Mediterranean Spiced & Grilled Vegetable Rice Bowls with Avocado – Vegan, Gluten Free

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Today I came across an article about Michael Pollans new book, Second Nature . The book explores the lesson we can learn about life through gardening and cooking our own food. His approach to industrial farming, food, and health goes far deeper then just providing sustenance, it transends the human need to eat into something that I can only describe as spiritual. When I was cooking this meal I was thinking about where my ingredients came from, how they were grown, the enviormental impact and the nourishment it would provide my body. It was a really beautiful reminder about the moral aspect of eating, and the cause and effect that our choices have. 

So on to the bowl of goodness- This dish is relatively quick, satisfying and full of flavor. I absolutely love brown rice with a little (vegan) butter, garlic and fresh herbs- It really takes the rice to the next level so I highly encourage you to make the rice a little fancy. The spice rub for the vegetables would also be delicious on tofu (or meat if you are a meat eater), and had I had some in the fridge at the time I most certainly would have marinated the tofu, put it on skewers and tossed it on the grill. My trick for grilling tofu is to fold your pieces up in paper towl to remove as much moisture as possible before grilling- it really makes for a firmer piece of tofu.

 
If you can — grill everything, but this would be just as good prepared on the stove, or baked in the oven. Enjoy!
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Peanut Butter Coconut Donuts – Gluten Free, Vegan

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Back in 2013 I traveled to Thailand for two weeks and I still find myself inspired by the different flavors of food that I tried. The country and the people were as coloful as their dishes and the firey flavor of some spicy concoctions resembled the spirit, and architecture of the buildings. Bursting red roofs of the Wats, and the prestine gold statues of buddhas or dragons that lined the streets are a constant reminder of the spirit of Thailand. It is truly a stunning place. 

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Fire Roasted Corn, Mango and Avocado Salad- Gluten Free, Vegan

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I very distinctly remember the first time I had avocado and mango together. It was the beginning of 2011 and I decided to sign up for Ok Cupid (this is one step away from the “we only here to hook up” status of Tinder, which I am proud to say I have never used). I mean no offense if you have, so feel free to tell me I have it wrong. Anyways. At this time I was fresh out of a break up and determined to fall in love again. I met this guy who was hilarious. Literally laughed at my computer for weeks while we chatted using Cupids messaging service.

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Gluten Free Rosemary Flatbread with Hummus and Vegetables

Gluten Free Flat Bread

This is a recipe that I pulled from my vault of recipes, aka my old blog. It has never been posted on here and I realized this morning how many old recipes and photos I have hanging out on the web. After years of being indecisive about food blogging, I know this time around I am serious…., about having fun and sticking with it. 

Tomorrow the Food Collective eBook comes out and I am so excited. I’ve spent the last 4 months collaborating with 40 other foodies from Instagram to create a recipe ebook to raise money for Organic Consumers Association. Its been a labor of love and extremely fulfilling. Speaking of fulfilling- this flatbread.

This was my first attempt at some gluten free vegetarian but not vegan flatbread. Again, this is a recipe I made when I was hanging out in the flexitarian world. It is made with almond meal and garbanzo bean flour so it is actually a low carb high protein crust – which is something to smile about! Its ridiculously beautiful and it tastes insane. I was genuinely surprised with how delicious the bread came out. The creamy nutty flavor blended so well with the rosemary that I could have just eaten it by itself. It really didn’t require any toppings at all! How did we as society stray so far from whole plant foods? How did we ever even get to refined white carbohydrates. Seriously? There is no way in hell that they could ever have such a dimensional flavor and high nutritional value. Makes no sense. Anyways, make this bread and top with whatever your hungry heart desires!

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Raw Chocolate, Peanut Butter Frozen Bananas with Blend_Co – Raw, Vegan

 

 

 

Frozen Bananas 3

My amazement has not supressed as more time has gone by! Wildly healthy and nutritious food can taste so good that it’s easy to forget its so healthy. Granted, calories are another thing though, right? I get that this is not low calorie but its not empty calories, and that makes all the difference. There is scientific evidence to support that a calorie does not equal a calorie, meaning they are not all created equal. Such is life. If you drink 100 calories of coke, it is not treated the same in your body as 100 calories of apples. So if you are going to be eating a chocolate covered anything it might as well be raw chocolate made from cacao and coconut oil because the health benefits are through the roof compared to Hershey’s milk chocolate even if they are both 200 calories of chocolate. Furthermore, this recipe is high in protien from the peanut butter, and loaded with nutrient density for your skin thanks to Blend Co, my new favorite superfood blend to add to… well everything. It’s really handy to have around to give a quick nutrient boost to whatever you are eating. And lets be honest, these bananas look much more fun and pretty becuse of the little pops of pink, green and gold from the assortment of superfoods in each bag! Go get yo’self a bag!

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Gluten Free Banana Bread with a Hint of Cinnamon – Vegan

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I do not make banana bread that often but when I have bananas that are overripe I gotta be honest…, I feel very inclined to not let them go to waste. So alas, I’ll make banana bread. This one is really easy to make and the prep work is quick which is awesome cause we are all busy these days. 

 This recipe can be made with a real egg or flax egg if you are a vegan. I would normally advise for a real egg but I watched “The Ghost in Our Machine” last night and it was an extremely moving animal rights documentary. It follows Jo-Ann McArthur, a photographer who is documenting the treatment of animals by humans all over the world. Unlike other animal welfare documentaries, it is not overly graphic with only one or two scenes that were hard to watch. Towards the end of the film, Jo-Ann comments on how the egg and dairy industry are the most wasteful and abusive of animal life. She doesn’t think it makes sense to become a vegetarian for animals welfare and still eat eggs or dairy. This hit home for me because I occasionally eat eggs, and I need to reevaluate why. I encourage everyone to watch it with an open heart and an open mind. And, if you consider yourself an animal lover but eat meat or wear fur, I invite you to think about why you do not treat all animals equally. I know I will be thinking about this alot. 

BACK TO WHAT YOU CAME HERE FOR: BANANA BREAD  Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
What you need:
3 medium ripe bananas (About 1.5 cups)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg: chia or flax – (1 Tbsp Flaxmeal or Chia and 2.5 Tbsp water, rest for 1 min)
3 Tbsp grape seed or coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup xylitol
2 Tbsp honey
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup almond or dairy milk
2 1/2 cup almond meal – I use Bob’s Red Mill
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend – from the Minimalistbaker.com *see note

Method:
Preheat oven to 350f and line a loaf pan with parchment paper or spray with coconut oil.
Mash banana in a large bowl with a fork. Add all ingredients through the almond milk and whisk to combine. It should get a little frothy. 
Lastly, add almond meal, gluten free flour blend and stir. Pour into loaf pan.
Bake for 60-65 minuets. It will feel firm and be golden brown on top when it is done. 
Let it cool completely on a cooling rack before cutting or it will crumble apart.
Slice and serve this delicious wholesome bread! 

*note: I made a batch of the gluten free flour blend from the minimalist baker but I substitued Garbanzo Bean flour for the White Rice Flour, and used Arrowroot instead of Potato Starch in my blend.  

XX,
Cara

Valentines Day Bouquet Cake with Rosewater and Citrus – Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free. FULL OF LOVE!

Rosewater Cheesecake

I have lots of mixed feelings about Valentines Day, but I have ZERO mixed feelings about cake. You should always eat cake, especially when it’s pink. 

I hope that no matter your relationship status this upcoming Saturday you know that you are perfect, whole and complete just that way you are. No amount of rose’s, chocolate or teddys bears influences your self-worth. I promise.  And, if you drink endless bottles of Champaign and make this pink cake with your girlfriends on Valentines Day you will experience endless amounts of joy. pinky promise. 

From my blog to you: Happy Valentines Day, I love you 🙂 xo

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Rosewater Cheesecake with Winter Citrus
Yield: one 9inch cake
Benefits: anti-viral, antioxidant loaded, aids in digestion

Crust Layer:
½ cup almonds
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup dates- pitted
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
½ tsp orange zest
1 small orange- peeled, seeded, sectioned
1 tbsp coconut oil- melted
Pinch salt
Shredded coconut

Rosewater Cheesecake Mousse:
2 cups raw cashews- soaked
2 lemons- peeled, seeded, sectioned
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup melted cacao or coconut butter
½ cup dates
¼ tsp rosewater or rose essence
Pinch of salt
Big pinch of cardamom
½ tsp beet juice (to make cake pink)

Garnish
Orange and lemon zest
Edible flowers
Coconut

Method:
To make the crust: pulse the nuts in the processor until it resembles a fine meal. Add the remaining ingredients and process until a sticky dough forms. Press into the bottom of a spring form pan that is sprinkled with shredded unsweetened coconut. Place in fridge.
To make the cheesecake put everything in the food processor and blend until thick and creamy. Pour into the spring foam pan and place in freezer overnight. This is even better after two days.
Decorate the cake to your liking. I used edible flowers, orange and lemon zest and coconut. Get creative!
Thaw 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy.

XO
-C

Soothing Winter Veggie Soup with Lentils and Beans- Vegan, Gluten Free,

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This cooler weather in Southern California has been such a refreshing change and its resulted in constant cravings for soup. I am not complaining. I really love soup and the endless ways you can make it. My boyfriend Jaime is a master in the kitchen and he has been whipping up so many delicious dishes this winter like this chili! I am really excited to share this veggie soup recipe with you because it represents the style of soup I love the most: broth based and loaded with veggies! Additionally, it is super high in plantbased protien from the beans and lentils. Wel rounded and hearty in deed. This recipe is a large batch and perfect for eating throughout the week for freezing some. It really is delicious, Thanks, Jaime (kisses)!

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What you need:
Olive Oil for sauteeing
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
10 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme, dried
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano, dried
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 cups cut green beans, fresh or frozen
1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
3/4 cups lentils – I used Bob’s Red Mill
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup mushrooms, slice
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 medium potatoes, peeled, quartered, and sliced
1 teaspoon Sriracha
Fresh parsley for garnish

Method:
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat with enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant and traslucent.
Add herbs and saute for a couple minutes.
Add stock, vegetables, salt and pepper, and sriracha. Bring to a boil and then add lentils.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are thoroughly cooked
Adjust for seasoning and serve hot with fresh parsley

Recipe by Jaime Craten @pastry_guy_jaime

XX
-Cara

Spiced Vegan Chili- Holiday Party Style

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Chili has always been a favorite comfort food of mine. Growing up my mom would make big batches of it and we would eat it for the entire week following. She would make it with ground beef, of course, as she has never been a vegetarian or vegan, but I know that my plant based recipe is inspired by hers. There is something so well rounded about a bowl of chili that it has the ability to stand alone even without the addition of an artisinal loaf of bread that is required by a tomato or minestone soup. 

The recipe I am sharing with you today comes from my boyfriend, Jaime, who is a talented pastry chef here in Los Angeles. He crafted this dish for the Holiday version of Los Angeles Vegan Potluck, hosted by some of my favorite vegan instagramers and bloggers this past weekend, (see incriminating photo below). I loved meeting Jasmine and Yvonne who I have been long time fans of, along with so many fun foodies. We talk about heath, our favorite foods, documentaries and books as well as played games and won prizes. I ate so many delicious dishes and I believe our chili was a hit as we didn’t go home with much left over! The recipe has been scaled down so it is for 4-5 people instead of 15! I hope you guys enjoy!  

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