Sunday, September 9, 2012

Yummy Snacks for the Busy Gluten Free Vegan

With Fall beginning, and school starting, I'm getting asked a lot of questions about healthy snack ideas that are quick, easy, and portable.

Well... I have been so busy lately, feeling like I'm always running to one place or another. So, with limited time to spend in the kitchen myself, I have recently become very experienced in the art of on-the-go snacking! So, I thought I'd post a few of my go-to yummy snacks, no cooking required! (only some minimal preparation)

  1. Apple wedges spread with or dipped in almond butter.
  2. Celery filled with soy cream cheese and cubes of pineapple and mango.
  3. Chocolate vegan pudding pot sprinkled with shredded coconut and raspberries.
  4. Hummus or salsa with veggie sticks.
  5. Homemade trail mix (throw some nuts and dried fruit together & maybe even some dairy free choc chips for an extra little bit of a treat).
All healthy, all yummy, all quick and easy! Enjoy! :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

Salted Caramel Sauce

This is what healthy frozen dessert dreams are made of.... YUM! It just happens to be raw as well as delicious too.
  • 1 cup Medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup water (or 1 cup if you are leaving out the liquid sweetener)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup (if you are on a strict raw diet it's probably a good idea you leave this out)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh scraped vanilla beans or gluten free vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and whizz up until smooth. Its that simple!
I served mine over vegan vanilla ice cream with bashed up almonds and dairy free chocolate sprinkled over the top. I can recommend it, it was delicious! Who would have thought caramel could be so healthy? :)

Why not serve it with my Native Foods Cafe inspired Boogie Bars and dairy free vanilla ice cream? Banana, Caramel, Chocolate Chips, Vanilla, Oats, Almond, Coconut.... what a combination!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

'Boogie Bars', Peanut Butter Parfait, & Native Foods Cafe

This recipe post is inspired by a visit to Native Foods Cafe, LA. 'The Boyfriend' and I go there a lot, too much probably really, but the food is just too darn yummy! Everything on the menu is vegan too, & labeled when gluten free, which makes ordering a lot simpler.

We are big dessert people, and have even been known to have dessert for dinner on more than one occasion. Practically every time we go, (after his burger AND chili cheese fries... man that boy can eat) he always orders a 'Boogie Bar' or 'Peanut Butter Parfait', which is basically crumbled boogie bars (a banana-y bread-y type cake) layered with creamy peanut butter filling and chocolate chips. Take a look... don't they both look amazing?


He loves them! I think they look super yummy too, and I always have an urge to nibble on them for a quick taste. But, unfortunately the gluten in the boogie bars means that celiacs need to keep away. Luckily, Native Foods Cafe serve their desserts in little to-go- containers, so we always get me some vegan ice cream on the way home, and eat dessert back at the apartment.

So, after months of admiring them, I decided to get myself in the kitchen and make myself some gluten free celiac friendly versions! Here goes...    (Thank you to the Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook for giving me an idea of the sorts of ingredients I should be including, I wanted to get it as close tasting to the real thing as I could).

For the Boogie Bar:
  • 1 cup G/f flour mix or I've used a 1/2 cup buckwheat flour & 1/2 cup brown rice flour (either works, it's just personal preference).
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/2 tablespoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 3oz silken tofu
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon gluten free vanilla extract

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees, and line a loaf pan with baking parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, blend together the maple syrup, tofu, banana, oil & vanilla until smooth, set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, almonds, coconut, and chocolate chips, until evenly mixed through.
  4. Pour the pureed ingredients, into the flour mix and stir together to form a batter.
  5. Transfer the boogie bar batter into the lined loaf pan. Bake for 35-40 mins, until lovely, yummy, and golden. (turn it round half way through to make sure it cooks evenly).
  6. Let it cool, and then cut into bars. Serve. YUM! :)
For an optional topping to serve, spoon 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter blended with 1/4 teaspoon cocoa powder on top of the bar,  and then sprinkle with 1/2 tablespoon broken up almonds. (The topping is per bar... not the whole cake. It's best making the frosting right before you eat the boogie bar, the cake can be wrapped and stored)
If you want to turn your Boogie Bars into the Peanut Butter Parfaits.....
(to make 2 parfaits)
  • 2 boogie bars
  • 1/2 box firm silken tofu
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips
  1. Blend all the ingredients, apart from the chocolate chips, together in a food processor, until smooth & creamy. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  2. Break up the boogie bars, and crumble about 2/3 of them into the bottom of 2 dishes. Sprinkle on a few chocolate chips.
  3. Divide the mousse mixture between the two dishes.
  4. Sprinkle the rest of the choc chips and boogie bar crumbles on top of the peanut butter mousse, and return the dishes to the refrigerator to chill until serving.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Yummiest Blueberry Pancakes

What's a girl to do after an early morning weekend spin class and power yoga session? Why, make a yummy gluten free, vegan pancake brunch of course!

 I love, love, love pancakes, and these are so light & fluffy! They are sure to make you smile :)

Be warned, this recipe makes quite a large batch.... we like leftovers in our apartment! I always make more and wrap the extras up. Also if my lovely boyfriend comes over with his gorgeous new puppy, she always seems to get her tiny paws on a couple, so a few extra can come in very useful.  They taste so good cold or popped in the toaster the next day. Pancake & almond butter sandwich anyone?
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour (or groats processed into flour)
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (to sweeten, agave nectar would work)
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond or soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • extra blueberries, banana slices, & maple syrup to serve (optional)

  1. Preheat a large non stick skillet over a medium heat.
  2. In a a large bowl mix together the 3 flours and the baking powder until fully combined.
  3. Pour the milk, vanilla, and syrup into the bowl, and whisk the batter until smooth and lump free.
  4. Mash the banana with the applesauce, and then fold it into the pancake batter.
  5. Lightly grease the skillet (I used Earth Balance Spread), and then ladle in a dollop of batter (about 3 1/2 inch diameter).
  6. Sprinkle some blueberries on the top of the pancake. (I prefer adding the blueberries this way as it stops the pancakes turning overly purple, and it means you can make sure all the pancakes are loaded with blueberries. (A few months ago, I had a batch with one sad pancake containing only one lonely blueberry... my room mate wasn't too impressed, so she got some extra fake bacon to make up for it). 
  7. Cook until bubbly on the top (slightly more bubbles than the pic), and then flip. Cooking the other side for a couple of mins, keeping peeking at it to check it's not browning too much. Golden brown is good, burnt is bad! These hold together surprisingly well for vegan, gluten free pancakes,but you still need to be gentle when flipping.
  8. Repeat until the rest of the batter has been used.
  9. Serve with extra blueberries & banana slices, and some warm male syrup drizzled on top. YUM :)
Feeling extra hungry, or wanting an extra special treat? Cook up a side of fake-bacon... it tates so yummy on top of the pancakes and all maple syrupy! Be sure to check the label though, quite alot of vegan meats contain wheat-gluten.
If you're looking for other brunch ideas, try my Berry French Toast. Can you believe french toast can be gluten free and vegan? It's yummy too (even if i do say so myself) ;)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Peanut Butter Cashew Cookie Bites

My Chocolate Chocolate Chip Coconut Bites have been so popular (both in my apartment & with readers), & they are so yummy, that I decided I needed to create another flavor. These little gems of rawness are sweet and oh-so satisfying and not at all naughty. They will make your skin glow & your tummy smile! And Shhh! but I think they taste even better than larabars.

  • 20 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon raw peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup raw peanuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract or fresh scraped vanilla pod

  1. Pulse the dates in a food processor until they become a sticky dough like consistency.
  2. Add the peanut butter and vanilla to the dough and blend until fully combined.
  3. Add the nuts, and pulse again a few times, until they are evenly blended through. Don't over process, you want them still a bit crunchy. They aren't as fun to eat if the nuts are processed too finely.
  4. Transfer the dough to a bowl for the fun part, messy (& a tiny bit sticky)... but fun! Break of small chunks of the dough and roll them into bite size balls, placing them on a baking sheet.
  5. Refrigerate until set.
  6. Enjoy! :)

Like these? Why not turn them into Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Cashew Cookie Bites by adding 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder to the food processor with the peanut butter.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Baked Oatmeal Raisin Bars

I always try to have a batch of these (somehow chewy & crunchy) oatmeal bars baked up, they are great for snacks, or on the go breakfasts if you're in a rush. They have no sugar either so they are so much healthier than store bought cereal or granola bars. Try them as an alternative to cookies with a glass of almond milk too!

  • 3 cups gluten free oats
  • 1//2 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup (some vegans don't eat honey)
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a shallow square baking pan with baking parchment paper.
  3. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl, and press firmly into the baking pan.
  4. Bake for approximately 35 mins or until golden brown, turning the pan around halfway through.
  5. Let cool for 5 mins, cut the bars to whatever size you fancy, and then let them completely cool before storing them in your cookie jar!
Why not try out your own flavor combinations? Pecan & maple syrup? Chocolate chip & cranberry? Peanut butter & banana? The chocolate chip one is so yummy served warm & gooey with vegan ice cream for a dessert. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chocolate Shake

Smooth, thick & 'ice'creamy, chocolately, and oh so yummy! oh and can't forget... HEALTHY!

(makes 1)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond/soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw cocoa powder or carob (more if you like it extra chocolately!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon raw peanut butter 
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
  • Sprinkling of carob or vegan choc flakes (optional)
  1. Place the frozen banana in a food processor, and pulse until it resembles frozen soft serve ice cream. (don't whizz it up so much it melts).
  2. Add all the other ingredients, and whizz until fully combined. It's that simple! If you want it even thicker add an extra half tablespoon peanut butter).
  3. Pour into a chilled glass, pop in a straw (or a spoon might be more appropriate really), sprinkle on a few carob or vegan chocolate flakes and serve. :)
To make it a thick and 'ice'creamy vanilla shake, leave out the cocoa powder and add an extra half teaspoon of vanilla extract. If you need to make it a tiny bit sweeter... a teaspoon agave nectar or sweetened vanilla almond/soy milk will do the trick!

I got super excited today, as the rock star of an actress, Dawn Olivieri, asked me on twitter if I knew how to make a vegan malt shake. I love that people are getting as excited as me over these recipes. So here goes... If you want a malted milk shake, use this recipe, omitting the peanut butter and using 1 1/2 tablespoons barley malt syrup or powder extract instead. This does contain gluten though... so it's not suitable for celiacs, or for people with a gluten allergy.... sorry! But celiacs can still enjoy shake without the malt.... it still tastes reallly really good! :)
Gym bunnies could also add a scoop of vegan/ gluten free protein powder for a yummy pre- or post- workout snack!