Hemp Seed and Harissa Hummus. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Hemp Seed and Harissa Hummus.  Vegan. Gluten Free.

Hemp Seed and Harissa Hummus. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Memorial weekend starts tomorrow!  What?!  Okay I didn’t see it coming.  Seriously I think I live in a bubble.  It’s a problem.  I better on get on inviting some friends over and grilling up some food, fire pit prep for s’mores – fun summer activities may commence.  With that… I always love to make dips and spreads that can be made ahead of time and be ready to go.  This recipe is perfect for sandwich spread, dip for veggies/crackers or pitas or I add hummus to may salads in lieu of dressing.

If you haven’t been acquainted with hemp seeds – you need to get them.  They are a natural blend of easily digested proteins, essential fats (Omegas 3 & 6), Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA), antioxidants, amino acids, fiber, iron, zinc, carotene, phospholipids, phytosterols, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, vitamin E, chlorophyll, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, potassium, phosphorus, and enzymes.

Harissa is a Tunisian hot chili pepper paste the main ingredients of which are roasted red peppers, serrano peppers and other hot chili peppers and spices and herbs such as garlic paste, coriander seed, or caraway as well as some vegetable or olive oil for preservation.  I had a jar that I got at Target – mild in spice level and I thought it would be fun to add it to the hummus for a different flavor than the traditional.

Chickpeas are an an excellent vegan and gluten-free source of protein and fiber, chickpeas also contain high levels of iron, vitamin B-6 and magnesium.

I want to show the benefits to the foods you eat.  I think the more educated you are regarding food choices, the better choices you will make in the long run.  Knowledge is power.

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— Knead to Cook

Raw Lemon Coconut Cream Bars. Vegan. Gluten Free.

I’ve been working on several different bar recipes for some menu tastings.  I wanted to incorporate some buckwheat groats (gluten free) to add more texture to the crust and that’s just what they did. Groats are fruit seeds that are related to rhubarb and sorrel making it a suitable substitute for grains for people who have a gluten sensitivity.  Packed with manganese, fiber, copper, phosphorous.  Plus they provide a great crunch factor to a rather soft crust.  The cashew cream is a creamy, cheesecake-like texture without any dairy.  I took a lot pictures to help aid you through this recipe.  The recipe is very easy but waiting for it to set up in the freezer is the most painful part if you’re impatient like me.

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— Knead to Cook

Peanut Butter Cup Raw Energy Bites. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Peanut Butter Cup Raw Energy Bites. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Peanut Butter Cup Raw Energy Bites. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Peanut butter and chocolate… a heavenly match indeed.  No justification required for this recipe.  It was just needed because my oldest is back to swim season, practice and about to start working again.  My youngest is back to tennis shortly.  Portable, poppable (is that even a real word?) food is key.  These little balls are packed with protein with maca that will provide energy to keep her going.  I also sneak a few pre and post run for an energy punch.  These raw bites are super easy to make and are kid-friendly.   This raw dough is also perfect as a raw pie or bar crust as well.
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— Knead to Cook

Ginger Turmeric Carrot Soup. Book Review and Guest Post.

Ginger Turmeric Carrot Soup.

Ginger Turmeric Carrot Soup. Gluten Free. Vegan.

I’m often asked to review cookbooks from publicists.  I was contacted about this particular cookbook and it all connected with a recent eye visit my husband had just experienced.  I knew he had to write a post for me and he agreed. In conjunction, I wanted to share a recipe I created last week and it paired up nicely with this post.  I will feature a recipe or two out of this cookbook in the future but I haven’t had time to work with it in depth due to late delivery of the book and time constraints.  So without further adieu, my husband’s first post on my blog.  Thanks Bill for sharing.
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— Knead to Cook

Super Seed Powerhouse Bread. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Super Seed Powerhouse Bread.  Vegan.  Gluten Free.

Super Seed Powerhouse Bread. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Doesn’t this bread make the prettiest gift?  I’m thinking end of the year teacher gift paired up with gift card.  I’ve been testing some recipes from various cookbooks I’ve recently received.  This was the first recipe I wanted to try.  I’m obsessed with healthy seeded, gf breads.  This recipe is easy enough for kids to make alongside of some adult supervision.  The bread is packed with fiber, vitamins K, E and A.  It has healthy fats, essential amino acids and anti-inflamatory properties.  Plus its gluten free and vegan so easily digestible.  It freezes beautifully and the recipe makes two loaves.  So tasty straight up or with jam or nut butter.

This recipe was adapted from from Deliciously Ella‘s Superfood Bread.  I customized it to fit what I had on hand and our preferences.  
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— Knead to Cook

Vega Sport Vanilla Granola Hemp Smoothie.

Vega Sport Vanilla Granola Hemp Smoothie.

Vega Sport Vanilla Granola Hemp Smoothie.

I’m so sorry that I didn’t get to share this last week when it was released.  Life has thrown me a curveball that derailed me.  So my sincerest apologies but here it goes PLUS a new smoothie recipe I’ve been obsessing over lately.

My absolute favorite vegan pre-workout, workout and post workout recovery fuel is Vega.  I’m not getting paid for this – it is just my honest review and testimonial.  I’m not fond of chemicals and weird ingredients to fuel my body.  Plus I have a sensitive stomach, as I’ve mentioned before.  My stomach revolts especially during training.  Vega works like a charm.  In fact, I just trained and ran a marathon using all of their products and I loved them.  They just came out with a totally free resource for new to experienced runners.  The Vega Sport site will be jam-packed with free resources including 8-weeks of training guides, meal plans, recipes, playlists, and nutritional education for preparing for your first or 30th 10K race, Half or Full-Marathon.  From playlists, training programs, to fueling – it has EVERYTHING!  Seriously – if you’re looking to training, work on speed, finding your comfortable pace to tackling race day… the information is all here.  If I didn’t love Vega – I love them more now!  All this information in one place… one resource created by experts.  Love it!

So let me get on to my recipe and then share a little bit more about how to sign up for this free running resource.

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— Knead to Cook

Watermelon Cucumber Juice.

Watermelon Juice.

Watermelon Juice.

It inevitably happens… a bad watermelon will make it to your kitchen.  I know I’m personally disheartened when it happens.  Typically, when I’m giving my watermelon a quick fruit wash in my sink before I cut it – I mentally say a little prayer hoping its good.  I hate wasting money on food that isn’t good – mealy or just over-ripened.

However, necessity creates invention… is that how it goes?  Well needless to say, last summer I had a winning streak of exceptional watermelons until that one really gross, cracked on the inside, sad watermelon was staring up at me… I just spent $6 or $7 on this and lugged it from the farmer’s market to my truck and then to my kitchen.  #fail But I was bounded and determined.  I chopped it up and added it to my vitamix and wasteful was turned into successful.  My kids love this juice!  And if desired, you can always add a shot of vodka to a glass for an adult beverage.  OR freeze them in popsicle molds (thanks Cecilia).

Watermelon and cucumbers are from the same plant family. Cucumbers contain unique polyphenols and other compounds that may help reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Cucumbers may help to “cool” the inflammatory response in your body which makes this the perfect post workout beverage.  Contain multiple B vitamins, including vitamin B1, vitamin B5, and vitamin B7 (biotin). Supportive of digestive health as well.  Watermelon is a refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids.  Combining the two – is a match made in juicy heaven.
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— Knead to Cook

Grilling with Colavita. Vegan.

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to team up with Colavita to create some recipes for grilling season.  Being an Italian girl and vegan – I thought I would take you on a food journey grilling up vegan style versus the classics you’ve come to expect during grilling season.  Plus moving outside to grill for friends and family, enjoying warm and sunny weather – there is nothing better after a long winter.

I created three recipes to share.  Each have a fun twist and are a cinch to prepare.  Great for parties and get-togethers.  Healthy options you can pair up with your favorite protein.  Now let’s start this grilling journey…
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— Knead to Cook

Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Oatmeal Bars.  Vegan.  Gluten Free.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Bars. Vegan. Gluten Free.

The weekend is in sight! And that means Mother’s Day is too.  Are you prepared?  We have fun plans for Sunday.  I hope you have something relaxing, fun or exciting in the works.  Homemade gifts I find the most touching.  I think these would make the perfect gift for that special woman in your life.  Kids can easily make these with a little help and they package up nicely with a cute ribbon.

This recipe was inspired by Ella Woodward’s cookbook and I have to say… they are so delicious.  They aren’t overly sweet, which was exactly how I love my oatmeal bars.  These bars are packed with protein, potassium and oats contain manganese, selenium, phosphorus, fiber, magnesium, and zinc. Oats are also rich in carotenoids, tocols (Vitamin E), flavonoids and avenanthramides – a class of polyphenols.  So they aren’t just tasty… they are good for you and do a body good.  So much better than pre-packaged granola bars from the store.

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— Knead to Cook

Rosemary Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Rosemary Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. Vegan.  Gluten Free.

Rosemary Roasted Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Hump day already?!  Summer is coming fast and furiously.  Our weather has moved over to warm, sunny days.  We’ve been grilling a lot more lately and with a lot of garden planted – I’ve been using some fresh herbs in some of my favorite recipes like this one.

I’ve been working on several jobs this week that are coming up so it limits my free time for recipe  testing but I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes.  Rosemary roasted carrots and sweet potatoes (insert major heart emojis).  Benefits of carrots are packed with carotenoids; which help lower the risk of heart disease.  Improve vision.  Vitamin A helps flush toxins from the body. Vitamin A also helps prevent damage from the sun.  And they possess anti-cancer properties.

Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and potassium. They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health.  Sweet potatoes are a great source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function to name just a few benefits.

Rosemary has been revered since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth. It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6.

This recipe is very simple and pretty much full-proof. I hope you enjoy!

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— Knead to Cook