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Easy Vegan Hot Chocolate + Hot Chocolate Protein Oats

 
hotchocolateoats

Who says hot chocolate is just for the holidays? I for one think it is now, in the throws of winter, that we most likely need this kind of sweet and simple pick-me-up! I am excited to be finally posting this recipe as it is one I have made for a few years and its a total two-for-one.

veganhotchocolate
hotchocolateoatmeal

First, I show you how to make a SUPER simple hot chocolate that is wildly healthy and full of chocolate flavor! This creamy hot coco is the perfect night cap on a chilly evening. I enjoy it as dessert - it keeps my sweets cravings satisfied without leaving me over-stuffed like some other sweet treats will do. You whip up this recipe in your blender and takes just minutes to make …if you don’t have a high speed blender (that gets hot) you can heat (and re-heat) the coco on your stove. This recipe makes enough for one steaming mug AND leftovers because….

veganhotcoco

I transform the extra hot cocoa into something even better (if that’s possible) by pouring it over oats and other goodies to create the BEST overnight oats you’ll ever enjoy. This oat recipe is protein packed and full of ALL the good things. I enjoy this kind of thing during a busy morning, post workout. I use hemp protein, which is a super clean source of this essential macronutrient but usually a little unenjoyable for me….yet when you mix it with hot chocolate, well, that problem goes away.

hotchocolateproteinoats

I love that you can customize this recipe and make it your own - I usually throw in whatever superfood powders I have lying around, most of them (especially the more earthy flavored ones) tend to bring out the flavor of the cacao - which is a great added bonus. I also love taking one thing recipe and using it as the base for another, especially this year as I commit to less waste … this recipe lets me do that in all the best ways!

Scroll down for the recipe!


Serves: 1 (twice) • Prep Time: 10 minutes/overnight


SUPER SIMPLE VEGAN HOT CHOCOLATE

  • 1 16oz. can lite coconut milk

  • 1.5 cup plant milk

  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (sub cocoa powder)

  • 1/4 cup liquid sweetener of choice (I love maple syrup, date syrup or agave)

  • pinch sea salt and cinnamon

  • Optional: reishi mushroom powder, maca powder, dandelion root powder, ashwaganda, etc, you can ALWAYS top with coconut cream, as I did in the photo


Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend on high for 3-4 minutes or until very warm. Taste and adjust sweetness, salt or spices. You can serve warm from the blender (it should be nice and frothy) OR you can take it a step further by adding it to a small saucepan on medium heat and simmering for 5 additional minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Serve in a cozy mug and top with coconut cream (the solids from a can of regular, not lite, coconut milk mixed with a little liquid sweetener) and a sprinkle of cinnamon. *This recipe can be double and tripled, be sure to reserve 1.5 cups for the overnight protein oats.


CHOCOLATE PROTEIN OATS

  • 3/4 cup old fashioned oats

  • 1 tsp. chia seeds

  • 1 tsp. flaked coconut

  • 1 scoop unflavored hemp protein powder (optional, can sub any other protein powder)

  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened dried cranberries

  • 2 tbsp. nuts or seeds such as walnuts, cashews or pumpkin seeds *optional

  • 1.5 cup of hot chocolate recipe from above, slightly or entirely cooled

  • Top with 1/4 cup fresh/frozen blueberries, sliced banana, flaked coconut, nut butter, etc.


The night before you want to enjoy your oats, take a clean 16 oz. mason jar and combine all of the ingredients above save the hot cocoa and toppings. Put the lid on and give the dry ingredients a shake to combine throughly. Then, add in the hot chocolate - once again put the lid on and shake til really well combined. Set in the fridge overnight. In the morning, top the jar off with any fresh additions and enjoy cold OR reheat in a sauce pan (adding additional liquid as needed, I used about 1/2 cup almond milk). Serve in a bowl or eat it right out of the jar!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN




 

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Chocolate Dipped Vegan Chocolate Donuts - Oil and Refined Sugar Free

 

Hey, hi! You probably just want to get to to the recipe already but let me drop in to simply say - YAHOOOOOO - I am typing this blog from my shiny-new computer and nothing has ever felt better. I am already feeling 10000% more inspired not having the onimus ‘Apple spinning wheel of death’ staring me in the face at least 40 times a day. I am hoping this means more blogging, more creativity, more e-books, more courses for LiveClean Kitchen! Yes, COURSES! Let me know what you’d like to see from me in the comments below!

 
 
veganchocolatedonuts
 

Anyway, about this recipe…it is fully vegan but NOT gluten free … you could try swapping the flour for a GF alternative. I the combo of brown rice flour and quinoa flour together but be experimental; you may have to play with the ratios a bit to get it just right but, you’re smart, I know you can do it.

This batter is refined sugar free thanks to coconut sugar and banana and oil free(ish) thanks to the queen-of-queens, almond butter. I am not saying these donuts are healthy but they are baked and not fried, use whole wheat pastry flour (I used this one from Bobs Red Mill) instead of white and contain a load of antioxidant boosting cacao. Let’s just say that for a donut, they are little saints. Best part? They taste amazing - sweet but not too sweet, extra chocolate-y, the texture is cake-like and totally addictive (seriously, I had 4 in a sitting).

veganchocolatedonuts
veganchocolatedonuts

I, of course, dipped my chocolate donuts in more chocolate and sprinkled some with coconut! Now, you could skip this step if you’re just in it for the cake or opt for something else - a creamy frosting, a smear of nut butter or homemade nutella, jam and fruit - all would be lovely! I detail more ideas in the recipe below!

Now, this batter will make totally delicious cupcakes/muffins but if you want a true donut experience, then, well, you will need to grab yourself a donut pan or two but they are CHEAP on Amazon and I promise, you will want to use it all the time because it is just so satisfying to make a donut in 15 minutes! Check out the recipe below and let me know how much you love it in the comments.

veganchocolatedonuts
veganchocolatedonuts
veganchocolatedonuts

Makes: 12 Baked Donuts • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 15 min • Cooling Time: 20 min


DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (you can sub other flours with varied results)

  • 1/2 cup cacao powder (sub coco powder)

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp. salt, cinnamon and coffee grounds *all optional

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups plant milk

  • 1 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/2 a banana, mashed as finely as possible (sub apple sauce or pumpkin puree)

  • 2 heaping tbsp. almond butter (sub coconut oil)

  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Chocolate Dip

  • 3/4 cup bittersweet vegan chocolate chips

  • 1 rounded tbsp. coconut oil (can omit if you’re skipping oil)

(Alternatively, you can make a chocolate coating by mixing equal parts coconut oil, cacao powder and maple syrup, it will not have the same consistency but will be delicious. You could also make more of a ganache coating by melting 3/4 cup chocolate chips into 1/2 cup thick coconut cream from a can. Yum!)

Toppings:

  • coconut flakes

  • cacao powder

  • more chocolate chips

  • freeze dried fruit powder

  • fresh fruit

  • almond butter drizzlec

  • chopped nuts

  • peanut butter cups

  • etc.


Preheat oven to 350*F.

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl and use a whisk to throughly combine.

Mash the banana very well and add it to another medium sized bowl with the rest of the wet ingredients - use the whisk again until well combined.

Pour wet into dry and use a rubber spatula to lightly fold the batter into it self until well-mixed. Do not over mix as to not develop the gluten.

Prep donut baking tray with a light coating of coconut oil spray and fill each hole 1/2-3/4 of the way with batter - spreading it out with your finger or the back of a spoon to ensure an even rise.

Bake for 15 minutes, checking at the 12 minute mark. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a minute or two - once it’s possible to handle them, remove them from the trays onto a wire cooling rack top side down.

Allow the donuts to totally cool and in the meantime prep the chocolate dip.

Add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl (or use a double boiler) and microwave at 30 second intervals until the chocolate has totally melted. Dip your donuts one at a time into the liquid chocolate place them back on the wire rack, chocolate dip side up, to cool. Before totally cool add your toppings so they adhere to the chocolate. P.S You can always double dip if you have extra chocolate.

Allow the chocolate to set at room temp, in the fridge, or in the freezer depending on the amount of time you have - the freezer method takes only minutes!

Enjoy straight away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. I love to give these as gifts and they present well on a plate with some wrapping around them to ensure freshness!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Yoga Teacher's Tips for a Strong Core: Let Your Belly Be

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At the age of 30, I am proud to say that I have a stronger, more stable, supportive core than I ever have before. Despite a major back injury this past year and moderate skeletal scoliosis, I began to sense a strong increase in core strength about 6 months ago when I started incorporating the tips that follow into my personal practice.

Now, I want to first note that a strong core does absolutely, under any circumstances mean a glistening six pack. First of all, many of us are not even genetically capable of achieving such physical results, despite a super low body fat percentage. I am one of these people, now I am not at my leanest now, but even when I am the best I can get is a faint line down my middle when I flex super hard and some superficial definition around my hip bones and ribs. That’s it - I used to do TONS of concentrated core work with barely any visible results but I did not have a full understanding of what I was doing and HOW I was doing it.

When I talk about a strong core - I truly mean your “core” - the deep, internal muscles that wrap around your spine and those that hold your digestive/reproductive organs in place. I do not mean the superficial look of your abs but rather the FUNCTIONAL strength, stability, mobility and flexibility that helps to protect your spine, correct your posture, and deepen your connection to your body. To me, your core is more of an action rather than a thing. The breathing, twisting, turning, gripping, releasing that happens in this part of the body - together these actions quite literally form your center. It is the point from which most movement begins - including everything from sitting comfortably to holding a killer handstand. 

Okay, enough already! Want to know my secrets? Stay tuned for the last tip - it will blow your mind!

Without too much more rambling, here are my top tips to increase your core strength so that you can feel stronger, fitter and more balanced in your body. 

  • before beginning any type of exercise, start with 3-5 minutes of core work (after warming up). I do this in each and every yoga class I teach (I demo along with my students). I think it has made the BIGGEST difference for both my students and myself because when we warm up your core BEFORE the rest of a workout, we become connected to those muscle groups and tend to engage them more throughout the rest of our time moving our bodies. This applies to any and all physical movement, not just yoga, and it’s a total game changer!!! 

  • When doing core work remember to BREATHE! It’s so easy to hold the breath in core work but it can be such a detriment and actually it can begin to take the “work” out of it. The general rule is to exhale when it’s “hard” and inhale when it’s “easy”. When you exhale, think about drawing your navel toward your spine. In my classes, I start with the breath first and then connect that to core movement and that seems to work well. Complete a few deep rounds of breath - feeling your belly rise and fall (as well as your back and side body expand) before beginning. 

  • To expand on the point above, start your core work with SLOW, small, subtle movements that are deeply INTENTIONAL and then build from there. Moving to fast too quick can cause low back injury and again, take the “work” out of your ‘core work’. Focus on truly feeeeeeeeling your way through the inhale and the exhales - squeeeezing and releasing your core through each and every movement. To take this further, you can hooooollldddd at the top of your inhale or bottom of your exhale as you deepen the movement just a teensy bit more.

  • As I said above, your core is not just located at the front of your body around your belly button, it is like a corset that wraps around your entire center, cinching and holding all of your valuable inner organs and spinal column - it’s a complex muscle group that needs 360* attention. When doing core (aka ALL) exercises don’t focus only on your abdominal wall,  pay attention to your obliques, your back body AND the base of your pelvis (for my yogis your MulaBanda) in addition to pulling your navel to your spine, energetically lift your pelvis up towards your belly for full core engagement. 

  • ALL body work is core work! Whether you are in your standing yoga poses, on the beach for a run, or sitting in a chair at the office- you have the opportunity to strengthen your core - when standing or even sitting, think about drawing your frontal hip points up towards your rib cage and then knit your ribs together while lifting your pelvic floor up and pulling your navel back - this will drop your tail bone down, release extra strain in the hip flexors and keep your spine supported. Of course it can become tedious to constantly remind yourself to this bit as you continue to strengthen, it becomes second nature 

  • Stretching your core is just as important as strengthening it. Stretch and strength are intrinsically linked - you can’t have one without the other. Make sure you are taking enough time to lengthen out the muscles around your belly, your spine and your sides

  • And finally....you’re not going to believe this one...(but I think it’s made a huge difference for me), is to LET YOUR BELLY BE SOFT MOST OF THE TIME. Think of your entire core as a ballon - it is meant to inflate and deflate - it digests our food, holds your guts in place, and if you’re female it can house our most sacred reproductive organs. If we never ever relax our stomach, if we are constantly “sucking in” our “pooch”, then we aren’t honoring our bodies and therefore creating resistance. Our bellies store fat and are naturally soft on purpose - a soft, expansive, and fully LOVED belly area will only help to deepen your connection to that part of you and help, in time to strengthen your core. Honor the the balance between your rigidity and your ability to remain open. I do not mean this as a threat but it is true - you can’t have strength if you do not also soften. Explore your belly with hands as you breathe - and accept it for all it is- it’s perfect and wonderfully yours. It is already strong, it does so much for you all day long.

Want to hear me talk more about your core while actually doing the work? Check out my most up-to-date teaching schedule here.

 

LOVE THROUGH YOGA, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Winter Detox Soup: Committing to a More Sustainable 2019 With Misfit Market

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Winter Detox Soup: Committing to a More Sustainable 2019 With Misfit Market

Talk about a New Years REVOLUTION - Misfits Market is working to solve the world’s global food waste problem - one delicious box of produce at a time!

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Shaved Fennel and Citrus Salad with Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Dressing

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Shaved Fennel and Citrus Salad with Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Dressing

fennelcitrussalad

A photo of this fresh, seasonal salad“leaked” on the internet the other day (thanks, Mom) and there was a TON of requests for the recipe so in leu of my usual intro detailing the benefits and flavor descriptions I am just going to post some photos and give you guys what you really want - the dang recipe! Besides, by looking a the photos you can imagine how wonderful this salad is for you and how incredibly the flavors come together.

fennelcitrussalad
fennelcitrussalad

If you’re interested, take a peek on my instagram, where I detail why and how this salad is not only raw, vegan and seasonal (fall/winter) but it is also SUPER low waste.

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fennelcitrussalad

P.S - This dressing is a little time-intensive but it’s worth it - a totally unique flavor, with healthy ingredients reminiscent of your favorite Chinese take-out sauce. You can skip it if you’re in a pinch though, the salad kind of dresses itself with all the citrus and seasoning.


Serves: 4-8 • Prep Time: 15-20 minutes + cooling time for dressing (I suggest to make it a day ahead of time)


Shaved Fennel and Citrus Salad

  • 1 bulb of fennel + fronds, shaved using a mandolin

  • 3-4 medium-large pieces of citrus fruit - grapefruit, navel orange, blood orange, pomello; rind removed, cut into rounds or half moons

  • 1 large english cucumber, sliced into 1/4” rounds

  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts

  • 1/2 avocado, chopped

  • 1/2 red onion, shaved using a mandolin (*optional)

  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (*optional)

  • Salt + pepper to taste

  • Spinach, romaine or mixed greens (*optional)

All very simple. Wash and prep all of your fruit and veg as described above, reserving citrus juice for tossing with the fennel and fennel fonds before mixing all of the ingredients together. Top with more walnuts, avocado and pomegranate arils. You can transfer to a bowl, chill and serve as is or you can serve this salad over a bed of greens.


Pomegranate Sweet and Sour Dressing

  • 3/4 cup pomegranate juice

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar/liquid sweetener of choice

  • 1/4 rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 coconut aminos/soy sauce

  • 1 /2 tsp. red chili flakes OR 1 tsp. sriracha

  • 1 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in 1 tbsp. water

In a small sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients except for the corn starch slurry. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 7-10 minutes. Turn off the heat and whisk in the corn starch and water - continue whisking til the mixture thickens enough to to coat the back of a spoon while still runny (about 3 minutes). Remove from the stove top and pour dressing into a glass container to fully cool. I like to make this dressing the night before as it thickens as it cooks down but you can also serve it hot with spring rolls or over rice and steamed veggies!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

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Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The crux of my entire food philosophy can be summarized in the simple ingredients of this soup - I believe in food that makes you feel good, meaning it doesn’t just taste good and it isn’t just good for you but its both - tasty and healthy, nourishing and delicious. I believe in food that incorporates a wide variety of micronutrients (which you get from eating a ton of different whole-plant-foods) while offering a balanced ratio of macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins). I believe in food that is seasonal and (at least somewhat) locally sourced. I believe in food that is easy, accessible and quick to make. I believe in food that brings people joy and is happily shared. I could go on, but for now, let me just say - I BELIEVE in this soup! Is that a crazy thing to say? Why don’t you give it a try and see if I’ve made a believer out of you!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

If you couldn’t tell already this is the quintessential creamy fall soup - but my version is fortified with extra good for you ingredients to get you glowing in this season of change. Sweet, savory, creamy and smooth with a hint of spice and extra umami flavor - I think you’ll love the way traditional fall flavors of squash and apple pair with yellow curry and healing spices.

I don’t know about you, but I basically live off stuff like this during this time of year - warm, healing, gut-loving goodness that couldn’t be more delicious. I’ve added some extra special stuff to this particular recipe to give it a truly deep and complex flavor with a wide variety of health benefits (scroll below for the breakdown).

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

The best part? This soup comes together in under 30 minutes with minimal prep. It’s also super affordable to make and a total crowd pleaser!

Creamy Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s a few of the stars in this recipe and a little insight into what they do for your body:

Butternut Squash - high in fiber and full of B vitamins, great for immunity and heart health

Apple - again, high in fiber and full of natural sweetness

Miso - a fermented food, just like sauerkraut and kombucha, which means its amazing for your gut. This soybean paste can be found in most regular grocery stores now and adds a level of umami not easily attained in plant-based cooking - it’s flavor is super savory, salty and almost cheesy

Ginger - ginger is an all star digestive aid but it’s tummy-taming benefits are matched by the wonderfully spicy and floral flavor it gives this soup

Turmeric - get glowy with turmeric! This deep yellow cousin to ginger is great for your skin, a powerful antioxidant, and it also happens to be an anti-inflammatory aid - the perfect thing to work into your dishes before the winter season (read: dull skin and colds all around).

Cinnamon - balances blood sugar


Serves: 4-6 people • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 20 min


  • Roughly 8 cups butternut squash or sweet potato (I used an even combo of the two), peeled and cubed

  • 1.5 16 oz. cans coconut milk (I used a “lite” variety but full fat will be even creamier)

  • 2-3 cups low sodium veggie stock

  • 1 small apple (any variety), peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium onion, diced

  • 1/4 cup dehydrated mushrooms *TOTALLY optional but so worth it

  • 2 tsp. good quality yellow curry powder

  • 2” knob peeled ginger

  • 1 tsp. fresh or ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika, nutmeg, and cinnamon *optional

  • 2 tsp. white miso paste *optional

  • Salt and pepper to taste

TOPPINGS

  • raw or toasted pepitas a.k.a pumpkin seeds

  • a drizzle of reserved coconut milk OR plain/unsweetened cashew yogurt

  • chives or green onion


Peel and then chop your butternut squash into roughly even pieces (or can buy it pre-chopped in the store for ease). Peel and chop your onion.

Toss your squash and aromatics in a large pot with 1.5 cans coconut milk, vegetable stock, dried mushies, ginger, turmeric and all the spices and allow to come to a simmer. The liquids should cover the veg about half way - later on you can always add more if you like a thinner soup. Simmer on medium heat until the squash is quite tender - apx. 10-15 minutes.

Once cooked, turn off the stove and carefully transfer the contents of the pot to a high speed blender and blend until fully smooth and creamy -depending on the size of your blender, you may have to work in batches. Make sure to taste for flavor and consistency here - you can add more seasoning or more liquid if you wish.

NOTE: ALWAYS be very careful to remove your blenders top vent and cover with a kitchen towel when working with HOT liquids otherwise molten hot the contents may explode. If you use a nutri-bullet or other “top down” type of blender, wait until your soup has come to nearly room temp to do this step and then re-heat. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender right in the pot, but I find I get the creamiest, smoothest result with my Vitamix.

Once blended, immediately transfer to serving bowls and garnish with the suggestions above or your own selections - croutons, vegan grilled cheese or a fresh autumn salad would be a delicious accompaniment.

Keeps well in the fridge for about a week, reheats wonderfully.

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Baked Apple Cider Donuts - Vegan + Gluten Free

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Baked Apple Cider Donuts - Vegan + Gluten Free

gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts

Finally, its fall! I haven't had a 'proper' fall in over four years and I am so happy to be here in New England to really 'do the damn thing' - that's right, leaves, pumpkin spice, orchards, boots, all of it. Even though it's still nearly 100*F today here in Connecticut, I am not going to let a minute of this season pass me by and you shouldn't either! This recipe is a healthy, fast, fall-fix that can be made year round - the recipe works well as muffins but if you haven't gotten yourself a pair of donut pans yet, well, what are you waiting for?!

gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts
gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts

This recipe is made in just a few minutes with nearly all whole food ingredients. Gluten free baking can be a bit of a mess but I think I've cracked the code with the combination of brown rice flour and quinoa flour here - it creates a soft, light and crisp cake-like consistency which compliments the warming flavors of cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg. This little recipe is the answer to "can a donut be healthy?". YES - High protein, low glycemic, sugar stabilizing, nutrient dense. It is also the answer to "can a healthy donut taste good?!" - absolutely! 

gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts

I first became obsessed with apple cider donuts (you know, the ol' fried-in-oil kind) when living in NYC's Union Square as a college freshman and seeing them served up fresh to lines of hungry city dwellers from my bedroom window. 

It's funny, at the time I had no idea how iconic and special the Union Square farmer's market was. I feel that way about a lot of my NYC Art School experiences but I suppose that is a story for another day. Anyway, I would stop every week to get a glass of warm cider and a few donuts, I ate them without guilt (because I was totally unaware that they were a "bad" food) but I do remember never feeling great afterwards. Once the make-your-own cake donut craze took off a few years ago I dreamed of recreating the warming, rich flavors of that apple cider donut I enjoyed so many years ago. Finally, I've gotten around to it! 

gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts
gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts

If you want to go a step or two further (especially if you are making these in the fall), you can make your own delicious roasted apple sauce by cubing up some apples and roasting them in a cast iron pan with a little water til they caramelize - then mash them down and allow to cool before adding to the wet ingredients. 

I am truly proud of this recipe and I hope you try it out - share with friends and watch their smiles as they enjoy!

gluten-free-vegan-apple-cider-donuts

Makes: 12 donuts • Prep Time: 10 min • Bake Time: 12 min


DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups brown rice flour

  • 1 cup quinoa flour (I use my high-speed blender to pulverize whole quinoa into a flour)

  • 2 tbsp. ground flax

  • 3 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1 tsp. five spice powder (or pumpkin pie spice)

  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar

WET INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 pure maple syrup

  • 2/3 cup apple cider OR apple juice

  • 1/2 cup no sugar added apple sauce

  • 1/4 coconut oil, melted

  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

CINNAMON SUGAR TOPPING

  • 1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar OR coconut sugar

  • 2 tbsp. ground cinnamon/five spice powder


Preheat your oven to 350*F and coat your donut pans with some coconut oil spray. 

In a large bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. 

In another small bowl combine all of the wet ingredients and whisk them together as well. 

Add the wet to the dry and use a large spoon to mix until a smooth, fairy thick batter is achieved.

Use a spoon to scoop portions of the batter into each donut hole, spreading it around with your finger or the back of the spoon to ensure even distribution. The batter should fill 3/4 of the donut hole well, as they will rise as they bake. 

Add the pans to the oven and bake for 12 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and allow the donut to cool for a few minutes before flipping them out onto a cooling rack while still warm. Be delicate here as the donuts can be a bit crumbly when hot.

To ensure the cinnamon sugar coating sticks, coat the top and bottom of the donuts with coconut oil spray and then dip each one in the topping. 

Serve warm or room temp with warm, spiced apple cider or a cup of coffee with almond milk.

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Blackberry Mint Lemonade/Shrub

blackberrymintlemonade
Be patient. Follow the pace of the seasons
blackberrymintlemonade
blackberrymintshrub

Ahhhh, late summer. I don't know about you, but the fact that fall is right around the corner feels like a SUCH relief. It has been the hottest, most humid summer season in New England I can ever remember and although I've been in the relatively dry heat of California for the past four years I feel like everyone on the east coast can relate on some level. I could complain about it forever, but truly, deep down, I am grateful for the heat and humidity - a feel of the tropics before we prepare for another cold winter.

It's around this time of year, every year though, that many of us fall into a bit of a panic about all the summer plans we haven't yet seen though.

We say "It's mid-August and I still I haven't gotten to ___________."

  • Swim in a lake
  • Eat corn on the cob
  • Go camping
  • Hike a big mountain
  • Dip into the ocean on a moonlight night 

As summer starts to slip away the nights grow longer, the air turns colder and we all cling onto those last few weeks of lush, green fully-alive beauty. For me, a lot of my yet-to-be-realized summer plans involved living more closely with nature. So yesterday I made the simple commitment to make this truly seasonal recipe - to go out and forage some wild mint from the yard and to select some fresh berries from the market, to make this syrup, to slow down, to notice the smells, to savor the season.

If you'd like to do the same please follow along with the recipe below. It's super simple and easy to achieve - take your time, enjoy the process, share with your friends! Of course, if another seasonal fruit or herb calls to you, change them out keeping similar proportions - this recipe is SUPER versatile. Great additions would be - rosemary, basil, lemon balm OR raspberries, strawberries, plums. 

blackberrymintlemonade

A Long-Lasting Bonus: If you make the shrub (that's just the simple syrup + vinegar) -recipie detailed below- you can savor this memory of summer for months to come. Living in this way allow you to enjoy the summer in the winter, which can make a world of difference when you feel like warm days are a million miles away.  


Serves: 6 (1/2 gallon) • Prep Time: Overnight + 10 min


FOR THE SIMPLE SYRUP

  • 1 cup liquid sweetener (I used agave syrup, you could also use granulated sugar or coconut sugar as well)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 2 cups fresh mint leaves, lightly packed (the more the better)

Add all ingredients into a medium-sized  pot on medium heat, and bring to a simmer for just 5 minutes. Take off the heat and Use the side of a fork to help to mash the berries so they release more of their juices and gorgeous color. Allow the syrup to cool slightly and then pour into a mason jar with a lid. Let it sit out overnight to steep. In the morning, strain your syrup into another clean jar. This recipe makes double the amount you need for a rough half gallon recipe of lemonade - you can store it in your fridge for a week or so. 

Alternatively, add a cup of apple cider vinegar to the remainder of your syrup - a concentrated mix of simple syrup, flavorings and vinegar is called a 'shrub' and when diluted in water (I'd say add 2 tbsp. to a 16 oz. cup) it takes plain H20 to a whole new level of sophistication - not to mention, the AVC adds a powerfully digestive spike to your sips! Lasts for a few months in the fridge.

FOR THE LEMONADE

  • 1 cup blackberry mint simple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (it took me 6 whole lemons to get there)
  • 6-8 cups water
  • Ice + mint sprigs for garnish

Add all ingredients to a large container and stir. Chill, and/or pour over ice, garnish with mint. Enjoy!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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Triple Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies - Gluten Free + Vegan

vegantriplechocolatecherrycookies

Vegan baking goes like this: complete failure or complete success. When struck with the inspiration for this cookie the first try was a true win and  nothing gets me more revved up than when that happens! The flavor combo is SO GOOD! Tart, sour cherries combined with rich, dark chocolate. Fudgey, dense, delicious! Give these a try today.

vegantriplechocolatecherrycookies
vegantriplechocolatecherrycookies
vegantriplechocolatecherrycookies

Makes: Apx. 18-20 cookies • Prep Time: 10 min • Cook Time: 20 min


WET INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips + 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (or sub mashed banana)
  • 1/4 nut butter of choice (I used almond)
  • 2-3 tbsp. plant milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

DRY INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp. brown rice flour (OR sub another gluten free flour with varied results)
  • 1/4 cup raw cacao or cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. whole chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. instant coffee powder (optional, enhances the chocolate flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

MIX INS

I used 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips and 1 cup sour dried cherries. You could also add your favorite nuts, cacao nibs or practically anything else!


Preheat the oven to 350*F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium sized bowl, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil over simmering water until smooth. Alternatively, you can do this in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments, stirring in between. 

Next add the rest of the wet ingredients to the melted chocolate and combine. In another bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients together (save the "mix ins"). Add the dry to the wet until a thick dough forms - then stir in your mix-ins. 

Spoon a scant 1/4 cup of the batter out onto the cookie sheet, using your hands to press it down and spread it out a bit (these cookies will not spread on their own much). Repeat this process until all of the batter is distributed on the sheet pan. 

Before adding the cookies to the oven drop the temp. down to 300*. Place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the cookies from the oven but don't touch them until they FULLY cool. Due to the use of melted chocolate in the batter, these cookies need to cool and firm up to ensure the rich texture - I like to put them in the fridge for at least an hour.

Serve with a glass of almond milk! They store well in the fridge for up to a week.  

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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South West Vegan Zucchini Fritters with Spicy Cashew Avocado Creama

zucchinicornfritters

Here's another recipe I've been meaning to share FOR-EV-ER. My zucchini fritters are spicy, savory, sweet, crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, oh, and they're really filling. Whole food, plant based, gluten free, oil free and FULL of fresh flavor. They take a little bit of work but are well worth it and honestly, I think you'll enjoy the whole process because making a bit of a mess in the kitchen is fun (okay, maybe that's just me). 

veganzucchinicornfritters

The star here (other than zucchini, of course) is chic pea/garbanzo bean flour. It's cheap and pretty easy to come by these days in your regular grocery store (or here on Amazon). It's a really useful flour to keep on hand as it works not only as a bulking agent but as a binder as well. When cooked in a pan, this flour helps the fritter to become a golden brown and crispy masterpiece while keeping the inside moist and tender. It's loaded with protein and made of just one ingredient - all in all, it's my new favorite pantry staple.  Get your hands on some today!

The texture and flavor combination of this recipe is amazing to me. I love how crisp the outside gets while remaining tender on the inside. The combo of veggies and beans come together with the spices to be so authentically south west. But...just being honest...truthfully I don't feel I've had enough fritters in my life to officially call this a "fritter" rather than a pan-fried veggie burger but we are just gonna go with it because while "a cross between a patty and fritter" is maybe a better description, it's just no good for SEO. 

veganzucchinicornfritters

If I were you I'd make a double batch of this recipe because you are gonna want left overs, as I mention in the instructions, they freeze well and make a great packed lunch or snack. My favorite way to eat these fritters? Room temp over a salad with some quinoa and the spicy cashew avo creama I detail below! Give it a try and let me know what you think!!!

veganzucchinicornfritters

Makes: 8 fritters (double the recipe if you want left overs) • Serves: 4 • Prep Time: 20 min • Cook Time: 20-25 min


SOUTH WEST ZUCCHINI FRITTERS

  • 3 cups zucchini, grated*
  • 1.5 cups fresh corn kernels cut from the cobb (you may also use frozen)
  • 1/2 medium red pepper, diced (roasted red pepper would also be nice)
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped small (optional)
  • 16 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed and lightly mashed**
  • 1/4 cup green onion OR red onion, finely diced
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1 tbsp. pickled jalapeno liquid (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder***
  • 1 heaping cup chic pea/gabanzo bean flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

NOTES:

*Do not drain the liquid from your squash, you'll need it to help to bind the fritters

**Call me gross but I just squeezed the beans in my hands to lightly mash about 70% of the beans

***You could alternatively use taco seasoning instead of these spices

Grate and measure out your zucchini and add to a very large bowl, prep the rest of your fresh ingredients and add to the bowl, stir to combine. Then add in the dry - chic pea flour, flax seed, nutritional yeast, spices/seasonings. Mix the batter well using your hands until the dry ingredients are very well absorbed. Taste and adjust for seasoning. As your cast iron or non stick pan heats to medium, allow the batter to sit for a few minutes so the chic pea flour can soak up all of the liquid. 

Use a mason jar lid to ensure even fritter size - spoon 4-6 tablespoons of batter into a lid (sprayed with cooking oil) and smooth out the top. Flip the fritter out of the lid into a well oiled skillet and repeat a few more times to fill the pan (I fit 4 fritters in my skillet and then went in for a second round, just make sure you re-spray your pan with cooking oil in between each batch). Then, using a spatula, press the fritters out a bit to ensure they cook through to the middle. Cook on each side for 5-7 minutes, flipping as much as you need to in order to prevent burning (a little char is tasty though). 

Once cooked evenly on both sides, remove your fritters from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack. You can serve them warm, cold or at room temperature. Top with spicy cashew avocado creama (recipe below) or salsa, serve over salad, on a bun or with a side of rice! These fritters store well for a few days in the fridge, make an amazing packed lunch and even freeze well for a few weeks in a zip lock bag/glass container with parchment paper in between each patty.


SPICY CASHEW AVOCADO CREAMA

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • the juice of one lime
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. pickled jalapeno liquid
  • 4-8 pickled jalapeno slices
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro (optional)
  • Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  • ~1/2-3/4 cup water

Add all ingredients (go easy on the water to start) to a blender and blend until totally smooth - taste and adjust for seasoning. Store your left over creama in a mason jar in the fridge for 1-2 days! Makes a great dressing/sandwich spread as well!

 

LOVE THROUGH FOOD, LIVECLEAN KITCHEN

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