An Update

Hi friends!

First of all, sorry for the silence. It’s been one of the craziest weeks of my life, and I’m not being hyperbolic. And it’s just getting crazier because I’M GOING OUT OF THE COUNTRY!

Yep, I just wanted to let you all know that I will be MIA for the next week or so as I will be in the jungles of Guatemala and without (much) internet or technology!

You might think, “What!? Girl, you CRAZY.”

P1240095

P1240098

Yes! I am crazy, but I’m excited to go technology-free for a week. Well, technology-free minus my camera since I need that to capture memories and beauty that I’ll eventually share with you on the blog! Not having technology means I won’t mindlessly browse social media (Instagram is my weakness) since I’ll be spending my time on other, more important things. Such as YOGA. You see, I’m going on a yoga retreat in Guatemala for spring break from tomorrow until next week Wednesday night! It’ll be the adventure of a lifetime, and I can’t wait to share such a special experience with my mom.

P1240091

Enjoy your spring break if you have it, and if not, enjoy your spring in general!

I’m sending lots of light and peace your way. Happy spring.

Love, Ellie

P1260134

P.S. – Pictures from this post are from my unbelievable trip last year to Asia. You can read more about it here, here, and here. Hopefully we’ll be relaxing like in these pictures. 

I’m pumped to share another exciting trip with you. What is the most adventurous or coolest trip you’ve ever been on? Also, have you ever been on an airplane before? I’ll be flying in one tomorrow! xx

P.P.S. – Below is one of my favorite pictures ever from our trip to Asia. My little brother and I didn’t care much for coconut water. 😉

IMG_5040

Avocado Toasts

You guys, I’m obsessed.

100_7322

With avocado toast.

Have you heard of the magical “avocado toast” before? Have you tried it?

If you’ve never even heard of it, you must be living under a rock. Or at least in a cabin in the middle of nowhere without social media or internet (that honestly sounds kind of nice). In which case, how did you find my blog!? Okay no more me trying to be funny- let’s get to the real reason why you clicked on this post- avocadooooooo toasstttttt.

IMG_8151

What are your thoughts on it? I used to hate avocado before I became vegan, but then I tried it again and liked it because it’s just so creamy and it pairs well with so many other foods!

If you’ve never tasted avocado toast before… try it RIGHT NOW! Please.

Creamy avo on crunchy toast, sprinkled with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon juice = perfection, both texture and taste wise.

100_6667

100_6653

It’s super easy to make and super customizable. Just follow these steps!

  1. Grab your favorite hearty bread. I love going to local bakeries and finding their nuttiest, oatiest (not a word?) vegan bread.
    • You can toast the bread or leave it untoasted. Up to you (see, customizable!).
  2. Slice up an avocado. You can either top your toast with these slices or mash them with a fork until they become a creamy mixture.
    • You can add about a half teaspoon of lemon juice to the avo mixture or save it for the top.
  3. Spread the avocado on your toast and top with sea salt, pepper, fresh squeezed lemon juice (cut a lemon in half and squeeze some juice out of it and onto the toast), and whatever else your sweet heart desires! Red pepper flakes, cayenne, oregano, italian seasoning, basil, tomatoes, cheese or a poached egg for my nonvegan friends)… you choose! Heck, you could even just throw a salad on top of the avo toast and enter it into the museum of modern art!

100_7313

Avocado toast… a wonderful food invention. You can also eat it with salad or with some delicious soup, like this green asparagus one from Minimalist Baker.

IMG_8152

What are your favorite ways to top avocado toast? Are you a purist or do you like to add other toppings? Actually, what are your favorite ways to top toast in general? I really only eat avocado toast, but I love peanut butter and banana on toast too (pictured below)!

IMG_8153

Happy Tuesday!

xx Ellie

 

“Nicecream For Breakfast” Ebook Review

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 11.08.28 PM.png

Nice Cream for Breakfast. How great does that sound?! This ebook shows you that it is totally okay to have nice cream (or other sweets) for breakfast.

It was created by my sweet friend Lara from Vanillacrunnch (who is from Switzerland- how cool is that!?). She used to eat like the majority of us: pints of dairy-filled ice cream, buttery cupcakes, and milk chocolate bars galore. That is, until she discovered banana ice cream. Banana “nice cream” (as it’s called by the majority of bloggers and Instagrammers) is frozen bananas blended up in a blender (with little to no liquid). It tastes like banana flavored ice cream. It’s so sweet and creamy. Lara loved nice cream from the moment it first entered her mouth (same girl!!) since it’s not only delicious but also nutritious!

My favorite “nice” cream: blended frozen bananas and peanut butter.

As Lara writes in her introduction, banana nice cream is great because bananas “contain lots of natural sugars, fiber, potassium and vitamins.” Add a little cacao powder to your nice cream and you have yourself a chocolate-y treat that is high in fiber and free from refined sugar and dairy. YUM.

Lara created this ebook to show that dessert can actually be good for you (when it’s made with the right ingredients). Her book is divided into six sections (not including the introduction): Raw Treats, Nicecream & Icecream, Baked Goods, Smoothies & Jars & Bowls, Puddings & Mousse, and Pancakes. There are 55 pages and 47 recipes. 

100_7265

Before we get any further into the review, I just wanted to let you know that you can get Lara’s ebook HERE. And guess what!? Lara rocks and is giving all of you 50% off her ebook so it is $2.50 instead of $4.99. A STEAL in my opinion! Just use the code “vanillacrunnch” at checkout.

100_7273

My Baking Bonanza: Lara’s chocolate vanilla swirl cupcakes along with her chocolate chip cookie dough bites (which I baked at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes). I also baked chocolate coconut cookies and peanut butter coconut cookies with recipes from my friend Demeter (The Beaming Baker) as well as my favorite banana bombs

For $2.50, GET THE BOOK. Seriously, that’s less than a coffee at Starbucks and you get wayyyyy more out of the ebook than the coffee. Lara has worked hard on it, as you can see from the beautiful photography and well-put-together recipes. Some of my favorite aspects of the ebook are…

  • The beautiful photography. There’s a nice picture for every single recipe, and all of the photos showcase the food very well. Seriously, Lara’s photos are photography #goals.
  • Most of the recipes contain simple ingredients that most people have like coconut milk, dates, cacao powder, and OREOS. Four recipes have Oreos in or on them.
    • However, there are recipes with ingredients that you might not have like rice malt syrup, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and açai powder. You can buy these ingredients on Amazon though. The Chocolate Tofu Cupcakes with Surprise Frosting (pg. 34) contain beetroot and cranberry powder in the frosting but I’m sure you can leave that out.
  • A lot of the recipes are simple but sweet, like peanut butter cups, bounty bars, and vegan Nutella so you can easily satisfy your sweet craving.
  • Almost all the recipes are VEGAN and GLUTEN-FREE (there is yogurt in the Seven Layer Power Breakfast (pg. 46) but you can just sub it for vegan yogurt).

The Raspberry Almond Smoothie topped with banana slices and Dark Chocolate Berry Granola

The only complaints I have about the ebook are a) that I wish the titles of each recipe were on the top of each page instead of the bottom so you automatically knew which recipe you were looking at and b) some typos (but I know sometimes those can’t be helped!). The pros most definitely outweigh the cons, though, and I am so impressed with Lara for creating an ebook as I can’t even imagine how much work it took!

IMG_8100

The Dark Chocolate Vegan Nutella (pg. 16). I didn’t like it much because I don’t like hazelnuts, but I thought I’d at least give it a try. If you like Nutella, you’ll probably like this spread! I wouldn’t know though because I don’t know what Nutella tastes like- I’ve never tasted it before (believe it or not)!

I sampled a diverse selection of her recipes (almost all of them actually!) so I could say with complete assurance that the whole ebook is good! The ebook is full of perfect healthier recipes for any meal of the day. 

My favorite recipes in the book are (in order of appearance)… Highlighted in blue are recipes you need to try ASAP.

  • Nut-Free Oreo Cheesecake (pg. 5). I really like Oreos so I loved this cheesecake (it was more like a pie, actually). The crust was AMAZEBALLS.
  • Chocolate Caramel Pretzel (Brownie) Bites (pg. 10). I loved the caramel in this recipe. I used almonds, and I didn’t put pretzels on top because I didn’t have any.
  • Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (pg. 11). They taste like Reese’s peanut butter cups but are wayyyy healthier! I loved them since I love chocolate and peanut butter.
  • Raspberry-Almond Smoothie (pg. 22). It’s super simple and yummy.
  • Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake a.k.a. the recipe I am sharing with you today (pg. 30). I made them into cupcakes. They were sweet and good!
  • Classical Green Smoothie with Cranberries (pg. 37). I love green smoothies, and this one is no exception. I used almond milk instead of coconut milk.
  • Death by Chocolate smoothie (pg. 39). Bananas and chocolate- need I say more!? I didn’t get a picture of this one because it was gone (in my belly) like two minutes after I made it.
  • Sunday Oatmeal (pg. 42) minus açai because I didn’t have it. Like the chocolate smoothie, this oatmeal was gone before I could take a picture of it.

The Classical Green Smoothie with Cranberries (minus the toppings).

This ebook would be a good, cheap birthday or Easter/ post Lent present for someone to kickstart clean eating!

Today I am sharing with you one of Lara’s recipes- the “Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cake” – but made into cupcakes!

100_7248

Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Loaf Cupcakes from the “Nicecream for Breakfast” ebook

by Lara Delilah of VanillaCrunnch

I made 8 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cup coconut flour (PB&E Note: I subbed homemade oat flour for the coconut flour and it worked fine!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp cacao powder
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. First, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl except for the cacao powder.
  3. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Depending on the brand of your coconut flour you might need to add more almond milk if too dry or more coconut flour if too liquid.
  5. Divide the dough in 2 separate parts, and mix the cacao powder in one of them
  6. Randomly pour in the two doughs alternately in an oiled cake tin lined cupcake tins. Bake for about 40-45 20-25 minutes and wait for your personal marbled cupcakes to come out of the oven.
  7. I topped my cupcakes with a chocolate ganache I made by melting 1/4 cup chocolate chips with a splash of almond milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I mixed the ganache together until it was smooth and spooned it onto the cupcakes. Mmm.

100_7235

Whew, that was a long post. Thanks for reading, and make sure to snag a copy of Lara’s ebook and check out her blog and her incredible Instagram!!

Here’s to the weekend! Make it a great one!

xx Ellie

 

St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie: 2 Ways

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Are you Irish? Are you lucky? No matter the answer to the previous questions, do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? I feel like here in the U.S. it’s crazy NOT to celebrate this day of luck!

What do you do for St. Patrick’s Day?

When I was younger, my mom colored our toilet water green and left us little treats in front of our bedroom doors in the morning.

We don’t really do much to celebrate anymore as a family. Probably because we’re not very Irish.

This is what I did on St Patrick’s day last year (it had nothing to do with the holiday). This year I’m wearing the same orange pants along with a green shirt, since it’s tradition on St. Patty’s Day to wear green if you’re Irish Catholic and orange if you’re Irish Protestant. I think orange is under-appreciated on this day so I wear it along with the more “traditional” green.

I also eat lots of green, St. Patrick’s themed things on this holiday.

Like this smoothie bowl.

100_7363

How cute is it!? Super cute. But I’m biased since I made it.

It’s a leprechaun!

100_7360

I was brainstorming what I should do to celebrate this holiday, and the only thing I could think of was to celebrate with food! So I made this smoothie bowl for breakfast. It’s topped with a leprechaun because leprechauns are super cute and St. Patrick’s Day-ish.

I also made another rainbow version of it in case you like rainbows more than leprechauns! They’re both pretty festive, since apparently you can find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow and this gold is supplied by little leprechauns.

IMG_8066

Make either of these smoothies for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to celebrate this day and you will have all the luck of the leprechaun!!

Happy St. Patty’s Day (full circle ending, eh!?)!

St. Patrick’s Day Smoothie Bowls

The Base (for both bowls):

  • ½ a frozen banana
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup of nondairy milk (I used Silk vanilla soy milk since it has a sweet vanilla taste that I like)

Leprechaun Bowl

100_7365

 

Leprechaun Face (inspired by Cara’s Leprechaun Rice Cakes (Fork and Beans)):

  • the other ½ of the frozen banana
  • 3-4 strawberries
  • ½ to 3/4 cup nondairy milk

Toppings:

  • 1 big carrot, washed and shredded for the beard
  • 2 blueberries for the eyes
  • 1 strawberry cut in half for the mouth
  • 2 raw cashews for the eyebrows
  • 2 almonds- 1 whole one for the nose and one cut in ½ for the ears
  • 3-4 spinach leaves for the hat
  • a few banana slices for the hat brim

Rainbow Bowl

IMG_8018

Toppings:

  • 10 whole strawberries (or raspberries)
  • carrot slices
  • banana slices (you could use pineapple or mango slices here, I just didn’t have any fresh pineapple or mango to use)
  • spinach slices (or use green grapes if you have them)
  • coconut shreds

Put the base in the blender and blend it until it’s smooth. Pour the base smoothie into a bowl.

For the leprechaun smoothie bowl: Rinse out your blender and make the leprechaun “face” smoothie. Pour it on top of the base smoothie. You might need to spoon it out of the blender and into the bowl to shape it. Wash a big carrot and shred it with a grater into small shreds. Sprinkle these shreds on top of the “face” smoothie. Add on blueberry eyes, cashew eyebrows, almond ears and an almond nose, a berry mouth, and tear spinach into the shape of a hat and place it on top of the leprechaun’s “head.”  Cut a few banana coins, then cut them in half again and add them to the top of the “hat.” Say hi to your friend… then eat him!!

For the rainbow smoothie bowl: Wash and cut your fruit and veggie toppings, then arrange it all in a color-coordinated arc to make a rainbow. Sprinkle the ends of the “rainbow” with coconut flakes to represent clouds! You could also add light-colored granola to the end of the rainbow to represent gold coins. Serve and enjoy!

Enjoy and let me know (and send me a picture!) if you try either of these fun smoothie bowls!

xx Ellie

Banana Bomb Recipe Video + Articles

Hi friends!

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. I just wanted to let you know that I made a recipe video for my banana bomb recipe!

100_7204

Please watch it if you have a minute and a half and make the recipe if you have 20 minutes!  You’ll be so glad you did. Spending 20 minutes making banana bombs is wayyyyy more productive and delicious than to  than spending that time on *insert favorite social media platform here such as Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat* because you get BANANA BOMBS out of it. Mmmm.

100_7164

100_7178.jpg

Ooey, gooey, and filled with chocolate. What’s not to love? Unless you don’t like bananas. In that case… I’m so sorry. You’re missing out on some of my favorite things in life- banana balls and banana ice cream.

When you finish watching this video, feel free to check out the articles about the “Incredible Edibles” recipe contest I was in a few weeks ago (when I made banana bombs)!

Article #1 is here.

Article #2 is attached below.

IMG_7970

IMG_7972

Thank you so much for all of your love and support.

You are all wonderful. Sending lots of love and banana bomb bliss to you!

xo Ellie

7 Ways to Incorporate Healthier Habits into Your Day

Seven hours. That’s almost 30% of your twenty-four-hour day. It’s about 50% of the time you spend awake. It’s also the time you spend sitting in a desk at school! Even more time is spent sitting at your desk at home and doing homework (at least in my case). Add that up over a week, a month, and a year… and you realize just how much you end up sitting in your life.

Sorry to be dramatic and throw a bunch of math at you (since you probably already get enough of that at school or work), but it was necessary to show you how much you sit in your life.

I’m here to help you change that (bum bum bum).

healthyatschool

Sitting is nice, but too much of it is boring… and not good for you! You need to get your blood flowing by standing up, walking around, and stretching.

Here are seven tips that will help you become healthier at work or at school. Use them to sit less and become healthier and happier! Print out this graphic and use it as a reminder / checklist.

Peanut Butter and Ellie Workplace Hacks.png

1. Take Stretch Breaks

If you’re going to incorporate just one of these tips into your routine, choose this one. It is SO important to stretch, as stretching gets your blood moving and wakes you up. According to chiropractic doctor Simon Floreani, “When muscles stay still the blood pools in the muscles, which makes you feel tired and sluggish.” So that’s why it’s hard to get up after sitting for a while, even if I’ve just been watching Netflix a.k.a. the least strenuous activity ever!

Some stretching is better than no stretching. Even if you have a super busy day, make sure to get in some stretch time, whether it’s by doing tree pose while waiting in line for your lunch, doing walking lunges in the hallway while on a trip to the bathroom, or even by crossing your legs and doing “seated pigeon” while sitting at your desk.

1185259_222171971274152_1223364370_n

Stretching during beach yoga I did a few summers ago. This stretch feels wonderful.

I often try to incorporate unnoticeable stretches during class so I can get rid of all my excess energy (probably from all the earthy, energy-rich foods I eat!).

My favorite “incognito” stretches: 

  • Seated pigeon– cross your right ankle over and on top of your left knee. Hold it for a minute or so, then switch sides.
  • Spinal twists– sit in your chair and twist to the right, then to the left.
  • Leg lifts– sit in the edge of your chair, engage your abs by tucking in your ribcage, and lift your straight legs up from the floor to chair level and back down again. This exercise is better for the back of the classroom or the office, as it is more noticeable than the others.
  • “Goddess” squat– bring your legs to opposite sides of your chair and squat just above your chair.
  • Chair pose (how fitting)- Place your feet together and hover just above your chair in a chair squat position. It should still look like you’re sitting in your chair- but you’re actually not! Hold this for as long as you can.

2. Get Your Sweat On

Even if you don’t have much time in your day to work out, at least take a walk or a ten minute stretch break (since you now know how good stretching is for you). Work out before or right after school or work. The longer you wait to work out, the harder it will be (motivation-wise).

P1260394

Getting my “sweat on” during tennis with my BFF Emily

3. Involve Your Peers

  • Get your friends and seat partners to do incognito stretches with you! If nothing else, it will give you something to talk and (maybe) laugh about.
  • Get your peers to eat healthy snacks. You can do this by bringing healthy snacks into them if you have the time and feel like being extra nice.
  • Group fitness, through clubs and classes, is great because it allows you to get your sweat or stretch on and socialize at the same time!
    • For school: Start or join the workout clubs at your school. We have a workout room that you can go to after school, as well as a yoga club, so you can sweat with other gym or yoga junkies. On this same note, don’t slack off in gym class if you have it just because you’re afraid to get sweaty. Gym is a prime way to get your sweat on with classmates!
    • For work: See if your work offers fitness classes to employees. For example, I know a hospital in my town offers yoga classes to its employees during lunch.

4. Stay Hydrated

HAVE A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES. The previous sentence was in caps because it’s just so important. Having a water bottle helps you make sure that you’re drinking enough water. The goal should be for you to go through at least two water bottles full of water in a school or work day. I go through about four (two during lunch alone). I keep a water bottle in my backpack.

5. Take A Walk

Take a walk whenever you have the chance. Throw in some stretching as you walk for good measure.

P1230073

Walking around in Hong Kong during my trip to Asia last holiday break. Notice the reusable water bottle in my backpack!

6. Keep Healthy Snacks Handy

You feel better when you eat better, so stock up on healthy snacks and keep them in your backpack, locker, or desk.

My favorite healthy snacks are…

On a similar note, fuel up with a nutritious breakfast such as a green smoothie, protein-packed oatmeal, or a sweet (but healthy-ish) baked good. Good, healthy food will keep you full and ready to focus on work.

7. Take the Stairs

P1230842

…but maybe not these stairs at Angkor Wat in Cambodia if you don’t want to since they’re a little really steep.

Also ride your bike and walk instead of driving (I wish I did this more).

100_2553

There you have it! Seven simple ways you can incorporate healthier habits into your day. Thank you so much to nuts.com for the colorful graphic! Check out their website for healthy snacks and more tips on how to stay healthy at work and at school.

Have a healthy day!
xx Ellie