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The Best... Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies - EVER!

The Best... Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Protein Cookies - EVER!

Let's talk about the classic chocolate chip cookie for a second.  I actually didn't come from a home where my mom would bake fresh cookies for us.  For me, my grandma used to make these yummy almond cookies with the sliver of almond in the center.  *Swoon* Future recipe idea!

My love for the classic chocolate chip cookie came in high school when my friend's mom made these amazing chocolate chip cookies with bits of crushed sugar cone in them. They were SO good, and I still remember them to this day.  Being polite, I would only eat one or two, but if it was MY house, that jar would've been empty by the end of the day.

Nowadays it's hard for me to deny any cookie of any kind.  But now that I'm eating healthy-ish, I figured it was a good time to explore some other options.  I love taking classic recipes and turning them into something that is enjoyable by everyone regardless of whether they are vegan, gluten-free, or just trying to steer clear of processed sugar.  Plus, I wanted to try to sneak in some protein powder to satisfy those cookie cravings!

BEHOLD! The vegan gluten-free chocolate chip protein cookie!  I realize that that's quite a mouthful. ;)

It has nuttiness from the almond meal, sweetness from the maple syrup, sustenance from the protein powder and nut butter, and of course that gooey chocolately goodness from the dark chocolate chips.  I'm a chunk girl myself, but I had a mix of chips and chunks on hand, so I used both. ;)

*Note: TJ's chunks are NOT vegan, but the chocolate chips are.  Or you can buy a TJ's dark chocolate baking bar and chop it into chunks.

They look like the real deal, right?!  Trust me on this.  You've gotta try it. 

Once they've cooled down from baking, you'll get this slightly crunchy outside, and a soft crumbly inside.  The way a chocolate chip cookie should be.

It'll have you singing, "Come on down, you friends of mine!  We're wilderness girls, and it's cookie time!" (GOLD STAR if you know what that's from! And also, we should be friends.)

THE BEST VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Makes 1 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/3 cup pea protein powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe's semisweet dark chocolate chips)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
  2. Combine almond flour, protein powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl.  Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Add the almond butter, coconut oil, and vanilla.  Mix until almost combined.  Add maple syrup, then mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Take about 2 tablespoons of batter and roll it into a ball.  Flatten the ball into a cookie shape, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.  The cookie will not spread out when baking.
  6. Put the pan of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes.  Then remove them and bake for 12 minutes, or until you see slight browning on the tops and edges.
  7. Cookies will be soft when you first take them out.  Leave them on the pan to cool and slightly harden.

Easy Baked Tofu

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Easy Baked Tofu

I absolutely LOVE NomNomPaleo.  Every single recipe I've ever made from Michelle Tam's website has been a hit.  The latest one that I've tried is her Spicy Thai Chicken Zoodle Salad - sans chicken.  To make it vegan, I've baked cubes of tofu. (*No, I am not eating 100% vegan, but I have been slowly incorporating more vegan dishes into my life!) Now I know what you're thinking.  UGH.  TOFU.  It's that icky healthy word that everyone cringes at because it's just so...bland.  But to me, that is the BEAUTY of tofu!  Because of its wonderful blandness, you can season, marinate, or top it with any thing, and it'll take on the flavor of whatever dish you're preparing.

Baking tofu is one of the easiest and healthiest ways to prepare tofu.  It's so quick and you can throw it in any dish for your protein - noodles, salads, stir fry, you name it.

To bake tofu, here's what you do:

  • Press a pack of firm or extra firm tofu until water drains out.
  • Cut tofu into 1 to 1.5 inch cubes
  • Marinate for a few hours or overnight (*Optional, but SO worth it).  I like to use San-J Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce or make my own with sesame oil, crushed garlic, grated ginger, sea salt, and white pepper.  You can get fancy by adding a nut butter or healthy sweetener like honey or coconut/palm sugar)
  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Place tofu cubes onto a non-stick baking sheet
  • Heat for about 20 minutes or until the outside of the tofu is a little firm and golden

That's it!  It's SO much healthier than coating it in cornstarch and frying it.  It might not be crispy on the outside, but it's pretty darn close.

IMG_0457
 

EASY BAKED TOFU

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of firm or extra firm tofu
  • Tofu marinade (*Optional, but SO worth it).  I like to use San-J Gluten Free Teriyaki Sauce or make my own with sesame oil, crushed garlic, grated ginger, sea salt, and white pepper.  You can get fancy by adding a nut butter or healthy sweetener like honey or coconut/palm sugar)

Directions

  • Press a pack of firm or extra firm tofu until water drains out.
  • Cut tofu into 1 to 1.5 inch cubes
  • Marinate for a few hours or overnight (if using marinade)
  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Place tofu cubes onto a non-stick baking sheet
  • Heat for about 20 minutes or until the outside of the tofu is a little firm and golden

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Paleo Peasant Salad

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Paleo Peasant Salad

I love salad, but sometimes when it's freezing outside, the last thing I want to eat is a cold salad. This healthy paleo peasant salad will warm you right up!  Serve with a delicious Apple Cider Vinaigrette! It's also worth mentioning, this salad makes GREAT leftovers for brunch.  I love to add a fried egg on top!

Are you a vegetarian or vegan?  No problem!  Just substitute bacon for some roasted sweet potatoes!

Paleo Peasant Salad 1
Paleo Peasant Salad 3

PALEO PEASANT SALAD

  • 1/4 lb. uncured, nitrate-free, sugar-free bacon
  • 3 cups brussels sprouts, thinly sliced (use food processor or knife)
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium apple, cored, peeled, and chopped into bite sized chunks (about 1/2 inch pieces)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Apple Cider Vinaigrette

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Spread out pecans on a sheet of parchment paper and place on a baking pan.
  2. Heat cooking pan.  Cook bacon in pan until thoroughly cooked and slightly crispy.  Set bacon to cool on paper towels.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium sized pot.  I like to use my Le Creuset dutch oven.
  4. Place shallots in the pot and saute until translucent.
  5. Put brussels sprouts into the pan and saute.  Once the brussels sprouts start to soften and have a bright green color, add cauliflower and apples.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to saute until brussels sprouts begin to wilt and the cauliflower and apples can be easily pierced with a fork.  Turn off heat.
  6. Place pecans in the center rack of oven.  Bake for 7 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  7. Finely chop the bacon strips.
  8. Stir in bacon, dried cranberries and 1/4 c. pecans into salad.  Reserve the other 1/4 c. pecans for salad toppings.
  9. Serve with Apple Cider Vinaigrette (I love this recipe from Detoxinista) and top with reserved pecans.

 

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