Tagged Recipe

RECIPE: Cilantro Lime Rice & Beans (better than Chipotle!) – Easy, Plant-based dish!

Everyone loves Chipotle (right?) and their simple yet delicious spread of Tex-Mex goodness.

But… let’s be honest. Cost-wise, they make a killing charging what they do for some of the most affordable types of food around. Namely, rice ‘n beans (or arroz y frijoles).

Even if you do skimp on the guac (which, if so, who ARE you?) eating at places like Chipotle often can definitely put a dent in your finances.

So, allow me to bring to you my HOMEMADE CILANTRO LIME RICE & BEANS (that are better than Chipotle).

I love me some rice ‘n beans, as do most people I know. Especially while traveling through Latin America, where gallos pinto – the traditional rice ‘n beans dish – is typically served with breakfast.. AND lunch.. AND dinner at times… I grew to love them even more rather than get tired of them.

I love this dish so much that there are at least 5 different, flavorful rice ‘n beans recipes I plan to share here on the blog (as well as helpful tips and advice for anyone who plans on traveling or living in places like Costa Rica).

It all starts with the two [obvious] key ingredients…

Arroz.

Y frijoles.

Now, if you don’t have the kitchen blessing that is a rice cooker, you’re still good to go. You can use a saucepan on the stove top. Yes, this may be the easiest, better-tasting, restaurant-replica recipe you have ever made.

What kind of rice do you need? Whatever you have on hand. I had a blend of brown and white.

What kind of beans? Well, for this recipe, classic black beans. And yes, canned is just fine (though I’d recommend low or no-salt added to have better control of the sodium in your recipe).

Grab a handful of other ingredients – like fresh cilantro, onion, extra virgin olive oil, and lime – and you’re basically good to go.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm yas.

The bigger plus? This recipe makes at least 6-12 Chipotle portions if you get their rice bowl… and it costs less than one or two orders.

By the way, you can find an amazing tex-mex bowl recipe (along with tons of helpful info) in one of my best-selling books, the grocery store tour guide, which is also available as an ebook!

Without further ado – here it is! Try it out, share, and let me know what you think :)


CILANTRO LIME RICE & BEANS (makes around 6 cooked cups)

  • 2 cups brown and/or white rice (before cooking) *cook according to packaging or using leftover rice is fine!
  • Half a large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 (~8 oz.) can of Black Beans (preferably organic and low or no sodium to better control salt content), drained and rinsed
  • 1 small bushel of fresh cilantro, leaves picked and chopped (about 1/3 cup chopped)
  • The juice from one lime
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt (or more, to taste preference)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper (or according to taste)

Directions

  1. Cook rice according to package or use leftover rice. Two uncooked cups yields 4.5 to 6 cooked cups.
  2. In a fairly large saute pan heated at medium to high, saute onions in olive oil until fragrant and softened (about 2-3 minutes). Add rice and stir, letting cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add black beans, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stir to all incorporate. Lower heat to higher “low” spectrum, cover the pan, and let flavors marry for 3-4 minutes. You can also add 1/4 cup or so of water before covering, especially if the rice was leftover. This will add more moisture while cooking.
  4. Uncover and remove from heat. Stir in lime juice and cilantro, then taste and add more salt if necessary. Stir again and then ENJOY! :)

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!

 

The BEST Tapioca Pudding with Mangoes – sweet, amazing, gluten/dairy free dessert! (RECIPE)

Does this look nostalgic to anyone?

k2-_66aae989-09e8-45c4-8d64-0b5773c3dd42.v1I may be in the minority here, but I never had tapioca pudding as a kid. I never even knew what tapioca was and remember wondering if it was just a different name for rice (since rice pudding was actually familiar). I was never a fan of milk or milky things growing up, either, so I never made an effort to try it. Regardless, it was easy to see many a lunch box contained these little sugar-packed and highly processed snacks.

Fast forward twenty-or-so years and tapioca entered my life again. I’ve used tapioca starch as a thickener in recipes for a while and noticed it within the ingredients to many packaged foods, but was still yet to make my own version of this renowned dessert known as Tapioca Pudding.

I don’t know what took me so long… because it is absolutely amazing.

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Though I don’t exactly have anything to compare it to – my prime taste tester did happen to love those school-time snacks back in the day. And I am happy to report he said this isn’t even comparable since it’s the best tapioca pudding he’s ever had (and, possibly, the best pudding dessert he’s ever had). Yet another win!

So, what is tapioca anyway? Tapioca is a starch extracted from the cassava root (which is becoming more commonly found in grocery stores these days – probably next to the potatoes or yucca).  Similar to other starches, it can be processed into sticks, powder/flour, flakes, or fun little pudding-worthy pearls. The pearls are commonly used in Asian desserts where they lend a chewy, satisfying texture to whatever it may be. Oh, and for those wondering, it is indeed gluten free and vegan.

Fun fact: Have you ever had Boba tea? Those boba are actually giant tapioca pearls.

Personally, I absolutely love the texture of tapioca pudding – even more than rice pudding. It’s like eating spoonfuls of simultaneously creamy and chewy surprises with every bite. Plus, by adding sweet, buttery mango, this dairy-free version is also both rich but light at the same time. It can be eaten hot or cold, making it perfect as a summer or holiday dessert.

It’s easy to make, doesn’t dirty many dishes, and has a handful of quality ingredients that are easy to find and much better for you compared to the original kid’s snack.

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Just looking at these pictures reminds me I need to make this again, like tonight. It’s that delicious and that easy to put together. Did I mention that it tastes even better after a couple of days in the fridge?

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I really, really hope you try this recipe. You will be so glad you did (and will impress anyone who tries it!)


THE BEST TAPIOCA PUDDING with mangoes

Ingredients

½ cup tapioca pearls

½ of a 14 oz. can of Coconut Milk (~200ml)

¼ cup maple syrup

¼ tsp salt

3 Tbsp stevia-for-baking or xylitol (or sugar of choice)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

¾ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

½ cup + ½ cup water

¼ tsp ground cinnamon

~2 cups chopped mangoes (frozen or fresh)

Optional, for thickness: 1 egg, separated (yolk and white)

Directions (with photos below)

  • Place coconut milk, almond milk, maple syrup, salt, ½ cup of water, tapioca pearls, and egg yolk (if using) in a medium saucepan. Mix to incorporate ingredients and let sit on stove top – no heat or cooking yet – for 20 minutes.
  • Turn burner to medium-high heat to bring pudding mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Once it boils, turn burner down to low heat and allow to simmer for about ten minutes or so, until it thickens and the tapioca pearls become translucent. Add more water from the remaining ½ cup if it gets too thick.
  • Add mangoes and cook until mixture begins to simmer again, about 3-5 minutes.
  • If using egg, whip egg white in a small bowl (or the measuring cup) with the sugar/sweetener. Temper this mixture into the saucepan by folding 1-2 tbsp of the hot pudding mixture into the egg white/sugar mixture. Do this at least three times before pouring the egg white/sugar bowl mixture into the saucepan. Then allow pudding to cook another 2-3 minutes in saucepan.
  • If not using egg, simply mix the sugar into pudding on stove and cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour into a serving bowl and add vanilla and cinnamon. Mix well.
  • You can serve this warm from the oven or cover it and refrigerate up to 5 days for a cool dessert. It’s really delicious both ways (and thickens even more as it sits). It’s really presentable when served with cinnamon sticks (as shown in pics).
  • Enjoy! :)

 

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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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Rich, Delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake (RECIPE) – Easy, no bake, dairy-free, vegan!

This is one of my go-to recipes when it comes to last minute requests for dessert, which is exactly what happened on Christmas this year. I was asked to bring a dessert the night before the big day – well after all the grocery stores were closed. Seeing as I normally have all of the ingredients on hand that are needed to put this Pumpkin Cheesecake together, it was easy breezy.

Too delicious to set up for a food photo shoot. Paper plate it is.
Too delicious to set up for a food photo shoot. Paper plate it is.

This dessert turns out super rich, indulgent, creamy, and cheesecake-y… despite not having any dairy whatsoever. Unless you let everyone know this is a plant-based dish, no one will guess that cashews are the “cheese” up in this cake. Not to mention, there are virtually no dirty dishes, give or take a few measuring utensils, because everything goes straight into the blender with no bowls or mixing necessary. It’s also fast to prepare since all you do is blend for a couple of minutes until it becomes nice and creamy.

The hard part is the waiting time for this to set, which still isn’t even that bad at only an hour or two.

Yaaaas this Pumpkin Cheesecake deserves a porcelain plate. But taste > aesthetics.
Yaaaas this Pumpkin Cheesecake deserves a porcelain plate. But taste > aesthetics.

All that said, it’s important to remember this is still an indulgent dessert. Just because it is made with more nutritious and quality ingredients than any store bought (or even traditionally made) cheesecake, doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all to have a handful of giant slices and nudge it off as okay since it’s “healthy“. I mention this because whenever I concoct any food things – whether it is a main dish, appetizer, dessert, drink, anything – I noticed many people assume it is a “healthier” or “lighter” version and, therefore, it’s okay to overindulge. This isn’t the case, as the macro-nutrients (namely, fat and sugar) do still add up which means that sometimes my versions aren’t necessarily lower-calorie versions. They’re just better quality options than others.

Treat any dessert like dessert, and any main dish as a main dish. Eat until your just about satisfied and avoid stuffing yourself. Treat this Pumpkin Cheesecake like you’d treat any special dessert or high-fat-high-sugar treat. (Hint: That means it may be best for your waistline to keep this recipe in your arsenal for potlucks or special date nights. Once you taste it, you’ll see why… It’s really freaking good and tough not to eat the whole thing yourself!)

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High quality ingredients does NOT always equal lower calorie treats!

Now, get to makin’… and make sure you enjoy each bite!

EASY, DELICIOUS PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE

For the filling:

  • 2 cups raw cashews (soaked in cool water overnight, or use boiled water and quick-soak for an hour)
  • ½ cup 100% pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • Juice from one lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Scant ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • A good pinch of salt
  • tsp. Chinese five-spice powder *this is my secret addition for pumpkin pie, too! Adds a touch of special!
  • Optional: ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted (to sprinkle on top when serving)
  1. Place all of the above ingredients (except coconut flakes) in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the creamy filling into a prepared graham-style pie crust, or into a raw crust (recipe below).
  3. Place in the freezer for ~2 hours or until solid.
  4. To serve, remove from freezer and let thaw enough to cut through (about 20 minutes before serving). To avoid the cheesecake from getting too soft, don’t leave out for more than an hour and keep any uneaten portion stored in freezer (it may get too soft in fridge). This will easily keep in the freezer for up to a month, I imagine… Though it’s never lasted more than a week at my house!
  5. ENJOY! :)

NO-BAKE, RAW PIE CRUST RECIPE

  • 1 cup raw almonds (or 1 1/4 cup almond flour) *Pecans would be great, too!
  • 1 cup of packed, pitted Medjool dates (about 15 medium sized dates)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp ground ginger
  • Needed: A spring form pan, if possible, Otherwise a pie dish or even 8×8 baking dish works.
  1. If using a spring form pan, line the bottom with parchment or wax paper (and cut into a circle).
  2. If using whole almonds, place them in a food processor and grind until it becomes a coarse flour (photo below). *If you’re using the almond flour, skip to next step.
  3. Remove ground almonds from food processor and set aside in a bowl.
  4. Place dates in food processor and process until they soften and one big sticky ball forms (photo below).
  5. Add ground almonds back in with salt, cinnamon, and ginger, and continue processing until the texture becomes small crumbles that easily stick together when you press them between your fingers.
  6. Pour the crust mixture into the spring form pan (or pie dish, or baking dish), and press down with your fingers until it covers the entire area (photo below). *Wet your fingers with a little bit of water if you find it’s too sticky.
  7. Pour in your favorite pie filling (like the Pumpkin Cheesecake above) and you’re good to go!
Line your spring form pan…

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Grind up those almonds…

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Process the dates until a ball forms…

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Add ground almonds back in and process to reach this consistency…

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Press crust into bottom of pan…

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Pour in the pumpkin cheesecake filling and smooth with the back of a spatula…

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let set, cut, serve, and enjoy! :)

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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!

3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (aka: the 2:30 AM Mudd Cake)

I’m going to keep this short and simple so you can try it, stat. Here is something so easy, SO yummy, and my clients have probably heard me mention it once or twice (hence the requests for this post, which I apologize for how long it took me to do)!
This individually-sized chocolate cake literally takes just a few minutes to make and uses simple, protein-packed ingredients that will satisfy your sweet tooth without artificial ingredients, sugars, or additives. The recipe is also gluten-free, dairy-free, and even vegan if you replace the liquid egg whites with a vegan-friendly egg substitute.
Easy Vegan Egg Substitute:  Mix 2 Tbsp ground flax (seed or meal) with 6 Tbsp warm water. Let sit for about five minutes, until it becomes a gooey, egg-like consistency. Use in recipe as you would eggs/egg whites.
Plus, did you know that cocoa actually has numerous health benefits, including alleviating cravings and encouraging satiety?  You’ll be surprised at how moist, rich, and delicious this turns out (and this is, admittedly, coming from someone who is NOT typically a fan of microwaving anything… never mind baked goods)!
Even more exciting news? This is just the first of a number of recipes (and videos) I will be posting featuring my most favorite, plant-based protein, RawFusion by SAN.
So here she is, the 3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (originally named the 2:30 AM Mudd Cake by the other half, who can also be credited for the lovely photo you see below… before it was devoured, of course).

RawFusion chocolate cake

3-Minute Chocolate Protein Cake (makes one serving)

In a mug or small bowl, whisk together the following:

From there, simply put it in the microwave at a power level of 5 for 2 minutes (adjusting that power level is super important to ensure the right finished product here). Anddd… DONE!

(Could that have been any easier?!)

If you want to get even fancier, feel free to top it off with the following:

Sweet ‘n Creamy Vanilla Sauce (enough for two servings of cake)

Simply whisk together the following in a bowl:

  • 1/2 Scoop of RawFusion protein (vanilla flavor preferred here!)
  • 1/4 C. unsweetened Almond Milk (or enough to make it a thick-but-pourable consistency)
  • 1 Tbsp Stevia
  • 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

After the cakes are done, flip them over onto plates and then spoon that goodness on top. You can also sprinkle with some chopped nuts (like the pistachios seen above)! ENJOY :)

 

 

 

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs EVERY Time (video)

I absolutely LOVE eggs. Always have, always will. Whether they’re scrambled, sunny-side-up, chopped over a salad, or even straight out of the carton (whites, in that case. And no, it doesn’t taste like foot. It’s tasteless and awesome)… Eggs have always been a staple food in my regime of deliciousness.

Eggs in bowl

Cadbury Creme Eggs were even my favorite holiday treat growing up, for goodness sake. Side note: Are you aware they have actually decreased 30% in size since back in the heyday? Truth.

I partly hold this on account of my dad and the memories of him making his yummy breakfasts of eggs, mushrooms, cumin, and close to a half-stick of butter in a pan. I always wanted whatever he was making because it smelled so warm and spicy. Plus, he always ate everything with Lebanese pita bread. Believe it or not, the pita and butter was my favorite part… I just kind of put up with the eggs (reminder: Nutrition Specialists are not born Nutrition Specialists) and I could still hear my mom saying, “That is TOO much butter for her! Way too much,” to which he would say okay and then slice me off another chunk of golden, melty goodness when she wasn’t looking.

Egg Halves

Coincidentally, I really miss my dad about now… and the thought of that much butter at this point kind of makes my stomach turn. But, I digress.

When it comes to the most convenient form of eggs – hard boiled – there is actually a LOT more involved then throwing eggs in a boiling pot of water and then peeling them after a few minutes. It’s a SCIENCE, and if you don’t have it down, you’ll likely experience one (or all) of the following hard boiled fails:

  1. Tearing and peeling half the whites off with the shell. I call this the Moon Crater fail.
  2. Success with peeling… but a puke green rim (or totally green, for that matter) yolk on the inside. Aka: the Groke.
  3. A yolk that isn’t completely cooked and still runny (which is on purpose, at times, ie. the soft boiled egg).
  4. A cracked or broken shell while boiling which ends up in seeping out whites and tumor-growth looking eggs.
  5. (Add your hard boiled egg fail here)

It came to my attention recently that so many people don’t know exactly how to make the perfect hard boiled egg. Whenever anyone asks me what a good, portable, convenient option is for a snack, one of my go-to suggestions is this winner. However, 9 out of 10 people say they can never make them right! As soon as a couple of clients mentioned spending way too much money on a way questionable means of this amazing, protein-packed snack (*cough* 7-11 ready hard boiled eggs in a plastic baggy), I KNEW I had to share this post to benefit their bellies and everyone else who fears attempting the delicousness that is the HBE.

I’m pretty happy to say I have it down to a science and am even happier to share it here!

IMG_1842

HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT HARD BOILED EGGS

You’ll need:
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Large sauce pan with lid
  • Large slotted spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Ice

As an example here, I’m using a small saucepan and just a few eggs. But I highly suggest making these in bulk and using the biggest stock or sauce pan you have because you want to make sure the eggs are covered by a good inch of water without it boiling over once things get moving. Plus, it’s amazingly convenient to have a bunch of them ready to go in the fridge, especially if you don’t have time to prepare food during the day and need a quick snack (or protein for a full) to grab and go.

Step 1: Carefully place cold eggs in a single layer at the bottom of your sauce pan.
Eggs in Saucepan
Notice the bottom egg is a little cracked. At the end, I share a tip that helps salvage the whites if they seep out while boiling.

 

Step 2: Fill the sauce pan with cold water until all the eggs are completely submerged (about an inch of water above eggs).

Cover with Cold Water

 

Step 3: Put sauce pan on stove and set it to high to boil.
Put it on to boil
Keep a good eye on it because it won’t need to boil for long…

 

Step 4: Once water gets going with a rolling boil, let boil for only one minute before removing from stove top.

Boiling eggs

 

Step 5: Cover with lid and take off the burner, setting it to the side

IMG_1803

 

Set a timer for 15 minutes. The eggs will continue cooking in the hot water as they sit.

Timer

 

Step 6: Fill up a large bowl halfway with ice and then up about 3/4 high with cold water

Ice Bath

 

Step 7: Once timer goes off, use a slotted spoon to remove eggs from sauce pan and place in ice bowl.
IMG_1809Eggs in Ice

 

Let sit about 10 minutes, until ice is mostly melted down.
Eggs in Ice Bath
Can you guess which egg is the one that had the crack in it?

 

Now. Time for things to get serious.

Peeling

 You’ve made it this far, peeling glory is soon ahead.
And what would an instructional post be without a little video for the visual people?

Main tricks are:
  • Have water handy for rinsing (and even peeling under). It will help the shell slip off.
  • Tap both ends of the egg gently on a counter, then do a gentle “rolling’ motion to break it all around before peeling off (this REALLY helps!)
  • Use the side of your thumb to gently glide the shell off (as opposed to nails or the tips of your fingers). This alleviates risk of tearing any whites off with the shell.
  • Organic, brown eggs are harder to peel than regular, white eggs. Basically, the fresher the egg, the harder to peel. I definitely suggest and prefer organic, free range eggs if you plan on eating the whole thing including the yolk-y goodness. But if you mainly just want the whites, it will be easier on your prep (and wallet) to just get regular white eggs.
  • Try not to eat them as you’re peeling. At least not all of them. Yummy little health balls they are.

Additionally, if for some reason an egg cracks in the pot and whites start seeping out (like one of mine did because it had a slight crack in the shell before putting in), have some distilled white vinegar handy and throw a splash or two in the water as it begins to heat up. This helps the white coagulate faster and works well to salvage the egg.

Food for thought: Do you feel like hard boiled eggs make you bloated and gassy?

There is actually justification for this. Eggs (particularly the whites) are very high in sulfur… what most people familiarize with the “rotten egg” or Florida sprinkler system smell. Sulfur is a beneficial nutrient and one of the reasons eggs are a great super food. Any time eggs are cooked, the sulfuric compounds in the proteins are broken down and hydrogen sulfide is released (the cause of that smell). In the case of the HBE, however, this hydrogen sulfide has nowhere to really go. The green rim around the yolk from “overcooking” is actually a reaction between the ferrous iron in the yolk and the hydrogen sulfide in the white (yay, science)!

Some people poke a tiny hole with a very small needle in the shell of the egg before boiling to release pressure and claim this eases any digestive upset caused by the broken down proteins. I’ve never noticed any digestive issues regarding HBE’s personally, but it may be worth trying if you’ve had this issue! People also claim that poking the tiny hole encourages more even cooking, making the eggs easier to peel. But, as you can see once you try my method, a hole isn’t necessary for super hard boiled success!

Now time to go enjoy them however you like! My preference is simple with a bit of sweet and tangy homemade ketchup :)

Delicious Eggs

Now that you know how to cook them up, what is your favorite way to eat hard boiled eggs?

Healthy “Birthday Cupcake” in a bowl!

After today’s workout, I came home to nonchalantly mix up a little recovery meal to hold me over a bit. This amazingly delicious bowl of goodness was the result of that. Filling, healthy, and literally tastes JUST LIKE the classic yellow cupcake with chocolate frosting on top. Not kidding! Definitely recommend you all try it out, feel free to share the credited photo, and ENJOY! :)

Great substitutes for the oat bran include quinoa flakes, cream of rice, or rolled oats.