Chocolate covered strawberries (vegan, dairy-free, nut-free)

It is always the saddest feeling when you bite into the first strawberry of a big box and taste…nothing. No flavor. No sweetness. Nada. Those deceptively vibrant berries lured you in (likely when they’re not in season) and now you’re left with a whole box. PLEASE do not throw them out. There is always a way to make them worthwhile. One of my favorite ways to turn a dull berry into a delicious berry is chocolate.

Now, of course you can melt some dark chocolate and dip away, but that gets messy and requires a microwave. I love to make my own chocolate dip and you only need a few ingredients!

Chocolate dip:

-3 tbsp cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder will change your life)

-3 packets stevia, or sweetener of choice

-1 tsp coconut oil (I recommend Artisana Organics)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well
  2. Add in 1 tbsp of hot water and stir, repeat and add additional tablespoons of water until the consistency is thick and dip-like. I usually use 3-4 tbsp of water.
  3. Dip your woebegone strawberries in your delicious, rich chocolate dip and enjoy!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

Pad Thai Salad (Grain-Free, Gluten Free)

So I typically throw salads together on the fly and add a bunch of random spices, but this time I had a plan in mind…PAD THAI! (Or at least my own bizarre version of it.) Plus, it takes about ten minutes to toss together.

IMG_0443

Ingredients:
2 eggs, or 3/4 cup egg whites
Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Red pepper to taste
salad greens (4-6 cups)
Roasted veggies of choice (I had brussel sprouts on hand)
mushrooms

1) Grease a small microwaveable bowl with coconut oil and combine eggs  with 1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid aminos and spices
2) Microwave for 1 minute
3) Stir
4) Microwave for 30-45 seconds or until eggs are fully cooked
5) Meanwhile, throw your greens in a big bowl and top with veggies of choice (marinated mushrooms are a great addition)
6) Put your eggs on top, mix, and enjoy!
7) I recommend adding more liquid aminos to taste.
8) Enjoy!

 

Hemp Protein and Ethical Eating

I got the chance to try the new Manitoba Harvest Protein Smoothie line and got a bag of each flavor to try. I love their Hemp Hearts product, which is a great way to get your omega-3s. I have never been a huge hemp protein fan, but with nutritional stats like 15g of plant-based protein and the inclusion of organic spinach, kale and broccoli greens into the mix, it definitely is appealing!

IMG_0167

Flavors: Chocolate, Mixed Berry, Vanilla Chai

Ingredients of Chocolate Hemp Protein Smoothie: HempPro 70 (hemp protein concentrate, natural plant extracts), organic coconut sugar, organic fair trade cocoa powder, organic harvest greens blend (organic spinach, organic kale, organic broccoli)

Does it get any better than that?

IMG_0428

I made a smoothie bowl using half a frozen banana, 30g of Chocolate Protein Smoothie Powder, 5-6 ice cubes, water, and about 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum until it blended smoothly. I topped it off with Kim’s Magic Pop chocolate drizzle bites, coconut chocolate granola, and Kashi GoLean cereal.

Manitoba Harvest is committed to the environment and social justice. From the ingredients, it’s easy to read that their cocoa powder is fair trade and their coconut sugar is organic, but these small details mean a lot. It means that the company is working to create an honest product that is both high in nutrition, while promoting sustainability and equality. Buying products like this shows the power of the consumer–we can choose brands that value our earth and everyone on it. That, to me, is the core tenet of ethical eating. BONUS: It’s tasty.

IMG_0450

If you want to win your own Hemp Protein Smoothie enter in the contest and post pictures on instagram, facebook, or twitter using the #hempproteinsmoothie and tagging Manitoba Harvest. Participants will be entered to win a case of their favorite flavor of Hemp Protein Smoothie.

Or if you want it and you want it now, order with promo code “hempsmoothielaunch16” for 15% off your  order.

Although I was compensated for this post, the opinions are my own and reflect my honest beliefs.

Sweet It Fudgy Chocolate Cookies (Grain-free, Sugar-Free, Vegan)

I have finally gotten to experiment and come up with my own Vitafiber recipes! If you don’t have this Sweet It Vitafiber syrup, it is a must if you love playing in the kitchen and healthy baking. I have relied on other recipes until now, but decided to give my own a shot and I am so glad I did! Here’s the super easy, two ingredient recipe:

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

-2 tbsp Sweet It Vitafiber syrup

-3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Pour Vitafiber into a small bowl
  3. Add cocoa powder 1 tbsp at a time until a firm dough forms that you can mold in your hands
  4. Taste-test–if it is not sweet enough, then add a dash of stevia or your dry sweetener of choice.
  5. Place 2 teaspoon size balls of dough onto a lined cookie sheet
  6. Bake for about 8 minutes or until firm
  7. Enjoy!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

Have you tried baking with Vitafiber? What would be your ideal cookie flavor?

Sukrin-Sweetened Chocolate Cookies

I love anything chocolate dark chocolate. I always make a batch of chocolate cookies or brownies to start the week; it makes a great snack during the day or dessert at night. I frequently crumble them on top of smoothie bowls, create parfaits with berries, or simply eat them topped with nut butter. I frequently experiment in the kitchen, but I don’t mess with this recipe too much–it’s simply perfect!

IMG_9878

Recipe:
2 tbsp oat fiber (or oat flour)
2 tbsp coconut flour (I use Better Body Foods brand)
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sukrin sweetener (or sweetener of choice)
4 tbsp special dark cocoa powder
4 egg whites (can sub with flax-egg)
2 tbsp water

1) Set oven to 350 degrees
2) Combine dry ingredients and mix well
3) Add in wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined
4) Place 1 tbsp size dollops of batter onto a greased cookie sheet (I often use non-stick silpat for easier clean up)
5) Bake for approximately 8 minutes or until the tops are firm to the touch!
6) Enjoy!

IMG_9961

I like Sukrin in this recipe because it adds the perfect sweetness and bulk to the cookies because it uses erythritol and stevia. It has a similar texture to sugar-sweetened recipes and works perfectly. Also, even though erythritol is difficult to pronounce, please don’t be fooled! This is an all-natural sweetener and has no impact on blood sugar. It is a sugar alcohol, but does not have the unpleasant effects associated with other sugar alcohols. This is because it is almost completely absorbed before it enters the intestines, unlike other sugar alcohols. So if you have had trouble with xylitol or maltitol, please do not be afraid of trying Sukrin or erythritol!

IMG_9947               IMG_9920

For more amazing recipes, check out the Foodie Friday Link-up here: http://www.hellotofit.com/2016/02/05/recipe-healthy-apple-peanut-butter-breakfast-cookies/

Escaping the Cold with Tropical Bread (Vegan Coconut Banana Bread)

I think everyone got a taste of the cold this past weekend, even being down South I saw a dusting of snow! I took the homebound days as time to rest, relax, and spend time with friends. I am lucky that most of my friends are within a mile radius on my college campus–so no driving necessary. I got busy in the kitchen and put my new Artisana Coconut Butter to good use!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

I had a few bananas lying around so banana bread was a must. The coconut butter gave a light coconut taste with an amazing richness. Of course I had to taste test the butter before adding it, and I must say it tastes divine on its own! I can’t wait to come up with more recipes using it.

Ingredients:
2 Bananas (medium sized)
1 packet Artisana Organics coconut butter
1/2 c Better Body Foods Coconut Flour
1/4 c Tigernut Flour (could sub with almond flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 c water
1/2 bar high quality dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)

IMG_9730

FullSizeRender (3)

 

 

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a small loaf pan
  2. Mash banana
  3. Add coconut butter to mashed banana and mix well then add water and mix thoroughly
  4. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl
  5. Chop your chocolate into your preferred size (I like a mix of chunks and slivers!)
  6. Add wet to dry ingredients and stir until just combined
  7. Mix in chocolate chunks (I prefer a dark chocolate, check your labels if you want a vegan bread!)
  8. Spoon mixture into pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until edges begin to brown.
  9. Enjoy!

A photo posted by Hannah (@craving_happy) on

How do you use your coconut butter?

Vegan Bacon and Special Spices

I am stuck on two of my favorite way to prepare eggplant–they’re that good. I am not afraid to admit to undying affection for this veggie; it is superb and completely underrated. It can be a crust for “pizza,” a “noodle” in lasagna, even french toast (<–trust me, it is not gross and even my mom liked it).

The only difference between my two favorite eggplant dishes is the seasoning. Both are cooked the same way for about the same amount of time.

Middle Eastern Eggplant:

1 large purple eggplant
2 tsp sumac (an amazing spice)
3 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
1 packet stevia (optional)

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2) Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil
3) Chop the eggplant into 1 inch cubes (leave the skin on–that’s the most nutritious part!)
4) Toss the cubes with the lemon juice and then add the sumac. If necessary, add another teaspoon to make sure the cubes are evenly coated.
5) Roast for approximately 15-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes and checking occasionally.
*I recommend adding stevia because it cuts the bitterness that eggplant can sometimes have!

FullSizeRender (1)

 

Vegan “Bacon” Eggplant

3 tbsp maple syrup (regular or sugar free)
3 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 large purple eggplant

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
2) Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil
3) Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch thick slices and lay them on the cookie sheet.
4) In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, liquid smoke, pepper, and salt.
5) Use a small pastry brush (or your *clean* fingers) to coat each slice in the mixture.
5) Roast for approximately 10-15 minutes, flipping the slices over at about 7 minutes.
6) Enjoy!

FullSizeRender (2)

Linking to Sprint 2 the Table

 

Also, big thanks to the Fit Foodie Mama for the Meatless Monday link-up!

Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Spiced Buckwheat Pear Bread and a Giveaway!

I love making seasonal baked goods! There are so many people to give to, so many new recipes to make–it is simply a great way to spread joy and health. I (almost) always make my baked goods sugar-free and sweeten with fruit or stevia. I have a giveaway for NuNaturals stevia going on here if you want to enter:

                                                               NuNaturals Stevia Giveaway!

But now let’s get down to business:

IMG_9253

Ingredients:

1c Buckwheat Flour
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used a 30g scoop of whey protein)
5 packets stevia
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 small steamed pears
1 small pear, unsteamed
2 eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix buckwheat flour, protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and stevia in a large bowl
  3. In a small bowl, mash 2 steamed and add in 2 eggs and vanilla
  4. Chop the remaining pear into small chunks
  5. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and mix until almost combined
  6. Add in the chopped pear and stir until fully mixed
  7. Pour into a greased baking loaf pan (top with a sprinkling of oats if you want)
  8. Bake in oven for approximately 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Enjoy!

IMG_9254

NuNaturals GIVEAWAY and Holiday (Sugar) Crash

The holidays are full of excitement, joy, and love, but let’s not pretend it’s ALL good! There are certainly stressors that accompany this hectic time, and ironically the added pressure of feeling happy non-stop only adds to the stress. It is okay to take a few minutes alone, a few minutes of exercise, a few minutes of self-care. Too much of a good thing can become exhausting very quickly; I use my time doing Pilates to quiet my mind and appreciate solitude during the holidays. I find this rejuvenating and have plenty of energy for family time full of fun activities and goofiness.

IMG_9173

During the holidays there is always a ton of sugar, which I believe is what causes a lot of the overwhelming excitement…which then leads to a crash. If you don’t typically eat a lot of sugar be aware of this during this time of year. Definitely enjoy the foods you want, but be aware of how they might affect your mood if you are sensitive to sugar highs!

Rice cake topped with some NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup heaven!

IMG_5753

My favorite way to combat sugar crashes is stevia–the super secret weapon for baking and sweetening just about anything! I am so excited to host a giveaway with NuNaturals to give FOUR of you the chance to receive Vanilla NuStevia Liquid, a bottle of the new Sugar-free Cocoa Syrup, & a bottle of the new Sugar-Free Mint Cocoa Syrup, plus a 50 pkt. box of NuStevia No Carb Stevia packets! This is an amazing pack of goodies–the Cocoa Syrup is absolutely life-changing! Enter the giveaway below (ends 12/29/15).

Enter the giveaway here!

If you don’t win, do not fear!  NuNaturals is generously offering a 15% discount effective until June 30, 2016. Online ordering customers may also receive FREE SHIPPING to the in the Continental US on all orders exceeding $ 35! Visit www.nunaturals.com  to order.

Happy holidays!

IMG_6688

Pumpkin 101: How to Attack the Pum’kin

So it’s well into fall…which means PUMPKIN EVERYTHING. This is great, but the canned stuff cannot compare to the taste of freshly roasted pumpkin. It’s intimidating to see a whole, hard little squash and know how to handle it, but I’ve compiled a guide of my favorite tips to make the process as easy as possible! Get ready to get your pumpkin on.

Step 1: Microwave your little pumpkin for about 6 min and if it’s still hard keep microwaving for one minute intervals. (I usually microwave the biggest squash for 9 minutes!) Now is a great time to set the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 400 if you like it crispier).

IMG_7924

Step 2: Cut your (now soft) pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. I usually use both a fork and spoon to tackle all the string-y bits and seeds! Place the seeds in a bowl to roast later.

IMG_7926 IMG_7928

 

Step 3: Chop your pumpkin into 1 square inch chunks and place on a greased cookie sheet.
IMG_7929

Step 4: Roast squash at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until soft and golden brown.

IMG_7930

Step 5: To get the most bang for your pumpkin buck, definitely don’t forget the seeds! I recommend you wash the seeds with water, let them dry, then lay them on a greased cookie sheet and roast at 425 for about 7 minutes or until they are golden-brown and crisp.

Step 6: Enjoy your roasted pumpkin on its own as a side, or feel free to puree it and use it in any recipe that calls for pumpkin! The seeds are great as a quick snack or tossed in a salad.

Happy Fall!