Vegan Breakfast: A protein bar to kick start your day

This is literally the best breakfast bar I’ve ever made!

I’ve been making them weekly since my friend Leesa brought a batch to QuiltCon {her version involved dried cranberries & were probably healthier, but I believe in eating dark chocolate by 9am everyday so mine are slightly more dessert-ish 😉 }.

While I’m not entirely vegan, I don’t eat a lot of dairy and I struggle with high protein breakfast options (or breakfast options with much protein at all…). I also start my day at the gym so preparing my breakfast at home isn’t conducive to my morning routine.

Thus, these high protein energy bars [that just-so-happen to be vegan] are amazing!

Warning: This post is going to be short and sweet. I’ve always dreamed of posting really beautiful recipe photos documenting the entire process and all ingredients, but let’s face it – I’m impatient and you need this recipe more than you need pretty photos. 

I used the No Meat Athlete’s Ultimate Vegan Energy Bar formula to construct these. I love the options – if you don’t have something I’ve used, try replacing it with one of the other options. BUT if you have all of my ingredients, use those! I’ve tried a few different combinations and the one I’ve landed on below is pure bliss. 

Best Ever High-Protein Vegan Energy Bars Recipe

Makes 12.

Go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350 because the prep work doesn’t take too long.

FIRST

Wet Ingredients (combine these in your food processor)

  • 1 can Great Northern Beans (or white beans) – rinse & drain the beans using a sieve
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 mashed banana (you want it to be a few days old so the peel is starting to speckle/turn just-a-bit brown so it’ll be sweeter 😉 )
  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter (I’ve had the most success with Trader Joe’s peanut butter which contains the bare basics – peanuts & salt. You can also make your own PB with some peanuts & a Magic Bullet/food processor)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

SECOND

Dry Ingredients (compile these separately and add to the food processor after the wet ingredients are smooth-ish-ly blended)

  • 1.5 cups Oats
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter flavored Protein Powder (I use this kind)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I have been using Pink Himalayan Salt because it’s what I had closest. Sea salt is recommended, but I’m sure you’d survive with table salt)

THIRD

Once the wet ingredients are smooth and you’ve added the dry ingredients to your food processor, add 1 cup dark chocolate chips and pulse a few times. Go easy! You do not want to chop your dark chocolate chips, you just want to attempt to evenly-ish distribute them. {If you’re not lazy like me, you could stir them in by hand…but that mix gets sticky and my arms aren’t exactly muscular so I pass on that}

FOURTH

Line a 13×9″ glass pan with parchment paper.

Dump mixture onto the parchment paper in the glass pan.

Flex your arm muscles and spread it as best you can in the pan (have I mentioned it’s really sticky?)

FIFTH

Bake at 350 degrees for about 17 minutes.

SIXTH 

Let it cool then cut into 12 bars.

Store in the fridge.

To make your life easy, go ahead and put the bars into individual zip-lock bags so you can quickly grab-n-go.

I try to keep it healthy as often as I can (and I do like yoga..), but this chihuahua sums up my true feelings…

Enjoy the recipe, y’all!

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What I’m Lovin’ in March

As you read this, the Hubs and I are road-trippin’ to Boston to see his sister! We had contemplated flying and then remembered how much we love road trips {with lives that sometimes make us feel like ships passing in the night, being trapped in a car together felt like the perfect adventure!}.

I promise to bring back lots of pictures for the blog, but in the meantime you can follow our adventures on Instagram.

And so, here’s the short list of what I’ve been lovin’ in March!

what i'm lovin

1. Vegan Buffalo Wings

Proof that my husband loves me: he made this recipe for vegan buffalo wings totally from scratch!

wings

They were AMAZING. He found the Edgy Veg’s recipe for Vegan Buffalo Wings after a quick google and followed it to a T (although he used flax and water for the egg replacer).

It was the first time I’d had homemade seitan (we usually just buy it from the store #LazyCook) and I tell ya – there was a huge difference in taste!

I haven’t had buffalo wings since long before I gave up meat (about 4.5 years ago). I used to love boneless buffalo wings until they started giving me serious heartburn and I had to abandon them.

The recipe had just the right amount of heat [no heartburn!]. They were also perfectly crispy and chewy. Just delicious!

I wasn’t allowed in the kitchen during production, but he said the recipe was pretty easy and he’d be willing to make them again (YAY!).

2. Flying Geese and Paper Piecing

flying geese

I’m totally hooked on paper piecing!

I got a bag of teeny-tiny Liberty of London scraps from Mad for Fabric a while back. I followed these instructions and shrunk the pattern to 33%. The square pictured above is 6.5″ x 6.5″ with the border (about 5 inches without). I think I’m going to turn it into a zip pouch!

3. Fuller House on Netflix

fuller house

If you grew up watching Full House, you definitely want to check out Fuller House on Netflix! We’re addicted and have totally binged on Season 1 already.

4. Inside the Hem on YouTube

I have been following Sew Charleston for a while (I love her style!) so when she announced she and her gal pals were launching a sewing YouTube channel, I was pretty excited to check it out! I immediately subscribed and have been loving the videos.

It’s tough to pick a favorite, but I’m in a comfy-sewing-mood so I really loved Abbey’s Favorite Sweatshirts video:

After the video {and asking Abbey’s advice}, I ordered the Lola dress pattern from Victory Patterns. I think this may be the pattern I use for the Liberty of London French Terry I splurged on when the Hubs and I were in England last Christmas (yes, it’s been gathering dust for an embarrassing amount of time…).

You can browse all episodes from the channel – called Inside the Hemhere!

5. My cute new bags from Trish Stitched!

trish stitched 1

I’ve been following Trish Stitched for a while and love her blog. She’s super talented and she often sews patterns I’ve had my eye on so it’s nice to see how they look on a real person (it’s just icing on the cake that she’s also petite so I can follow her alterations!).

Last month her blog celebrated its first anniversary and she hosted a giveaway. Lucky me – I won!

love the adorable bags she sent me! The top bag is the perfect size to hold a checkbook or store a fancy pen collection [stuff it with colored pencils and pair it with a hip adult coloring book and you’ve got yourself the perfect birthday gift for your gal pal].

The bottom pouch is a great size for essential-oils-on-the-go!

trish stitched 2

The pouch easily fits 2-3 bottles or rollers. It also makes for a cute gift card holder or a fun place to store cards from all your favorite fabric shops.

Check out all of Trish’s beautiful handmade bags in her shop on Etsy and don’t forget to check out her blog!

6. Nerding out with organization videos on YouTube

Did you know there are videos on YouTube dedicated to home organization?! I know this puts me in a super nerd category, but to my defense: this video was sent to me by a friend {who shares a very nerdy desire for everything to be organized, labeled and tucked out of sight}.

One of my other favorites: Cheap Storage Ideas full of Dollar Tree finds. {Budget-friendly storage solutions?! #smitten}

I’ve basically fallen head-over-heels for Alejandra’s YouTube Channel and now I want to buy all the plastic containers in sight [label-maker is now on my Christmas wish list…]

7. Mindless Saving with Acorns

The Hubs and I recently opened an Acorns account after hearing about it from Afford Anything {love her blog..and her new podcast!}. As someone who is very, very far from being an expert investor, I appreciate how simple Acorns is. We linked up our bank accounts so that they send over change from purchases by rounding up to the next dollar and sending the excess to Acorns. You can also set up automatic (whole dollar if you wish 😉 ) deposits. Then Acorns does its magic to invest your money then – poof! – you have a savings account that’s growing while you spend zero time thinking about it {#MindlessSaving}.

If you are interested, you can use our referral link to sign up and receive $5! #winning {FYI: I also get $5 which is stellar, but just to be clear: the statements above are 100% mine. Acorns has no idea who I am other than a name in their list of users. You are in no way obligated to use my link if you sign up for Acorns. I just wanted to share my experience with you, my lovely reader!}

Also – when you sign up, you get weekly emails with savings tips [and they’re not those “UGH…yeah right!” kind of tips]. A recent email closed with the quote below which I felt was so appropriate given the fact that we are en route to gather some fabulous experiences in Boston as we speak…

acorns quote

And on that note, I bid you farewell! I hope your March was fabulous and you are off having experiences with people you love! ❤

Sending you sprinkles of joy and warm hugs til next time,

Jordan

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

Tasty Tuesday: Spicy Rainbow Rice

Happy Tasty Tuesday y’all!

I’m excited to share this recipe with you because it’s one of my new favorites. It requires little prep work & is balanced enough (or nearly enough) not to require a side (but don’t let me hold you back!). It’s also a versatile recipe that could use almost any seasonal vegetables. In addition, it’s got just enough kick to impress the Hubs without sending me into a heated fury to refill the Brita pitcher every five seconds. Plus: this recipe yields about 8 servings so you can eat for days with little effort! Win!

title

 

A few weeks ago I saw The April Blake‘s pot full of color on Instagram. My admiration led to April generously sharing the original recipe (from Oh She Glows who had adapted it from the Vegan Yum Yum Cookbook) with me. Here’s my spin on it!

Spicy Rainbow Rice and Black Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
  • 1 TBSP oil (I prefer EVOO)
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 cup baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 3 TBSP soy sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 tsp Earth Balance (or butter)

Directions:

1. Begin by cooking the basmati rice according to the package directions.

Secret from my Momma’s kitchen: make sure you cover the rice & do not lift the lid before it’s done. You’ll know it’s done when you see little holes peeking through from the lid.

See the little holes - that's how you know the rice is ready!

See the little holes – that’s how you know the rice is ready!

2. Chop the onion and baby carrots.

Lazy cook tip: chop these bad boys up on Sunday to save time after work.

Gather all your ingredients before you start.

Gather all your ingredients before you start.

Another tip: if spices are being added at the same time during the recipe (like in this one), measure them out in a small bowl and set aside until you need them.

3. In a skillet, heat oil over medium. Add the onion and saute. Once the onion begins to turn golden (~3-4 mins.), add carrots and continue to saute for about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add spices and garlic. Stir until mixture is evenly coated with spices.

4. Stir soy sauce & black beans into mixture. Heat for about 5 minutes.

Always drain & rinse canned beans.

Always drain & rinse canned beans.

Lazy cook tip: invest in a sieve and use it to rinse any canned beans you cook with (this cuts the sodium making canned beans a great time-saving alternative to dried beans).

5. Add the frozen peas and corn to the mix (stir well) and heat for about 5 minutes.

Since your pan is starting to fill up, now’s a good time to utilize your furry helpers in case you have any runaway peas or carrots.

Meet Twitch. If there's cooking in the kitchen, he's there - ready to catch any run-away carrots.

Meet Twitch. If there’s cooking in the kitchen, he’s there – ready to clean up any spills.

6. Fluff the rice and stir in the teaspoon of Earth Balance (or butter).

I’m pretty sure you could omit the Earth Balance or butter altogether to save some calories, but I was really curious to try out Earth Balance so I’ve been keeping this step in.

I swear this tastes just like butter y'all!

I swear this tastes just like butter y’all!

7. Grab a large bowl and add the rice then top with the bean mixture & stir until evenly mixed. Serve & enjoy!

Vegan & Raw on Main Street

Anytime I find a restaurant that has more than two vegetarian options (salads don’t count – don’t even get me started on this), it’s my new favorite place and I will talk every friend I have into going there with me. Well friends of mine, get ready: The Good Life Cafe on Main Street is on the list!

Find the cafe at 1614 Main St, Columbia, SC

Find the cafe at 1614 Main St, Columbia, SC

Too bad it was a dreary day because the tables out front look like the very best place to enjoy a delicious lunch while taking in some solid people-watching (I guess that’s excuse #1 for returning..).

After my dear friend (and notorious Work Hubs) Markessce mentioned he wanted to try The Good Life Cafe, I jumped on this #rawsome date opportunity. So I did what any social media geek does and tweeted my fellow vegetarian foodie (The April Blake) to ask for entree recommendations. The Good Life Cafe’s Twitter account got involved & next thing I knew, Hank (the chef’s husband, who among other things, runs the cafe’s Twitter account) met Markessce & I at the door and offered to let us try the Eggplant bacon. Two years into vegetarianism and the one thing I still dream about is bacon. There’s just no good substitute. UNTIL NOW.

GLC_4.18.14_eggplant bacon

Eggplant bacon strip taste testing – delicious!

Although April recommended the lasagna, I rebelled and went for the Burrito wrap (excuse #2 to revisit: must try the lasagna).

GLC_4.18.14_burrito1

The Burrito Wrap, fresh fruit, kale salad and “Keep The Doc Away” juice. Just splendid.

My date chose the tacos. We’re the kind of friends who never hesitate sharing food (even though our common ground is the fact that we’re both slightly germophobic neat freaks, we abandon that completely when it comes to “words-can’t-describe-this-deliciousness you-must-taste-it-for-yourself” situations with each other). That being said, I will tell you first-hand that the “mayonnaise” sauce really makes the flavor in these tacos pop!

GLC_4.18.14_tacos2

3 tacos with a side of fresh fruit and veggie slaw.

I hope this post has convinced you to stop by The Good Life Cafe to try some local raw, vegan cuisine that will “delight the palate and nurture the soul!”

If you’re not local to Columbia, what’s your favorite vegetarian-friendly spot? I’m known to plan road trips around food stops.. 🙂