Matcha Pancakes

Whether you love or hate matcha, if you like pancakes, you’ll love this recipe. There are few things I like more than a cozy breakfast with my family, and that’s exactly what I made these pancakes for. Seriously, they’re so good. They have the fluffiness of a regular pancake. (Thank you, flax egg.) The greenness of a… salad? And the health benefits of a cup a’ green tea.

Cooking with Matcha.

Matcha is a type of finely ground powder from green tea leaves. It’s good, but it does have a very distinct flavor. I like to drink it on occasion, but more often I find myself cooking with it. If you use too much you’ll get a too intense flavor, so use it cautiously.

I personally use it in sweet recipes or baked goods. I’ve seen it used in smoothies before, and I’ve yet to try that but it sounds amazing. Savory recipes always are a little harder to workaround, but I know people use it to crust fish and chicken sometimes. I don’t eat either of those, but maybe a tofu recipe is coming you’re way, hehe.

Recipe in depth.

Matcha pancakes as fairly common. Most recipes will load up on sugar and flour to make them taste better, but that takes away from the health benefits of the matcha.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups of oat flour

  • I use oat flour to get some extra protein and iron in my day. It’s slightly denser than white flour but with the flax egg, you’ll still manage to get that ideal pancake fluffiness.

-1-2 tablespoons of matcha

  • I get Jade Leaf Matcha from Amazon, or if I’m at Whole Foods I’ll get Navitas brand. Both are really good, but they’re a little pricey. If you don’t like matcha I wouldn’t buy it.

-1 tablespoon of vanilla

-1 tablespoon of maple syrup

  • Agave also works, but I love the flavor of maple syrup. I didn’t need too much, but if you prefer your pancakes a little sweeter I’d add some more.

-Flax egg

-Plant milk

  • I used almond milk, but pretty much any plant milk will do. I’d just avoid soy because it can curd up in your pancakes and nobody wants that!

Directions:

  • Add oat flour and matcha to a bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add vanilla, maple syrup, flax egg, and plant milk and combine with the dry ingredients with a whisk.
  • On medium heat skillet add the pancake batter and flip when they start to bubble in the center.
  • Top off with some coconut whip, confectioners sugar, maple syrup, or just enjoy them plain!

Easy Vegan Falafel

I love street food. I think one of the best ways to explore different cultures and various regions of food is by the local vendors and concessions. Falafel is a very culturally rich food but it’s also common street food all over the place! There’s nothing like a fried doughy ball of veggies from a questionable food cart. But there’s also nothing like a perfectly crisp and richly flavored classic falafel.

What is falafel?

Falafel is a Middle Eastern dish made with mashed chickpeas and herbs. They’re usually fried and made like veggie fritters. They’re super delicious when made right, but without enough herbs or too many herbs you can completely mess up the delicate flavor balance. American restaurants often make very bland falafel so I made sure to keep this falafel flavorful and colorful.

Falafel tastes and feels similar to a meatball. It’s a little bit bready and has that distinct meatball consistency. I’m part Jewish so falafel is one of my comfort foods. It makes you feel good, even if you aren’t accustomed to it.

Ways to eat falafel.

Falafel doesn’t have a super distinct flavor which makes it a very versatile dish. Traditionally it’d be served in pita bread, but I like to try out different recipes. You can add it to a bowl of rice and beans with some fresh veggies and tahini sauce. You can eat it as a burger, a salad, and even soup!

Recipe in depth.

Ingredients:

-1 drained can of chickpeas

  • Most people use dried chickpeas and then soak them, but a can works just as well. If you’re using dried chickpeas, use about 1 1/2 cups instead.

-1/4 cup of fresh chopped cilantro

-1/4 cup of fresh chives

-4 cloves of minced garlic

-2 tablespoons of lemon juice

  • Fresh ingredients are key to this recipe. If you try falafel made completely with dried spices vs falafel made with fresh herbs you can easily tell the difference. The lemon juice keeps the color from these fresh ingredients to avoid your falafel from turning brown.

-1 tbsp ground cumin

-1 tbsp of turmeric

-1 tsp of salt

-1 tsp of pepper

-1 tbsp parsley

-2 tablespoons of flour

-2 tablespoons of olive oil.

Directions

  • Add chickpeas, cilantro, chives, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper, parsley, and flour to a food processor and blend.
  • Add a little extra flour and water until it’s able to be handled.
  • Dust hands and plate with flour and form falafel patties with the dough.
  • Cook in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil. Fry each side for about 5 minutes or until it is golden brown and crispy.
  • Take it off the skillet, let cool and enjoy!

Coconut Dark Chocolate

I love Mounds bars. They’re honestly a very underappreciated candy. Most people probably don’t associate these with Christmas, but I do. Every year I always get Mounds in my stocking, but in the past year I’ve been cutting out my dairy. I wanted to make a recipe that had that satisfying coconut and chocolate goodness but also was vegan, gluten-free, and healthier. So here we are!

Making chocolate.

It’s surprisingly difficult to find dairy-free chocolate. Even dark chocolate will often be made with milkfat or “may contain dairy.” I’ve never really considered making my own chocolate until recently when I was craving some chocolate chip cookies. I looked for a few recipes, and a lot of them had cocoa butter as a base. I realized this could easily be subbed with coconut oil, which is a very similar consistency. Much to my delight, I found many recipes using coconut oil, so I decided to give a shot at my own version.

To make chocolate you need three primary parts: the base, the cocoa, and the sweetness. For the base, you can use cocoa butter, coconut oil, and even shea butter if you’re feeling adventurous! For the cocoa part, just plain ol’ cocoa powder. And for the sweetness, just use whatever is your forte. I used agave, but maple syrup, cane sugar, and pretty much any sweetener will do!

Recipe in-depth:

Now that it’s December, I’m ready for the sugar, carbs, and chocolate. This recipe has the chocolate, and it tastes like it’s full of sugar and carbs, but it’s not. This recipe is a healthy twist on a delicious cocoa treat.

Ingredients:

-1/2 cup of Shredded Coconut (Sweetened or unsweetened)

  • I used sweetened just because it’s what I had, and it will combat some of the bitterness in the dark chocolate.

-1/2 cup of Coconut Oil

  • Sub with Cocoa Butter or Shea Butter. (See above for more details)

-1/4 cup of Cocoa Powder

-3 tablespoons of Agave

  • Any sweetener will work, but agave doesn’t take away from the chocolate and coconut flavors which makes it work very well.

– (Opt) 1 teaspoon of Vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Add shredded coconut to a cookie sheet and put it in the oven.
  • Add coconut oil, cocoa powder, agave, and a splash of vanilla to a pan. Melt on stove at medium heat.
  • Pour into a square dish and layer toasted coconut while it’s still melted.
  • Cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Vegan Chai Latte

I love chai a latte. Haha, I know it’s cheesy. Well, who am I kidding, it’s not cheesy. It’s nutritional yeasty. Okay, this is not off to a good start.

There’s something serene about chai lattes. The smell. The feel. The taste. They just are a whole package of aromotic spices and tea and creaminess. BUT WAIT. Creaminess? I’m vegan now and I just realized last week that I haven’t had a single chai latte as a vegan. It seemed an impossible task, but with a bit of research and a lot of disgusting sips of teas I’ve made the perfect vegan chai latte. Seriously please try this recipe.

What is Chai?

I actually had no idea how a chai latte was made before last week. I always got chai lattes at a cafe nearby, and I never needed to know before. In fact, I thought that chai was it’s own spice and I was pretty shocked to realize it’s just a combination of other spices.
Chai is actually just a mix of different spices. There’s no one-and-done deal for these spices, and different recipes will use slightly different ingredients.
In my recipe, I used: 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground clove, 1 tsp whole unground black pepper (it sounds gross but it works), 1 tsp of cardamon and 1 tsp of nutmeg. If you don’t have all of these ingredients, don’t stress. You can miss one or two without it affecting your latte too much.

Recipe in depth.

This is a pretty easy recipe and it has three main components:
1. Chai Tea Chai Tea makes up the base of this recipe. For the chai tea you’ll use your previously mentioned spices and 2 tablespoons of black tea. I recommend steeping it for at least 7 minutes. Usually I would only steep chai tea for 4-5 minutes, but because we’re adding more creamy and sweeter ingredients, a little longer goes a long way. After brewing strain out the loose tea and start on the cashew milk!

2. Frothed Cashew Milk


Frothing Cashew milk is surprisingly difficult. I tried three methods that worked fairly well. First, I used a blender and just blended until it was bubbly and airy. It didn’t work as well as the other two ways, but it was frothy enough for some of it to float to the top. The second way is by boiling it on the stove until it is thick and bubbly. This worked super well for me. The final option is using a milk frother. Obviously, this will give it the most desired consistency. Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to your frothed milk too.
3. Whipped Coconut Milk
This part is just the cherry on top of the recipe. I used organic canned coconut milk and an electric mixer with some more maple syrup. I used two tablespoons of coconut milk and a tablespoon of maple syrup. I scooped it on the latte and sprinkled some clove and cinnamon on top!

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate

Every year on New Year’s my family watches a Christmas movie, we watch the ball drop in New York on TV, and we go outside and bang pots and pans. It’s our little tradition we have. We also always have hot cocoa. No exceptions.

This year I made a recipe to use for tonight, and I’m a pretty big fan. This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free, so you can get on top of those New Year resolutions early this year!

Making Vegan Cocoa

I ended up trying six different vegan hot chocolate recipes from various blogs. (Minimalist Baker, It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken, Loving It Vegan and more.) I liked the idea of frothing it, but when I tried it I thought it took out the rich smoothness so I don’t recommend it. I first chose between regular nut milk and coconut milk. Coconut milk is creamier and it works better for hot cocoa. It also never curds. (Don’t use soy milk though, it curds really badly and it tastes more watery when it’s hot.)

I wanted my recipe to be simple, so I tried out Minimalist Baker, who by the way is one of my favorite food bloggers ever. I liked it, but it wasn’t super creamy or sweet. I think those are both necessary in a good cup of cocoa. So I started making my own with the things I’d learned.

1. Always make it on the stovetop.

2. Use cocoa powder AND chocolate chips

3. Use vegan milk chocolate, not dark chocolate.

4. Add vanilla. It does make a difference.

5. Always top with whipped cream.

Habenero Popcorn

Peppers are the source of many happy things in my life. Chips and salsa. Thai curry. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. And now, Habenero Popcorn.

Can you handle the habanero

A few things should be noted. First, the habanero is not the spiciest pepper. A few others, including the ghost pepper, have beat it. Second, if you don’t like spicy foods, you won’t like this popcorn. Third, after cutting your habanero, do not rub your eyes, your nose, your face or anything else until thoroughly washing your hands.

Making the perfect popcorn.

I know there are a lot of options when it comes to making popcorn. We have microwaves, air poppers, jiffy pops, and stovetop. When it comes to convenience, microwaving is usually the way to go. If you’re looking for the healthiest option, air poppers will do the trick as well. However, if you’re looking for the best taste and developed flavor, I highly recommend stovetop. All you need is a bit of oil and medium heat, and your popcorn will be perfectly popped! It also leaves very few kernels unpopped or burnt.

Movie-night must-have.

Of course, a lot of people just like their classic popcorn with no additional flavors added. I personally love a nice glamped up version. I seasoned mine with some cayenne and a little bit of turmeric on top. It was a bold move, but this whole recipe sort of was. 😉

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I love Thanksgiving. Aside from the fact that it forces your family to spend time with you (hehe) it also is centered around cooking and reflecting all of the things we should appreciate more every day. So enjoy this beautiful holiday! Also, we can finally listen to Christmas music with no guilt!!!

Now that Thanksgiving is here, I’m finally sharing my pride. My joy. My love. My pumpkin pie. I actually recently came across an article on Buzzfeed about why pumpkin pie stinks, and I got very triggered. Gah. Pumpkin Pie is the best. It’s not my favorite dessert in the world, but you need to eat it when Thanksgiving rolls around. So here you are, my new favorite pumpkin pie.

Making pumpkin pie, except vegan.

First, shout-out to my Grandpa who has the best ever pumpkin pie. And to Costco who also has the best pumpkin pie ever. However, both of these pies use eggs and dairy. I had to find a way to get that same exact taste and texture. I tried a few recipes. (Minimalist Baker and Food with Feeling) They were both really good, but to be honest they didn’t make me feel the way I do when I have a REAL pumpkin pie. They felt… healthy. And the coconut milk has a distinct flavor that took away from the pumpkin. I used tofu, which I’d seen on a few other recipes and it really made this dish pop.

To get the perfect crust I used almonds and oats. Almonds have this phenomenal flavor once roasted, and pairs super well with pumpkin.

Recipe in-depth:

This is my first Thanksgiving being vegan (and vegetarian actually.) I knew that turkey was obviously a no-go. Tofurkey will have to do. However, I wanted to keep pumpkin pie the same. This pumpkin pie recipe have just the right consistency, and you won’t believe it’s vegan when eating this. My Dad loved it, and he is very much not a vegan.

Ingredients:

Crust:

1 cup of oats

½ cup of raw almonds

½ cup of dates

¼ cup of oil

Vegetable, olive, avocado or coconut will work

Opt: Vanilla

Filling:

2 cups of pumpkin puree

½ cup to 1 cup of coconut sugar

8 oz of firm silken tofu

¼ cup of oat flour

1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp of vanilla

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add oats, almonds, dates, oil, and vanilla to a food processor and blend until it forms a ball.
  • Spread out the blended ingredients in a pie pan. (Springform or a classic pan will work.) Use a glass or your fingers to make it rise around the edge.
  • In a large (separate) bowl add pumpkin puree, coconut sugar, silken tofu, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Stir until it forms a clumpy orange mush. (Don’t be alarmed.)
  • Blend until it is smooth and creamy.
  • Add the filling into the unbaked pie crust. Spread evenly.
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Top off with coconut whip and pumpkin spice!

Apple Cinnamon Granola

I’ve been doing some experimenting in my kitchen over the last few days. I really wanted to arrange some more fall recipes before December rolls around, and I was planning on making cookies but last minute changed up my recipe and made this granola. Let me tell you though, it is pretty freaking scrumptastic.

Apple and Cinnamon… a match made in heaven.

I love every fall flavor combo: pumpkin spice, maple walnut, hazelnut and chocolate y’know. Apple Cinnamon is one of my favorite food combinations ever. My mom used to make us apple cinnamon oatmeal before we went to school. (Yes, they were microwavable packets, but that didn’t make them any less good.) Apple cinnamon is cozy, flavorful, and sweet. It makes you feel warm inside. This recipe utilizes all of those elements in a convenient breakfast or snack!

Making the perfect granola.

Granola needs just the right blend of oats, nuts, seeds, and sweetness. It needs to be crunchy and flavorful. I actually tried this recipe twice. The first time I didn’t use any coconut oil in an attempt to be oil-free. I used aquafaba instead. It was good, but the coconut oil adds a whole different dynamic to this recipe. I highly recommend using it.

Ingredients

-2 cups of oats

  • Rolled oats are always the best in granola. Steel-cut or quick cut will work too but they won’t bind the granola as well.

-1/2 cup of walnuts

  • Walnuts are perfect for fall of course, but pecans and almonds will work just as well.

-2 chopped apples

  • I used Mcintosh apples because of their sweetness, but any apples will work. Because this recipe doesn’t add sugar to the apples, I’d recommend not using sour apples (like Granny Smith) Golden Delicious, Mcintosh and Gala are probably the best choices.

-1 tablespoon of cinnamon

-2 tablespoons of chia seeds

-1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

-2 tablespoons of agave

  • The agave will sweeten the granola and help make some nice clumps which are always appreciated. I would rarely say clumps should be appreciated, but it’s different with granola 😉 You can also use maple syrup as a replacement if you don’t have agave.

-2 tablespoons of coconut oil

-1/4 cup of almond milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and stir until fully combined.
  3. Spread out on a cookie sheet with parchment paper evenly.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy. If you want extra crispiness just add a little more coconut oil.
  5. Enjoy as cereal, with a smoothie bowl, or just as a snack!

Pumpkin Chia Brownies

There is nothing more comforting than eating out of the brownie batter, am I right? I remember my mom would always divide all of the baking tools: one kid gets the whisk, one gets the bowl, one gets the wooden spoon and one would get the first brownie when they were ready.

 
 
 
 

So in this recipe I incorporated chia for that lovely fudgy consistency. I also wanted to jazz up this classic with a fall twist: PUMPKIN!

 

Pumpkin and chocolate: To be or not to be?

 

Pumpkin and chocolate is a highly controversial thing, people. Some people hate it when there are some friendly chocolate chips in their pumpkin bread. I personally like them together, but you need to proportion them correctly. Enough pumpkin to stand out and not too much chocolate to override the pumpkin flavor.

 

Recipe in depth.

 

 
 
 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds

  • 1/2 cup of almond milk

  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder

  • 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin

  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  • Soak the chia seeds in the milk for about 10 to 20 minutes. This will give them a pudding-like consistency. For a test, you can stick a fork in it and the marks will stay. The chia seed is a double doer in this recipe. First, it will give it the fudgy and moist consistency every brownie deserves. Second, it will assist in binding the brownies. Typically you’d use eggs to keep them together.

 
 
 
 
  • Stir the chia seeds with the cocoa powder, pumpkin and maple syrup.

 
 
 
  • Put the batter in a greased 8″ square cake pan. I topped mine off with some vegan chocolate chips! This is totally optional but it is a great touch to the recipe.

 
 
  • Put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

 
 
 
  • Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar and pumpkin pie spice for extra flair! This also goes really well with some vegan ice cream or coconut whip! I’m pretty obsessed with these brownies.

 
 
 

No-Bake Vanilla Protein Balls

I’m all about convenient and simple food. A lot of times I would resort for something unhealthy with little nutrients just to eat something before going out for the day, but this simple recipe has helped me end this habit! This only takes 10 minutes to make, or you could put this together the night before eating for an easy and delicious breakfast that’s packed with protein.

Perfecting consistency.

No-bake recipes are designed to be easier, but often they’re actually harder to master. Without the right recipe you can end up with something that crumbles or something that’s too moist to stay shapen. I’ve learned that you need just the right binding ingredient. I used almond butter in this recipe, but you can easily replace that with other binders.

Play around with flavors!

A few weeks ago I was attempting to make almond butter overnight oats, and it ended up being the base of this delicious recipe! That doesn’t mean there’s no room to experiment with it of course. You can replace the binder (almond butter) with any other nut butter. Peanut or Cashew works really well. If you don’t want any nuttiness in your dish you can add a fall twist with some pumpkin! I am attempting to make the perfect fall protein ball recipe right now, and canned pumpkin does work to keep this together. You can also change the protein powder flavor. I swapped the vanilla protein powder with chocolate and the almond butter with peanut butter and it tasted pretty freaking awesome. You can also bake them if you want! I tried it and it worked out pretty well! One note is that it did bring out more of the protein powder flavor which I personally don’t like, but it still had a great consistency!

The best pumpkin oatmeal

Pumpkin, spice and everything nice. Pumpkin is amazing. It’s one of those vegetables that’s only acceptable one season of the year, so when that comes you pair it with everything. Oatmeal with a nice cup of tea is one of my favorite fall treats, so here I am to share it with you!

Oats can float anyone’s boats.

Oats are amazing. They are super nutritious and contain iron, folate, magnesium, Vitamin B1 and B5 and many more things that keep your body running smoothly. It’s good to be cautious, as they are rich in carbs, and they shouldn’t be the primary protein of your day, but they make a great treat and meal. Oats are also rich in antioxidants, so keep them in your diet as the cold season comes along!

How to make the perfect bowl of oatmeal.

Oatmeal is definitely a super easy breakfast to utilize, but that isn’t to say there aren’t some tricks to be learned. For starters, stove top will always be better. Especially when you trying to incorporate flavors like pumpkin and cinnamon, using a pan on a stove will go a long way compared to microwaving it in a bowl. If you’re in a rush, by all means, use the microwave. But if you got the time, then do it right.

Another thing that will help you get the consistency and creaminess just right is using plant milk instead of water. Water will leave you with the oatmeal you get at a hotel buffet, definitely not the best option. I like using cashew milk or oat milk. (I know it sounds weird to use oat milk in oatmeal, but meat eaters eat chicken in chicken broth 😉 Cashew milk has such a rich and creaminess that it works really well in oatmeal, and so does oat milk. Almond milk isn’t the best bet because it will add a distinct nutty flavor that will clash with the flavors in your oatmeal. I’ll be revealing my secret ingredient to some perfect fall oatmeal. Find out the secret below!!

A perfect fall day for apple picking!

Everyone loves a beautiful fall day with chilly weather, a hot tea, and some fresh apples. So this morning my family and I went out for a perfect sweater weather material day. Now my family and I moved a few years ago to a small town, and it was an adjustment, but I’ve learned to love it. Living in a small town is remarkably similar to the way it’s portrayed in Hallmark movies. People have more time to be friendly, and seeing a familiar face while walking to the coffee shop isn’t uncommon. Since we moved here apple picking became an autumn tradition. There’s this cute farm nearby that has a whole fall bonanza every year. That means cinnamon spice donuts, chai lattes and apple and pumpkin picking of course! I love cute local finds like this! So this morning I threw on a cozy sweater, made some pumpkin oatmeal, grabbed my camera and had a great day.

There’s something about growing and/or picking the produce you use. It adds an organic and authentic element to cooking and baking. I’ve experimented with gardening in the past and I used to love growing tomatoes and peppers, but I’ve drifted away from gardening and this is a great supplement to that.

Also when you go apple picking at a local farm they usually don’t use the same pesticides and chemicals, so you’re getting the most wholesome and simple food from the start.

If you like photography, make sure to bring your camera! The fall colors of the apples, pumpkins, and sunflowers calls for some cozy fall photos!

We picked out a few pumpkins to decorate our house with and make jack o’ lanterns! My Dad always said to go for the firm, balanced and even pumpkins in the patch, but to be honest I always liked the misshapen ones that no one else will get. (Is that cheesy?)

I also just learned of something called a ghost pumpkin! I’m really happy to have a white pumpkin for my bedroom. I working on some cute fall decor and sometimes you just find the right thing. (I plan on posting a decor DIY soon, so stay updated :))

Well everyone, may this post serve as a reminder to enjoy fall and this beautiful weather! And apples of course! Many recipes to come!!