Since no longer working from home I tend to start my mornings with my usual matcha mylk and have my actual breakfast in the office. This means it’s something easy to transport like energy balls (these Cinnamon Raisin Energy Balls are a firm favorite). While I could happily eat dates in any shape or form all day every day, I do enjoy a proper “weekend breakfast”. Besides the satisfaction of actually eating something more special, the process of whipping up the batter and cooking in my pjs has its own sense of comfort to it.
The inspiration behind these crepes was, unsurprisingly, carob powder, which is a delicious alternative to cacao powder. It’s made from large bean-shaped pods that grow on trees (in Croatia I was able to pick and munch on them directly from the tree – doesn’t get much better!) and the powder itself has an almost caramel-like aroma.
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Some decisions are so automatic that they don’t require any thought – like, for me, that breakfast means a berry smoothie bowl with peanut butter. Last weekend, though, I was uncharacteristicaly in the mood for something different. I started running through the options in my head. Pancakes? Crepes? Peanut butter and jam on toast? Dates dipped in almond butter? Nothing felt quite right. Until, that is, I had a vision of a bowl of smooth, cold oats, topped with banana and nut butter.
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French toast is one of those dishes that may seem as if it must be inherently illusive for plant-based eaters. A truly saddening thought for any lover of this sweet breakfast treat that potentially dates back to Roman times. Thankfully, vegan French toast is not only feasible but just as tasty, as I realized on the rare occasions I stumbled upon the dish at vegan eateries (the best French toast I ever had was at Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge Massachusetts, near Boston – not to be missed if you’re in the area!). I’ve seen various versions of vegan recipes out there, some including chickpea flour, banana or tofu. When the irresistible French toast craving struck I finally ended up mixing together quite a basic concoction, which I later simplified even further.
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Most people will agree that cookies are delicious, cookie dough is even better and that cookie dough bars may just be the portable pinnacle of a seriously satisfying treat, steeped in childhood sentimentality and a true party for the tastebuds. Combining the indulgence of cookie dough bars with nutritious ingredients like chickpeas, oats and dates is the ultimate win in my opinion – the pursuit of which is how these bean-based babies were born.
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I was tidying up the kitchen cupboards when I came across a mini donut tray that I desperately wanted and then only ended up using twice in the almost year since I got it (familiar story for anyone?). But that’s ok, because we’re here to right the wrongs and show the donut tray the appreciation it deserves, because there’s something about donuts that just makes you so intrinsically happy.
This recipe combines all the fun of cute and colourful donuts with the respectability of a wholesome, nutritious breakfast. The oaty base is the donut-version of baked porridge, sweetened largely by applesauce and fragrant from the vanilla. The silky cashew butter-based icing is where the party’s at, due to the punchy colours and flavours. I’ve started with three (berry, matcha and saffron-turmeric), but might expand the range by a chocolatey-/peanutty version. The icing is also pretty wholesome, with only a splash of maple syrup as added sweetener and no artificial colouring or flavouring. A true feel-good breakfast bake that takes ca. 30 min to prepare and bake.
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You’ve only really moved into a new place once you’ve baked muffins… anyone agree? 😀 It’s been over a month since I’ve moved flats and while I’ve done a lot of cooking, made a memorable lasagna and baked scones, there’s nothing quite like the smell of muffins baking that evokes an uncomparably cozy feeling of utter homeliness.
The inspiration – and by that I mean the urgent trigger – for these muffins were the overripe bananas that I’d subliminally assumed my boyfriend would eat and could suddenly ignore no longer. I had to act.
The result: these incredibly easy, nourishing and versatile muffins that kept me going in the afternoons and provided an easy breakfast option – plain or sometimes with a dollop of peanut butter.
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My second pandemic post.. Anyone else initially thought they would get a whole lot more done during self-isolation than they have so far? 😀 I pictured myself trying out more recipes, posting more, doing at-home workouts every day … but I quickly realized that what I felt like doing most when not working (from home) was just going with the flow, unwinding, reading (I’m loving reading more again!), journaling, talking to friends and family, and going for mindful walks. And while I’ve been cooking as much as ever, I’ve also been relying a lot on meal prep so as not to require too much time for preparing food during the work week.
Part of me is definitely appreciating the slow, intentional, mindful pace of this unusual time, when there’s a lot less to coordinate, plan and decide. And I consciously resisted any self-imposed pressure to reach targets in my free-time that I didn’t feel like working towards. For me it feels as if, outside of work, I’m focusing on just being and becoming even more in tune with myself and what makes me feel good.
But now, let’s get to what really matters: These fluffy pancakes, which are my favourite homemade pancakes so far! Taste-wise they’re similar to the cakey-ier ones I usually make, but they fluff up nicely while cooking and remind me a lot more of the pancakes I had as a child. This change in texture is due to: less banana, more baking powder and the addition of baking soda.
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I’ve had a wonderful weekend filled with workouts and lots of good food with friends, enjoying the gorgeously golden autumnal weather here in Zurich. It’s a beautiful time of year and I’m feeling very mindful and satisfied with enjoying the little things, like the yellow and orange leaves on the ground, the smell of chestnuts in the air and lighting candles in my apartment while catching up with friends or cooking my Sunday meal prep.
One thing that is always part of a good weekend, if you ask me, is some soul-satisfying brunch food. And while my go-to is usually a smoothie bowl, I also have a never-ending love affair with pancakes… They remind me of childhood and taste super indulgent, while actually being really nourishing (well, these ones at least 🙂 ). They’re also very quick to mix together and only take a few minutes to cook – perfect for when you’re hungry after a weekend workout or just in the mood for something comforting.
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Sometimes all you crave is something rich and chocolatey – whether for dessert or, like me yesterday, for breakfast. That’s why I created this creamy concoction out of wholesome fully plant-based ingredients. The banana, sweet potato and dates are a nutritious source of carbs (lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals), the avocado and flaxseeds provide healthy fats and the cacao is chockfull of antioxidants. This powerhouse combo is also super filling and should keep you satiated for quite a while.
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My love of smoothie bowls knows no bounds, especially during summer time. There is nothing more refreshing, nourishing and satisfying to me than a vibrant smoothie bowl with an array of gorgeous toppings. The fact that they’re so easy to whip up and don’t require any ingredients you can’t keep stored, makes them such a great breakfast, snack or even lazy weekday dinner.
Continue reading “Simple Smoothie Bowls: Mango Spinach & Cherry Blueberry”