brunch this weekend was one of them. After posting what I thought were some rather rough looking shots of my gluten-free creation, I received more than one requests for the recipe.

So, without further ado, here is my creation. Packed with protein thanks to garbanzo beans & a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, this batter comes out quite thick. I had no problem spreading it onto the pan, but if the thickness bothers you, just add a few more shots of coconut milk to thin things out. This recipe makes 5-6 medium-sized, ultra-filling pancakes that were plenty for two and then some. Don’t let their size fool you.

protein peanut butter banana pancakes

Ingredients

1 c garbanzo bean flour
1/4 c brown rice flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c So Delicious coconut milk
1/3 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 large bananas, mashed
1-2 tbsp peanut butter, creamy
1/2 c Enjoy Life chocolate chunks [or your favorite vegan chocolate chips]

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt & xanthan gum.
In a smaller bowl, stir together mashed banana, maple syrup, coconut milk, applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla, & peanut butter.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredient bowl & stir until combined.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Make pancakes. Enjoy.

Make Something Monday: Thin Mint Chewy Brownie Donuts [Gluten-free, Vegan, Soy-free]

There’s something about the approach of Valentine’s Day that makes me crave donuts. I only know this because it was this same time last year that I made my first batch of Gluten-free Chocolate Cake Donuts. I became so obsessed with them that I even purchased an on sale heart-shaped pan after Valentine’s Day to make the baking process that much more girly.

Then, suddenly, about 10 batches of deliciousness later, I stopped making donuts.

It wasn’t until last week, almost a year later, that I started to feel the craving again. And because it’s the time of year that girl scout cookie posts are running amuck , I decided to make a batch of thin mint donuts. Two cravings, one pastry. Technically these are called “cake donuts,” but this recipe came out so chewy and brownie-like that I’m calling them my Thin Mint Brownie Donuts.

thin mint donuts

Ingredients

1/2 c brown rice flour
1/3 c garbanzo bean flour
1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 c  + 2 tbsp arrowroot
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/3 c maple syrup
1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
3 tbsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp mint extract* [depending on desired minty-ness]
1/2 c hot water
1/3 c melted coconut oil + a touch more for the pan

*Helpful Tip: While I’m always a big fan of over-pouring the vanilla, be sure to use your mint extract sparingly. I almost ended up with toothpaste-flavored donuts before adjusting my measurements to the ones I used above.

For topping:
approx. 1/4-1/2 c. Enjoy Life chocolate chips [or your favorite vegan/soy-free brand]
a few tbsp So Delicious coconut milk

In a large bowl, sift together flours, cocoa powder, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, salt, & xanthan gum.
Add in maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, mint, coconut oil, & hot water, then stir until combined.
Using a spoon or melon baller, spoon batter into coconut greased donut molds.
Use spoon or a toothpick to spread batter around & distribute evenly.
Bake for 15-20 minutes @ 325 degrees. Remove from oven & allow to cool.
In a small sauce pan, heat chocolate chips with a few tbsp coconut milk over medium heat. Add more coconut milk as desired for a thinner chocolate glaze.
Once donuts have cooled, remove from pan & dip top-side down into chocolate sauce.
Set aside to allow chocolate to cool & harden. Enjoy.

Quick Bite: 5 Ingredient Choco-Peanut Butter Apple Dip

I have a new snack addiction that has me hoarding apples from my boyfriend so we don’t run out.

Funnily enough, it all started with a jar of not-so-creamy peanut butter…you see, I like my PBJ’s to be smooth & creamy so I never buy the crunchy variety. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise when I opened up a jar of Whole Foods creamy peanut butter to find it had the texture of a gravel road. [Ok, so maybe it wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t what I would call creamy.] Not wanting to spread it on a sandwich, but not wanting the jar to go to waste, my new favorite fruit dip was born.

Inspired by my favorite childhood snack, this dip is for the indulgent snacker only. The measurements are small because this isn’t the type of stuff you eat straight off the spoon, but it’s divine to dip your apple slices in. I haven’t tried any other fruit yet because the juicy, crisp flavor of the apple so perfectly balances out the rich thickness of the dip, but feel free to experiment on your own with other fruits & report back your findings.

choco-pb apple dip

Ingredients

1 tsp cacao powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp peanut butter
a sprinkling of Enjoy Life chocolate chips
optional: up to 1 tbsp So Delicious coconut milk

In a small bowl [or teacup, if you’re brave that you won’t get messy with your stirring], combine cacao, maple syrup, & peanut butter.
Depending on the starting texture of your peanut butter [mine was quite thick], you may want to add in the optional coconut milk to reach optimal dip consistency. I’ll let you decide what that means.
Top with chocolate chips.
Enjoy with apple slices.
Try not to get addicted.

Make Something Monday: Morning Matcha Muffins [Gluten-free, Vegan, Soy-Free]

I’m a big fan of green tea. Not just for the antioxidants and cancer-fighting benefits, but also for it’s unique, earthy taste. I especially love the flavor of matcha, a variety of green tea made from grinding the whole leaves into a powder and brewing them directly in the water. Matcha’s in my smoothies, it’s in my Starbucks, it’s even in my favorite Argo Tea muffin…as well as several buckets of sugar, I’m sure.

That’s why I decided to take it upon myself to create a matcha muffin that’s a little easier on the white stuff, but still heavy on sweetness. As always, I also wanted to make it gluten-free & vegan…and apparently I wasn’t the only one. A quick Google search came up with several recipes matching “gluten-free matcha muffins”, but one in particular caught my eye: Matcha Morning Muffins from Kathy over at at Healthy Happy Life.

I made a few alterations to sweeten things up a bit and it was my personal preference to lighten up on the ginger, but for the most part, these muffins are all Kathy’s doing…and a job well done. Earthy, sweet & plenty moist from the bananas, these may be my new go-to breakfast item. Just be sure to store them in an airtight container to avoid the dry out that happened when I left mine on the counter overnight.

matcha muffins

Ingredients [adapted slightly from the original]

1 1/3 c Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/5 tbsp matcha powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground flax seeds
1/4 tsp salt
a dash of ginger
1/2 c maple syrup
2 bananas, mashed
1 c So Delicious coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl, mix together wet ingredients [including bananas].
Pour the wet mixture in with the dry mixture & stir until combined.
Spoon into greased muffin tins until 3/4 full.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Optional: Add some blueberries into your batter for that little extra sweetness & a whole lot more antioxidants.

Quick Bite: Clementine Cacao Smoothie

Remember those chocolate oranges that you could smash against the table to separate the segments before unwrapping them? I’m not sure if it was the socially acceptable destruction or the flavor that appealed to me, but I used to love those. So, in an effort to find a vegan replication of the flavor [I’ll have to keep looking for things to destroy], I created this smoothie using clementines, cacao, and a hint of green powder for that little extra something.

Clementine Cacao Smoothie [v, gf, nearly raw]

clementine cacao smoothie

Ingredients

1 banana, frozen
1 clementine, peeled & separated into segments
2 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1/4 c So Delicious coconut milk
1 Amazing Grass Green Superfood packet

Place all ingredients in blender & process until smooth.
Add more of less coconut milk until desired thickness has been reached.
Garnish with a few more cacao nibs. Enjoy.