Cocoa Banana Marble Breakfast Loaf

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Who’s feeling dessert for breakfast?!  This vegan loaf is the consistency of a light pound cake, with hints of chocolate & banana on top.

If you do not eat chocolate or caffeine, you can easily substitute in carob powder for the cocoa to get a similar flavor.  Make sure you head on over to Karen’s Naturals for some of their tasty and versatile freeze-dried bananas (& more)!

 

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup of a protein-filled plant milk, such as Orgain Protein Almond Milk

1/2 cup Earth Balance Soy Free Margarine 

1 1/2 cups cane sugar

3/4 cup So Delicious Plain Coconut Yogurt 

2 tablespoons (at least) cocoa powder

1 handful of Karen’s Naturals Just Bananas

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on low to combine the Earth Balance & sugar. Slowly beat in the yogurt.

In a second smaller bowl, combine the flour & baking powder, then beat the mixture into the large bowl.

In a third smaller bowl, combine the almond milk & vanilla, then beat the mixture into the large bowl.

Remove a little of the batter, about a ½ cup, to another bowl and mix the cocoa powder into it to make a small amount of chocolate batter.  Chop up a few of the Just Bananas to taste, and stir those into the chocolate batter.

Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.

Pour the vanilla batter into the pan. Then add the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla. Use a toothpick or knife to marble the chocolate in.

Bake for around 50-60 minutes, checking until a toothpick comes out clean.

Store the loaf covered in the fridge after the first day, & eat within about 5 days.

 

Notes:

-If you find you prefer a higher ratio of chocolate to vanilla, simply scoop out a larger quantity of the batter to mix with some additional cocoa powder & Just Bananas.

-If using a larger quantity of Just Bananas, compensate by adding an extra splash of plant milk to keep them from absorbing too much of the batter’s moisture as they are freeze-dried.

Enjoy!

Iced Lemon Cake

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I am such a huge fan of all things lemon.  Our wedding cake had three tiers; Vanilla, Cinnamon, & Lemon.  The lemon was the winner by a landslide in our book!  My grandmother-in-law also makes the most fabulous Italian lemon cookies.  I was eating them by the dozen over our holiday visit in December!

For my husband’s birthday, I whipped up this simple lemon cake that doubles as dessert or breakfast.  The glaze is a perfect textural combo with the light cake-y texture.  You can easily sub in your favorite egg & butter substitutes.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups cane sugar

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I love King Arthur’s)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon lemon zest

For the glaze:

I cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

 

Directions:

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low, combine the butter, sugar & lemon zest.

Beat in the eggs.

Beat in the lemon juice.

In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour & salt.

Slowly beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.

Grease a 9 inch square pan with a speck of butter & pour the batter in.

Bake for around 35 minutes…Keeping an eye on it until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

For the glaze:

Simply stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, & the lemon zest in a small bowl.

Wait until the cake has cooled to spread the glaze evenly across the top.

To let the glaze solidify, it’s best to let it sit & harden for a few hours.

Enjoy!

 

 

Maple Granola Clusters; For Red, White, & Blue Parfaits

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As a former New Englander, I’m very picky when it comes to maple syrup! Only the good stuff please! Catskill Provision makes THE tastiest syrup that is all natural & perfect for baking.

If you prefer making your own granola like me, maple syrup is a perfect binding ingredient to get those great clusters we all love. This granola base is perfect for adding in any of your favorite accompaniments like dried fruits, nuts, seeds, or chocolate!

It tastes amazing plain as an on-the-go snack, tossed into oatmeal or snack bars, or in these Red, White, & Blue Parfaits! Happy 4th of July everyone!

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Ingredients:

½ cup pure maple syrup

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

¼ cup light brown sugar

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

a sprinkle of sea salt

1 egg white (optional if you’re not vegan) – It helps bind extra large clusters!

Add-ins of your choice – I went with chopped sliced apricots & cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds – You could also used almonds, peanuts, raisins, dark chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, dried apples, or walnuts!

 

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees.

Stir the oats, add-ins, salt, brown sugar, syrup, & olive oil together.

If using the egg white for extra clusters beat 1 egg white in a separate small bowl until frothy, then gently stir into granola mixture until evenly coated.

Spread the mix onto a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. (The paper makes it much easier to break the clusters apart after cooling.)

Bake for about 1 hour, or until golden brown & no longer wet.

After letting it cool completely, use your hands to break apart the sheet into clusters as small or large as you like!

For Red, White, & Blue Parfaits take a small glass and alternate handfuls of granola, greek yogurt (I use plain since the granola & berries are sweet, but use any variety you like!), & blueberries/strawberries/raspberries/blackberries. (I love the strawberry/blueberry combo.)

Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I’m a big believer in using whole grains whenever possible in my baking.  It outranks all-purpose flour in its fiber content, vitamin content, & its more stabilizing effect on blood sugar.  I honestly feel like they give my baked goods a richer taste as well, & am a life-ling convert!

I can never get enough of fall flavors year round, & this pumpkin bread is such an easy way to transport me back to my favorite season.  Whether it’s for an easy breakfast on the go, an afternoon coffee-time companion, or an after-dinner treat, this bread is the perfect way to pack some vitamin A into your day!

Ingredients:

3 cups whole wheat flour (I really like the organic “white-whole wheat” variety from King Arthur Flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs (or your favorite vegan substitute)

2 cups canned pumpkin

1 1/2 cups canola oil

Just under 2 cups of cane sugar (or other variety of your choice)

1.5 or 2 cups of chocolate chips (depending how chippy you like it!) . If you’re not a chocolate fan, it tastes just as delicious plain!

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl

Beat the wet ingredients together in a large second bowl

Beat the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Stir in the chocolate chips

Split the mixture between 2 greased loaf pans

Bake for between 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean

Enjoy!

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6 Ingredient Fried Rice

I’m not only all about whole foods and nutrition, but convenience is very high up on my list!  This dish is so easy & nutritious (not to mention gluten-free and dairy-free)!  It’s got a great balance of veggies, protein, and vitamins, and it’s one of my weeknight go-to dinners.

If you’re a vegan you could skip the eggs and add in more veggies to bulk it up!

These measurements make 2 large servings

Ingredients:

1 cup rice (plus 2 cups of water)

4 large eggs

2 heads broccoli (or other vegetables if you prefer…I bet cauliflower, bell peppers, or carrots would work nicely as a substitution or a medley!)

1 tablespoon canola oil

Tamari Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (or regular if you prefer)

Sesame Seed Flavoring Oil (I use the one from House of Tsang)

Directions:

Bring rice and water to a boil in a small pot, then lower heat until rice has been cooked thoroughly

Chop broccoli (plus any additional vegetables) into bite sized pieces

Beat the eggs in a small bowl

Heat up a large wok to a medium temperature and pour in canola oil

Pour in the beaten eggs & scramble them (don’t overcook)

Pour in a drizzle of soy sauce to lightly coat them

Add vegetables to wok, coating in another small drizzle of soy sauce, and cook until they soften

Add in cooked rice, and continue slowly adding soy sauce and mixing until all ingredients have taken on a light brown color.  (You can always add in extra soy sauce when serving, but be careful not to go overboard in the pan or it will get too salty)

Add in a couple drops of sesame oil and mix thoroughly

When serving, keep extra soy sauce & sesame oil at the table so that you can add in more flavor to taste (I like to add a hefty amount of the sesame oil since it has such a great flavor)

Enjoy!

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Mint Chip Fudge Brownies

Happy Valentines’ Day to all!

If you’re looking for decadent chocolate you’ve come to the right place!  If you were ever a fan of mint chip fudge or ice cream, these will be right up your alley.  The brownie layer on the bottom is chocolatey and dense, and the mint chip icing on the top hardens into a silky sweet fudge layer.  You’re going to love them!

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Ingredients:

For the brownies:

3/4 cup canola oil

just under 1 cup light brown sugar

just under 1 cup white cane sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon peppermint flavor (I use the one from Simply Organic made from sunflower oil and peppermint oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cocoa powder

a sprinkle of sea salt

1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the icing:

1 stick butter (or 1/2 cup shortening for a dairy-free version!)

4 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1/8 cup water

3 teaspoons peppermint flavor

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Grease a 9×13 glass pan

Beat the canola oil, brown sugar, and white sugar together on a low setting

Beat in the eggs on a low setting

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla on a low setting

Beat everything together on a higher setting and then stir in the chips

Move into your pan and bake for around 25 minutes (start checking them around 20 minutes so you don’t overcook them)

After you have removed them from the oven and let them cool, you can make & add the icing:

Let the butter get to room temperate, and then beat it into a light consistency

Slowly beat in the powdered sugar

Beat in the water

Beat in the peppermint flavor and vanilla extract

Stir in the chips

Spread overtop of the brownies

Optional but suggested: Move the brownies into the refrigerator to solidify into a fudge-like consistency /// Then before eating, either remove them for a few minutes if you do not like to eat them cold, or enjoy right out of the fridge!

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Cinnamon Brown Sugar Granola

Here I go with the cinnamon again!

This granola base is unbelievably easy to throw together, and is very customizable.  From this base feel free to add whatever mix-ins you love like dried fruit or nuts.

The brown sugar and the cinnamon bake into little sweet clusters, which I love.  However, if your preference is to make some larger clusters with the oats, I would substitute some of the brown sugar for either honey or maple syrup as a stronger binder.

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

4 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons saigon cinnamon

a couple sprinkles of sea salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 heaping teaspoon vanilla extract

any additional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees

Mix together oats, sugar, cinnamon, & salt in a large bowl

Mix oil & vanilla (as well as a liquid sweetener if you’re replacing some of the sugar with that) into a smaller bowl, then mix into the dry ingredients

Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet, & bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from over, stir, then bake for an additional 10 minutes

Remove from the oven, and continue to stir every few minutes until it has cooled completely

Toss in your optional mix-ins (dried fruit, nuts, etc.), and transfer into an airtight container.

Optional – Sift granola through a mesh strainer to remove excess sugar that did not adhere

Enjoy!

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Cinnamon Blueberry Oats

People who know me know that I have a severe obsession with cinnamon, especially the sweet saigon cinnamon.  I add it to absolutely everything.  Partially because I find it adds so much sweetness to an otherwise sugar-free meal, and partially because it has so many amazing health benefits.  It’s anti-inflammatory, helps to balance blood sugar, and contains a surprising amount of calcium just to name a few.

This is one of my quick go-to breakfasts when I’m in the mood for something sweet.  I love using the frozen blueberries and watching the purple color melt all through the oats!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quick oats

1 cup water

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons saigon cinnamon

handful of frozen blueberries

Directions:

Cook the oats (for speed I just use the microwave)

Stir in the chia seeds while still piping hot

Stir in the cinnamon

Mix in the blueberries & enjoy

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Tomato Basil Asparagus Pasta

Being part Italian, I cannot stress my absolute obsession with pasta!

There are so many ways to dress it up, make it healthy, and keep it simple.

Here’s one of my favorite quick dinners.  I went with Ancient Harvest Gluten-Free Supergrain Pasta (though of course you should use your personal favorite pasta!)

This recipe makes 1 large serving.

Ingredients:

5-6 large asparagus stalks

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 servings of your favorite pasta

1 cup tomato basil pasta sauce

black pepper & cayenne pepper to taste

optional topping – a sprinkle of parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Cut off the ends of the asparagus, then place the stalks into a gallon-sized plastic bag

Pour the olive oil into the bag and make sure it covers all of the asparagus

Place the asparagus on a baking sheets and cook in the oven for about 12-14 minutes

Cook and drain the pasta, then mix in the pasta sauce to keep it from sticking

Remove the asparagus from the oven, chop into small pieces, and mix that into the pasta

Add black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste, and then sprinkle on some parmesan if you wish!

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Sweet Potato Carrot Soup

I seriously could eat fall flavors year round!

You only need 7 ingredients for this simple soup, but the flavors really pack a big punch.  It’s chock full of vitamin a, fiber, potassium, and healthy fat.  It’s also incredibly filling, and very low calorie.  Added bonuses: It’s vegan, & dairy/gluten-free!

The sweet potato taste combined with both the cinnamon and the pepper, cumin, and olive oil result in a nice “sweet + savory” combination.  It’s a thicker consistency, which makes it feel quite hearty.

This recipe makes 1 very large bowl, or two side bowls.

Ingredients:

1 sweet potato

3 cups baby carrots

3 cups vegetable broth

2 heaping teaspoons olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon cinnamon (sweet saigon cinnamon preferably)

a sprinkle of cumin

a sprinkle of black pepper

(optional: larger quantities of the above spices, added to taste at the end)

Directions:

Thoroughly cook both the sweet potato and carrots until very soft.  (When I’m in a hurry I cook them all in the microwave, though roasting them in the oven or steaming them on the stovetop would be equally effective!)

In a large bowl, use a potato-masher to mash the cooked carrots and sweet potato together until they are as pureed as possible.

After it has cooled, transfer the puree into a blender (or your preferred blending appliance) and puree until totally smooth.

Add the vegetable broth into the blender and blend again until it’s evenly mixed.

Transfer the mix into a pot and heat back up on a low setting.

Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon, pepper, and cumin.

Taste test, add in your preferred extra spices if desired, and voila!

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