Tips for a Vegan Newbie

The Vegan Experience: Top 10 Tips For a First-Time Vegan

So I am pretty much a #glutenfree #vegan (UPDATE: I did not mean to offend any true vegans. I have so much respect for those of you who truly are vegan. The technical term for my diet is Ovo-Pescatarian since I eat eggs and seafood. The dairy free and gluten free are in place due to intolerances. Hope this clears things up!! <3).

However, I think these tips can help anyone going #dairyfree or even just looking to eat #healthy and incorporate more fruits, veggies and plant based #protein into your #diet!

The Vegan Experience: Top 10 Tips For a First-Time Vegan
Source: Serious Eats

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

First of all I need to apologize for being MIA recently! Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter are probably sick of me on the other hand!

I have been keeping up with social media and have been cooking up a storm but have not have two minutes to get on here and write up a blog post and edit pictures and type out the recipe to share with you all! I am so sorry for teasing you with yummy pictures on Facebook and Twitter and not getting around to posting the full recipes on here. I promise I am working on it and will get each and every delicious meal, snack and dessert to you very soon!

So naturally, despite having about ten recipes worth of photos to share with you guys from the last few weeks. I decided tonight I wanted to share this scrumptious belly warming pudding I made last night and have since consumed all of: dessert last night, breakfast this am (2 servings) and dessert tonight. It super duper healthy and just sweet enough to help with the ice cream cravings. *I am making an attempt over the next few days to drastically reduce my dairy intake and then going to  go dairy free completely for a week to see if it helps improve a few symptoms I have been experiencing lately. It is common for people to become dairy intolerant after going gluten free. As their intestines and guts begin to heal, the body becomes more sensitive to foods that it probably had issues with in the past but were secondary to which ever major intolerance first arose… for  me that was gluten. When this happens, many of your initial symptoms return and/or new ones arise and you have to work on eliminating each potential culprit to figure out which food is your trouble area. For me, I have a strong feeling it is dairy. But to be completely honest, while I want to feel better, I am really hoping I am wrong! I love me some coconut or almond or soy ice cream, but I will miss all the amazing flavors and options in the non-dairy free section!!*

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

Vegan Chai Chia PuddingMy ideas for this recipe came from this recipe for tapioca pudding. I have been a little obsessed with Chai Tea lately… it has been the first thing I have had every morning the last week! I know it’s summer and 80 degrees out but when I wake up to my chilly condo after getting out of my nice warm cozy bed, tea just hits the spot! Especially Chai! I love the combination of vanilla and cardamon and cinnamon and ginger in one delicious warm cup of heaven! This recent obsession started when I found this amazing box of Good Earth Vanilla Chai Tea at Big Lots for super cheap!

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

This recipe combines the amazing superfood nutrition of Chia Seeds with the heavenly flavors of Chai and the soothing creaminess of pudding. It is so simple to make and can be chilled for several days and eaten cold or warm. Try adding fresh chopped berries or banana for an extra special twist! Be sure to sub the honey out if you want this to be vegan!

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 cups

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 123; Fiber 4.5 grams

Fat per serving: 5.7; Protein 3.9 grams

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

You can prep/make this multiple different ways. You can soak the chia seeds over night. You can chill the pudding overnight for a thicker texture. You can serve warm like oatmeal. And you can add any mix ins your heart desires. You can also leave the oats out if you wish, but I recommend adding more chia seeds at the end if you decide to do this since the oats absorb the extra liquid and help thicken the pudding.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Soak chia in cup of water till saturated and they have swelled to about ten times their original size. You can also soak these overnight the night before you make your pudding.
  2. Bring almond milk and chopped ginger to a boil and tie off the chai tea bag to the pot so it can begin brewing in the milk.
  3. Once boiling, reduce milk to a simmer and add cinnamon, vanilla and honey (or sweetener of choice!)
  4. NOTE: Honey is NOT vegan! Use agave, maple syrup or sweetener of choice for a completely vegan pudding!
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes until flavors are well combined. Add more spices at this point if you so desire.
  6. Remove from heat and stir milk tea mixture, the chia seed gel and your oats together.
  7. Eat warm or let chill over night for a thicker pudding consistency as the oats and chia seeds continue to absorb more liquid. Try adding strawberries or bananas chopped on top for an extra special twist!

Notes

You can prep/make this multiple different ways. You can soak the chia seeds over night. You can chill the pudding overnight for a thicker texture. You can serve warm like oatmeal. And you can add any mix ins your heart desires. You can also leave the oats out if you wish, but I recommend adding more chia seeds at the end if you decide to do this since the oats absorb the extra liquid and help thicken the pudding.

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/06/03/vegan-chai-chia-pudding/

Vegan Chai Chia Pudding

I’m a little proud of this recipe! It is seriously delicious and super nutritious thanks to the Chia Seeds! Even my boyfriend who, isn’t Gluten Free or Dairy Free or Vegetarian, gave i his tamp of approval! He had never had chia before and doesn’t love almond milk so I take that as a pretty big ringing endorsement!

Reader Response:

  • I would love feedback on how many of my readers are gluten free! Are you diagnosed Celiac or gluten intolerant?
  • If you are gluten free, did other intolerance develop over time as you began to heal?
  • What were your symptoms? TIA
  • And last but not least, what is your favorite way to use chia?

Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & GF)

Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine Gluten Free

Have you heard of Nasoya Pasta Zero!?! I just recently discovered these noodles at Publix in the produce section with the vegan cheeses and tofu products! I admit I was super skeptical of any product that looks like pasta, comes in a watery liquid AND has a claim to fame for it’s insanely low calorie count! 15 Calories! That’s it! You can eat the entire bag for 30 calories, which is a HUGE serving!
The equivalent amount of regular wheat, corn or rice pasta would be approximately 23o calories!

Nasoya Shirataki Nutrition Facts
Ingredients:
water, konjac flour, chickpea flour, potato starch, calcium hydroxide, reduced iron, folic acid

Pasta Zero FAQs

What are Shirataki Noodles?Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & Gluten Free)
A traditional Japanese noodle made from the Konjac plant root. Shirataki noodles have little flavor but absorbs the delicious flavors you cook with. They can be used just like regular pasta but will save you a boat load in calories and carbs!

Why do Pasta Zero Shirataki Noodles have a unique smell?
Actually, all shirataki noodles have a slight fishy smell thanks to the Konjac plant root, which is used to make the noodles. It’s completely safe and is a natural smell which will decrease as the noodles are rinsed and cooked.

Are Pasta Zero Shirataki Noodles Gluten Free and Vegan?Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & Gluten Free)
Yes

How do I cook with Pasta Zero Shirataki Noodles?
Be sure to drain and rinse the noodles under warm water for a couple minutes before using them.

Are Pasta Zero Shirataki Noodles made with non-GMO ingredients?
Yes, all Nasoya products are made using non-GMO ingredients.

Pasta Zero All Natural Shirataki Fettuccine Noodles

  • All Natural
  • Non-GMO
  • Fat Free
  • Vegan
  • Gluten Free
  • Low Calorie
  • Low Carb
  • Fortified with Iron

 

These noodles are similar to tofu in that they take on the flavor that you cook them with. They had a slightly chewier texture than normal pasta but it was so satisfying to have such a huge bowl of food for such low caloric intake! Enjoy and let me know what ingredients you decide to add! The recipe below is how I gobbled them up!

Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & GF)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 large servings

Serving Size: 1/2 recipe

Calories per serving: 118; Fiber 5.5 grams

Fat per serving: 1.4; Protein 3 grams

Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & GF)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Drain and rinse the noodles VERY well under warm water for a couple minutes before using them.
  2. Heat pan over medium heat with 1/2 tbsp of unrefined coconut oil.
  3. Chop bell pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes into large chunks.
  4. Drain and rinse corn. Set aside 1/3 of the can.
  5. Add all veggies to the hot pan and saute until heated through and cooked to your liking. I prefer to leave a little crunch to mine!
  6. Add noodles for the last three minutes of cooking and toss in seasonings of your choice. The noodles with loose their slightly funky smell while they are being cooked and will begin to take on the flavors you choose.
  7. Split into two large servings and enjoy your ridiculously low calorie and healthy meal!
http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/05/16/ridiculously-healthy-veggie-fettuccine-vegan-gluten-free/

Ridiculously Healthy Veggie Fettuccine (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Reader Response:

  • Can you get past the funky smell or look of certain foods pre-cooked?
  • Is a slightly chewy texture worth the 200 less calories to you!?
  • What ingredients would you like to try with these noodles? I am thinking about trying a vegan cheese sauce!

So many recipes… so little time! PS. Happy Mother’s Day!!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mothers Day

I hope all of you have had an amazing day! There is absolutely nothing like the love of a mother. Mother’s are the most selfless, giving, loving people in the world! I can’t imagine a day without my amazing mom! She has made me the woman I am today and started my love for cooking when I was very little! Her favorite thing in the world, even after a long day at work, is to spend hours in the kitchen, creating delicious and healthy masterpieces for the family. She loves hosting dinner parties and having family and friends over for the holidays. I feel so lucky every day for everything she has taught me <3

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I also wanted to let you all know that as soon as I possibly can I will be posting so many new and fun recipes! I have them! I have the photos! I have taken the time to taste test and devour each and every delicious bite… just for you of course! And I am so excited to share them all with you!

Recipes Coming Soon Collage

Here is a mini collage of a few of my favorite recent recipes! Once I have them all posted I will link them back to this post as well 🙂

LEFT: Zesty Lime Shrimp Tacos

TOP RIGHT: Citrus Cilantro Quinoa Salad with a Kick

BOTTOM RIGHT: 30 Calorie Veggie Fettuccine

I have been insanely busy lately… which is a great thing, but I am dying to have more time with my fingers on this keyboard to type up fun posts and the detailed recipes for everyone. I feel pretty confident you will all be excited to try them. I have been experimenting with savory meals lately to counteract my never ending sweet tooth and am pretty darn happy with the results!

Reader Response:

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

I got so excited when I decided to make this recipe I completelyyyy forgot to take pictures until the batter was mixed! I am so sorry! I promise you didn’t miss much. The exciting part is that this insane list of recipes come to together to look AND taste like brownie batter! And it’s completely vegan so eat away! Hey, screw the baking step if you want and just put it straight in the fridge and use it to dip apples or strawberries or oranges or whatever fruit you like!

My boyfriend and I were literally sitting on the couch after dinner and both looked at each other and laughed. We know the look of “Holy crap I need something sweet and NOW!” He said his mouth was watering for brownies and ice cream or something equally sinful! Naturally I thought that sounded divine! My light bulb went off and I grabbed my computer to find the 20+ flourless brownie recipes I had pinned over the last several weeks that I had been wanting to try making them! I would tell you which recipes I referenced, but there were soooo many I looked at and they each were totally different and my recipe is unlike ANY of them that it would be pointless because naturally I think mine is best 😉

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

I knew I wanted them to have black beans because… well… that’s what all the cool kids are doing! I also knew I wanted them to have as little sugar as possible and preferably have them be vegan. Most of the recipes I could find called for coffee, or cayenne, or balsamic vinegar?! Yikes! I am up for just about any flavor combo but I wanted to keep it simple. I know baking can be super finicky with amounts of each ingredient, especially when going gluten free, but to be perfectly honest: I didn’t care if these didn’t rise! And I didn’t care if they were dense and fudgey. And I didn’t care if I had to chill them to get them to set completely. Chocolate is chocolate and in my opinion, as long as they tasted like heaven and were freakishly good for me at the same time…. I was sold!

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

So the adventure started. I pulled my black beans and cocoa powder out. Those were literally the only things that I knew for sure that I wanted in them. The rest was based on what I had in the house/my desire to make them vegan and low fat! I have sen a bunch of recipes for zucchini chocolate banana bread so I decided to add zucchini into the mix. If you brownies have two veggies in them they can be eaten for breakfast right? ok ok how about lunch?!

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

The rest of the ingredients were substitutions and necessities for baking. I used unsweetened natural applesauce for the eggs AND the oil (like I said, I wasn’t worried about them not rising and being dense and fudgey). I used extra baking powder because I read that you can use applesauce as an egg sub if you add extra baking powder. I had flax and chia on hand but was nervous about them giving a flavor to the brownies and to be honest I REALLY wanted to just taste the chocolate. In my experience, applesauce has pretty much no flavor when used in baking. Lastly, I added a mix of Splenda Brown Sugar Blend and Domino Light Brown Sugar as well as, of course, vanilla extract.

 Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

I also swirled in my favorite creamy peanut butter, Crazy Richard’s 100% All Natural, as a surprise for my boyfriend. If you are new to my blog then you missed the stories about his favorite food “groups”… Parmesan cheese, hot sauce and peanut butter haha not all together but he loves them all and puts them on anything he can! You could also add chocolate chunks or chopped nuts or shredded coconut or anything your heart desires!

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

The only important thing about this recipe is getting all of the ingredients completely mixed together! There are only three steps in the whole process.

  1. Shred the zucchini and squeeze out the extra liquid (I used my food processor. It is going to be going back in there anyways so that works just fine).
  2. Mix zucchini, beans, applesauce, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder and vanilla together in a bowl and add to food processor; mix on high until smooth and creamy like brownie batter (It’s totally fine if there are chunks, but of course they will be in the brownies. Up to you).
  3. Bake (below is a pic of it half way through the baking)!

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

If you count cooling and waiting to taste them for at least five minutes, so you don’t burn your fingers, then I guess there are four step 😉

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 15 brownies

Serving Size: 1 brownie

Calories per serving: 61, Fiber 2.8 grams

Fat per serving: 1.4; Protein 2.8 grams

Black Bean Zucchini Brownies (Vegan & Gluten Free)

These will be very soft in the center still but the edges should be sturdy. These are 100% edible totally raw so don't worry if they aren't completely done. They are also pretty hard to burn so cooking a little too long shouldn't hurt either.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Spray an 8 x 8 brownie pan (or a 9 x 11 if you're like me and don't own a square one!) with cooking spray and set a side.
  3. In a food processor or blender add all the ingredients, except the peanut butter. You can do this in two batches if you cant fit it all, but make sure that both are equally mixed and smooth!
  4. Heat your peanut butter in a small microwave safe dish until it is warm and a little drippy but not boiling.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and gently swirl the peanut butter in on top... feel free to add chocolate chips (these one are Vegan!, nuts or more peanut butter if you want!
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, insert a toothpick, if it comes out cleanish, brownies are done (the center will probably never allow for a totally clean toothpick. The edges might).
  7. Leave in pan to cool before cutting. If you can wait... SEE NOTES!!

Notes

These will be very soft in the center still but the edges should be sturdy. These are 100% edible totally raw so don't worry if they aren't completely done. They are also pretty hard to burn so cooking a little too long shouldn't hurt either.

I suggest chilling them completely in the fridge before cutting. Other wise you might end up having to eat them with a spoon! I could think of worse things that eating healthy brownie batter with a spoon! 😉

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/05/03/black-bean-zucchini-brownies-vegan-gluten-free/

Healthy Black Bean Zucchini Brownies

Reader Response:

  • What are the craziest things you have added to healthy treats?
  • Do you tell your friends and family when you sneak fruits & vegetables into their snacks?
  • Do you like the denseness of these? I am thinking of making them again with coconut flour! What do you think?

Double Dose of Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Double Dose of Roasted Brussel Sprouts So there’s a girl in the kitchen with her handsome boyfriend trying to decide what to make for dinner… Said girl has two bags of Brussel Sprouts in the fridge that found their way into her basket at the farmers market… Said boy is pretty sure he doesn’t like Brussel Sprouts because they are “bitter”… Said boy has also never had this amazing veggie roasted before…

Said girl now has a mission: get handsome boy to enjoy Brussel Sprouts!

And so this is how it went. I LOVE Brussel Sprouts (not sure why my computer insists I capitalize those words but I kinda like it so we are gunna stick with it)! My favorite is what they get just past caramelized when you are roasting them and start to burn. The little crunchy parts are so sweet and the best part is that people who don’t know this awesome secret always pick around the burnt parts = more for me! Thank you very much!Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I figured my odds were better to get this handsome man of mine to enjoy this new food if I tried two different recipes. *let me clarify that he is amazing about trying foods I make even if he is pretty sure he won’t like them. he always gives them three chances and hey if he doesn’t like them after that then who am I to fault him!? I don’t eat half the foods he eats so to each their own!*

I didn’t take too many pics of the process of making these… Mostly cause the process is super super easy and really only has three steps: cut, mix, roast!

Check out both of the awesome recipes:

Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Because Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Avocado Ice Cream was a mouthful!
A delicious one at that!!

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

awesome quote via a Talenti Gelato container!

In the last week three different people have shared recipes with me for Chocolate Avocado Pudding, telling me that it made them think of me. I think I am honored! Anddddd I think my love for all things creamy and chocolatey proceeds me.

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Me being me… woke up this morning, craving chocolate. Me also being me, popped one of my 24 Calorie Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites to tide me over while I decided what to make. I usually go for a smoothie or chia seed, fruit and oat concoction in the morning. This morning the avocados and bananas AND chocolate were calling my name. After all the tempting photos of the combination of these three products I have seen this week I decided to give it a shot.

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Me being me AGAIN couldn’t stop at the pudding level (although it was freaking delicious and I want to thank all my awesome friends who suggested these recipes to me!) I had to forge forward and put my chilled ice cream bowl to use! Must I remind you here that I approve of ice cream for breakfast? Well I do. Especially when it involves avocado, banana, chocolate, andddd PEANUT BUTTER! Sign me up! I am ready to dig in!
Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream
So I started with the frozen banana and avocado and whipped them up in my food processor until they were thick and creamy and delicious. Then I added in two LARGE tablespoons of cocoa powder. This brought me to the recipe you see all over the web for healthy chocolate pudding. It was super yummy! I have to admit I consumed a small bowl at this stage before continuing.

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Once these ingredients were blended…. and tasted devoured… I thought about what I could add to make this the perfect mixture to swirl around in my ice cream maker. Almond milk was a give in. Next I thought chia seeds would add a nice texture both because of their tapioca like texture and their inner shell crunch when you bite in. I might be the first person ever to add chia to their ice cream but dare I say it turned out pretty damn good!

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

The mixture was delicious at this point but it needed one… or maybe two more things. Both of which I decided to add after adding it to the ice cream machine for a little more texture in the finished product.
Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice CreamSo into the machine this creamy mix went. After about ten minutes the last two secret ingredients went in… Richard’s Creamy Peanut Butter anddddd Pure Clover Honey! I am not sure where my ingredient ideas stem from, but I am fairly certain that my willingness to experiment with different flavor combos is a good thing based on this ice cream!

With no further ado, I present to you the biggest mouthful of an ice cream flavor ever! Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream!

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice CreamAvocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Enjoy every mouthful! I dare you to stop at one serving!

Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4.5 cups

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

Calories per serving: 141

Fat per serving: 9.7

Twisted Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Place ice cream machine bowl in freezer at least 8 hours (preferably 24... if it is not completely frozen this will not work!) before starting. Must be frozen completely! See your machine's specific directions for this step!
  2. You can do this all at the same time or step by step to taste the different flavor combos
  3. Cut your avocado in half, carefully remove the pit and scrap the flesh into the food processor.
  4. Add frozen banana chunks, cocoa, chia seeds, and Almond Milk.
  5. Taste to assure flavor is to your liking. You can add sweetener at this point if you would like a sweeter end product. this is NOT sweet ice cream. I recommend adding agave, honey or sugar in that raw if you want it to be sweet
  6. Place mixture in the freezer for ten minutes to ensure it is completely chilled (it is essential that your ice cream/frozen yogurt base is very cold when you place it in your machine).
  7. Remove base of machine from the freezer and assemble just moments before pouring your mixture in.
  8. Once assembled, turn on based on your machines directions and pour the ice cream mixture in.
  9. Depending on your machine and the temp and volume of your mixture, the freezing process should take 10-20 minutes (mine took about 15 minutes).
  10. If you would like to add peanut butter (or nuts or any other ingredient) gently pour in when mixture is almost completely frozen.
  11. When the mixture is frozen, scoop out with a non-metal spoon/scraper into a Tupperware container with a tight fitting lid.
  12. You can serve immediately (will still be slightly soft) or you can freeze for about 20-30 minutes for a slightly more frozen consistency.
  13. Scoop! Eat! Enjoy!

Notes

!No Ice Cream Machine?

Place your mixture in the freezer in a shallow container and stir every 45 minutes for at least 4 hours. This is fairly time consuming but not horrible if you are working from home or make it after dinner while watching tv. The end result will not be as creamy but will still be delicious!

!Left Over? If you have left overs, be sure to seal container to avoid freezer burn. When you are ready to serve again, take out of freezer for 15-20 minutes before serving to allow it to thaw enough to scoop. it will freeze fairly hard but it thaws out perfectly!

If you plan to make ice cream or frozen yogurt even a few times a year I swear the investment in an ice cream machine like this is worth it!

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/31/twisted-chocolate-peanut-butter-ice-cream/

Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream Avocado Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Reader Response:

  • What do you wake up craving?
  • Do you prefer homemade ice cream or store bought?
  • What’s your favorite way to use avocados?

24 Calorie Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites (No Milk Monday)

Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites

BANANA COCOA-NUT BITES!!!

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, 24 Calories!!!

Banana Cocoa Nut Bites
You did it! Thanks for your patience! Yesterday was crazy. Sorry I didn’t get this recipe up until today but I promise it is worth the wait. Anyone else put off taxes and just realize they are due in three weeks? Oh or even worse.. put off getting health insurance and realize they only have a week left to get it from the MarketPlace? Well you can put me down for both of those and I decided to try and conquer both yesterday. NOT FUN AT ALL! Thankfully I knocked the insurance off the list and am working on the taxes.

*Need help with yours? Check out some of this great stuff on Amazon to prepare, organize and knock your taxes out fast!*

I will be so excited when they are done so I can focus on getting some yoga info up here and some more saving advice 🙂

So I woke up yesterday craving chocolate and staring at a browning bunch of bananas. I told you this happens every time! Thankfully they were perfectly sweet and worked wonderfully in this recipe. I froze the rest for smoothies this week. Yum!

Banana Cocoa Nut Bites Banana Cocoa Nut Bites Banana Cocoa Nut Bites

Maybe I am the only one who lays in bed for hours falls asleep looking at Pinterest but that’s what I did again Sunday night. I found this awesome blog that reminded me of my Paleo, CrossFit crazy sister (love you Lainey!). Paleo recipes are a great place to start when you are looking for gluten free, dairy free and sugar free recipes. You can sometimes even find great vegan recipes which seems counter intuitive due to the large quantities of meat that many people following the Paleo lifestyle consume, but they also eat a lot of nuts and whole foods and are great at finding natural protein sources as well as natural sweeteners.

Banana Cocoa Nut Bites Banana Cocoa Nut Bites

Anyways, not only does she share my love for frozen yogurt, but she also finds and creates great healthy recipes. She inspired my Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites with her Simple Flour-less Protein Cake. I am kinda obsessed with making things small and bite size so I can eat more. If you have ever read my about me page you know that I tend to choose quantity over quality. Not sure what that says about me. When I am making my own food though… I CHOOSE BOTH!
Banana Cocoa Nut Bites
These Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites fit the bill! They taste amazing, have only 24 calories and 2.1 grams protein each ANDDDD you can indulge in 5 for a measly 120 calories and 10.5 grams protein!

Banana Cocoa Nut Bites Banana Cocoa Nut Bites

I was so happy with the way these turned out. I had two yesterday and today before yoga and they gave me the perfect amount of energy without being too filling or causing my blood sugar to spike and crash. I normally have an apple or coconut water before class but I think these might be my new go too!

So I have a confession. Well it’s sort of a confession.. I made these today for No Milk Monday, but the protein powder I used does have whey in it. They are completely lactose free, but if you are trying to avoid ALL dairy and dairy products then you will need to find a protein powder that is completely dairy free. Here are some ideas: Dairy Free Protein Powders.Banana Cocoa Nut Bites
The protein powder seriously adds an amazing flavor so I highly recommend finding one you like! You could also try this with a Vanilla Protein Powder! I bet it would be super yummy! If you do, let me know! I would also love to hear about what dairy free protein powders you like. I would love to try a new one. I really need to switch to a plant based protein powder but haven’t found one I like yet!
Banana Cocoa Nut Bites
The little bites will make you happy you have 24 of them! Once you pop I can promise you won’t wanna stop!

Also check out last week’s No Milk Monday recipe: St. Paddy’s Protein Smoothie

24 Calorie Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites (No Milk Monday)

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 24 mini muffins/12 regular muffins

Serving Size: 1... or 5 🙂

Calories per serving: 24... or 120 (for 5)

Fat per serving: 0.7... or 3.5 (for 5), 2.1... or 10.5 protein (for

24 Calorie Banana Cocoa-Nut Bites (No Milk Monday)

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F.
  2. Peel and mash up your banana really well in a bowl. (I used my mixer after I mashed them to get them extra nice and creamy)
  3. Mix all dry ingredients (chocolate protein powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie Spice, and baking soda. Stir well to remove all clumps.
  4. Whip the egg and egg white in a separate bowl until like and airy.
  5. With a fork, combine the egg mixture and the beaten bananas.
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until well mixed but not over beaten.
  7. Spray your muffin pan with a baking oil spray or line pan with baking cups
  8. With a pour spout mixing bowl or a large spoon, pour the mixture into the muffin pan (preferably not as messily as I did)
  9. Sprinkle your chopped nuts... or chocolate chips or banana chunks or whatever else your heart desires that you think would be yummy!
  10. Bake in the middle rack for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  11. Let cool in the pan till you can carefully pop each one out onto a cooling rack.
  12. DEVOUR AT LEAST ONE WHILE WARM!

Notes

You can definitely make these in a regular muffin pan. They will probably need to bake slightly longer and of course just double the nutrition facts to calculate the nutrition for each one.

You could also make this is a glass or metal pan almost like cake or brownies and cut into desired size. Just be careful to watch cooking length if you change the pan size.

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/25/24-calorie-banana-cocoa-nut-bites/

Banana Cocoa Nut Bites

Reader Response:

  • What is you favorite protein powder? Is it plant based?
  • Are you a quality over quantity kinda person?
  • How do you feel about chocolate for breakfast?

St. Paddy’s Protein Smoothie

St. Paddy's Protein Smoothie

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!! I somehow managed to miss even a minute of celebrations this weekend and I haven’t decided yet whether I am happy or sad about this. I was planning on going out for a little while tonight with some friends, but I am on about to leave on a last minute 36 hour trip(check back tomorrow for the reason why! It is wayyyyy better than any amount of smooth Jameson and creamy Guinness I promise!) I’m an auntie!!! On my way to meet my NEPHEW!!!! Ahhh so excited!!!!

Omg!!!! I’m already in love!!!
20140317-093114.jpg
Meet my nephew!!

St. Pat's Smoothie

That all being said, I was in a rush this morning and needed a quick energy boost before I hit the road. Since it is St. Patrick’s Day and No Milk Monday I figured a healthy green smoothie would be perfect! I absolutely love smoothies (it’s essentially melted healthy ice cream… ok not really but I trick myself into thinking this sometimes! I don’t think my Magic Bullet (this is the best price I have seen anywhere!!) has been clean for more than 24 hours since I bought it two years ago! I use it for everything!

St. Paddy's Protein Smoothie

I love that I can literally pre-make a smoothie at night (minus the liquid and greens) and put it in the freezer for the morning. When I am walking out the door I throw my greens and almond milk in and I am ready to go in less than two minutes! Yummmm!!! And there is no mess! Blender = Cup = Awesome!!

St. Pat's Smoothie

If you wanted to plan a head you could even use all the awesome containers that the Magic Bullet comes with and portion out multiple smoothies! I always have a freezer full of fruit, either store bought or cut up and frozen for smoothies. Not only dos it save the fruit from doing bad, you can also thaw it out for baking, ice cream, smoothies or just to munch on on a hot day! It is crazy how much freezing bananas changes their texture. Although they are better when you turn them into the World’s Healthiest Ice Cream, they still have an amazing creamy texture straight out of the freezer for a late night snack! One of these days I am going to melt some dark chocolate and dip frozen fruit in it and take drool worthy photos for all of you!

St. Pat's Smoothie

I use unsweetened almond milk in almost all my smoothies and try to add some greens, chia seeds (which help reduce food cravings, help you stay hydrated, lower blood pressure & are rich in Omega-3), flaxseeds (which are also rich in Omega-3’s as well as a excellent source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as magnesium and copper), or all the above to every one. My favorite fruits to add are strawberries, bananas, mango and blueberries, although I pretty much love all fruit. Some berries like raspberries and blackberries can leave you with a lot of seeds which I don’t love, but if it doesn’t bother you then be my guest!

I also love adding natural nut butters for extra protein or chocolate chunks for my sweet tooth… hey, who said you can’t have chocolate for breakfast! And on that note, who said you can only have a smoothie at breakfast time! NOT ME! Some of my favorite smoothie concoctions happen when I am trying to resist the ice cream in the freezer by making a healthy frozen treat instead.

St. Paddy's Protein SmoothieI apologize that I don’t have any fun photos of the ingredients for this smoothie but as I said I was in a rush… I may or may not be writing this for an airport… 🙂

Enjoy a drink for me today! Whether it is a healthy green smoothie or a tall pint of a Guinness… here’s to you! Sláinte!

St. Paddy’s Protein Smoothie

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 smoothie

Serving Size: about 10 oz

Calories per serving: 147

Fat per serving: 4.8, Protein: 3.8 grams

St. Paddy’s Protein Smoothie

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. You can pretty much throw all of these ingredients in your blender and enjoy!

Notes

Every blender works a little differently in terms of strength so you might need to play with the amounts for consistency purposes but the end result should be thick and creamy from the Almond Milk, Chia Seeds and Flax Seed Meal.

If you use a Magic Bullet or a Nutri Bullet (which I have never tried but have heard it's pretty much exactly the same as the Magic Bullet but possibly a tiny bit stronger) I recommend putting the frozen fruit in first, then the Almond Milk, then Chia Seeds and Flax Seed Meal, and finally the spinach. This probably isn't necessary but once or twice I have had the greens and/or seeds get stuck at the top of the blender. It's an easy fix but this should assure you don't run into any issues!

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/17/st-paddys-protein-smoothie/

St. Pat's Smoothie

Reader Response:

  • How did you spend your St. Patrick’s Day?
  • Are you enjoying No Milk Monday‘s?
  • What are your favorite smoothie ingredients?

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried “Rice”

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried "Rice"

There is the most amazing fruit and vegetable stand about 5 minutes from my house. It is my absolute favorite “errand” to run each week… if you can even call it an errand. It’s more like going to lunch. Seriously! The awesome people that run the stand let you sample anything you want and offer you tastes of just about everything. If you are ever in St. Augustine and visit this amazing place I highly recommend you go hungry… and with cash (although you won’t need much!) The prices are incredible which adds to the amazingness of all this fresh produce in one place! The fruits and veggies always look better than anything you can find in the grocery store and often times the prices are HALF the price you pay at the store… andddd you are supporting the local community! Win! Win! Win! Ps. Ask for Clint and tell him Lauren sent you 🙂

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Vegetables

So I woke up early yesterday morning excited about NO MILK MONDAY and texted my friend to see if she wanted to join in my “errand”. If you don’t have friends who enjoy spending time hunting for the freshest fruit and veggie deals with you… well you should find some! There is something pretty great about a person who shares your excitement about juicy strawberries, asparagus that is just being loaded off the truck, in the shell pecans, sweet as can be cantaloupe, perfectly ripe bananas and mint that makes your mouth water for mojitos from 20 feet away! Naturally I left with two full boxes of full of deliciousness and about a million ideas of what I wanted to make for dinner!

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Cauliflower

I don’t believe I had told you yet that when I have A LOT of options I also have A LOT of trouble making a decision. I end up second guessing everything and spend way too much time to end up back at my original idea (usually). That being said, last night was dinner date night in and my boyfriend asked what I wanted for dinner. I was totally overwhelmed with ideas. Thanks Pinterest! I blame you. So I decided to go run actual errands and let him surprise me with an idea we could make using my morning’s finds…

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Cauliflower "Rice"

While looking for recipes centered around cauliflower he discovered this great looking recipe Paleo Shrimp Fried “Rice”. He is so supportive of my dietary restrictions and likes and dislikes, so he knew that all meat, gluten and dairy were out (for the day at least). He also knows that I pretty much savor the moment of finding ways to cut fat and calories without cutting flavor so the idea of cauliflower instead of white rice was totally up my ally!

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Onion & Garlic

We decided we were going to use the Paleo recipe as a base and mix it up with a lot more veggies, no peas and no eggs. The results: YUMMMMMM!!!!!!

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Chopped Vegetables

I promise you won’t miss the actual rice in this dish one bit! Even my boyfriend loved the dish and agreed it felt like you were eating rice but without the full bloated feeling after a meal full of carbs! We cooked this whole meal together 🙂

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - "Rice" & Vegetables

He was so sweet and let me do all the fun parts and was patient while I stopped every few minutes to snap off way to many pictures.

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - 21/25 Shrimp

He even did my least favorite parts… peeling the shrimp…peeling and mincing the garlic and chopping the onion! Thanks baby! I am one lucky lady.

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - Peeled 21/25 Shrimp

He is definitely the chef of the relationship! I can follow/customize a recipe and come up with great ideas but he knows so much more about technique and has a natural palate for flavor.

Shrimp Fried "Rice" - "Rice", Vegetables & Shrimp

I am pretty sure I have his mom to thank!

Can I just tell you how much it sucks to start dating an incredible guy with an amazing Italian family and have to tell his mom that you can’t eat meat or pasta or bread…. or pretty much any other staple Italian dishes?! They could not have been more understanding but when we first started dating I was beyond nervous. I may have let his adorable nieces spill the beans… she couldn’t get mad at them right?! Turns out she has made me something special at every meal since then and always made sure I have enough to eat including a gluten free cheesecake at Thanksgiving!! I should get the recipe for that for you guys! You would love it!!

Gluten Free Cheesecake

Ok back to the “rice”. While I was enjoying this scrumptious dinner with my love we were thinking of other ideas to use as seasoning. For this meal we wanted the key ingredients to pop but I was thinking that you could make this into an amazing light curry style dish with a few dashes of curry powder and some unsweetened coconut milk.

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried "Rice"

We also agreed that it could use a little heat (maybe some cayenne?) but take that with a grain of salt because we both add hot sauce to almost everything we eat. Hey! Some like it hot!

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried "Rice"

He also let me know it is delicious with a little Parmesan cheese and a dash of Tabasco at the end, but keep in mind the man I love puts hot sauce and Parmesan on just about ANYTHING! So if you are ok with diary, not on a Monday of course! ;), then we suggest you try it out and let us know what you think!

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried "Rice"

Last thing before I let you get to the recipe… this can easily be made vegetarian by subbing the shrimp for extra firm tofu!

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried “Rice”

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 10 cups (approx)

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories per serving: 84

Fat per serving: 2.3

Boyfriend Approved Shrimp Fried “Rice”

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh tail on shrimp (I used 18 shrimp size 21/25 and cut into about 3 pieces per shrimp), peeled & cut into large pieces
  • 1 medium head cauliflower or 3/4 large cauliflower, riced in food processor
  • 1 medium summer squash, thick chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thick chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 C white onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8oz sliced white mushrooms, broken into chunks
  • 1.5 T Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil (any brand will work but this is my favorite)
  • 1/4 C water
  • Season to taste... I used sea salt, black pepper and paprika!
  • Need:
  • Food Processor or Blender
  • I have an even older version of this little guy and he did the trick so don't be discouraged if you have a not so amazing piece of equipment

Instructions

  1. Chop cauliflower into small chunks and place in batches in your food processor.
  2. Chop each batch until it looks like rice.
  3. Place all "riced" cauliflower into a pot with the 1/4 C water on medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until tender.
  4. While the cauliflower is cooking, peel and mince the garlic cloves and finely chop the white onion.
  5. Set aside in a small bowl.
  6. Place 1.5 T Coconut Oil in a large wok or saute pan on medium heat.
  7. Wash your squash, pepper, carrots (and peel), celery and mushrooms.
  8. Chop your veggies into large chunks and put aside in a large bowl.
  9. Add your garlic and onion to your pan with coconut oil and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until lightly browned and translucent.
  10. Add your chopped veggies to the onion and garlic and stir gently to mix together.
  11. Cover veggie mixture and cook for about 7 minutes, or until tender but not cooked through completely.
  12. Add "riced" cauliflower and your choice of seasoning to your veggie mixture. Mix together thoroughly and cover for another 7 minutes until veggies are al dente and seasoned.
  13. While the "rice" and veggies are cooking, remove your shrimp from the fridge and place in a large bowl.
  14. Gently peel the shrimp (you are welcome to de-vein them as well... we did not but I know some people prefer to) and place in another bowl.
  15. Cut your shrimp into about 3 pieces per shrimp depending on the size you use.
  16. Add shrimp to your "rice" and veggies.
  17. Cover your almost finished dinner for another 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are a beautiful white and orange.
  18. Remove from heat and taste your Shrimp Fried "Rice" to see if you need to add more seasoning (we ended up adding a little more of all the seasoning at this point).
  19. Once you are satisfied with the flavor scoop some of your amazing, healthy, delicious, protein filled dinner into a bowl and enjoy!
  20. Heads up... you are going to want seconds!!

Notes

I may or may not have had 3 cups for dinner and that was stillllll only 253 calories with 6.8 grams of fat (all healthy fats from the coconut oil! the rest is fat free!)

The even more amazing part: my dinner had 9.7 grams fiber and 23.7 grams of protein!!

http://www.andasideoficecream.com/2014/03/11/boyfriend-approved-shrimp-fried-rice/

Reader Feedback:

  • What are your favorite seasoning for vegetable dishes?
  • Are you addicted to hot sauce?
  • Which one’s are your favorite? *We are Frank’s, Tabasco and Mongolian Fire Oil junkies!*

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