Peanut Butter Protein Breakfast Bars (GF + V)

With snow on the ground, I think it’s safe to say that it’s very cold outside.  So perhaps take this as a hint to put your yogurt or chia seed pudding aside for a new, warm breakfast.  Solution: gluten-free and vegan peanut butter protein breakfast bars.

It has everything to make the perfect winter breakfast.

  • warm
  • grounding
  • chocolatey
  • balanced

With all the running around and early mornings, a breakfast that keeps you full and energized is super important.  This does just that.  The protein from the peanut butter and plant-based protein powder, and the fiber from the oatmeal and chia seeds make your tummy happy (and for a long time).  Not to mention the bliss that chocolate brings 🙂

It’s like having a dessert minus the guilt: Dessert – Guilt = Happiness!

Aside from the nutritional benefits, you can make this recipe really quickly and it’ll last you a whole week.  It’s a timesaver!  In fact, you might even spend more time assembling cereal and milk than grabbing one of these peanut butter protein bars.

What’s there not to love?

Peanut Butter Protein Breakfast Bars (GF + V)
Cuisine: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ cup gluten-free oat flour
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tbsp plant-based protein powder
  • 2 chia eggs (2 tablespoons ground chia seeds + 6 tablespoons water)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted peanut butter
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 8x8 pan, greased with coconut oil.
  2. Mix together the dry in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the wet.
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix.
  5. Place the batter onto the greased pan and spread until even.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

 

Enjoy!  Pair this with some almond milk or chocolate milk for an even better breakfast.

 

DIY Air + Clothes Freshener (only 4 ingredients!)

DIY air + clothes freshener

Nearly three months into school, you begin to notice some things change – mostly in the lockerroom.  With people leaving their workout clothes in their lockers, the whole room begins to develop its own signature scent.  That’s why I’ve created a super easy-to-make air and clothes freshener with only four ingredients!

Typical air fresheners (like Febreeze), contain harmful ingredients like BHT, which is a neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, and skin eye and lung irritator.  That’s only one of the many toxic ingredients air fresheners (which now sounds like an oxymoron) use.  To learn more, click here.

Instead, for this DIY air freshener, all you need is an amber bottle, witch hazel, distilled water, and 100% pure essential oils.  It’s so clean, you can even spray it on your skin; in fact, witch hazel is an astrigent which can stop future blemishes – perfect for gym.  Nonetheless, the real stars of this freshener are the essential oils.  You can play with with combinations you want, but I recommend a combination of the ones below.

  • Peppermint essential oil – relieves head aches, has antimicrobial properties, improves mental focus, clears respiratory tract, relieves sore muscles
  • Lavender essential oil – relieves stress (perfect before heading out to class), has antibacterial properties, clears respiratory tract, relieves sore muscles
  • Lemongrass essential oil – has antibacterial properties, relieves sore muscles
  • Tea tree essential oil – has antibacterial properties, fights fungal infections, natural deodorant

Clearly these essential oils are far more qualified than any funky ingredient in typical store-bough air and clothes freshener.  Make your own bottle below!

DIY Air + Clothes Freshener
Author: 
Recipe type: DIY
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp witch hazel
  • distilled water
  • 5 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 5 drops of lemongrass essential oil
Instructions
  1. Mix up the witch hazel and essential oils (of your choice), and place it in your 2 oz amber bottle.
  2. Fill it up to the top of the bottle with distilled water.
  3. Spritz it!

 

 

Blender Black Bean Brownies (V + GF)

black bean brownies

Black beans and chocolate.  Probably not the first combination that comes to mind.   But these decadent black bean brownies are the perfect vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free dessert (and no one will ever guess that they’re packed with awesome, healthy ingredients… including beans)!  Plus, you can make them using simply a blender.  This is what I call a win-win-win situation 🙂

black bean brownies

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A Gastronomic Tour of Pozzallo, Sicily

pozzallo

Every summer since I was a toddler, my family travels to a small, fisherman village called Pozzallo in Sicily, where my mom’s side of the family originally comes from.  And each year, all my cousins, grandparents, aunts/uncles – each from different countries – come together under one roof.  With narrow streets and the beautiful Mediterranean sea, it’s difficult not to fall in love with this Italian gem.  Aside from it’s unique and lovable appearance, Pozzallo inhabits some quirky (but equally lovable) residents.  From the man who howls every day at 12 o’clock on the “corso” (the main street of a town) to the two friendly fishermen brothers who dream of America, Pozzallo almost resembles a story book; the town howler, the adventurers, and so on.  Everyone knows each other and each others’ issues, which is both amazing as the community really comes together, but at the same time a little uncomfortable :).  As my mom likes to say, “There’s no word for ‘privacy’ in Italian.”  Considering everyone knows each other, it’s no surprise that the “Pozzallese”‘s  – as they’re called – routines tend to be in sync.  In the streets, you hear the light clanking of forks from eating a big plate of spaghetti that nonna prepared for.  This, I miss.

I can go on and on about the town, but now it’s time for the food.  Let’s go!

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A Day in New York City: Chelsea + Downtown

a day in Chelsea and Downtown

New York City is my favorite city in the world.  From the cultural food to the amazing architecture, I constantly find myself in awe of New York.  Recently, I went on a trip to the Chelsea neighborhood with my friends, and had an amazing time.  Later, after going another time with my mom, I knew I had to share the one day trip to Chelsea (and a little bit of Downtown too) with you all.  I hope you enjoy it!

First up, Chelsea Market: 

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Minty Matcha Protein Smoothie

Minty Matcha Protein Smoothie

Summer is all about relaxation and restoration.  With constant pool and beach activities – not to mention the crazy heat – a delicious and healthy treat is well deserved.  That’s why I’ve created this minty matcha protein smoothie.  Refreshing with its minty flavor, energizing with matcha, and satisfying with protein, this is the ideal smoothie to get you back on your feet (or chez, whichever one you prefer 🙂 ).

Minty Matcha Protein Smoothie

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Vegan Rolled Eggplant with Quinoa Filling

Inspired by the classic ingredients of Sicily, I decided it was about time I made a real savory dish. Don’t get me wrong – I love to bake, but this time, I wanted to challenge myself by incorporating Sicily’s produce with an enjoyable, and healthy twist.  What did I come up with?  Rolled eggplant with quinoa filling.  It’s simple, healthy, and maybe more importantly, chilled.  Continue reading

Eating Guide to Vienna

Vienna

Vienna is full of wonderful delights in many ways.  Rich in exquisite art, music, and history, it’s not surprising that their foods fall on the same high level.  Going around the city, we stopped by some classic restaurants, and my family tried out some foods (with gluten and dairy), giving me the rating.  While a beautiful city, there aren’t necessarily that many gluten-free or vegan dedicated restaurants; their traditions (such as schnitzel) are deeply rooted in the city’s veins.  For this reason, I’ve drawn a list of classic Viennese restaurants and foods, as well as restaurants and foods that are gluten-free/vegan.

Before going into the restaurants, here are a couple of phrases you may find useful when ordering food:

  • Kann ich eine flasche wasser (mit gas) bitte? Can I have a bottle of water (with gas) please? 
  • Ich bin gluten-frei/milch-frei/vegan.  I am gluten-free/dairy-free-vegan.
  • Ich nehme ___ mit/ohne ___ bitte.  I’ll take ___  with/without ___ please.
  • Ein anderer, another
  • Danke, thank you

The Classics – Foods and Restaurants

Pretzels

In almost any bread bakery in Austria, you can grab a pretzel, or how it’s said in German, “brezel.” With sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, or just salt as my brother likes to take it, these pretzels are truly amazing.  Just imagine – crusty outside and fluffy inside.

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