Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Super Seed Granola

In a past life, I may have been a bird.  That’s how much I love seeds.  Don’t get it twisted, this delicious granola is anything but bird food.  Crunchy in texture while lightly salty and sweet, it will keep you coming back to the feeder jar for more.  Seeds are the nutritional super stars of the plant based world.  The hemp, chia, sesame, and pumpkin variety used in this recipe are no exception.  It is sugar free, oil free, and gluten free if you want it to be.  It is also 100% whole foods plant based.  As if that wasn’t enough, it’s super easy to make.  Fly, don’t just walk, to your kitchen to make this super satisfying plant based treat.


-1 cup medjool dates, pitted

-1/2 cup tahini + 3 tablespoons water to thin

-1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if you like)

-1 cup puffed brown rice cereal (only ingredient should be rice)

-1 cup quinoa flakes

-1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

-1/4 cup chia seeds

-1/4 cup hemp seeds

-1/4 cup shredded coconut

-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

-1 teaspoon vanilla

-1/4 teaspoon salt

To make:

-Combine dates, tahini, and water in food processor until smooth.

-Combine rest of ingredients in large bowl.

-Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with hands until thoroughly combined.

-Spread on parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring about every 10 minutes to prevent burning.

-Store in sealed container in fridge (if there is any left, that is).

Pro tips:

-If you like dried fruit in your granola, add it after the granola cools to preserve texture.

-If you like a sweeter granola, add some pure stevia powder to the date/tahini mixture a little at a time until desired sweetness is reached.

-Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder or carob powder along with an extra tablespoon of water to the date/tahini mixture for a chocolatey (or carobey?) treat.

For more plant based ideas head over to the Joyful Gym Rat page on Facebook

That’s some seedy looking granola….
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Last weekend I had a bout of decision fatigue.  I was itching to make a sweet treat, but my poor little brain simply could not choose.  So I made them all.  And the result was delicious.  If you know me you know I like my desserts dense, both texturally and nutritionally.  This hits the spot on all marks.  Plus it’s entirely made from plants.  

Do you want the luscious taste of a flourless chocolate cake with a nourishing nutritional profile?  If so, read on to create this more-than-satisfying mashup:

To make the cake layers:

Follow this brownie recipe with the following substitutions:

-Spread batter into 2 pans and bake for 60 minutes

-Optional: I used 1/2 cup of carob and 2 tablespoons raw cacao so T wouldn’t be bouncing off the walls.  If you are an adult that can handle your chocolate, feel free to go all in….

To make the mousse:

Follow this pudding recipe with the following substitutions:

-Add a bit more sweetener.  I used two teaspoons of date sugar and the sweetness equivalent of 1 teaspoon of sugar of stevia leaf powder.

-Optional: Add 1 tablespoon of raw cacao to the carob, or substitute chocolate for carob entirely.

To make the raspberry sauce:

Follow this berry sauce recipe with the following substitutions:

-Once slightly cooled, smash berry mixture with a potato masher or fork.

-Optional: Add a teaspoon of superfood powder like gooseberry, goji, or acai for an extra antioxidant boost.

To put together:

-Remove cake layers from pan.

-Spread mousse on one layer and top with the other.

-Spread mousse on top layer and garnish as desired (I used raspberries and strawberries).

-When ready to serve, top each slice with raspberry sauce.

-In the unlikely event you have any left over, store in fridge…..

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

Bless my decision fatigued mind, this cake was goooood……..
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: In Defense of Curry

Like tomatoes and avocado, curry is a point of contention in our house.  Last month, after claiming he didn’t like curry or lentils for years, I made a lentil curry that J now loves.  Like lentils, there are many different kinds of curry.  Born and raised in exotic Connecticut, I am certainly no curry expert.  Over the years I have grown fond of not only the flavors of different types of curry, but also the benefits they have on digestive health.  Since curry is full of carminitive herbs, cooking with it helps the body digest and assimilate nutrients.  

It turns out that though J can do without Indian spice, he is just fine with the Thai variety.  How did we solve the lentil dilemma?  I switched out my usual soft red lentils for a more firm sprouted lentil blend and, served with a variety of other veggies, J liked them just fine.  Now if we could only come to an agreement on tempeh…..

Thai Red Curry with Sprouted Lentils


-1/2 sweet onion, chopped

-2 carrots, sliced

-1 sweet potato, cubed

-1/2 small head purple cabbage, chopped

-1 half pound bag frozen broccoli florets

-1 8z bag sprouted lentils (True Roots is a good brand)

-1 15 oz can coconut milk

-1 32 oz carton vegetable broth (Pacific Foods is a good brand)

-1 4 oz jar Thai red curry paste (Thai Kitchen is a good brand)

-1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

-1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

To Make Instant Pot:

-Heat pot to saute setting

-Dry saute onion until fragrant

-Add broth and lentils and bring to simmer for several minutes

-Switch off, add all other ingredients, give a quick stir

-Cook on high pressure cooker setting for 7 minutes (make sure release valve is closed)

-Let pressure release naturally

To Make Stovetop:

-Dry saute onion until fragrant

-Add broth and lentils and bring to boil

-Reduce to simmer for 5 minutes

-Add all other ingredients and bring to boil again

-Reduce to simmer and cook until veggies are tender


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

This curry agreed to be photographed on the third night of leftovers in an unattractive red bowl…#brave
Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Looking for a Coffee Substitute? Gear Up with Guayusa

Those who know me probably would not describe me as a world traveler.  The only study abroad I participated in during college was in New York City…a short 25 minute train ride from campus.  Aside from a trip to Italy and some random Caribbean and Mexican getaways, I’ve spent most of my life here in the good old US of A.  I do, however, like to explore the world through plants. 

You may remember from this post that the South Pacific ritual of drinking kava has made its way into our Virginia home.  On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve recently taken a liking to Amazonian guayusa.  Since parting ways with coffee after back to back to back pregnancies, I usually rely on raw cacao or matcha green tea for a buzz.  Guayusa contains the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee and also theobromine (found in raw cacao) and l-theanine (found in matcha).  Both of these substances promote calm focus and reduce the likelihood of caffeine jitters.  Lacking the tannins that make tea and coffee bitter, guayusa also has a pleasant taste.  Whether you are looking for a substitute for coffee, or just want to have options, follow the cold brewing instructions below:


-Loose leaf guayusa tea (you can find it online, Runa is a good brand)

-French press

To Brew:

-Scoop 2 tablespoons leaves for each serving into french press and fill with water.

-Leave in refrigerator overnight.

-Stir and plunge in the morning and heat up or enjoy cold!

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

Photo credit http://www.wisegeek.com/


Tasty Tuesday

Tasty Tuesday: Dealing With Digestive Difficulties

In many schools of medicine, the digestive tract is considered the foundation of well being. For some of us (this 30 something year old medical mystery myself included), the foundation we were born with seems to be something no home inspector would ever sign off on.

A lifetime of figuring out my own issues in this area has given me a crash course on all things belly related.  When it comes to digestion, I’m a regular autodidact.

These days, on the whole, I feel better than I ever have.  Still, sometimes things get painful at random and no midwest or east coast doctor (conventional or holistic) has been able to figure out exactly why.

And so, as I continue to connect the dots (picture me as John Nash’s character in A Beautiful Mind, specifically the scene when his wife discovers his office…) I thought I would share three of my top happy belly habits with you:

-Eat All the Plants: Of course everyone is unique and you may have some plants that don’t agree with you, no matter how much you wish they would.  In general, eating plants encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and helps keep things moving more smoothly.

-Chew All the Plants: The power of chewing is often underrated.  Digestion begins in the mouth so you definitely don’t want to skip that part.  Fortunately or unfortunately, the stomach does not have teeth.  Well chewed food is easier for your system to break down and keeps things more comfortable.

-Ferment All the Plants: Well, not literally.  But do add things like saurkraut and kimchi to meals whenever you can.  Fermented veggies tend to be more potent sources of probiotics than supplements, and give you more bang for your buck to boot.

It’s worth noting that although diet is a large part of gut health, it’s only a part.  Lifestyle choices such as exercise and stress management can also go a long way towards a healthy digestive system.

It goes without saying that some medical conditions are beyond our control.  Doing the best we can to take good care of ourselves while embracing acceptance (well, trying to anyway…) can be a huge step in the right direction.  Happy healing!

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

My favorite happy belly soup, recipe here.