Banana Ice Cream

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This recipe is super easy and requires only a few ingredients, but its packed with natural sweetness and creaminess just like ice cream! YOu can have this for breakfast, dessert, or whenever you'd like.

This is a great option for vegans who have a hard time finding a creamy ice cream to buy in stores. Its way less expensive and way more tasty!

Ingredients:

  • Ripened bananas
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Any toppings you like!

****The key to your banana ice cream coming out smooth is having a good blender, if you try this and don't have a good one, its likely to break. I used my magic bullet.

1. Cut up as many bananas as you'd like (about 3 small ones will give you a large single serving) and freeze overnight.

2. Blend with just enough almond milk to give it a soft creamy texture, add in the almond milk slowly (about a TBSP at a time) to make sure the mixture stays thick.

3. You can mix in any nut butters, chocolate chips, dates, coconut, or any other favorites you'd like to mix in! Grab a spoon and enjoy!

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Facts About Plant-Based Protein

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Everyone today seems to be concerned with their protein intake, and they also seem to believe that the "best and only" way to receive protein are from animal sources. However, contradictory to those claims, there are many plant based foods out there rich in protein. Here are the facts about plant-based proteins.

Protein is essential to your body functioning properly. However, it's not good to overload the body with too much. The body needs to be able to have time to break down these nutrients properly, not be overloaded with unnecessary calories. When  you consume too much protein then you are probably taking in too many calories and fat that your body doesn't need. Adult women have a recommended protein intake of 46 grams, and men 56 grams.

A popular grain that seems to be everywhere nowadays that is extremely rich in protein is quinoa. Quinoa is a gluten-free low calorie whole grain that provides 8.4 grams of protein just 1 cup of cooked quinoa. It is a complete protein which is essential for vegans and vegetarians. It's also more cost effective, costing less than in comparison to good quality meat. It comes in  a variety of colors, white, red, and black.

Seeds are another great source of protein. In just one tablespoon of hemp seeds, which is only 40 calories, provides 5 grams of protein. There are so many hemp protein powders available on the market today that are great for vegans or just people that are lactose intolerant. Many people working out and looking for a protein recovery formula spend so much money on whey isolate protein, which has been marketed to be flavorful and have high protein content to build muscle. However, what these dairy based protein powders contain artificial flavors, chemicals, and the bi-products (leftovers) of milk after being curdled. So if you prefer to obtain your nutrients from a whole food and not a bi-product of another food, I would highly recommend hemp or any other plant-based protein.

Chia seeds are extremely popular on the food market today. You can make chia seed pudding, add it to water or juices, smoothies, baked goods, oatmeal, salads, breads, and many other ways. In just 3 tablespoons there are 5 grams of protein.

Pumpkin seeds are also high in protein, in 1 cup (284 calories) they provide 12 grams. There are also pumpkin seed protein powders now made, I haven't tried any yet, but I am definitely interested in doing so. They are rich in zinc, vitamin E, phosphorous, and contain anti-viral properties. You can make pumpkin seeds at home by roasting them or buy them prepared and add them on-top of salads, vegatables, cereals, grind them and mix into a delicious salad dressing, granola, or even veggie burgers.

Sunflower seeds are another complete protein source. They are low glycemic, anti-inflammatory, help to lower cholesterol, and have high levels of magnesium which is great for providing you with energy.  In 1 cup (269 calories) of hulled sun flow seeds there are 10 grams of protein.

Now onto the legume family. I'm sure we all know that beans and lentils are rich in protein, but if you eat them in replacement of meat, you'll find that they are just as, if not more-so, filling. In just a 1/2 cup of beans (329 calorie) there are 21 grams of protein! Thats an all-natural way of providing your body with protein, and for women and men its almost half of their necessary protein intake for the day. People think that beans make you gassy, and this is true, but this is because your gut isn't healthy. If your gut is healthy and balanced your digestive system will be able to break down beans and not give you gas. You will have to clean your gut out over time, and the first step in doing so is cutting out refined sugars and processed foods from your diet.

Lentils have an astounding 50 grams of protein in just 1 cup (678 calories). That would provide you with a meals worth of calories, and you'd be extremely full after this. But just think, you can receive this high level of protein from a plant! You don't have to buy protein shakes that have been processed, but you can make a lentil soup to have for lunch after working out instead.

Green plants such as broccoli, asparagus, and peas are also complete protein sources. Broccoli is high in vitamin-c, iron and potassium. In 1 cup chopped (31 calories) there are 2.5 grams of protein. Be careful not to cook your greens for too long, or else all the nutrients will be left floating in the water you cooked it in. It's good to cook your green's so that they still have a vibrant green color and a crunch to them, thats how you know you'll be receiving all the nutrients you need from them. Even better, you can eat them raw.

In 1 cup (27 calories) of asparagus there are 3 grams of protein.  They also contain fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A. In 1 cup (134 calories) of cooked peas there are 9 grams of protein. There are a lot of pea proteins being manufactured today as well that you can opt to take as a supplement. 

Notice that all of these sources are relatively low in calories and high in protein. They are full of fiber and filling, filled with healthy fats if any, and other essential nutrients. You aren't just receiving protein but other vital nutrients your body needs to function healthy. Hope this helps you in figuring out where you'd like to receive your protein from!

Comment below if you have any recommendations of brands of vegan/vegetarian minimally processed protein powders you've tried!

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon Buns

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I love to bake. Changing my diet to eating vegan hasn't stopped me. There are so many good vegan recipes out there! I just want to try them all out! If only I could travel to vegan restaurants all over the world and be a food critic and write reviews… For now I'll be rating my own recipes. This recipe is mildly flavored, not very sweet, but the gooey filling and soft buns taste how cinnamon buns should.

If you want them to be a bit sweeter I would add about 2 more dates and 1 teaspoon more of honey or maple syrup to this recipe. These are also gluten-free and vegan (depending on how strict you are about using honey). If you prefer not to use honey, then replace with maple syrup.

***The filling for this recipe seems to be able to make enough for 2 servings, so you can double the bun ingredients, and split dough in half, to make more cinnamon buns! Can't complain about that!

Yields: About 7 (1 in.) buns 

Ingredients:

Bun:

  • 1  1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup mashed banana
  • 1/8 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup of loosely pack medjool dates (4 averaged sized ones) If they are hard soak in boiling water until soft.
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375'F.

In a bowl mix the bun ingredients until well combined. (I did this by hand, it's much easier). Place dough in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

While you are waiting..In a food processor or blender combine dates and coconut milk together until a nice carmel paste has formed. Remove from blender/food processor and mix in honey and cinnamon.

Spread a bit of almond flour before rolling the dough out. Put some onto of the dough and on the rolling pin, because the dough can get a bit sticky. (I rolled my dough out on wax paper). Roll dough out into a rectangle, about 10 in. long by 6 in. wide. Make sure the dough is not too thin and not too thick. Spread the filling mixture over dough, and roll carefully. Cut buns 1 in. apart and place in a lightly greased (with coconut oil) baking dish.

Cook for about 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

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Tofu and Broccoli with Soba Noodles

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I love finding recipes with few ingredients that can be made quickly. I was inspired to make this, with a udon noodle recipe I found a while ago. Sometimes recreating a recipe and making it your own works out. And in this case this tofu and broccoli with soba noodles has become one of my staple go-to meals when I don't want to be cooking for too long. This recipe is sweet, salty, and creamy because of the peanut butter. If you are allergic to nuts or don't like peanut butter, then you can omit it from the recipe. I always used to make this with just the soy sauce and honey, but decided to add some peanut butter to the sauce because I've been obsessed with it lately.

Ingredients:

  • Soba noodles (2 servings)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 package of extra firm or firm tofu
  • 1 head of broccoli cut into florets
  • 5 green onions

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanut butter

Bring water to a boil then place soba noodles and cook according to instructions on package. Strain and rinse in cold water.

Steam the broccoli until tender.

Meanwhile, drain water from tofu and absorb the remaining water in tofu with a paper towel. Cut into chunks. Heat olive oil and add the tofu. Cook until brown on each side. (Sometimes the tofu doesn't brown, so you can just cook for it for about 15 min). In a bowl stir together all of the ingredients for the sauce, then pour over tofu. Cook for about 1 minute. Then add in over low heat the the soba noodles, broccoli, and green onions.

***Depending on how much soba noodles you make you might need more sauce for this dish, so mix together and add more according to taste. Add more slowly, because the soy sauce can be overpowering.

 

 

 

Meaning of Love

What if being in love didn’t mean losing a part of you, but gaining something new? Maybe this thought is somewhat romanticized, but many of us can be afraid of this word, and this deep feeling. I was definitely one of those people. I have seen the hate, destruction, and subserviently that can derive from a decaying relationship. Maybe love wasn't what I ultimately feared. Maybe it was the emotional letdowns that inevitability come with love.

Isn’t it human instinct to avoid pain? Well that’s what I had been doing for a while. Avoiding the pain that came along with love. I was cautious, realistic, and I hate to say it but even a little afraid of this four letter word.

I told myself over and over to live life not waiting or wishing for someone but to let that someone find me. This person would prove his self to me, show me that I’m worth it, and reveal the meaning of this ultimate feeling.

Well when this person and I crossed paths, I still held back my feelings. I didn’t want to lose my independence, my outgoingness, or my social life. I believe the key to life is to live for YOU and no one else. To do what makes YOU happy, and make decisions based on what YOU want and no one else. Life is too short to hold back or miss out. If you are able to find a partner that allows you to be the best version of yourself and wants to share this life with you then you have found a meaningful and supportive relationship.

Maybe some of us have had negative experiences with relationships, but no one should lose a sense of who they are.  We should hold on to who we are, and constantly learn and love more about who we are. We should never enter a relationship if we haven’t established who we are, begun to expand on that, and live life on our own terms. This established person should forever stay with us, and grow, learn, and learn to love. We should be overflowing with self-worth, confidence and self-love, because in a relationship there are two people that love them; his or herself and their significant other. If you have established how amazing you are, and you know never to let anyone, even yourself take that away from you, then in my mind, you can survive the roughest, and hardest obstacles love takes you on.

Think of yourself as a glass of water, filled to the brim with happiness. When you add another person to this glass they just cause it to overflow. So if this person ever leaves, you are still left with a full glass. You shouldn’t rely on anyone to make you happy but yourself; your significant other should just be a bonus.

That’s where subservience comes into play. If we rely on someone, anyone in our lives in order to be happy, feel fulfilled, or worthy, then we are overlooking and putting a band-aid on a missing piece of our self, instead of completing ourselves on our own first.

It may seem my outlook on love is cynical, but this isn’t the case. I could be naïve and throw my emotions out there and put myself in a venerable position. But relationships from my past have helped form my outlooks, and strong domineer.

Whatever the case, love is beautiful; it should be a shared. It is a meaningful experience that only brings more positivity into your life. Not anxiety, jealousy, or competition. If we can live contently as an individual, then we are more likely to live contently with someone who ha professed their love. Until then, eyes will wonder, and boredom is a familiar feeling that can take over at any time. So be strong for yourself and love for yourself. Remember that love doesn't exist to make one person happy, but that it should be a mutual balanced  connection.

Mexican Inspired Vegan Tacos

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Mexican food is one of my favorite cuisines. This is my vegan spin on tacos. I don't think that eating a healthy or vegan diet costs you any flavor or missing your favorite foods. It just provides a challenge in finding new recipes to suffice your cravings, but in a new healthier way. When you eat healthier and crowd out old foods and unhealthy eating habits, your taste buds change. You think in your head that you want that hamburger, but when you take a bite, you realize it doesn't taste how it used to. This is because your tastebuds have gotten rid of those salty greasy cravings and now enjoys fresh plant-based meals, because thats what they've gotten used to tasting.

It's a challenge in the beginning when transitions to eat a different way. As long as your friends and family support you, and you find creative exciting recipes to try out, you will have a great experience. If you can find a friend to try out this newfound way of eating with, than you both can collaborate on creating meals and trying things out together. Its always good to have a support system, especially with someone that can relate with what you are going through.

You'll find that in many cuisines such as Indian, Chinese, Mexican, or Thai, that there are many vegan options and there are many flavors o play off with and create your own similar vegan-friendly recipes.

. These mexican inspired vegan tacos give me the protein intake I'm looking for, are plant-based, and oh so flavorful.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rinsed quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz. can) black beans rinsed
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 canned pineapple chunks
  • 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Green onion for garnish (optional)
  • Daiya vegan cheddar cheese
  • Yellow corn soft tortillas

Guacamole: 

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1/2  jalepeno (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring vegetable broth to a boil and add quinoa, black beans, and red pepper then bring to a simmer and cover with lid.

Meanwhile, add pineapple chunks with about 2 TBSP of pineapple juice from can to skillet with onion and garlic. Cook until caramelized and soft. When quinoa mixture has cooked, add to pineapple mixture and juice of 1/2 a lime, and cook over medium-low heat stirring frequently.

Heat up corn tortillas and add cheese on-top to melt. Put quinoa black bean pineapple mixture, guacamole and green onions on top of tortillas.