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

Coconut Flaked French Toast and Salted Caramel Sauce (V + GF)

After finals, all I wanted to do was eat comfort food.  And after seeing one of my friends enjoy their french toast at a bakery, I realized that I hadn’t eaten french toast in the longest time… So, I realized that it was time for me to make french toast (vegan and gluten-free) with an innovative coconut twist and a 5-ingredient salted caramel sauce to top it off.

A question some of you may be thinking is, Why am I hungry after taking a test?  When cortisol levels are high, so is appetite.  Harvard Health Publications explains that when you’re stressed, the brain produces a corticotropin-releasing hormone, which suppresses appetite, and your kidneys pump out adrenaline; the adrenaline puts your body in a “fight-or-flight” position that pauses the need to eat.  It’s not until the stress persists that your adrenal glands release cortisol, which ultimately increases appetite.  To reduce cortisol levels, try eating foods with Omega 3 fatty acids like flax seeds and nuts.  I added in flax seed meal to the french toast batter, and incorporated nuts in the mixed nut butter, one of the ingredients for the salted caramel sauce.

Crunchy and flakey outside, and doughy inside with coconuty flavor throughout, this french toast is super decadent and quite frankly, tops the traditional french toast.  The coconut gives the french toast a summery vibe, and with the simple salted caramel topping, it tastes just like cake (but without the super rich ingredients).  It hits the spot – whether you’re having it to recover from a big test, or just enjoying it for a relaxed Sunday breakfast 🙂

Coconut Flaked French Toast and Salted Caramel Sauce (V + GF)
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
Toast
  • 10 pieces of gluten-free bread slices (I used Schär)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup gluten-free flour blend
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch (or potato starch)
  • 1½ tbsp flax seed meal
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
Salted Caramel Sauce
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2.5-3 tbsp mixed nut butter (Trader Joe's)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
Toast
  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the toast (minus the bread slices and coconut flakes). Soak the bread slices in the batter.
  2. On a plate, level out the shredded coconut. Place the soaked bread slices on to the shredded coconut on both sides.
  3. Meanwhile, heat a pan (greased with coconut oil) on medium heat. Place the soaked and "breaded" slices on the pan to cook for approx. 4 minutes on each side. Repeat with the other slices.
Salted Caramel Sauce
  1. Mix the ingredients for the sauce.
Notes
You can refrigerate them for roughly a week.

Vanilla-y, coconut-y, and caramel-y, this coconut flaked french toast is delicious, and a perfect way to start off your summer breakfasts.

Works Consulted

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat

http://main.poliquingroup.com/articlesmultimedia/articles/article/1260/top_10_foods_that_help_balance_cortisol_for_optima.aspx  

Vegan Mocha Cheesecake (Gluten-free and Refined Sugar-free)

mocha cheesecake

When my cousin’s birthday was approaching, I knew that I had to make a “wow” dessert – one that could stand by itself, and every one would enjoy.  Inspired by my cousin’s everlasting love for coffee and cheesecake, as well as my family’s obsession with chocolate, I decided to combine these key foods to make a mocha cheesecake.  And did I mention that it’s raw, vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free (and they didn’t even notice!)?

mocha cheesecake

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Vanilla Bean Hazelnut Cheesecake Bites

Vanilla, hazelnuts, chocolate; these are a few of my favorite things.

So when it came to creating a cheesecake recipe, I wanted it to involve all of these ingredients in the most harmonious way possible while tasting like an actual, real cheesecake.  These vanilla bean hazelnut cheesecake bites are decadent, smooth, creamy, and not to mention gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free (oh, and no-bake!).

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Peanut Butter Chickpea Energy Balls

Both peanut butter and chickpeas are fantastic sources of protein, but together in sweetened bites may not sound the most appetizing.  That is, until now with the most delicious Peanut Butter Chickpea Energy Balls!  I was tired of those store-bought energy bars whose taste resembled that of a cookie: I needed something that would fill me up, with ingredients as simple as possible.  Typical energy foods have a long list of weird dehydrated vegetables, and the sugar levels can exceed 20g easily.

Not these.

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Simple Green Smoothie (sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan)

Hello soon-to-be-smoothie lover!  You may have already seen all over Instagram cute pictures of leafy smoothies, and wonder to yourself why anyone would drink that.  I have to admit, that was my reaction to them until this month.  Going from activity to activity, you need something that’s quick and will power you through – and smoothies are the perfect way to do so.  They’re easy, and the most convenient way to pack in your fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fats.  For smoothie skeptics like me, along with smoothie enthusiasts, this simple smoothie recipe is the tastiest there is :).

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Sweet Potato Coconut Waffles (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

My latest obsession has been sweet potato.  People may think of them as only a Thanksgiving type food, but they’re actually quite versatile, and bring the most subtle natural sweetness to any dish.  What better way to celebrate sweet potatoes than make it into a waffle?

These waffles keep you full, satisfied, and are quite the guilt-less morning treat.  I like to refrigerate them, and pop them in the grill during the week.  Yes, you may be thinking that waffles are all around bad for your – and yes, sometimes they can be, especially when they’re gluten free; manufacturer’s might add unnecessary ingredients like natural flavor, or other heavily processed like corn syrup.

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