Vegan Almond Snowballs

Just in time for Christmas!  Looking for a simple, vegan & gluten-free cookie recipe for all those holiday gatherings?  Well look no further!

These  Vegan Almond Snowballs are just the thing!

I had come across this recipe for Mexican Wedding Cake Cookies that sounded awesome AND super simple.  Plus, it looked like an easy enough recipe to veganize!  I didn't quite have all the ingredients either, so I came up with my own version inspired by these classic treats.  Hope you enjoy them, we sure did! And my non-vegan, non-gluten-free family and friends had no idea they weren't made with butter, eggs or wheat. 

Score!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Earth Balance shortening
  • 2 cup  GF flour - I used 1 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup spelt flour & 1/2 GF All Purpose Flour blend (you can also use regular flour if you're not GF)
  • 3/4 - 1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (omit if your flour blend already has it)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (you can use maple syrup or honey if desired)
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon Amaretto (optional) or use more almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 c. almonds chopped
  • Powdered sugar 

Instructions:

  1. Cream shortening.
  2. Add all the other ingredients.
  3. Roll mixture into small balls and roll into powdered sugar.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes in a 300 degree oven.
  5. Roll in powdered sugar while hot and again when cold.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.  These cookies are light and crunchy and oh so Almond-y! They would be lovely made with coconut or other nuts as well.  Keep them  in an airtight container and they freeze well too... if they last that long!

Maple Hemp Pumpkin Loaf

Fall is fast approaching and what better way to embrace the cool crisp nights than with some seasonal baking!  Not only is this recipe gluten-free and vegan, but it's also delicious!  And adding in the hemp hearts is a great way to sneak in some healthy fats & protein.

This recipe was a bit of an experiment, but I'm happy to report that it turned out beautifully.  Hope you enjoy my Maple Hemp Pumpkin Loaf as much as we do! (it was devoured in under 48 hours)

Maple Hemp Pumpkin Loaf

Maple Hemp Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 2 Chia or Flax Eggs
  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree (not pie filling - I used my own homemade pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tsp Vanilla 
  • 1/4 cup Dairy Free Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon (plus some extra for the top)
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • 3/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or any combo of your favourite flavours - nutmeg, clove, all spice all work well)
  • 1 3/4 cup All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour mix (I used King Arthur's blend, but any will work. Just make sure it has xanthan gum or you will need to add some to your mix to keep the loaf together. 1/4-1/2 tsp should do it)
  • 1/2 cup Hemp Hearts(or you could use any other seeds or nuts if desired)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • Pumpkin Seeds, Hemp Hearts or Raw Sugar for sprinkling on top. (optional)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line a standard loaf pan (9x5) with parchment paper.
  • Make your Chia or Flax eggs in a small bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Never tried it? Click here for an easy how to!
  • Meanwhile, a large bowl mix together all your wet ingredients: pumpkin, vanilla, oil, milk, maple syrup and vegan eggs.  
  • Next stir in your salt, cinnamon, ginger and pumpkin pie spice.  Then beat on med-high until everything is thoroughly combined.
  • Add in your hemp hearts or seeds and stir. Then stir in your baking soda and flour until just combined.
  • Spread your batter evenly in your lined loaf pan and sprinkle with cinnamon and seeds/sugar if using.  Use a small knife to gently swirl the cinnamon and toppings onto the top of your loaf.
  • Bake your loaf for about an hour.  Mine took about 58 minutes, but cooking time will vary depending on your oven.  So anywhere from 55-65 minutes should do it.  Make sure to check your loaf with a cake tester when it's getting close.  Your loaf will be done when your cake tester/toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the loaf.
  • Once done, let your bread cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then carefully transfer to a wire rack by lifting it with the parchment paper.  Let cool for at least another 30-45 minutes (if you can wait that long) before slicing.
Maple Hemp Pumpkin Loaf

So, the Maple Hemp Loaf was family approved with the kids and hubby happily inhaling it. (notice there's only half a loaf in the photos...it was almost gone before I could get the camera!) And with no nuts, it's school safe making it perfect for lunches.  

Keep your bread in an air tight container on the counter to keep it lovely and moist.  You can certainly put it in the fridge, but it will firm up a bit more.  And since ours is now gone, I can only assume it would freeze fairly well too! Just ensure its wrapped well and in an air tight container before popping it in the freezer.

Vegan Apple Raisin Oatmeal Bars

Sometimes you just want to bake something quick and easy, without fancy ingredients and that everyone will enjoy.  So I guess that's where my Apple Raisin Oatmeal Bars came from.

With a toddler at home and trying to juggle work, school and maintaining a household, I haven't had much time to play in the kitchen.  But these bars were the perfect thing to satisfy my baking desire and my cravings for a little treat.  Plus they are school friendly and made with delicious, whole ingredients.

Soft and chewy apple pie inspired oatmeal bars are perfect for lunches, after school snacks or a quick breakfast bite!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 cup Gluten-Free flour (your fave gf blend will do)
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice or All Spice
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Apple Butter (or you could use apple sauce too)
  • 1/2 cup Soy Milk (or your fave non-dairy milk)
  •  1 Flax Egg (or Chia Egg)
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup Hemp Hearts
  • 1/2 cup Raisins

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.  Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper and set aside while you mix your ingredients.  In a small bowl make your flax/chia egg.  Don't know what I am talking about?  Click here for my post on egg alternatives.
  • In a large bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and spices (essentially all the dry ingredients) and mix thoroughly.  Then add in your vanilla, apple butter, milk, flax egg and maple syrupand mix until combined.  Then add in your raisins and stir until just combined.
  • Pour your batter into your lined pan and pop in the oven for 20-30 minutes.  Mine took about 26 minutes to bake so just keep your eye on them and just make sure they are just baked enough so that the centre is cooked.
  • Once cool, cut into bars and enjoy!  These bars kept well in an air tight container on the counter, but they also freeze quite nicely.

Enjoy!

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax Cookies

Looking for a delicious treat that you can whip up in a few minutes AND is good for you? Well look no further!  These Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax cookies are no-bake, gluten-free, dairy-free & egg-free!  And with only a handful of real, natural ingredients they are good for you too!  The kids love them and they're lovely and rich and no one would ever guess that they are filled with loads of goodness.

PB & Chocolate Cookies

No-Bake Peanut Butter & Chocolate Oatmeal Flax Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (or substitute your favourite nut-butter)
  • 3/4 cup Maple Syrup (or Honey if that's your thing)
  • 1/2 Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Gluten-free Oats
  • 1/4 cup ground Flax
  • 1/4 Hemp Hearts
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 6 tbsp Cocoa powder

Instructions:

  • Combine peanut butter, maple syrup (or honey) and coconut oil in medium sized pot.  Heat on low and stir frequently until all ingredients have blended together and remove from heat. You don't want to cook out all the goodness from the honey!
  • Next, stir in your vanilla and cocoa until combined.  Then add in the oats, hemp & flax and mix well.
  • Once everything is nice and blended and ooey-gooey, drop by spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I smoothed the cookies out with the back of my spoon, but you can totally leave them as little stacks if you prefer.

All that's left to do is pop the pan in the fridge (or freezer if you're impatient) and wait for them to set. Once they are nice and chilled, keep them in an air tight container in your fridge or freezer and enjoy a little healthy indulgence whenever you like!

(P.S. With the flax, oats & hemp heart; they make great lactation treats too!)

Green 'N Glo Protein Granola Bars

Need a quick bite on the go? Then you need to try my Green 'n Glo Granola Bars!  Not only are they super quick and simple to make, they are gluten-free, vegan and can very easily be made nut-free.  Plus they are packed with loads of nutrient-dense ingredients that even your kids will love!

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Green 'n Glo Protein Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup of Pitted Dates (packed)

1/4 cup Natural Peanut Butter (almond butter or sunflower butter would work as well)

1/4 cup Maple Syrup (you could also use Honey or Brown Rice Syrup)

1/2 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/2 cup Sunflower Seeds

1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats

2 tbsp Green 'n Glow Protein Mix

1 tbsp Hemp Hearts

1 tsp Vanilla

1/4 cup Chocolate Chips

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Instructions:

  • First you will need to blend your dates using a high-speed blender or food processor.  If your dates are really dry, soak them in hot water for 20 minutes first and then drain.  Place dates and vanilla in blender and process until a paste forms.
  • In a large bowl, combine your oats, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, chocolate chips and Green 'n Glow protein mix and mix well.
  •  In a small pot, warm your peanut butter and maple syrup on low heat until well mixed.
  • Remove from heat and stir in your dates until combined.  Then pour mixture over your dry oat and seed mixture and mix well.
  • It will take a few minutes to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and the mixture will be sticky and crumbly
  • Then pour your mixture into a 9x9 pan lined with parchment paper or plastic wrap and spread evenly.  Use clean, wet fingers to firmly press your granola into the pan.  The harder you press, the better your bars will stick together.
  • Place your pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
  • Once they are set, use your plastic wrap or parchment paper to lift the bars from the pan.  Then simply cut and enjoy!

These Green n' Glow Protein Granola Bars are full of chocolaty-peanut butter goodness.  Plus, with the addition of the Green n' Glow protein, hemp hearts and seeds you'll also be getting a bunch of great plant based protein along with a sweet treat!

Halfway Through the 30 Day REAL Food Challenge

So it's the morning of the start of week three; 14 days done of the 30 Day REAL Food Challenge.  So what does that mean?

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Well, here's what I've discovered in the past couple of weeks:

  • I have never eaten so many greens in my entire life!
  • It's shocking how delicious and flavourful simple and clean meals can be.
  • I think I may have mastered the art of picking and eating an avocado.
  • No cheese, no coffee, no meat, no chips and I'm still alive!
  • Clean eating involves a little bit of prep-work, but is actually fairly easy.
  • My body runs better with better fuel.  i.e. real food
  • Resisting temptation is an on going struggle.
  • Sometimes a cheat day is exactly what you need to see you're on the right track. 
  • Retrain your taste buds...it's unbelievable!
  • Don't worry about what others think, just take care of you!

We are starting week 3 and that means a whole new round of recipes that I can't wait to try.  Out of all the 40+ recipes I've made over the past couple weeks, I think there were only 2 or 3 that I wasn't a big fan of.  The rest were amazing, fantastic vegan recipes that were surprisingly tasty and filling!

And now for the weigh-in...

Now this wasn't the only reason we decided to do this program, but both my husband and I definitely wanted to shed a few of those holiday pounds.  As of today, I am down 7 lbs and Mike is down 6 lbs!  Pretty amazing, even with our cheat day this past weekend!

Now bring on Week 3!

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever!

Need a quick and healthy snack that can be ready in minutes? How about Hummus? Now I'm not talking about the over-priced, over-preserved tub from the store; I'm talking simple, delicious homemade hummus. And it's easier than you think!

Easiest Hummus Recipe Ever!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can Chickpeas (look for no-salt added and/or organic)

  • 1-3 Cloves of Garlic

  • 1 Lemon

  • 2 Tbsp Tahini

  • Sea Salt to taste

Instructions:

Juice your lemon and pour into your food processor or high-speed blender.  Drain and rinse your chickpeas and add to the lemon.  Add the rest of your ingredients and blend until smooth.  If your mixture is a little on the thick side, add 1-2 tbsp of water or lemon juice to get the right consistency.  And then enjoy!

No cooking or waiting, your hummus is ready to eat straight away!  The recipe makes about 2 cups.

Want to mix it up a bit? Try adding 1/2 tsp of cumin, smoked paprika or chili powder to give your hummus an extra kick!

So simple, so yummy and super frugal! Take that store bought tub!!

Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats #Glutenfree #Vegan

Want a quick and delicious breakfast that you can prepare the night before in just minutes? Then you gotta try my Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats! They are so simple and delicious you'll want them every morning.

Blueberry Vanilla Chia Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Oats
  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
  • 1.5 cups Non-Dairy Milk (I used a mix of Soy and Coconut/Almond)
  • 1 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Flax Oil (optional)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Instructions:

In a large mason jar or container with a leak-proof lid add all your ingredients together except for the blueberries.  Put the lid on and shake your booty...and your jar until everything is well mixed. Then divide into  2 containers (with lids) and top with blueberries.  Seal your jars or containers and place in the fridge overnight.

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And just like that you have breakfast for the next morning.  The recipe makes 2 servings and is packed with loads of great nutrients.  You'll feel good and full from all the Chia and protein and if you add the Flax you'll get some great Omega-3's.  What a great start to the day!

Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Nothing says Autumn like Apples & Pumpkins.  Get the best of both in this surprisingly fluffy & delicious Apple Pumpkin Muffin recipe.  Oh, and did I mention it's also gluten-free & vegan!

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Apple Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of oil (I used Coconut Oil)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup Non-Dairy Milk (I used Hemp Milk)
  • 3 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cup Gluten-free All-Purpose flour (my go-to is Cloud 9's baking mix)
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Xanthan Gum (could be omitted if you desire)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 2 tsp Ground Flax (optional)
  • 1/3 cup Hemp Hearts (optional)
  • 1 cup Pumpkin puree (not pie filling. I used my own homemade pumpkin sauce)
  • 1 1/2 cup Apple Sauce (again, my homemade stuff was perfect)
  • 1 cup Raisins (or substitute nuts, chocolate chips or whatever else you like)

Instructions:

Recipe makes 24 muffins.

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line two muffin tins with muffin liners.  If you are using a hard oil like coconut oil or butter, make sure to melt it first. Tip: I use my preheating oven to melt my oil while I get the rest of the ingredients together.
  • Mix all your wet ingredients and sugar together in a large bowl. That would be your oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk, vanilla and apple & pumpkin sauces.  In a separate bowl sift together all your dry ingredients except the raisins.
  • Then mix your dry into your wet until just mixed. 
  • Then stir in your raisins ( or whatever you are using) until evenly distributed in your batter.
  • Then fill your muffin cups about 2/3 of the way full and pop into the oven for 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took exactly 20 minutes to bake so just keep an eye on them. 
  • Let cool for 5 minutes in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

These Apple Pumpkin Muffins are a cinch to make and taste incredible.  They are moist and fluffy and no one would ever guess they were gluten-free & vegan.  These muffins are kid approved and by avoiding nut-milks they are a perfect addition to your kid's lunch box.

Now off to stand guard by my muffins...not sure that they will last until tomorrow in this house!

4 Pimped Out Pumpkin Recipes #Glutenfree #Vegan

The leaves are turning and there's the intoxicating smell of Autumn in the air.  Corn stalks, hay bales and pumpkins are bountiful and October is just around the corner.  And what could possibly be better than the sights & scents of Fall?  How about some freaking fabulous pumpkin recipes that will blow your mind & not to mention, they're gluten free & vegan?  Heck yeah!  These scrumptious recipe's will rock your world and maybe your Thanksgiving table!

Pimped Out Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter Fudge

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I have a feeling that you could eat an entire batch of this  Pumpkin fudge from Free People in just one sitting!

Gluten-free Pumpkin Molasses Cookies

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A couple of these chewy lovelies with a mug of hot apple cider sounds absolutely perfect don't you think? Thanks to The Pretty Bee for sharing this awesome  Autumn recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

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Chocolate? Pumpkin? Bars? YES! These  Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Bars from Ambitious Kitchen are the perfect delectable treat.  

And don't worry, we won't tell anyone they're good for you too!

Pumpkin Pie Cream Squares

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Just look at them?! Do I need to say anything more? 

These Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cream Squares from Sweetly Raw are irresistible and would be a fabulous addition to any Thanksgiving Feast!

What's your favourite Pumpkin dessert? I definitely have a soft spot for some really wicked pie, but after finding these recipes I think there will be a whole lot more pumpkin experimenting going on!

And if you're looking for more yummy recipes - don't forget to check out my boards on Pinterest.