Pumpkin Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Hello friends! Quick disclaimer: I came up with this recipe in summer and wanted to ‘save it’ for pumpkin season, but re-take better photos. Photos never happened, but here’s the recipe regardless, with a few mediocre pics! I still wanted to share the recipe, because these easy and scrumptious homemade pumpkin peanut butter granola bars are worth whipping up.

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Now, if you’re not into pumpkin spice, fear not. These are not pumpkin spice-y. In fact, the pumpkin flavor is pretty subtle.

Rather than act as the main showboat of the recipe, pumpkin acts as a binder for these granola bars and ensures they stay nice and moist and chewy (the way granola bars should be, in my opinion).

vegan gluten free peanut butter pumpkin oatmeal bars

When paired with your favorite nut butter (I used peanut, but use whatever suits your fancy), a splash of maple syrup, and a sprinkle of salt, you’ve got a satisfying, sweet-and-savory way to mix up your snack game.

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Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars

I have a love for sweet carb-y goodness that fuels me up without making me feel sugared out. Something that will appease my sweet truth, but also make me feel like I’ve eaten real food. That’s why I love things like VVegan Banana Bread, Blueberry Flax Muffins, and Chocolate-Dipped Nut-Butter Stuffed Dates. And now these Chewy Vegan Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Protein Bars.

Easy Vegan & GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

These are made with a secret ingredient – chickpeas! Now, before you abandon this post convinced I’ve gone mad, I promise you can’t really taste them. This is not a sweetened hummus bar (though I’d probably be down to eat that too). This is a neutral-based soft baked bar that is packed with protein, fiber, and flavor.

Vegan + GF Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bars

I’ve done the whole bean-based cookie dough thing before, and enjoyed it quite a bit. Only recently did I think “hey, maybe this will taste good baked!” So here we are.

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Recent Vegan Eats

Recent Vegan Eats

Hey friends! I skipped a recent eats post last week because I was traveling and transitioning jobs! More on that later. Here are some yummy recent eats from the past 2 weeks.

I was pretty lousy at remembering to photograph my food minus when I was in Cali, but that’s just the way it is sometimes! When I’m randomly subsiding off packets of nut butter and bagels and apples while spending days in airports and/or getting home at 1am before eating dinner, my phone is the last thing I’m thinking about when nourishing myself. And actually, I don’t think it would be healthy to remember to photograph everything I eat. Anyways, I’ll be better this week, I promise. 🙂 For now, enjoy some rather random snack and meal inspo, and of course, Millie pics!

Kashi Autumn Wheat with almond milk.

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I adore shredded wheat cereals. They remind me of straight-up-childhood. Sometimes I forget about them when I’m on Cheerio or Chex kicks. But I’ve been craving sweet shreds lately and I’m a stroke of serendipity, these were on sale at the store last week, so I picked them up.

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Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Helloooo my favorite snack ever! If you’ve known me for any length of time you probably know that my favorite food on earth is the wonderful sweet potato. Regular. Japanese. Red. Purple. I’ll take ’em all. Carb me.Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

I am a sweet potato maniac. When I was a kid I would walk around with a baked sweet potato in my hand, eating it as if it were an apple. I was cool. Between that and being the only elementary school kid drinking soy milk (because milk did and does give me the worst gas ever) I had a lot of friends. I promise.

Easy Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

One of my favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes is with almond butter. Something about the nuttiness of almond butter plays so well off the savory sweetness of sweet potatoes.

Baked Cripsy Sweet Potato Wedges with Almond Butter

Lately I’m very into making sweet potato wedges. For years, I pretty much exclusively made baked sweet potatoes and ate them whole. But lately I’m on a wedge kick. Bonus: sweet potato wedges are perfect for dipping, in my case in AB.

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Easy Baked Plantains

Easy Baked Plantains

Our department has a lunch meeting every Wednesday where first year students sit and eat while a faculty member tells us about their research how they got where they are, and sometimes their life story, etc. it’s a nice time / I’m all about free food.plantain_baked_kbaked_coined_

Delivery options are limited around the Columbia University Medical Center campus. Hence why every single week lunch ends up being one of 3 options: pizza that smells like burnt Chuck E Cheese kitchen grease and is paired with a salad cloaked in sad cold deli meat (and one plain salad, but that goes fast), Dominican food, or on a good day, sandwiches on really strangely delicious fluffy crusty white hoagie bread.plantain_baked_kbaked_coins_vertical

Dominican food days are frequent, and I don’t hate it. The buffet has enough veggie options (salad with avocado, rice, beans) that I can finagle a decent meal out of it.

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The star of every Dominican week is, of course, the fried plantains. Sticky sweet gooey goodness, the fried plantains have become a cherished and familiar treat.

It dawned upon me this week that I’ve never actually made plantains at home which considering bananas and potatoes are my favorite foods and plantains are essentially the potato of bananas (as in not sweet and rather starchy), is quite odd. So over the weekend I decided to change this. I picked up some plantains, 3/$1, at my local grocery store.

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A kind woman was also picking out plantains when I was sorting through them. I asked her if she had any advice for a new plantain cook, and she told me to wait until the plantains were “soft like sponges.” Noted.

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Now onto cooking. I don’t love frying things and my stomach doesn’t love eating large quantities of fried food. Hence why I after doing some googling to confirm it was possible, I opted to bake mine.

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I did mine skin-on because the method sounded intriguing to me. You can totally peel them and cube them, coat them in oil and seasonings, and bake them that way (just for a shorter duration, 20-25 minutes until tender rather than 40-45).

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If you are curious about the skin-on method as I was, I am happy to report that it totally works. Just take it out of the oven when the foil-wrapped plantain gives to a squeeze.

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Next comes topping. I played around with topping these babies. One I coined and ate with melted vegan butter and brown sugar.

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Another I drizzled with almond butter, cinnamon, and a dash of sugar. The last I ate with leftover black bean soup and cilantro. I decided they would also taste great with guacamole. All were solid options, and it was a very plantain-filled day.

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Speaking of filled, I found plantains quite filling. I plan to keep this in mind since they are a cheap starchy piece of produce aka something I desperately need to befriend.

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I hope you give these a try. If you do, please let me know, and let me know how you topped or are them.

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Happy plantaining!

Easy Baked Plantains

Prep Time:  2 minutes
Cook Time: 35-45 minutes
Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium very spotted ripe plantains

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Using a knife, draw a slit lengthwise down each plantain.
  3. Wrap each plantain (skin on) in aluminum foil, or lay out on a baking sheet with parchment paper underneath.
  4. Bake plantains for 35-50 minutes (depending on size/oven) until soft and squeezeable to the touch.
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  6. Top and eat as desired.

Topping Ideas:

  • non-dairy butter + 1 teaspoon brown sugar + dash cinnamon
  • drizzle of almond butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • black bean soup + salsa + cilantro
  • guacamole

5 Easy Avocado Toast Ideas for YOU

5 Easy Avocado Toast Ideas for YOU

Yum yum yum. Avocado toast. I love to make it! Because I am a millennial and never want to be able to buy a house! I’d rather spend my time creating easy avocado toasts so you can have some easy avocado toast ideas on hand.

Lol. All jokes aside, people who rip on avocado toast can shove it. Sure, it can be overpriced on brunch menus, but isn’t everything? Like people pay $8-20 for an omelet. And eggs are CHEAP AF.

Mil Dawg

Anyways, here are a few avocado toast ideas for you. I hope you enjoy for a snack or breakfast or for lunch or for whatever!

Avocado Toast with Pomegranate Seeds

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An old favorite! And so cute and festive for the holidays. The recipe exists on my site here, but basically it’s just bread + avo + pomegranate perils. You can add red pepper flakes if you want too. Add S&P and: Yum!

Avocado Toast with Nutritional Yeast

avocado toast with nutritional yeast

Yes. Simple and delicious. The nutritional yeast truly kicks it up a major notch. Try it. Trust me. Cheesy, umami goodness. Add S&P, of course. Yum. #vegan

Avocado Toast with Preserved Lemons and Radish

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This was better than expected. I had a jar of perserved lemons I had no idea what to do with. Honestly, I’d never even had them before. I opened them up and they tasted like olives. But lemon. It’s weird and wonderful at once.

They are super salty, so naturally they go well on avocado toast. I added radish. You could also do tomatoes. Whatever you want!

Avocado Toast with Everything Sea Salt

Everything bagel Toast avocado

Another simple wonderful creation. Simply mash avocado, and sprinkle with everything bagel salt. I get it at Trader Joe’s for $1.99. This salt is a GAME CHANGER. Invest.

everything bagel avocado toast

Avocado Toast with Herbs, Walnuts, and Crushed  Chips or Sundried Tomatoes

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I love avocado toast with herbs. It just tastes and feels so right. Cilantro on top makes it like a guac toast (also good). Parsley also tastes SO FRESH. I also like adding nuts for crunch, and something to contrast the savoriness.

In this case, it was Just Beets from Trader Joe’s. Any pop of sweet tanginess (see pomegranate perils above, or sun-dried tomatoes), or juiceness (like tomatoes) will do.

Hope this gave you some ideas! Stay #blessed, y’all.

 

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

Hello! It me. I bring to you another dessert recipe from Wisconsin since my flight to NYC was canceled this morning due to the wind! Blah. I suppose this means even more time to experiment with dessert recipes since I will no longer have the opportunity to stuff myself with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream this weekend (my absolute fav).easy-vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

Now I will preface this recipe by acknowledging that I’m aware I did not break any culinary boundaries in creating these. And that’s fine. But these bars are beauties because they’re super duper easy and super duper delicious. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, if you’re into that kinda thing.

They’re also highly addictive. My mom ate like 3/4th of the tray in one sitting. We are definitely related. Chocolate is a food group, according to us. vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

So a lil history on these bars: they came about because as a constantly-on-a-budget TJs fanatic, I am always looking up ways to create cheap after-dinner sweet snacks. In grad school I starting buying bags of chocolate chips for $1.99 (yup, TJ’s chocolate chips are vegan) and boxes of TJ’s Joe’s O’s (which are the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Cheerios) also for $1.99. I would mix chocolate chips and Joe’s Os in a wee little bowl and nibble on the mixture while studying.

The mix is a bit sweet, a bit carby, chocolatey, and crunchy. It’s highly satisfying, easy-to-prepare, and cheap as can be! It really stretches out a bag of chocolate chips, and has the added bonus that Joe’s O’s are decently not-too-shabby-for-you, making it a snack that’s easy to eat every night without feeling icky.

Then one day last month, I  was making puppy chow for my sister when she was in town, and I ventured to the grocery store to get a box of Chex. And then I got home and saw my Cheerios and I was like…I wonder if….!

And so this month, I tried it. I basically used the puppy chow idea (melted chocolate + pb) with Cheerios in place of Chex, but pressed them into a pan instead of coating them with powdered sugar.vegan-gluten-free-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

The result is a crunchy, easy peasy snack that satisfies any crunchy chocolate peanut butter craving. They’re just damn good and damn delicious.

Anyways, without further audieu, I present to you…

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Salted Caramel Date Truffles (from my ebook!)

Hi everyone! If anyone is out there still.

I must apologize for my disappearance! I had a major cross country move, and then I started grad school for human nutrition at Columbia! I’m also working some and interning a bit with Spoon University. I’ve never been so busy in my whole life! But that said, I’ve really been missing blogging and am going to try my best to get back to it! Winter break will CERTAINLY be full of blogposts!

But I thought I’d share this Salted Caramel Date Truffle Recipe that’s from my ebook, (which you can buy here), and also featured on Spoon University, here.

These are honestly amazeballs. Like, way better than they have the right to be. With the salty crunch on the somehow seemingly sinful date filling, combined with the creamy nut butter, they blow the senses a bit, and create a cravable, not-actually-unhealthy treat.

You can use any nut butter you want, but for these, sunbutter is ma fav 😀

Enjoy! Ps I used Iron Salt on these babies (that’s the pretty pink stuff on top).
PPS – WordPress is being a pooper and I’m having mega-trouble uploading photos, so for now, I only have these two on here. Will add more laters!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Level: Easy

Ingredients:

  • 8-oz. dried, pitted dates or date pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sunfloweer seed butter (can substitute almond butter or peanut butter)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Soak dates in warm water until softened, at least 15 minutes.
  2. Drain dates. In a food processor or blender, process dates and vanilla until a smooth paste forms. Add sunflower seed butter and ¼ teaspoon sea salt and continue to blend until well combined.
  3. Roll mixture into small balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place into the freezer until set, about 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate in 30 second increments, stirring after each increment, until melted (about 60-90 seconds total). Stir in coconut oil.
  5. Remove truffles from the freezer. Dip each truffle in melted chocolate and return to baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle with remaining sea salt and return to the freezer until set, another 15-20 minutes.
  7. Enjoy! Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Best Ever Banana Bread {with Flax} – Vegan & Gluten-Free

Holy buckets I have not blogged in quite a little bit! This may be the longest blog break I’ve taken in a year! Wowza. Where oh where have I been?

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Welp, the month of July was insanely busy. In one short month I managed to go to New York, Chicago, Quebec City, attend two weddings, helped out with a fabulous bridal shower, attend Accepted Student’s Day at Columbia University in the City of New York (yup, that’s right, I’m heading back to NYC for grad school!) and spend a surprise night at a Ramawada Inn in Newark, NJ due to a clusterfuck of a travel situation heading back from Quebec.

Banana Bread with Flax - Vegan & Gluten Free

When I wasn’t traveling, I was working working working! I’ve been trying to work at Trader Joe’s as much as I can while still establishing a balance for free time/sanity, which between travel and some other freelance projects I’ve had this month, has been quite the juggling act. But exciting things are coming and happening and it’s been a busy but fun month – despite the fact that it completely flew by!

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

So today, July 29th, I had off. Free of all obligations, duties, travel agendas, work, and any other sort of obligation that would require me to be wearing real pants at a certain time and place. Aka utter BLISS.  Millie (bless her soul) of course decided woke me up at 5:34am on the dot. 5:34 am seems to be her favorite time to wake mommy up to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, and promptly climb back into bed, leaving me up and awake for the day.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m naturally an early riser, but sometimes, sometimes, I fantasize of sleeping in til 6am on my days off. I guess I should just keep dreaming, right?

Getting up early isn’t always a bad thing – I’m most awake and productive in the early morning and it allows me to get things done before the rest of the world wakes up to distract me. The only downside is that often times I want to get errands done but things like the post office and Target aren’t open until several hours after I rise (-__-). Sometimes this leaves me time to do other things. Like bake.

Banana Bread with Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

This morning, I baked some banana bread. Can I tell you a secret? For YEARS I have had the hardest time perfecting banana bread. I just couldn’t do it! I don’t know why. It was always too dry, too wet, too clumpy, or the texture simply wasn’t correct.

Banana Bread - Easy, Vegan & Gluten Free !

I know, I know how can this be? I can make homemade Cronuts and elaborate cakes with my eyes closed, and I’m a well-known banana fiend, but for reasons beyond my explanation, I couldn’t make a decent banana bread to save my life. Well, recently, I am happy to say, I conquered the banana bread beast. Yes, I won. I won at life.

Banana Flax Bread - Vegan & Gluten-free

This recipe is several years and about 200 loaves of mediocre or failed banana bread in the making. But here, right in front of your eyes, is the best-ever, hearty, moist, pleasantly filling / not junky vegan and gluten-free banana bread. I think two major keys to perfect banana bread are almond flour and coconut oil. I really have tried this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, but to me, texture and flavor wise, coconut oil (though boring) reigns supreme.

Banana Bread w: Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

Winning at this recipe was a major hurdle for me to overcome in my life. I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my culinary shoulders. In a sense, accomplishing this banana bread was a pleasant reminder that if I bust my butt hard enough, I can overcome any life obstacle. Which, when you’re moving halfway across the country again to throw yourself into grad school after some relaxing time off, is a pretty good reminder.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Onwards and upwards, friends! Happy banana bread to you. 😀 And in the words of Apu from the Simpsons, “Hallelujah, we have banana bread.”

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 60-80 minutes
Level: easy

makes one 12 inch loaf, serves about 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 3 large very-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub peanut butter or almond butter, but I like coconut oil best)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar or raw sugar)\
    • adjust amount based on desired level of sweetness
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/4 almond flour / almond meal (can sub oat flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (can sub more rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil or nut butter in a large bowl. mash bananas and add to melted coconut oil. Stir will. Add maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Add almond flour, oat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Fold into banana mixture. Add almond milk mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts and fold into batter. Mix until just combine.

5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, and bake for 60 – 80 minutes, or until bread becomes browned and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool and serve with coconut oil, jelly, or more nut butter :-D.

Miso Hummus

Dude I love hummus. It’s been a lifelong infatuation that started at a young age. I have distinct memories of being a kindergardener and bringing hummus to school on a bagel with tomato slices on it and having two kids at my lunch table be all like “Ewwww what is that?” while peering over their basic ham & cheese sandwiches and ho-hos. And I’d be like, “Back off bitches, it’s hummus.” Vegan Miso Hummus Well, not really. But I did stand up for hummus since I was a wee one. And now everyone likes hummus. Hummus is cool. Always has been, always will be. Those lil homies just hadn’t experienced its magical wonders yet.

Vegan Miso Hummus

Another thing I’m into lately is Miso paste. I bought it at work one day (PSA: an 8oz container of White Miso Paste is $1.69 at Trader Joe’s) with no idea what to do with it but I was intrigued.

Miso Hummus

I’ve found things to do with it since! Like make this Ginger Miso Baked Tofu. Man that was good. I’ve also been adding it to rice, vegetable, and noodle dishes for a lil festive umami flair.

Homemade Miso Hummus Dip

Homemade Miso Hummus !

Before I knew it, I was hooked. I’d crave miso. I was eating it straight out of the container with carrots, as if it were actually hummus. And then, it hit me: Miso Hummus. And ever since that epiphany hit, I knew I had to make it. I believe during this epiphany I was texting with my friend/food styling idol, Becky (hi, BH!) and mentioned it to her and she sounded as excited as I felt. And since then I’ve been on a Miso Hummus mission.

Miso Hummus - Vegan

Well, after a little experimenting, I must say, mission accomplished. This miso hummus is boss. It’s all the legume-y umami creamy dreamy luscious yummus hummus foodstuff I dream about. Yes, I dream in hummus. Be jealous.

Vegan Miso Hummus. Easy & Delicious !

I ate this hummus in the morning. Did you know that’s actually traditional in parts of the world? With pickles. Seriously. Pickles + hummus = best breakfast (or snack) combo ever. Anyways, you can make it and eat it however and whenever you’d like. Or not. You do you.

Vegan Miso Hummus

Happy hummus, friends 🙂 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 0 minutes Level: easy makes about 1.5 cups hummus Ingredients:

  • 1 15 or 16 ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed with water from chickpea can reserved and set aside
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 clove garlic depending on how garlick-y you like hummus (totally optional, can be omitted)
  • 3 tablespoons miso paste (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons liquid reserved from chickpea can
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Drain liquid out of chickpea can and set liquid aside. Do not throw it away. This liquid is a very helpful component in achieving good hummus texture. Trust me.I learned it in food science. They taught us important stuff at NYU.

2. Rinse chickpeas and place in a food processor or blender. Juice 1/2 a lemon and add to food processor. Mince garlic and add. Add olive oil and 2 tablespoons liquid from chickpeas.

3. Grind chickpea mixture in food processor until desired consistency is achieved. You may have to mix it a few times with a spatula or spoon. Personally I like my hummus a little chunky, but if you like it super smooth, blend away!

4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with vegetables, pita bread, pita chips, crackers, or add to sandwiches.

More Hummus-y Goodness: