Almond Butter Chia Bars

Vacation time! The slower (yet still very busy) part of my summer is over, and from now on is pretty go go go, and the go go go-ing. I’m typing this on a boat on my way to Canada from Seattle.

Yay, airports. Traveling. New places. Always tons of vegan options, right? And all fairly priced? Yeah. No. So you kind of have to plan a little bit. On Monday I threw together these super easy bars, just four ingredients, vegan, paleo, and no added sugars. This was my breakfast this morning 🙂

You only need four ingredients:

  • Dates
  • Almonds
  • Almond butter
  • Chia seeds

For this recipe, I used one package of dates (around 12 oz), 1/2 cup of almonds, 4 tbs almond butter, and 1/4 cup of chia seeds to make 8 bars.

To make:

  1. Put all ingredients in your food processor.
  2. Process until you have a soft, crumbly dough.
  3. Press into an 8 by 8 pan- you may want to line with parchment paper. Use the bottom of a cup to compact the bars as much as possible.
  4. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
  5. Cut bars, store in beeswax wraps. Keeps best in the fridge- otherwise, they’re still fine but a bit crumbly.

Happy baking!!!

Paleo Vegan Almond Butter Cups

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? Probably a lot of things. A million dollars. The ability to shapeshift. A sense of purpose in life. So, probably a lot of things. But this recipe is also one of those things. So let’s try again.

What’s better than a Reese’s peanut butter cup? How about a treat that’s paleo, vegan lower in sugar and calories, free from refined sugars, and made with completely homemade ingredients and fair trade chocolate? Now, many people would say that DOESN’T sound better, but you don’t really need those people in your life.

I made these for my dad a few weeks ago and he was really pleased. Now any time I make treats that aren’t paleo, he’s a little disappointed. But sometimes there is an emotional emergency that requires slutty brownies (those delicious layers of chocolate chip cookie dough, Oreo cookies, and brownies. Totally drool worthy. )

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Good for vegans. Good for… err… cavemen? Paleos? Definitely not good for dogs. I think he forgives me though. DSC09021.JPG

Ingredients: 

  1. Spread melted chocolate on the bottom and sides of reusable silicone baking cups (or paper ones). DSC09010DSC09012.JPG
  2. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.
  3. Melt almond butter until pourable. Pour into chocolate cups- the amount is up to you. Don’t let the power go to your head. DSC09014.JPG
  4. Let set until tops are solid- this will prevent the next chocolate layer from sinking in.
  5. Pour on remaining chocolate, spread to cover all of the almond butter.
  6. Let set in fridge or freezer until solid.

Make sure to keep these cold, especially in the summer. The coconut oil chocolate melts at really low temperatures. If you prefer a sweeter dessert, feel free to add stevia or maple syrup to the almond butter, or add a little extra maple syrup while making the chocolate. Happy baking!

Homemade Almond Butter

You already know how much I loooooooooooove peanut butter. There are very few things I love more than peanut butter: dogs, coffee, my family, my boyfriend, chocolate… okay, maybe there are quite a few things. But you get the point. And most of those things can be improved with peanut butter. If you put a teaspoon of it on the tip of a dog’s nose, you both have nearly endless entertainment!

Since my dad is currently following the Paleo diet, I have had to tweak some recipes or find new ones (gotta love Pinterest!). A lot of these take almond butter which is…. expensive. At school, a 16 oz jar of almond butter is around $15. Only $9.99 on sale, though! What a bargain!

The other problem is that it is completely delicious, and doesn’t last long when I’m in the house. On a recent trip, I actually ate two of those squeeze packets of almond butter… one right after the other. Nothing to put it on. Just almond butter. And it was delicious.

But it’s not hard to make by yourself at all! The trick is to toast the nuts beforehand and to be patient. You absolutely need a decent food processor for this.

Ingredients: 

  • 10 oz raw almonds
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2 tbs maple syrup
  1. Toast the almonds at 250F for about ten minutes.
  2. Transfer toasted almonds to food processor. Blend for about ten minutes, checking and scraping the bowl every few minutes. It will quickly look like thisDSC09048.JPG
  3. Once it starts to turn from a flour texture to something slightly, but still dry, you have two options: to continue mixing until the texture you want is achieved (which may take a while…) or add in the melted oil and maple syrup to speed up the process and create a smoother, creamier, sweeter almond butter.
  4. Continue blending until smooth and transfer to a jar. Keep in the fridge for best results. DSC09060.JPG

Comment your favorite paleo recipes, and if you try this recipe, tell me how it turns out. Happy baking!

Protein Cookies: Snickerdoodle

I am back with another classic cookie variation on my protein cookies! Snickerdoodles have always been a favorite of mine, and they’re so simple to make, and yummy to eat. These are also super simple to make:

Ingredients: 

  1. Mix in about half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the cookie, dough, until evenly distributed.
  2.  Mix together remaining cinnamon and coconut sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Roll cookie dough into four small balls.
  4. Roll each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  5. Place them on a baking sheet and flatten slightly.
  6. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

Nutrition:

Comment if you tried this and what your thoughts are. Happy baking!

Nutrition (for one cookie): 81 calories; 11.8 grams carbs, 5.3 grams fiber, 4.4 grams sugar; 1.7 grams fat, 4.7 grams protein. DSC09037.JPG

Protein Cookies: Double Peanut Butter Cookies

As promised, I am back with another variation of my homemade protein cookies. And these are my favorite! I looooooove peanut butter cookies so much, and while I can usually justify eating an entire batch of my favorite recipe by telling myself that it has protein… I really shouldn’t.

This recipe, however, has 6 grams of protein per 100 calorie cookie, and taste wonderfully peanut buttery. I suspect it may become a staple pretty quickly.

Ingredients:

  1. Mix peanut butter into cookie dough until it’s even throughout.
  2. Roll into four small balls and place on a cookie sheet.
  3. Press down on each with a fork, to get the classic peanut butter cookie criss-cross.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

Nutrition (per cookie): 8.9 grams of carbs, 4.4 grams of fiber, 2.7 grams of sugar; 4.3 grams of fat, 5.7 grams of protein

You could even add some chocolate chips or cacao nibs to give these some extra umph. Comment if you tried this and what you thought. Happy baking!DSC09047

Protein Cookies

Sugar is my weakness. I have always had such a sweet tooth- more like a sweet set of dentures. I can eat an entire row of Oreos without even thinking. But apparently, that’s “not healthy”…

I also need to eat more protein. Up until recently, I tried to eat around 50 grams of protein- essentially enough to survive. But I should be doubling that, which is hard to do without eating pounds of tofu or lentils, or drinking three protein shakes a day. So I had to get a little clever with my protein. So. Protein cookies.

These were originally based off of Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookies. But I wanted something cheaper, healthier, lower in calories, and without refined sugar or white flour. So a true, complete cookie. And I think I succeeded. In this post, I have the base for the cookie, and I will be posting variations over the next week. The first: the classic chocolate chip cookie.

Ingredients: Cookie Base

  • 3 tbs coconut flour
  • 2 tbs PB2 or other peanut powder
  • 2 tbs unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 tbs unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tbs stevia in the raw
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Bob’s Red Mill)
  • .5 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Mix together dry ingredients.DSC09032.JPG2. Add wet ingredients. DSC09034.JPG3. Mix well. DSC09035.JPG4.  Add add-ins. This week: cacao nibs. Add about 1 TBS of raw cacao nibs to the mix, and mix well.

5. Roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes, until tops are slightly dry. Let cool before eating.

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Here’s a sneak peek at the cookies coming later: DSC09047.JPG

Cacao nib, sugar cookie, double peanut butter, and snickerdoodle.

Nutrition (this is for one cookie, a batch makes four): 8 grams carbs, 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar; 4.6 grams of protein, 2.2 grams of fat.

Comment what other kinds of cookies, or other recipes you would like to see. Happy baking!

Lazy Berry Smoothie

This is super simple to make (kind of a cheat recipe, if we’re being honest) and has tons of vitamins; this is a great way to start the day or as a sweet dessert. 

I have just finished my first semester of college, and I’m exhausted. Exhausted and a little chubby. Not chubby, honestly, but I put on a few pounds during finals week and on my recent trip to New York. Side note: I tried two new vegan flavors of Ben and Jerry’s and they were FANTASTIC. So no regrets. But I feel a little sluggish and bloated, so I’m trying to feel better, no matter what the scale says.

This was actually one of my favorite cheats at school because you can make a really pretty smoothie with just two ingredients: Naked juice and Vitamin Water. I told you, it’s a cheat. But those were two things I could buy with my meal plan, and you have to get creative sometimes.

DSC08993.JPGPersonally, I prefer XXX Zero + Blue Machine. The flavors compliment well and they’re both packed with vitamins B6 and B12, which are really difficult for vegans to get sometimes. Plus, the taste is amazing.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz vitamin water, vitamin water zero, or other liquid of choice
  • 8 oz Naked juice, or other similar juice

Freeze the juice overnight, pop both into a blender, and enjoy! That’s it! I add chia seeds for a little extra umph.

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Peanut Butter Protein Oatmeal

DSC08916This peanut butter oatmeal is loaded with 15 grams of protein, 14 grams of fiber, and only 4 grams of sugar and is vegan, gluten-free, and easy to throw together.

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats, gluten-free if needed
  • 1 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs PB2 powder
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs flax seeds, ground
  • stevia to taste

Prepare oatmeal as usual, using 1 cup of almond milk instead of water. Mix in additional almond milk and other ingredients after cooking, and enjoy!

Nutrition: 340 calories, 13 g fat, 30 g carbs (14 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 15 g protein.

Simple Chocolate Nicecream

DSC08909Sometimes, you need ice cream. Or, really, you want ice cream, something cold and sweet and indulgent and full of chocolate. You probably never need ice cream (but I’m not a nutritionist or God, so I really couldn’t say for sure…)

In my tiny college town, there’s one place to buy vegan ice cream. The selection is slim and full of sugar, and the store closes at 8 pm, which doesn’t help when those 10 pm cravings hit. I am also much more mindful of what I eat now, so a pint of sugar-laden, fatty coconut milk ice cream just isn’t very appealing. Enter nicecream.

You’ve all heard of it. Frozen bananas, blended up. I used to shudder at the thought. My aunt an cousin did a Whole30 cleanse and swore up and down that frozen bananas and cocoa powder tasted just like ice cream.  They’re wrong. This won’t taste like a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. But it’s still good, and good for you.

Ingredients:

1/2 banana, chopped and frozen

1 tbs cacao powder

1 tbs almond milk

1 tsp maple syrup or other sweetener

add ins: cacao nibs, cinnamon, almonds, pecans, chocolate chips, flaked coconut

Mix all ingredients (except add ins!) in the blender, stir in your toppings, and enjoy!

Vegan at College: How to Hack It

  1. MIX UP YOUR SALADS
    • add beans, salsa, chickpeas, guac, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, whatever is available
    • take advantage of the salad bar- there are probably delicious raw veggies you can eat plain, or with hummus, guac, peanut butter, etc
  2. PROTEIN POW(D)ER
    • if your protein options are limited, you can always keep some protein powder on you (I love Orgain Chocolate Fudge). Just add water or nondairy milk; or, make my favorite protein smoothie bowl (recipe soon to come!)
  3. SPICE IT UP
    • when the steamed green beans and broccoli start to get old, mix it up! Add soy, sriracha, lemon pepper, curry powder, paprika- use your imagination!
  4. MEAL PREP
    • if you have a fridge and microwave, you’re all set. Buy canned soup (I love Amy’s kitchen), and pre-portion veggies and hummus for grab-and-go dining
    • if you have access to a dorm kitchen, even better! Spend some time during the weekend roasting veggies, cooking up soup, or making peanut butter cookies
  5. Speak up!
    • petition for more choices, ask for items to be made vegan, maybe even start a vegan club!

WHAT NOT TO DO:

  • DON’T start eating all the vegan junk food you can; it’s hard, especially when you suddenly have new freedom. Avoid the Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, veggie burgers and fries- they won’t be your friend for long
  • DON’T ignore nutrient needs. Track your proteins, fats, micronutrients, etc. Make sure you take a vitamin supplement of some sort for those important B vitamins!
  • DON’T give up. It may seem difficult, but remember that you are not a potato, you are a coffee bean: when you’re put in hot water, change your surroundings, don’t let them change you!