Breakfast cookies

I have stated this before, but chocolate chip cookies are 100% my favorite. Nothing does it for me like a warm, crispy and chewy chocolate chip cookie. They're just sooo good. But as I've reduced sugar and cut out gluten, they don't always feel as great in my belly as how they tasted in my mouth. But man, that first bite is heaven.

So since I think about food 24/7, I have often dreamed about having chocolate chip cookies for breakfast. It's well documented that nothing tastes better with coffee than some kind of delicious baked good. And to this point, I have make breakfast muffins for years, fulfilling that desire. But a few weeks ago, I decided it was time for something different. Something even more delicious and comforting. Something that used basically the same ingredients as muffins but more cookie like.

It was time for the breakfast cookie.

Breakfast Cookie

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups gluten free oats (I love Trader Joes brand)
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1 extremely ripe banana 
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips or whatever you have laying around.

Ok so there are a couple foodie notes here. You can do 2 eggs and one banana. Or you can do 2 bananas and one egg. You can blend up some of the oats to make oat flour, or you can leave them as is. If you do this, I would recommend blending like 1/2 cup of the oats into flour. You can add more chocolate chips (duh). You can add more cinnamon (it's so good for you). You can omit the salt. You can add coconut flakes. You can sprinkle with hemp seeds. You can probably blend kale up in these bitches and bake that in. The possibilities are endless.

Preparation:

  1. Whisk eggs and then mash the banana into the eggs. I use a fork for this. Note - use the ripest banana ever. Your banana needs to have black spots all over. It should be mushy... like so ripe that it is attracting fruit flies. This will yield the best result - promise!
  2. Add the oats into your egg-banana mixture.
  3. Add chia, flax, cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt and mix until well blended.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Lay parchment paper over a cookie pan (makes for easy clean-up)
  6. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture on your parchment paper and then use the bottom of a glass to push the cookie down into shape - it helps to grease the bottom of the glass with coconut oil.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Makes like 15 cookies.
  8. Devour! And then save some for breakfast :)
IMG_0045.jpg


/

Travel muffins 2.0

Jet lag is a bitch. Back in Miami and wide awake at 4:30am yesterday, I scrolled through instagram for way too long before I finally got out of bed. In my semi-conscious state, I wandered into the kitchen  - where it seemed like a good idea to make another batch of travel muffins. The same ones I made before we went to Bali. People had been asking for the recipe and I really couldn't remember what I had put into them so I needed to make them again. As I was cracking eggs into the mixing bowl at 5am, I wondered if I was perhaps a baker in a past life. 

travel muffins

I love to bring homemade food on a trip, much more nourishing than airplane junk. Although I did have some decent food on my flights to and from Bali. I request the Hindu Vegetarian option when I fly - which means Indian food and veggies... I even got a pretty yummy saag paneer for one meal. 

namaste muffin mix

Back to the muffins - they are super easy because a) they come from a mix! and b) they don't require a vitamix or anything fancy. I stumbled up this mix in Whole Foods a few months ago and was instantly drawn to it by the brand name - Namaste Foods. Excellent marketing to this yogi. 

It's sugar free and gluten free as well, so that's awesome. A forewarning - when they say it's sugar free, they really mean it's sugar free. No sweet taste AT ALL... so if you like a little sweetness, give it some chopped banana on top, or you can mix some banana into the batter. Older bananas are sweeter but younger ones hold up better as a topping. Your call. It's a brown rice flour based mix and super versatile. You could do all kinds of things with it. 

They're perfect for a long trip because they're quick to make (who has time when you're packing for a big voyage), they hold up super well in your carry-on luggage, they're light and munchy and you can put some chocolate in them which just feels like vacation. Enjoy!

Travel muffins 2.0

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Namaste Muffin Mix (buy online here or at Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup alternative milk (cashew, almond, coconut)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped low sugar dark chocolate bar (or if you don't care about sure, use enjoy life mini chips - they're the best) 
  • 1/2 banana
  • hemp seeds for topping

Preparation:

  1. Mix muffin mix with water and milk - make sure you break up all the lumps. 

  2. Mix in eggs (if you're using mashed banana, add this in here as well) Let this sit for a few minutes to so that the mixture warms.

  3. Melt coconut oil and add it to mixture. If your mixture is too cold, it will cause the coconut oil to harden into little chunks. If that's the case, let it hang out on the counter until everything warms up to make sure it blends properly.  

  4. Add cinnamon, vanilla, sea salt and mix until well blended.

  5. Stir in chopped chocolate.

  6. Lightly grease a muffin pan with coconut oil and drop mixture into the individual muffin shapes. Makes 12 large or 24 mini muffins. I prefer mini ;)

  7. Top with cinnamon and hemp seeds and sliced banana if you're using. Make sure to push the banana chunks down to ensure they stick into the mixture.

  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 13 - 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool and then pack up a ziploc bag full of muffins for your trip and freeze the rest for when you come home!

/

Superfood Oatmeal

Call me weird, but I like reading cookbooks cover to cover. There are so many fun factoids you can pick up! Lately, I have been reading a cookbook called Nourishing Traditions. It's all about how people have eaten traditionally - sprouting and soaking things, raw milk and preservation through a process called lacto-fermentation. It's fascinating. 

Anyway, due to the recent 60 degree mornings, I've been really into oatmeal. For a while, we were buying the superfood oatmeal in the store and eventually I realized I should start making it myself, so I wanted to share this no-brainer recipe. I just mix a bunch up on Sundays and put it in a big mason jar for us to use throughout the week. 

The fun really comes with the toppings though. You can add berries, sliced bananas, cacao nibs. nuts, seeds, coconut shreds, nut butters... the sky is the limit. 

 If you close your eyes, it's almost like having Menchie's for breakfast!

If you close your eyes, it's almost like having Menchie's for breakfast!

Superfood Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup liquid (water or milk or milk alternative)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

Preparation:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.

  2. Bring liquid to a boil on the stove and then stir in the oats. I usually cook my oats in water and then add a splash of coconut milk on top. Yum.

  3. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

  4. Add toppings of your choice. Feel free to make it pretty and tag me in your photo!

  5. Nourish yourself and eat it warm. Makes two generous servings.

/

Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

So I'm still what I guess would be considered "almond-sensitive." I can have a bite of something with almonds in it, but a large quantity of anything almond-y still causes a reaction. I think it's the best of both worlds because it means I can sample almond recipes but not really eat them. Score.

Here is a quick recipe I whipped up for my friend Vanessa's delightful holiday party, which was a predominately gluten-free affair. Even though the name makes them sound like they'll taste like cardboard, they're actually little bundles of awesomeness. They have a great texture - chewy and crunchy - similar to a normal chocolate chip cookie. Packaged up in a little holiday tin, these make an easy holiday party addition or a great gift.

Or you can always just leave them out for hipster Santa with some hemp milk. 

Enjoy!

gluten free chocolate chip cookie

Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (room temp)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I love Enjoy Life brand)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

  2. Combine almond meal, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.

  3. Add coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extra and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

  4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and drop batter by rounded tablespoons. Flatten top slightly (they don't spread out much when baked)  

  5. Bake for 9-10 minutes and then allow to cool before serving.

  6. Rub your belly. Makes about 15 cookies. 
     

 Some dairy-free gluten free chocolate chips, baking soda, yummo black sea salt and Mexican vanilla. 

Some dairy-free gluten free chocolate chips, baking soda, yummo black sea salt and Mexican vanilla. 

 Rollin' in the dough. Oh and since they're vegan - you can eat the dough without worry!

Rollin' in the dough. Oh and since they're vegan - you can eat the dough without worry!


/

Hot Cacao

Confession: I'm not a "holiday" person. Being raised as a cashew (Catholic and Jewish), I've always had mixed emotions around this time of year. Couple that with the fact I worked retail for ten years and had to deal with some the worst of the worst around the holidays... it's safe to say that I haven't always looked to December with visions of sugarplums. 

However, this year, maybe it's us being married or maybe I've just grown up, but I have gotten more into the holidays. I decorated our house a bit. We talked about getting a Christmas tree. I don't cringe when Mike plays Christmas music all the time. AND I even considered sending holiday cards. Progress, right?

 Santa ON A BIKE!!! Thanks Mom.

Santa ON A BIKE!!! Thanks Mom.

So anyway, I was out walking around today, wearing a sweater, feeling particularly festive, when out of the blue I started seriously wanting some hot chocolate. I was not going to stop this wave of festivity. I would get a hot cocoa. I weighed my options. Where on Miami Beach is there a decent hot chocolate? Nowhere. I needed to make my own. My memory flittered back to the hot chocolate that my Grammy used to make for me when I was little - using cocoa, sugar and evaporated milk on the stovetop.  Absolutely delicious and creamy, but not exactly the nutritional profile I was going for today. I recalled reading about putting coconut oil in chai teas to make it creamy and latte-ish, like butter coffee. You blend it all in the blender (preferably a Vitamix) until frothy.

"Perfect," I thought. "I will try this with hot chocolate." 

I walked home to my apartment, started messing around in the kitchen with some superfood coconut oil... and lo and behold - the coconut hot cacao was crafted. So easy and it totally hits the holiday spot - it's not coconutty at all, just rich, delicious and metabolism boosting. Enjoy! 

coconut oil hot cocoa

Coconut Hot Cacao

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk (or almond, soy, hemp, cow...)
  • 1 tablespoon cacao (I like Terramazon with Maca)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw cane sugar or natural sweetener of choice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Splash of vanilla (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Heat coconut milk on the stove until hot, but not boiling.

  2. Pour coconut milk into high speed blender with the other ingredients.

  3. Blend for a minute or two - until hot and frothy. Makes 1 delightful serving.
    *As a habit, I go light on sugar, so feel free to add more to taste. And if you want more festive flavors, try adding some cinnamon or mint.

hot cacao
/

Tahini Lemon Salad Dressing

Typical morning: I wake up in the morning and my first order of business is coffee. If I could have an IV drip of espresso at 7am, I probably would.

Hmm, actually - no, because I really do enjoy the whole process of making coffee. So then I usually either teach yoga or do some kind of exercise (read: FlyBarre) come home, shower and have some grub. My typical breakfast is either A: One scrambled egg and avocado, B. Avocado toast, C. Overnight oats or D. Green Smoothie

I almost never variate from these options. Oh yeah, unless I have made some travel muffins.

But then last week came along, when I made a tahini inspired dinner for some friends. Tahini quinoa lentils, tahini cumin roasted carrots and at the last minute, I blended up some tahini lemon dressing for the salad, since the food processor already had a thick coat of tahini on it. I was chatting as I was blending... adding in a little of this, a little of that and then bam, I tried a spoonful.

The second it hit my tastebuds, I was like whoa... That shit is good.

It was so good that the next morning I woke up and had SALAD FOR BREAKFAST.

tahini lemon salad dressing

No joke. This happened twice over the past week! SALAD FOR BREAKFAST. This is an oddity that is usually reserved just for Asian countries, but no, here in Miami Beach I was happily chowing down on mixed greens, chickpeas, avocado, cucumbers and the most delectable salad dressing to ever cross my lips. I also love it simply poured over some chickpeas - it's like a deconstructed hummus.

It took me a few tries to get the proportions right, and I think this comes pretty close. And so I offer you the simple recipe for easy-peasy kitchen sink lemon tahini salad dressing. 

lemon salt

Ingredients

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon 
  • 3 tbs tahini
  • 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinger
  • Splash of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tbs water

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic in food processor (drop it in while processor is already running for best results)
  2. Add the other ingredients one by one, it will blend into a thick paste. *You can also do this in a vitamix but the garlic won't mince as well.
  3. Add water slowly to thin it out to your desired consistency.
  4. Use on everything.

*It will thicken up if left in the fridge. Add a splash or two of water to perk the dressing back up... and then drizzle for shizzle.

 Trying to get fancy with my new camera! Thanks Dad!

Trying to get fancy with my new camera! Thanks Dad!

/

Pumpkin Muffins

"What was the ghost's favorite muffin?"

"Boo-berry!"

HA. Let's be honest here... we know pumpkin is better but the joke is way cuter this way. And although I haven't been the biggest Halloweener this year, I have been doing by part by making frightfully ridiculous Halloween jokes in cat/cow pose for the past few weeks.

Happy Halloween - and what better day than today to share a seasonally appropriate recipe. These delicious gluten-free muffateers are a great breakfast or mid-afternoon snack - and naturally, they're excellent toasted up with some almond butter.

Nom. You'll eat that shit faster than a witch's broom... just sayin'.

 Pumpmelonkins?

On a quick side note... one of my favorite Halloween memories was five years ago, when Mike and I were new to Miami and ventured out to buy a pumpkin to carve. We couldn't find a pumpkin patch (this was pre-iPhone) and we ended up at Publix, where they were sold out of pumpkins. We were not going to go home empty handed so in a stroke of genius, we decided to carve WATERMELONS. It was epic. You can't even tell the difference!

Anyhou, back to ye old pumpkin. This recipe has canned pumpkin (mainly because I am lazy and have not roasted the pumpkin I have sitting on my counter) but you can use fresh pumpkin... according to my sister, you can roast up all your pumpkin, freeze it in baggies and thaw as you need it. Nice tip, Allie ;) 

Oh... one more... "What do you call a fat jack-o-lantern?"

"A plumpkin." 

....womp womp.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Muffin recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour (or just blend gf oats in a blender until they turn into a flour)
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin (either freshly roasted or organic canned pumpkin)
  • 1 large, very ripe banana
  • 1 eye of toad (just kidding;)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 - 2 tsp vanilla (depending on how much you like vanilla)
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk (can be sweet or unsweetened depending on how sweet you like things)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (I am super into Trader Joe's chunky chocolate chips lately. OMG)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional but yummy)

*If you like it more pumpkin-y you can do 1 cup of pumpkin and omit the banana.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 °F
  2. In a big bowl, mix the dry ingredients - oat flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt.
  3. In another bowl, mash the peeled banana and pumpkin together with a fork.
  4. Stir egg, vanilla, milk, cranberries and chocolate chips into the banana mixture.
  5. Add banana mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix and allow it to set for a few minutes.
  6. Pour into an oiled cupcake pan (I use spray coconut oil)
  7. Bake 30 - 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Let them cool completely before removing from pan. I also always have better success in my silicone muffin pans when it comes to removal. Trick or treat, y'all!
/

Avocado toast

It's so simple. I don't even know where I first had avocado toast but I do remember my mind being blown. But I remember thinking... "why have I never had this before?"

Mashing the avocado is such a subtle thing but it's like the difference between peanuts and peanut butter - life changing. It only takes a minute to make and the deliciousness is through the roof.

Sometimes we'll get really crafty and drizzle tahini on top or toasted black sesame seeds. Or add feta for tartness. But truth be told, the simple and classic avocado, sea salt and toast combo does it for me every time. The ideal post-yoga weekend breakfast. And I've been told it's Ayurvedically perfect, so that's a bonus.

avocado toast

Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Ezekiel english muffins
  • 1/2 tsp ghee (or whatever oil you like)
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

Preparation:

  1. Cut avocado open, scoop out the inside fruit and mash it in a bowl. I like the leave some whole bits of avocado - kinda like leaving the peanuts in crunchy peanut butter. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Add ghee/oil to a pan and pan fry the english muffins over medium heat until browned (2-3 minutes) on both sides. 

  3. Spread avocado mixture on hot toasty english muffin. Nothing to it! And then devour. Makes 2 servings. 

avocado
/

Mexiquinoa

An example of a very normal conversation between two yogis:

"So... what are you doing for dinner tonight?" 

"Oh, you know... some quinoa."

Quinoa. Staple food of yogers everywhere. It came out of the blue too, right? All of a sudden it was on the scene like crazy. And now there's quinoa sushi, quinoa pasta, quinoa milk. The Peruvian quinoa gods must have some crazy Machu Picchu marketing team behind them.

I'm not one to talk - I always keep a stash of quinoa in the pantry. Both tricolor and white. Just in case. But it gets boring when you're cooking the same ol' quinoa all the time. You gotta spice it up. Personally I am a huge Mexican fan and am constantly disappointed by the state of Mexican food affairs in Miami. So I end up frequently making my own south of the border inspired dishes. Mexican and quinoa go really well together, but you can more creative than just putting some guac and sour cream on top.

 these were all things to go on top of the mexiquinoa. the quinoa itself isn't very photogenic. it just kinda looks like quinoa with beans in it.

these were all things to go on top of the mexiquinoa. the quinoa itself isn't very photogenic. it just kinda looks like quinoa with beans in it.

Here is a great way to add flavor and protein to your quinoa that leaves lots of room for your favorite toppings. For this one, while the quinoa was cooking, I sautéed mushrooms, asparagus and corn in another pan. When it was all done, I layered the veggie mixture on the quinoa and topped it all off with heirloom tomatoes, cilantro and avocado. It was pretty yumtastic and completely plant-based. Mike couldn't stop saying how good it was - and it's really easy!

Mexiquinoa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quinoa (any variety)
  • 2 cups of low sodium or homemade vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp ghee (or whatever oil you like)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small onion or half a large one
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed

Preparation:

  1. Chop garlic and onion.

  2. Add ghee/oil to a pot and sauté garlic and onion over medium heat until fragrant and soft.

  3. Rinse quinoa well in fine mesh strainer to remove the saponins.

  4. Add quinoa to pot with garlic and onion and pour vegetable broth over top. Add spices.

  5. Bring pot to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for roughly 20 minutes. It will smell delicious.

  6. Once quinoa has spiraled out and all the water is absorbed, add black beans and garbanzo beans to the quinoa.

  7. Stir it all together until it's heated throughout and top it off with whatever you're feeling! Or it's really delicious just like this with some avocado. How do you say nom in Spanish?

 You can't really see it but inside there is a very delicious and filling Mexiquinoa concotion! 

You can't really see it but inside there is a very delicious and filling Mexiquinoa concotion! 

/

Mini Cauliflower Pizza

I love pizza. When Racked Miami asked me my favorite cheat meal, pizza was the first thing that came to mind. If I really thought about it, I would have said pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

Next time.

The unfortunate thing about pizza is that I typically feel like shit the morning after I eat it. Like a bad gluten hangover. What usually happens is we will eat pizza late on Friday night after H2om (a late night yoga sesh at the Standard) and then I'll feel gross and bloated through Saturday morning yoga. Ugh. 

I've never been super pleased by the alternative dough options. Almond meal was really heavy and rice crust was both just so... blah. I started reading about cauliflower crust. It promised a delightful and light gluten free pizza experience. And then I saw a recipe from Detoxinista with goat cheese in the crust and I was like woah. "Ok, cauliflower." I thought to myself. "I don't like you that much as a vegetable - but let's see how this goes. Maybe your blandness will make for a delicious pizza crust." 

The cauliflower cooking is a little bit of a process but it's worth it. While my road rashed thigh is recovering from the Whistler fiasco (I'm still icing a hematoma the size of a grapefruit) I have lots of time to spend in the kitchen so it didn't bother me. The cauliflower squeezing is weird but you'll be rewarded with a delightfully light vehicle for whatever toppings you desire. The crust doesn't have a ton of flavor, so if you prefer a more robust pizza flavor, add more spices to the crust or sprinkle the pizza spice blend on top after cooking.

I made them mini because I think it's cute, but you can do a full size pie. Or square. Or heart shaped. Or without cheese and just toppings since there is already cheese in the crust.

Bonus - I woke up this morning feeling great. I'm also going to make this recipe again this week with some chia and flax in the crust, probably a tablespoon of each. Let me know if you try it!

*I added a tablespoon of chia to the crust and it was awesome - added a nice crunch.

 Freshly picked basil from our basil plant! 

Freshly picked basil from our basil plant! 

Mini Cauliflower Pizzas

Crust ingredients:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower or 2 small heads
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 oz soft goat cheese 
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pizza toppings:

  • Pizza sauce (I used San Marzano Sugo Di Pomodoro from Fresh Market)
  • Part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh basil leaves

Pizza spice blend for topping (optional):

  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 salt
  • 1/4 black pepper

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F

  2. Create cauliflower 'rice' - chop cauliflower into smaller florets and process in food processor or high speed blender until it looks like legit rice. The resemblance is almost creepy. Go slowly because the rice tends to get bunched at the bottom.

  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and once boiling, add the cauliflower rice. Cook for 5 minutes. 

  4. Drain the cauliflower rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water to cool it off.

  5. It sounds strange but pour cauliflower rice into a large clean dishtowel and squeeze it to remove all moisture. This part is really important! You want it to be as dry as possible so that the crust will hold together. If it's hard to squeeze because it's still hot, put the cauliflower it in the freezer to cool it off for a few minutes

  6. Mix the cauliflower rice, eggs, goat cheese and spices in a bowl. Use your hands for the most efficient blending. The crust will feel weird but as long as you got the moisture out of the cauliflower, it will hold together.

  7. Line a pan with parchment paper and divide the dough to make 10 - 12 adorable little baby pizza crusts. 

  8. Bake the crusts for 25 - 30 minutes - until lightly golden. They should be firm and maintain their shape when picked up (and not fall apart)

  9. Remove the crusts from the oven and top them with pizza sauce, mozzarella, chopped baby bellas, kale... the sky is the limit! Place the pizettes back in the oven for 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted and toppings are cooked. Warning - some veggie toppings (like spinach) can become watery when cooked so you may want to give them a quick sauté beforehand.

  10. Remove the crusts from the oven and serve them with fresh basil and pizza spice blend. 

 Taste testing some delicious litte mini pizzas. There weren't any leftovers.

Taste testing some delicious litte mini pizzas. There weren't any leftovers.

/

Coconut cashew butter

I woke up today thinking about Bali. And Mike. He's been gone for almost a month - off in Vancouver getting yoga-fied. And we have reached the "ok, that was fun for a few weeks, we need to be back together" point. I'm over the novelty of being by myself and very much ready to have my partner back. I can only keep myself busy for so long - when I slow down and really feel my emotions, I am immediately reminded how much it sucks to be apart.

In missing him, I waxed nostalgically back to our adventures in Bali and also simultaneously starting thinking about food prep - weird, I know. I am going to Canada on Friday to meet up with him and I have been wanting to make something for the trip.

Hmm. Bali was a goldmine of cashews and coconuts. I am on a nut butter kick this week. I need something deliciously filling and portable for the flight.

Bali + food prep + Canada trip... 

"Can they intermingle?" I thought to myself. "Dude. They totally can." And in that moment, coconut cashew butter was born.

  *Notable - all of this happened while pulsing during 7:30am FlyBarre class this morning. Moments of brilliance are not limited to when you're in the shower.

*Notable - all of this happened while pulsing during 7:30am FlyBarre class this morning. Moments of brilliance are not limited to when you're in the shower.

Coconut Cashew Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw cashews 
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon shredded or flaked coconut
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 - 4 shakes of cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F

  2. In a large bowl, mix cashews with honey and hemp hearts and spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Bake the mixture for 20 - 25 minutes until golden.

  4. Remove the nut mix from the oven and let it cool off for a few minutes. 

  5. Once cool enough to handle, add the nuts to your food processor.

  6. Let the food processor run for 5-10 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides.

  7. After the almonds stop being meal-y and become buttery (about 5-7 minutes), add the coconut oil, chia, coconut shreds/flakes, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Let the processor run for another few minutes. Add more oil as you see fit. 

  8. Once it reaches your desired consistency - this takes longer than almonds, fyi - my food processor ran for another good 10 minutes. It will make a big cashew ball but then it will smooth itself out into delicious creaminess. Patience, young grasshoppers. 

  9. Put it all in a mason jar and eat with a banana. Nom-enal. Refrigerate if it's going to last you more than a day or two.

 A field of honey coated cashews awaits you...

A field of honey coated cashews awaits you...

/

Chia hemp almond butter

3 months - almond free. Forging a diet of soy, coconut and regular milk has been... interesting. And kind of a pain in the ass. Last night, I decided to try my luck and eat some almonds again, just to see what would happen. And yay... no reaction! I might be cured from my almondosis

I wasn't going to push it, but of course today I started thinking about almond butter - delightful, creamy, delicious almond butter. It reminded me of this recipe I had been meaning to play with. Chia and hemp maple almond butter. I looked in my cabinets. I had all of the ingredients. I even had the food processor. Dare I try it? 

I dared.

 The goods.

Chia Hemp Maple Almond Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of raw almonds (I get mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

*you can find hemp hearts (aka raw shelled hemp seeds) at Whole Foods or here. Vitacost.com rocks, btw. 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 300 F

  2. In a large bowl, mix almonds with maple syrup and spread the mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  3. Bake the maple almonds for 25 minutes, until your kitchen smells like waffles. Yum.

  4. Remove the almonds from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes. Try not to eat them all while you're waiting.

  5. While they're cooling, separate 10-15 almonds and chop them into tiny pieces with a knife - set aside.

  6.  Process the rest of the nuts in the food processor.

  7. Let the food processor run for 5-10 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides.

  8. After the almonds stop being meal-y and become buttery (about 5-7 minutes), add the coconut oil, chia, hemp, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Let the processor run for another few minutes. 

  9. Once it reaches your desired consistency (which can be up to 15 minutes), stop the food processor and add in the reserved chopped nuts into the almond butter.

  10. Put it all in a cute container and store in your fridge. And brace yourself. That shit is delicious.

 Doesn't get much better than this childhood fave. Although I was way more into chia pets than chia seeds back then...

Doesn't get much better than this childhood fave. Although I was way more into chia pets than chia seeds back then...

/

Travel muffins

It's been a tough month for appliances at the Dannheim casa. First the A/C broke. In July. Awesome. And then two weeks ago, the dishwasher malfunctioned, flooding water all over the floor. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, but we have cork floors, so the water seeped under the tiles and caused all of them to jut up and out - like a cork mountain range beneath my feet. Not the most fun to walk around on. Thankfully the tectonic cork situation is now fixed (and we got a sparkly new dishwasher!) so it's time to celebrate the return to the kitchen with my signature creation.

Travel Muffins.

Travel + muffin. Two of my favorite words - together as one. Delicious little morsels of chia, flax, oats and chocolate... these little bad boys are easy to make and are the perfect on-the-go morning treat. Or anytime really. I coined them travel muffins because I started making them before long flights or car trips since they keep pretty well, are healthy and delicious and deliver a compact yet hearty meal. They're denser than normal muffins and oh so easy to scarf down.

I sometimes make them full-size and sometimes do mini-muffins - it just depends on how I'm feeling. Both are equally delightful, it just depends on how big of a bite you want. I also freeze them once I make them so I don't eat them all within 24 hours. This method may or may not work for you, but it's nice to know since the mini-muffins in particular are a little too cute and tempting and before you know it, a whole batch might disappear. Hence the forewarning.

Ok, without further ado. TRAVEL MUFFINS!

Travel Muffin recipe

- 2.5 cups gluten free or old fashioned oats 

- 1 cup plain greek yogurt (low fat or non fat works great) 

- 2 eggs 

- 2-3 dates (I like medjool)

- 2 tsp. baking powder 

- 1 tsp. baking soda 

- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds 

- 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

- 2 Tbsp. almond milk (or I'm using coconut milk since I'm still allergic to almonds)

- 1 tsp. vanilla 

- 2 ripe bananas 

- 1/2 tsp cinnamon

- 1/4 tsp salt

- Optional toppings like walnuts, blueberries, cacao nibs, dark chocolate chips, dried fruit, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put oats in a blender or food processor and pulse for 10 seconds - I use my vitamix. Add remaining ingredients (except toppings) and blend until smooth - add more milk than specified above if it seems too thick. Batter should have a creamy consistency. Stir in the toppings into the mix (make sure you don't blend again) or put then on top. Hence the name, toppings;)

Grease a muffin pan (I use spray coconut oil for this) and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Devour! Or freeze. Nommers!

 Muffin preparation.

Muffin preparation.

 Muffin complete. These dudes have dark chocolate and walnuts. Nom to the maximum. 

Muffin complete. These dudes have dark chocolate and walnuts. Nom to the maximum. 

/

Hummus

 The Steiner clan - mom, dad and my sis, Allie.

The Steiner clan - mom, dad and my sis, Allie.

Before we left for Bali, Mike and I took a trip to see my parents and sister up in Tampa. A lot of my personal focus this year has been to spend time doing things that are meaningful to me - like family. In the past, I hadn't been as close to my family - distance and relationship-wise - due to circumstance and choices I had made. So the past few years, I've been attempting to make up for my bitchy, sullen teenage years by spending more quality time with them. And my parents, thankfully, loved me no matter what. As part of that love, they proudly kept all my soccer trophies from over the years, and on this particular visit, they wanted to know if I wanted to keep anything from the box out in the garage. 

After I was done going through the box of old sports memorabilia, I spied an old Cuisinart that had long been abandoned. "Dude!" I said, "I have been wanting one of those!" My mom replied "sure, take it - I haven't used that thing since the 80's." So I lugged the hefty Cuisinart back to Miami, giving a fresh life when all it had known before was shoulder pads and Aqua Net.

I love my Vitamix, but a food processor is a nice thing to have in the kitchen because the blade is closer to the bottom of the container - meaning you can prepare smaller quantities of things and it can mince small amounts of vegetables, make nutbutters, etc. more easily than a blender can. AND... it is absolutely perfect for hummus. 

I love authentic hummus. When Mike and I were in Dubai, I consumed so much hummus, I couldn't bear to look at it for a few months. Thankfully that was long ago and I'm back on the hummus train. Store bought brands pale in comparison to the richness of homemade hummus. This recipe is delicious - creamy, tangy and wonderful. The secret is using dried chickpeas - something I once thought was complicated but it's not! They're cheaper and tastier than canned and easily available in the bulk food section. I have tried a few recipes, but this one is my favorite, adapted from one of my vegan food idols - Angela Liddon from Oh She Glows. 

 the trusty cuisinart making hummus! it's vintage.

the trusty cuisinart making hummus! it's vintage.

Homemade hummus recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas (which will become 3 cups soaked chickpeas)
  • 1/3 cup tahini 
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground himalayan salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh water

Preparing chickpeas

  1. Rinse 1 cup of dried chickpeas and put in a pot. Cover chickpeas with 3 to 4 inches of water and soak overnight (or at least 8 hours).

  2. In the morning, discard the water (it will be yellow) and rinse chickpeas.

  3. Transfer chickpeas back to pot and add fresh water to cover them by a few inches.

  4. Bring water to a boil, skim off any foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat to medium and simmer the chickpeas for 45 minutes to an hour - until they're soft enough for you to squish one with your fingers. Watch out, they're slippery :)

  5. Drain chickpeas and give a final rinse. The end result is 3 cups of chickpeas.

Hummus itself

  1. Peel the garlic cloves and with the food processor running, add the garlic in one clove at a time - watch as it is magically minced before your very eyes.
  2. Add chickpeas, tahini, salt and lemon juice to the blender. Add water to bring everything to desired hummus consistency. Process until smooth and creamy - at least 2 minutes. 
  3. Transfer hummus to a bowl and top with olive oil. Serve with freshly cut veggies, whole wheat pita or pita chips. YUM! Perfect summer snack.
hummus
/

Gluten-free banana muffins

The downside of traveling from Asia…. wide awake at 5am. 

The upside? Extra time to play with a new recipe! And I had been wanting to modify a gluten free banana bread recipe that I saw a while ago but hadn't had the chance to do it while traveling. So since I couldn't sleep in (and still can't yet)... Saturday before sunrise, I got busy like a baker in the kitchen and tried my hand at some gluten-free muffins. The result? Delicioso! Moist, filling, low sugar and gluten and nut free (since i'm currently a recovering almond-holic). These are a new staple in the breakfast rotation, perfect for a little something pre or post yoga. Probably also incredible slathered with nut butter. Unfortunately this recipe isn't vegan - can't win 'em all. You can definitely try the recipe using a flax egg, I just haven't done it yet.

 Yummo. Delish. Amazing. Wow. I'm a fan.

Yummo. Delish. Amazing. Wow. I'm a fan.

A little tip - Once they've cooled, I freeze all my muffins so I don't eat them all in one day. I also recently discovered Lily's chocolate chips, sweeted with stevia. They are super amazing. 

 Delicious! I picked mine up at Whole Foods.

Delicious! I picked mine up at Whole Foods.

Gluten-free banana muffin recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour (or just blend gf oats in a blender until they turn into a flour)
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour 
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 - 2 tsp vanilla (depending on how much you like vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • chocolate chips (I like Lily's! Or put in anything else you want to add)

Instructions

  1. Preheat over to 375 °F

  2. In a big bowl, mix the dry ingredients - oat flour, gluten free flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  3. In another bowl, mash the peeled bananas with a fork.
  4. Stir egg, coconut oil, vanilla and honey into the banana mixture.
  5. Add banana mixture and chocolate chips into the dry ingredients. 
  6. Mix together and then pour into an oiled cupcake pan (I use spray coconut oil)
  7. Bake 30 - 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  8. Devour one! And freeze the rest once they're cooled ;)
 The colors of baking!

The colors of baking!

 Fields of muffins… No gluten in sight...

Fields of muffins… No gluten in sight...

/

The best date ever...

Yes, the best one. The one you eat. I actually stayed far away from dates for a long time due to their high sugar content. Mike introduced me back to them when we were in Dubai a few years ago. It's basically the national delicacy there. They stuff them with nuts, coat them in chocolate. Delicious, yes, but not exactly the healthiest preparation.

 Simply dates and almond butter. easy peasy.

Simply dates and almond butter. easy peasy.

So I revisited the mighty date. And let's be honest, they're pretty awesome. They add the perfect sweetness to my favorite muffin recipe. They're wonderful when they're chunked up in smoothies. A single date is an easy pick me up after a sweaty morning yoga class when I didn't have a chance to eat breakfast. When we were in NYC, we were inspired to blend together dates and nut butter. Since I'm back in Miami for a bit and in my own kitchen (yay!) it was one of the first things I wanted to try out. So easy. It took 2 minutes, literally.

Nutty Date Recipe

Ingredients

 It's so easy! Just pipe the nut butter into your dates!

It's so easy! Just pipe the nut butter into your dates!

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (I used almond)

Instructions

  1. Slice dates down the center and remove pit. 
  2. Warm up your nut butter slightly. My stove burner was still warm from making breakfast so I warmed the almond butter in a bowl on my stovetop. 
  3. Put nut butter in a pastry bag or ziploc bag (like I did). If you go ziploc, cut a bottom corner off the ziploc bag and squeeze all the nut butter into that corner.
  4. Use a careful hand and squeeze nut butter into the date.
  5. Voila, tasty and portable nutty dates. Refrigerate for a colder dating experience.

Notes: Dates with pits are typically softer and more delicious than pitted dates. For this recipe, you're going to be slicing them anyway and it's really easy to remove the pit so I would recommend just going with dates with pits.

 So super easy! Mike even made some!

So super easy! Mike even made some!


/

Get yo' greens

The day we got a Vitamix was the day my life changed forever. Our kitchen became a playground for all sorts of interesting gastronomy. Salad dressings, muffins, asparagus soup, banana ice cream. But my single favorite creation is a simple one. The green smoothie. 

 Mandatory food blog cute paper straw

Mandatory food blog cute paper straw

What the hell is a green smoothie, you ask? I'm no food scientist, but I classify a green smoothie as a smoothie blended with whole greens - kale and spinach are my main favorites but you can really blend anything. Except the time Mike tried blending mustard greens. Vom.

A green juice is the juiced version of a whole green - basically squeezing the juice out away from the fiber. I dig green juices too, but I prefer to the get the fiber. Hence why I bought a vitamix and not a juicer. I am not a big fan of non-green juices. I am conscious of my sugar consumption (both for my weight and my mood) and fruit based juices tend to send my blood sugar to Mars. Straight green juices can be pretty gnarly, so they need to be mixed with something to cut the taste - just be wary of green juices that have apple juice or pineapple juice as the main liquid, chances are the sugar content is pretty high. 

Peeps ask me what I put in my smoothies. You know, I used to put all sorts of craziness in them - bee pollen, spirulina, Vega protein powder, chia seeds, goji berries. And that stuff is awesome, but for the past year or so, I've kept it simple. And it never gets old. But I'm also the type of person who can eat the same exact thing every day for years so feel free to experiment. I'm also super weird in the fact that I hate ice water but I love cold smoothies. Like really freezing cold. So I freeze everything before I blend it, even my kale. That way it becomes really a cup of frosty goodness. When I use mango (I buy the pre-cut organic frozen chunks) they also act like ice cubes - which makes it even colder. Yum.

 Frozen goodies. I know lots of people who make their own Almond Milk. If you do it - awesome, I bet your smoothies are amazing. I just don't have the patience.

Frozen goodies. I know lots of people who make their own Almond Milk. If you do it - awesome, I bet your smoothies are amazing. I just don't have the patience.

Amy's really basic smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 handfuls of frozen kale (I use lacinato)
  • 1/2 large banana or 1 small banana - frozen
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango or handful of ice cubes
  • 8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk or 4 oz sweetened almond milk/4 oz water or 8 oz coconut water if you don't do almonds.
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes for topping

Instructions

  1. Cut a banana into halves and freeze overnight. 
  2. Rinse kale thoroughly, cut stems out of kale, tear into smaller pieces and freeze overnight. 
  3. Add banana, mango and kale to blender. 
  4. Pour almond milk (or whatever liquid you're using) over the fruits/veggies.
  5. Start blender on low and build up - blend until all the kale is pulverized. Pow.
  6. Pour into a glass and sprinkle coconut on top. 
  7. Insert paper straw for bonus points.
 The green monster

The green monster

A quick note on blenders. I tried quite a few before going the Vitamix route. I broke a couple cheaper models, and didn't love the Ninja because I ended up chewing the kale in my smoothies. If you're seriously going to use it, I recommend a professional quality blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. It's definitely an investment, but it really makes a huge difference.

/

¡Broccomole!

I don't really know it when it happened. Somewhere in my formative years, I fell hard for the creamy, savory deliciousness that is guacamole. And now, when we're in Miami, I cherish every time I find a place that serves good guac. Which is almost never. Cuban food, yes. Mexican food, ay dios no. So Mike and I have both tried our hands at homemade 'mole. I would actually say that guacamole is Mike's signature dish. But lately I have been making some pretty legit guac and you know what? I took it up a notch tonight. I had been thinking for a few weeks about adding greens to guacamole to give it some extra goodness. But, I pondered… which greens would work? Kale? No. Spinach? No. Asparagus? Maybe. But not tonight. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you… broccomole

 Broccomole! Andale!

Broccomole! Andale!

Broccoli + avocado? Amazeballs. As long as you have a food processor or high speed blender, it's super easy to make. The hardest part is chopping veggies and steaming the broccoli - the rest comes together really quickly. And the best part? It taste just like regular guacamole! Seriously. 

 Guacamole in the process. Not so pretty. But tasty as fuhhh.

Guacamole in the process. Not so pretty. But tasty as fuhhh.

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 - 3 heads of broccoli 
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, diced
  • ¼ to ½ red onion, finely diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp salt plus more to taste

Instructions

  1.  Rinse and chop broccoli into 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Steam broccoli until really soft - you don't want any crunch. So steam the shit out of those puppies and then let it cool.
  2. While the broccoli is cooling, halve the avocados and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Mash but leave some chunks.
  3. Put cooled broccoli in blender or food processor and pulse until it becomes a puree' and then spoon the broccoli puree'  into the bowl with the avocado.
  4. Dice the tomato and onion and add to the bowl with the broccoli and avocado. It's good idea to start with 1/4 of the red onion and add more to taste. 
  5. Add fresh lime juice, sprinkle ½ tsp salt, and stir to combine. Add more onion, salt, lime juice as you set fit. In a pinch, I have also used bottled organic lime juice that I keep in the fridge and it's a pretty close second. Combine it all and serve with tortilla chips, crackers, sliced green peppers - anything really. Enjoy!

PS - I like getting avocados from Publix. They always ripen quickly, are way cheaper and I almost never get a bad one from there. Unlike some of the more expensive places I shop.

/

Overnight Chia Oatmeal

With my dreams of 7am FlyBarre this morning dashed by my hurt ankle, I decided to do another thing I love. Make food. I was really excited to get back to Miami just to cook in my own kitchen. I grew up watching my dad cook but I was never really interested in what he was making - mainly because it had meat or butter or something I wasn't crazy about. It's a shame too, because he studied with Julia Child. I guess it's true that we all come to things at our own time. When Mike and I moved in together six years ago, I started giving a shit about cooking. Took some cooking classes, watched some youtube videos, started playing around. Bought kitchen accessories I don't use - like an avocado slicer. I mean, come on - I can just use a knife. We have dabbled with vegan, dairy-free, paleo. Thank god Mike is always open to anything food related, because I have made all sorts of weird stuff. 

 chia pet

chia pet

So since I can't really walk much today (double ugh) I opted to make one of my favorite easy breakfasts - overnight chia oatmeal. This has the added bonus of being eaten with a spoon. Another one of my cook-y purchases back in the day was little mason jars for making things like this, but nowadays I just use old peanut butter and ghee glass jars for added ambiance. This recipe is also great because you make it the night before - perfect for impressing parents with your food planning skills or times when you have to get out of the house early. And it's healthy, delicious and vegan. Score. 

 Chia oats and almond milk cappuccino. Good morning.

Chia oats and almond milk cappuccino. Good morning.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup oats (I use Whole Foods quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 medium banana (optional)
  • Berries as topping (optional)
  • 1 tsp almond butter (optional)
  • Honey or agave as desired

I used an 8 ounce mason jar (or this time I used a leftover peanut butter jar from True Loaf Bakery - love that place). Add oats, almond milk and chia to the jar - close it tightly and shake it up. Make sure all the little chias get some liquid or else they will stick together. Let sit overnight in the fridge. Or probably 2 hours is good if you're in a rush. The longer the milk can soak into the oats, the better though in my opinion. In the morning, just take the container out of the fridge, let it sit for a few minutes, slice up some banana and berries and toss it into the mix. Spoon in some almond butter, or sliced almonds would be delish, too. Drizzle with sweetener if you're into that sort of thing. Mix it up and rock it out. You could also add greek yogurt if you wanted some extra protein. Super yum! 

 breakfast, devoured.

breakfast, devoured.

/