Vegan Almond Quinoa Cake

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Here it is again; one of my famous {not so famous} sugar-free birthday cakes. Some might find a sugarless cake a disgrace, but I find them quite delicious.

I cheated a bit by adding a sugary frosting, which of course ended up being Berlin’s favorite part. But this cake is delicious without the frosting and is perfect as a morning treat to dip into your coffee-yum!

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Almond Quinoa Cake
2 cups Almond Flour
1 cup Quinoa Flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon Cinnamon
Flaxseed Egg Replacer (or 3 eggs)
3/4 cup Pure Organic Maple Syrup
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla

Coconut Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup coconut milk (from can)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Prepare flax eggs by combining 9 tablespoons of water with 3 tablespoons ground flax and letting sit for approx five minutes (until gelatinous).

Mix flax eggs with coconut oil, syrup, and vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into a greased cake pan and bake for approx 30-40 minutes.

While the cake is cooking, prepare the frosting by mixing all the ingredients until the frosting is smooth and creamy. You may need to play with the ratio of sugar to coconut milk.

Then simply frost the cake and enjoy.

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I’m off to Los Angeles this weekend with the hubby and a few friends. This will be my first ever extended getaway without Berlin. While I’m crazy excited for a solo weekend, I have to admit I get a little teary eyed just thinking about being away from my little one. But its been two years, so the time has come for us to separate a bit.

Wishing you all a fantastic weekend! I know I will be enjoying every minute of it.



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Vegan Grilled Pizza

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While I can’t claim to be an expert on the grill, I can claim to have become quite creative in just two short weeks. While its not the typical summer weather here in San Francisco, the climates are mild and still perfect for grilling.

Prior to the kitchen renovation, I had absolutely no clue with regard to the grill. But with one quick lesson from the hubby, I’ve caught on quickly and have made some killer meals. I mean, did you even know you could grill pizza?! Obviously I had no idea. But have since discovered its a brilliant way to prepare pizza. It tastes fresh out of a brick pizza oven, and it takes very little time to cook. Even if you are aren’t undergoing a gutted kitchen, I would highly suggest saving yourself the hassle of heating up the stove and throwing a pizza on the grill instead.

I chose to keep things simple (as I have no kitchen surface to work with), so for this recipe I went with a store bought corn meal crust (it compliments the okra nicely). But once I have access to a countertop again I plan on experimenting with a cauliflower crust-yum! Recipe to follow…

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Vegan Grilled Pizza
Frozen Corn Meal Pizza Crust
Olive Oil
Red  Bell Pepper
Golden Cherry tomatoes
Zucchini
Okra
Kale
Artichoke Pesto Sauce
Black Olives
Salt, Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes

Heat grill to medium high heat. Prepare veggies by cutting stems off the okra, slicing zucchini in half, and cutting red pepper in half. Then toss all veggies (including the cherry tomatoes and a stem of kale) in olive oil, then salt and pepper. Place all veggies on the grill (I put the tomatoes and kale on a stainless steel grilling plate) and grill for approx 5-7 minutes, turning over once mid-way. Watch the vegetables closely, as you don’t want them to charred.
Once the veggies are fully cooked, put aside to cool while you prepare the crust. Brush the crust with olive oil on both sides and cook the top side of the crust for approx 2-3 minutes, until there are light grill marks. Then place the pizza down and layer all the veggies and spices and grill for another 3-5 minutes (watching very closely). Remove from the grill and allow to cool down. Voila, grilled pizza in no time!

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Here’s a glimpse into our renovation thus far. More pictures to follow soon.



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Mango Green Tea Smoothie

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I’m sorry about all the beverage recipes lately, but hey, its summer! One can never have enough refreshments during summertime (although it feels more like fall here in San Francisco, truth be told).

As those of you that follow my Instagram know, there has been little sleeping going on in our household. Berlin has been asserting her personality and newfound communication to let us know that she is not interested in sleep any longer. She screams when we put her to bed (i’m talking blood curling screams that will go on until you go back in the room) and she wakes in the middle of the night (several times some nights) yelling “mama, light on,” or “Far read.” She even tricked me the other night into thinking her diaper needed to be changed, telling me she pooped. Well she didn’t, and her diaper wasn’t even wet. But from then on she was up and ready to party. This was at 4 AM mind you. We are no stranger to 4 AM wake up calls, she used to wake at this time regularly, until we finally sleep trained her to wake at a more reasonable 6 AM. But it looks like we are right back to where we started, and we are exhausted!

As I’m sure you can imagine, with all this fun going on, I’ve been hitting a midday slump, and have been in desperate need of a pick-me-up. I’m not a fan of drinking coffee past noon, as it keeps me up all night. But I’ve found that tea doesn’t have the same affect on me. So my solution to my never ending exhaustion; a yummy green tea smoothie. Not only does it taste delicious, but its refreshing and gives me a healthy boost to carry on my day.

Mango Green Tea Smoothie
1/2 cup chilled brewed green tea
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 frozen banana
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey

Prepare green tea and chill in fridge for 10 minutes or more. Place all ingredients in high power blender and blend until smooth.

Adjust consistency by adding more almond milk if desired, the chia seeds make it thicker so you may need more milk depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

You can also make it stronger by brewing two green tea bags, but I’m a light weight, so I stick with one.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy this recipe while chilling poolside, and not because you’re toddler is keeping you up all night. Have a lovely weekend!



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Watermelon Agua Fresca

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In honor of 4th of July (as well as my hubby who loves watermelon agua fresca), here is a simple recipe idea for your festivities.

Watermelon Agua Fresca
4 cups cubed watermelon
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 cups cold filtered water
1 tablespoon organic agave

Puree watermelon in blender. Then pour into a strainer to eliminate any seeds. Return watermelon to blender, add all other ingredients, and blend until smooth. Chill in refrigerator for 2-4 hours until ready to serve.

You can also add tequila to make an even more festive beverage.

Wishing you a very merry 4th of July.


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Easy Veggie Stir-Fry

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As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been feeling a bit crazed lately. With all that I have going on, I find myself often skipping meals (especially breakfast, but we will address that later).  If there are no leftovers from the night before, lunch, oftentimes is lots of little snacks or worse, skipped altogether. But awhile back I cruised the freezer aisle of Trader Joe’s (not an aisle I frequent) and discovered a pre-made quinoa packet (to my delight was actually quite tasty). I then grabbed a container of pre-cut veggies from the refrigerator aisle, and found my solution to a healthy, quick meal.

I realize everyone might not have a Trader Joe’s in their area, but I’ve seen similar stir-fry and quinoa packets at Costco and other grocery stores, so these specific packages can easily be substituted with similar items from your local grocery store.

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Easy Veggie Stir-Fry

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup of pre-chopped veggie mix
1/2 cup chopped organic broccoli
1/3 cup frozen edamame shells
1 cup frozen pre-made quinoa
Salt and Pepper to taste
Optional Toppings: soy sauce, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds

Heat olive oil in medium skillet. Add all ingredients (minus toppings). Cook for approx 5-7 minutes and top with additional toppings of choice.

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That’s all there is to it. Its so simple, yet still healthy. Plus there are so many ways to switch up. Depending on what I have in the fridge, it differs all the time. Some days I top with salmon or chickpeas, while other times I add kale or lentils. The possibilities are endless, and the bonus, Berlin actually likes it as well. Can’t beat that. Enjoy!



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Cheesy Polenta Fries

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I’ve been on a polenta kick lately. I’m a little late to the party, but I recently discovered all the many fun and delicious things you can do with polenta, and better yet, its so simple to make (especially when you buy pre-cooked polenta tubes!).

This recipe is incredibly easy to throw together, in fact the prep should only take a few minutes. The longest part of the recipe is the time spent baking in the oven (but you can have your feet up enjoying a cup of tea while that is happening!).

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Cheesy Polenta Fries
1 tube of pre-cooked polenta
Olive oil
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Cheesy Marina Sauce
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup of organic canned tomatoes
Dash of red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
2 bay leaves finely chopped

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Cut polenta tube in half, then cut in half again and slice into one inch fry pieces.

Coat each piece with olive oil and toss into a bowl of nutritional yeast, then lay flat on an oiled baking sheet. Throw in the oven for approx 20-25 minutes (making sure to watch closely around the 20 minute mark to ensure they don’t burn).

While the fries are cooking, put olive oil in a medium skillet and saute garlic for a few minutes, add tomatoes and seasoning and simmer on low for approx 15 minutes. Place cooked sauce in a blender, add bay leaves and blend until smooth.

Enjoy sauce as a dip for the fries (or as a sauce for pizza or pasta). Or you can simply pop open a jar of store bought marina and kick this step entirely.

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I made these fries as a side dish (originally as experiment) while I was baking my Polenta Mexican Pizza for a guest vegan post on my, oh so adorable friend’s blog, Oh Dear Drea. Please hop over to her blog (and first spend hours reading her honest, heartwarming posts while admiring her outrageously adorable daughter) then give my Mexican concoction a try! I swear its amazingly delicious (and toddler approved!)

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Have a fantastic three day weekend full of lots of family, fun and food!




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Berlin Snacks: Coconut Pineapple Popsicles

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The weather here continues to be unseasonably warm, its been upper 80′s for days in the city, which is unheard of for San Francisco. This is the second heat wave in less than a month and I’ve been desperate to whip up something to cool us down.

This simple popsicle treat was just the trick, and not only was it refreshing, but it also helped with Berlin’s teething, got to love that! We haven’t been on a full shopping excursion for weeks, so I just threw whatever I could find into the blender, trying to include some greens, fat and fiber. I think it turned out pretty good for a “cleaning out the fridge” recipe. Here it is…

Coconut Pineapple Popsicles

1 can of Organic Coconut Milk

1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks

1 cup organic kale

1 banana

2 tablespoons chia seeds

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Place all ingredients into Vitamix (or high power blender) and mix until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, making sure to fill completely to the brim and insert popsicle stick. Freeze for a min of 3-4 hours.

Once the pops are ready, place into a shallow dish of warm water for approx 30 seconds to loosen up the mold, then carefully pull the pops out of the mold.

If you don’t have popsicle molds they can easily be made in a large ice cube tray or a few dixie cups. Simply pour the mixture into the trays (or cups), insert a wooden popsicle stick into the center. Cover with saran wrap and freeze.

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If your little one is not ready to eat popsicles just yet, simply serve it up as a smoothie. It provides perfect nutrition for the littles.

This picture cracks me up, she was pretty skeptical on her first bite, but she warmed up to it. Plus she downed a whole cup of the smoothie.



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Berlin Bites: Lentil Pasta

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Now I don’t normally plug specific brands, but I’m so in love with this pasta that I had to share this delicious Tolerant pasta with you. I happen to come upon it while shopping at our local co-op and thought the idea was interesting (pasta made with legumes), but was unsure of how it would taste. I sprung for a box and served it up to Berlin and she devoured (I mean devoured) it! I have never seen her eat so much pasta in one sitting, and the brilliant part about it; she was getting a full serving of protein without any added ingredients. She was happy and I was happy. :)

I have prepared the pasta in a few different ways; sometimes only sauteing in butter or olive oil, but usually adding a few greens to the mix to serve up a fully balanced meal. Either way, it tastes good no matter how I’ve prepared it, and she has yet to get tired of it {and she eats it a few times a week}.

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Lentil Pasta

1/2 cup Tolerant Lentil Rotini

1/2 cup of canned chopped tomatoes (I use Pomi)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1/4 small onion chopped

1 small carrot julienned

1/4 cup organic spinach finely chopped

Cook pasta according to directions, I find that it takes a bit longer to cook through than it says on the package-however I do like it extra soft since I’m serving it to a toddler.

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute onion, garlic and carrots for approx 5 minutes, Add tomatoes and tomato paste, simmer on low for another 5 minutes.

Once pasta is done cooking place chopped spinach on the bottom of strainer and pour pasta over spinach (to steam spinach).

Place pasta, sauce and spinach in a serving bowl and enjoy.

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Tolerant also makes a black bean pasta and provides Fettuccine, Penne and Rotini shape in both the lentil and black bean pastas. I have yet to try the black bean version, but when I do I was thinking I would serve it up as a Macaroni and Cheese. I mean how brilliant is this?? Your picky toddler will never know the difference, and you can feel good about serving them pasta every day if you like!

BTW-I am not getting paid in any way for this post, but I sure should be!



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Berlin Bites: Vegan Almond Ice Cream

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It has been hot, hot, hot here in SF. I’m talking nearly 90 degrees, that is pretty much unheard of around here. It’s been nuts!

But I’m definitely not complaining, I’m a lover of the heat and Berlin and I have enjoyed every minute of it. We went to the beach (twice), went on a hike, visited the Golden Gate Bridge and had lots of park time. Its been pretty much the best week ever.

As you can imagine with this kind of heat, I’ve had a hankering for ice cream. But seeing as I don’t eat dairy, I generally don’t bother (not a fan of much vegan ice cream out there). However since we are sweltering over here, I decided ice cream was a must.

As you guessed already, I didn’t want to expose Berlin to the usual sugary treat, so I whipped up some of my own. It only took five minutes and was delicious and refreshing.

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Vegan Almond Ice Cream

1 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons almond butter

2 large frozen bananas sliced

Toppings: cinnamon and sliced almonds (optional)

Add half of the frozen bananas and half the milk to your Vitamix (or high power blender) and slowly blend until bananas are blended, then do the same thing with the remainder of the bananas and milk. The idea is to take it slow so that the consistency remains creamy and doesn’t get too runny. You want it to be more ice cream like than smoothie like. Then add the almond butter and slowly blend until mixed. Scoop into bowls and top with cinnamon and almonds.

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So simple yet so delicious! Enjoy!




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Berlin Snacks: Almond Zucchini Chips

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I originally set out to make kale chips for Berlin’s snack, but decided against it as I didn’t think she would be down to eat kale alone. But I really wanted to make some sort of vegetable chip since I know she loves chips (don’t worry she’s only had baked tortilla chips!). So I did a little research and discovered yummy zucchini chips. I’ve personally never had them before, but after the last (three) batches I made this week, I’m a fan! The recipes I found were mostly fat laden with butter, whole milk and cheese-making them not so healthy, so I stripped it down to only healthy ingredients to keep the true taste and nutrition of the zucchinis.

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Almond Zucchini Chips

1/2 cup raw almonds

1 large organic zucchini

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon Herbamare (optional)

1/2 cup coconut milk

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Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place raw almonds in a coffee grinder (making sure to clean out the coffee grinder since you’re serving to toddlers).

Grind the almonds down until they are finely processed into almond meal.

Slice washed zucchini with a mandolin slicer. Then mix almond meal and spices in a large ziplock bag.

Dip zucchini slices into coconut milk and place in meal mixture and shake until well coated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, line zucchini slices onto the sheet and bake for approx 20-30 minutes.

You must watch them very closely while they are baking, they go from not cooked to burnt in seconds (I totally burnt my first batch). I suggest baking them for the first 20 minutes, then watching them every minute there after. You know they are done with they are crispy and lightly browned.

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These are such healthy, easy and delicious treats for you or your little. Hope you enjoy.

Happy Friday!




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