“Earth” Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a classic dish. It’s literally one of the oldest grains in the history of food, and not only that but it’s one versatile beast of food and you all know how I feel about food versatility. You can have it sweet or savory. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. I mean, you can literally do whatever you want with oatmeal. But instead of fitting it into just one of the many options, why not mash it up some? This quick and easy oatmeal recipe creates a fun sweet and salty (or savory) bite. It’s funny because so many of my recipes are born out of last-minute epiphanies. I originally planned on making this only a sweet bowl. But toward the end I felt like it need something– I saw it was starting to look like a bunch of dirt (that’s where the “earth” name came from) and then I realized the salt crystals would work perfectly with the dirt effect and make it sweet and salty, another classic combo. This is one of the more delicious and comfty bowls I’ve had in awhile and I was eating a lot of oatmeal for a hot minute recently. Who knew something so simple could be so nourishing for the soul?

earth oatmeal

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut dry oats (cheaper if you purchase them in bulk!)
  • 1/8 cup blueberries (about one handful)
  • 3-4 pitted dates, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp. whole pink Himalayan sea salt crystals
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice; I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for this recipe)
  • 1 cup water

What to Do:

  1. Heat a small to medium  pot over high heat with 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the oats and boil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reduce heat to a low to medium heat and stir oats.
  3. Cover pot with a lid and let oats simmer for 5-10 minutes or until all (or at least most) water has been absorbed by the oats.
  4. Let the oats sit for about 2 minutes, then, remove oats from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Pour almond milk over oats (but do not stir milk into oats yet!).
  6. Slice the into several, even-sized slices and place them on top of the oatmeal on one side.
  7. Now, start adding the toppings; place the blueberries on top of the banana slices.
  8. Place the date pieces on top of the other fruit.
  9. Carefully sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg along the line of fruit (as pictured) one at a time.
  10. Carefully sprinkle the heaping amount of brown sugar on top of the other spices.
  11. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the other spices and sugar.
  12. Finally, sprinkle the pink sea salt crystals over everything else. Serve and enjoy!

* Most brown sugar (and all sugar for that matter) is not vegan, unless marked otherwise. The brown sugar I used in this recipe wasn’t vegan– I already had a bulk amount of brown sugar since before going vegan and because I don’t use brown sugar that often, that is what I’ve been using because I planned on going through all products I currently have and then purchasing vegan products after those are finished (this is for financial as well as waste reasons). If you would like to make sure that you are using vegan sugar, you can use this easy recipe for brown sugar.

Date posted on Instagram: 12/6/18

Autumn Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is my jam. I’ve had it every which way I can think of at this point, with every type of mix-in possible. That was until I was eating brekkie one day recently and as I was enjoying my yummy Fieldroast apple maple links I had an epiphany. I actually haven’t had tofu scram every way I can think of, and I haven’t had all the mix-ins either. Could tofu scram be enjoyed seasonally? What about sweet? My mind was spinning with such crazy ideas, but a couple of days later I made it over to the kitchen to test my theory out. The result? A delicious new take on tofu scram that my taste buds were pleasantly surprised by. It’s 50% savory, 50% sweet, and 100% bomb vegan protein.

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What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block of organic firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, chopped (finely or roughly depending on the texture you want!)
  • 2 small to medium carrot sticks, diced
  • 1/4 green apple, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)*

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over low-medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the chopped brussel sprouts and carrots to the skillet and saute them approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add the green apples to the skillet and continue the saute for another minute, stirring the veggies and fruit until well mixed.
  4. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add agave syrup to veggie and fruit mix.
  5. Stir syrup into mix continuously for approximately 10 seconds then let sit and simmer.
  6. Crumbled drained tofu over the top of the veggie and fruit mix to create the scram.
  7. Sprinkle turmeric over the top of the crumbled tofu, then, mix everything together until turmeric is well blended into the tofu and it is completely yellow.
  8. Return the heat to low/medium and add pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed into scram.
  9. Continue to saute scram until veggies and apple are slightly tender, approximately another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy alone or with some of your favorite breakfast sides.

 

 * Also, feel free to add about a teaspoon of black salt, also known as “kala namak”. This salt can give your egg substitutes a more “egg-like” taste! I recently got some and have tried adding it to some of my vegan eggs, although I still love tofu scram without it. This salt can be found in Asian or Indian markets but I found a decent size bulk amount on Amazon for a great price. Do a little research to price check!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/23/18

Lavender Smoothie

I’ve fallen in love with lavender. I use the oil to help calm me and get rid of headaches. I use the herbs and buds in recipes. It’s such a useful plant and it smells divine and looks beautiful — there really is no downside to using it! For this smoothie, I combined some unique flavors that actually go together very well. I put peanut butter in every smoothie as it is, but I second-guessed putting it in this one. Then I thought, why not? If I’m a recipe developer, how can I develop recipes without experimenting? It’s kind of an oxymoron, but I often second-guess myself when creating new things. Even in the experimental stage, which makes no sense to me, because I know it’s an experiment. Yet, I’ll still question myself. I also don’t like not getting things right on the first try. But before this intro turns into a personal roast of myself and of my amateur-chef shortcomings, I’ll leave it at that and say that this smoothie was an extremely positive result of my recipe experimentation. The end.

Iavender smoothie

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 – 1 1/3 cup of your favorite non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup of frozen raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon whole lavender buds (I purchased mine at Whole Foods Market)

 

What to Do:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend together.
  2. If your blender has different speed settings, blend on a medium setting until everything is well blended. Otherwise, blend for approximately 20 seconds until everything is well-blended.
  3. Sprinkle additional lavender buds on top of smoothie to garnish.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 9/17/18

Golden Milk Latte

I didn’t discover the benefits of turmeric until after going vegan. I’m sure the spice appeared in foods I ate before then, but it’s a primary component in tofu scramble, and post-vegan, tofu scramble had become one of my favorite foods so I became very familiar with turmeric as a result. It took even longer for me to discover that turmeric had benefits such as being a natural anti-inflammatory. I only thought about it’s ability to make things yellow and it’s vibrant smell and flavor, which reminded me of all the aromatic, bright and beautiful Indian and Asian spices. But I should have known that everything Mother Nature has provided us with likely has some beneficial purpose for our insides and outsides. Then, I finally discovered golden milk lattes. Initially, putting turmeric in hot milk didn’t sound appealing– that was until I tried it– and it was delicious. Not to mention that anytime I’m aware that what I’m eating or drinking can have a positive impact on my health, it makes me like it all that much more. So cheers to you golden milk latte– I heart you and your yellow hue.

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What You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/3 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/8 teaspoon garam masala seasoning (optional)*
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper**
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1-2 teaspoons vegan brown sugar ( or other vegan sweetener; amount can be adjusted depending on how sweet you want your latte to be)
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon coconut oil**

What to Do:

  1. Place a saucepan over a low simmer heat and add milk.
  2. Stir into the milk the garam masala seasoning and black pepper.
  3. Let milk sit over heat until it starts to develop steam and is hot.
  4. Add turmeric, cinnamon, brown sugar and coconut oil to latte.
  5. Stir latte to mix all ingredients well, about 20 seconds or so.
  6. Once latte is steaming or has come to a light boil, remove from heat immediately.
  7. Transfer to a mug and sprinkle with additional cinnamon on top to garnish, if desired.***

 

* The garam masala, which is a blend of Indian spices, adds even more of a spice-filled and unique flavor to the latte. But it’s optional. Another spice I use is nutmeg which is great if you want to use something instead of garam masala and offers a more subtle flavor but you still get that nice spice kick.

** The black pepper and coconut oil are very important components for the turmeric to properly work as a natural anti-inflammatory, so don’t omit them! Find out why here. If you’re allergic to pepper, you should at least include the coconut oil with the turmeric to help with absorption.

 *** The spice mixture may settle to the bottom of the latte, so be sure to stir frequently.

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/18/18

Breakfast Potato Hash

I love potatoes. They are such a hearty food and they’re also a starchy food and I happen to also love starchy foods. Not to mention you can do so much with them. You can bake ’em, pan fry ’em, boil ’em, slice ’em up and fry ’em, turning them into crisp, golden fries. The possibilities are practically endless. And so is my love for fries. This breakfast hash recipe could almost be considered a dump skillet meal, because I had some kale that I still hadn’t used. One of my favorite things to do as a new cook is try to figure out how to sneak veggies into meals. Parents have been doing this with their kids for decades, but it turns out that a lot of adults won’t eat their veggies unless you sneak them in either. It’s such a shame really, because kale truly is the bomb.com.

Breakfast Potato Hash

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 large red potato, diced and cubed (yellow or another variety of potato can also be used)
  • 1 cup of purple kale, chopped (curly kale, dinosaur kale, or spinach can also be used)
  • 1/2 cup of red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup scallion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup of tomatillo salsa (any salsa can be used but I thought tomatillo went well with this hash — you can even try a sweet salsa like pineapple, for a salty/sweet mix!)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or sunflower oil
  • cast iron skillet (a non-stick skillet can also be used but I prefer to cook potatoes in a cast-iron skilled because they help maintain flavor)

 

What to Do:

  1.  Heat cast-iron skillet on low heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add yellow onion and saute for approximately 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add cubed potatoes and turn heat to low-medium. Fry potatoes and onion for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add scallion, red and yellow peppers, salt and dried parsley to skillet.
  5. Continue to fry hash until potatoes are somewhat tender, stirring mixture once in a while to avoid burning. If necessary, adjust heat to a lower setting.
  6. Once potatoes have become slightly tender, add purple kale. Continue to fry until onions are translucent and kale has become wilted. Remove from heat.
  7. Transfer hash to a serving dish. Top hash with tomatillo salsa and serve alone, with tofu scramble, or however you like!

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 7/7/18

Hazelnut and Cacao Milkshake

I recently got a container of vegan protein to start making shakes with. I barely liked protein shakes before I was vegan, but I was curious as to how this one would taste and also to see if it was truly filling (it has 20 grams of protein per serving). The flavor is amazing and it doesn’t have a slightly weird after-taste which I remember other non plant-based protein shakes having. And it does keep me pretty full. Because the flavor was so on-point, I thought– why not make a milkshake? You kill two bird with one stone– you get a sweet, flavorful dessert, and also filling protein that’s healthy for you. Yep, I’m a genius. This was also my first time trying Elmhurst brand’s hazelnut milk. So. good. The idea here was to make a Nutella shake– it was a fail. But the outcome was still tasty!

Hazelnut and Cacao Shake top

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 scoops of a vanilla flavored, plant-based protein powder (I used Kos Naturals)
  • 12 ounces of hazelnut milk (I used Elmhurst brand)
  • 1 medium-sized banana, cut into four pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 3-4 ice cubes

What to Do:

  1. Place milk into blender along with protein powder, banana slices and ice cubes.
  2. Blend (on medium speed if your blender has different speeds) for about 15-20 seconds.
  3. Remove lid and add cacao nibs.
  4. Replace lid and blend again for about 20 seconds.
  5. Pour shake into a glass.
  6. Sprinkle remaining tablespoon of cacao nibs on top of shake to garnish, and serve. Bon appetit!

Date posted on Instagram: 6/4/18

Chia pudding with Strawberries, Raisins and Cashews

An easy way to create a vegan pudding without a ton of ingredients that taste amazing and is super filling!

Chia Pudding w/ Strawberries, Raisins and Cashews

What You’ll Need:

ATTENTION: This recipe requires 24 hours of prep time! Please plan accordingly!

  • 3-4 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 1 cup of your favorite milk alternative — I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • About 3-4 fresh strawberries
  • About 2 tablespoons of raisins
  • About 2 tablespoons of cashews
  • One 8 to 16 oz. mason jar with a lid (any bowl or container with a lid can be used but I prefer to use mason jars)
  • 1 tablespoon of agave syrup (optional)

 

What to Do:

  1. Place 3 or 4 tablespoons of chia seeds in the mason jar**.
  2. Pour entire cup of milk into jar and mix immediately as the chia seeds will start to expand right away.
  3. Add agave syrup and mix into chia pudding — I like sweet chia pudding but this step is optional.
  4. Cover with lid and let sit for approximately 3-4 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and stir again to remove any clumps of chia seeds that do not have liquid throughout them.
  6. Cover with lid again and put chia pudding in the fridge — leave overnight.
  7. Remove mason jar from fridge and open; spoon chia pudding into a serving bowl and smooth out.
  8. Cut strawberries into lengthwise slices.
  9. Add strawberries, raisins and cashews on top of chia pudding; serve. Bon appetit!

 

** The typical ratio for chia pudding is usually either 3 or 4 tablespoons of seeds for every 1 cup of liquid. The more seeds you add, the thicker the pudding will be. I prefer my chia pudding a little more viscose and not super thick, but then it also depends on my mood — rarely I’ll add a little more chia seeds. You can play around with the ratio of both seeds and milk to see what tastes best to you. Sometimes people find the texture of chia pudding a little tough to get used to — that’s how I felt the first time I tried it, so maybe using less chia seeds may work better at first 🙂 .

 

Date posted on Instagram: 1/24/18