Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

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With only six ingredients and no fancy kitchen equipment needed, the hardest part of this of this recipe is waiting for it to sit in the fridge overnight!  It might be my new favorite treat!

What you will need:

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1/3 cup chia seeds

4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

3-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup img_0556

I tend to find it easier to pre measure all my ingredients and have them in small containers. Especially because I can put all the food containers away and clean off any measuring tools and put them away before I start to cook.  That way i don’t have as much clean up after I’m done cooking.  This is obviously completely optional, but I find that it makes clean up easier in general.

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First, put the chia seeds, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl.  Using a fork, sift and combine the dry ingredients completely.  Keep stirring until all the clumps are gone and the mixture is uniformity combined.

Next, mix in the almond milk and maple syrup.  Mix completely, until you think that you have over mixed it pretty much.

Place in a clean glass container.  Let it rest overnight.

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When it looks like this it’s ready!

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You can enjoy it plain or add toppings such as blueberries, coconut flakes, or pretty much anything vegan!

enjoy!

Note- if the texture is not to your liking, simply put it in a food processor or blender.  It will have the consistency of regular pudding.

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Sometimes, presentation really is everything when you are trying to eat healthy

I really didn’t understand how important presentation could be until I went vegan and tried to be committed to eating healthy.  I didn’t understand why it seemed so hard at first.  I mean, yes, I was trying to go from a junk food filled vegetarian diet to a health food vegan diet pretty quickly.  That was a huge change, but I didn’t think that an educated adult would really struggle to make healthy choices as much as I did, especially in the beginning.

Anyone who has ever tried to make big life changes knows it’s difficult to stick to those changes.  It also rarely happens on the first try.  I didn’t understand how much the appearance of food influences us on concious and subconscious levels.  Watching documentaries about food made me aware of how food companies spend so much time and effort on brand colors, package colors, food photo shoots with inedible food doubles because they photograph better.

The point was driven further home when I would ask my omnivorous boyfriend to try something I made.  The first few dishes I tried were very simple, but I didn’t worry about how the food looked.  So he wouldn’t want to try the vegan dishes because he admits that he hates 90% of vegetables.  I started putting them on pretty plates and making sure that the food always looked really beautiful.  He tried every dish without hesitation.  He didn’t like all of them, but he didn’t resist trying any of them.

When I find myself eating junk food or just not always eating as healthy as I should I remember this and do everything I can to make my meals and snacks as pretty as possible.  It makes it so much easier to stick to eating clean and healthy if you are making it as enjoyable as possible on every level.

Here are a few things that helped me-

Buy cute plates and use sauce holders to hold dipping sauces or just to separate snacks to make grazing easier.

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imageOr- get creative and use natural snack holders like sliced bell peppers

imageThey make great and colorful edible snack holders!

imageThis would be a really adorable appetizer or snack!  

(Tip– if you make this, save the top.  Then, cut off the stem and place it back into the hollowed out pepper upside down.  If you place the slices of the other colors of pepper on that they will sprout out like in this picture instead of being the same height as the holder pepper.)

Don’t forget to use lots of colors!  I love putting all different colors of vegetables in my rice dishes.  It makes it pretty as well as nutritious!

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Interesting shapes can also make food look beautiful and make your meal or snack feel special. 

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Cookie cutters can make really cool shapes out of pretty much any fruit or vegetable.  A knife also works really well but is a bit more difficult.

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Don’t be afraid to get creative and to make your healthy vegan food something that you feel lucky to get to eat!

Vegan no bake chocolate, peanut butter and coconut oatmeal cookies

imageThis no bake cookie recipe is perfect for satisfying a sweet tooth!  Chocolate, peanut butter and coconut is my new favorite combination!  Surprisingly easy and healthy snacks that are perfect for a weekend of Netflix and chill.

what you will need-

image1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 cup shredded coconut flakes

1 cup oatmeal (you can use a gluten free variety to make the recipe gluten free)

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons vegan mini dark chocolate chips (optional but recommended to use for a topping)

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Put the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar and cocoa powder into a medium pot and set aside.

imageMeasure out the coconut flakes, oatmeal, peanut butter, vanilla extract and chocolate chips and put in separate containers.  This will make adding them later much easier.

imageTake the pot with the coconut oil, almond milk, sugar and cocoa powder and put it on the stove.  Heat on medium heat until it begins to boil gently.  Stir constantly and allow it to simmer for one minute.

After it has been simmering for one minute, remove from heat (or just turn off stove if you are using a gas stovetop).  Add in the coconut flakes, oatmeal, peanut butter and vanilla extract.  Stir until combined completely.

imageScoop the mixture onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  I used a big flat plate because it’s prettier.

imageTop with the chocolate chips (again, optional but I recommend it).

allow to harden at room temperature for at least a half an hour.

imageEnjoy!

note- if they are a little bit crumbly and tend to fall apart, stick them in the freezer for a few minutes to make them less likely to fall apart.

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Vegan Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

imageSweet potatoes in Mac and cheese is out there, I know.  But it is so creamy, cheesy, savory and a bit sweet to boot!  Besides, it is such a pretty fall color without any need for dye or artificial anything.  It was a crazy idea, but it’s an easy dish that is so satisfying.

What you will need-

imageEight to ten oz. dried pasta (I used a whole wheat vegan pasta but any kind will work)

One very large or two medium sized sweet potatoes ( 1 1/2 cups worth)

1 cup cashew milk (unsweetened)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon coconut oil

ground pepper (completely optional)

First, wash the outside the the sweet potato.  Then, make a few small cuts into the sweet potato with a knife.  Pretty much make stab wounds.  This will stop the sweet potato from exploding in the microwave.

imagePut the sweet potato in the microwave, and cook using the “baked potato” option.

While the sweet potato is cooking in the microwave, prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package.

imageWhen the pasta is done, drain and set aside.

The sweet potato in the microwave should be cooled down enough to safety work with by this point.

Take the sweet potato out of the microwave and place on a cutting board.

imageCut the sweet potato in half.  Then, use a spoon to scoop out the cooked interior.  For mine, I scooped out 1 1/2 cups worth of sweet potato flesh.

imagePut the 1 1/2 cups scooped out sweet potato flesh in the blender.  Add the cup of cashew milk, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic and the tablespoon of coconut oil to the blender as well.  Blend completely, until smooth.

imageTake the smooth mixture out of the blender and put it in a pot.  Put heat on medium.

Add cooked pasta.  If desired, add a pinch of ground pepper.

imageMix well.  Keep on the stove until heated completely.

imagePut on plates and enjoy!

I garnished with a grape tomato and spinach leaves, but this is completely optional.

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First blog post- I couldn’t find vegan hacks like mine anywhere else, so I figured I would make my own blog!

This is the post excerpt.

I didn’t grow up with vegan or even vegetarian parents, and only went vegan a few months ago.  I tried to look up simple yet delicious vegan recipes, but I found that I either didn’t have the majority of the ingredients on hand, or my omnivorous boyfriend would just turn his nose up at them.  So, I started experimenting with my own recipes.  It was the most fun I’ve ever had, and even my boyfriend liked them!  So I figure that if a strictly beef and bread kind of guy liked my creations, that maybe other people will as well.  Enjoy!

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