Pickled Snap Peas

Although summer officially started only about a week and a half ago, we are in full swing here in Oregon with temperatures reaching almost 100 degrees the last couple of days. There is an old joke that summer doesn’t officially start in the Pacific Northwest until after the fourth of July but I think it’s safe to say it’s come early this year.

Since our temperatures quickly went from mid-sixties to just right around 100 degrees, our spring crop is quickly coming to an end. Our broccoli rabe came and went with only yellow flowers to harvest, hardly edible. But the snap peas, those little green delicate looking veggies went from a few to an infestation over night.

Last week David and I harvested about what seemed like five pounds worth of snap pea. Personally, I can only eat them here and there. They are one of David’s favorites but even he can’t consume that many. Then, out of the blue, one of our employee’s who happens to love gardening as much,  if not more then David, sent him the recipe for pickled snap peas with a note that said we should try making them because they were delicious.

David mentioned this to me and though I had my reservations, when I popped one that had been sitting in the brine for about a week into my mouth, I was more than happy with what transpired in my mouth.

Pair this with a nice cold fresh lemonade, and by this I mean nothing more then lemons, water and a little stevia to sweeten, and you have yourself the perfect summertime treat or a mid-day snack when you need to get out of the heat.

Since I hate keeping anything like this a secret, here is the recipe for the pickled snap peas David made last week. Trust me, once you try  these,  pickles will be a thing of the past!

snap peas

 

Pickled  Snap Peas

1 1/4 cups white distilled vinegar
1 1/4 cups cold water
1 tablespoon kosher or pickling salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 pound sugar snap peas, stems trimmed and strings removed
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 or 2 small dried chile peppers, slit lengthwise or a couple pinches dried red pepper flakes

1. In a  saucepan, heat the vinegar with the salt and sugar until they are dissolved. Remove from the heat, and add the cold water.

2. When the vinegar mixture is cool, either pack the sugar snaps, garlic and chile peppers or flakes into a 1-quart jar or pour into a bowl, and pour the brine over it. Cover with either a lid or plastic wrap.

3. You can eat them after 24 hours but I think the longer you wait the more delicious they will taste.

4. Enjoy!

 

 

My Mama’s World Famous Spicy Pickeled Asparagus

My mom and step-dad where recently down on the farm visiting for a few days and while doing so, my mom and I managed to get in the kitchen and make a bunch of jars of her world famous spicy pickled asparagus. If you loved pickled anything then you need to try these!

I have fond memories of opening the refrigerator, grabbing a jar of the green goodness and biting into the spicy spear. Delicious!

Today, because I think everyone should have a jar of pickled asparagus in their refrigerator or pantry, I’m going to share her recipe with you!
finished asparagus 3

Here is what you’ll need:

12 one-quart glass jars with lids

Fresh (organic if possible) asparagus (it depends on how many jars you want to determine how many pounds you need)

Salt (we used table salt)

Distilled water

Spices (we used the following: mustard seed, chili flakes, pickling spice) You can really use whatever you like.

Fresh dill

4 garlic bulbs

Dried red chiles

You will begin by making the brine. Using the ingredients below, in a big stew/soup pot, bring to a boil on the stove.

2 Qts white vinegar

2 Qts water

10 Tbs salt or 1/2 a cup

You will also need to sanitize the jars and lids by boiling them.

canning supplies

While you are getting your brine heated on the stove you can begin getting your asparagus cut to the right size. It’s really quite simple. Measure the asparagus against the jar you will be stuffing it with and then cut to the appropriate size.

Asparagus 1

garlic, dill, chile

sizing asparagus

You may have to cut it a couple times but it doesn’t have to be perfect.

cutting asparagus

Since we used two different sized jars, we had to cut two different size groups of asparagus.

glass jars 3

Once the asparagus is cut you will need to blanch them. This will cook them slightly and retain the bright green color. Get all your spices together in separate bowls to make it a more efficient process.

spices

Then, if you are using two sizes of jars, take whichever one you want to start with and get them lined up to fill with the spices, dill, garlic and chiles. Start to fill them each with about a 1/4 of a teaspoon of  each of the spices, 2-3 garlic cloves, 3 red chiles, and a couple sprigs of dill.

spices in a jar

After you have done that, you will stuff the jars with the asparagus making sure they are pretty full. Once all the jars are full, take them over to the boiling brine and fill each to the top with the brine mixture.

stuffing asparagus

brine

When all the jars are filled with the brine, you will need to get your canning pot filled with water and get that boiling.  You may want to do that before you fill the jars with brine because it can take awhile to bring water to a boil. A canning pot looks like this: (sorry the image is so small!)

 

Place as many jars of the same size as you can in the canning pot. You want to make sure the lids on the jars aren’t all the way tight. They will seal when they are in the boiling water. Cover the pot with it’s lid and let boil for 10 minutes. Once done, using oven mitts, use the metal wire rack in the pot to lift the jars out and set them on a towel to cool.

Continue this until all jars are sealed and then let them sit out until they have cooled completely.

These guys will be ready to eat the next day but for more flavor and more of a kick, wait a while to open them!

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Grain-Free Cranberry-Orange Scones

One of my favorite breakfast treats growing up were scones. Maybe it’s my English roots, I’m not sure, but there has always been something that I loved about eating them. It also didn’t help that my mom loved them as well and every time we’d go to get some coffee, when I drank coffee, she’d get a scone and I’d always ask for a ‘bite’ and end up eating half of it.

Once I started to become a lot more health conscious I realized how bad scones can be for you and stopped eating them for the most part. Once I went vegan, it was definitely so long to my crumbly friends.

As I continue to explore what health and a healthy lifestyle means to me I have come to realize that I can still enjoy one of my all-time favorites but just a different version of it. And to be honest, I think this one tastes a whole lot better!

In walks my Grain-Free Cranberry-Orange Scone! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going grain-free. I think grains are an extremely important part of our diet but I just got a huge bag of almond meal and wanted to give it a try for a lighter, more airy texture.

cran-orange scone

These guys are just that. Light and airy and delicious. I love the citrus with the hint of almond and of course the tartness from the cranberries.

cran-orange scone 2

As I continue to explore vegan baking I am constantly impressed with what you can actually make and I’ve come to prefer a vegan treat over a non-vegan one.  Aside from tasting better, I know I am doing my body a special favor by a) eliminating all animal products and b) eating a tasty treat!

cran-orange scone 3

I’m excited to play around with other possibilities using the base of this recipe, almond meal. I’m thinking I see some kind of vegan chocolate chip scone in my future. Here is the recipe for these Cranberry-Orange Scones for your enjoyment!

Grain-Free Cranberry-Orange Scones
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 3½ cup almond meal/flour
  • ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
  • Juice of one lemon plus 2 tbsps
  • Juice of two small oranges or 1 cup
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 4 tbsp water. Allow to sit in refrigerator for 15 minutes to thicken up)
  • ½-3/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. If the mixture is a little on the wet side add a little more almond meal/flour until it’s a consistency that wont stick.
  3. Shape into a ball then put onto greased baking pan. (I grease using coconut oil)
  4. With the palm of your hand start to flatten the ball out slightly.
  5. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut the scone mixture into 8 pie shaped pieces and separate so they each have room to grow bigger.
  6. Place in oven and bake for 12 minutes. I ended up baking for about 15 minutes but start with 12 and add time if necessary.
  7. Enjoy!

Enjoy your weekend! The weather is suppose to be in the upper 80′s here which is big for Oregon!

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Mushroom, Mango and Green Olive Ceviche wtih Homemade “Cheesy” Crackers

Mushrooms, Mangoes and Green Olives? I know, it sounds like an interesting food combo but trust me, it is delicious.

Mushroom Ceviche2

When David and I were in Medellin, Colombia this past February we Googled vegan restaurants in the area just out of curiosity and low and behold, there actually was one! Colombia is a pretty big meat eating country but we seemed to luck out in the bigger cities by having at least one or two restaurant options that were vegetarian or vegan.

At this particular restaurant we went to in Medellin their menu was written all in Spanish (obviously) and because it’s a somewhat newer thing for English speaking tourist, there wasn’t too many places that had English versions of their menu.

But we managed and one of the appetizers was a Mushroom Ceviche and out of my deep love of mushrooms, I had to try it. I quickly tried to remember the Spanish words for various vegetables so I knew what was in it and to my surprise, I did pretty well.  There was also a little GF symbol next to it I knew it was gluten-free as well and I’d be safe to order it.

When it was delivered to our table a little while later we were extremely happy with what was served. I would have never thought mushrooms, mangoes and green olives would work together but they most definitely do and I jotted down the other ingredients and decided I needed to make this when we returned to the states. And that is exactly what I did and served it with my  ‘Cheesy’ Gluten-Free crackers. Recipes are below and I hope you enjoy as much as we did!

Mushroom Ceviche

crackers

Mushroom, Mango and Green Olive Ceviche with Homemade ‘Cheesy’ Gluten-Free Crackers
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetiser
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • For the Ceviche:
  • 8 oz mushrooms {whatever kind you like best}
  • 1 mango
  • 1 can sliced green olives {I got mine from Whole Foods. Their brand of green olives are amazing!}
  • ½ large cucumber
  • ½ red onion
  • 1 yellow or red pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro and basil
  • Juice of two limes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • For the Crackers:
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 4 tbsp whole fax seed
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2½ tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp black sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp rosemary garlic blend
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • water {you will slowly add a tbsp at a time until you get a doughy consistency)
Instructions
  1. For the Mushrooms:
  2. Slice mushrooms thinly and place in bowl.
  3. Chop all other veggies into small bites and place in bowl with mushrooms.
  4. Add the juice from the limes, the chopped basil and cilantro.
  5. Salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. I served this pretty much right away but know that it will only get more flavorful the next day.
  7. For the Crackers:
  8. Turn oven on to 350 degrees
  9. Mix the brown rice flour and the almond meal together in a bowl.
  10. Add all other ingredients and mix until completely combined.
  11. Slowly start to add one tbsp of water at a time until the mixture is a dough-like consistency.
  12. Grease baking pan with coconut oil or spray. Roll dough out on brown rice covered cutting board and lift onto baking dish. This can easily be done by folding one half of the dough onto of the other half and using a spatula to life. Once on the pan, unfold.
  13. Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into cracker size pieces, making sure there is some space in between each one to grow a little in size as they bake.
  14. Place in over and bake for 12 minutes. Check crackers at this time. If they aren’t done, bake for a few more minutes.
  15. Remove and allow to cool.
  16. Enjoy!
  17. *Tip – You can also serve with some avocado on the side to accompany your ceviche.

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Roasted Spicy Garbanzo Beans

David and I love to snack whether it’s homemade baked chips and my famous guacamole or hummus and celery or carrots, we are snackers {that may not be a word but I’m going with it}.

Sometimes though it’s easy {if it’s kept in the house} to reach for the unhealthy snack option instead of the one that’s good for you. I try not to keep too much of that in the house and instead make healthy snacks we can take a handful of as we walk by, like these Roasted Spicy Garbanzo Beans.

Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are so great for you because they are packed with protein, fiber, maganese, iron and folate. So if you are trying to get preggers this is a GREAT snack for you! These little round legumes are pretty inexpensive as well so you can load up on them without it really affecting your bank account.

You can make hummus with them, add them to salads, throw them in soups, and of course, make these delicious Roasted Spicy Garbanzo Beans. Here is the recipe so you can try them for yourself. Enjoy!

Roasted Spicy Garbanzo Beans

Roasted Spicy Garbanzo Beans
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder
  • Juice of one lime
  • Dash of salt and pepper {to your taste}
  • Dash of hot sauce of your choice {I use Tapatio}
Instructions
  1. Begin by turning your oven on and setting it do 200 degrees.
  2. Open your can of garbanzo beans and drain and rinse thoroughly. Pour beans into a bowl and mix in all other ingredients. I taste a few of the beans to make sure the spices are to my liking. If you need to add more of one or two feel free to do so.
  3. Spray a baking pan or dish with non-stick spray or grease with oil and pour the contents in the bowl into the dish or pan. Make sure you pour the remaining juice from the bowl to get the beans nice and coated.
  4. Bake for about 60 minutes. Check them often. Let them go a little longer then you think they should to make sure they are nice and dried out.
  5. This can be done at a higher temperature in less time but you run the risk of burning them. I’ve done both ways and cooking them at a lower temp allows for them to dry out inside more evenly.
  6. Enjoy!

Do you have a roasted garbanzo bean recipe you like to share? Leave a comment below with a link to your site so we can all check it out! Or, leave the recipe in the comments!

Happy Friday and have a great weekend :)

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Key Lime Pie Smoothie with Macadamia Nut Cream

Key Lime

If you missed it, last week I complied a list of 20 Incredible Smoothies and at the bottom of the list I shared one that I just recently created, a Key Lime Pie Smoothie.

I love smoothies for all the reasons I listed in the previous post but did you know you could actually mimic the taste of some of your favorite treats but in a super healthy way? Today I’m sharing my recipe for my Key Lime Pie Smoothie with Macadamia Nut Cream. It would be the perfect treat on a warm summer day or if you are looking for a way to have your piece of pie sans all the fat and calories.

There is a secret ingredient in this that makes this smoothie extra creamy and smooth…Cashews! There are so many ways to use cashews it’s amazing how versatile they are (post coming on that soon).

For the Macadamia Nut Cream, use the same recipe as the one I used for the Pumpkin Parfaits back in October.

Key Lime Pie Smoothie with Macadamia Nut Cream
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • ¼ cup cashews soaked for at least two hours
  • 1 heaping handful of spinach
  • The juice from one lime
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Water or coconut milk if you need to think it out.
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients minus the chia seeds in a blender and begin blending on high. I use a Vitamix and this takes only about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chia seeds and continue mixing. I add these last because they have a tenancy to thicken up quite a bit. If it gets too thick then you can always add water or the coconut milk to thin it out a bit.
  3. Make the macadamia nut cream using the recipe in the link above.
  4. Pour the smoothie mixture into a glass leaving a bit of room at the top then top it off with the macadamia nut cream.
  5. Enjoy!

What is your favorite smoothie that mimics a tasty treat you love?

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20 Incredible Smoothies: A Smoothie for Everyone

We have been drinking smoothies in our home for a couple years now and even before then they were a regular in my diet. With the recent green smoothie craze it seems as though more and more people are jumping on the smoothie bandwagon which I think is simply awesome!

Smoothies are a great source of fiber, protein, super-food nutrients and they are easier then solid food for your body break down and  absorb the many nutrients. Depending on what is in your smoothie they can be used as a meal replacement or accompany your meal,  as a mid-day pick me up or a dessert.

As the weather starts to warm up, smoothies are a great way to cool down and hydrate and replenish your body and soul. Whether you love your green monster or something a little more decadent, there really is a smoothie out there for everyone and today I’ve compiled twenty different healthy and tasty smoothies so you can find one that is right for you.

Smoothie Collage

Strawberry Peanut Butter from Green Kitchen Stories

strawberry peanut buter

Cinnamon Bun from Fit Sugar

cin bun smoothie

Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie from Je Suis Alimentageuse

chocolate smoothie

Wild Blueberry from Lunch Box Bunch

blueberry-smoothie-book 7

Peach Passion from Chobani 

passion_fruit_smoothie_website1

Mardi Gras Smoothie from Poca Cosa

marti gras

Hearty Fruit Smoothie from Martha Stewart

hearty-fruit-oat-007-comp-med109451_vert

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie from Delish

banana-peanut-butter-smoothie-xlg

Thin Mint from Girl Makes Food

thin mint smoothie

Chocolate Peanut Butter from Three Many Cooks

chocolate peanut butter

Blackberry, Banana, Mint from Eat Good 4 Life

blackberry mint

 

Mango, Pineapple, Banana, Orange from Life Taste Like Food

orange mango

Blueberry and Orange from Mogwai Soup

blueberry orange

Breakfast Smoothie from The $120 Food Challenge

breakfast smoothie

Kiwi Coconut from Food and Whine

kiwi smoothie

Pina Colada from Cooking Classy 

pina+colada+protein+smoothie1

Green Power Smoothie from Eat Good 4 Life

green smoothie

Rainbow Smoothie from The Lively Kitchen

rainbow smoothie

And last but not least … Key Lime Pie Smoothie by Bullfrogs and Bulldogs. Check back later this week for the recipe on this one!~

Key Lime

 

What is your favorite smoothie? Leave a comment below and tell me all about it!

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‘Magical’ Coldbuster Soup

Some sort of extremely aggressive flu-like illness was spreading like wildfire here in the Willamette Valley. I was sitting on my mat in my Pilates class the other morning and my teacher {and one of the lovely owners of the studio I teach at} was talking with several of the moms in the class about all the kids and parents who have been knocked down by this ‘Norovirus’ that has been going around. Ut oh!  I’ve had one cold in the last year since I stopped working  and now that I’m around people more often again I’m going to get knocked on my bum by a super-bug!

I’ve been loading up on extra goodies such as Probiotics, Vitamin C, Spiralina and Chlorella, all things I take on a daily basis anyway, and I’ve also been trying to wash my hands a lot more then usual. I don’t like using  hand sanitizers because I have this sneaky feeling that they are a contributing factor as to why we have these crazy super bugs. I know, I know.  I’m going to get a little flack for that one but you are also absorbing those toxic chemicals  directly into your body as the skin is the largest organ.

Something huge I’ve noticed since switching to a plant-based diet and taking immune system supporting supplements is, knock on wood, the fact that I rarely, if ever, get sick. True, I don’t work in an office surrounded by people and I’m really not around too many kids, but I do go in public, go to a very busy gym, teach several times a week and have been on a ton of airplanes over the last year and have only gotten one cold that didn’t even last more then a couple of days. Beforehand, I would seriously get a cold after every time I flew and got the flu at least once a year.

I’m going to keep on doing what I do but in the event David or I do fall ill, I have my trusty ‘Magical’ Coldbuster Soup to help us  through it. But just because you aren’t sick doesn’t mean you can’t dine on this delicious, warm bowl of spicy goodness. We have this soup at least a couple times a month and it’s always a go to when we need something warm and comforting.

Cold Buster Soup

‘Magical’ Coldbuster Soup
 
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Author:
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 6 cups vegetable broth (I use low sodium)
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sliced red cabbage
  • 3 baby bok choys
  • 4 tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp red chile sauce
  • 7 oz extra-firm tofu, pressed to remove excess liquid and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Package of rice noodles
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking pan either using a wire wrack or lined with parchment paper, place the 1 inch cubes of tofu and bake for about 10 minutes to firm.
  2. In a separate begin heating water for your rice noodles.
  3. In a wok, melt the coconut oil and add the garlic and ginger and saute for about 1 to 2 minutes then add jalapeno. I usually reduce the heat and let the jalapeno simmer slowly for about 5 minutes. You will need to stir pretty constantly though to make sure the garlic and ginger don’t burn.
  4. Add the carrots and red cabbage and cook for about 3-4 minutes. You may need to add a little vegetable broth at this point. Do so if necessary. Once the carrots and red cabbage have softened, add the baby bok choy and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Add the 6 cups of vegetable brother, the rice vinegar, soy sauce, tofu and chile sauce and allow to cook for about 5-7 minutes. I typically cover with a lid to prevent the liquids from evaporating.
  6. As the soup is cooking, place your rice noodles in your boiling water and cover, turning off the heat. This should only take about a minute or two. Then drain water.
  7. In a soup bowl add the noodles then ladle in your soup. Garnish with chopped cilantro and maybe, if you like it as hot as we do, some extra sriracha. :)
  8. Enjoy!

This soup can and should be enjoyed all year long!

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Dark Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Muesli Bars + A VERY Special Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

Have I mentioned how much I love using Bob’s Red Mill products when I cook and bake? I’ve been using their products for quite some time now and find that they are my go to for all the essentials {and non-essentials}. Not only does Bob’s Red Mill have a plethora of cereals, mixes, flours, meals, grains, beans and seeds, they also have just as many options in gluten-free. And even better, I feel like I really am shopping local when I buy from Bob’s Red Mill because they are located in Milwaukie Oregon, not too far from where I live. It’s high up on my list to go and visit them someday and if possible, give Bob himself a giant hug in appreciation and thanks.

When Bob’s Red Mill asked me to be apart of a fun little recipe contest using their new Gluten-Free Muesli, I jumped at the chance to get to play around with their delicious version of an all time favorite breakfast food. Before I share my recipe, I want to tell you a little more about the contest so that {hopefully} you can help me win the grand prize!

gluten-free-muesli{Source}

A few select bloggers, yours truly included, were selected to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli in any recipe of their choose as long as the Muesli plays a major role.  From April 9th to April 22, voting opens to the public {YOU} and you get to help decide who is picked as the first, second and third prize winners.  As a big huge thank you for coming back April 22nd to vote {hopefully for a certain someone, hint hint, wink wink}, I’m giving one of my amazing readers the opportunity to win something totally awesome from Bob’s Red Mill. But, you’ll have to come back on April 22nd to see just what that is ;)

So here is the recipe for my delicious Dark Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Muesli Bars


Chocolate Dipped Bars

Ingredients

Pan

Muesli bars

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Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Muesli Bars + A VERY Special Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 15
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli
  • 2 cups Hazelnut or Almond Meal
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes)
  • 4 tbsp agave nectar
  • ¼ cup. coconut oil
  • For the Chocolate Dip:
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup coconut milk (full fat)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Cook for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.
  2. Add flax egg, peanut butter, agave nectar and coconut oil and mix well using a mixer of your choice.
  3. Add muesli and hazelnut or almond meal and continue mixing until well blended.
  4. Line a baking dish wish parchment paper and pour mixture in baking dish.
  5. Pat down until evenly spread through baking dish.
  6. Place in oven and set timer. Check after about 15 minutes and continue baking from there up to 25 minutes. I say this because honestly, everyone’s ovens are completely different.
  7. Once baked to your liking {they should be soft and chewy but not super moist}, take out of oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, remove by simply lifting up the parchment paper and placing on a cutting board. Cut into 2 inch bars.
  9. Melt the chocolate chips and coconut milk together until completely melted.
  10. Dip half of the muesli bar in the chocolate and place on a piece of parchment paper to cool. You can dust the side with chocolate with coconut if you’d like or leave plain.
  11. Enjoy!

But that isn’t it! Is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Muesli already a part of your daily or weekly routine? If so, you have the chance to participate in your own little contest. Details are below.

Click it to win it! Do you love the new gluten free muesli from Bob’s Red Mill? They want you to prove it with a fun Instagram/Pinterest contest! Grab your cameras and snap a picture showing them how much you love their new Gluten Free Muesli and share it with them on Pinterest and/or Instagram for a chance to win a fabulous prize pack including Gluten Free Muesli, a beautiful cereal bowl and a $50 Bob’s Red Mill gift card. For more information, descriptions of prizes and rules for entry, visit: http://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/ gluten-free-muesli-photo-contest.

Photo contest is open now until April 30th so you have plenty of time to grab a bag of their muesli and try it for yourself!

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Meat Free Week + A Quick and Easy {and healthy} Chop Salad

In Australia, March 18th to March 24th is Meat Free Week, a campaign encouraging people to give up meat for one week to bring awareness to the devastating truths of factory farming. People give up eating all meat and animal products for one week and raise money to support the foundation, Voiceless: the Animal Protection Institute, whose goal is to take a measured and factual approach to educating people on the mistreatment of animals in various settings.

Farming has changed dramatically over the years mainly because people eat way more meat then they use to. We eat up to ten times more chicken then in 1960 with the introduction of more and more fast food restaurants and high protein diets. But at what cost? Well, let me tell you. Factory farming has become so big all over the world because of the greater consumption of these animals. With that comes the inability to care for these animals the way they deserve to be treated. Not just that, there has been startling videos showing factory farm workers blatantly abusing animals by kicking, dragging them by their feet and putting cigarettes out on them. And those aren’t even the most horrifying truths behind factory farming.  I know this is hard to hear but to be honest, many people claim to be ‘animal people’ but choose to turn a blind eye as well. Change is only going to come when we stand up and do something.

According to the Voiceless,

“Factory farming corporations engage in legalized cruelty in the name of higher profit and cheaper meat and eggs. Their activities are legitimized by State and Federal Departments of Primary Industry, which operate with a stark conflict of interest; they are responsible for promoting the interests of animals but also the interests of very vocal and powerful agribusiness. As long as these government bodies oversee both animal protection and industry, meaningful reform will be very difficult to achieve.”

 I know that many of you don’t want to give up meat and as much as I personally believe the amount of meat we consume is unhealthy, I understand that people are still going to eat it. But, knowledge is power and knowing where your meat comes from and how it was treated is so so so important. I can’t emphasize the so enough. True, humanly treated, organic, free-range animal products are more expensive {which is a whole other topic} but wouldn’t it be amazing if factory farming wasn’t needed because people were choosing kindness and health over inexpensive, fast and convenient?

There is a video from the show Portlandia that makes me laugh, but has a lot of truth to it.  We need to start shopping local and know where our food comes from. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

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So I encourage you to try going meat-free for just one day. To help you, I’m sharing a recipe that you can whip up for lunch or dinner, and it has many variations, is super healthy, and best of all, no animal was harmed it making it. Double bonus if you ask me!

Meat Free Meal

I have a love/dislike relationship with salads for one good reason. That is, it kind of drives me bonkers when the lettuce is too big to fit into your mouth without it hitting the sides of it or even worse,  somewhere on your face. You know what I’m talking about. When you have to open your mouth as wide as possible {always attractive}, eyes bulging out of your head and your tonsils dangling for everyone to see, all to have dressing smeared on the side of your jaw. It’s the same reason I don’t really love eating sandwiches. I don’t like biting into them for the fear of traces of mustard being left in the corners of my mouth.

In walks the super chopped salad. I worked at a restaurant for about six years in Seattle {also the place I met my husband :) , sorry side note} and on the menu was the Purple Chop Salad. The restaurant was called Purple Cafe and Wine Bar if your wonder why their was a Purple in the name of the salad. Anyway, the Purple Chop Salad was great because everything in the salad was chopped super small, so small in fact that many of us who worked there actually found it easier to eat it with a spoon.

Well, since being exposed to the super chopped salad, I have a hard time eating a salad any other way. Plus, when things are chopped super small it is easier to chew more and therefore, easier to digest, leaving you absorbing so many more of the wonderful nutrient from the veggies.

chop salad

I am constantly changing my chop salad up but I wanted to share this version I had the other day. It was lite, crunchy, and super easy and healthy. With a creamy Avocado, Lime, and Jalapeno dressing, it was the perfect midday meal that left me feeling lite and energized until dinner. {Okay, I had a mid-afternoon snack of hummus too but I just had made homemade crackers (recipe coming soon) and wanted to try it out!}

Chop Salad Ingredients

Quick and Easy {and healthy} Chop Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Cuisine: Salad
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1½ cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
  • ½ cup garbanzo beans or another type of bean of your choice
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow, red or green peppers
  • ½ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ cup finely chopped cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped black or green olives
  • Garnish with freshly chopped basil
  • For dressing:
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp vegan sour cream like tofutti if you have it around. We usually don’t but did this time.
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • Juice of ½ to 1 lime
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Finely chop up all the ingredients for the salad and place in a bowl, set aside.
  2. For the dressing, cut the avocado and remove the skin and the seed. Place the avocado in a blender along with the jalapeno, cumin, vegan sour cream and lime juice and blend until smooth and cream. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Combine the dressing with the salad mix, starting with 1 tbsp at a time and adding more as needed. Stir all together, pour in serving bowl and eat.
  4. Enjoy!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if one day, their was no more factory farming? I can see it, but it’s up to us to make it happen. Have an incredible day and a wonderful week!

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