Chia Seed Energy Bites

Chia Seed Energy Bites

Breakfast, Side Dishes | August 18, 2016 | By

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself during my health journey, is that I absolutely must have snacks available to me throughout the day. This either consists of fruits, trail mix or no bake energy bites! These tasty chia seed energy bites are my favorite addition to my weekly meal prep routine.  They are so simple to make and I’m excited to finally share them with you all. 

Chia Seed Energy Bites

They’re nutrient dense, calorie dense to keep you fueled throughout the day and help curb hunger; filled with fiber, plant-based proteins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats. You have to give them a try! They are great as a mid-day snack, post work out, dessert, you name it. 

Chia Seed Energy Bites | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com Chia Seed Energy Bites | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

I like to make a BIG batch and eat them throughout the week. It’s been a game changer for me as it helps to keep me energized and gives me something tasty to look forward to. 

These chia seed energy bites are sweet but not too sweet and have a nice chewy texture. I like to make them with almonds and cashews as I think the combination goes great together, but you can easily swap the nuts for any other variety. You can even add in some chocolate or maybe lemon zest. Yum!

Chia Seed Energy Bites | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

I recommend making a couple batches of this recipe and storing half in the fridge to use throughout the week and the other half in the freezer for later to thaw out when you’re in need of an emergency snack. This has saved me many times and is great if your at the beginning stages of your health journey and still might be struggling with late night cravings. It’s no fun recovering from a late night junk food binge. 

Chia Seed Energy Bites | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

Chia Seed Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
These chia seed energy bites are easy to make and are the perfect healthy snack!
Ingredients
  • ½ cup cashews
  • ½ cup almonds
  • 6-8 dates
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Place ingredients into your food processor. Pulse until dough like consistency.
  2. Cover and let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1" in diameter.)
  4. Makes about 9-12 balls.
Notes
Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 9 Calories: 181 Fat: 9.2g Saturated fat: 2.2g Carbohydrates: 23.4g Fiber: 4.3g Protein: 4.3g Cholesterol: 0g

 

Many of you have been requesting a simple, quick, on the go snack, so I hope you give these a try and if you do please tag me on Instagram @LiveSimplyNatural or, pin it on Pinterest for later. I love seeing what you all are cooking up in the kitchen. Stay tuned for more healthy recipes!

Hugs,

Vanessa Cassani Signature

 

 

 

Health Benefits

Chia seeds are a good source of vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin E. Chia seeds have no cholesterol and are good sources of antioxidants. They contain very high concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many benefits in terms of healthy aging. The carbohydrates present in chia seeds are released slowly and are therefore ideal for diabetics. Chia seeds have a high amount of dietary fiber and protein. Some of the health benefits include controlling diabetes, lowering cholesterol levels, improving the digestive system, boosting heart health, controlling hypertension, and they even contain anti-inflammatory properties. 

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins-1

Breakfast, Desserts | August 17, 2016 | By

I don’t know about you, but often it seems that however I begin the day — whether it’s with a healthy or not-so-healthy breakfast — it usually sets the tone for the rest of the day.  I love my Green Monster Energy Blast for breakfast, it’s my favorite way to start my day. But I know for some this isn’t quiet enough to get you going in the early morning hours. Especially for those that commute to work and need a healthy alternative in the “grab and go” category. These vegan blueberry banana spelt muffins are just for you!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins

It’s not a surprise that this recipe turned out to be absolutely delicious!  The blueberries and banana’s in this recipe give it a natural sweetness. Definitely not as sweet and buttery as the processed store bought blueberry muffins (that are often loaded with butter/oil, eggs, milk and a ton of sugar), but I thought my healthier twist was still completely satisfying.  I especially loved the hint of lemon in the mix — delicious, a perfect touch of tangy zest :)

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

These plant-based blueberry muffins would make for a lovely brunch or weekend breakfast item too. They are also sweet enough to be enjoyed as a dessert but still subtle enough to maintain your sugars before whining down before bed.

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

I often give these to my kids as a mid-day snack with some sliced apples and almond butter. This makes their day!

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

 

Oh and these vegan blueberry banana spelt muffins aren’t just delicious, they are ridiculously simple to make. 

Just basic ingredients and methods required. Lately I’ve been using sprouted spelt flour for most of my baked goods but if your gluten intolerant just substitute the flour for your favorite gluten free alternative. 

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

Vegan Blueberry Banana Spelt Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Simple Blueberry Banana Muffins with a hint of lemon. Tender, moist, hearty and entirely vegan. The perfect healthy snack or breakfast on the go!
Ingredients
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup wild blueberries
  • 1 cup sprouted spelt flour
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice + lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a small bowl combine smashed banana, almond milk and lemon juice. Set aside to allow milk to curdle.
  3. In a larger bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Mix together sugar, coconut oil, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. Add almond milk mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients until well incorporated. Be careful not to overmix - a few lumps are okay. Fold in blueberries.
  5. Spoon into muffin tins, filling each cup about ¾ full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Remove from heat and allow muffins to cool before removing from pan. Enjoy!

 

As always, if you give this recipe a try we hope you love it! Let us know if you do by leaving a comment or taking a picture and tagging us on Instagram @LiveSimplyNatural. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers and happy baking!

Hugs, 

Vanessa Cassani Signature

 

 

 

Health Benefits

Blueberries are high in antioxidants and help to boost the body’s immune system. They are also high in vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, anthocyanin, copper, iron, selenium, and zinc. This protects the body and fights against viral and bacterial infections. Blueberries also help to reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. They are great for energizing the body, aiding in weight loss, and lowering cholesterol levels naturally. Blueberries are great source for fiber intake, which helps to reduce constipation and improve digestion. The high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries build a protective layer around the brain to fight against the signs of aging. 

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownie Recipe

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com

Desserts | August 10, 2016 | By

When I first heard about black bean brownies I have to say I was a bit intrigued. I love food with a creative flare, especially those that have a healthy twist on things. It took me a while to finally give it a try but when I did I have to say I was shocked at how good it tasted (nothing close to black beans). This vegan black bean banana brownie recipe is my own version of flare. I promise you will love it. 

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com

As a food blogger I’m constantly trying different combinations of foods, flavors, and ingredients. This fully plant powered vegan brownie is made with both black beans and bananas. A combination thats delicious, sweet and fudgy, making these one of the best brownies I’ve ever had. Not to mention they are full of healthy fibers, plant proteins, and a ton of other feel good ingredients. 

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com

When I first made this recipe it was a total flop. It was so soft that you had to eat it with a spoon. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty but a little too gooey for my liking. After a couple of tries I got it right. What can I say, some recipes come out perfect but other take a few tries. Luckily the flops are still enjoyable in our home. 

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com

These vegan black bean banana brownies are 100% flour less, nut-free, dairy free, free of refine sugars and 1000% delicious. It’s so good its hard not to eat the whole thing. When I make these, I like to add a scoop of banana ice cream and if I’m really feeling creative I will make the chocolate sauce from my raw vegan chocolate dipped strawberry hearts recipe and drizzle it on top. So yummy! 

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownies | www.LiveSimpleNatural.com

Vegan Black Bean Banana Brownie Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
A simple flour less brownie recipe. This is great for gluten-free, nut-free, dairy-free baking. Made with wholesome ingredient high in protein, fiber, and other good-for-you ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 3 cups black beans (2 cans black beans)
  • 2 bananas
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 8-10 soaked dates
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make sure you've rinsed and drained your black beans. Add them to your food processor.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (banana, coconut oil, cocoa powder, maple syrup, soaked dates and vanilla) and puree until smooth for about 3 minutes. Last add 2 tsp baking powder and pulse until blended thoroughly.
  4. Pour the batter into a 9x9 square baking dish and smooth the tops with a spoon or your finger.
  5. Optional: Sprinkle with crushed walnuts, pecans or chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and removing from pan. They will be tender, so remove gently. Enjoy!
Notes
Store in an airtight container and refrigerate to keep longer.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 296 Fat: 3.6g Saturated fat: 2.4g Sugar: 23.2g Fiber: 10.9g Protein: 11.8g Cholesterol: 0g

 

I hope you give this black bean brownies a try and if you do please tag me on Instagram @LiveSimplyNatural, I love to see what you guys are baking in the kitchen. Stay tuned for more healthy plant-based recipes and other tips on eating well and living life naturally :)

Hugs,

Vanessa Cassani Signature  

 

 

Health Benefits

Black beans are very high in fiber and protein. They are also rich with vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, calcium, iron, and manganese. Black beans also have high levels of flavonoids, which have antioxidant abilities, particularly anthocyanin, and contain some omega-3 fatty acids. Black beans aid in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Consuming black beans can also aid in digestive health and the regulation of the body’s blood sugar levels. They are beneficial for various nervous system functions, reducing the chances of birth defects, neutralize the negative effects of sulfites, and even prevent impotence (Erectile dysfunction) in men.

Salad In A Jar Party!

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

Salads | July 26, 2016 | By

For all those that haven’t heard or attended, their is this underground party scene full of rainbow colors and aromas of fresh herb filling the air! Haha, just kidding, well not really. It’s a salad in a jar party, where yes rainbow colored produce is overflowing on the tables and fresh herbs, nut’s, seed, and a ton of other good-for-you ingredients are all around.

 A Salad In A Jar Party!

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

I got the pleasure to attend one of these awesome parties and I thought it was such a great way to bring like minds together, support each other in health, as well as share different salad combinations and salad dressing recipes, plus so much more. The best part is that you leave with prepared salads for later in the week! This is a BIG plus for me! 

Here’s how it works…

Whether you are planning a party or attending one, this post is here to help. These Salad In A Jar Parties are great for your next girls night, neighborhood gathering, mommy lunch-ins, really whatever you want. It’s a fun group activity and a great conversation starter because everyone packs their jars so differently. 

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

As an attendee, it’s pretty easy, just bring your own set of mason jars and an ingredient that’s already cleaned, chopped and ready to use and share with the group. It’s that easy! The hardest part is making your Salad In A Jar but even that’s pretty simple. Here are some tips to keep in mind. 

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com  

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

How to Make A Salad In A Jar

01. Dressing. The first layer when building your salad in a jar is always the dressing. I like to use between 2-4 tablespoons of dressing per jar. 

02. Hearty Bits. The next layer are hard chopped vegetables or beans. (Example: black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, carrots, cucumbers, celery, beets, fennel etc.)

03. Lighter Bits. The next layer is the lighter ingredients like fruits and soft veggies. (Example: tomatoes, strawberries, corn, peas, bell peppers, mandarines, mushrooms etc.)

04. Other Toppings. This layer is for grains, nuts, seed, dried fruit and fresh herb. (Examples: quinoa, mullet, couscous, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, cranberries, fresh basil, mint etc.)

05. Greens. The last layer is of course the greens. (Examples: romaine, kale, spring mix, arugula, spinach, chard etc.)

 

How To Make A Salad In A Jar

Salad In A Jar Q & A

These are some typical questions you might have if your new to the whole Salad In A Jar idea. Feel free to leave any other question in the comments below. 

Q. How long do they last in the refrigerator?

To be honest you will probably eat them faster than you think. But they last for several days in the fridge, up to five days or so. If you’re making salads with soft ingredients or perishable proteins, like avocados, hard-boiled eggs, or cooked meats, I would wait to add those ingredients until the day you plan to eat the salad.

Q. Do the greens in the salad jar get soggy? 

I have never had soggy lettuce in my salad jars. The key to non-soggy lettuce is to layer ingredients correctly and keep the dressing and lettuce away from each other. But even the times when my jar tips over in my bag and the dressing sneaks up to the lettuce everything is still fine.

Q. What’s the best jar to use?

I use a wide mouth quart size mason jar for my mason jar salads. These make for a lot of salad so if you wanted to use a smaller size you certainly could but the more veggies the better. Whatever size you use get, I highly recommend getting a wide mouth jar. It makes it much easier to fill up and dump out the ingredients. No matter what size you use always follow the same steps for layering.

Q. How does everything get mixed together?

They idea is that you can eat it right out of the jar but everything gets pretty compacted, so some vigorous shaking may be needed!  If that doesn’t work then when you’re ready to eat your salad, just unscrew the cap and shake it into a bowl. Once the salad is in the bowl, you can toss it some more with your fork to make sure everything is evenly coated.

Q. How do I host my own party?  

Yay! It’s party time. If your wanting to host A Salad In A Jar Party, here are some simple suggestions. It just takes a little bit of planning but believe me its worth it and everyone leaves happy and healthier :)

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

How To Host A Salad In A Jar Party

01. Make a flyer. Include a list of ingredient you will need and how many jars each person should bring. We use Facebook! 

02. Get a head count. Have people sign up for an ingredient and be sure to specify how much of it to bring. For each quart size mason jar, you will need about 2 cups of toppings plus 2 cups of salad greens. The party I attended did 5 jars per person which came out to lunch for the whole week, seriously awesome! We needed 10 cups of toppings per person plus 10 cups of salad greens per person. We had over 20 people, so the challenge was to make sure there was enough toppings and enough variety for everyone. (Tip: The dressing is the first thing to go.)

03. Send out reminders. It’s the worst thing if someone cancels last minute or forgets to bring their ingredients, then your rushing to the store trying to fill that spot, prepping and hoping to get it all done in time. Send out reminders and get confirmations on who will bring what.  

04. Buy your greens either the day before or the day of the party. Since these jars will most likely be stored in the fridge for a few days, the fresher the greens are the better. Most people will want to fill their jars with more toppings than greens, so you may want to prep some extra toppings to have on hand. It’s better to be safe than sorry and anything extra usually stores well in the fridge or freezer.  

05. The day of the party… Be sure to have a demo jar (so everyone can see what A Salad In A Jar will look like), a BIG table to store all the jars, a marker to label their names on the jars (you don’t want people mixing up each others salads) and lots of spoons so people can scoop all the toppings into their jars. Set up your ingredients almost like an assembly line, starting with your dressing and ending with your greens. Oh and clean up is a breeze. Since everyone brings and takes ingredients, the mess is packed up and taken home :)

Salad In A Jar Party | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

 

Something about these Salad In A Jar Parties makes me so happy. Any way people can get more fruits, veggies and greens in their diet and support others to do the same, I’m all for it. So if your ever invited to A Salad In A Jar Party, definitely go but if you haven’t attended a party then I suggest you plan one. It’s a great way to empower others and bring together a community of health enthusiast.

I’m lucky to have a friend who hosts a weekly salad in a jar party, she is as enthusiastic about good food as much as I am. She’s also created a beautiful community of people focused on health and wellbeing. If your interested in learning more about what she does and about Juice Plus+ you can do so by clicking here! I am in love with their Juice Plus + Complete French Vanilla protein shake. 

Did I mention this is also a great activity for kids. It is perfect for introducing different fruits and veggies and getting them involved in the cooking/ prepping process! 

Kids Salad In A Jar

I hope this post has helped with learning other ways to incorporate more salads into your diet and how you can make it a fun group activity with hosting your own Salad In A Jar Party with your community. Stay tuned for more healthy tips and plant powered recipes :)

Hugs,

Vanessa Cassani Signature

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Desserts | July 13, 2016 | By

I originally made these vegan chocolate chip cookies for my daughter to celebrate her birthday. Usually on a birthday we celebrate in simple but small ways throughout the whole week. I will make their favorite dinners with a couple new recipes they haven’t tried. This cookie recipe was one of them. I had no idea they would be such a hit!

Heathy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

This healthy vegan chocolate chip cookie has been made one to many times this past week so I’m warning you before baking that these are one of the best cookies I’ve ever tasted. To think that they are fully plant-based cookies without the use of refine sugars, I never would have guessed.

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

All I can tell you is to use moderation when making these only because they are so simple while still using healthy whole foods plant based ingredients, its easy to go over board. Too much of a good thing can be bad (not sure if thats true!).

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

These vegan chocolate chip cookies can be modified to your liking, chewy, soft, crunch, whatever it is, this cookie has it all. My husband is not a huge fan of sweets but prefers soft chewy cookies. I like mine crunchy so that I can dip them in milk (almond milk, of course) and make them soft and wet, weird, I know. 

So, with this healthy vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe I will bake them to the minimum and then throw a few back in the oven for my liking.

How do you prefer your cookies? If your like me, you might also enjoy eating it raw and straight from the bowl. Here is another favorite raw vegan cookie dough bites for when your looking for any even healthier alternative.  

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies | www.LiveSimplyNatural.com

Another great thing about these cookies is that their is less than 10 ingredient and only 1 bowl needed, thats simple baking at it’s finest. Seriously, they are delicious. You have to make these cookies. Cheers!

Healthy Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
A healthier alternative to the chocolate chip cookie, dairy free, refine sugar free, whole foods plant-based. Simple to make, less than 10 ingredient and only 1 bowl.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sprouted spelt flour
  • ½ cup dairy free chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup coconut sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • ½ tsp himalayan sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Add almond milk, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Mix well.
  3. Add spelt flour, baking soda, baking powder, and himalayan sea salt. Mix well, it won't be so thick that you can't continue mixing it, but it should appear "doughy."
  4. Stir in chocolate chips and mold them into small cookies while placing them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C).
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are just slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
Notes
Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to several days. Freezer for longer term storage.

 

 

I hope you give these chocolate chip cookies a try and if you do, take a picture and tag me on Instagram @LiveSimplyNatural or @Vanessa_Cassani on Twitter or, pin it for later on Pinterest. I love seeing what you all are baking in the kitchen. Stay tuned for more simple healthy vegan recipes!

Hugs,

    Signature

 

Health Benefits

Spelt flour has been know to help regulating the body’s metabolism, aid in the creation of sex hormones, increase circulation, build strong bones, improve the immune system, boosting digestive function, lowering blood sugar, and reducing cholesterol levels in the body. It also contains significant levels of iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, selenium, niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, and folic acid. It has a high fiber content which helps to bulk up your stool and move food through the digestive tract, reducing conditions like constipation and bloating.