Sunday, November 17, 2013

Vanilla Cake Battered Overnight Oats

So, I never buy protein powders. They are too expensive (natural, vegan ones anyway) and I just don't need them.

However, I was curious.

Many people seem to make a lot of good smoothie recipes and such things with flavored protein powders.

One day as I was walked into Whole Foods I saw that they were having a sale: buy a package of raspberries, get a container of Garden of Life's RAW protein powder 50% off.

So, I thought, why not try it?

Well, unfortunately, it was delicious. Unfortunate because I'd never be able to buy it again once it was no longer half off. I'd just have to enjoy it while it lasted. :)

That's when I had an idea.

I had read many recipes that have used cashew butter to achieve a cake batter-like flavor.

I had also been experimenting with different ways to change up my morning oatmeal.

During a human physiology class my thoughts were focused not on how muscle cells use calcium to contract, but on how I could use this new powder to make a delicious dish.

The powder I bought was vanilla-flavored and I just had a feeling that with some oats, cashew butter, and a bit of cinnamon it would taste like vanilla cake batter.

So I went to the store, splurged on some cashew butter, mixed up these ingredients and discovered that I was right!

This recipe is perfect for overnight oats, but can also be eaten immediately after assembly. Of course, it doesn't taste exactly like vanilla cake, but for a healthy (and did I mention sugar-free?) morning breakfast, it comes pretty darn close!


3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup gluten-free oats
1 Scoop RAW vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs cashew butter
1 Tbs chia seeds or 2 Tbs flax meal (optional if not making overnight oats)
Dash of cinnamon


Mix together all ingredients and place in the fridge overnight or devour straight away because it's just THAT good! Enjoy! :)

I no longer promote eating grains, but have left this recipe up for those that choose to.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Truth About Sugar

What makes you happy? The smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns? Warm chocolate fondue?  A large bowl of Phish Food™ice cream?

Well, there is a reason for that. All of these desserts have one thing in common: sugar.

(Image courtesy of Google)

That’s right, sugar is what makes us happy. But do you know why…?

Sugar has the same affect on our brains as everything else that makes us happy. Playing our favorite sport, learning, praise, spending time with friends, having dinner with family, observing art, receiving emails, you name it. Whatever it is that gives us joy in life does so because of one chemical, the pleasure molecule, a.k.a. dopamine.

This chemical is responsible not only for pleasure, but also has many other roles in our bodies. It makes contributions to our consciousness, mood, motivation, attention, movement, blood pressure, coordination, and unfortunately, addiction.

When a behavior or substance makes us feel good, it triggers the release of dopamine. And because it makes us happy we want it again and again, hence, we form an addiction

This same science applies to sugar, or more specifically, refined sugar. 

It tastes good, and makes us feel good; therefore, we continue to crave it.

 If you don’t believe you are addicted to sugar, think again. (Unless, of course, you are one of the lucky few strong enough to abstain from it completely, then I congratulate--and also envy--you). 

You may think that you could stay away from sweets if you tried, but it isn’t just desserts and baked goods you need to steer clear from. No, refined sugar is in EVERYTHING. And it disguises itself in many ways.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Cake for Fall

If you've never tried grain-free baking, good luck. It is a real challenge!

Lately at work (I work in a bakery at a farm store called Moulton Farm, best place, I love it!) and we have started the process of transitioning into fall. Between fall decorations and fall items, like pumpkin muffins and cider, the Autumn mood really sets in. I love fall and I couldn't wait for it to come. All this excitement over the new season, therefore, inspired me to bake something fall-y. :)

Thinking about fall, made me think of apple picking.

I love apples and apple picking. It is one of my favorite pastimes.

I had been wanting to attempt a cake recipe, so I thought, why not use apples? That's what I was in the mood for.

But it had to be healthy, vegan, and gluten free.

My mum recently went gluten free to see whether or not it would help her allergies and skin, and I hated that I kept baking things she couldn't try.

We do not have many gluten free flours in our house at the moment, but I did have some coconut flour, which I had read that it could be used on its own without any added starches or xanthan gum.

I also had a bunch of dates leftover from my experimentations with black bean brownies.

So I decided to use those.

It would be a gluten/grain-free, naturally sweetened, vegan apple cake.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Perfect Black Bean Brownies

My search for the perfect black bean brownie recipe began long ago when I was in the mood for chocolate. Specifically, gooey, sweet, chocolatey brownies.

I had not indulged in a brownie for a long time since becoming vegan. Mainly because I had only come across recipes that were made with white flour and a lot of refined sugar.

Therefore, I needed to find a delicious, but healthy vegan brownie recipe.

Could it be done?

Having stumbled upon multiple black bean brownie recipes, I decided to give one a try. I had never tried black bean brownies, but they appeared to be much more nutritious than traditional brownies.

Challenges arose after my first attempt.

This batch of brownies was good, but they did not have that gooey, chocolatey-ness I was craving. So I continued my search.

I tried two more recipes. One of which utilized bananas.

This was a mistake.

Black bean brownies made with bananas do not taste like gooey, sweet, chocolatey goodness. They taste like bananas.

I then made it a goal to simply create my own, perfect recipe for black bean brownies. One that satisfied  my standards for scrumptious brownies, as well as one my friends, who are not vegans, would approve of.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Orange's and Tahini Cream

I had just come back from vacation and although getting away is supposed to be restful, it was the opposite. I barely slept the entire week, both because I was kept up late and because I never slept comfortably. Needless to say, I began to feel sick by the time I returned home. I felt a cold coming on.

So I reached for some vitamin C.

We had just bought a bunch of oranges, however oranges have never been my favorite fruit. Oranges and I share a love-hate relationship. I decided,  however, it would be a good idea to have one anyway in attempt to fight my oncoming cold as we did not have any bell peppers. Bell peppers actually have more vitamin C than citrus fruits according to this percentage of vitamin C in bell peppers compared to this percentage of lemons/limes and this one of oranges, though citrus fruits are still a good source.

When I opened the fridge to find the oranges, I also laid eyes upon a new container of plain yogurt, which I had been apart from for a week. I wanted both the oranges and the yogurt.

So I had a thought.

Why not put them together and make a healthy oranges and cream dish?

I was also in the mood for some tahini after recently discovering its exceptional flavor and abilities to enhance many dishes. So I put a spoonful on top of my yogurt just because. I hoped it would add some flavor and protein.

I was right!

This small snack, although definitely differently tasting, was actually pretty good and I have made it several more times.


  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup organic, plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I used Stonyfield's) 
  • 1 spoonful of tahini
  1. Scoop yogurt into a small bowl. 
  2. Spoon on tahini. 
  3. Peel orange and separate into slices. 
  4. Dip orange slices into "cream."
  5. Enjoy!

 I no longer promote consuming dairy, but have left this recipe up for those who choose to do so. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mini Mushroom Cap Pizzas

This is a simple, but delicious dish that I tried after seeing some pre-made mushroom cap pizzas in the grocery store. These ones, however, had dairy cheese on them, therefore I chose not to eat them. I decided to make my own instead. 

These mini pizzas made a perfect meal while I finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. :)

  • 2 mushroom caps 
  • Pesto sauce (I made my own)
  • Tomato sauce (I made my own) or chopped tomatoes
  • Your choice of veggies (I used chopped onions and peppers) 
  • Daiya cheddar cheese  Use real cheese from grass-fed animals 

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F. 
2. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with vegetable oil. 
3. Place mushroom caps face down so that the stem faces up. 
4. Cover the bottom of each cap with pesto. 
5. Add the tomato sauce or chopped tomatoes. 
6. Layer veggie toppings. 
7. Sprinkle Daiya cheese. 
8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. 


If you want the cheese to be more melted, broil for 1 minute after baking. 

Although Daiya cheese is quite good, I do not recommend eating it all the time. Enjoy this dish on occasion, prepare without cheese, or try making alternative cheeses, such as those made from cashews. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Filling Hemp "Oatmeal"

I had been experimenting with oatmeal dishes for quite a while. I have eaten oatmeal for breakfast for quite some time, playing with different ways to make it. During my first year at college I got into the habit of eating a bowl of dry oats with almond milk and nutritional yeast every morning. I forget how I discovered this exactly. I think I may have been too lazy to continue using my roommate’s portable kettle to heat water to actually cook the oats, or maybe I was just in the mood for cereal, but had none, and then somehow decided that nutritional yeast would work in this mixture as well. Either way I was hooked on this dish for months.

By the time I arrived back home, however, my taste buds were searching for something different. I also needed to find a breakfast that was more filling because once at home for the summer I returned to my job at a bakery in a farm store called Moulton Farm. At the bakery I begin work at either 5 or 6 in the morning and do not take many breaks throughout the day. I am also on my feet, moving around for most of the day and I found that my usual breakfast was not sustaining me for a long period of time. I would often end up eating my lunch at 7 or 8 in the morning and not have much food left for the rest of the day.

During high school I used to make my oatmeal with just raisins, cinnamon, honey (from my grandmother’s bees, which I have also helped tend so I know they are treated humanely), and sometimes peanut butter. This was very good, but did not fill me up as much either when I tried it again that summer. I also try not to add too much unnecessary sugar to my diet. If foods taste good enough without sugar, why add it? And I knew a satisfying dish of oatmeal could be delicious in many ways without adding sugar. I just needed to find one.

Through researching food, browsing the Nutrition Center on the main street in my town, and remembering what a friend said once while we were hiking, I decided to try hemp seeds. These seeds claim to be a super food full of complete proteins, healthy fats, nutrients (see here and especially here), and sustain a consumer for hours, even an entire day. My friend had said that she made hemp granola in order to “get the most amount of calories in the least amount of food” because when hiking, that matters quite a bit.

 Hemp seeds, I learned, were rather tasteless and could be added to just about anything. They also held true to their claims as they were indeed quite filling.

I then thought I’d try them along with some dry oats, raisins, cinnamon, and unsweetened vanilla almond milk for added flavor and nutrients. And it was delicious. I’ve had it every morning since, with the exception of the occasional attempt at a new pancake recipe on my mornings off haha.  

This dish can either be made ahead of time, which allows the oats to soak for a while and become easier to digest, or prepared just before consumption. Whatever works for you! I’ve eaten it both ways and both are quite tasty.

  • ½ cup oats (use GF if necessary)
  • 2 Tbs. hemp seeds*
  • 1 Tbs. raisins
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk


1. Add all dry ingredients into your favorite breakfast bowl. 
2. Add milk. 
3. Let sit overnight
4. Enjoy a nice, filling, sweet without being sweetened bowl of oats!


*I no longer promote eating grains, but I have left this up for those who still enjoy meals which include grains. 

A variation of this dish is my Carrot Cake “Oatmeal”, which includes about a tablespoon or two of shredded carrots and half a banana, sliced, in addition to the other ingredients.