Springtime Cookies & Plant Based Dyes | Vegan & Gluten Free

Simple will always win in my book. Because there are sometimes you want to develop and devour something in a pinch. Therefore I like these cookies a lot. These are simple, plant based, and filling almond based cookies. I’d like to think they are quite nutritious too but I’m not a nutritionist so I can’t totally make that claim. But just trust me y’all.

For these cookies I made coconut butter icing and I experimented with some natural food dyes in the form of tea powders. Tip: I highly recommend using tea in powdered form to create vibrant colors. With the Wild Foods Curr Berry Tea (Organic Hibiscus, Elderberry, Red Currant & Cranberry), I did use it in liquid form because I didn’t have a grinder to process the tealeaves + berries. If you have a grinder, I highly recommend using it to make some pretty colors.

And so returns the beautiful matcha powder. Two vibrant colors: Wild Foods Wild Matcha #2, which was also used in a refreshing Matcha Chia Fresca, and Blue Chai’s dreamy blue matcha powder. Both are organic and the Green Tea Matcha adds an energizing flavor while the Curr Berry definitely gives some berry flavor

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The First Mess Cookbook + A Review

The First Mess cookbook is a plant-based symposium by Laura Wright. For the past few years she’s created a repertoire of decadent vegetarian and vegan recipes accompanied by lyrical writing and exquisite photography on her award winning blog.
Nourishment and sensory-overload (in a good way) is what comes to mind when I think of Laura’s food philosophy. Like many, I first discovered her blog  a few years ago when I was in search of more plentiful plant recipes to fill keep variety flowing in my life. Because of my own need to avoid gluten and wheat based recipes, her website was (and is) a ripe source of information and produce based goodness.

the first mess cookbook

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Blissful Basil Cookbook Review + A Giveaway

I am making a conscious effort to build and bloom better health habits. This involves taking initiative into myown hands and setting my pricipes to practices. Health is more than topical: its what we ingest. I believe in moderation, treating yourself, and self care. However it can be easy for some of us to neglect our health in lieu of easier options. Beginning now to December 2017 each month I will be featuring cookbooks that center around my values of whole foods, nutrient dense cooking. Though some may not be vegan, they will be vegan optional but all plant-based. My criteria involve ease, flexibility, and zero waste-friendly. So little to no packaged foods will be the cornerstone of my picks. Lets get started!

I’m not sure if cookbooks are supposed to make you emotional but when I began to read Ashley Melillo’s namesake book Blissful Basil that’s what happened.

The beautiful book opens up with a poignant introduction from Ashley. Candid about her pre-Blissful Basil days as a graduate student where she dealt with the perils many students may face: anxiety. Motivated to take control of her own health Ashley humbly and briefly discusses her journey to “self-acceptance, self-love, and sustainable joy.” I was moved by her honesty about some of the roughest points of her life, the road that led to create a brand and curator of healthy, and delicious plant-based and allergen conscious meals.

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Perhaps it hit so close to home to me because of my own issues and rough patches with my own health. Similar to Ashley, I sought out natural and therapeutic methods of self-care through good nourishment, stress control, and being honest with my own loved one about my limits and how I feel. And it starts with making healthier choices that adhere to your own needs and learning what makes you thrive, which more likely than not, is consuming plant based foundations – don’t think of “diets”, think of sustenance
Ashley’s vegan cookbook is centered on the healing through healthy nutritional choices. She chooses to thrive with her practice of cultivating happiness through wholeness. Naturally this involves being conscious of what you consume.
If you’re new to the realm of bountiful vegan eating, Ashley’s got you covered with a quick portion of her book with a rundown on her pantry & kitchen essentials with explanations on their nutrient fundamentals. Want to know why sorghum and millet are underrated nutrient & powerhouses, or the difference between the natural sweeteners, conversion charts? She’s got the bases covered. My favorite part is her decision to have a primarily allergen friendly primer, similar to her blog she focuses more on wheat-free options and substitutes. (Thank you!)
But the bulk of this book is filled with vibrant, rainbow hued recipes. The pages are filled with stunning photography, which, lets be honest, is really helpful. These meals aren’t challenging but they aren’t basic – Blissful Basil is chockfull of creative recipes that look exquisite but don’t require an overload of ingredients. Perhaps Ashley was also innately inspired by her background as a school psychologist for many of the recipes would be really great to create with children.  Think: Hazelnut Espresso Shakes, Cauliflower Tots, & Vegan Pulled “Pork” BBQ with Polenta. There’s also Electric Tumeric Lemonade and Fiesta Salad to round all that out.
Personally I am working on living a minimalist/zero waste life. This applies to what we consume. Instead of reaching for packaged meals, I want to incorporate make-ahead or overnight meals, meals that focus on whole foods and leave no waste (or it can be composted). If this is also your vibe, Blissful Basil is on your level.  Processed ingredients don’t make their way through the pages – instead it’s composed of pure plant-based sustenance without being intimidating. Anyone from clean-foodies, experimental cuisine folk, to current/former busy students looking to incorporate easier & healthier vegan meals will enjoy this delightful book. 

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Ashley’s cookbook Blissful Basil comes out December 20th (click to purchase) but if you want to win this beautiful vegan cookbook:

·      Visit this Instagram post and leave a comment with your favorite recipe from Blissful Basil’s website
·      Follow me on Instagram
·      Follow Blissful Basil on Instagram
Extra points:
·      Leave a comment here with your favorite or new winter traditions

·      Subscribe to Blissful Basil’s website and leave a comment saying you did
Ends on December 29th** Good luck y’all! 

Zero Waste & Vegan Lunch Box w/ PlanetBox

I am embarking the final stage for my bachelors in university. Cue the emotions of excitement but anticipation of whats to come & the dedication that lies ahead. Studies are meant to challenge us and at times we put ourselves last. We fall out of balance with our health and succumb to the maddening late-nights spent editing, writing, or formulating. I’d always fallen into the category of neglecting to eat at the so called “proper” standardized times. Be it school or work when you feel rushed or need to catch the train, a deadline, or hour & it you forget to nourish yourself. And sometimes you get tempted by what’s available in the university cafeterias which may or may not lead to healthy choices, or produce waste – and if you, like me, have food allergies? It’s instantly a debacle.
I thought about attempting the zero waste mentality to meals when you’re in school, work, or even a trip. Perhaps it saves money, or offers you to make better choices. It definitely cuts down on waste, which was important for me to address.

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PlanetBox creates classic stainless steel lunch boxes that are an excellent alternative to plastic or single serve containers. No lead, BPA, or phthalates here folks, and its recyclable after your long years of use (no waste). I received the ShuttleBox with the Shuttle Carry Bag (which I highly recommend, to ensure longevity of your box & they’re BPA free + recycled materials used). I don’t like plastic; I want to avoid it as much as possible, especially when it concerns what I eat.
I gave myself a challenge: Create a vegan & zero waste meal for my Shuttle Box. I ventured to the farmers markets for fresh fruit & product, nuts (protein), found veggie chips in bulk! I recommend taking cotton or reusable product bags instead of the plastic ones they have at stores, or even mason jar (know your jar weight!)

planet box @ http://violet-woods.blogspot.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

My meal comprised of unsweetened coconut yogurt* (the container is recyclable) with a drizzle of grade B maple syrup & a heapful of chia seeds (protein & omega-3s), sliced strawberries and a handful of almonds to dip them in, Sliced zucchini (which I also dipped in the yogurt) and lots of dehydrated veggies to round the meal. I take my own spoon & cloth napkin as well!

 

 

 

 

 

It took me less than 15 minutes to comprise this meal, mostly chopping fruits and veg and ladling in yogurt and its toppings. I really encourage y’all to try meal prep and ditch plastic for safer and earth-friendly alternatives. Check out PlanetBox for more inspiration on making your own rainbow meals.

planet box @ http://violet-woods.blogspot.com//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js