Tis the season for grilling and eating food sandwiched between a bun. For those looking for a veggie friendly BBQ option, these burgers are perfect! I was tired of eating dry and salty pre-made frozen veggie burgers from the store. This recipe is flavorful and moist (not like chewing cardboard). If you try the recipe, please let me know!! Enjoy!!


INGREDIENTS:

- 1 large sweet potato (remove skin and mash)

-2/3 cup of black beans

-3/4 cup of cooked quinoa

-1/4 cup chopped green onion

- 1/4 cup walnuts

-1 1/2 table spoons nutrition yeast

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt

- 1/4 teaspoon pepper


DIRECTIONS

1. Pre-heat your oven to 375. Poke a few holes in your sweet potato with a fork, then microwave on high for 5-7 minutes. While the sweet potato is microwaving, cook your quinoa.

2. Add your black beans to a mixing bowl. Using a fork, roughly mash the beans so that some are still whole. Then scoop the filling out of your sweet potato, mash until smooth and then add it to your beans. When quinoa is done cooking add to the beans and sweet potato. Stir to combine.

3. In a food processor, pulse walnuts till they are a fine meal. If you do not have a food processor you can chop the walnuts extra fine (WATCH YOUR FINGERS PLEASE!). Add the walnuts to the burger mixture, along with the chopped green onion.

4. Add the spices to the burger mixture and stir until evenly combined.

5. Using a 1/3 measuring cup, scoop mixture. Form into burger patty and then place on a greased pan. The thinner you shape the patties, the faster they cook. Bake time can vary from 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of the patties. Flip the burgers half way through so each side crisps evenly. Avoid over cooking because it dries out the burgers, nobody wants a dry veggie burger.


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This recipe was adapted from a Food Network recipe video I saw on Facebook. Below is the link to the original recipe but I will post my veganized version below!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nancy-fuller/peanut-butter-bars-with-salted-chocolate-ganache

These bars were super easy to make and taste amazing!!

Ingredients:

- 1 baking dish (8x8 inch) lined with parchment paper

- 1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

- 1 cup creamy peanut butter

- 8 tablespoons vegan butter

- 8 oz of graham crackers (I used gluten free and vegan) crushed into crumbs

- 8-9 oz dark chocolate (I used 70% cacao)

- 1 cup coconut milk (get the full fat kind and be sure to use all of the separated cream on top before add any of the liquid)

- a few pinches of flaky sea salt

Line your baking pan with parchment paper; this will make for easy clean up and serving of the bars when they are ready.

Take the 8 oz of graham crackers and pulse them in a food processor to get them crushed into crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, you can put them inside a gallon ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or another utensil.

Melt the vegan butter in the microwave in increments of 30 seconds so it doesn't burn. Add to a large mixing bowl with confectioners' sugar and peanut butter. Stir till it is evenly combined. Then add the graham cracker crumbs to the bowl and continue to stir. Take this mixture and press into the bottom of the pan so that it is evenly spread.

In a sauce pan, heat the coconut milk over medium high heat till it starts to produce small bubbles. In a separate bowl have the dark chocolate crushed into chunks so that when the coconut milk is hot, it can be poured over the top of the chocolate. Once the chocolate and coconut milk are combined, continuously stir until it starts to thicken. Once thick pour on top of the peanut butter layer in the pan. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate and spread evenly. Finally add a few pinches of flaky sea salt on top of the bars.

Put the pan in the refrigerator for a minimum of 45 minutes. The longer it stays in the refrigerator the better for the bars. I kept mine in the fridge for 2 hours and they came out perfect! When done, pull the parchment paper out gently and the bars should come with it. On a cutting board slice the bars into squares and serve. If you want to save left overs I suggest putting them into a container and storing them in fridge because they are best when served cold.

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​I love granola bars because they are convenient and make for the perfect snack. As a kid, my mom use to make the best homemade granola bars and the other day I had such a craving for one. Unfortunately the store brought bars just aren't like the homemade version so I took to my kitchen to make bar that was just as nutritious as it was delicious. These bars contain maca powder which is a superfood used by athletes and fitness enthusiast because of its benefits on energy and endurance. I hope you guys like these bars as much as I do!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons of vegan butter

2 heaping tablespoons of maca powder 

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 heaping cup natural peanut butter or almond butter

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup chopped pitted dates

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons flaxseed

1/2 cup chocolate chips

In a sauce pan combine coconut sugar, almond milk and vegan butter, stir on medium high heat. When mixture is combined and starts to bubble lower to a simmer and continue to stir. Add maca powder to mixture and stir till completely combined without any lumps. 

In a large mixing bowl combined oats, raisins, dates, pumpkin seeds, and flax seed. Stir till evenly mixed. Add coconut sugar mixture to bowl and stir till completely coating all of the dry ingredients. Then add peanut butter and mix till completely distributed throughout mixture. Finally add the chocolate chips and stir into granola bar batter. 

Press mixture into a lightly greased baking tray. Cover with plaStic wrap and place in refrigerator for 3 hours. Remove from fridge and slice into bars. Store in fridge or freezer.

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I once went 365 day, yes a year, where I ate a muffin for breakfast everyday. There is this health food store near by where I grew up, that makes the best vegan muffins. I was OBSESSED. I would have one of their muffin for breakfast every day. I no longer eat a muffin a day, however, I am still a huge fan! Making muffins can be a pain because if you make a batch you may have more muffins than you need. Then you may need to freeze some so they don't go bad and then it becomes a process. This is my solution, SINGLE SERVE MUFFINS! This recipe is exactly what you need to make a single muffin. Hope you all like it!


Ingredients:

-2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of buckwheat flour

-1 flax egg (1 TB flax seed + 3 TB water)

-1/2 of a ripe banana mashed

-1/8 teaspoon baking powder

-1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

-3 tablespoons non-dairy milk of your choosing

-1 Tablespoon maple syrup or other liquid sweetener

-optional: 1/2 teaspoon melted vegan butter or coconut oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make flax egg by combining flaxseed and water, let sit off to the side to firm up.

2. Mash the 1/2 of banana then add flour, baking powder and cinnamon

3. Stir together ingredient till it looks clumpy. Add the nondairy milk and sweetener to the bowl and stir

4. Add flax egg and optional butter/coconut oil to bowl and stir

5. Put batter in a lightly greased muffin baking tin or silicon muffin holder. For decoration you can put a thinly slice banana coin right on top of the muffin before it goes in the oven.

6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes - till golden brown around the edges.

Let cool and enjoy!!

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For about 5 years of my life I had an eating disorder. I was diagnosed with anorexia but there were periods of time during the 5 years that my relationship with food probably fell more under the category of exercise bulimia/binge eating. For about 2 years following my "recovery" from my eating disorder, I had extremely bad body dysmorphia. No matter what I actually looked like I always saw myself as looking over weight and unhealthy. My eating disorder was an extremely dark period of time in my life. All I could think about was food and I pushed away a lot of friends and family. I did go to outpatient treatment for my eating disorder but I refused to see a psychologist, so even after my weight was "healthy", I was just as sick if not more sick than before.

A lot of my recovery took place outside of the doctors office, in the years to follow my eating disorder. There were a lot of ups and downs for me in my recovery, but I am the happiest and healthiest I've ever been in my life now. A huge part in my recovery was my decision to go vegan. As crazy as that may sound, the act of restricting my diet actually helped me recover. Going vegan meant I would only be consuming foods that were free of cruelty and unhealthy animal products. This removal of unhealthy animal based food products taught me to separate healthy eating and calories. I use to count calories everyday up until I went vegan about 8 months ago. I used myfitnesspal and other websites to count and measure my daily caloric intaake as if some computer generated number was going to tell me exactly how much I needed to eat. My life changed for the better when I stopped fixating on a number.

As an athlete involved in a sport where naturally most long distance runners are thin, I wanted to be as light as possible. My build is naturally short and muscular, even though I may not be the lightest girl on the track, I am still fast! Trying to fight your natural shape to improve your athletic performance with probably lead to you under performing. For many years, I struggled to improve my times and put myself in situations where I was more prone to injury just by under fueling my body.

From the time that I went into get treatment for my eating disorder to now I have gained about 20 pounds. Acknowledging that about a year ago probably would have sent me into a downward spiral, where I would have cut my calories in half for the day as "punishment". But honestly I am so proud of have far I have come. I have gained so much more than 20 pounds. I have gained confidence, freedom, and happiness.

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The other day my boyfriend came home with 10 bags of gluten free penne pasta, so I am trying to use those up! Pasta in tomato sauce gets old quick so I've been trying to come up with creative ways to make the pasta less boring. When I was younger my mom use to make this delicious pasta primavera with oven roasted veggies. She use to do an olive oil based sauce but I have seen pasta primavera served in restaurants in a heavy cream and cheese sauce. The roasted garlic cashew sauce is bursting with flavor and gives you same creamy, cheese taste without any dairy products. The beautiful thing about this sauce recipe is that you can use it for more than just pasta. I think it would make a lovely marinated for some vegan "chicken" cutlets.


Ingredients:

-12 oz gluten free penne (regular pasta works fine too!)

-1 broccoli crown

-1 yellow squash

-1 zucchini

-10 oz grape tomatoes

Roasted Garlic Cashew Sauce

-4 cloves of garlic peeled

-1/2 a cup of cashews soaked for at least 4 hours or boiled for 10-15 minutes

-1/3 cup of water

-1/2 tsp dried basil

-1/2 tsp onion powder

-1 tbsp nutritional yeast

-1/4 tsp garlic powder

-1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

-Wrap the 4 gloves of garlic in aluminum foil and cook in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

-When garlic is done roasting and after you have soaked or boiled your cashews add them to a high speed blender with all of the ingredients for the cheese sauce. Blend until smooth. Place garlic sauce to the side.

-Chop broccoli, squash and zucchini into small bite size pieces. Add to a skillet with tomatoes and 1/2 a cup of water. Cook on medium high heat and let steam.

-Bring a pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to package directions.

-Once veggies are half way cooked (about 7 minutes), with a spoon or fork, pop the grape tomatoes so that they are flat and cooking into the other veggies. Cook for another 5-7 minutes till broccoli, zucchini and squash look cooked. You may need to add a little more water to pan to avoid the veggies sticking.

-When pasta is cooked, drain and put back into the pot it was cooking in. Add cooked veggies and stir till completely combined. Add cream sauce to pot and stir until pasta is coated.

ENJOY!!!

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Something about the weekend screams slower morning and a more fancy breakfast. After I spent an hour sipping on my coffee, I decided to play around with some buckwheat flour and make some waffles. I had made waffles the week before with oat flour and they did not come out well. Even after greasing the waffle iron the oat flour waffle was cemented in there! With this recipe I did not have any issues with the waffle sticking to iron. I do recommend using some sort of spray to keep the waffle from sticking. I use a coconut oil based pan spray to keep it healthier and since coconut oil has a high smoke point (burns less easily) it's a better oil to cook with. Lets get into the recipe!!

Ingredients: (Makes about 3 waffles)

-1/2 heaping cup of buckwheat flour

-1/2 tablespoon of sweetener (I used a monk fruit based sweetener but stevia also works)*

-2/3 teaspoon of baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

-pinch of salt

- 3/4 cup almond milk (any nondairy milk should work fine)

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/2 of a ripe banana mashed

-1/4 teaspoon melted coconut oil or vegan butter (optional but recommended)

-1 flax egg (1 TB flax seed, 3 TB water - mix and let rest until thickened)

*if you are using a sugar based sweetener (sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup or agave) use a full tablespoon instead of a half

Directions:

-Before beginning anything else, start with the flax egg so it has time to firm up. In a small bowl add 1 TB of flax seed and 3 TB of water. Stir and let rest.

-Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Stir so that they are completely combined.

-Add your almond milk and sweetener to the bowl, stir to mix. Then add the mashed banana, stir till combined with pancake mixture.

-Melt your coconut oil or butter (only if including in recipe) in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds. Add melted oil to the pancake batter.

-Finally add your flax egg, which at this point should have thickened. Completely stir into batter.

-Now that the batter is completely, plug in waffle iron and let heat up. Spray waffle iron with some form of nonstick spray to avoid having your waffle stuck to the iron.

-About 5 minutes after plugging your waffle iron in, I would say it should be warm enough. Add enough batter to cover the iron without it flowing over the sides.

-Let waffles cook for about 5-7 minutes. It sort of depends on your waffle iron and how hot it gets. Just stay near by to monitor them as they cook.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

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​The other day I had this crazy craving for the spinach artichoke dip from Applebee's. After my boyfriend came home with 7 bags of organic gluten free penne pasta (yes, 7 bags), I figured we should find a way to use some of it up. Thats where I came up with the inspiration for this dish! 

Ingredients: 

-12 oz of pasta (I used penne, but any noodle should work fine)

- 3 cloves of garlic

-5 oz container of spinach

-2/3 cup of marinated artichoke hearts

-1 tablespoon of olive oil

-1/2 teaspoon salt

Vegan mozzarella cheese

-1/2 a cup of cashews (let soak for at least 4 hours in water. If you don't have time to soak them, boil for 10-15 minutes)

-1 cup of water

-3 1/2 tablespoons of tapioca flour

-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 

-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 

-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 

-1/2 teaspoon salt


Recipe

​-Combine all the ingredients for the vegan mozzarella in a high speed blender (I used my nutribullet) 

-When completely blended the mixture will look a little runny. Add mixture to a pan over medium heat and stir continuously

-About 5 minutes in you will notice the mixture starting to firm up. Remove from heat and place to the side. 

-Mince garlic and add to pan with olive oil over medium heat

-Drain artichoke hearts and dice 2/3 cup into small pieces. Add to pan with garlic and spinach. Monitor and stir to evenly cook. Add salt while stirring.

-Cook pasta according to directions on package

-While pasta is cooking take the vegan mozzarella cheese and put it back on medium heat. After resting for a little, you may notice that the cheese has solidified. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to get the cheese to melt back to it creamy consistency. Continuously stir to avoid burning or sticking. 

-Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to the pan with the garlic, oil, spinach and artichoke. Stir so that pasta and veggies are evenly mixed. 

-Once the mozzarella cheese has reached its creamy sauce like consistency, pour over pasta mixture. Mix cheese into pasta evenly. Serve immediately, enjoyed best when warm. 


ENJOY!!!


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The last few months have been very difficult for me. At the end of September I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left shin and due to having poor bone density it took longer to heal. The next 3 months were spent back and forth between doctors appointments, only to be cleared to run at the end of January. The stress fracture I got in September marked my 6th stress fracture in the last 4 years. As an athlete a lot of times I struggle to find a balance between training and over training. My desire to be the best version of myself athletically has created a lot injury related problems for me. Having low bone density makes me more susceptible to getting stress fractures, which can make training a little tricky. Now that I am cleared, I am excited to find a training balance that allows me to meet my full potential without injuring myself.

Getting cleared going into the new year was exactly what I needed, a fresh start as an athlete. A huge problem that I have run into (pun intended) as far as post injury training goes is returning too quickly or rushing into things too soon. For the first time in my life, I am looking at my running long term. This is a sport I want to be able to do for the rest of my life competitively and recreationally. I need to do everything I can to take care of my health so that I can continue to run into my later years of life. 2017 will be the year that I listen to my body. I am not going to push through any pain or discomfort beyond just fatigue or soreness. As an athlete it is so important to be honest with yourself early on because the sooner you catch an injury, the less time you will be sidelined. I can not wait to share my journey with everyone! I do not plan to begin racing again until February so I have a few more weeks. In the mean time I will be making posts about how my training is going and how I am feeling as I approach my first race back!

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Grilled Corn and Vegetable Salad

Ingredients

  • 4 Ears of Corn
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Orange Pepper
  • 1 Pint of Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a Red Onion
  • 1 Ripe Avocado
  • Cilantro
  • 2 limes

Directions

  1. Heat gill to medium heat
  2. On tin foil grill the corn, peppers, and onion
  3. In a grill pan or skillet add cherry tomatoes and put on grill
  4. Grill for 5 minutes then squeeze 1 lime over all of the vegetables
  5. Grill for 5 more minutes, rotating the vegetables so that they are evenly cooked
  6. Take vegetables off of the grill and let cool for 5 minutes
  7. While vegetables are cooling, juice the other lime and chop the cilantro for the dressing
  8. When vegetables have cooled, remove the corn from each ear and chop the rest of the grilled vegetables
  9. Add sliced avocado and cilantro lime dressing to the rest of the veggies
  10. Toss and serve!!!!

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