Open-Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly

Open-Faced Peanut Butter & Jelly

There’s nothing like a pb&j, especially when you’re craving something sweet and comforting. This version is sure to please adults and children alike. It’s nutrient-dense, much lower in sugar and fat, oil-free, more filling, and provides an antioxidant boost. Plus, you’ll learn my healthy hack for more than doubling the quantity of peanut butter for half the calories without sacrificing the flavor and texture. Here’s my healthy take on a classic favorite. 

Ingredients 

2 slices of bread of your choice, toasted
1 tbsp natural peanut butter
2 tbsp plain peanut butter powder
4 tbsp water
3/4 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries, warmed (or use fresh, if preferred)
1-2 tsp maple syrup

Directions 

1. Warm the berries in a saucepan or in the microwave. You want them to hold their shape but become slightly juicy, not cooked down heavily like a compote.

2. Toast bread. I used two slices of low sodium Ezekiel bread.

3. In a bowl, mix peanut butter with peanut butter powder and 3 tbsp water, reserving the rest of the water if needed to achieve desired consistency. The mixture should create a spreadable yet still thick peanut butter consistency. 

Note: If you don’t mind the extra calories and fat, you can skip the pb powder and just use more peanut butter, of course.

4. Spread 3/4 of the peanut butter spread over the toast, then top with berries.

5. In the bowl, whisk together remaining peanut butter spread, 1/2-1 tbsp water, and 1-2 tsp of maple syrup to taste. This will create a sweet sauce that also looks beautiful as a garnish to this dish. Drizzle the mixture over the top of your open-faced sandwich.

Yields 1 serving. Enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Marshmallow Whip

Homemade Vegan Marshmallow Whip

Yes. A vegan marshmallow whip you can make at home to use on top of tasty treats like hot cocoa. This recipe has been circulating the blogosphere made with a variety of ingredients. I used three simple ingredients, but the trick is…you need to be patient and invest some time into this creation. It took me 20 minutes of using the hand mixer to achieve the desired consistency. Nonetheless, this would also be a fun recipe to make with children. I think they will be amazed to watch the process unfold.

Ingredients:
Aquafaba (This is the liquid from one standard 15 oz can of chickpeas or white beans.)
1/2 cup of sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, put in all of the ingredients and mix on high. I used a hand mixer for this, but if you have a stand mixer, you can set it up and do something else while it whips together. Note, the volume will quadruple by the end.

2. Whip ingredients for 16-20 minutes to achieve the desired consistency.

That’s it!

Initially, I thought, “This is never going to work.” But by 12 minutes in, I was pleasantly surprised at what the chickpea water and sugar turned into. And by minute 18, it was excellent.

In the end, I used mine on top of hot cocoa and dusted it with cinnamon. It was worth the 20 minutes of using the hand mixer.

You can cover any leftovers and store in the fridge, but you will have to remix it again, as it will gradually separate.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Almond Quinoa Porridge

Cranberry Almond Quinoa Porridge

Did you know that cranberries are excellent for cleansing kidneys and boosting the immune system? I wanted to try something new for breakfast today, and wow this quinoa porridge I put together is so delicious and warming for the cold winter months. I hope you enjoy it too.

Ingredients:
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 drop almond extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
cranberries, almonds, and cacao nibs for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the almond milk, cranberries, quinoa, and maple syrup to a boil, mixing often.

2. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionallly. It will thicken.

3. Once the cranberries have softened a bit and the porridge thickens, turn off the heat.

4. Stir in the coconut sugar, almond extract, and pumkin pie spice.

5. Leave to thicken in the pot for a few minutes.

6. Serve hot or warm in a bowl topped with almonds, cacao nibs, and a few cranberries.

This recipe serves 1, but can easily be doubled or tripled. You can also reduce or add liquid depending on your consistency preferences. Enjoy!

No-Bake Chocolate Date Cookies

No-Bake Chocolate Date Cookies

Minimalist cookies, folks. These are chewy like a date truffle but shaped like a cookie. And… They are healthy, plus so simple to create in as little as 5 minutes. I like to enjoy a couple of these treats with an evening cup of tea.

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
12 pitted medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract or powder
3 tbsp cacao (or cocoa) powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or Vitamix until well-combined into a dry, but sticky dough-like consistency. If too dry, add more dates. If too sticky, add more oats.

2. Roll the dough into 8 balls.

3. On a flat nonstick surface, press each ball down into a flat cookie of your desired thickness.

4. Pop these in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill and then serve. Store in the fridge.

Recipe yields 8 small cookies. Recipe can easily be doubled. Enjoy!

Homemade Vegan Sour Cream

Homemade Vegan Sour Cream

When I went vegan, one of the foods I missed most was chilled sour cream, especially on top of soups, chilis, and baked potatoes. But over the years, I have found two worthy replacements: chilled/whipped avocado and this homemade cashew sour cream that I am about to share with you now. There are many variations of this recipe circulating the internet, but this is what I use.

Ingredients:
2 cups raw soaked/drained cashews*
1/2 – 1 cup water**
1.5 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
A pinch of sea salt

*You should soak the cashews in water for at least four hours prior to making this recipe, but I was pressed for time. I actually just put everything in the blender without pre-soaking the cashews, and it still came out great. I have a high-speed blender, so if you do not have a great blender, pre-soaking the cashews is non-negotiable.

**The amount of water you will need will depend on whether or not you soaked the nuts as well as the desired consistency you are trying to achieve. Start with 1/2 cup and work your way up from there.

Directions

1. Place the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until creamy.

2. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for at least a week.

You can use this as a topping on just about any savory dish. You can also mix this into pasta and potato salads. It’s incredibly delicious. Enjoy!

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Stuffed Baked Potatoes: A Satisfying Meal

Stuffed Baked Potatoes: A Satisfying Meal

For all of you busy people out there, preparing healthy, filling, and cost-effective meals can seem daunting. But I have found one of the most satiating and versatile foods to be a solution to weekly meal preparation woes: the potato. Potatoes are not only delicious, they are filling, and can be baked in advance. Cooked baked potatoes store well in an open bowl in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to eat, you can grab a pre-cooked potato, reheat it, and top it with whatever you like: mustard, ketchup, relish, avocado, sauteed onions and peppers, vegetables. If you are in a real pinch, you can simply go with mustard and a side of vegetables. Use what you have on hand. The possibilities are endless.

Here are three ideas for ways you can top your baked potatoes.

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Fiesta Stuffed Potato: Topped with salsa, lime juice, cilantro, kidney beans, and fresh mango
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Buffalo Ranch Stuffed Potato: Topped with sauteed veggies in hot sauce and maple syrup glaze, cashew ranch dressing, veggie queso made from nutritional yeast, almond milk, corn starch, and garlic powder, and green onion (recipe inspired by The Happy Herbivore)
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Epic Veggie Stuffed Potato: Topped with pico de gallo, cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach, green pepper, basil, and chickpeas

Cheesey Macaroni with Chickpeas and Spinach

Cheesey Macaroni with Chickpeas and Spinach

This is a low fat recipe that is also vegan and gluten-free. It makes for a simple yet hearty dinner and can be packaged for lunch throughout the week as well.

Ingredients
2 cups dry brown rice macaroni
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
16 oz of organic baby spinach
1/4 cup plain unsweetened coconut yogurt. I use So Delicious brand*.
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
pepper and sea salt, to taste

*If you cannot find this yogurt, you can use a little unsweetened plain almond milk. To thicken (if needed), you can try adding a bit of corn starch.

Instructions
1. Cook the pasta in a medium-large saucepan following the package instructions. Drain (although not in excess) and return back to pot immediately in its slightly damp state.

2. On the lowest heat setting, add in all of the ingredients and stir together gently until everything is mixed and the spinach is lightly wilted.

This recipe yields 4 small servings for a side dish or two large servings for a meal.

Enjoy!

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