Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Gooey Berry Bars

In my non-vegan life, I was never a fan of cheesecake.  Something about it just didn’t appeal.  A few weekends ago, I set out to make a snack bar for T and to my surprise it came out very cheesecake-like.  And it was really good.  This “snack” came out more like dessert and the “bar” was more suited to be eaten with a fork but all in all it was a success.  Gooey and sweet, it would be a perfect summer recipe when berry season rolls around, but frozen berries are just as nutritious and just as good!

Gooey Berry Bars


-3 cups white beans

-3 cups Medjool dates, pitted

-4 tablespoons pumpkin seed butter (mine was seasoned like this recipe, but any nut or seed butter would do)

-1 scoop plant based vanilla protein powder (I used Pure Food brand)

-1 tablespoon vanilla extract

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

-pinch sea salt

-1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen berries of choice (depending on how berry-heavy you want your bars)

To make:

-Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

-Blend beans, dates, nut or seed butter, vanilla, and baking powder until smooth creamy.  (If mixture is not blending well after 10 or 15 minutes, add some water 1 tablespoon at a time until creamy consistency is reached.)

-Once creamy, add protein powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and blend until thoroughly mixed.

-Transfer 1/2 the batter to parchment paper lined 8×8 pan.  Spread half of berries on top.

-Cover berries with the remainder of the batter and top with remaining berries.

-Bake for 50 minutes until top and edges brown.

-Cool for 30 minutes then transfer to freezer for 1 hour.

-Store in fridge.

Recipe inspired by Zain’s Vegan Blondies

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Made from plants and berry very yummy!


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Cashew Peanut Hemp Seed Butter

I was super psyched to find Costco carrying huge bags of organic hemp seeds again.  I got hooked on hemp a while back and continue to add it to all kinds of recipes.  What’s so great about this little seed?  It has a great balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to promote heart health, is high in GLA which has been proven to balance hormones, and is a perfect protein containing all 20 amino acids as well as the 9 essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce.  That is one powerful plant.  Though botanically related to marijuana, hemp seeds won’t make you high.  You may, however, become high on life since they support your body oh so well.  

I’ve been into experimenting with nut and seed butter blends lately.  The following is the current family favorite:

Easy Cashew Peanut Hemp Butter


-1.5 cups raw cashew nuts

-1.5 cups dry roasted peanuts (make sure there are no added ingredients, just peanuts!)

-3 tablespoons hemp seeds

-1/4 teaspoon himalayan pink salt (or other good quality salt)

To make:

-Place all ingredients except salt in food processor

-Blend until creamy, occasionally scraping down sides

-Add salt and blend until combined

-Transfer to jar and store in fridge

-Enjoy in sandwiches, smoothies, or on it’s own!

Peanut, peanut butter, and hemp seeds……..

Confession: Sometimes I stir up peanut butter just so I can lick the knife…..


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Going Green

If there is one non-negotiable on our family grocery list, it’s greens.  They appear at every meal (yes, even breakfasts and snacks!)  Why?  With everything I’ve learned (and am still learning) about plant based eating, greens come out on top.  If there were a magical pill that would boost artery function, improve energy efficiency, and enhance athletic recovery, you would be interested, right?  Greens do all this and much, much more with no negative side effects (well, maybe spinach in your teeth….) .  The following are my top 3 ways for incorporating greens at each meal:

-Breakfast: Green smoothie!  Bonus points if you eat it out of a bowl.

-Lunch: Switch out tortillas or bread for lettuce wraps, or make a yummy salad.

-Dinner: Add greens to sauces, top pizza with tons if spinach, and when in doubt, take a handle full of greens and quickly pan cook with a little balsamic to serve as a side or topping.

It’s easy being green……

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!




Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Plant Protein Packed Oatmeal Cookies

How many plants can you fit in one cookie?  I say lots.  Since J introduced T to vegan cookies at Whole Foods, a little cookie monster has been born.  Not being a cookie person myself (I have other vices….) I decided to try to make him some for the first time.  I’ve made him brownies and bars before, but never a cookie in the classic sense.  It seems to have worked.  These cookies are vegan, gluten free, oil free, nut free (school and daycare friendly!), and contain no added sugar.  Before you click off the page trust me, they taste great.  They are picky-2-year-old and grown-adult-man approved (two of the hardest demographics to appease, don’t you think?)  I don’t think there is any one ingredient that stands out, just a whole lot of plant protein goodness.  Like most of my recipes, I kind of threw stuff in the food processor and figured it out as I went along.  Feel free to do the same and adjust to your liking.

Plant Protein Packed Oatmeal Cookies:

Food processor ingredients:

-1 13.4 oz box of cannellini beans (or most of a regular 15 oz can), drained and rinsed

-1 small (or half a large) baked Japanese sweet potato (I keep pre-baked in the fridge for instances such as this.  They work really in sweet recipes when cold.)

-6-8 Medjool dates, pitted (adjust for desired sweetness)

-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

-1 banana

-2 scoops Pure Food vanilla protein powder (we like this brand because it is super clean and yummy, but feel free to experiment)

-1 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1 pinch salt

Puree all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Transfer to large mixing bowl.

Mix-in ingredients (amounts for seeds, coconut, and raisins are approximate since I didn’t measure, feel free to adjust to your liking):

-2 cups gluten free rolled oats

-1/4 cup hemp seeds

-1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

-1/4 cup raw shredded coconut

-1/2 cup raisins

Add mix-in ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until they are distributed evenly throughout batter.  Form batter into golf-ball sized mounds and drop on parchment paper covered cookie sheet.  Press down to form cookie shape (batter did not spread for me so they can be close together).  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!

Powered by plants……



Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Nutritious, Delicious, Ugly Food

In a perfect world, I’d be a fantastic food photographer.  I admire recipe blogs with gorgeous pictures that make you want to lick the screen.  Alas, at least right now for me, pretty pics are a low priority.  It’s fun to pull out the big guns and create visually appealing and palate pleasing meals for my guests but the truth is, most of my day-to-day food is far from sexy.

So what’s a plant-loving woman to do when she’s inspired to spread the good word but sometimes makes smoothies that are the same color going in as they are coming out? (kidding, well, sort of….).  Share anyway.  Sometimes I am blessed to come across a super easy and super delicious meal when the pantry is down to bare bones and time is of the essence.  The following is a good example. 

Full disclosure, I was trying to get a picture but was not having success and it was late and we were hungry, so J got the final shot.  I think he did pretty well, even though the food is pretty ugly.  My sister tells me the key is plating the food on a white background (she always was the more stylish one….).  Enjoy this easy, breezy, plant based meal.

Mexican Stuffed Baked Potatoes and Broccoli for Two:


-2 russet potatoes or two Japanese sweet potatoes (or one of each if you are indecisive like me ;))

-2 Mexican style veggie burgers*

-2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli, optional lemon, salt, and pepper to season

-1 jar good quality salsa*

*You can make your own and freeze or go with store bought.  If going with store bought look for those made with whole food ingredients.  We’ve been using Engine 2 Pinto Habanero Burgers and the ingredients are: Cooked brown rice, pinto beans, collard greens, caramelized onion, corn, roasted red pepper, garlic, serrano chili pepper, habanero chili pepper, cilantro, black chia seed, chipotle chili pepper, coriander, cumin, sea salt, ancho chili pepper, black pepper, arbol chili pepper

*You can make your own or go with store bought.  If going for store bought look for those made with whole food ingredients.  We’ve been using Green Mountain Gringo Medium and the ingredients are: ripe tomatoes, onions, tomatillos, apple cider vinegar, fresh jalapeño peppers, fresh pasilla peppers, cilantro, parsley, fresh garlic, sea salt, cumin

To make:

-Heat oven to 400 degrees

-Wash and pierce potatoes a few times with fork

-Bake for 60 – 90 minutes, depending on the size of your potatoes

-Toward the end of the potato baking cycle, adjust heat according to veggie burger package directions.  Add veggie burgers and cook for recommended time on package (if using homemade, 8 minutes per side at 400 is usually a good rule of thumb for frozen burgers)

-Steam broccoli in Instant Pot or on stovetop:

Instant pot frozen: 4 minutes

Instant pot fresh: 3 minutes

Stovetop frozen: 5-8 minutes

Stovetop fresh: 4-5 minutes 

-When veggie burgers have approximately 5 minutes to go, remove potatoes and cut in half to release steam

-Plate potatoes and smash with fork

-Crumble veggies burgers into a small bowl

-Add salsa and mix until combined

-Top potatoes with veggie burger salsa mixture

-To prepare broccoli, either season with lemon, salt, and pepper or simply toss with salsa


For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook or follow on Twitter!


Ooh la la……..