Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Yesterday on my Starting From Soil Instagram I promised everyone my chocolate chia seed pudding recipe, so here it is! By the way if you are not following me on Insta yet you should be 😉 I love Chia seeds in general because of their cost efficiency. A small amount goes a long way and the shelf life is 4-5 years, plus, they are so versatile! You can throw them right into smoothies and jams, toss them in when making energy bars or cookies for added protein, and can be used as an egg replacement— along with flax— when baking. But one thing I would like to advise is, if you consume chia seeds unsoaked make sure to drink plenty of water. Chia seeds can absorb 10-12x their weight and can absorb that water from you during the digestion period. But I think it is safe to say we all probably need to drink a little more water anyway! But don’t let that turn you off, these seeds are a modern day super food! Chia seeds are derived from the Salvia Hispanica plant native to South America. They might be little, but are packed with antioxidants and loaded with fiber, protein, healthy fats (Omega 3), that is just to name a few of their benefits.

I have fallen in love with chia pudding lately because of all the fun preparations. You can dress it up with fruit and granola and eat it for breakfast or drizzle it with chocolate and enjoy it for dessert!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons raw cocao powder
  • 4 heaping teaspoons of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup (if you like it sweet double this)
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of almond butter
  • 1 1/4 non dairy milk

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients up very well
  2. Refrigerate over night
  3. Enjoy! Don’t be scared to jazz this pudding up to your liking! I love adding bananas, strawberries and blueberries to it with more coconut flakes. I also love drizzling extra almond butter or maple syrup over the top!

This recipe fills up a 12 oz jar. It is enough for 2 breakfasts for me if I top it will fruit!

Just One More Excuse To Eat Chocolate

Never Purchase Broth Again!

It is not too good to be true, I promise! My family loves soup, in fact, I could probably eat soup everyday, so this hack has really helped me in many ways… Saves me money, I have broth made from fresh organic ingredients with no preservatives and helps food waste and reduces trash. Making broth from scraps

All you need is a gallon sized freezer bag, preferably reusable. I got mine from Blue Avocado or a Tupperware you are willing to keep in your freezer to reuse will work just fine as well. Next, your vegetable scraps, stems and ends! Yup, that is it. Every time you are in the kitchen prepping your dinner take out your freezer bag and add your carrot peels, celery ends, onion and garlic skins, and herb stems to it then, put your bag back in the freezer until it is full. When you’re all full it is time to add soup to your weekly meal plan. Add the contents of your bag to a stock pot with about 10 cups of water with some salt & pepper maybe a bay leaf and a sprinkle of turmeric. Simmer for about an hour and let cool, strain out you vegetable scraps and you will have enough broth for a big pot of soup and then some! Leftover broth is good in the fridge for about a week, or you can choose to freeze your broth as well for future recipes, if you do this remember to leave room in your container for the broth to expand when it reaches its freezing point. Also, I may have only listed a couple vegetables to add to your freezer bag, those were just examples, don’t limit yourself! You can also add things like mushroom stems/ends or even insides of peppers, fennel tops. Really anything you think will maximize the flavor of your broth.

Making broth from scraps
Made a big pot of soup and still have this left over for the week.

Side note: This life saver hack is not my own. This is a tip I got from my Thug Kitchen  cookbook years back, and I feel it needs to be shared. If you are looking to introduce more plant based recipes into your diet this cook book is awesome and hilarious. The amount of money I saved on not having to purchase broth paid for the book in about 2 months (like I said we like soup)

Supplies

  • Reusable gallon sized freezer bag

Ingredients

  • Vegetable scraps
  • A teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
  • A bay leaf, a sprinkle turmeric and/or garlic powder if you have it

Instructions

  1. Collect enough vegetable ends, peels, stems to fill a gallon bag
  2. Add to stock pot with 10 cups of water
  3. Add salt and pepper, bay leaf, turmeric
  4. Simmer for about an hour
  5. Strain
  6. Make some soup

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Gluten Free Banana Bread

I just got back from an amazing vacation with my family, one of the first things I did when I got home was make a fresh batch of almond milk and dehydrated our leftover pulp to make almond meal.  Today I have some over ripe bananas that will be great mixed in with the almond meal to make a delicious banana bread! I love this recipe.  It only takes about 10 minutes to prep and 45 mins to bake. I toss it all in my blender which makes for quick and easy mixing and clean up. This recipe is so flexible and caters to multiple diets. It is Gluten free and If you want this recipe to be vegan, use 2 flax eggs. If you are unfamiliar with flax eggs, making them is effortless, I promise. You simply mix together 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds with 2 1/2 tablespoons of water per egg. You will want this to be one of your first steps so you can set them aside to thicken for about 5 minutes. While your “eggs” are thickening, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toss all other ingredients in your blender. When your eggs are thick and sticky, add them to the blender with all other ingredients and run on low for about 50 seconds or until it’s well mixed. Add the mixture to a lightly oiled pan and sprinkle some chocolate chips, walnuts, or coconut to the top (optional). Bake for 45 minutes, then let cool before slicing.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs (Paleo) or 2 flax eggs (Vegan)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 cups of almond meal
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Flax egg ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of water
Flax Egg
Flax Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Make your flax eggs by mixing ground flaxseed and water and set aside to thicken for 5 minutes
  3. Add all other ingredients to blender
  4. Toss in flax eggs when they are thick and sticky
  5. Run blender on low for 50 seconds or until well mixed
  6. Add mixture to lightly oiled pan
  7. Add fun toppings such as coconut flakes, chocolate, or walnuts (optional)
  8. Bake for about 45-50 minutes
  9. Let cool

**Skip step 2 if using eggs**

The Delivery Service That Helps Fight Food Waste

Back in April, my son and I were enjoying the Oakland Earth festival when we were approached by the sweetest young lady. She began to tell me all about Imperfect Produce, who they are and what they do. I was immediately hooked and ready to sign up!

Imperfect Produce is on a mission to find a home for the 1 in 5 fruits and vegetables that are deemed too ugly to be sold in grocery stores. This helps the consumer because they are able to sell the produce at a discounted cost because these fruits and veggies have been shunned from grocery store shelves due to size or discoloration. This also helps the local farmers sell their products and helps with food waste. The best part, you do not even have to step foot in a store for your food. Imperfect Produce delivers the food to you!

Imperfect Produce
Bunches of broccoli stalks are so tasty and nutritious! Something you do not find in the store often or at all…

Here’s how it works.  After signing up, they email you at the beginning of each week with a link to customize your box/order.  Log into your account and you can begin choosing your product, it’s that simple!  The offerings that week will be detailed with where it is from, if it’s organic or conventional, why it is imperfect, and how much it costs. You have complete control over what will be delivered to you. Now, If you are the adventurous type, you are more than welcome to let them chose what will be in your box so you are surprised when your delivery comes!  Also, you can sign up for weekly or bi weekly deliveries and it’s easy to skip a delivery if needed. Lastly, in your first box, along with your fresh food you also receive some storing tips. Knowing that the average sized family of four throws out nearly $1,600 worth of produce annually, I think we can all use some storing tips! All boxes after that come with a fun recipe.

Imperfect Produce
There is nothing imperfect about this produce!

No, I do not work for Imperfect Produce, I just love their mission! Americans are leading the world in food waste and we need more businesses out there looking to make a change!! Unfortunately, this particular company only covers the LA and Bay Area but I am sure if you search hard enough in your area you can find something like this.  A lot of times we just don’t think to look for, it but green businesses are out there! If you are in the Los Angeles or Bay Area and this is something you might want click on the referral link to get a $10 credit

https://www.imperfectproduce.com/register.php?referral=80212

 

How To Use Your Left Over Almond Pulp

On Monday we made the most delicious almond milk but had all that leftover pulp.  So, let’s use it! Optimizing your food fights waste and gives you the most bang for your buck. Hopefully your pulp drained any leftover liquid because we are going to dry it out to make almond meal! This literally takes zero effort but it does take some time so I would plan to do this when you know you will be home for a bit. Once your almond meal is dried, it will last up to 9 months. The left over pulp should make about 1 cup of almond meal. Store this in a larger airtight container this way you have room to add to it as you continue to make your milk. Almond meal is very versatile and can be used as breading, for pancakes, or baking and is gluten free and paleo.

 

All you need to do is set your oven at the lowest temperature, spread your pulp out on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven. The lowest my oven goes is 170, at this temperature it takes about 3 hours to dry out the almond pulp. I usually mix it up half way through then forget about it again but that is not a mandatory step in the drying process. Once your pulp is all dry, transfer to a food processor or blender and run on low for about 15 seconds just to break up and larger clumps. Lastly, store it away until you are all ready to use for something delicious!

How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp
How to make Almond meal from your left over pulp

Ingredients

•1 cup almond pulp

Instructions

  1. Set oven to lowest temperature
  2. Spread almond pulp onto cookie sheet
  3. Bake for 3 hours
  4. Once pulp has dried, blend for 15 seconds to break up bigger chunks
  5. Transfer to airtight container

Spice Up Your Life!

I am always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly, produce less waste, and save money, In doing so, I am always making new discovieries but my most recent, bulk spices!  Why has it taken me so long to discover this? This is such a simple money saver! The average cost of organic spices is around $3.99 a jar. Just the past two weeks when my spices ran out I have been washing, and saving my jars for grocery day. The first thing I did when I got to Whole Foods was go to customer service where they are always so kind. I had all my spice and mason jars weighed right there and it only took a minute. They just add a little piece of tape to your jar and write how much it weighs on it so when you check out, the cashier knows how much weight to deduct and you’re only paying for the weight of the contents your jar. Here is a list of spices I have purchased bulk lately with their weight and prices.

Can your old spice jars save you money?
Can your old spice jars save you money?
  • Pink Himalayan salt – 9.6oz – $1.19
  • Organic fine ground pepper – 3.8oz – $5.04
  • Organic Cumin – 1.45oz – $1.53
  • Organic Garlic Powder – 2.72oz – $2.55
  • Organic Paprika – 1.92oz – $1.80
  • Crushed Red Chili Flakes – 1.28oz – $0.76

Can your old spice jars save you money?

Although these weights vary, so do the pre-filled spice jars in the grocery store. I found  most of my pre-filled jars state that they contain about 1.2-1.9 oz of product. It’s hard to visualize weight but they all filled up a typical 3 oz capacity spice jar with the exception of salt and pepper which filled up smaller mason jars that hold about 12oz. I have since used some of these spices so some are fuller than others.

I am so excited I no longer have to toss out my spice jars! No more plastic tops and sea salt containers rotting in the landfill, No more wasted labeling, and I get to save a few bucks and you do too!

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

    Happy Summer!! We are celebrating here in the Bay Area with some warm temperatures, I certainly did not want to turn my oven on, but had a bit of a sweet tooth this afternoon. These date bites were the perfect solution to satisfy my craving without having to heat up the entire house by baking. My eight year old son is home for the summer and loves to prepare food as much as I do so this was a fun activity for him, as well as a great treat. Dates help regulate digestion, and boost energy, cashews are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and coconut is high in protein, fiber, iron and zinc. These bites are vegan, paleo, have no added sugar yet they are naturally sweet and delicious. Sounds too good to be true right?

No Bake Coconut Cashew Date Bites

First step is to pulse your cashews to smaller pieces in a food processor or blender.

After the cashews are broken down to your desired size (I left mine coarsely chopped) add your pitted dates, unsweetened shredded coconut, chia seeds, cocoa powder, coconut oil and water and blend together until the mixture is finely chopped and looks a little sticky and rollable.

Set aside a little bowl with some extra shredded coconut. Roll the mixture into balls 1 to 1.5 inches in size, then roll the bites around in your coconut bowl to coat.

last step, Enjoy 🙂 this recipe should yield 10-12 bites. If you think this will go quick in your household double the recipe. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients (organic preferred)

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of shredded coconut plus set aside about 1/3 cup for coating bites
  • 2 tsp of chia seeds
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp of coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water

 

Broccoli Slaw with Creamy Peanut Dressing

    Yesterday I posted a couple different ways to use your broccoli stalks, broccoli slaw tossed in a peanut dressing is probably my favorite! This recipe is simple, yet fresh and flavorful. You can plate the slaw over some quinoa and make a full meal out of it, or bring it to a summer barbecue as a side. The dressing can easily be made paleo with one simple swap by substituting the peanut butter for almond butter. Keep in mind most recipes can be changed to your liking.

Broccoli Slaw with Peanut Dressing

     Using my food processor attachment I was able to create match sticks with my 4 leftover broccoli stalks and 2 carrots, I flipped my attachment over to shred 1/2 a head of green cabbage. I also had some green onions that were recently regrown so I sliced up about 1/2 cup and placed all ingredients in a large bowl.

     Using a separate mixing bowl for the dressing, stir in a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, coconut or liquid aminos, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, squeeze a lime wedge and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Now, it is time to whisk your wet ingredients together. When making seed or nut dressings the sauce can thicken up while whisking if there is not enough liquid, if this happens, slowly add a tad bit more water to help give it that thinner yet creamy consistency you are looking for.

     When the dressing is ready, pour over your slaw and toss together. Garnish with sesame seeds or cilantro if you have some and enjoy.

Slaw

  • 1/2 head of cabbage shredded,  4 to 5 cups depending on size
  • 4 broccoli stalks, 3 cups of match sticks
  • 2 carrots 1 1/2 cups of match sticks
  • 1/2 cup of diced green onion

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3- 1/2 water
  • 1/2 tsp diced or grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 lime wedge for juice

 

How Do You Prepare Your Broccoli Stalks?

My entire life I had been limiting myself to the florets of the broccoli, until one day about three years ago I was walking through Trader Joe’s and saw a bag of broccoli slaw. I stood there for a moment and just stared with a big, bright lightbulb floating over my head…I was thinking, “wow, I can make that myself!” I felt enlighten and foolish all at the same time. I realized how much food I had been wasting all these years.

Both the Florets and the stalks have equal amounts of vitamin C, potassium, B vitamins, calcium and iron. The stalks actually being a little bit higher in fiber, stated on the University of Berkeley’s wellness site. But both having a tad bit different consistencies.  Towards the end of the stalk, it seems to get a little bit tougher and stringier, so I always just cut a little bit off the bottom before hand.

How to use your broccoli stalks

 

I have two favorite ways to prepare the stalks. One way is to throw it in my food processor and pulse into smaller pieces to make broccoli rice. You can even toss some cauliflower in there and make a rice blend. The other is to shred the stalks to throw in a salad or slaw.

Broccoli Rice & Slaw

     (left) Broccoli rice (right) Broccoli slaw

Broccoli slawCheck my next blog post for a this fresh and delicious broccoli slaw recipe!

Fall in love with these Guilt Free Potato Chips

Who doesn’t like chips? I don’t know a single person that does not love them. Unfortunately most brands of chips are unhealthy and let’s be honest here, you are paying for a lot of air in that bag. So lets talk about healthy, cheap, and delicious chips.

I made a stew that called for peeled sweet and russet potatoes. So, I peeled my potatoes and made my stew. But I was not going to throw out my peels, no way! The skin of the potato has more nutrients than the interior itself and is loaded with fiber and potassium. This recipe is a simple, awesome snack time treat and is almost free because you were probably going to throw your skins out anyway.  This little trick helps reduce food waste and since these chips aren’t coming from a bag, you’ll be saving space in your trash can.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

     Rinse, then dry your skins, drizzle with a little bit of avocado or coconut oil, sprinkle with sea salt and bake on 400 for 15-20 mins depending on your preference of crispness. You can even get adventurous if you like and sprinkle some cumin or paprika for extra flavor.

Guilt Free Potato Chips

  • Potato skins
  • drizzle of avocado or coconut oil
  • sprinkle of sea salt

*Organic ingredients preferred

Enjoy your next snack!