Raw Vegan Carrot Cake Bites

Easter, Easter baking, carrot cake, cinnamon, vanilla, cashew, cashew cheese, essential fatty acids, healthy fats, omega 3, omega 6, dairy free frosting, raw, vegan, raw vegan, plant based, whole foods, holistic nutrition, coconut sugar, refined sugar free, homemade, recipes, dairy free, gluten free, healthy, health bloggers, food blogSpring hasn’t exactly quite sprung but that hasn’t stopped me from embracing the lighter side of things and these raw vegan carrot cake bites are a total treat! Incredibly easy to put together, they take no time at all and are as delicious as a freshly baked carrot cake.

The difference in these though is that they are considerably a much more healthier alternative. A little note on using organic carrots:

Choosing organic products means better health benefits for you and the environment around you. The soil our food grows in these days is seriously lacking nutrients and is depleted by the use of different pesticides and herbicides as well as conventional farming practices. I don’t know about you but I like my carrots to taste the way carrots are meant to and know that they’ve grown as nature has intended them to.

Organic carrots make up the bulk of this recipe giving you a dose of Vitamin A,  an antioxidant that maintains our vision and healthy skin. They also contain Medjool dates for added sweetness and a dose of fiber, and walnuts which have essential fatty acids. These are the kind of healthy fats we can’t make ourselves but that are necessary in supporting the body’s hormone production, reducing inflammation, and aiding in the proper development and function of our brain and nervous system (to name a slight few reasons as to why they are essential). Not to mention, a wicked raw cashew “cream-cheese” frosting to drizzle over as a final touch. I mean…

You can put them together this Easter weekend, or make them as part of your food prep for the week ahead as a tasty snack.

Makes 18-20 balls

Ingredients:

For the carrot cake bites:

4 organic carrots

1 1/2 cups of walnuts

4-6 Medjool dates- (depending on your sweet tooth)

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

½ tsp. vanilla

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ginger or freshly grated (add a little more with fresh)

Pinch of sea salt

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1 cup of cashews, soaked for 4 hours or overnight

6-8 tbsp. of coconut milk (depending on how thick or thin you want the drizzle)

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tsp. of vanilla

Juice of ½ lemon

Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add about ¼ cup of the walnuts, pulse until crumbly then set aside to roll the balls into later. Add the carrots and the rest of the walnuts and pulse again until fine.
  1. Set aside about ¼ cup of the shredded coconut then add the rest along with the dates, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and salt and pulse to combine everything.
  1. Take ½ tbsp. amounts of the mixture, roll into balls then alternate coating them in the ground walnuts or shredded coconut until covered. Place on a lined baking tray then pop them into the fridge.
  1. Make the cashew cream cheese. Drain and rinse the cashews then add to a high- speed blender with a few tablespoons of the coconut milk. Add the maple syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt and blend until smooth. Depending on how thick the mixture is, add more coconut milk, tablespoon by tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.
  1. Drizzle the carrot cake bites with the cashew cream cheese and enjoy!

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Banana Berry Smoothie Bowl

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I consume smoothies pretty much on a daily basis. I love making one to accompany breakfast or for an afternoon snack. Sometimes however, they get a little repetitive. You’d be surprised how different it actually seems once you make a smoothie bowl. It sounds silly but just by changing it up to make the smoothie a bit thicker and edible by spoon makes such a difference. This is an antioxidant smoothie bowl of goodness thanks to the blackberries, which is also what gives this its pretty hue of purple.

Switch it up with the fruit you like best, and adorn with toppings according to your taste.

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups frozen blackberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 cup frozen spinach
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp goji berries
4 tbsp coconut milk

3/4 cup filtered water or almond milk

Optional Toppings: 1/2 banana, chia seeds, extra berries, nuts, seeds, etc.

Directions:

Add everything to a high speed blender until smooth. Add more liquid as needed to thin the mixture to desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and top with whatever you’d like. Enjoy!

Blackberry Walnut Breakfast Bars

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These breakfast bars are great if you’re short on time or need a mid-morning snack. They have quinoa for protein, chia seeds and walnuts for a healthy dose of omega 3s, and coconut oil for an energy boost.

These can easily be made completely vegan as well substituting the honey for an alternative sweetener and the egg for mashed banana. The egg is used to bind the ingredients together to make everything compact. A mashed banana or two works just as well and will add a little more sweetness!

I use organic ingredients as much as I can. I specify it for the coconut because often times the kind you find the in the shops tend to have preservatives and added sugar and not very much coconut at all. Buying organic means you should find 100% coconut but always read the labels to make sure.

Makes 8 bars

Ingredients:

1 ½ tbsp chia seeds + 4 tbsp almond milk

1 ½ cups oats (gluten-free if necessary)

½ cup organic desiccated coconut

½ cup quinoa (soaked overnight is best)

¾ -1 cup chopped walnuts

¾ cup fresh blackberries

3 tbsp coconut oil

3 tbsp honey (or maple syrup, date syrup)

1 egg (or 1 mashed banana)

Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  1. Mix the chia seeds with the almond milk and set aside to “gel”.
  1. Add the oats to a food processor and pulse until you have a flour. Chop your walnuts, drain and rinse the soaked quinoa, and add to a large bowl along with the oats, desiccated coconut, and sea salt.
  1. Mash the berries (or pulse in a food processor) then add those to the bowl along with the chia seeds and almond milk mixture. Fold everything to combine.
  1. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt the coconut oil and add your sweetener. Add this to the oat mixture and make sure everything is coated nicely.
  1. Add the egg or mashed banana last. Depending on your ingredients you may not even require this step.
  1. Line a 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper leaving extra to hang over the sides and add the mixture to it patting it down well into the corners and smoothing the top with a spatula.
  1. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden at the edges. Allow this to cool completely before removing from the dish and cutting into bars.

You can keep these stored for a week or more in the fridge. Wrap them individually in parchment paper for a snack on the go.

 

 

Sweet Potato Hummus

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There are so many varieties of hummus out there. I’ve made it before using beetroot, tahini, different spices and herbs, and all have turned out well. It seemed only natural to combine some sweet potato by this point.

Traditionally, hummus is made from a blend of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. I’m not a big fan of tahini. I really want to like it but trying it in salad dressings, hummus, and other recipes, I still have yet to acquire a taste for it. It’s very good for you however so if you like it, feel free to add a teaspoon or two here.

Hummus makes a great snack and also works well alongside a lunchtime bowl of goodness (think: cut up veggies, quinoa, roast veggies, etc.)

Choose an organic variety of canned chickpeas that are soaked in water. Alternatively, purchase the dried variety, then soak and cook them yourself to add to the recipe. Purchasing dried chickpeas is more economical and I personally think they actually taste better too.

I’ve also used turmeric in this hummus which has great anti-inflammatory properties and is fantastic for your immune system. It also brightens up the orange hue even more alongside the sweet potato.

Makes 1 large bowl

Ingredients: 

1 small sweet potato

2 cups of chickpeas (soaked & cooked first OR 1 x 400g tin)

2 tbsp lemon juice (1 whole lemon juiced)

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

½ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp paprika

Optional: 1 clove of garlic, minced

Directions: 

  1. Peel and chop the sweet potato into 1-inch pieces and add to a saucepan on the stove. Add water, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the sweet potato becomes soft (approx. 10-12 minutes)
  1. Drain the sweet potato and let cool slightly before adding to the food processor along with the chickpeas and the rest of your ingredients.
  1. Blend until completely smooth then season to taste with more salt and pepper.

PB & J Granola

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I love granola. It’s so much better making your own because you can combine any flavours you like and make something yummy every time. Also, you control what ingredients you consume so things like the amount of sugar it contains is in your control.

This is my latest creation: PB & J Granola or Peanut Butter & Jelly. After the infamous childhood combination this does actually taste quite similarly like tucking into the classic.

I’m not the biggest fan of using peanuts as they are often prone to contamination. However, all things in moderation! Peanut butter does still contain a huge amount of protein. Just make sure you find an organic, non-GMO variety. This ensures the greatest care has been taken into sourcing a chemical free crop.

I’ve used fresh raspberries in this creating a chia seed jam. Combining the fresh berries with the chia seeds provides a sticking capacity to the whole granola mixture.

This may be bit too sweet for a breakfast variety but it makes a great snack post workout or yoga session!

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups rolled oats (gluten-free if needed)

½ cup buckwheat

¼ cup organic peanut butter

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ cup coconut oil

½ cup raspberries

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  1. In a small saucepan on the stove, melt the peanut butter and coconut oil over a low heat. When combined, turn off the heat and whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla. Set aside.
  1. In a small bowl, mash the raspberries with a fork then add the chia seeds and mix well. Set aside to slightly “gel”.
  1. In a large bowl, combine the oats, buckwheat, cinnamon, and sea salt. Pour the peanut butter mixture over and mix well. Then pour the raspberry mixture over and fold everything together until coated.
  1. Spread the mixture onto a lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip the granola over so that it bakes evenly. Let it bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes until golden and fragrant.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Spicy Avocado-Basil Dip

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This spicy avocado dip is so creamy and delicious with sweet potato wedges. I love avocados; they’re versatile and full of nutrition for your body. It takes a few simple ingredients and they’re transformed into something amazing every time. As for sweet potatoes, they’re increasing in popularity as an alternative to your usual white potatoes for nutritional value and taste.

Never a lover of any vegetable whatsoever, I’m amazed I actually crave these most days now. I love to make one or two as a snack with lots of coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweeter take or make a dip and create something a bit more savoury as is here.

The combination of both the avocado and sweet potato creates a yummy snack or side dish.

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp of ginger, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper
1-2 medium sweet potatoes
Coconut oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350° while you slice the sweet potatoes in wedges. Add a knob of coconut oil to a baking tray and pop in the oven for a minute or two to melt.

2. Remove from the oven, add the sweet potato wedges and coat them with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pop these in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until browned around the edges.

4. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the avocado dip. Add the avocado, garlic, ginger, basil, lime juice, and olive oil to a food processor and blend until smooth.

You may want the dip a bit chunkier but I love it really smooth. If you don’t like it spicy, leave out the ginger. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the sweet potato wedges.

Rosemary Sea Salt Crackers

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Homemade crackers are where it’s at and these are the easiest to make. The great thing about these is that they’re made with almond pulp. You know the leftover almonds if you’ve ever made your own almond milk? If you’ve never known what to do with it, this is a great recipe to ensure you use the entirety of your almonds and nothing goes to waste! These are nutritious and filling and you can add what you like to them. In this case, I’ve used fresh rosemary, lemon, and sea salt.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup almond pulp (leftover from making your almond milk)

1 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tbsp coconut oil (melted) or extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1/2 tsp sea salt

ground black pepper

Optional: Lemon zest & juice (you don’t need a lot, I use a little to bring all the flavours together)

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix well until everything is fully combined.

2. Take two pieces of parchment paper and flatten your cracker dough between them. Roll this out until they’re about 1/2 cm in thickness.

3. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and add the other piece with the dough mixture to a flat baking sheet. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the crackers about 1 inch in width. (These don’t have to be perfect, sometimes I just bake the dough as it is and then break it into random pieces when it has cooled)

4. Bake these for about 10 minutes before pulling them apart from each other, flipping them, and allowing them to bake for another 5-10 minutes until golden on the edges. Allow these to cool and enjoy with hummus, guacamole, or on their own!

These keep stored in an airtight container for about a week but mine are usually gone before then! Feel free to play with flavour combinations- add herbs and seasoning you like best. Also please note the amount of almond pulp used in this recipe is from making one batch of my homemade almond milk. If you make the double batch of almond milk you’ll end up with about 1 1/2 cups almond pulp so adjust the other ingredients slightly. These are all approximate measurements but they’re really easy to make and will turn out great whatever you add to them! If you’re wanting some other ideas for leftover almond pulp add it to homemade granola, porridge, baked goods, and even in curries in place of cream.