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 *see note

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.  


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

Rosewater Cheesecake2
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)

Orange and lemon zest
Edible flowers

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.


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

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


Spiced Vegan Chili- Holiday Party Style

Vegan chili 2

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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Vegan Raw Pumpkin Pie – Happy Thanksgiving

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When someone says “Thanksgiving” to me, the first thing that comes to mind is food. Then specifically pumpkin pie and then mashed potatoes. Growing up I remember pumpkin pie being my older brothers favorite dessert so we always had it around from November to December, not just on the actual holidays each month but all month long. Last year, i was going home for Thanksgiving and I really wanted to make a raw, vegan version of the pie for my family. I shot a YouTube Video, which didnt turn out as good as it could have but hey, I am a beginner! I wanted to share the recipe again with you all incase you are looking for an excellent one for this years festivities! I adjusted it slightly from what is presented in the video and it is a real improvment in texture and flavor! Enjoy!

pumpkin pie2

Pretty Pumpkin Pie Serves: 6 to 8

What you need:
Spring form pan 6 to 8 inches
1 cup almonds- soaked 1 hr
1/2 cup walnuts- soaked 1 hr
1 cup dates- pitted
1/4 cup raisin
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut- optional
1-2 tsp vanilla or water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
3 cups diced pie pumpkin or sugar pumpkin- soaked 1 hour
1 cup dates, raison or combo of both- be sure to remove pit from dates
1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 Tbs melted coconut oil
2 Tbs maple syrup

To make the crust add the nuts to the process and grind until a fine meal forms. Add the dates and process until a sticky dough is formed. Add in the coconut and vanilla, process until combined. Press into the bottom of an 6-8 inch spring foam pan. place in fridge.

To make the filling add the pumpkin, vanilla and spices to the process and process until well pureed. Add the dates and blend until well incorporated and combined. next add the coconut oil, almond milk and maple syrup then process well. Taste it and adjust if necessary to your preference.

Spread filling into the crust and chill for 6 hours in the fridge or freezer. If you put in the freezer let defrost for 1 hour in the fridge before serving. The longer you let it set the better it will taste as the flavors have more time to combine into pumpkin pie bliss.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie

-Pumpkin is high in Carotenoids and Beta-Carotene great for fighting cancer and keeping wrinkles at bay
High in fiber – great for digestion and helps keep you full
great source of Vitamin C – boosts the immune system

-Walnuts- high in vitamin E for healthy skin, is linked to slowing cognitive decline and rich in alpha-linolenic acid and is thought to be heart protective in times of stress.

Coconut Oil- anti-fungal, anti-bacterial- helps reduce risk of getting sick. It also helps regulate our hormones for proper thyroid function and metabolism.

– Cinnamon helps regulate your blood sugar level

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Slightly Sweet Almond Loaf- Small Change, Big Impact – Gluten Free, Paleo

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This is almost the same exact bread I posted last week but I adjusted the ratios and 2 ingredients and now it tastes just right. Sometimes the smallest change can have a very big impact, not only when it comes to baking.

I have a confession to make. Recently, I have stopped working out, almost entirely. Like not even once a week am I breaking a sweat. This is so unlike the Cara I thought I knew myself to be. I mean even if it was after a night of intense drinking I would still manage to get my ass on a hike or at the very least, a walk. Not anymore. I literally have lost the desire to do anything workout related and I do not feel guilty about it all at. 

My old self would have agonized constantly over making sure I worked out enough. If I missed more than a day I would really beat myself up about it and not only restrict food but push myself extra hard once I finally got back to yoga, or the stairs or whatever. However, the slightest change in my attitude has made this no longer an issue for me. You see, I used to be obbsessed with having the perfect body and I would work out so much that I had constant pain in my legs and it was my normal. The shift in my attitude to knowing that I am worth more than just my physical body let me be ok with this lifestyle adjustment. I value myself for more than the number on the tag in my jeans, but as a young woman who is smart, hardworking, quick witted and full of big dreams. 

Although, a slight change in my attitude towards myself is a huge accomplishment, all I did was start to think differently and it has had a huge impact on my overall self acceptance. But, slow your roll! I am by no means saying that working out is not important. I know that for overall vitality begin active and moving your body is a key component. But I now know that when I am finally ready to put back on my lululemon pants, I will be doing it for the right reasons: happiness and health.   

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Gluten Free Almond Cranberry Bread -Paleo

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Recently, I have been doing a lot of gluten free baking and find that I like the healthy alternatives as much if not more as their less healthy counterparts. This loaf of bread is dense and satisfying a consists of mostly almonds and eggs making it nutrient and protien rich. It would be ideal for a cup of tea, to use as toast or the two ends to a perfect sandwich. It is not overly sweet, and I used a minimal amount of cranberry sauce to minimize the dessert aspect and to add a slight seasonal touch. You can use more or less or none at all if you want a straight forward savory bread.

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