Warm Breakfast: Great Goji Groatmeal

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For National Hot Tea & Oatmeal Month, we shared the Great Goji Groatmeal breakfast recipe on this recent WBNS 10TV segment with Karina Nova and Ross Caruso. With our weather being perfect (meaning: cold, rainy) for this breakfast, we’re sharing it here with you too!

What is an oat groat? It’s the whole grain form of oatmeal, before it is steel-cut, rolled, or pulverized into an instant oatmeal package. These oat groats are chewy and take some time to cook, which is why we called upon our trusty slow cooker to work the overnight shift.

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Ingredients
2 cups oat groats
2 tablespoons chia seeds (and/or flax seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups water (we used hot green tea)
3 cups of non-dairy milk (i.e. DIY almond milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, cored and blended
1/8 cup of goji berries (or substitute with raisins)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Use a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Put oat groats, chia, shredded coconut, water, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and goji berries (and cacao nibs if desired) inside. Blend cored apple and add to slow cooker. Stir all ingredients and cover, cooking on low for about 8 hours (automatic slow cookers should then switch over to ‘warm’ setting). Stir and serve with additional fruit (i.e. berries), nuts, seeds, or sweetener on top and enjoy a warm belly of food to start your day!

Recipe: Spicy Gazpacho Shooters

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Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.

Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?

This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Vegan Banana Pudding

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In honor of National Vegan AND National Banana Pudding Month, we recently did a segment where we combined the two into a demo for Vegan Banana Pudding. Not only are you getting the benefit of the potassium, vitamin C and B6 from the banana but also the creamy texture it lends to this dessert! It’s a quick, no-added sugar dessert to eat when you have a craving and is perfect to share with others. If you are fans of chocolate like we are, you’ll notice how the cacao powder and nibs elevate this dessert to make it feel like a true treat. Top with your favorite fruit (our seasonal favorite is juicy pomegranate) and chopped nuts and enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup cashews
2 frozen bananas
1 fresh banana
2 medjool dates
1/2 cup coconut cream
1.5 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Enjoy!

Burgers & Frittatas: Five Star Foodies

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A couple of months ago, as you may remember, we spoke about vegan grilling options. To our delight, the quest for finding a darn-near-perfect veggie burger was achieved when we found Five Star Foodies in the Kroger frozen food section.

In the past decade or so, food companies have been stepping up their game when it comes to their veggie burgers. No longer is the only option a frozen gray disc made of soy protein, gluten, and questionable flavorings.

We’ve been to local restaurants with great veggie burger options and made recipes from scratch; however, if you just want to run into your grocery store and secure yourself a delicious, easy dinner, this might be for you.

vegan burger

Why you might like the Five Star Foodie products:

You’re vegan or plant-based and want a delicious burger

A great variety of artichoke burgers beyond the original recipe include French Herb, Indian Tandoori, Thai Coconut, and Italian Herb. We recommend doubling the deliciousness by topping with one or more of these options: guacamole, mustard, crunchy lettuce, fresh parsley or cilantro, and salsa.

You’d like to secure your 3 burgers for less than $6

Beyond burgers, they have vegan frittatas that are soy & nut free, gluten-free, 70% organic and non-GMO. Our personal favorite is the Potato Parsley one and we recommend adding some salsa or hot sauce on top.

You have friends or family members who are vegan or gluten-free

You like an ingredients list that is pronounceable and easily identifiable as food items

Why you may NOT like these products:

You still believe that the word ‘vegan’ means tasteless or ‘only for vegans’

You’re a vampire.

Your name is Gaston; you’ve eaten between 4 and 5 dozen eggs a day for years now and stubbornly refuse to switch things up and try a vegan frittata.

We’re stretching our creativity here :D. There’s only one thing to do, try a food item and see if you like it!

Want to learn more? Check out Five Star Foodies products and more.

*This post was not sponsored (but we’d certainly not mind if it were *nom nom nom*).

10TV Recipe: Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls

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If you watched last month’s segment on 10TV, you learned about the factors which can make us feel FAT & TIRED as well as the top 10 foods for increasing our natural energy levels. One of the ideas featured was our Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls; it’s a great pick-me-up for the 3pm slump and a delicious, chocolate-y treat.

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Servings: 24 energy balls

Ingredients

1 cup coconut oil, melted
2.5 cups shredded coconut
1 cup cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder

Instructions

Put shredded coconut, cacao powder, cinnamon and cayenne in medium bowl. Mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and pour over dry ingredients. Combine well and put in freezer for about 15 minutes. Remove mixture and shape into balls; recipe makes 24. Store in fridge for up to a week or in freezer for up to 3 months.

 

Recipe: Avocado Egg Salad

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We’re celebrating National Egg Salad Week by sharing two delicious recipes – Avocado Egg Salad (made without mayonnaise!) AND an egg-less, vegan version with chickpeas. Pull those leftover, hard-boiled eggs from the fridge and let’s get started!

Avocado Egg Salad (vegan optional)
Serves 2-3
Prep time: 8 minutes

4 organic large eggs (substitute a 15oz can of drained chickpeas for eggs to make vegan)
1/2 avocado, pitted and chopped
1 tsp mustard
1/8 cup green onions, chopped
1/8 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lime juice (helps prevent browning of avocado)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dill weed
Pinch of paprika
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

Mash avocado in a medium bowl then repeat mashing when you add the hard-boiled eggs (or chickpeas) to the bowl. Mix all other ingredients into the bowl, except paprika.

Egg salad is best served chilled. Stick mixture in the fridge for at least 1/2 hr before garnishing with paprika and enjoying on your favorite bread, on top of a bed of greens, or in a wrap.

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Serving vs. Portion Size

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Dark chocolate coconut ice cream with banana chips, gluten-free mini cookies, and dark chocolate pieces. Truly decadent.

Do you know how much you’re really eating? It can be difficult to tell if our portion sizes are right for our bodies’ nutritional needs.

Portion sizes have grown quite drastically in recent decades and, with it, people’s waistlines and confusion about how much they are eating versus what they should. Let’s get back to the basics. Even with healthy food, eating too much can add inches to our waistlines and counteract progress to our goals.

What is a serving size and how do I find it?

The serving size is the amount of food listed on a product’s nutrition facts label, along with the nutritional values (calories, protein, fiber, sugar, carbohydrates, etc) associated with that amount of food. So let’s say you are drinking a 20oz soda and the serving size is 8oz; there are 2.5 servings in the bottle. If you drink that whole bottle, you’ll need to multiply 2.5 with all of the calories, sugar, carbohydrates and more listed in the nutrition facts label. It’s sobering.

For foods without a nutrition facts label, how will you know what a serving size is? Luckily WebMD has a handy-dandy handout with some common household items as a reference point for servings of various fruits, vegetables, grains, and more.

Okay, but how many servings of each food should I eat?

Here’s a guide from the American Heart Association with suggested serving sizes from each food group to get started. Remember, your needs and chosen food groups may be different from what is listed. It’s a guide; reach out to your nutrition professional to set up an individualized plan (especially if there are certain food groups you’re avoiding due to food allergies or sensitivities or dietary preferences, such as being gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan).

Whaaaa? It’s says here my ice cream servings is 1/2 cup. That’s totally too small!

First, as fellow ice cream lovers, we agree with you. This part of your exploration may shock you. Check out serving sizes for cheese, nuts, and oils for further surprises.

What’s the difference between serving and portion sizes then?

A portion size is the amount of food we choose to eat at one time and this means we can control our portion sizes. We can choose to eat less than a serving of food or multiples of it.

So as discussed before, the serving size of ice cream is 1/2 cup; however, the portion size can vary…it is the amount of food you choose to eat in one sitting. So, for ice cream, you/me/we may choose to eat closer to 1 cup of this decadent dessert. In this case we’ve all screamed for more ice cream and promptly devoured 1 portion but 2 servings total.

What I do now?

How far do you want to take this? It can be helpful to use measuring cups to actually see what 1/2 cup of ice cream or 2 Tbsp of nuts looks like. Counting out a serving size of pretzels or chips can be eye-opening as well.

You can also stick with a guideline of 1/2 your plate being vegetables, 1/4 of it being protein, and 1/4 of it being starch (try for whole grains or healthier starchy vegetable such as sweet potato versus macaroni and cheese or pasta).

Consider tracking your serving sizes and portion sizes for a few days; you can write the food you eat and the amount down in a food journal or use an app such as MyFitnessPal. Increased awareness may jump-start a few small changes in how much you eat and can help with weight loss.

 

 

 

Recipe: Peppermint Eggnog & Vegan Nog

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Our first eggnog experience was rather unremarkable and with concerns about foodbourne illness from raw eggs, we’ve never pursued it…until now. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tasty peppermint eggnog recipe for you which can be made safely with eggs AND we have an eggless, vegan version which is equally delicious. We love to be the bearers of joyous tidings, and this beverage is one of them.

Eggnog is technically stirred custard, very similar to ice cream.

Peppermint Eggnog

6 organic large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened almond milk, you can DIY here)
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Whisk eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in large saucepan over low-medium heat until combined. Then pour milk in slowly while whisking to fully incorporate into mixture. Whisk ingredients over heat constantly, until thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 30 minutes.  This is an important step; should you leave the eggnog mixture to cook on its own, you’ll likely get an unappealing scrambled egg-in-milk, porridge-y mixture.

After cooking is complete, pour mixture through fine sieve over a medium bowl, cool for a few minutes, and stick in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can also do an ice-bath to help cool mixture down faster. You’ve made a custard; great job!

Remove custard from refrigerator and set aside as you put coconut milk cream in a bowl and mix well. Then fold into eggnog custard mixture until combined; fill cups with this delicious, creamy eggnog.

Option to add alcohol. To garnish beverage, sprinkle with finely crushed peppermint, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppermint or cinnamon sticks, or whatever strikes your festive fancy.

Vegan Peppermint Eggless Nog

The only real difference here in terms of ingredients is the fact that we’re using frozen bananas instead of eggs. Because of the natural sweetness they provide, you may want to consider decreasing the amount of maple syrup added or omit it.

4 bananas (peeled and frozen)
1/2 cup maple syrup, if desired
3 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Even easier! Put all ingredients in a blender and blend it until smooth. Garnish as above with your favorites.

Besides being delicious, eggnog is quite versatile and can be added to coffee, used in making french toast, quiche, and more! We hope you enjoy these egg- and/or dairy-free versions of eggnog with your friends and family over the holidays.

The Great Goji Groatmeal

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National Whole Grains Month inspired us to venture more into actual whole grains (none of that ‘made-with-whole-grain’ partial credit here) in this breakfast recipe. What is an oat groat? It’s the whole grain form of oatmeal, before it is steel-cut, rolled, or pulverized into an instant oatmeal package. These oat groats are chewy and take some time to cook, which is why we called upon our trusty slow cooker to work the overnight shift.

 

Ingredients
2 cups oat groats
2 tablespoons chia seeds (and/or flax seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups water
3 cups of non-dairy milk (i.e. DIY almond milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, cored and blended
1/8 cup of goji berries (or substitute with raisins)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)

 

Instructions
Use a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Put oat groats, chia, shredded coconut, water, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and goji berries (and cacao nibs if desired) inside. Blend cored apple and add to slow cooker. Stir all ingredients and cover, cooking on low for about 8 hours (automatic slow cookers should then switch over to ‘warm’ setting). Stir and serve with additional fruit (i.e. berries), nuts, seeds, or sweetener on top and enjoy a warm belly of food to start your day!