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MCLV Mange|Vegan Blueberry Chia Muffins

I can’t seem to stop baking. Our shelter-in-place has been filled stress baking and since I seem to have no self control when it comes to indulging in my homemade treats, I decided I needed to dedicate some time to making healthier recipes.

Enter these delicious vegan, gluten-free blueberry chia seed muffins. They’re light and just sweet enough, filled with tangy, antioxidant packed blueberries. You could easily substitute another berry if you have them on hand, or add nuts or shredded coconut. You can also play around with the flour and find a mix that you like.

{Vegan Blueberry Chia Muffins – Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Vegan Blueberry Chia Muffin Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour {I used a combination of buckwheat flour & almond meal}
  • 1/2 Cup of Oats
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/3 Cup of Coconut Oil
  • 1/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
  • 2 Chia “Eggs” {2 Tbsp Chia Seeds + 4 Tbsp of Water}
  • 1 Banana – Mashed
  • 1/4 Cup of Plant Milk or Water
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tsp White Vinegar
  • 2 Cups of Blueberries

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F
  • In a small bowl make chia eggs and set aside {~5 minutes}
  • In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In another bowl, mix together wet ingredients including the chia eggs, which should have gelled.
  • Combine the wet and the dry ingredients. Add in blueberries. Don’t over mix.
  • Spoon batter into muffin tin
  • Bake for ~20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
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MCLV Mange|Vegan Taco Casserole

This is one of those hearty, satisfying dishes that feels super indulgent, but has some sneaky health benefits. Packed with veggies & micronutrients, it’s also high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats.

It’s also a great dish to play around with. You can add whatever veggies you have on hand, try different protein sources, give it a new twist with a different kind of pasta.

{Vegan Taco Casserole – Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Vegan Taco Casserole Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 1 Bell Pepper – Diced
  • 1 Small Zucchini – Diced
  • 1 Small Yellow Squash – Diced
  • 1/2 Red Onion – Diced
  • Gluten-Free Pasta – 340g {I’m a Banza girl – Chickpea power!}
  • 3/4 Cup Broth or Water
  • Taco Seasoning – 25g
  • 1/2 Cup Salsa
  • Beefless Crumbles or other ground vegan meat – 340g
  • Black Beans – 19oz
  • 1 Cup Corn
  • ~2 Cups Vegan Cheese {I used this delicious Daiya Cheddar Style Deluxe Cheese Sauce}

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Sautee diced onion, pepper, zucchini & yellow squash in olive oil until tender in a large pan or wok
  • Boil water for pasta of choice and cook to desired consistency. Drain pasta.
  • Clean pasta pot and return to stovetop – Add broth or water, salsa, and taco seasoning and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and add the beefless crumbles, breaking it up into a smooth, saucy texture.
  • Add the black beans and corn to the first pant of veggies and mix to combine. Add in second mixture and combine. Add in half of your cheese substitute, reserving half for a topping. Finally, stir in your pasta. This is why I used a wok, lots of ingredients to add!
  • Pour the mixture of veggies, beefless crumbles, and pasta into a baking dish and top with the remaining cheese substitute. Bake for 15 minutes or until the top starts to brown or the cheese starts to bubble.
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MCLV Mange| Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

A holiday season classic with a healthy twist. And, of course, not too complicated. We here at MCLV HQ can’t stand a difficult recipe with hard-to-find ingredients.

{Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles – Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Peanut Butter Ball Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of peanut butter {I used Naked Nutrition Powdered Peanut Butter}
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown rice syrup
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup almond flour or 5-6 Tbsp coconut flour

Chocolate Drizzle Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 4-8 squares of dark chocolate
  • 1/4 Tsp flaky sea salt

Directions:

  1. Mix together peanut butter, liquid sweetener of choice, coconut oil & vanilla. Add flour and stir thoroughly.
  2. Create small balls with the dough. Should create 10-12.
  3. Place on a sheet of parchment paper or silpat and put in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. While they’re chilling melt the coconut oil & dark chocolate.
  5. Once the balls have hardened, remove from the freezer and drizzle with the chocolate.
  6. Finally, sprinkle desired amount of sea salt on top.
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Project Comeback | Foods to AVOID + Foods to Add

Welcome to my Project Comeback series! Today we’re taking about foods to avoid and foods to add to your daily life while you’re trying to achieve your healthy living goals. If you’ve missed out, you can check out these previous posts: Project Comeback | A Week of Workouts, Project Comeback | What I Eat in a Day, and Project Comeback | Activewear Loves.聽

Since I started my healthy living journey nearly a decade ago, I’ve tried many different ways of eating. I’ve succumbed to trends. I’ve tried new foods. I’ve cut out other foods. But most of all, I’ve tried to keep an open mind. What works for one person may not work for another, and what works for you one year, may not work for you the next. Now after that little introduction, I wanted to give you a quick and dirty break down of foods to add to your diet, and foods to AVOID.

Project Comeback What To Eat What Foods to Avoid Venag Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food FItness Lifestyle Blogger

Foods to GIVE UP:

  • Fried foods – Fairly self-explanatory 馃檪聽
  • Heavily processed foods – Simply put… Does it come in a package? Try to cut it out. Long list of ingredients? Try to cut it out.
  • Foods/food-like substances聽with no nutritional value – Packaged sauces, dressings, and condiments, pre-made meals, snack foods, fruit juices etc.
  • High sugar foods – Cut out the candy, baked goods, and definitely cut out the sodas
  • Refined carbs – Pasta, white bread, packaged pastry products… You know they’re terrible for you, time to ditch them

Foods to Add:

  • Whole foods聽– ALL the fruits & veggies
  • Whole grains – Don’t worry, you can still have pasta. Just swap your refined white flour pasta for quinoa, chickpea, brown rice, or lentil.
  • Water – Start increasing your water intake each day
  • Spices – Worried that you won’t enjoy your food once you give up sugary, high-fat dressings and sauces? Try adding fresh herbs and dried spices
  • Healthy fats – Swap processed, pre-made foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, for healthy fats like avocado, eggs, nuts, seeds, and beans
  • Green tea – High in antioxidants and great for weight loss, including green tea in your day is a win-win

I’ll be back for another installation of Project Comeback so stay tuned!

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Surviving the Holidays | 10 Day Cleanse

While I love the holidays, and look forward to them, they can be fairly hard on your body. Between all of the聽late nights, indulgent treats, and cocktails, you start to feel pretty low energy by the time New Years rolls around. This 10 day cleanse is easy, quick, and you still get to EAT. Well… Maybe easy isn’t the best word. But it’s definitely worthwhile. It’s a great way to give your adrenals and gut a break, and you’ll be able to put your best food forward for all of your holiday engagements this year.

Cleanse Detox Vegan Gluten-Free Paleo Vegetarian San Francisco Bay Area Fashion Food Fitness Lifestyle Blogger

Here are the do’s and don’t’s for the 10 day cleanse:

Don’t consume:

  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar/Sweeteners (including natural added sugars like agave or honey, but excluding fruits and veggies containing sugar, those are fine)
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Peanuts

Do consume:

  • All the whole foods – Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. (Non-processed meat as well if you’re an omnivore)
  • LOTS of water
  • Pre/probiotics
  • Fermented foods without added sugar

Caffeine is one of the hardest things for most people to give up, but you can ease your way into it by starting to cut back a few days before officially starting the cleanse. That way there isn’t quite as much of a shock to the system. Below are my thoughts and experiences with some of these factors to give you an idea of what to expect and how you may feel.

Caffeine – I was worried about this one to be honest. I generally drink 3-4 cups of tea a day, but I rarely keep track and I’m sure that sometimes it’s higher. Turns out, not much to worry about. I was a little headachy the first day, but woke up bright as a button the second day. (Also – What in the world does that expression mean?)

Alcohol – Let’s be honest, we all feel better when we don’t drink. The end. 馃檪

Sugar/Sweeteners – This is the item that had the biggest impact on me. Start reading your labels and you’ll realize you’re consuming much more sugar than you expect. Dressings, marinades, sauces, protein powders, protein bars… Basically anything packaged. They’re all filled with sugar or sweeteners. Cutting out these items really forced me to look at my meals more critically and make more informed choices. It also meant planning ahead because I couldn’t reach for a quick bite like a protein bar.

Soy – I’ve gotten into the lazy habit of having store-bought veggie burgers and sausage patties when I’m too tired to cook. Yes, they’re great convenience items, but this was a good wake up call that I should make/keep whole food options around as well. This also meant that between no soy and no sugar (aka my protein powders聽and bars) my protein intake was much lower than normal. Once I got into the swing of it and actually did my meal prepping, I was fine.

Overall I thought this was a great cleanse. You still get to eat but you see and feel results. PLUS it’s a great reminder to pay attention to your food and to help get you out of bad habits. That was my biggest takeaway, that I get lazy and reach for foods that are more processed than what I should be eating on a regular basis.

Stay tuned for some fun recipes that I came up with during this cleanse!

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