Fluffy Vegan Carrot Muffins

It’s no secret- errrrebody knows carrots are good for your eyesight.

But you know what else they’re amazing for?

Being folded into the fluffiest, most tender, golden brown little batch of plant-based muffins there ever was.
Who doesn’t like muffins?? It’s like having cake for breakfast, amiright?

So, I set out to put my cornucopia of carrots c/o the Berkeley farmer’s market (and simultaneously supercharge my terrible vision) to good great use.

Despite their ultra-tender crumb, these little gems are packed with fiber via the smorgasborg of chia seeds, carrots, and smashed banana. They’re full of antioxidant-rich spices like cinnamon and ground ginger, AND they’re refined sugar free, leaning more towards subtly sweet than raging sugar hangover.

With their soft, fluffy inside and slightly chewy, crispy outside, betcha can’t eat just one.

25 minutes from start to finish to whip up a batch you can proudly waltz into any social setting armed with. Ready, set, bake.

Fluffy Vegan Carrot Muffins

Makes: 12 muffins 

  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free or whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 banana, smashed finely
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk, almond milk, or other milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, for topping
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a muffin tin with cooking spray or oil (or just line with cupcake liners).
  2. Next, make the “chia egg” by mixing the chia and water together in a small bowl. Set aside for ~5 minutes.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger together in a bowl.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, toss in carrots, smashed ‘nana, agave syrup, oil, vanilla, and chia egg. Mix until well combined.
  5. Pour flour mixture and milk into the bowl of wet ingredients, stirring just until flour disappears and batter comes together. It will be rather thick. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups and bake 15-17 minutes , or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.
  6. While muffins are bakin’ toast the shredded coconut by heating up a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the coconut and stir until lightly golden brown. When muffins are done, sprinkle coconut over the tops of ’em.

Whole Grain Kalamata Rosemary Bread

These days, everybody’s got beef with bread.

But me? I dig it. Hard.

I mean, clearly.

But for serious, next time someone tries to tell you they’re “like, cutting out carbs” first ask yourself, Is this person a dietitian? Do they understand what a carbohydrate is, how it functions as a macronutrient, and why we actually need them in order to continue survival as human beings?

If the answer is no, I’d ask of you, dear reader, to please raise a (perfectly plucked, penciled, and groomed) eyebrow and consider this: that we need carbohydrates (in a variety of forms) to perform basically all essential functions of living, including but not limited to- breathing, eating, sleeping, walking, talking, and snitching out shitty restaurants on Yelp.

Plus, if you don’t eat carbs, your body goes into ketosis, which is every bit as scary as it sounds. And DON’T let dieters trick you into thinking it’s a magical weight loss solution because even though your body might be completely starved and drink all its fat cells in the second, and I mean second, your lips taste (and I would argue, smell) anything containing starch (which it will, eventually)…your body will soak up every calorie from said food and you’ll be right back to where you began. T R U S T.

Just look at this sweet, sweet loaf, dudes.

See, there’s an actual reason bread has been bestowed the title “staff of life” and not Swiss chard, guys. Bread is the ultimate carb, which, by the waaaaaay, gives us energy as it breaks down into smaller molecules and fuels our muscles so that when used, they don’t go all cannibal and eat themselves. Complex, whole grain carbs (like this bread) also give us vital nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and manganese. Plus, they deliver my favorite F word-

FIBER. Geez guys, IDK where your mind be at.

This loaf, in particular, provides a ton of the good shtuff I just mentioned. It’s the most incredible loaf of bread I’ve ever made. PLUS, absolutely zero “baking guesswork”- the yeast works by itself. The crust is perfectly golden and crispy, and the inside is tender, chewy, and moist. The salty olives and zesty rosemary go better together than Forrest and Jenny Gump. UGH. I just salivate thinking about it! And even though you might have been bing watching Golden Girls while it bakes, it tastes just like you spent 89 hours kneading it- no joke. 

Whole Grain Kalamata Rosemary Bread

Makes: 1 loaf

  • 6 cups whole wheat flour (can also use all-purpose flour or half of each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast (find this in the baking aisle of your grocery store)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cool water, plus more if needed
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, yeast, and salt. Slowly mix in water, until all ingredients are incorporated and a sticky dough forms. If the dough looks dry, add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set out on the counter, away from any draft, for 12-18 hours. I usually let it hang out overnight.
  2. When you check the dough, it will have risen a bit and you’ll know it’s done when tiny bubbles are dotted on the surface (see photo of dough in bowl above, but please avoid staring at my feet in the photo- apologies). Remove plastic wrap and transfer to a floured surface and work in the olives and rosemary until they’re incorporated. Then, using floured fingers, try to tuck the dough underneath itself to form a very rough ball.
  3. Place a long sheet of parchment paper on top of a clean kitchen dish towel and lightly sprinkle the paper with flour (this will help prevent the dough from sticking later on as it rises). Place the dough ball on the floured parchment paper seam-side down and dust with more flour. Grab the corners of the parchment paper and the towel together and gently wrap it around the dough ball to envelope it completely. Let rise for about 2 hours; until doubled in size.
  4. After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat your oven to 425 F. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a dutch oven, inside for 30 minutes as it heats. Once dough has risen fully, carefully remove pot from oven.
  5. Carefully peel off the parchment paper and dish towel from the dough (trying hard to separate them as cleanly as possible) and place puffy dough ball in pot, seam-side up. Give the pot a shake once or twice so bread dough is distributed as evenly as possible. Donut worry; it will straighten out as it bakes. Take a very sharp knife and make a few vertical or horizontal slices into the top of the dough (this gives your bread that “pro” look)!
  6. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Then, uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes (check after 10) until crust is a deep chestnut brown color. Remove bread from pot and let cool completely before slicing.

No Bake Vanilla Blueberry Macaroons

I can’t lie.

I, too…am in love with the coco.

These vanilla bloob macaroons made with shredded coconut are keeping me sane while I grind through the last few weeks of my Masters program. You may think that it might take more than a few cookies that look sorta like unicorn poops to accomplish that, but that’s how magical these sweet lil babies are.

They literally take 5 minutes of hands-on time to whip up, they’re absolutely mouthwatering delicious, and also they’re like, really pretty.  Their vibrant color comes from using frozen, thawed blueberries instead of fresh ones. The color concentrates and deepens as it gets blended up, dying the stark white coconut a bright purple-blue.

Plus, if you consider yourself the type of lad or lass who burns water, lucky for you… these are no-bake balls- no oven required. And absolutely zero chance of burning the house down and blaming it on the dog.

These are full of healthy fats from the coconut and loaded with antioxidants from the bloobs. With a kiss of fresh vanilla, velvety dark chocolate that firms up when it cools for a crunchy bite, and sea salt, these macaroons are my new sweet snack go-to.

No Bake Vanilla Blueberry Macaroons 

Makes ~2 dozen 

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed (don’t use fresh!)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil (microwave for 30 secs to melt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 whole vanilla bean (or you can use 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract *NOTE: If using vanilla extract, increase oats to 1 1/4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Sprinkles, for garnish (optional)
  1. Place oats in a food processor and grind until a flour-like consistency is reached.
  2. Add coconut, thawed blueberries, honey, melted coco oil, sea salt, and vanilla. Process until smooth. Place mixture in refrigerator for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from refrigerator, roll into small lil’ balls, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes.
  4. Right before pulling out the macaroons from the freezer, place chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove, and stir. Continue microwaving in 15-20 second intervals, stirring in between each interval, until chocolate chips are completely melted. When melted, whisk in a pinch of cinnamon.
  5. Roll each macaroon ball in the dark chocolate mixture, sprinkle on sprinkles (if using) and eattttt. Freeze the excess, if there is any. Haaaaa wink, wink.

*Omit chocolate coating + sprinkles if you wish to make these refined sugar free 🙂

Homemade Sauerkraut

The past month has been ridic. So ludicrous, I can barely even type up this blog post without resorting to using irritating abbreviations when describing my current state of affairs. In the past month, I’ve taken 3 decently long trips (one out of state), and in the next 3 weeks, I have 2 more coming up (one of these also being out of state). I’ve run myself pretty ragged and have been sick for an entire month as proof. I caught a nice, nasty little cold which lingered for like 2 1/2 weeks and then immediately after I was finally feeling well again, I came down with ANOTHER, much worse, one. It seems my body is extremely wise and knows when to nudge me in the direction of “chill the hell out” when it needs to.

Needless to say, I’ve had no time to blog and absolutely zero energy for the gym and/or movement of any kind. My “cooking” as of late has consisted of boiling lentils, the occasional egg fry, and when necessary, takeout.

And when I’m feeling this way, my creativity runs a weeeee bit dry. Like, picture the Sahara in the summer.

Despite all of this, as I sit here nursing this second cold, I can’t help but get all warm and fuzzy (and not from a fever) reminiscing about all the recent gallivanting I’ve been doing. Napa, Berkeley, San Luis Obispo, Joshua Tree, and Portland. Next up, Seattle and Whidbey Island and then San Francisco. They have all been delicious. And I wouldn’t trade them for all the NyQuil in the Cold and Flu aisle at CVS.

Since my recent travels, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need more DIY projects; they exercise that primitive “I can do it myself” muscle, no? They’re fantastic that way. This post is dedicated to the crunchy, refreshing, salty *healing* batch of ‘kraut in my fridge because it turned out 1000x better than I ever imagined. Prior to this project I held this strange, completely untenable belief that sauerkraut only belongs on sausages. Damn, was I wrong. This stuff is disappearing right in front of my eyes (and into my mouth)…I’m putting heaps of it on my salads, eating it along with my roasted salmon and veggies, and scarfing it down plain straight from the jar. Best of all- it’s really simple. The steps may look daunting, but that’s only because I’m thorough af so y’all don’t f*ck it up. The process itself is child’s play.

Sauerkraut is totally rad- when the cabbage gets submerged in its salty brine, the bacteria Lactobacillus converts the sugars of the veggie into lactic acid, thereby acting as its own preservative. Plus, this healthy bacteria has the same body nourishing benefits as the probiotics in a bowl of yogurt.

Homemade Sauerkraut

Makes: ~4 cups

Ingredients/Equipment You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium head organic green cabbage, outer leaves removed and set aside, washed, cored and shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional, but recommended)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled (optional, but recommended)
  • 2-quart mason jar or canning jar (with a tight-fitting sealable lid)
  • Clean stones, marbles, or other weights (for weighing down kraut)
  • Cheese cloth, thin clean dish towel, or coffee filter
  • Rubber band or string
  • Wooden spoon

Directions for DIY Kraut:

  1. First, wash errethang, child. Give your hands a good washing, as well as the jar and whatever it is you are using to weight the kraut down with (stones, marbles, or other weights).
  2. Place the shredded cabbage in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the salt over it. Massage the salt into the cabbage firmly, until cabbage becomes watery, soft, and supple. This will take about 7-10 minutes, and at first you may wonder “is this enough salt??” followed by “all this massaging…JEEZUZ, this cabbage gonna tip or what??” The answer is yes, followed by a no. See, as the salt gets incorporated into the cabbage, it weakens it and waters it down naturally. It will sort of look like coleslaw.
  3. Next, mix in the caraway seeds, if using.
  4. Place shredded cabbage, handful by handful, into the bottom of jar, using your fists to really pack it in there as you fill it to the top. At some point, toss in the garlic, if using. Try to pack it densely. When done, pour remaining liquid that was leftover in the bowl of massaged cabbage over the top.
  5. Take one of the outer cabbage leaves you set aside and place on top of the cabbage when it’s all packed in there to prevent it from rising. Use the clean stones/marbles/weights and place them over the cabbage. What you want to do is keep the cabbage submerged in its own liquid “brine”.
  6. Cover the top of the jar with cheese cloth/dish towel/coffee filter and secure with a rubber band. This allows it to breathe (see last photo above).
  7. Place jar somewhere it won’t get blasted by sunlight and will stay pretty room temp (around 65-75 degrees F). I put mine in our pantry. Over the next 24 hours, every so often take the covering off the top of the jar and use the handle of a clean wooden spoon to press down on the weights, ensuring the cabbage stays submerged. As it sits, the cabbage will release enough liquid to cover the top of itself. If for some funky reason this ain’t the case and you’ve waited the full 24 hours and the cabbage isn’t fully submerged in the “brine”, dissolve 1 teaspoon of kosher salt in 1 cup of water and pour in enough so the cabbage is fully covered. When done, replace the covering on the jar with the rubber band and put it back in its room temp spot.
  8. Keep the jar in that room temp spot for 3-10 days, until its fermented to your liking. Once a day, repeat the process with the wooden spoon handle, pressing down to make sure the cabbage is fully covered by liquid. Taste it after 3 days; if it’s “krauty” enough for you, go ahead and remove the weights, throw the actual can lid on, and refrigerate for consumption (you can eat it as soon as you like). If not, wait it out and taste it everyday after you press down on the weights until it’s the flavor you fancy. Note: if at any point you see bubbles, white scum, or mold, do not freakkkk. It’s just fermentation doin’ its thang…simply scrape off the gunk and keep going. The sauerkraut will stay good in the fridge for a couple months. Yee, mighty krauty.