Raw Vegan Coconut “Snickers” || Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Vegan

There is something about this time of year that makes me want to hibernate in my kitchen and whip up a storm of vegan treats! One of my favorite things in the world is creating something new and delicious with my little girl, and being able to teach her about the beauty of real foods and the transformation they can take when manipulated the right way. Cooking is an art, and I hope to pass that passion on to my daughter!

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Yesterday we came up with our own healthy vegan version of one of my husband’s all-time favorite candy bars – Snickers. The minute a Snickers hits your mouth you can no doubt identify it! Melting chocolate, gooey creamy caramel, crunchy peanuts.. what’s not to love?! Oh yeah, the fact that they’re packed full of unhealthy fats, added sugars, harmful chemicals, and unnatural preservative. But there is a way to still enjoy this classic “junk food” in a way that won’t sacrifice your health or your waist line!

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Ingredients:
ALL ingredients used (aside from the dates and almond milk) are from Vitacost – I love their brand, and they ship straight to your home for a low cost. If you have trouble finding any of these ingredients I highly suggest ordering online from them!
For the chocolate –
1/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
2-3 tbsp raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how much of a “dark chocolate” flavor you like)
2 squirts of vanilla creme stevia

Melt the coconut oil and stir in the rest. Pour into small round containers and pop in the freezer for 20-30 minutes until solid.

Caramel –
10 large pitted medjool dates
1/3 cup raw almond milk
2 squirts of vanilla creme stevia or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

Soak your dates in the almond milk/vanilla blend for 20 minutes and then blend in your food processor until completely smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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(This caramel is awesome for dipping, spreading, or drizzling on desserts!)

Mix a spoonful of your caramel with raw peanuts and add a dollop on top of each chocolate. Sprinkle with coconut flakes and enjoy!

These are 100% husband approved, which is not always an easy task! He has a very picky sweet tooth, and absolutely loves these little mounds of gold.

Today Maizy and I decided to use the leftovers to make “coconut snicker sandwiches” – they were a little bit incredible. Okay, maybe a lot a bit incredible.

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I hope you all try and enjoy!!
xo Sarah

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Vegan Chocolate Pistachio Brownie Batter “IceCream” || Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan)

I love throwing healthy delicious vegan ingredients in my blender and somehow coming up with something that tastes even better than the rich sugar-filled desserts I grew up eating. I named this chocolate pistachio “brownie batter” ice cream because it literally tastes like cold, thick, creamy brownie batter! I also believe chocolate and pistachios belong together whenever possible. There is a delightful dance of flavor combinations in this “dessert”, which is actually healthy and nutritious enough to be eaten for breakfast!

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Ingredients:
4 frozen RIPE bananas
1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao or unsweetened cocoa powder (whichever you prefer)
1 handful of raw pistachios
2-3 squirts of vanilla creme liquid stevia (optional, but soooo good)
Small splash of cold strong brewed coffee
Additional crushed pistachios for topping

Directions:
Blend your ingredients, and too with crushed pistachios. Way too easy!

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Don’t ever feel like you have to give up delicious foods to live a healthy plant-based life! It’s just not true. This lifestyle provides so much flavor and indulgence, stay tuned and I’ll show you!

I hope you try and enjoy!
xo Sarah

Raw Vegan Mint Cucumber Noodle Salad with sliced Strawberries and sweet Purple Grapes || Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Fat-Free, Oil-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Raw, Vegan

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I’m not much of a “juice cleanse” type of girl, so when I’m wanting to detox my body I go straight for the foods that I know do the trick! Cucumber and strawberries are wonderful natural detoxifying foods that help flush your system and leave you feeling vibrant and refreshed. I use cucumber daily – sliced thin as “chips” or hummus and dips, noodled, diced to add crunch to a salad, or just simply chopped up with a bit of sea salt and cracked pepper. It’s extremely low calorie and can be eaten in abundance, so if you’re looking for a crunchy hydrating snack it’s definitely one to go to!

This recipe couldn’t be easier! It’s one I do often because the flavors are sweet and subtle, and the hint of mint from the fresh mint leaves gives it such a fresh airy flavor.

Ingredients:
2 cucumbers
5 strawberries
1 handful of grapes
5 large fresh mint leaves

Directions:
Noodle your cucumbers (I use a Vegetti, you can purchase one on Amazin for very cheap – it works great!), slice you strawberries and your grapes, and add everything to a container.
Mix with your mint leaves and store sealed in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, so the flavors have time to set together.
Toss, drain as needed (the cucumbers may have sweated a little water), and remove your mint leaves. Serve cold. If you like extra sweetness, you can sprinkle on a little pure stevia and mix it in!

I hope you try and enjoy! Have a blessed day everyone.
xo Sarah

Garden Vegetable Pizza with a 4 Ingredient Crispy Garlic Whole Wheat Crust || (Vegan, Fat-Free, Oil-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free)

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I love pizza. Who doesn’t?! It’s one of those foods that tops the list for just about everyone. Unfortunately it also tops the list of unhealthy, fat-filled, processed junk foods that we get to feel guilty about eating immediately after. Most pizzas are covered in sugary sauces, cheeses high in saturated fat, and greasy processed meats that literally pile on pounds. This is definitely not a meal you’d typically think of as being healthy, full of good complex carbs, bright colored vegetables, deep leafy greens, and packed with cell-fueling, cancer fighting ingredients. Well let me introduce you to my version!

This crust has just 4 simple ingredients. Let’s get to the recipe!

Crust:
3 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 packet rapid rise yeast
2 tsp garlic salt

Toppings:
Swiss Chard
Spinach
Kale
Zucchini noodles
Chopped zucchini
Chopped red bell pepper
Chopped yellow bell pepper
Chopped sweet onion
Chopped tomato
Chickpeas
Banana peppers

Instructions:

Combine 1 cup warm water and 1 packet of rapid rise yeast – let this set for 3 minutes then combine with your flour and 1 tsp garlic salt. Mix well, adding the 2 extra tbsp of water as needed.
Kneed well into a ball and separate into fourths – roll out one ball very thin and then sprinkle on the rest of your sea salt/garlic powder mix.

Bake on parchment at 400F for 5 mins, take out and add your toppings.
Place back in the oven and reduce heat to 350F. Bake for another 15 minutes or until crust is crispy and fully cooked.

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I like my crust very well-done and very crispy! You can adjust the cook time to your liking.

As far as toppings go, the more the merrier! Pile on your favorites vegetables. If you like pizza sauce, it’s so easy and simple to make your own – just find a recipe that suites you. I’ve also used things like hummus, pesto, and butternut squash puree in place of sauce, all of which are very good! But my favorite is just pure vegetables with a generous squirt of fresh lemon juice on top.

Considering there isn’t any salt in the actual dough, I am generous when sprinkling it on the top.
You can easily leave it off completely if you prefer!

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If you like a thicker crust, you can make a flatbread pizza using this same recipe.
Simply roll out the dough and leave it slightly thicker – it’s delicious as well! (Pictured below!)

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I served this flatbread with a simple zucchini noodle salad – zucchini noodles, Swiss chard, kale, spinach, peppers, lime juice, and garlic salt.

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I hope you try and enjoy! Have a blessed day everyone.
xo Sarah

Roasted Garlic & Smoked Paprika Okra

Any time I eat okra, I can’t help but think of my sweet Nana. I remember vividly as a child, watching her cook in her little kitchen – a small framed woman bursting with this warm gentle spirit. She made everything from scratch, and without measuring a single ingredient, her recipes came out perfect every time. A good motto for us in our kitchen is “WWND” (what would Nana do). She’s not with us anymore, but she is missed greatly by all the people she left behind here – that precious woman left her mark in many hearts.

One of my favorite things she use to make was her homemade crunchy fried okra. I can’t promise that her recipe was healthy, low fat, or low calorie – but it was delicious. Like, eat 3 plates full and crawl to the living room for a 5 hour nap/coma kind of delicious. My diet has evolved pretty drastically over the years, but my love for okra stays the same. My recipe is different though – I bake instead of fry, and use fresh seasonings instead of breading. It brings out the true taste of the vegetable that I love so much, and allows me to still enjoy a meal that brings back such sweet memories.

Take a bowl full of fresh okra and cut into large piece

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Add 2-3 tbsp vegetable broth to coat, so the seasoning sticks.

Sprinkle of garlic powder, smoked paprika, and natural pink salt.

Bake on non-stick foil at 375F for 40-45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

 

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Easy as that – delicious, oil-free, baked seasoned okra. I hope you enjoy, friends!

 

Have a beautiful day!

xo Sarah

Spicy Vegan Chickpea Burgers | Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Fat, Egg-Free, Oil-Free, Vegan

My love for chickpeas really knows no end. I think they are one of the most versatile tools in a vegan cooks “ingredient-belt”. I use them for dips, brownies, falafels,  muffins, cookies, and one of my favorites – burgers! Since they are so mild and neutral in flavor, they pair well with bold spices. This is one of my favorite easy recipes! Quick to throw together and just the right amount of heat. It’s also high in protein, and VERY low in fat, making it perfect for a post-workout meal!

 

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Ingredients:

1 can rinsed organic chickpeas

1/4 cup organic corn

3 baby carrots

1/2 cup organic GF quick oats

handful of spinach/kale

1 tbsp sriracha

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in your food processor until combined.

 

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Form into patties and cook on parchment at 375F for 45  minutes, then broil for 5 more minutes.

Let set for 5 minutes then serve warm.

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You can absolutely serve them on bread – I just prefer to use spinach.

These are amazing in wraps and on salads as well!

Get creative with your toppings – some of our favorites include onion, avocado, tomato, cucumber, and sprouts.

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I hope everyone is having a beautiful day!

xo Sarah

Raw Vegan Mini Snickers “Cheesecake” Two Ways || Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free

 

When it comes to quenching my husbands insatiable sweet tooth, I find the challenge intriguing. It never fails – around 8:00 pm he wanders into the kitchen and opens the pantry, giving it the “maybe if I glare at you long enough you’ll produce something sweet and delicious” stare.  I like to have some type of vegan treat made up for those moments, so he has a healthier option to go to than the typical desserts we both grew up eating.

Needless to say, when he found out there were snickers cheesecakes in the freezer he didn’t wait until 8:00 that night to eat them! I believe the term is “wolfed them down”. These were so fun to create, and the different variations you can make with this simple recipe are endless. So, let’s get started..
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Ingredients:

Crust:
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup macadamia nuts
4 large pitted/soaked medjool dates
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp gluten free oat flour
1 tbsp mini cacao nibs

Peanut Butter Snickers Cheesecake mix:
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp agave
1/4 cup raw peanut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tsp pure vanilla
palm full of raw peanuts

Chocolate PB Snickers Cheesecake mix:
Same ingredients as above, add 1-2 tbsp raw cacao.

Instructions:

For the crust – In food processor, process first 4 ingredients then stir in cacao nibs.

Sprinkle oat flour in the bottom of each mini cheesecake dish or one small/medium size dish (this helps it to not stick to the bottom).
Press the crust into each tin and set aside.

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Next, blend all PB Cheesecake ingredients (minus the raw peanuts) – add raw peanuts nuts over the crust and pour PB cheesecake mixture in two ramekins.

Use the left over mixture and add 1-2 tbsp raw cacao to it – blend and add to last ramekin.

Put each cake into the freezer for 3-4 hours.

 

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Once frozen, pop out of the ramekins and let set for 1-3 minutes to soften before eating.

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And there you have it folks, creamy dreamy deliciousness.

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I hope your Wednesday is beautiful!

xo Sarah

Vegan Cinnamon Berry Fig Bars | Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Fat-Free, Dairy-Free

Well friends, it is officially the first day of fall. I am so looking forward to all the things this season brings – chunky knit sweaters, homemade soups, cool evenings at the park, orange colored trees, and baking like it’s my job. This is such a comforting time of year. I wanted to kick it off with a new recipe, so I got my little 3 year old sidekick in the kitchen and we came up with these – cinnamon berry fig bars. The perfect “first day of Autumn” breakfast.

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Ingredients:

3 ripe organic bananas
1/2 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup organic gluten-free oats
1/4 tsp natural salt
1 tsp organic baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup mixed frozen berries
2-3 figs

To a large bowl, add:

3 ripe organic bananas
1/2 cup organic unsweetened applesauce
1 1/4 cup organic gluten-free oats
1/4 tsp natural salt
1 tsp organic baking powder

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Pour into bowl and mash all together. Add 1 tbsp ground cinnamon.

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Mix well. Spoon half the oat mixture onto parchment paper and spread into desired shape.

Next, to your food processor add:

1 cup blended frozen berries (I used pomegranate, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
2/3 figs (fresh or dried)
Blend on high until all if combined and easily spread.

Spoon your berry mixture in top and spread evenly.IMG_5904.PNG

Add the rest of your oat mixture in top and spread to cover the berry layer. Bake at 375F for 30-35 mins or until firm in top.

Let cool and then cut and serve!

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Hope you all enjoy them as much as we did this morning. Happy fall to each of you – from my little one and me!

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xo Sarah

The Perfect Oil-Free Baked Potato Wedges with Vegan Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce

My goodness, is there anything more satisfying to the soul than warm carbs? A big plate of fresh baked wedges, my cozy bed, and a really good book (deep sigh..) – now, I know the typical french fry is seen as one of those foods we dare not eat unless we want it stuck to our thighs, but that isn’t even close to what the real thing is. I’m talking slightly crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, bursting with natural flavor – void of the excess chemicals and oils that our friendly fast food chains love to coat on. These are the kind of complex carbs our bodies thrive on!

Carbohydrates get a bad rap here in the US. I am constantly hearing about the fad “low-carb diets” that allow you to drop weight quickly – but there is nothing about these fad diets that will sustain a healthy lifestyle or a healthy weight in the long run. Our bodies need these complex carbs – GOOD carbs, to live an active life! So don’t quit the carbs, quit the chemicals. Quit the processed “foods” that are literally created in labs, and start indulging in more fuel from the earth. Your body will thank you for it, I promise.

 

The Perfect Baked Wedges with Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce| southernblondevegan.com

Baked Oil-Free Wedges:

Simply wash and peel 1 sweet potato, and 1 regular potato.
Cut into wedges and dump in a large bowl.
Pour enough vegetable broth over the fries to evenly coat.
Season with garlic powder and my favorite pink natural salt (pictured below) – bake at 375F for 45 minutes on non-stick foil, flipping halfway through.

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Let them crisp up for 3-4 minutes on the sheet after you take them out.

Sriracha Cashew Cream Sauce:

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1/2 cup soaked (overnight) cashews
1 tbsp Sriracha (more if you like more heat!)
1/4 cup unsweetened original almond milk
1 clove minced garlic
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp pink natural salt

Blend on high in your food processor until creamy. Enjoy friends!

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I also recently did an interview with a herohealthroom.com – (Interview with Sarah Argo of SouthernBlondeVegan.com)-  about some of my personal reasons behind a vegan diet, raising my toddler vegan, and advice I would give to anyone interested in making the transition. Definitely check out this website for great healthy inspiration!

 

I hope your week is lovely. Life is good today.

xo Sarah