vin’s super-seed breakfast porridge

Kids vegan cook

I know it seems boring to eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but hear me out- it’s really the best thing ever.  Not only do I not have to think about what to throw together when I can barely peel open my bleary eyes (I’m decidedly NOT a morning person), I also get in so much nutrition for my kids in one fell swoop.  Vin usually makes this with my supervision too, so win-win there.

Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts are my non negotiable foods that I get into my kids diets EVERY single day.  Why?  Plant based omegas, calcium, other minerals, and brain boosting fats.  That’s why I add them all to the morning porridge- because then I don’t have to worry about it later.  It’s our whole food vitamin “supplement” for them, along with an after school fruit and veggie smoothie.

In one serving of this porridge (not even counting the fruit/optional extras), there’s: 73% fiber, 42% iron, 20% calcium, 50% zinc, 14% protein, and 7.2 grams of omega-3’s.  PLANTS are everything.

chia coconut flax hemp seeds oat porridge

The fat + fiber + carbs combo keeps tummies nice and full so they’re not hungry at school. Plus, it’s nice to get a warming meal in their belly in before they have to go outside on cold mornings.

We vary the toppings so every day is different and we never get bored:

-always a seasonal fruit or two: banana, berries, kiwi, mango, peach, apple, persimmon,prunes, plum, pear, etc

– sometimes add flavorings like almond or vanilla extract, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, chai spice, turmeric, pumpkin purée

-sometimes cook with nut milk instead of water for a creamier porridge

– sometimes add nut butters: coconut, cashew, almond, peanut, chocolate hazelnut

-sometimes do 1/2 and 1/2 quinoa + oats

-always add a sweetener: chopped dates, golden raisins, stevia, maple syrup, molasses or raw Demerara sugar

healthy vegan kids porridge omega 3 breakfast

vin’s super-seed breakfast porridge (2 large servings)

for the base:

1 cup oats

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/4 cup shredded coconut

3 cups water or nut milk or both

for the toppings (per each bowl):

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

fruit of your choice

sweetener of your choice

method:

Place the oats, chia, and coconut in a small pot. Whisk in the 3 cups water and bring to a boil while you whisk (so the chia doesn’t clump).  Turn down to medium low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until thick and chia seeds are plumped, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and divide between 2 bowls.  Top with your desired toppings and eat!

 

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healthy holidays: 5 tips to keep your glow

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Whew!  Can you guys believe its already DECEMBER 4th?!?!  I feel like things are shifting up to top speed already.

Welcome to the crazy holiday season: traveling, cooking, cleaning, hosting, wondering what the f@#$ happened to your healthy habits.  butter! candy! cheese and crackers!!  people you can’t really stand but have to play nice with!  traveling!

If there’s any time of the year where you need some extra energy and grace, it’s definitely now.  Not to mention you want to look your best, glowy, vibrant self when you’re heading out to 3495069 dinners, holiday parties, family reunions etc.  So, here’s 5 tips to keep it healthy during the festivities.

palm tree holiday christmas

  1.  start every day with warm lemon water and green smoothie.  This simple habit is especially great during the holidays because it kicks sugar cravings and boosts the liver.  You’re getting your greens in FIRST THING which is promoting healthy, clear skin and resetting your palate.  Add in hemp, chia, or flax for a nice omega boost which helps keep you full longer (so that later you won’t be rummaging through that box of candy your neighbor gave you).  This recipe is nice and creamy.  Not a fan of green smoothies?  Try a turmeric carrot smoothie for similar anti-inflammatory, detoxifying properties.
  2. practice meditation daily.  Even if it’s just 5 minutes!  Taking that time for yourself to ground down, breathe, and stop the constant flow of thinking what you need to do next.  This is ESSENTIAL any time of year, but especially when you have a to-do list with no end.  I like to meditate 5-15 minutes right when I wake up to start with a calm, clean slate + right before I go to bed, to let go of whatever happened/didn’t happen that day.  You don’t have to be sitting, either- sometimes I do this when I take a shower, especially at night.   I like to visualize the water taking my stress, worries, and attachments + rinsing them right down the drain like mud.  If you need a little help meditating, I highly recommend the app Headspace.
  3. chlorophyll.  These little green drops are magic, especially when you’re lacking in sleep and/or drinking alcohol.  You just add a few drops to water and they boost liver function, support detox + are intensely alkaline.  That extra alkalinity will help balance out any acidity you may have from coffee, less-than-ideal foods, and stress.  Chlorophyll also increases energy, immunity + oxygenates skin to support that glow.  Of course, whole plant greens are better than extracts, but when you’re traveling or just need an extra boost, the drops are amazing.  You should be able to find these at any health food store, but here’s a link just in case.4272A317-86EB-4E04-A811-F231EB1E61E3.jpeg
  4. digestive bitters.  It’s all too easy to over indulge during the holidays, even if you normally eat healthy.  Keeping a bottle of digestive bitters in your purse is an easy way to help.  You can take them after eating if you overdid it to soothe a too full, bloated, or gassy tummy.  You can also take them before eating to stimulate your digestion and reduce cravings (even do a dropper full right into your cocktail!).  Bitters are super supportive for your liver + keep skin glowing and clear.  I like these from Urban Moonshine + they have a tiny spray bottle version too which can tuck into even the smallest bag.
  5. meal prep.  INVEST IN YOURSELF by prepping a breakfast/lunch the night before so you don’t even have to think about what to eat when things get crazy during the day.  That way, no matter what, you will be eating healthy.  Prep some of Loni Jane’s burcha the night before and keep it in jars in the fridge to grab and go.  Make a big batch of quinoa and chickpeas and a dressing or two.  Roast a big sheet pan of veggies and pick up some fresh salad greens.  Now you have everything you need to make a buddha bowl for lunch- just mix and match.  If you’re really exhausted, bring your own container to a salad bar like at Whole Foods and get your own healthy takeout.  No excuse to eat like crap, no matter how busy you are.  There’s always a better way + you deserve better.

Make your self care a priority this holiday season so that you look + feel your best.  I’m sure you guys have some tried and true tricks yourself for keeping it healthy in a hectic time- if so, comment below!  I’d love to hear them.

xx Amanda

a week of v/gf dinners in december

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Here’s what we are planning to eat and cook this week for dinner with seasonal, fresh produce in December.  After Thanksgiving and the heavier foods, sweets, etc I’m ready for some veggie heavy meals and lots of greens!  I’ll be heading back to a green smoothie to start off every day after warm lemon water- both those things really help me cut back on sugar cravings.

The kids always eat porridge for breakfast- either oats or quinoa or a combination- cooked with chia seeds and then topped with hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, any fresh/frozen fruit, a splash of nut milk, and a drizzle of maple syrup.  They really enjoy this and it gives them a super boost of healthy fats and minerals first thing.

For lunch, it’s usually just dinner leftovers reimagined with a few extra components I throw in.  I rarely cook lunch, mostly out of sheer laziness.  I hope these meals inspire you guys to cook this week- even if it’s just one meal, and to sit and share it with loved ones.

MONDAY:  simple red lentil, lemon, spinach soup– (35 minutes but most is hands off) this is a house favorite and takes so little work to make.  Very few ingredients/work but HUGE flavor.  Side of simple quinoa or rice or millet.  Plus an easy carrot and parsley salad to add that raw vibrant component- something like this recipe but omitting the anchovies/feta and adding pomegranates and chopped toasted nuts and or seeds.

TUESDAY:  chunky celery soup + fennel lemon giant beans+ green salad

WEDNESDAY:  root vegetable crumble + bitter greens salad with mustardy vinaigrette

THURSDAY:  Thursdays I don’t get home until 8-9 pm, so I need something quick and not too heavy.  This tofu and kimchi stew fits the bill.  Spicy, warming, lots of plant protein.  I’ll wilt in some spinach with it too to add some greens and a few shiitakes for the flavor, chew and immunity boost!

FRIDAY:  We love to do simple meals on Friday nights so we can have more time to enjoy each other.  Kale slaw + oven sweet potato fries- my kids love fries and pairing it with the creamy slaw feels comforting but is packed with so much nutrition.

SATURDAY:  Dinner: fingerling potatoes with a turmeric sauce on a bed of fresh market greens.

SUNDAY:  The kids have been asking for mac n cheese, so I’m trying out this one which has kale added.  YUM.  +a fresh green salad.

+extras for lunch boxes and school snacks/after school snacks:

vanilla chia pudding

herby avocado hummus

carrot, ginger, turmeric smoothie

berry, beet, lime and chia smoothie

healthy granola bars

+ lots of whatever fresh, local fruit I can find at the market…right now it’s pomegranates, apples, tangerines, kiwis, pears, and persimmons.  I keep these + bananas around always for us to have as a snack.  If I have extra that we don’t eat, I simply freeze them!

Have a wonderful weekend xx

 

talking trash: 2 months

 

It’s been 2 months since I decided to start keeping all of our trash.  It’s been an eye opening experience.  It really keeps me on my toes avoiding trash since I don’t want to have to add anything unnecessary to the jar!  Having a visual reminder keeps me on track when I’m feeling lazy.

Background: We are a family of 4 and live in a town with access to farmer’s markets and bulk stores where we can buy most things package free.  For more in depth information on HOW we live waste free, check out my first post in this trash series.  Now, lets get down to the nitty gritty.  Here’s what new trash was added to the jar this month:

  • Clif bar wrapper- given to Vin at the park and opened before I saw it.  The struggle is real with kids!  People desperately want to give them things, like food, candy, toys, stickers, and other small plastic entombed items.  I enforce the “No, thank you” rule with my kids- when someone offers something like this to them, they firmly but politely say “No, thank you”.  This is quite easy for C (9 years old) to do, as it’s second nature by now.  For V (5 years), things sometimes slip through, like this bar.  REAL LIFE with kids guys.
  • Two green wristbands- we went to a fall festival at our kids school, and they required the kids to wear a wristband.  I mentioned to the PTA that a stamp would be cheaper and less waste, so I’m hoping they make the switch next year.  IMO the event isn’t high tech enough to require a wrist band?? 😉
  • some more plastic tag connectors.  We picked up quite a few winter clothes secondhand this month and although the tags are paper and compostable, the connectors are usually plastic.  Sometimes they use staples which is awesome and recyclable (save them all up and recycle inside a metal container or foil).  For more info on how and why we buy virtually all our clothing secondhand, check out this post: why+how i buy secondhand clothing
  • backing of a fire station sticker: our local fire station had a open house and V ended up with a sticker to replace the one on his toy fire hat that was worn out.  Stickers are my arch enemy basically.
  • silver plastic pouch of tempeh starter: I miss tempeh so much, its always wrapped in TONS of plastic so I don’t purchase it.  I made my own with this starter and it was a paper box but the starter pouches are plastic 😦 Much less waste than buying it pre made though.  I used banana leaves to wrap the tempeh in instead of a ziplock bag as recommended.
  • seal from a b12 supplement spray which came in a sealed paper box yet still had a plastic seal on it ????? y tho
  • seal from a glass jar of barley grass juice powder
  • seal from a glass jar of coconut yogurt
  • seal from a plain kombucha used to make my own SCOBY
  • produce stickers from avocados, one of the only things I buy that I can’t always avoid stickers on.  There’s a booth at my farmers market which sells avocados from Southern California without stickers.  I buy from them when possible, but they haven’t been at the market lately.

That’s it!  Everything else I’ve been able to refuse, refill, reuse, repurpose, recycle, or rot (compost).  If you’re inspired, try keeping all your trash for a week and going through it to see just how much you’re generating and ways you may be able to make small changes to reduce it.  Do the best you can and don’t get discouraged.  Little changes add up!  For how to reduce waste without access to a bulk store, read my post on this topic.  LOVE to all of you xx

GF/V kabocha pie

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I am enamored by Amy Chaplin.  She has the best, most beautiful recipes that use whole food ingredients.  I love her cookbook, At home in the whole food kitchen.  For our vegan + gluten free thanksgiving this year, I tried out one of the recipes from her book for pumpkin tartlets.  It turned out perfectly, and way tastier than traditional pumpkin pie.  All the same rich flavors + super silky texture + bright color.

Some notes about my modifications:  I used my homegrown papaya squash instead of the kabocha.  Since my squash was more watery, I mashed it and then let it drain for a while through a fine mesh strainer until it was thicker.  Kabocha would be ideal here, though, as it’s naturally very creamy and starchy instead of wet.  It makes the most silky puree ever.  Also, her crust originally had gluten in it in the form of spelt flour.  Gluten makes me feel yuck, so I avoid it whenever possible.  It was a pretty easy swap here.  I subbed in an equivalent amount of my own GF flour mix (chickpea flour, quinoa flour, brown rice flour and tapioca starch) but I’m sure you could use any GF flour blend.  Make sure it’s a blend though- I don’t think it will work with just one type of flour.  GF baking is tricky that way.  The crust dough is really sticky.  Don’t worry about it, it bakes up fine.  The recipe is originally for tartlets.  I baked mine as a whole pie, in a springform pan (the kind made for cheesecakes, that has removable sides).  I baked mine in the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  I was opening the oven a lot, though because I was cooking other things at the same time.  So yours may need less time- Ive called for baking it 1 hour, but checking it at 45 minutes just in case.  It firms up more as it cools.

pumpkin pie with GF cashew ginger crust (adapted from an Amy Chaplin recipe)

FILLING:

1/2 a large kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (~ 4.5 cups)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened full fat coconut milk (I used homemade)

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon maple syrup (I used raw sugar since I was low on maple syrup)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract OR seeds from a vanilla bean

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

nutmeg, to taste (I used ~ 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh, but I like a strong nutmeg flavor) you could also sub pumpkin pie spice blend here

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder

pinch sea salt

CRUST:

1 1/4 cups raw cashews

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons rolled oats (GF)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon GF flour blend OR spelt/all purpose if you don’t mind gluten

1/4 cup brown rice flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon melted coco oil OR EVOO

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Steam the squash chunks for 10-12 minutes until soft.  Drain, place in a bowl and mash it up really well.  Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the mash.  Blend the coconut milk, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, arrowroot, and salt to combine evenly.  Add the squash and blend until very smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (~177 celsius).  Oil a springform pan or tart pan really well.
  3. Place cashews, oats, GF flour, brown rice flour, and salt in food processor and blend until the mix is a crumbly flour, similar to a medium grind cornmeal.  Transfer to a bowl and drizzle the oil over it, mixing with your fingers until the flour is moistened.  Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and mix again until well combined.  Let sit for 5 minutes so the flours can hydrate.  Sprinkle a little extra GF flour blend if it seems reeealllly wet and mix well.  Dump it into your prepared pan and using the pads of your fingers, press it into a crust- work from the center out.  Make it as even a thickness as you can.  Prick the crust bottom all over with a fork.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is set but not done.
  4. Remove from oven and pour filling into the pan.  Bake for 1 hour, checking it at 45 minutes for doneness.  The center should be set and there will be cracks all over the pie surface.  The filling will thicken more as it cools.  Set aside to cool.  Once cool, put it in the fridge to chill completely, about 1 hour.  Remove the sides from the pan and serve with whipped cream (toasted or glazed pecans are amazing here too!)

 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I am so grateful for all of you.  xx

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hearty tuscan white bean stew

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As you guys know, soups are my jam in fall/winter.  I wanted to share this hearty white bean stew today, I’ve made it twice so far and the kids really loved it.  I put it in Carmela’s lunch (in a thermos) and one of the teachers at the school emailed me asking for the recipe!  It’s like a warm hug: creamy, herby, filling and nutrient packed.  J and the kids enjoyed it with toasty garlic bread, I had mine with a scoop of my favorite gluten free pasta stirred through.

tuscan white bean stew (adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook)

ingredients:

1 pound(2.5 cups) dried cannellini beans

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small fennel bulb, core removed, chopped

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (omit if you don’t like fennel)

8 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced (OPTIONAL)

5 cups water

3 cups veggie broth

2 bay leaves

1 pound kale, stemmed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2 cups canned diced tomatoes (approx 1 14.5 ounce can), drained

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh thyme

TO SERVE: chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and crumbly vegan parm

method

  1. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 4 quarts cold water in a large bowl, add beans and soak at room temp at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.  Drain and rinse well.
  2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot until shimmering.  Add onions, carrots, fennel bulb and celery and cook until softened and lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds and mushrooms and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in water, broth, soaked beans, and bay leaves.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, let boil for 1 minute.  Cover pot and transfer to oven, cook until beans are almost tender (very center of beans will still be firm), 45 mins-1 hour.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and continue to cook in the oven until beans are fully tender, about 30 minutes
  5. Stir in kale and continue to cook in oven until kale is tender, about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Remove pot from oven.  Discard rosemary sprig, thyme sprig, and bay leaves.  Season soup with salt and pepper.

VARIATION: QUICKER SOUP- Skip step 1, reduce water to 2 cups and sub 4 cans cannellini beans, rinsed, for the soaked cannellini beans called for.  Add water, broth, beans, bay leaves, kale, and tomatoes to pot at the same time and simmer gently until veggies and greens are fully tender, about 20 minutes.

+ über simple garlic bread loose “recipe”:

slice a baguette in half lengthwise.  Preheat the broiler.  Mix up EVOO, crushed garlic, minced parsley, salt, pepper and brush or spread over the baguette surface.  Place under broiler for a few minutes until toasty.  If you’re not a raw garlic fan, use garlic powder instead.  If you’re oil free, THIS recipe is soooo good.

ENJOY and have a wonderful weekend!  xx

 

package free: veggie broth

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Fall and winter here mean lots and lots of soup for our house.  They’re fast, nutritious, + one batch lasts for a few days of lunches and dinner.  Making this many soups, I go through a LOT of veggie broth.  I used to buy broth in those Tetra Paks (ugh) or buy the Better than Bouillon Veggie Broth Paste (suspicious ingredients).  Now I love to make our own broth from scraps by saving peels and odds/ends of veggies in the freezer in a brown paper bag.  Then, when it gets full, I simmer them in a big pot with water, herbs, salt and black pepper.  This method is FREE and uses up every bit of produce we buy.  Tough ends of leeks, outer tough layers of onions, peels or stem ends of carrots, butts of celery, peel of celery root, tough cauliflower stems, herb stems, mushroom stems all work great for stock.  I strain the stock after boiling and I store in glass mason jars* in the freezer.

BUT sometimes I don’t have time to make stock or I don’t have enough scraps yet!  That’s why I keep this awesome VEGAN stock concentrate in the freezer.  Super quick and easy to make, this stock is tasty and convenient.  There’s no weird ingredients or preservatives in it like store bouillon pastes or powders.  Just regular, real food ingredients.

vegetable broth concentrate (recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Complete Vegetarian Cookbook )

1/2 small celery root, peeled + cut into 1/2 inch pieces (3/4c or 3 oz)

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2/3c or 3 oz)

2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped + washed thoroughly (2.5c or 5 oz)

1/2c fresh parsley leaves and tender stems (1/2 oz)

2 tablespoons kosher salt

3 tablespoons dried minced onion

3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

1.5 tablespoons tomato paste

OPTIONAL: dried shiitake or porcini mushroom powder, or a spoon of miso.  This adds another layer of umami to the broth BUT is not necessary- the broth is great without!

Place the celery root, carrot, leek, parsley, onion, and kosher salt in a food processor.  Process until it becomes as fine as possible, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor as needed. Add tomato paste and process for 1 minute, scraping down the sides of bowl twice.  Add soy sauce and continue to process 1 minute.  Transfer paste to a jar and tap firmly on counter to remove air bubbles.  Freeze up to 6 months.

TO USE:  For 1 cup broth, stir 1 tablespoon of the concentrate into 1 cup boiling water.

*Tips on freezing in glass: Use canning jars (Ball/Mason/Kerr) which are designed to withstand both very hot and very cold temps.  Jars that are straight up and down (wide mouth) are best for freezing in.  Leave about 2 inches of space and don’t put the lid on until its fully frozen.  Make sure the liquid is totally cool before freezing, too.  I’ve never had breakage before!

Hope you guys make and love this stock.  I’ll be posting a delicious soup recipe Friday, so have some stock ready 😉 xx