Tagged food

RECIPE: Homemade Coconut Milk (or Coconut Creamer) – Easy, Fast, GREAT for Dairy-Free Travelers!

This summer, I have been doing quite a bit of traveling. Starting off in beautiful Italy and then making my way to Latin America, I currently find myself in the middle of a legit jungle – monkeys howling and all – in the Southern Zone of Costa Rica.

Just hanging out off my balcony in Positano, Italy. Totally casual.

This tropical rainforest is amazing and refreshing, but also makes me miss a few small foodie preferences that have been a part of my daily routine for years.

Especially through the most recent experience living off-grid in an isolated, glorified tree house (thankfully with pretty impressive internet to benefit my online clients and me), I learned how to do without a number of American luxuries. These include everything from transportation (no car), no paved roads, no 24-hour convenience stores (or any stores within two miles), and no access to anything from supplements to electronics to mail being reliably being delivered…

Cuddly kittens and warm weather make everything better.

It also includes not being able to find carton-style coconut milk – never mind coconut creamer for coffee. And if you didn’t know, Costa Rica is known for its amazing coffee.

Needless to say, I’m not a milk drinker and never really have been. Anytime I’ve needed a “milk” for something, I’ve opted for the almond or coconut substitution. (If you have my book The Grocery Store Tour Guide, you’re probably familiar with this suggestion.)

Considering the fact that mango, banana, papaya, AND coconut trees are everywhere in this tropical part of the world, I was somewhat surprised that I couldn’t find any carton coconut (or almond) milk near the home I am currently living in. There is one market down the mountain (over 2 miles away and a 90-minute steady walk thanks to the incline) that has one small almond milk carton option, which was unsurprisingly overpriced… and expired by six months.

Luckily, there is also a decently stocked chain supermercado in the nearest town that is accessible by a 20-minute bus ride (in addition to the nearly three mile walk to the bus stop) where I did find a higher quality carton of pure organic coconut cream… but still no sign of a reasonably priced carton coconut OR almond milk.

Did I mention I’m in the [captivating, relaxing, sometimes boring, always magical, yet very remote] jungle?

Here is what I did manage to find in the local market: canned coconut cream (and canned coconut milk).

And the good news for my fellow dairy-free, non-leche drinking people out there? To make homemade Coconut Milk (a comparable version to Silk or Almond Breeze brands that you can use for shakes, cereal, or to simply drink as is) AND/OR Coconut Creamer for coffee or tea, all you need is a can or carton of coconut cream (a second option could be canned coconut milk), water, and a pour-able container to keep it in.

That’s it.

Fun fact: if you read the ingredients on a carton of the aforementioned popular American brands of coconut milk, you will see that they are mainly filtered water and coconut cream (with some added preservatives and vitamins)… which is exactly what’s happening here!

Of course I tend to get a little fancy and doctor things up, so I added a little bit of vanilla extract and a few stevia drops (which I obviously brought with me from the States) to make it taste just like slightly sweetened, cartoned vanilla coconut milk.

Whisking in a small amount of natural thickener such as xantham gum, guar gum, or gellan gum (if you can access it where you are) will lend a slightly thicker consistency that mimics store-bought Coconut Creamer even more – but the thinner, milkier version that results from this recipe suits my needs just fine. :)

And cost wise? One can of coconut cream cost me about 1500 colones (around $3 USD) and is enough for TWO to THREE GALLONS of drinkable coconut milk or creamer. One HALF gallon of Silk brand coconut milk typically costs $3-5 USD anywhere in the world that I’ve been, so this recipe is a very budget-friendly one that is well worth trying no matter where you are!

To prepare, you can whisk everything together or blend it in a blender. Then just pour into your chosen container like this perfect one I found on Amazon. It’s important to remember to keep it refrigerated and shake it up well before using each time since it does slightly separate (adding the thickening gum does help keep it more consistently smooth).

I mainly use this as a “creamer” for my coffee, but it would also make a great milk replacement for any of your milky needs.

Here’s the crazy simple recipe :) Enjoy!

Homemade Coconut Milk or Coffee Creamer

  • 14 C. coconut cream (ingredients should be only 100% coconut cream, if possible) OR 12 C. canned coconut milk (full fat, not “light”)  – shake cans well before opening
  • Slightly less than a 12 gallon of chilled, filtered water
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  • Optional (for vanilla flavor): 12 to 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional (for sweetness): Stevia drops to taste OR 1 Tbsp. cane sugar liquified in a small amount of warm water OR 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • Optional (for chocolate flavored): 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Optional (for coffee flavored): 2 Tbsp. instant coffee granules liquified in a small amount of hot water
  • Optional (for thickness): 12 tsp. guar gum, xanthan gum, or gellan gum

Directions

  1. Put coconut cream or milk, chilled water, sea salt, and your optional ingredients of choice in a blender and blend on low until all incorporated, about 1-2 minutes (you can also whisk very well in a large bowl).
  2. Carefully pour into your milk jug or container.
  3. Refrigerate (shaking well before each use) and enjoy as a milk or creamer! It should be good for about two weeks, though mine never lasts that long. Yum!

*If it doesn’t turn out “milky” enough for you, simply add more coconut cream by the teaspoon (or coconut milk by the tablespoon) until your desired flavor and consistency is reached. To make it thicker and creamier, add in more thickening gum by the one-eighth of a teaspoon and blend well after each addition.

*You can freeze your remaining coconut cream/milk in a separate container for future use.

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RECIPE: The BEST Cranberry Sauce (with a twist!) – Healthy, Vegan, Gluten Free

The holidays are upon us! A time for festive decoration, plenty of social events with coworkers, friends, and family, and a plethora of seasonal food favorites to enjoy.

If you’ve visited this blog before (or are subscribed to my YouTube channel), you have already gotten a taste for some of my go-to recipes for this time of year like:

I recently realized that the popular side dish and condiment, Cranberry Sauce, was missing from my growing arsenal of holiday recipes! So, now is the time to fix that.

Not only is the following recipe incredibly easy and with minimal ingredients, but it has an extra twist of flavor thanks to the mango juice, spices, and alternate sugar (like coconut). Plus, including apples and pears bumps up the nutritional value by increasing the vitamins, fiber, and flavonols to make your body one happy machine.

 

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Whatever you do – I beg you – never, ever choose those processed tin jars filled with a solid cylinder of cranberry jam. Then again, I can assure you that once you make this recipe you will never want to go back.

Without further ado, here’s this simple and amazing recipe! Try it out and let me know what you think… and feel free to share the link with others, too :)

 


The BEST Cranberry Sauce… with a twist!

Ingredients

  • 1¼ cups coconut sugar, light brown sugar, and/or cane sugar (I will usually use a third of each or whatever I have on hand)
  • 16 oz fresh cranberries (two 8-oz bags)
  • One Fuji apple, peeled and chopped
  • One Bartlett pear (slightly ripe), peeled and chopped
  • One cup mango nectar or juice
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg or allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain cranberries. Measure out the mango juice.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and mango nectar to a boil on high heat. Cranberries should begin to pop and coagulate with the liquid.
  3. Lower heat and let simmer for 10 minutes before adding chopped apple and pear. Also add spices.
  4. Let simmer together another 5 minutes or so, until all incorporated (but apple and pear should maintain their form and not mush up).
  5. Serve warm or let cool and refrigerate overnight if you prefer serving cold cranberry jam… It’s delicious both ways! This will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for a week, though I’ve never had it last longer than a few days :)

Steps in Photos

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ENJOY!

 

RECIPE: How to Make HIGH PROTEIN PLANT BASED ICE CREAM – Vegan / Gluten Free / Nice Cream / Chocolate Lovers

I absolutely love this rich, chocolate “nice” cream and make it on the regular. It is not only easy and delicious, but the extra love from the legit hard chocolate shell topping really make it over the top.

ICE CREAM

This filling and flavorful dessert also happens to be a completely plant-based source of HIGH protein with over 30 grams in this recipe!  Plus, it’s great for any time of day: pre-workout, post-workout, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Shoot, even dessert after a big ol’ salad.

Watch the video here, recipe is below:

EASY, RICH, CHOCOLATE “NICE” CREAM

Ingredients:

1 cup Frozen Blueberries

2 Ripe Bananas, sliced and frozen solid

1-2 Tbsp High-Quality Cocoa Powder (like my favorite: Pernigotti Cocoa)

1 Scoop Plant Based Protein Powder (recommend: RawFusion Plant-Based Protein)

Generous Sprinkle of Ground Cinnamon

Small splash of Balsamic Vinegar

About a quarter to a third cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk (for desired consistency)

Directions:

  • Put the ingredients, in the order shown, into a high powder blender or food processor. Blend until all incorporated. Add more almond milk for desired consistency. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl and set in freezer for 15-20 minutes.

To make the HARD CHOCOLATE SHELL COATING:

In a small bowl, mix: ½ Tbsp. melted coconut oil, 4-5 drops Liquid Stevia, a scant teaspoon high-quality cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix until smooth.

  • Take the bowl of ice cream out of the freezer and pour the chocolate shell coating mixture all over the top, using a spatula to get every last bit. It will harden in seconds.
  • Top your “nice” cream with something crunchy, like hemp hearts, chopped nuts, or sesame seeds.
  • Enjoy! :)

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Find more recipes and smart food-shopping tips in my Grocery Store Tour Guide!

RECIPE: How to Make the BEST Banana Pancakes – Vegan / Easy / Single-Serving / Gluten Free

This is one of my GO-TO recipes for the easiest, most delicious, minimal-ingredient Banana Pancakes ever…

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I have this almost every morning with my “moon egg” (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this video: https://youtu.be/pNkGUw9HPNE).

These Banana Pancakes are not only moist and delicious, but also happen to be vegan, gluten free, and sugar free (for you fans of the “free’s” out there) while being very fiber- and nutrient-rich. Not to mention, crazy flavorful!

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE, FULL RECIPE IS BELOW:

 
SINGLE-SERVING BANANA PANCAKES

Ingredients:

A Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (about 2 tsp.)

½ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk to start (have more on hand to get batter consistency)

A small splash of Pure Vanilla Extract (about ½ tsp.)

4-5 drops of Liquid Stevia (to taste)

½ of One Large, Ripe Banana (make sure it is spotty with brown and NOT green or all yellow)

1 Tbsp. Chia or Flaxseeds (or one packet of this Flax Chia Blend by Carrington Farms)

½ cup Quick Cooking Oats, pulsed in a blender or food processor to be semi-ground

½ tsp. Baking Powder

Generous sprinkle of Ground Cinnamon

A pinch of salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Get out a 2-cup Liquid measuring cup, like this one I use in the video and a mini-spatula or fork. Put all of the liquid ingredients in the measuring cup (measuring as you go), stir, and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Take half of the banana and break it apart with your fingers as you add to the liquid ingredients. Then take a fork and mash/mix it in until larger chunks are gone.
  • Add in all dry ingredients, mixing well. Add more almond milk (typically ¼ to of a cup) until it is more of a moderate batter consistency – not too thin, but not thick. Allow the batter to thicken by letting it sit ~5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat stove top to medium heat (I typically go to level 4). Once pan is heated, spray pan with coconut oil spray. Give batter a quick stir and pour in about ¼ cup per pancake.
  • Set a timer for 3 minutes, then flip. Pancakes should be a light golden brown. Let other side cook another 3 minutes.
  • This makes 4-6 pancakes depending on your size. I like to pour a little maple syrup on the side and dip them, but you can also stack ’em up pretty and pour maple syrup on top! Feel free to slice up the other half of your banana to top them off, too!
  • ENJOY (I know you will… they’re amazing) :)

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Find more recipes and smart food-shopping tips in my Grocery Store Tour Guide!

 

Easy, Homemade Oat Waffles (or pancakes) – gluten-free, vegan, low-fat, delicious! (RECIPE)

If you’re looking for a twist on getting healthy oats in for breakfast, but want to venture from the typical (delicious) bowl of warm oatmeal as your only vehicle – this recipe is exactly what you need.

EASY, Homemade Oat Waffles (or pancakes, if you don’t have a waffle maker).

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This recipe takes less than ten minutes to put together, twelve total minutes to cook, and the result is two giant waffles (which can yield 2-4 servings depending on your size and satiation) or 6-8 medium pancakes. It also utilizes ingredients that can all be found on the grocery list within The Grocery Store Tour Guide & Nutritional Workbook.

And if you’re worried about the overt denseness that a lot of oat-based recipes are guilty of producing? You’ll see that these waffles – though seemingly more dense than those made with a typical store-bought batter at first – turn out perfectly crispy on the outside while staying soft and fluffy on the inside.

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Plus, these high-fiber waffles will help satiate you and keep you full much longer than processed or store-bought mix versions. You can enjoy them with a touch of maple syrup or honey, eat them aside a scramble, or even use two pieces as your bread for an almond butter and banana sandwich.

You can even make these in bulk and freeze them. Just pull your serving out of the freezer and heat up in the toaster oven whenever a waffle-urge hits!

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As for the waffle maker I use, it is the Presto FlipSide Waffle Maker and it is amazing. I got it off of Amazon over two years ago and use it once a week on average, if not more. It not only makes the perfect waffles every time, but can be used as a sandwich press, scramble cooker, hash browns, and for tons of other sweet or savory concoctions. It’s easy to clean, takes up no kitchen space to store, and is virtually fail-proof.

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Basically, don’t be surprised if I organize a compilation of recipes utilizing this thing for a special eBook in the future… because it’s that awesome.

Once you bite into one of these crisp and fluffy waffles, you will taste their mild sweetness and hint of vanilla with cinnamon. They have just the right amount of whole-grain flavor while keeping the traditional feel of a classic Belgian waffle.

Now, enough talk. Onto this delicious recipe!


HOMEMADE OAT WAFFLES (or pancakes) *photos below

  • 1 cup of quick-minute or old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup flour (I use a gluten-free flour blend, like Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 1 Tbsp. xylitol (or sweetener of choice, like stevia for baking, turbinado, regular sugar, or coconut sugar)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • tsp salt
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla flavored)
  • 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ~8 drops liquid stevia (if you do not have this, use 2 Tbsp of your above sugar/sweetener instead of one)
  • 1 whole egg or a flax substitute (using a 1:3 ratio of ground flaxseed to water)
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • Non-stick cooking spray (like Trader Joe’s Coconut Oil Spray) for the waffle maker or pan
  1. Get out a large bowl, a liquid measuring cup (at least 16 oz large), your blender/food processor, and your waffle maker.
  2. Pour almond milk and apple cider vinegar into the measuring cup. Whisk and let sit as you do the following steps.
  3. Put oats into your blender or food processor and blend for about ten seconds, or until they are ground to about half the consistency that they were beforehand (see photos below).
  4. Into your large bowl, put oats, flour, baking powder, xylitol/sweetener, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk altogether to incorporate.
  5. Into the measuring cup with liquids, add vanilla extract, liquid stevia, and egg (if using). Whisk to blend well and make sure egg is mixed, then add liquids to dry ingredients in bowl. Whisk well.
  6. Add flax-egg substitute, if using, and coconut oil into bowl. Whisk well (making sure coconut oil blends since it may be more solid due to the cold batter). Let batter sit for at least ten minutes to thicken.
  7. Plug in waffle maker to let it preheat (or begin heating pan, if making pancakes, on medium-high heat).
  8. After batter has rested for at least ten minutes, give a quick stir and pour it all into the liquid measuring cup. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to ensure you get all of the waffly-pancaky batter goodness into the cup (photo below).
  9. Once waffle maker is heated, open and spray lightly with non-stick spray on both sides. Give batter a quick stir and pour exactly half (or 1 cup) of your batter into the center of the waffle maker. Close, set timer for 6 minutes, and flip to other side (if you are using the same Presto FlipSide waffle maker I own).
  10. Once the timer goes off, check your waffles. They should be light and slightly golden in color (see photos). Feel free to let them cook an additional 1-2 minutes if you like a really well-done and crispy waffle.
  11. Enjoy however you like! *To maintain crispness if you do not plan on eating immediately, set your oven to about 200 degrees F and place cooked waffles directly on the racks. This will keep them from getting soft as it keeps them warm. If you plan on freezing them, make sure they are cooled completely on a rack before freezing.

Remember to tag #truehealthtrifecta and share how you like this recipe on the True Health Trifecta Facebook page!

Step-by-step photos:

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Sautéed Cabbage & Carrots: my UNIVERSAL side dish! (RECIPE)

This dish has been a legit staple in my household for a long time now and, even still, I find myself craving it almost daily.

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I even included this as a bonus recipe in my latest book, The Grocery Store Tour Guide & Nutritional Workbook (which will be available in just one week… and I am super excited about sharing with you all)!

Before I get into this insanely easy and flavorful recipe, here’s a little bit more about the 70-page Grocery Store Tour Guide & Nutritional Workbook. This beautifully designed, visual book contains a plethora of useful information, including:

  • Shopping preparation tips
  • Explanations about supermarket psychology
  • How to identify and define misleading label claims
  • Tidbits about nutritional lingo and regulated terms, such as GMO, Certified Organic, Gluten Free, etc.
  • Food storage and safety tips
  • A thorough seasonal produce chart
  • Aisle-by-aisle tips to navigate the supermarket like a health-conscious pro
  • A list of ingredients to avoid
  • My personal kitchen essentials
  • Easy Meal and snack recipes
  • A post-tour quiz (if you are a trainer or nutrition coach, this e-book is great to use with clients!)
  • Much, much more…

Plus, unlike my print-only book – The Holistic Fitness Starter Guide – which will be available at the end of the month, I decided to publish The Grocery Store Tour Guide in print and as a quickly accessible e-book. This means that as soon as you buy it here, you will be able to download it to your PC, laptop, or tablet immediately and begin reading while you wait for the printed copy to arrive!

How cool is that?!

Now, as exciting as this new book is, back to the deliciousness that is My Universal Side Dish. First of all, it’s crazy simple to make since we are using pre-shredded cabbage and carrots. The only chopping involves the fresh herbs, ginger, and garlic (unless you have minced ginger and garlic in jars, in which case, this may be the easiest recipe ever).

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This is also so incredibly flavorful thanks to the fresh Rosemary and Thyme. Sometimes, I’ll add in fresh basil or sage and it becomes a bigger explosion of flavor in your mouth.

As I mention in The Grocery Store Tour Guide & Nutritional Workbook, this side dish goes well with nearly everything. On salads, sandwiches, in wraps, or by itself. It’s fast to whip up and perfect to keep ready-handed in the fridge. One of my favorite ways is wrapped up in rice paper wraps with some thin rice noodles.

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Give this recipe a try. I promise you will be happy you did!


 

MY UNIVERSAL SIDE DISH: SAUTéED CABBAGE AND CARROTS

Ingredients:

2 (10-16 oz.) bags of Shredded Cabbage

½ of one (10-12 oz.) bag of Shredded Carrots

1 Tbsp. fresh Rosemary (leaves from about three 4” sprigs), chopped

1 Tbsp. fresh Thyme (leaves from about 5 4” sprigs), chopped

1-2 inches of fresh ginger root, peeled and minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

Salt & Pepper to taste

 

Directions (photos below):

  • Heat a large sauté pan or wok on the stove at medium to medium-high heat and place coconut oil in the pan.
  • Once the coconut oil is melted, add ½ bag of carrots and two bags of cabbage. Sprinkle minced ginger on top and season the surface with salt and pepper. Cover to let cook down about 5-7 minutes. (The pan may seem really full, but the veggies cook down quite a bit.)
  • Remove lid and toss the cabbage and carrots to encourage even wilting/cooking. Cover and let continue softening for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and add rosemary, thyme, and minced garlic. Toss well until all the herbs are well incorporated into the mix. (If the veggies seem to be browning from the bottom of the pan, lower the heat a little bit.)
  • Continue cooking, tossing occasionally, until veggies are softened and cooked down to a little less than half of the original volume. Add more salt to taste, if needed.

Enjoy in any which way!

 

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Classic Sweet Potato Casserole with a twist (RECIPE) – Dairy free, Vegan, Delicious!

Did you know that the delicious and sugary Thanksgiving dish we know and love – the sweet potato casserole with browned marshmallows on top – was created by the marshmallow lobby in the early 1900’s? (You can learn a little more here.)

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I know, that may slightly tear away some magic from this classic dish. But the fact is, so many popularized, American foods that aren’t actually nutritious or beneficial – such as marshmallows – have simply become what they are due to smart advertising. Instead of getting too into the psychology and economics involved in the food industry (and further crapping on anyone’s marshmallow-loving parade), let’s just learn a little bit about marshmallows and where they came from.

Originating in ancient Egypt, marshmallows were a honey-sweetened candy made using the sap from the marshmallow root plant. It was soft and chewy, and used medicinally for ailments like sore throats.

Fast forward a few hundred years to the 19th century, and the labor-intensive methods of extracting marshmallow root sap made manufacturers come up with new processes (and involve new ingredients) which brought us to how we know the marshmallow today – as a light, fluffy, campfire treat which also tops the holiday sweet potato casserole.

Today’s version of the confection no longer contains the source ingredient of it’s name – marshmallow root – but instead, it is made up of a stabilizing protein such as gelatin (or agar, in Vegan versions) and sucrose (often with high fructose corn syrup).

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That said, there is nothing wrong with incorporating the better quality versions of marshmallows when making this crowd-pleasing dish once or twice a year. I use Dandies mini marshmallows, which contain no corn syrup, no gelatin, and no genetically modified ingredients. And, yes, they taste EXACTLY like your classic, name brand marshmallows – if not better.

As for the secret ingredient that gives this casserole a twist? Well, that would be mango juice of course.

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Most “classic” recipes call for heavy cream, which is meant to contribute creamy richness. It doesn’t really alter the flavor, but it does bring in a LOT of unnecessary fat and calories. You won’t find heavy cream or ANY dairy within this recipe, which has been a hit at many-a-holiday-dinner time and time again.

A Helpful Hint: If you choose go to back to your traditional sweet potato casserole recipe after trying this one (dare I say, doubtful?) try substituting canned coconut milk for your heavy cream. Though it will not lessen the overall calories or fat content, it will maintain the same creamy consistency and add a complimentary touch of flavor. All while being more plant-based friendly and allergen free.

If you just want to make a great sweet potato mash, you can stop before step 4 below and enjoy as is. It is just as delicious (and plenty sweet) without the marshmallow topping!

Sometimes the deliciousness can't wait for a photo opp, as shown here.
Sometimes the deliciousness can’t wait for a photo opp, as proven by the devoured portion above.

CLASSIC SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE RECIPE (with a twist)

  • 3 lbs Sweet Potatoes (about 4 large or 5 medium spuds)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mango juice/nectar *I’m sure pineapple or orange juice would work, too… but try to find mango!
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut sugar or light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, chopped
  • Half a bag (5 oz.) of quality marshmallows *I use homemade, locally made, or Dandies mini-marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes in the sink and pat dry. Pierce the tops of the potatoes with a fork, 2-3 times, before placing (holes up) on the baking sheet. Put in the oven for about 45-55 minutes, until sweet potatoes are fork tender and syrup begins to ooze out from the holes. Remove from oven and let cool until they aren’t too hot to be handled (usually 15-20 minutes).
  3. Lower the oven to 375 degrees F. Grab your 8×8 glass baking dish (metal is fine too, I’m sure – and 9×9 would also work). Peel the potatoes, putting the yummy orange flesh straight into the baking dish. Mash well with a potato masher or large fork. Add the vanilla extract, mango juice, sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Mash and mix together until all incorporated.
  4. Use a spatula or the back of a spoon to even out top of the mash. Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly all over the surface. Then do the same with the marshmallows.
  5. Place on center rack in oven and bake at 375 degrees F for about 25 minutes, or until marshmallows begin to turn golden brown. Remove, let cool slightly, and enjoy!

*You can also make the dish ahead of time. Simply cover the mash in the baking dish after step 3 and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When ready to bake, remove from fridge for about 20 minutes to take the chill off and preheat the oven. Then add pecans and marshmallows, and bake as instructed above!

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Impromptu dinner paparazzi – starring the BEST sweet potato casserole!

Sweet Potato Soup: Easy, satiating, and delicious! (RECIPE)

‘Tis the season for warm and inviting soups.

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If you’re looking for a flavorful and easy meal – or a nutrient-rich accompaniment to any meal – this rich and creamy sweet potato soup is sure to do the trick. With the sweetness from roasted sweet potatoes and a surprising little kick thanks to fresh ginger root, this takes very minimal prep time and will make you a batch big enough to last a week.

Okay, in my house it’s more like a few days, but you get the idea.

It’s also whole food and plant-based (vegan), Paleo (if you indulge in the tubers), and gluten-free for those with sensitivities. Sugar-free, Low-sodium, blah blah benefits, benefits, benefits, free this, free that… Basically, unless you’re not into nightshades or onions or garlic, this recipe is perfect parts of magic for everyone.

Soups are so satisfying. It is the perfect meal if you’re craving something savory and filling, but aren’t a fan of feeling weighed down after eating. Plus, soups like this are incredibly inexpensive to put together. If you’re a single college student or a part of a monster household, it’s a lot of bang for your buck – financially and nutritionally.

There is virtually no fat in this recipe, it’s high fiber, and drowning in beneficial nutrients to make your mind and body all kinds of happy. You can eat it alone, aside a sandwich, aside a salad, with sprouts on top, as a different kind of salad dressing, tossed with other veggies or pasta, or drink it warm out of a mug. Ver-soup-tility, for the win!

Enough talk. Recipe time!

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SUPER SWEET POTATO SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Half a large sweet (yellow) onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half (optional, but recommended! Use 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon otherwise)
  • 1 carton (4 cups) low-sodium, organic vegetable or chicken stock
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Additional water, if needed

Preheat oven to 425 F. Scrub potatoes and poke holes on top of each with a fork. Place on a tin-foiled cookie sheet or baking dish and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until knife tender and syrup begins bubbling through fork holes.

While the potatoes are in the oven, heat a large saute pan on the stove at about medium to medium-high heat.  Warm & melt coconut oil. Add in onion, celery, carrots, and ginger, and stir to mix and coat in oil. Add some salt & pepper.

Once onions are translucent and carrots and celery soften, add in garlic and saute a couple of more minutes (don’t let garlic get burned or too dark, it will result in a bitter taste). Add in about one cup of the vegetable or chicken stock and the cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer. Add a little bit more salt & pepper.

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By this time, the ‘taters should be done in the oven. Take them out and let them cool a bit. Carefully cut a slit through the skin to help them cool down faster. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin and chop roughly.

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Add the potatoes to the saute pan and pour in the rest of the vegetable or chicken stock. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for about 5-6 minutes. If you have a potato masher, you can also gently mash them up in the saute pan. Add a little bit of salt & pepper.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and transfer the almost-soup from the saute pan into a high speed blender or food processor, and blend until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add water until consistency you like is reached.

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If you’re not eating it right away, pour the soup into containers and let cool before refrigerating. Otherwise, pour the now smooth-n-creamy soup back into the sauce pan and let simmer a couple of minutes before serving. Hint: It’s great with broccoli sprouts and/or sliced almonds on top.

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ENJOY!

The BEST and Easiest Banana Pancake Recipe (using Manzano or “Apple” Bananas)

These amazing, healthy, easy-to-make pancakes were tweaked to perfection after about a week of making them daily… for dinner… because sometimes, week long pancakes-for-dinner-kicks just happen. And when they do, you just have to go with it.

Thank goodness I hopped on this nightly breakfast train, because by the end of the week I can hands-down say that I perfected this simple little recipe that I am now super excited to share!

It all started off with a little trip to one of the local Asian markets, where I always make sure to pick up at least one random fruit or veggie that I wouldn’t necessarily find in a typical grocery store.

Enter: These little guys…

Not my photo, but totally my little Asian banana find.
Not my photo, but totally my little Asian banana find.

When I got them from the store, they weren’t as yellow as the photo above (with some black spots and edges). As one who is well versed on the ideal ripeness of regular bananas, they seemed ready to enjoy! But, as I soon found out, these bananas were nothing like regular bananas (except appearing like a mini-version). They were not even close to ripe and actually closer to tasting like a starchy, rough, unpalatable banana fraud.

I then did some research and realized that these particular bananas are ripe when the peel is about black – similar to plantains. So, a week or so later, I tried another one. And I finally understood what others had said about these lil’ nanaz tasting like an apple and banana had a baby with a hint of strawberry. That is pretty much exactly what they taste like – and it’s amazing.

So, lessons to learn here:

  • Baby-looking bananas need to be black (or nearly black) to be the most palatable.
  • They are also “starchier” with more bite than regular bananas, even at their ripest.
  • They taste like an apple and banana had a baby, and that baby only eats strawberries.
  • Most importantly, they’re dang tasty and add the perfect non-mushy-yet-banana-licious texture and flavor to the world of banana pancakes.

Back story over, onto what matters: the recipe!

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The BEST and Easiest Banana Pancake Recipe

(using Manzano or “Apple” Bananas)

Ingredients:

4 manzano bananas (ripe and black), mashed – about 150g *You can use 2 regular bananas equaling the same amount, but this may result in less dense/mushier pancakes
1 egg (or flax substitute using a 1:3 Tbsp. ratio of ground flaxseeds to water) *if using regular bananas and flax substitute, do not add water and use 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds only
1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
Scant 1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. quinoa flour
1/2 scoop Rawfusion Protein Powder in Vanilla (or your favorite plant-based protein powder; using whey will change pancake consistency)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp (small splash) apple cider vinegar
Good pinch of salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Mix mashed bananas, egg/flax egg, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and cinnamon together.
  2. Add dry ingredients and apple cider vinegar, and whisk or mix until all incorporated.
  3. Grease skillet lightly at medium/slightly before medium heat (level 5 or 250 degrees).
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup or so of batter into pan and spread out eventually.
  5. Let cook 2-3 minutes until edges look dry and top just begins bubbling, flip and cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Stack up and enjoy! (Makes four 5-inch pancakes, or one serving)

These can also be frozen after cooled, and reheated in a toaster oven! Practical AND tasty!

Homemade, Healthy, EASY Doggy Treats! (RECIPE)

Meet Athena…

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She was less than 3 months old in the photos above, but recently came upon her **drum roll**  1st birthday! As much as I’d love to say this adorable furry creature is mine, she is the four-legged baby of one of my awesome local clients… but that doesn’t mean her birthday goes without a celebratory gift.

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Being the impulsive baker that I am, I took this opportunity to whip up some birthday treats (my first attempt at baking for the canine kind) that ended up turning out pretty amazing according to Athena’s reaction, shared here via her Mommy’s review:

Email Subject: Four out of four paws rating

“I put the A and W on a plate for her and she snatched up the A before I could get a pic! She took it in to the dining room, ate it in a flash, then went back for the W. After it was gone, she went back looking for more. But she’ll have to wait!

Thank you so much. That was extremely thoughtful of you. She LOVED them. Usually she sniffs a new treat a few times and mouths it a bit before eating it. Not yours. She ate them right up. She could tell right away they were awesome.”

 

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Nothing like having your culinary prowess validated by multiple species! WIN.

With a review like that and actually remembering the recipe due to it being so crazy simple, I definitely thought it was worth sharing with the vast population of doggy lovers out there. So, here you go!

Healthy, EASY PB-Sweet Potato Doggy Treats!

  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat or all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 jar of Sweet Potato baby food (ingredients should only be sweet potato + water)
  • 1 Tbsp Black Strap Molasses (or honey)
  • ¼ tsp salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 heaping Tbsp smooth Peanut Butter
  • Chicken Stock or Broth (or just water works!)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the above ingredients (except for the chicken stock/water) in a bowl until it’s all incorporated well.
  3. Add in chicken stock/water to get the desired consistency (it should be a somewhat “dry” dough that you can roll out… you honestly may not even need any extra liquid).
  4. Sprinkle a bit of flour on a flat surface and flop the dough over from the bowl.
  5. Roll it out to be about 1/2 inch thick, and use cool cookie cutters like these (or your free-hand shaping skills like I did!) to form the cookie shapes.
  6. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned on edges and a bit stiff.
  7. Take out and let cool on a cookie rack, or you can just turn the oven off and let them cool in there! (They will harden up a bit as they cool, getting that doggy biscuit kind of feel; so don’t worry if they seem soft when they are freshly done baking.)

Then again, I’m sure your doggy won’t mind one bit!

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Enjoy, Canine Friends!

P.S. If you try out this recipe, share it on Instagram or Facebook and use hashtag #TrueHealthTrifecta so I can see how yours turned out! ;)