Mocha Superfood Popsicles

img_1924

We had our first day of warmer weather and sunshine this weekend. I love that first day of spring-like weather after a long winter. It’s finally time to put the patio furniture out, clean the grill, and open the windows to let the fresh air in. The warm weather inspired me to make these popsicles. The hardest part was waiting for them to freeze! I also had a hard time narrowing down the ingredients. The choices are endless for homemade popsicles but I wanted to keep it simple and healthy. I’m a coffee and espresso lover and have two coffee makers at home (one for espresso and one for drip coffee), so making a mocha pop was a no-brainer! I actually used decaf espresso for these so that I could have them at night and not stay up. The decaf version also makes them kid friendly. These popsicles are creamy, chocolate-y, and taste similar to a mocha drink you would order in a coffee shop. They will satisfy your craving for a mocha drink with about a third of the calories. These pops aren’t too sweet and contain no refined sugar. They also contain flax seed and chia seeds which add some fiber and antioxidants. This is just the beginning of my spring/summer popsicle making and I’m still learning how to photograph them without having them melt before my eyes! If you are looking for a tasty, easy, healthy treat then these are perfect. I used Polar Pops brand popsicle molds but also like the Zoku brand (both can be found on Amazon.com). Tag us on Instagram or Facebook @thefriendlyepicurean with pictures!

img_1922

Mocha Superfood Popsicles

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup espresso (or coffee)
  • 1 tbs almond butter
  • 6 pitted dates
  • 2 tbs agave syrup
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp flax powder

Directions


Place all ingredients in a high powered blender (such as Vitamix) and blend on medium speed until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate Calories per Popsicle: 71 cal

img_1926img_1925


Polar Pops Popsicle Molds Set (Traditional Paddle Style) – Homemade Ice Treat Maker for Toddlers, Kids and Adults – BPA Free, Stainless Steel – Dishwasher Safe


Zoku Classic Pop Molds

Advertisements

Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Garlic Aioli

img_1215

I don’t eat fries often but when I do it’s to treat myself after a tough week at work or after a big workout. Good fries are not hard to find in Chicago. The temptation is everywhere! Fries are vegan but not exactly healthy… This spicy, healthier recipe for fries is easy and will satisfy your craving without destroying your healthy eating goals for the day. You can enjoy a serving of these fries with less guilt. I’ve learned a lot about food from reading Michael Pollan’s books including Omnivore’s Dilemma. He recommends making your own fries when you crave them. That way you can control what goes in them. Making your own fries also allows you to appreciate and savor them more. The lemon garlic aioli is really the star of this recipe. It goes perfectly with the curry spices in the fries. If you like crispy fries make sure that you spread them out evenly so they aren’t touching on the baking sheet. I prefer softer fries so I tend to pile mine onto the baking sheet. These fries are incredibly flavorful and so easy to make. They contain less fat compared to traditional fries since they are baked not fried. The spices add a savory kick which complements the natural sweetness of the potatoes. I prefer sweet potatoes because they are high in vitamin A and have a lower glycemic index compared to regular potatoes. Let me know how they turn out by taking a picture and tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram!

img_1217

Curried Sweet Potato Fries with Lemon Garlic Aioli

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 4 potatoes)
  • 2-3 tbs olive oil
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • For the aioli:
  • 3 tbs vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (use a garlic press for best results)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray and set aside. Wash, peel, and cut potatoes into 1/4″ to 1/2″ sticks. Toss potatoes with olive oil, cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt, and black pepper. Spread fries evenly on baking sheet making sure fries do not overlap (for crispy fries). Bake for 30 minutes (flip half way through cooking time). For the aioli: whisk together lemon juice, mayonnaise, and minced garlic until smooth. Serve immediately. Store fries and aioli separately in an airtight container for up to 1 day. Reheat fries in oven or toaster oven at 350F for about 5-7 minutes.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 fries: 210 cal (without aioli)
  • Approximate calories per 1/4 aioli: 68 cal

 

img_1218

img_1213

Calming Green Protein Smoothie

If you’re looking for a “go to” smoothie to make every morning – this is it! This smoothie is high in plant based protein and fiber and also contains calming turmeric. The cardamom adds delicious and fragrant flavor while the ginger adds a little kick. You can sneak in a serving of spinach as well as 18 grams of protein with this delicious smoothie. It’s filling and won’t make you crash later because there’s no refined sugar in it. I use protein powder from Livwell Nutrition because it’s plant based and raw. I like to have non-soy protein options and prefer this protein powder because it’s soy free and minimally processed. I’m also a fan of Vega protein powder which is easily found at stores like Whole Foods and Target. LivWell Nutrition protein powder can be found here – you can use the code “EPICUREAN” to get a 10% discount.


Calming Green Protein Smoothie

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup frozen sliced bananas
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder (such as LivWell Nutrition brand)
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbs raw shredded coconut (optional for topping)

Directions


Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Top with shredded coconut and serve cold.

Nutrition Information:

  • Approximate calories per serving: 206 cal
  • Approximate protein per serving: 18g
  • Approximate fiber per serving: 6g
  • Approximate fat per serving: 7g
  • Approximate carbs per serving: 24g

Pumpkin Oat Bars

    It’s almost Halloween! I can’t believe how quickly 2016 has gone by. Last week, I was in London, Paris, Lucerne, and Barcelona. It was a whirlwind trip but so much fun. Our hotel in London was having a costume party on our last night… it made me miss home! Dressing up on Halloween has always been a favorite activity of mine. My sister and i have dressed up as Star Trek characters, Venus and Serena Williams, and goth biker chics (don’t ask!). Those were fun times! October is all about pumpkin. This is my second pumpkin recipe – I had to give these away to avoid eating them all! They’re moist, chewy, and full of warm pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and wholesome oats. I buy pumpkin spice from the spice aisle of the grocery store. It’s mixed in all the right proportions with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg… the smell is so enticing. These bars make a great breakfast or snack. Let me know how they turn out by tagging @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!


    Pumpkin Oat Bars

    • Servings: 9
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print


    Ingredients

    • 1 cup pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup rolled oats (gluten free if desired)
    • 1.5 cups all purpose flour (gluten free if desired)
    • 2 flax eggs  (whisk together 2 tbs flax powder in 6 tbs water and let sit for 10 minutes)
    • 1/4 cup almond milk
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup muscovado or coconut sugar
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1.5 tsp pumpkin spice
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans plus 9 whole pecans to top

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking pan with olive oil spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, oil, almond milk, sugar, flax eggs, and vanilla extract on low speed for 1-2 minutes. Next, mix in flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice on medium speed for another 1-2 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl as needed. Stir in chopped pecans. Pour mixture evenly into baking pan. Bake at 350F for 24-25 minutes (a toothpick inserted in center should come out clean). Let cool for 20 minutes. Cut into 9 squares and top each square with one whole pecan.

    Nutrition Information:

    • Approximate Calories per Square: 221 cal



    Wilton Recipe Right Square 9 by 9 Inch Covered Pan

    KitchenAid KSM75WH Classic Plus Series 4.5-Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, White

    Peanut Butter Cacao Nib Protein Bites (vegan, gluten free)

    Sometimes getting enough protein on a plant based diet can be challenging. I try to incorporate some protein into all of my meals and snacks. There are lots of plant based protein bars out there but it’s nice to make your own because you can control exactly what goes in. These are creamy, peanut buttery, and crunchy because of the cacao nibs. To me, they taste like cookie dough… I had trouble eating just one! They will definitely keep you satisfied until your next meal or work out. I discovered Livwell protein powder through Instagram and really like that their ingredients are non-GMO and not soy based. Of course any vegan protein powder will also work.

    img_7441

    Peanut Butter Cacao Nib Protein Bites

    • Servings: 10
    • Difficulty: Medium
    • Print


    Ingredients

    • 2 tbs peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
    • 1.5 cups pitted dates
    • 1 scoop of plant based protein powder (I used Livwell brand)
    • 1/2 tbs agave syrup
    • 2 tbs almond milk
    • 2 to 3 tbs shredded coconut (optional topping)

    Directions

    Place dates in a high powered blender such as Vitamix. Blend on low speed for about 8 minutes – stopping the blender every minute to scrape down the sides. Dates should break apart and then clump together into a paste like consistency. Next, add protein powder, peanut butter, agave syrup, and almond milk and blend until mixture forms a somewhat smooth paste. Remove mixture from blender and into a medium sized bowl and stir in cacao nibs. Divide into 10 equal portions and use hands to form smooth balls. Roll in shredded coconut to coat (optional). Store in refrigerator in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

    Nutrition Information:

    • Approximate calories per bite: 100 cal
    • Approximate protein per bite: 2.5g protein

    img_7442

    Vitamix 5200 Series Blender, Black

     

     

    Cardamom Cashew Milk

    You can buy nut milks at all grocery stores these days but there’s something really satisfying about making it at home. The taste is different – better and creamier in my opinion. Plus, you can control all of the ingredients. You can vary the flavor by adding your favorite sweetener or spice. I used cardamom because it reminds of when my mom used to make warm milk with cardamom when I was a kid. She would make it when anyone was sick and it always made me feel better!  You can store cashew milk in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

    Cardamom Cashew Milk

    • Servings: 3 cups
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print


    Ingredients

    • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked in 1 cup of water overnight)
    • 3 cups filtered water
    • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
    • 1 tbs agave syrup

    Directions

    Drain water from soaked cashews (discard drained water) and rinse thoroughly. Place cashews, 3 cups cold filtered water, cardamom powder, and agave syrup in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. This may take a 1-2 minutes depending on your blender. Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    Nutrition Information:

    • Approximate calories per cup: 200 cal