Posted in Baking, Nutrition, Uncategorized, vegan

Vegan Cappuccino-Chip Muffins

My vegan muffin baking obsession has reached a new level these days.  I’ve tried out so many recipes, but today I tried out Cappuccino Chocolate Chip Muffins.  If you’re sensitive to caffeine, maybe keep these as a breakfast muffin, but if not, eat ’em any time of the day! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:IMG_5256

  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I opted for apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 cup of oil (I used coconut)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour (other flours are good too)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2  cup of chocolate chips (Optional. I used cacao nibs!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Whisk together the almond milk and the apple cider vinegar and let sit for a minute.  This creates a taste similar to buttermilk.
  • Stir in the coffee crystals and the oil and vanilla.
  • Add in the rest of the dry ingredients.
  • Stir until mixed thoroughly.
  • Pour into a non-stick muffin tin, or use paper muffin cups.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

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Posted in Baking, Uncategorized, vegan

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

I am officially transitioning into being a vegan, and I’m having so much fun finding vegan recipes to try out!  These vegan chocolate cupcakes are actually sent from heaven.  I personally think they taste so much better than regular cupcakes.  They are rich, decadent, creamy and soooo delicious. Even if you aren’t a vegan, you will love these cupcakes!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 cups of flour (I did half whole wheat, half white flour)
  • 1 cup brown sugar (you can use white if you want)
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

Directions:

  • In a 2 cup measuring cup, add in apple cider vinegar and pour almond milk on top.  This will “curdle” the almond milk and turn it into a “butter cream.” Let it sit while you complete the rest of the steps.
  • Sift together the flour and sugar.
  • Add in baking powder, soda and salt and combine.
  • Now pour in your apple cider mixture, along with the coconut oil and vanilla extract.
  • Mix together with a hand mixer.
  • Pour into baking cups and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

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I haven’t yet found a vegan icing recipe, but these cupcakes are so delicious that icing isn’t necessary!  Enjoy!

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Posted in Nature, Travel, Uncategorized

Travel Diaries 2016: CUBA

I have been dying to go somewhere hot for almost the past year, and we finally did it!! We booked a last minute trip to Cuba and got a great deal!

We went to the province of Holguin and stayed at a resort called Hotel Club Amigo.  The resort was much better than I had expected it to be.  You always hear stories about Cuba and how mediocre or bad it was, but we didn’t have that experience at all!

We left early on a Saturday morning, leaving behind the chilly, bipolar weather of Toronto.  We had one stop over in Santa Maria, and as soon as we stepped off the plane… the heat…. the glorious heat!!

During our trip we took a lot of photos which will be the primary focus of this blog post.  My boyfriend is a great photographer and below are some of his photos too!

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This was the pool area where many people hung out.  Not us though! We lounged on the beach, which you will see below…

 

 

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A lot of the evenings were cloudy, so we couldn’t get a great sunset picture, but the clouds moved over for this one! 🙂
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There were a ton of cats at the resort, and there were several kitten as well that were super playful (and adorable).  This little guy was taking a time out from wrestling.
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We walked all the way down the beach one night and stumbled across a wedding that took place here.  Photo by Brandon (@b_shepp)
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I don’t always enjoy my photo being taken, which is the result of the face in this picture, haha 😉 . Another photo by Brandon.
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I brought my trusty waterproof camera and put it to good use on Bae.

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We didn’t see any crabs until the second last day…. probably because they were the same color as the sand, annnnd we weren’t looking hard enough. They’re quick little buggers!
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This is our Banana Man.  Everyday he would walk up and down the beach in the 30 degree heat trying to sell bananas. Even though nobody really bought any, he still tried again the next day, and the day after that. We decided one day that we would buy some. He handed over a bunch of bananas, so we gave him 3 pesos. Three pesos isn’t much at all, but the gratitude he expressed was something else. He shook our hands and even though we couldn’t understand what he was saying, we knew it was nothing but excitement and gratefulness. This was a lesson to me that giving someone just a little, can mean something really big. Imagine the change we could make if we really put our heart into something.

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Overall it was an awesome trip and would go back in a heartbeat! Who doesn’t love the warm sand between their toes, the sun on their skin and a cold drink in their hand? 🙂

Posted in Baking, Cooking, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Vegan, Oil-Free Taco-Nacho Fries

It’s Taco Tuesday and we’re spicing it up here in Carolyn’s Kitchen! I randomly dreamed up this concoction and it turned out to be delicious!  This recipe uses only healthy and fresh ingredients, and is oil and dairy-free. I hope you try it out too, you won’t regret it!

Ingredients:

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  • 1 large sweet potato (cut into small french fry shapes)
  • Sliced green onions
  • 1 cup of mixed beans
  • Cilantro (depending on if you like it or not…. I know some people think it tastes like soap)
  • 1/2 package of Yves Veggie Ground (DELICIOUS)
  • Daiya Vegan Cheese
  • Taco Seasoning (I used extra spicy because I like it hot)
  • Cherry tomatoes would be delicious too, but I didn’t have any on hand 😦

What You’ll Need To Do:

  • Sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly over your sweet potato fries and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Once the 20 minutes is up, take the fries out of the oven, mix them around and evenly distribute your ingredients excluding the cheese.

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  • Return tray back into the oven for another 7-10 minutes.
  • After the 7- 10 minutes is up, take the tray out again and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the fries.
  • Return to oven for about 1 minute.
  • Once the minute is up and the cheese is melted, take out of the oven and let stand for 5 minutes or so, or until you won’t burn the crap out of your mouth.
  • EAT & ENJOY!

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Posted in Cooking, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Delicious & Healthy Olive Couscous Salad

I have been experimenting with Israeli Couscous for a little while now, and I think I have come up with the perfect combination for an Olive Couscous Salad. This salad has the perfect balance of saltiness thanks to the olives, and other amazing flavors you will see as well, once we get to the ingredients.

Israeli couscous is delicious because it is so similar to the texture and flavor or pasta, that it makes you think you are eating a big, naughty bowl of pasta.  In terms of nutrition, 1 cup cooked has around 200 calories, 1 gram of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and around 6 grams of protein.  Not so bad when compared to 1 cup of cooked pasta, which can sometimes ring in at around 300 calories and over 50 grams of carbs, plus all the calories and fat you smother it with when adding sauce.

Not all grocery stores carry Israeli couscous, but it can typically by found at a bulk food store, or a health food store. Unfortunately Israeli couscous can not be enjoyed by someone with a gluten allergy, as it is made of durum wheat, which contains gluten.  If you are gluten-free and want to try this salad, you can substitute the couscous with quinoa, and it is equally as delicious!

Without further adieu, let’s look at the ingredients.

You will need:

  • 1 cup of cooked Israeli couscous (which translates to about 1/2-3/4 cup uncooked)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of sliced kalamata olives (this recipe is fairly dependent on the olives, so if you don’t like olives, the salad will be missing a key ingredient)
  • 3 spring onions (bulbs and tops)
  • 4-5 stalks of raw asparagus (bottoms cut off)
  • 1/4 cup of lentils
  • 1/4 cup of mixed beans (you can change it up depending on which beans you prefer)
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Now that we have the ingredients assembled, lets create our salad!

  • You will want to cool the cooked couscous few hours, or even put it in the fridge overnight.  When it’s time to put the salad together, in a microwave safe bowl add a teaspoon of water to the couscous and microwave for about 30 seconds in order to separate it.  When couscous sits in the fridge it tends to stick together and harden, so adding water to it will separate it nicely.
  • Slice the spring onions and the asparagus into small pieces.
  • In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients, stirring well so nothing is clumped together.
  • Drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil over the salad and stir well so everything is evenly coated.
  • Divide the salad into smaller salads for multiple people, or enjoy as a main meal!

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It’s the perfect balance between salty and oniony, and the beans and lentils add a very filling element that will help keep you full, and your blood sugar levels normal.  This salad is full of fiber and healthy fats, and is delicious too! I hope you try it out for yourself!

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Posted in Cooking, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Day 5: What I Eat in a Day: The Finale

Since today is the last day of my little series “What I Eat in a Day,” I decided to go out with a healthy bang! That documentary I watched last night really struck a chord with me, so I decided to eat as clean as I could.

Here’s what I ate today, Monday April 25, 2016:

For breakfast I had 2 juicy Ataulfo mangoes and a medium beefsteak tomato with half an avocado. I sprinkled some pink Himalayan sea salt on the tomato and avocado and it really brought out the flavors!  Very simple, but delicious!

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I did a lot of reading today, which for me also means a lot of tea drinking.  I probably had 4 or 5 cups of green tea and I read “How Not To Die” by Michael Greger.  FANTASTIC book. Go get it. Now.

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Since my breakfast was relatively small, I had a small “lunch” around 10:30 a.m.  I had some red cargo rice with lentils and mixed beans and some green tea.

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My second part to lunch was my go to coleslaw concoction, but minus the coleslaw mix!  I replaced it with red leaf lettuce and put some lentils in it along with the veggie ground beef and green onions. I topped it with a low fat tzatziki dressing.

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Today’s dinner was MASSIVE.  I had a huge stir fry with broccoli, onion, asparagus, portobella mushrooms, edamame and Shirataki noodles.  Shirataki noodles are magic noodles. They are clear noodles that have no calories, fat, or carbohydrates.  They kind of have a funny smell to them when you first take them out of the bag, but after you rinse them it goes away.  They take next to no time to cook, and are pretty satisfying when you just want a huge bowl of pasta. On the stir fry I used a spice concoction that set my mouth, nose and soul on fire.  I used tumeric, masala spice and chili powder.  It was delicious but FIERY.

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Today’s eating was relatively clean, and it was very satisfying.  I was not hungry between meals, and glad that when I did eat, I could eat larger portions for very few calories (especially dinner).

“What I Eat in a Day” was a really fun series to create and made me more aware of the foods I was eating.  I hope you enjoyed this little series and I hope it gave you some inspiration to eat healthy, or to try something new!

Thanks for sticking it out with me and I will see you soon with more healthy and delicious recipes! 🙂

 

Posted in Cooking, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Day 5: What I Eat in a Day: Sunday Edition

In my opinion, Sundays are the best days for meals.  The whole lazy Sunday, hanging out with family and sharing a meal together makes my heart happy.  Today was a great day.

Here’s what I ate today, Sunday April 24, 2016:

I tried something different at breakfast today.  I haven’t had cereal in so long, probably because I am now aware of the amount of added sugar that is found in it.  All-Bran cereal only has 3 grams of sugar per serving, which is a 1/4 cup.  That’s still a fair amount of sugar for the serving size, but I let it slide this morning, and I used unsweetened almond milk on it.  I also had a banana with it, and about 45 cups of coffee.  Not actually, haha, but I love having multiple cups each morning.  I have it black with one stevia.

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Lunch was so good today.  I had meatless chicken with spicy mustard (oh my gosh, so good) and red cargo rice with a dash of pink Himalayan sea salt.

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My snack today was so juicy, ripe and SO delicious.  I am OBSESSED with Ataulfo mangoes.  They are the small, yellow mangoes, usually from Mexico. When they’re ripe, they are so so sweet and juicy, and they’re fun to eat too.

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Dinners on Sundays are always special to me.  They are a chance to share a meal with your loved ones before the new week begins. I like to begin the meal preparation with a delicious, crisp beverage, and tonight’s choice was Sleeman Clear 2.0.  It’s a lighter beer with only 80 calories per bottle, which is great when compared to other beers that ring in at about 140 calories.

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For the meal we had grilled corn on the cob, grilled asparagus and cremini mushrooms.

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Some of my favorite meals of the whole week were today.  I love grilling veggies on Sundays in the spring and summer when the days are starting to get longer and the weather warmer.  The feeling is indescribable.

After dinner we watched a fantastic documentary called “That Sugar Film.”  It explores the significant amount of added sugar we are eating on a daily basis without knowing it and how it is affecting our bodies.  It is literally poisoning us. And what’s worse is that the largest companies in the world, think Pepsico, etc., are brainwashing us with false information in order to make profit.  It was so eye opening and made me rethink the way that I eat. Everyone NEEDS to watch this.

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I hope everyone got to spend some time today with their loved ones, and got to be outside enjoying the beautiful end to the weekend!  Summer is on its way!

See you tomorrow with the last day of “What I Eat in a Day”!

Motivation of the day:

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