Homemade granola bars.

Granola bars always work great as a quick breakfast, snack or even a little treat. They are even better when made at home with a few ingredients, without any chemicals.

To be honest, it took me almost 2 years to try making my own granola bars at home. Of course, it’s easier just grab some on the shelf at the grocery store and not spending time in the kitchen cooking them. But it took me about 10 minutes to make them and they turned out 100% better than the store bought ones.

I am sharing my recipe with you today. Feel free to add your favorite seeds, nuts and dried fruit. I personally used pecans and dried cherries.

 

Homemade granola bars.

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Ingredients:

1,5 cups rolled oats

1cup rice crisp cereal ( I used brown rice crisp cereal from Whole Foods)

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2tbps. chia seeds

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1/2 cup almond or any other nut butter

1/4 cup coconut nectar syrup or brown rice syrup

1tsp. vanilla extract

pinch of sea salt

1.5 tbsp. chocolate chips

dried cherries

 

Line the pan with parchment paper.

Ina large bowl, stir together the oats, rice crisp cereal, pecans, coconut, chia seeds, dried cherries.

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In a medium pot over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Remove from the heat and stir in the almond butter, coconut nectar and vanilla until smooth.

Pour the wet mixture over dry and stir well until thorougly combined. Add a pinch of salt and stir again.

Transfer the mixture tot he prepared pan, spreading it out into an even layer.Lightly wet your hands and press doen on the mixture to even it out. Use a pastry roller to compact the mixture firmly and evenly. This helps the bars hold together better.

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Place the pan in the freezer, uncovered for 10-15 minutes.

Lift the oat square out of the pan and place it on a cutting board. Slice the square into bars.

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Store them in the fridge or freezer.

P.S. These bars don’t hold together perfectly, so don’t let them sit at the room temperature.

 

Avocado Potato Salad.

Trying different kinds of salads is probably one of my favorite part of cooking and eating. I love salads and they are always the easiest and the fastest way to fix some meal.

This recipe blends avocado with dill, green onions, and lemon juice to create a tangy, creamy dressing for roasted potatoes and asparagus.

By the way a lot of people don’t eat potato and think there is nothing good about it. But if you cook it right you can actually get a lot of benefits from it:

1. Rich in vitamin B6, copper and magnese.

2. Helps control blood sugar levels.

3. Best energy producing veggie.

4. Resists stroke and heart attack.

5. Reduces inflammation.

6. Liver cleasing.

7. High in fiber.

8. Low in sodium.

9. High in Vitamin A.

10. Prevent kidney stones.

Just remember, it’s better to bake or roast the potato, not boil or fry.

Creamy avocado potato salad.

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Ingredients:

1,5 pounds yellow potato, chopped into cubes

3tsp. extra-virgin coconut oil

1/2tsp. sea salt

1/4tsp. ground black pepper

1 bunch asparagus, stalks chopped into pieces

1/2 cup chopped green onions.

Dressing:

1/2 cup avocado

2tbsp. minced fresh dill

4tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 green onion, chopped

1/4tsp. sea salt

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.

Spread the potatoes in the even layer on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

One the other baking sheet spread the asparagus, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast potatoes for 15 min., flip them, and roast for the other 15-20 min., until golden. During the last 15 minutes of roasting potatoes, place the asparagus in the oven and roast for 9-12 min., until tender. Transfer the roasted potatoes and asparagus to a large bowl and stir in the green onions.

Make the dressing. In a food processor, combine all the ingredients with 1/4 cup water and process until smooth.

Add the dressing to the bowl with the potatoes and asparagus and stir until combined.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

The salad is also good chilled.

 

Banana Blueberry Muffins. Vegan.

I haven’t been posting anything for a while, so hopefully I am back on track and will try to post at least few times a month.

I like trying different ingredients in my recipes and replace them with non-dairy alternatives, so one of my task for a while was to find the perfect recipe for muffins.

I tried a lot of recipes and combinations but none of them worked as I wanted to. So few weeks ago I tried again to make the vegan banana blueberry muffins and finally they came out fluffy, moist and delicious.

The other thing why I like these muffins, they are: nut free, which let me pack it for my daughter preschool lunch.

I can definitely say that this is the best vegan muffins recipe I tried so far.

Banana Blueberry Muffins.

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Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3/4tsp. baking soda

1/2tsp. salt

1tsp. cinammon

2tbsp. ground flax seed mixed with 5tbsp. water ( flax eggs)

3 large ripe bananas

1/2 cup coconut or turbinado sugar

1/2 cup melted coconut oil

1tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries ( I used the frozen one).

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Preheat the oven to 350F and grease the muffin pan with coconut oil.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinammon in a bowl.

Make the flax eggs and set aside. ( Mix water with the flaxseeds)

Peel the bananas and mash them with the fork. Add sugar, flax eggs and mix well. Add the coconut oil in a stream while whisking vigorously. When finished, you don’t want to see a clear film of oil on the edges. If you do, mix more. ( This is very important).

Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until almost incorporated. Add blueberries and gently fold in.

Divide the batter between 12 muffin cups, filling to just about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tops with more coconut sugar.

Bake 22-25 minutes, until a pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove to a cooling rack.

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Enjoy!!!!!!

 

Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

Great idea for quick, healthy lunch is making a sandwich.

There are not a lot of options for making your sandwich healthy, delicious and plant based protein packed.

Here is the great recipe which combine all these points: healthy, delicious with plant based protein.

Gluten, dairy free, vegan recipe.

Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

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Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/4 cup finelly chopped pickle

1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper ( I used orange)

2 tbsp vegan mayonnaise ( homemade or store-bought)

1 clove garlic

2 tsp. minced fresh dill

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

 

In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher until flaky in texture. Stir in the celery, green onion, bell pepper, pickles, mayonnaise, and garlic until combined. Add dill and season with the lemon juice and salt.

Serve with toasted bread of your choice, crackers or wrap.

Enjoy!!!!

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Crispy Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Easy and delicious cookies recipe I am sharing today is vegan, gluten, dairy, refined sugars free.

It does has nuts in it, but to make it nut free, you can use sunflower seeds butter instead of the nut butter and replace almond meal with extra oat flour.

These are my favorite ones because they are crispy and chewy at the same time.

Crispy Nut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Ingredients:

1 tbsp glound flaxseed

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup nut butter( I used Nuttzo)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup gluten-free oat flour( rolled oats blended into a flour)

1 cup almond meal

1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips

 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed and water and set aside for 5 min.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the coconut oil and nut butter. Add sugar, flaxseed mixture and vanilla until combined. One by one, beat in the baking soda, baking powder, salt, oat flour, and almond meal. The dough should be lightly sticky. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet , leaving 2 to 3 inches of space between them. There is no need to flatten them as the cookies spread out as they bake.

Bake for 12-14 min., until golden brown on the bottom. The cookied will be soft coming out from the oven, but they will harden as they cool. Let them cool and enjoy!!!!!!

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Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

Does cold weather make you crave more sweet treats? It does for me and with the temperature’s going low I am starting experimenting and trying new dessert recipes.

I haven’t made anything with chocolate for a while and with the coming holidays filled with cocoa and citrus smell, I decided to try something new in case if I want to make it later.

I found this amazing vegan, raw chocolate cake recipe at the Oh, She Glows blog. To be honest, she has tons of vegan recipes and I am just starting learning more about her and trying her dishes. It’s been a success so far, so I am glad I found her blog.

I will share with you my Chocolate cake result today. The original recipe you can find on her blog.

The recipe is vegan, gluten, dairy, refined sugars free.

Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

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Ingredients:

Crust:

1 1/4 cups packed pitted Medjool dates
1 1/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
2 1/2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp water (if needed to bind the dough)

Filling:

2.5 (70%) good-quality dark chocolate bars
1 (400ml) can full-fat coconut milk, room temperature
4 tbsp. pure maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of choice)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
small pinch fine grain sea salt

 

In a heavy duty food processor, add the pitted dates and process until finely chopped. A big ball will form. Add in the rest of the crust ingredients (including the shredded coconut) and process until everything is combined. The dough should stick together when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t, add optional water and process again.
Spoon the crust mixture into the prepared pie dish. Spread out evenly. Starting at the centre, press down firmly moving outward and up the sides of the pie dish. Place dish in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Break up chocolate bars into chunks and place into a medium-sized pot. ( I used Trader&Joe’s and Theo dark chocolate bars: they are soy, dairy free). Melt the chocolate over the lowest heat setting. When the chocolate is 2/3 of the way melted, remove from heat and stir until completely melted and smooth.
With a spatula, spoon the melted chocolate into a large bowl. Now pour one entire can of room temperature full-fat coconut milk into the bowl with the melted chocolate. Whisk vigorously until completely smooth. Finally, whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until smooth.

With a spatula, scoop the chocolate filling into the pie crust.

Carefully transfer the pie dish into the refrigerator for approx. 3 hours, or until firm throughout.
Remove pie dish from the refrigerator.
Slice and garnish with toasted coconut flakes, coconut cream, and flaked sea salt, if desired.

Serve immediately as pie will soften quickly.

The cake is very rich and sweet so one piece was enough for me.

Enjoy!!!!!

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Roasted Eggplant Curry.

I found one good advice recently about weekly grocery shopping and eating on the budget. One of the thing is to eat healthy, clean and on the budget is ” eating the food that is on season”. But this advice tells you to get the food that is available first and after you get home plan what you will make with it. Not the opposite way, as most of the people usually do: plan their dishes for a week and then go and buy everything what they need, at the end it usually looks like you spend more as you expected, because you need all these extra ingredients for your recipe.

I am trying to use this advice and it works for me so far. Of course, I always have something in my head when I see some veggies or fruits in season, and I even have these ideas come to me during grocery shopping. Anyway, eggplants, tomatoes, bell peppers are in season now, and I have been cooking using them a lot.

The recipe I am sharing today is really delicious and works as a main dish with the brown rice or quinoa on the side. There are always leftovers after it, which makes me happy because I can use them the next day for lunch or dinner.

 

This recipe is completely vegan, gluten, dairy free.

 

Roasted Eggplant Curry.

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Ingredients:

1 pounds eggplant (about 5 medium Chinese or Japanese eggplant)
3 tbsp. coconut oil
salt, as needed

3 tbsp. or coconut oil
1 cup diced yellow onion
1tbsp cardamon powder

2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp ground turmeric
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
1″ chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into long, thin strips

1 pound ripe tomatoes stemmed and diced
1 (13.5 ounce / 400 mL) can full-fat coconut milk
1/2 cup water

 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. If using a long, slender variety of eggplant, cut them on the diagonal into 1-inch thick slices. If using a globe style eggplant, cut them into 2-inch square chunks. Pile the eggplant slices on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the coconut oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat with your hands. Spread the eggplant pieces on the baking sheet, and roast until golden on the bottoms, about 15 minutes. Remove and turn off the oven.

 

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Heat the coconut oil in a large pot over a medium flame until it shimmers. Add the onion, and cardamon powder. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and tender, 10-15 minutes.

When the onions are soft, stir in the ground spice mixture, turmeric, garlic, and ginger. Cook for a few minutes to toast the spices, then stir in the chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, water, and the roasted eggplant. Increase the heat to bring the curry to a simmer, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. When finished, the eggplant should still hold its shape, but the sauce around it should be slightly thickened stew-like. It will thicken further if allowed to sit and cool.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa.

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Stuffed Potato Skins.

There are some food blogs that I adore. Some bloggers have just tons of amazing recipes and you want to try to make at leaf 80% of them.

One of my favorite food blogger is Edible Perspective. She has incredible recipes and everything that I tried from her blog was delicious and healthy.

She has this recipe recently posted on her blog and I decided to make it on the weekend. It takes a little time to prepare that’s why I picked the weekend day.

Stuffed Potato Skins is the perfect dinner or lunch dish and will work at any time of the year. It’s easier to make it now with all the fresh produce at the market and grocery store. Just make sure to use organic potatoes for this recipe because potatoes are loaded with pesticides especially if you eat them with the skin.

You can find the original recipe here, but I changed a few things a little: 1. didn’t use the cheese; 2. used the yellow onion instead of red; 3. used salsa instead of chipotle adobo sauce.

Stuffed Potato Skins.

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Ingredients:

5 medium russet potatoes,  scrubbed clean
2-3 tablespoons refined avocado oil, or other high heat safe oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 1/2 cups black beans (cooked)
1+ tablespoons salsa sauce
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper

Avocado Cream:

1 ripe avocado
juice from 1 lime
salt to taste

 

Preheat your oven to 400° F and prick your potatoes a few times each with a fork. Place in the oven on the rack for about 50-65 minutes, or until fork tender and soft to the touch. Prep all veggies during this time.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 450° F.

While the potatoes are cooling, heat a large pan over medium with about 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and let cook for about 5-7 minutes until just starting to soften. Stir occasionally. Then add the chopped bell pepper and corn and let cook about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and stir for about 1 minute. Then add in the kale, black beans, salsa sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper. Let cook for 2-3 minutes, until the kale starts to wilt, then taste and add more salsa sauce.

Carefully slice each potato in half with a sharp knife. Holding the potato in your palm, gently scoop from one end to the other out about half the potato and place in a storage container. Repeat with all potatoes.Rub or brush all sides of the potatoes with oil. Place the cut side down on a large baking sheet and sprinkle each with salt. Place in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Flip over to see if the cut side is crisped and browned. If so remove the potatoes from the oven.

Flip all potatoes over and lightly salt. Fill each with the bean mixture. Bake for another 3-5 minutes.

Place your avocados, lime juice, and a healthy pinch of salt in a food processor. Process until smooth. Taste and add more lime juice and salt if desired.Scrape into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge until ready to use.

Serve with avocado cream, hot sauce, cilantro, etc.

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Vegan Apple Pie.

My favorite season just started and I can’t wait to enjoy this fall. I love, love, love fall. I love fall holidays, fall foods and everything that reminds me about this colorful part of the year.

Sophia started school yesterday and because of it, I decided to bake something special for her.

I just wanted to make this day special for her and associate with something warm and delicious.

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The best choice for me for this season is apple pie.

I do enjoy any kinds of apple pie, especially warm with the hint of cinnamon.

When I start thinking about the recipe for the apple pie it always needs the ingredients that I don’t have at my house: butter, all purpose flour etc., and I am glad that it’s still easy to make delicious apple pies without all these things, and keep it simple and healthy.

The recipe I used yesterday is vegan, gluten, refined sugars free and easy to make. The only special ingredient is the millet flour that I have for a while already and didn’t have a chance to use it, so yesterday was my first time using it, and it worked great. I believe you can easily replace it with GF oat flour if you don’t have a millet flour.

After Sophia tried the pie she said: ” Mommy, I forgot to tell you, that you’re amazing. I love when you bake for me. I also forgot give you a kiss.”

It means a lot to me when my family enjoys food that I make for them.

Vegan Apple Pie.

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Ingredients:

CRUST INGREDIENTS:

2 cups millet flour

1½ cups almond flour

½ tsp sea salt

½ cup coconut oil

½cup maple syrup

FILLING INGREDIENTS:

3 apples

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp maple syrup

3 Tbsp  crushed pecans

GLAZE INGREDIENTS:

½ cup (gluten free) apricot jam or preserves

2 Tbsp water

1 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the crust: In a food processor, combine millet flour, almond flour and salt. Over a low flame, heat coconut oil and maple syrup; stir to combine. Add coconut oil and maple syrup to flour; pulse until combined. Spread dough in a 9.5 inch oiled tart pan (preferably with a removable bottom). Press down and fill sides to form a crust. Pierce crust with a fork several times and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and flatten crust with a fork, pressing down to make it as compact as possible.

To make the filling: Peel and thinly (and evenly!) slice 4 apples and pile in crust. Combine maple syrup and lemon juice and brush over the apples. Sprinkle pecans on top and bake approximately for 1 hour until the apples are soft and slightly browned.

To make the glaze: Combine apricot jam and water in a small pan and heat on low until the preserves are thinned. Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Brush tart with glaze and serve warm.

Enjoy!!!!!

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Beet Coconut Soup.

I love beets. I guess it comes from my culture and our traditions to cook. We use beets a lot in our recipes: soups, salads etc.

One of my favorite dishes is Ukrainian Borsch. It’s a traditional Ukrainian soup with beets.

The soup I decided to make today tastes very similar to Borsch, but takes less time to make. I got some juicy and fresh beets at the farmers market two days ago, so the decision to make the beet soup today was obvious. I love using coconut milk in this recipe, because it gives the creamy texture to this soup and makes it even more delicious. I also used some lemon juice in the recipe to turn it to a vibrant star.

The recipe asks for vegetable stock, but I don’t use the store bought one, and I didn’t have the homemade this time, so I used some:

Seitenbacher Vegetarian Vegetable Broth and Seasoning, 5-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6)

This is the only one I trust. It has few ingredients and all of them are safe to eat: nutritional yeast extract, carrots, onions, turmeric root, parsley, leek, nutmeg, garlic, lovage, celery, pepper, balm, dill, paprika, rosemary, mustard.

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Beets Coconut Soup.

Ingredients:

4 large beets; peeled and cut into 1″ chunks

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp lemon juice

4 cups vegetable stock or 4 cups of water

1 can coconut milk (approx. 400 ml)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté for five minutes.  Add vegetable stock and beets and bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat and let simmer for approx. 20-30 minutes, or until beets are tender. Using a blender, purée the soup. Add coconut milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper and stir.

I served it with whole wheat baguette with homemade vegan cream cheese.

Here is a quick and easy recipe for vegan cream cheese which is my favorite so far.

Vegan Cream Cheese:

 Ingredients

1¼ cups pine nuts

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 very small clove of garlic

2 tablespoons water

½ chopped white onion

1 tbsp. coconut oil

Add pine nuts, salt, lemon juice, garlic, onion, water, and coconut oil to a food processor. Process until creamy. Pour mixture into container. Cover container and freeze 2 hours, then store in refrigerator.

Enjoy!!!!