Banana Chai Smoothie

This is a tasty, healthy smoothie perfect for breakfast.  Whenever I add oatmeal to a smoothie I just feel like it’s made for breakfast.  Since this smoothie also has chai tea, it’s great to wake up and enjoy this smoothie first thing in the morning!

I actually adapted my recipe from a few different recipes I found online, taking parts of each recipe or adding more or less of certain ingredients I liked.  Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Brew chai tea bag in 1/2 cup boiling hot water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.

Notes:  Feel free to add about 1/4 tsp guar gum (for creaminess) and 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (for thickness) if desired.

Sorry, but picture will be coming soon.  I didn’t get a chance when I first made this smoothie, but I will definitely be making this again sometime very soon!

This recipe yields approximately 190 calories and 3.5g protein.

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Broccoli Cashew Quinoa

Simple. Quick. Easy clean-up. Light. Healthy. Delicious.  Those 6 things are inspiration enough to make this recipe!  This meal is full of protein, fiber, veggies, and flavor.  I made some this past weekend; it didn’t last long and I wish I had more.  Since I already have all the ingredients and it was just that good, I’m making it again for dinner tomorrow night!

This recipe was adapted from Whole Foods:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
  • 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces (I recommend crushing gently with the side of a knife)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Soak sundried tomatoes in hot water for 15 minutes to soften them.  Then drain and chop.
  2. Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add chopped sundried tomatoes, broth, wine, and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
  5. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in broccoli and simmer until all liquid is absorbed.
  7. Serve garnished with cashews and green onions.

Notes: After the first 20 minutes of simmering, all my liquid was absorbed so I just cooked my broccoli seperately then stirred it into the quinoa.  I also was preparing this meal for later in the week so instead of garnishing, I just stirred in the cashews and green onions at the end after cooking and before storing and it still turned out great!

Light Granola

I don’t ever buy granola since most aren’t gluten free (or if they are they contain honey) and I like to control what I put in mine.  Here’s a great simple recipe that makes a good granola topping, can be used in a trail mix, or just pour almond milk over some and eat as a cereal.

This recipe was adapted from Oh She Glows:

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 2 cups GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup uncooked millet (I didn’t have millet and used quinoa, but want to try with millet)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Wet:

  • 2 heaping tbsp applesauce
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (I didn’t have this so used 2 tbsp molasses)
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the wet ingredients, except for the extracts, then microwave for 30-60 second.  Stir in the extracts until combined.
  4. Add wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well until everything is coated.  Scoop onto baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking.
  5. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes on the making sheet.

This recipe makes about 5 cups of granola and should be stored in an air-tight container for 1-2 months.

Close up! You can really see the oats, almonds, and quinoa that make up this healthy granola!

This is one way I used the granola, for a yogurt parfait – I sprinkled some of the granola over sliced strawberries and Silk Vanilla Yogurt!

Another simple breakfast idea – I put some of the granola in a bowl and poured almond milk on top for cereal.

Chickpea Salad with Basil

Chickpea salad! I love chickpeas and this salad is another light meal for the summer.  Plus it is super fast to toss together and very flavorful!  My mom makes a version of this with chickpeas, tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.  Here’s a version that uses basil and a different combo of vinegars for the dressing.

This recipe was adapted from Green Light Bites:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
  • basil leaves, chopped (I didn’t measure how many, just estimated)
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp agave
  • pinch of salt

Directions: Mix everything together in a medium bowl and chill for at least 20 minutes to allow flavors to merge.

This picture looks like a TON of tomatoes, but really I just took the picture real fast and didn’t take the time to mix it better.

Strawberry Chia Jam

I’ve been creating a lot of my own nut butters lately and even though I’m not as big of a jelly or jam fan, I knew I would love to try out a recipe anyway.  The thought of being able to use fresh fruit instead of canned (possibly with tons of added sugar) was inspiration enough.  I came across a recipe that sounded amazing and exactly what I was looking for (plus I had some strawberries that needed to be used up) so I made some jam and definitely will be making this again.

This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds

Directions:

  1. Blend strawberries in a food processor for about 10 seconds (just to roughly chop them unless you want more of a jelly consistency, then blend longer).
  2. Add chia seeds and mix with a spoon.
  3. Pour the mixture into a mason jar and put in the fridge to set for at least an hour before using.

You can even try making this jam with other fruits like blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, or maybe even a mixture of fruits for a mixed berry jam!

This jam is good just on bread for breakfast, for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, on crackers, or any other way you would use store bought jam or jelly.

Salsa Chickpea Lettuce Wraps

Want a light and filling meal perfect for the summer with lots of protein and flavor?  Try this one!

I’ve never used lettuce wraps before but they are very easy to use.  They can be quite messy, but hey that’s part of the fun!  They are also very versatile; there are SO many things you can fill these wraps with and there good for trying a typical favorite meal in a different way.  Like normally I would put chickpeas and some kind of sauce over brown rice or quinoa, but now I have a new way to enjoy it!  And the lettuce wraps are much lighter than grains in the summer!

This recipe was adapted from Happy Herbivore:

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz salsa (I love spicy so used medium)
  • large lettuce leaves

Directions:

  1. Combine chickpeas and salsa in a medium saucepan.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has absorbed into the chickpeas (about 8-10 min).
  3. Spoon desired amount of chickpeas into lettuce leaves.

These are great warmed right off the stove or served cold straight from the fridge.

Vanilla Avocado Ice Cream

Last week was super hot, I had an avocado that needed to be used and some frozen bananas in the freezer.  Avocados and bananas can make anything creamy and frozen bananas can make ice cream.  Searching the internet I found a recipe for ice cream that I knew I had to try on those hot summer days!

This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 medium frozen banana
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp xanthan gum (optional)

Directions:  Blend everything together in a blender until smooth.  Eat immediately (more of a smoothie or soft serve) or pour the mixture into a container and put it in the freezer.  When you’re ready to eat or after at least an hour, let it thaw for about 5 minutes then reblend to form ice cream.

Notes:

  • Your bananas don’t have to be frozen, but if they aren’t add ice cubes.
  • The gums are optional but the guar gum adds creaminess and the xanthan gum adds thickness.

I ate this two ways.  The first I actually ate right away, more as a smoothie.  I think I preferred this way.  It was still cold but actually more like soft serve (after freezing it, it had some ice crystals.)  And since I added the gums it was really creamy and thick.

Not the best picture since I used a teal colored bowl and was not planning on sharing this picture, but since I enjoyed the “soft serve” ice cream better I had to show what it looked like.

Another not great picture, but look how thick it is – not even falling off the spoon!

A few days later, I ate it like ice cream.  I guess I was impatient and should have waited for it to thaw more, maybe then I would have liked it better.  Next time I think I’ll just store it in the fridge and eat it as a smoothie or soft serve.

Strawberry Banana Overnight Oats

On Monday, I made Mango Almond Overnight Oats, which was delicious and a great filling breakfast.  Since the recipe only called for 1/4 cup yogurt, I had some extra and decided to make a different flavor and would have breakfast already prepared for a different day!  For my second jar of overnight oats I decided to make Strawberry Banana.
This recipe is adapted from here:
Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup GF rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used Silk vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1 small mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup sliced strawberries

Directions:

  1. In a mason jar, combine oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, almond butter, and agave. Put lid on top and shake to combine.
  2. Add mashed banana and strawberries and stir with a fork until mixed throughout.
  3. Return lid to jar and place in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled!

Not the greatest picture since everything had been stirred together before I took the picture, but you get the idea.

Doggy Ice Cream

A few weeks ago we lost power for three days from a huge thunderstorm and of course it was right during some of the hottest days that week.  To keep our dogs cool, we bought some Frosty Paws by Purina.  Recently, my mom came across a website for making your own doggy ice cream.  Since it has been in the high 90s with high humidity, I figured this would be a good time to try these homemade dog treats out.

This recipe was adapted from here.  I only made half the recipe from the original and filled one whole ice cube tray.  That is plenty for two dogs!  Here’s how I made mine:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions: Combine all ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix until combined.  (You may need to melt the peanut butter separately in the microwave first to make mixing easier.)  Spoon into an ice cube tray and freeze until set.

Since these were for the dogs I didn’t make them vegan; however, feel free to use a soy based yogurt and use agave instead of honey or just leave this ingredient out.

More reasons to feed your dogs this homemade ice cream instead of store bought:

  1. Purina’s “Frosty Paws” cost over $4 for one box.  Homemade is much cheaper, especially since these are common food items anyway.
  2. Frosty Paws have only 4 containers in the box.  This recipe makes 12 ice cube sized treats.
  3. Frosty Paws have tons of added ingredients that I cannot even pronounce.  This homemade ice cream has all natural and healthy ingredients.

Mango Almond Overnight Oats

Overnight Oats!  It’s another very popular breakfast I hear about all the time.  I’m not the biggest oatmeal person, but every once in a while I like to change up my typical breakfast or just need something more filling to get me through the morning.  Since it’s summer and these oats are eaten cold, I knew this would be the best time to try this recipe out.

My overnight oats aren’t as thick as the original.  I think it’s because I didn’t use greek yogurt.  Maybe next time I’ll add less yogurt or milk so it’s thicker. But it was still very tasty!

This recipe was adapted from here:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup GF rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I used Silk vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • 1/2 mango, diced

Directions:

  1. In a mason jar, combine oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, almond butter, and agave.  Put lid on top and shake to combine.
  2. Add diced mango and stir with a fork until mixed throughout.
  3. Return lid to jar and place in the fridge overnight or up to 2 days.  Eat chilled!

The original recipe actually calls for 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, but since I had a nearly empty jar of almond butter I just used that and combined all my ingredients in that jar!  Great way to get every last drop of that almond butter!

I can’t wait to try other flavor varieties!