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- PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
Serving size: 7 If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I make a batch of protein muffins at the start of each week and enjoy them throughout the week as a convenient high-protein snack. I much prefer this to grabbing a protein bar because I have complete control over the ingredients, it’s exceptionally more fresh, and also completely customizable. My go-to flavor throughout the year is usually blueberry protein muffins, but I love to do my seasonal variations which brings me to these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. Disclaimer, these aren’t intended to be an indulgent dessert-like muffin. They fill the place of something like a protein bar for me and are therefore more fitness-friendly if you know what I mean. You'll find that these are more dense due to the protein powder rather than cakey like a traditional muffin. I find them to be delicious and genuinely look forward to having one every day, I just wanted to set the expectation that these aren’t going to mimic a muffin you might find at a bakery. The good news is that they are lighter, packed with plant protein & missing all of the heavy ingredients that you would get in one of those bakery muffins. INGREDIENTS • 3/4 cup oat flour • 3/4 cup vanilla protein powder • 1 cup pumpkin puree • 1/2 cup maple syrup • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseeds • 5 tablespoons water • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice • 1 tablespoon cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan pink salt • 1 tablespoon baking powder • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips I've been using Orgain's Organic Vanilla Protein Powder lately to make my protein muffins. I can't speak to how these muffins will turn out using a different brand of vanilla protein powder as I've only made them using this particular one. I exclusively use the Enjoy Life brand of semisweet chocolate chips because I've found them to be the best tasting chocolate chips, even including non-vegan chocolate chip brands. DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Begin by combining the ground flaxseeds with the 5 tablespoons of water, stir well and allow to rest and thicken for 10-15 minutes. Once the flax mixture is ready, add it to a large bowl along with the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, vanilla and mix until smooth. Next, add in all the dry ingredients — the oat flour, vanilla protein powder, pumpkin spice, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Mix until the batter is well combined, then fold in the mini chocolate chips. Using paper muffin liners, fill just 7 muffin tins with the batter. Spacing out the muffins in your pan will help them cook more evenly since we're not using the full muffin pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Please let the muffins cool before cutting into one as the inside will continue to cook once removed from the oven. If you break into one too soon, it may be too gooey inside still (but still delicious). This recipe conveniently makes exactly 7 muffins — one for each day of the week ahead. I store mine in the fridge and actually enjoy eating them cold but they are also super tasty warm if you pop them in the microwave (the chocolate chips kind of melt and it also brings out the pumpkin flavor a little more). As I mentioned, I normally eat this as an on-the-go snack during the day, but they also double as a delicious fitness-friendly dessert that's perfectly pre-portioned out.
- CARAMEL DRIZZLED APPLE PIE MOCKTAIL
Serving size: 2 This has to be one of my best mocktail creations yet. It has all the elements of a decadent apple pie but in drink form — the graham cracker crust, fresh cinnamon apples, and best of all, caramel sauce. This mocktail features my all-time favorite vegan caramel sauce that's unbelievably simple, requires just 4 ingredients and is made without the white sugar and heavy cream found in generic caramel sauces. Once you make it, I'm pretty confident you'll be using it in other applications too. INGREDIENTS • 2 tablespoons almond butter • 2 tablespoons maple syrup • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • 2 tablespoons agave • 2 graham crackers, crushed • 1 cup ice • 1 apple, diced • sprinkle of cinnamon • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar • 2/3 cup apple juice • 2/3 cup kombucha For graham crackers, I always use this brand because they are both gluten-free and vegan. Use any flavor kombucha you like. I happened to use pomegranate flavor but I think an apple flavor would work even better for this recipe. If you're not a fan of kombucha, you can use sparkling water in its place. DIRECTIONS Begin by making the vegan caramel sauce. Simply combine the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a small dish and stir until well combined. If the mixture is too thick and you're having a hard time creating a smooth consistency, you can pop it in the microwave briefly then continue stirring. I find that using room temperature almond butter is key as it will be virtually impossible to stir the almond butter if you've been storing it in the fridge prior to using. Set the caramel sauce aside while you make the rest of the mocktail. Using two separate small plates, pour the agave in one and spread out the crushed graham crackers in the other. Dip each of your two glasses top-down in the plate with the agave, completely coating the rim, then dip directly in the plate with the graham crackers and rotate until you get a nice crumb border on each glass. Fill each glass with 1/2 cup ice, then drop a handful of diced apples on top of the ice, followed by a generous drizzle of the caramel sauce, and a light sprinkle of cinnamon. Add just a 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each glass, 1/3 cup of fresh apple juice per glass, then top off and fill the remainder of each glass with kombucha (or sparkling water). If you'd like, you can add another drizzle of the caramel sauce on top. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and apple slices. Outside of all the mouthwatering elements to this mocktail, it does still contain apple cider vinegar which is a huge plus. I consume one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar every single day and this gets me one step closer to my daily goal. The fresh diced apples and kombucha also up the ante in terms of health benefits and I can't think of a more fun and enjoyable way to enjoy these ingredients. I love how festive this drink is and that it satisfies my sweet tooth with all the seasonal flavors in a bubbly, refreshing format.
- SWEET POTATO & BRUSSELS SPROUT PASTA
Serving size: 2 If you're looking for a simple Fall dinner recipe, this is it. It's one of my favorite things to make this time of year and I find myself craving it for dinner quite often. It's as simple as throwing some veggies on a sheet pan and boiling some pasta, but when it all comes together it's truly magnificent. The combination of the roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and mushrooms with the pasta make for a seriously hearty and comforting dish that tastes like a warm fall harvest. INGREDIENTS • 2 cups sweet potato, small cubed • 2 cups brussels sprouts, quartered • 2 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced • 1 leek, sliced • 4 cloves garlic, minced • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • 2 cups dried farfalle pasta • 2 tablespoons vegan butter (optional) • 5 fresh sage leaves (optional) • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional) For the pasta, I use Jovial's Gluten-Free Whole Grain Brown Rice Farfalle Pasta. DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. After cutting all of your vegetables and garlic, arrange them on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and salt, then toss to completely coat. Roast the veggies in the oven for 20-25 min. While the vegetables are roasting, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside in the pot. Once the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pot with the drained pasta and toss to incorporate all the vegetables. At this point, you can finish the dish one of two ways— by simply drizzling with more olive oil or coating the pasta with a brown butter sage sauce. To make the brown butter sage sauce, simply cook the butter with the sage in a small saucepan over low-medium heat until the butter is golden brown, fragrant and nutty (about 3 minutes). I personally like to keep it simple most of the time and think it's perfect with just a little more olive oil, but wanted to include the brown butter sage option if you'd like to dress it up a bit more. To take it up another notch, top the pasta with chopped toasted walnuts, but again, this is completely optional. I don't do this every time I make it but I do recommend it to give the dish some crunch. Salt to taste, divide the pasta between two dishes, serve, and enjoy! This dish is equally delectable served hot or cold as a pasta salad. In fact, I actually can't decide which way I like it better. Outside of how incredibly delicious it is, it's also an excellent and effortless way to get a variety of vegetables into your diet. I always aim to eat the widest variety of fruits and vegetables that I can and this dinner incorporates 5 different high quality plant-powered veggies that taste like a thanksgiving feast once brought all together.
- PUMPKIN SPICE FLUFFED PANCAKES
Serving size: 8 Pumpkin spice pancakes are a must once the calendar hits October and these are simple enough to quickly whip up on a Fall weekend morning. Although we all love pumpkin for its tasty role in fall treats, pumpkin is actually loaded with nutrients (yes, even canned pumpkin) and I wish we didn't limit ourselves to consuming it just a couple months out of the year. While the fresh version of any fruit or vegetable is typically superior in terms of nutritional value, canned pumpkin still packs in a generous amount of fiber and the antioxidant beta-carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A. Just a half-cup serving of pumpkin puree provides more than your daily needs of vitamin A which is vital for strengthening our immune system, improving skin & hair health, and even plays a role in cancer prevention. INGREDIENTS • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose gluten free flour • 1 cup oat milk • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds • 3 tablespoons water • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda • 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • 2 teaspoons cinnamon • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice I use Bob's Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour any time you see me reference an all-purpose gluten free flour. I find it to be an undetectable swap for regular all-purpose flour and I always try to make things gluten-free when I can. Please make sure you're buying 100% pure pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling that contains sugar & chemical additives. DIRECTIONS Begin by combining the ground flaxseeds and 3 tablespoons water, stir, and allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes. While you wait, you can gather the rest of your ingredients. Once the flax mixture is ready, add it to a large bowl along with the oat milk, pumpkin, melted coconut oil, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Stir to combine. Next, add all of your dry ingredients — the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pink salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice. Incorporate all of the ingredients by stirring gently, mixing just until the ingredients are combined. Resist the urge to break up all the small lumps as they won’t show up in the finished pancakes. Your pancakes will be so much lighter because of this simple step. Once all ingredients are combined, allow the batter to rest for approximately 15-20 minutes before ladling them onto your griddle or skillet. Letting the batter rest allows the flour to absorb the liquid, making the pancakes lighter and fluffier. I promise, it will be well worth the wait but I understand if you're impatient and want to start ladling them immediately — it won't be the end of the world but it does make a difference if you want fluffy, cakey stacks! Once the batter has had some time to rest, heat your griddle or large skillet over medium heat and once hot, grease with your choice of coconut oil, avocado oil, or plant-based butter. Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop a heaping amount of the batter onto the griddle. This will make pancakes that are each about 4 inches wide (the perfect size in my opinion). I always start by cooking just 1 pancake first and adjusting the heat as needed before making the rest. Continue to ladle the pancakes on your skillet, re-greasing the pan before each pancake. Allow them to cook for roughly 2 minutes on the first side, flipping only once bubbles have formed on the surface of the pancake and the underside is golden. The second side should take about 60 seconds to cook. Mix-ins I love for these pancakes include chopped pecans, walnuts or, of course, chocolate chips (although they are quite perfect plain because of the pumpkin element). Serve the pancakes topped with plant-based butter and maple syrup. I chose to top mine with some crushed pecans instead of mixing them into the batter. These are ultra fluffy, cakey and the perfect start to a Fall morning. Plus, next time you're enjoying your favorite pumpkin treat you can do so knowing you're working towards your vitamin A goals for the day, not just indulging in the latest seasonal sweet.
- IMMUNITY & HEALING HONEY HOT TODDY
Serving size: 2 This is the perfect drink to make this time of year — it's reminiscent of an apple cider but packed with several healing (and detoxifying) ingredients that will boost your immune system as the warm summer months wear off and colds usually begin to ramp up in fall. I am ditching the alcohol in my healthy take on a hot toddy and boosting the nutrient profile by using fresh ginger, cloves, lemon juice, and raw manuka honey, each clinically proven to improve our immune response and work as natural detoxifiers. INGREDIENTS • 2 cups filtered water • 1 apple, diced • 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, zested • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves • 1 black tea bag • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice • 2 tablespoons raw or manuka honey You may use any variety of apple you like and you may also use any variety of tea you like. Hot toddy's are most commonly made using black tea but you can get creative and customize the flavor using rooibos, chamomile, ginger, green, mint, earl grey, chai and so on. I personally think it tastes the best with black tea and have been making mine with decaffeinated English Breakfast since I've been making these before bed. For honey, manuka honey will have more medicinal properties such as higher anti-bacterial, anti-viral, & anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its high MGO levels, but it does often times undergo a pasteurization & filtration process. Raw honey, on the other hand, will have more vitamins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, and pollen since it is never heated. I personally choose to buy the best of both worlds — raw manuka honey. Note, we are stirring in the honey and lemon juice at the end once the mixture is removed from the heat to avoid destroying their enzymatic activity. You should never add honey into boiling or very hot water as it will kill most of the active enzymes when exposed to temperatures above 100 degrees. Always allow your boiling hot beverage to cool to a warm drink before adding honey. DIRECTIONS Begin by adding your 2 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your diced apple, zested ginger (use the entire thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger), cinnamon, and cloves. Stir and allow this mixture to simmer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, turn off the heat and add your desired tea bag. Allow the tea to steep in the mixture for 3 minutes (or longer depending on how strong you'd like it to be). Strain the contents of the saucepan over a bowl removing all the solid contents from the mixture. Stir in the 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice and 2 tablespoons honey, then divide between 2 glasses. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and/or lemon slices and sip! This is becoming my go-to wellness drink whenever I feel like my body just needs that extra help to stay healthy. I honestly feel it working in a matter of minutes with the subtle heat from the fresh ginger and like I said, have been enjoying this before bed. It's a perfectly light sweet treat to enjoy after dinner and I also wake up feeling noticeably less run-down. This *almost* compares to a classic apple cider but I have my own variation on that coming soon.
- GLAZED LEMON CHIA SEED POUNDCAKE
Serving size: 9 This tart, mouth-puckering sweet treat is light, addictive and the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea. I keep cutting myself a slice and find myself going back for more! I use chia seeds instead of poppy seeds for added fiber and health benefits to give it that crunchy textural component and I'm confident most people you serve this to won't even notice the difference. This loaf gives a taste of the classic lemon cake indulgence but with much healthier ingredients as it's made with a blend of gluten-free flour, almond flour, avocado oil, and is refined sugar free. INGREDIENTS • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour • 1 cup almond flour • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • 1 tablespoon chia seeds • 1/3 cup avocado oil • 3/4 cup maple syrup • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons oat milk • 1/3 cup lemon juice (for loaf) • 1 tablespoon lemon zest • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/2 cup powdered sugar • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (for glaze) I love baking with almond flour because it adds a dense crumb and nice moisture to baked goods. Bonus - it's extremely nutrient-dense, low carb, and high in protein. I make a concerted effort to formulate my recipes without any refined sugar and always try to use maple syrup, date sugar, coconut sugar etc. in its place. With that being said, I chose to still make the lemon glaze using classic powdered sugar because there really is no substitute to create that perfect glaze and it is such a minimal amount that's simply drizzled on at the end. DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix. Combine all of the wet ingredients in a large bowl, whisk, then gradually incorporate the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients mixing thoroughly along the way. Line a 4.5 x 8.5 loaf pan with parchment paper and pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once the loaf is removed from the oven, allow it to sit and cool completely in the pan as it will continue to cook a little more. If you attempt to cut into it too soon, the center may be a little too moist still. While the loaf is cooling, stir the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice together until a glaze forms. Continue to stir until all lumps are removed. Once completely cool, drizzle the lemon glaze over the loaf and make sure the loaf is no longer warm or else the glaze will melt right off. Slice, serve, enjoy! The lemon glaze really takes it up a notch from homemade tasting to bakery level tasting. It's tangy, bright, fluffy, and so satisfying especially with a nice cup of earl grey tea. A slice of this is sure to brighten up your day, especially knowing that it's made with only good-for-you ingredients.
- LEMON FETA ZUCCHINI FUSILLI PASTA
Serving size: 2 This is one of my go-to dinners because it can be thrown together in under 20 minutes and requires very few ingredients. It also reminds me of a decadent lemon butter pasta dish you might get at a restaurant but is completely plant-based and a lot lighter on your body. INGREDIENTS • 1/2 package gluten-free rotini or fusilli pasta • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 1/2 red onion, sliced • 1 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced • 1 lemon, juiced • 3/4 cup vegan feta I normally try to limit my use of store-bought vegan cheeses but this dish absolutely calls for some plant-based feta. My all-time favorite to buy is the Follow Your Heart Feta Crumbles. For pasta, I love any and all chickpea or lentil variations. Some of my favorite brands include Al Dente (made from chickpeas), Cybele's (made from cauliflower, parsnips, & green lentils), and ZENB (made from yellow peas). DIRECTIONS Begin by slicing 1/2 a red onion into strips and slicing your zucchini or yellow squash into half moon pieces. Start cooking your pasta according to the package instructions. Add the tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan, followed by the sliced onions and sauté over medium heat until the onions become translucent (about 3 -5 minutes). Once the onions are translucent, add the zucchini to the pan and sauté until softened and no longer stiff (about 5 minutes). Once the zucchini is tender, lower the heat. Your pasta should be done cooking at this point. Drain and add the cooked pasta to the pan with onions and zucchini. Squeeze the juice of one whole lemon over the pan and stir. With your pan still on low heat, sprinkle in just 1/2 cup of the plant-based feta, stir together with the pasta and veggies and allow the feta to melt slightly. Plate your pasta into bowls and sprinkle on the remaining 1/4 cup of feta over top each dish. I could honestly eat this multiple nights a week for dinner. It's truly one of the most simple dishes to put together and I love that the ingredient list is only 6 ingredients long (many of which you probably already have on hand). It's rich in protein from the pasta, perfectly light tasting from the lemons, yet still creamy and rich from the vegan feta.
- SUPER SEED GRANOLA & MAPLE YOGURT
Serving size: 4 While a yogurt bowl isn't the most revolutionary breakfast, when you make your own yogurt from scratch and homemade granola, it really makes it feel and taste that much more special. Making plant-based yogurt sounds intimidating, but it's actually unbelievably simple and I love it for several reasons — you can taste the freshness, you have much more control over the ingredients and it's therefore more pure, and you can customize the level of sweetness to your exact preference. Whenever I buy plant-based yogurt at the store, the unsweetened version is too bland and the sweetened options are all overly sugary. Making my own yogurt allows me to get it just right. Plus, many store-bought yogurts contain added ingredients that reduce the overall health benefits. Even plain, organic plant-based yogurts may contain added gels, gums or flavorings that we're better off not consuming. This cashew based yogurt pairs perfectly with my homemade granola which has as many different kinds of seeds in it that I could pack in there (chia, hemp, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin) which is why I call it my super-seed granola bursting with healthy fats, protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It's honestly the perfect combination of salty and sweet and I love to make a batch of it to enjoy throughout the week. It also makes for a nice little gift if you package some in mason jars and give to your friends and family (my mom loves when I make this and gift to her). YOGURT INGREDIENTS • 2 cups raw, unsalted cashews • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar • 1 1/2 cups fresh water • 2 teaspoons vegan probiotic powder • 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup If you don't have a jar of probiotics in powder form, you can split open and empty out the contents of 8 probiotic capsules instead. The directions for this yogurt will include steps for a simple fermentation process but if you don't care for your yogurt to have probiotics, you can skip this step and your yogurt can be made in half the time. It will be lacking the gut-boosting benefits; however, I'm throwing it out there if you're looking to speed the process up. I think 2 tablespoons of maple syrup is plenty for a perfectly balanced taste but if you like your yogurt on the sweeter side then use 3 tablespoons. Of course, you could do even more depending on your preferences, but part of the point in making it yourself is to avoid consuming excessive amounts of sugar. YOGURT DIRECTIONS Begin by soaking your cashews for at least 8 hours. Alternatively, you can soak your cashews in boiling hot water for as little as 30 minutes up to a few hours. Many of my recipes call for soaked nuts and this little trick definitely comes in handy. Just keep in mind that the longer you soak your nuts, the creamier your end product will be. After your cashews have finished soaking, drain them from the soaking water and add them to a high-powered blender. Add the apple cider vinegar and a fresh 1 1/2 cups of water to the blender and blend until completely smooth and creamy. Transfer the mixture to a glass or ceramic bowl and stir in the probiotic powder, mixing thoroughly to combine. Next, cover the yogurt with a cheesecloth or paper towel, secure with a rubber band and store in a dark, semi-warm environment for 24 hours (a microwave or oven that are not in use are good spots). After the 24 hours is up, stir in your desired amount of maple syrup, cover once more and refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving. (If you choose to skip the fermentation process, add the maple syrup to the blender mixture and transfer directly to the fridge.) GRANOLA INGREDIENTS • 2 cups oats • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts • 1/3 cup chopped almonds • 1/3 cup chopped macadamia nuts • 2 tablespoons chia seeds • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds • 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds • 1 teaspoon cinnamon • 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • 2 tablespoons avocado oil • 1/4 cup maple syrup • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract • 1/2 cup chopped dates GRANOLA DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, chia, hemp, flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds followed by the cinnamon and salt. Combine the avocado oil, maple syrup, and vanilla in a small bowl then pour over the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread the granola out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes. You can check on it periodically and stir but it is not entirely necessary. Most of the time I throw this in the oven, go do other tasks and come back just in time to take it out. It's nice that it's pretty low maintenance after simply combining all the ingredients and placing in the oven. Once done baking, allow to cool completely then sprinkle in the chopped date pieces and toss to combine. Transfer to airtight containers and store for several weeks in the fridge. Combining these two recipes is a match made in heaven. The yogurt is ultra creamy, rich, and decadent alongside the crunchy, chewy, and toasty granola. Top with fresh fruit, bee pollen and whatever else your heart desires and you have one seriously filling breakfast that's notably more nutrient dense than any store-bought version of the two and minimally processed in comparison. I also love that you can completely customize both recipes. Try blending fresh fruit into your yogurt mixture or swapping out the oats for quinoa, swapping any of the nuts for pistachios, brazil nuts or cashews, swapping the avocado oil for coconut oil, and even swapping out the dates for goji berries or any dried fruit of your choice — the possibilities and combinations are truly endless and I can't wait to see your variation!
- FRESH FIG CITRUS OLIVE OIL CAKE
Serving size: 8 I love a good olive oil cake because it's almost a cross between cornbread and cake. A well made one is usually moist, super rich, and subtly sweet. This recipe is made with orange juice to give it that fresh, bright taste and to ensure we get a perfectly moist cake. Because this is made with a generous portion of olive oil, it's full of vitamins, healthy fats, and polyphenols. Olive oil is particularly rich in oleic acid, a fatty acid that improves inflammatory markers and reduces oxidative stress. Not to worry, we'll be baking the cake at a low enough temperature for all of these benefits to remain in tact. INGREDIENTS • 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil • 3/4 cup maple syrup • 3/4 cup orange juice • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt • handful fresh figs I used a variety of fresh figs (black mission, tiger, and heirloom) to create a more interesting design. It's always important to be mindful of heating oils to an appropriate level because they will not only lose their nutritive value once passed their smoke point, but also produce harmful free radicals passed that point as well. Olive oil's smoke point is between 375-405 degrees which is why we are strategically baking the cake at 350 degrees. DIRECTIONS Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add all of the wet ingredients and stir thoroughly. Grease an 8 inch cake pan with olive oil and pour the batter into the pan. Slice your figs and arrange on top of the cake in your desired pattern. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely then dust with powdered sugar. Slice, serve, and enjoy! Olive oil cake is the ideal combination of savory and sweet when it comes to baked goods and I love that this creates another avenue to utilize olive oil besides a typical pasta dish or salad. Its sweet application is incredibly satisfying and even more satisfying knowing that olive oil contains nutrients that fight inflammation.
- HONEYDEW CUCUMBER ALOE MOCKTAIL
Serving size: 2 I've been getting some variation of this mocktail when I've been out lately and decided to make a few tweaks of my own for greater health benefits and without the refined sugars and syrups that are commonly used in restaurants. I've sweetened this drink naturally using honeydew melon and green grapes and included a serving of aloe vera juice for its health supportive qualities. INGREDIENTS • 1/2 cucumber, peeled • 1 cup cubed honeydew melon • 1 cup green grapes • 1 lime, juiced • 2 tablespoons aloe vera juice • a dozen fresh mint leaves I use this brand of aloe vera juice because of it's pure production process and because of its mild, less bitter flavor compared to other brands. If you've ever tried straight aloe vera juice, you'll know it's not the most pleasant taste, but this one is more flavorless than others. Aloe vera juice is anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, helps balance blood sugar, improves collagen production, reduces the appearance of wrinkles, and is incredible for digestion. DIRECTIONS Add the peeled cucumber, melon, grapes, lime juice, and fresh mint to a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and refrigerate until completely chilled. Once chilled, divide the mixture between 2 glasses over ice and stir in 1 tablespoon of aloe juice per glass. Garnish with cucumber slices, fresh mint, or lime wedges. This mocktail is an instant refresher and is a convenient way to get a serving of aloe juice in. I love being able to slip in ingredients that are less than pleasant on their own and incorporate them in a truly delicious recipe. At one point in time, I was aiming to consume aloe juice every day but eventually stopped because it became too unpleasant. With a recipe like this, I'm now able to consume something like aloe juice that I wouldn't otherwise be able to.