Blueberry Walnut Pancakes

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Sometimes it takes me a couple of days to publish a blog post because I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to creating the recipe, “posing” my dish creations just right for photographing, and then actually writing the post. However, I’m too freakin’ excited about these pancakes that I needed to share them asap. Yes, food excites me that much. Understand now why I felt the need to start a food blog in the first place?

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I had every intention of making this recipe so that I could share it on my blog, but I didn’t think they’d come out as good as they did on the first attempt. And once Justin ate one and said they didn’t need any changes, I took the remaining two in my backyard to photograph.

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And because it’s a gorgeous beach day outside, I’ll make this post like I made my pancake stack, short and sweet. Because I’m always thinking of my little friend Charley Mae when I create recipes now, this can totally be gluten free if you use gluten free oats.

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Ingredients (makes about 4 pancakes)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 chia egg*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • coconut oil or non-dairy butter for pan (I used Earth Balance)
  • maple syrup
  • (optional: additional blueberries and walnuts for topping)

* To make a chia egg, mix 1/4 cup of water and 1 Tbsp of chia seeds. Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

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Steps:

  1. Create the chia egg and set aside for 10 minutes.
  2. In a high speed blender/food processor, blend the oats and almonds until it makes a flour.
  3. Pour the oat/almond flour in a bowl and add all other ingredients except the blueberries.
  4. Gently mix in blueberries.
  5. On medium/low heat, melt oil or non-dairy butter.
  6. Cook each pancake for about 3 minutes on each side.
  7. Transfer to a plate and top with maple syrup!
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Quinoa Burgers

IMG_9720 If you’ve been experiencing communication problems, issues with technology, or perhaps just feeling a little overwhelmed and flustered – don’t fret too much, it’s just Mercury Retrograde! This event happens about three to four times a year and lasts a few weeks each visit. During retrograde periods, things have a way of seeming to not work out. There are plenty of computer glitches, travel delays, and miscommunications. However, it’s a wonderful time to reexamine the important things in your life in order to become a stronger, more spiritual you. Check out gala darling and future so bright to learn more about Mercury in retrograde.

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Now to more important matters. Food. What do you get when you combine chickpeas and quinoa? A deliciously sloppy bean-wah burger, of course! A few months ago, I made black bean burgers for Justin and his parents when they were in town. I had followed another blogger’s recipe and made a few alterations. They tasted really good, but they didn’t stay together in the pan very well. It was more like a sloppy joe vegan burger. So this time, I followed my usual mantra of “Less is more,” and made a kick ass burger that will be making many appearances during this summer’s bar-b-que season. IMG_9726 These burgers in no way at all taste like “conventional” beef burgers – they’re not supposed to. They have the consistency similar to a crab patty, and they’re versatile and fun because you can add whichever spices you like, top it with anything you fancy, and, well, anything messy that requires hands is my idea of a good time.

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Quinoa, contrary to what some say, is a seed and wonderful for vegans since it contains all nine essential amino acids. This complete protein has calcium, fat, iron, phosphorous and a high amount of vitamin B2. Because quinoa is a slow releasing carbohydrate, it’s beneficial for those who are diabetic since it helps maintain the correct blood sugar levels for longer periods of time.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 c. packed, cooked quinoa *
  • 1 can beans, rinsed (An assortment of beans works well, too.)
  • 1 chia egg ** (optional – I’ve made this recipe without it and it stayed together nicely.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3/4 c. chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
  • flour for dusting (I use brown rice flour or whole wheat flour)
  • 4 buns + toppings of your choice (I used mustard, tomato, avocado, and kale)
  • optional: garlic aioli sauce (I’m not saying this because it’s my recipe, but it’s seriously magic sauce and will make anything taste amazingly)

*Use two cups of water for every 1 cup of dried quinoa.

** How to make a chia egg: Mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with 1/4 cup of water. Set aside for 15 minutes, long enough for the seeds to expand and form a gel.

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Steps:

  1. Prepare the chia egg and set aside to form a gel.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients, except the oil and onion, and blend. I used a hand-held mixer
  3. Place 1 tsp olive oil on medium heat. After two minutes, add the chopped onion and saute for about 3 minutes.
  4. Combine the sauteed onions to the burger mixture.
  5. Divide the mixture into 4 patties and dust both sides of each patty.
  6. Place the rest of the olive oil (2 Tbsp) in a pan on medium/high heat. Once hot, about 2-3 minutes, place each patty on the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Stack your burger high and EAT!

Props to my sous chef, Justin, for creating the delicious side salad of kale, red/yellow/orange peppers, red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado which I was able to use in my photographs…and then eat 🙂

Sauteed Chickpeas & Onions

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I was testing out a recipe for a vegan bean burger (which I’ll share this week!) and I started craving chickpeas. So while I was waiting on some of the ingredients for the burgers to cook, I quickly sauteed chickpeas in some olive oil, yellow onion, and spices. It’s always nice to have extra beans on hand for moments like this, and I usually have at least a dozen cans at a time. Yes, I used to only use dry beans, but in this hectic world, I just don’t have time to soak beans overnight each time I plan on using them, which is all the time. This is a snack I’ve been making forever, changing up the spices depending on my mood, and I thought I should share this since it’s healthy, speedy, and nearly effortless.

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I kept this chickpea recipe very simple, but it would also taste amazingly mixed with kale and tomatoes, as a salad topping, or combined with pasta. I, however, was simply in the mood for chickpeas with a little kick. While I was in my backyard photographing this latest balanced bella concoction, I picked a basil leaf off one of my plants as a garnish. The plants are still in their early-ish stages, but they’re really beginning to bloom!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c. chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 small onion)
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • basil for garnish (optional)

Steps:

  1. Place olive oil in pan on medium/high heat.
  2. Add onions and stir, cooking for about 3 minutes.
  3. Mix in the chickpeas, salt, red and black pepper. Enjoy!

Banana Bon-Bons

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Peggy Bundy would be proud. I’ve envisioned making these for the past few months. Like when I was proctoring the state tests and couldn’t do much more than stare out the window, or when I was sitting on the lifeguard chair staring at the ocean and thinking about the exact ingredients I would use and if everything would stick together like they did in my mind – they did by the way. Yea, I know I sound like a huge food geek. And although I had every intention of creating a delicious dinner and writing about that, I just couldn’t resist trying these out, and when I did, well I obviously had to change my plans a tad…
The richness of the cacao and the nutty flavor of the almonds brings out the sweet flavor of banana – which tastes about three hundred times better when it’s frozen, making it creamy and refreshing on these humid June days in New York. Ingredients (makes about 8 bon-bons):

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  • 1/2 ripened banana
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder*
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup

*I recently ran out of cacao powder and bought a different brand at Whole Foods on a whim. This new powder is a lot less strong and I need a lot more to achieve the same taste. So, depending on the cacao powder you have, try one half to one whole tablespoon and taste the mixture to see if it’s enough. I usually order Healthworks brand on Amazon and absolutely love it.

Steps:

  1. Dice one half banana into 1/4 inch coins.
  2. Place on a plate in a single layer – do not pile on top of each other.
  3. For easier handling, freeze for about thirty minutes.
  4. In a blender, mix almonds, coconut, and cacao powder.
  5. Pour into a bowl and add the maple syrup, mix well.
  6. Cover each banana piece and shape into a ball; do not pile covered bananas on top of one another.
  7. For best results, freeze for at least one hour, but best after two hours.

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Simply Strawberry Sorbet

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This takes all of two minutes to make and is the quintessential summertime dessert.  It’s refreshingly cold and light, but more importantly, it’s dairy-free so your body will thank you.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (mine was sweetened almond milk)
  •  1 Tbsp maple syrup

Steps:

  1. Place everything in a high powered blender or food processor. Voilà!

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