Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dietary Labels + Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons

Hi Everyone!

I've been getting so much positive feedback on my Instagram, and it has been so fun, but now I am trying to stick to my promise and post on the blog more frequently.

One question that people ask me a lot is "Are you vegan?" or "Are you vegetarian?"and I thought it would be appropriate to address this in this specific blog post because I am posting a very vegan recipe. The answer to these questions is no, I am not vegan or vegetarian, but it is more complex than that. I think the correct answer is I am a "clean eater" or follow a "plant-based" diet.

More often than not, I cook vegan food at home. This is because I tend to buy whole, plant based ingredients that don't include animal products or dairy. But this isn't because I specifically am a vegan or vegetarian. It's because I feel my best eating these foods, and they are oftentimes the cleanest and most nutritious (and I happen to love the way they taste).

That being said, I love eggs, include Greek yogurt in a lot of meals, and really have eaten many types of meat in my lifetime. I don't believe in food labels, and I instead believe in listening to your body and educating yourself on the types of foods that are best for you. Mental health plays a role in your body's health, and for me, restricting myself isn't the way to do it. If being vegan is right for you-- go you! I applaud you, because eating plant-based foods really makes me feel amazing. And if you love cheeseburgers, go you too! (Just try to make sure your beef is free range and grass fed :) ).

So back on the topic of being vegan, I have become obsessed with making vegan cheeses and dressing using soaked cashews. It's amazing how creamy these nuts can taste! I have become especially obsessed with making vegan Caesar salad. It really tastes like the real deal to me.

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Chickpea Croutons


5 cups of kale
8 baby cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
Garlic Powder

For dressing:
1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
Juice of 1 small lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle olive oil over chickpeas and toss with a sprinkle of paprika, cumin and garlic. Bake for 20 minutes or until crispy.
2. Massage kale with olive oil until soft. Chop cherry tomatoes into halves.
3. Blend all ingredients of the dressing until smooth. If dressing is too thick, add olive oil to thin it out.
4. Toss all ingredients with the kale and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Chocolate Pumpkin Maple Almond Cups with Crushed Pistachio

Happy Fall! With the arrival of autumn come all things pumpkin, and I'm not complaining! I'm a huge fan of fall's nutritional superfood, especially because it can be prepared both savory and sweet. I recently whipped up some Pumpkin Quinoa, but I couldn't resist using this seasonal squash for a dessert treat.

Every since I discovered Kaleifornia Love's vegan and refined sugar-free salted caramel cups, I have been experimenting with different types of fillings, and I swear each time it gets better and better. Today,  I present to you: Chocolate Pumpkin Maple Almond Cups with Crushed Pistachios.

I love desserts like these because they satisfy your sweet tooth, but you can still feel guilt-free! All the ingredients are all-natural and pure, and you get the added health benefits of the pumpkin. Plus, they are ready in less than 30 minutes and don't require any baking.


4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
4 tablespoons pure cocoa powder
2 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup (1 for chocolate, 1 for pumpkin filling)
4 tablespoons raw almond butter
3 tablespoons pure pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pistachio hearts

(Yields 4 servings)

  1. Combine coconut oil, cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon maple syrup in a bowl. 
  2. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill the bottom of 4 liners with half the chocolate mixture. Freeze for 5 minutes until solid.
  3. Blend pumpkin, almond butter, and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup until smooth. If the mixture looks too loose, blend in more almond butter until it is more solid.
  4. Remove muffin tin from the freezer and top with pumpkin mixture. Then top the pumpkin mixture with the remaining chocolate so pumpkin mix is completely covered.
  5. Blend pistachios for a second or two until they are in pieces. Sprinkle over chocolate in the muffin tin.
  6. Freeze for about 20 minutes or until cups are hardened. Let thaw for a few minutes before eating, and refrigerate to keep.