Healthy + Vegan Winter Veggie Bowl with Crispy Tofu

PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! 

PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! 

The other weekend I decided it had been way too long since I had made my beloved winter roasted veggie bowls for lunch and even longer since I had posted a recipe! I got all of these ingredients (sans tofu) at my local Aldi store. 

This recipe is PERFECT for meal prep and packed lunches! It is simple, budget-friendly, healthy, delicious and filling. That's really all we can ask for in life, am I right? 

Winter Veggie Bowl with Crispy Tofu

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free

What you'll need: 

  • Butternut squash
  • Broccoli (or Brussel sprouts) 
  • Large red onion
  • Garlic 
  • Extra-firm tofu
  • Olive Oil
  • Black Pepper
  • Sauce of choice: I reccommend Balsamic vinegar
  • Grain of choice
Veggies before being put into the oven to roast!

Veggies before being put into the oven to roast!

What you do: 

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prep your veggies for roasting! Use a potato peeler to remove the skin on your butternut squash. Cut it in half (with a hefty knife) and then scoop out the seeds. Chop it up, you can try to make them the same size-ish so that they cook evenly but it isn't life or death. Next, cut up your broccoli. If you are using Brussel sprouts, cut them in half. Chop your red onion, I like to leave some of mine stuck together so that they don't cook as fast. Go ahead and get your garlic out of the coating. Place all of your veggies on a non-stick cooking sheet and drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over them and toss them to be evenly coated. I sprinkle on black pepper, but you can use salt or any other of you favorite seasonings. 

Put veggies into the oven. You will want them to cook for 10 minutes and you will flip them. While they are cooking, press your tofu. I have a tofu press but you can also use heavy objects like I used to, however, I would really suggest the tofu press. Leave this in the press for now. 

After 10 minutes have passed, take out your veggies and flip them. I removed my broccoli at this point because they were done but if you are using a sturdier vegetable, you might want to continue to cook them. Place the veggies back into the oven to cook for another 10 minutes.

No oil crispy tofu! 

No oil crispy tofu! 

HEALTHY CRISPY TOFU HACK. Don't you love crispy tofu at Thai or other Asian food restaurants? It is so good! But it is fried and not the most healthy. A lot of recipes for crispy tofu require you to toss them in cornstarch or do extra steps. Here is how I make my crispy tofu: Take your tofu out of the press and cut up into uniform squares. Place onto a nonstick cookie sheet (do not use foil or parchment paper, you want it directly on the sheet). Your oven should already be super hot at this point, so just place your tofu on the sheet and place it into the oven for ~8 minutes. Take it out and flip the tofu onto the other side. It should already be crispy on the side that was touching the pan. Cook for another 8 minutes. 

Budget-friendly Aldi finds for the win! 

Budget-friendly Aldi finds for the win! 

While your veggies and tofu are finishing up, make your grain. For the simplest method, I suggest finding a steamable grain like these that I found at Aldi. They are already flavorful and much quicker to cook. They are pretty foolproof as well and friendlier for the apprehensive cook. Go ahead and steam up your grain per the directions on the package. Your veggies and tofu should be ready to come out now. 

Toss all of your ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Add any sauce that you might like, I usually opt for Balsamic vinegar! Separate into your Tupperware for the week and enjoy. 

As always, let me know if you make this recipe by tagging me in your photos! 

CauliBerry Smoothie

Low sugar - Long lasting full feeling

Low sugar - Long lasting full feeling

Cauliflower Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen riced cauliflower
  • ½ cup frozen berries (I used strawberries here)
  • ½ avocado
  • ¼ cup coconut shavings
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground flax meal
  • 2 dates
  • 1 ½ cup nondairy milk of your choice

Place all your ingredients in the blender and blend on high. Stop and scrape down the sides, blend again until desired consistency. I like to top mine with puffed cereal, cacao nibs and chia seeds!

This makes quite a large amount of smoothie, it keeps me full for hours and is very low in sugar! The healthy fats are what maintain that full feeling for longer. I have been loving this for breakfast lately, it has helped me curb all of my late night snacking cravings. Start your day with a big breakfast full of this goodness!

 

 

Go Green Protein Bites

Organic Greens have only 4 ingredients and very little flavor, perfect nutritious punch of the spirulina without the typical overpowering flavor

Organic Greens have only 4 ingredients and very little flavor, perfect nutritious punch of the spirulina without the typical overpowering flavor

Go Green Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon The Natural Citizen Organic Greens
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1 scoop plant based protein (like Garden of Life or The Natural Citizen)

Method:

Mash banana with a fork, stir in oats and mix well. Add protein and Organic Greens and stir well. It will become thick and that is okay. Roll into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate for up to a week.


I have been using The Natural Citizen powders for about a year, and I love their stuff. I also love the people behind the stuff. They genuinely care about their customer, they put effort into the packaging, into their customer service and into the message that they put out into the world. I have partnered with them as an ambassador, that means when you use my coupon code, I get a portion of the sale. I never want to be salesy or pushy, but when it comes to a few companies and products that I REALLY believe in, I want you to know about it. There is a link on my Collaborations page that I would be super grateful if you would use to shop, and if you do order, at checkout you can use K8CANRELATE for 15% off your order (free domestic shipping!)

Thank you guys for continually supporting me and cheering me on, and let me know if you make some Go Green Protein Bites!

Organic Greens are also perfect to add into a smoothie in place of (or in addition to) kale or baby spinach as the Vitamin A and Iron content is so high!

Organic Greens are also perfect to add into a smoothie in place of (or in addition to) kale or baby spinach as the Vitamin A and Iron content is so high!

Mary's Cashew Cookie Nicecream Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews

  • 1 cup pitted dates

  • 2-3 ripe frozen bananas

  • ¼ to ½ tsp beet powder (optional)

  • ¼ cup dairy free chocolate chips

Directions:

For the cookies - Blend cashews and dates in a food processor or high speed blender until they form a sticky dough. (some large chunks of cashews can remain) Remove from the processor or blender and form a ball with the dough. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out with a rolling pin or flatten with hands to about a quarter inch thick. Use a super cool cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can. My little heart cookie cutter made 16 cookies and left a little extra dough for a snack. Place cookies onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and let them chill in the freezer.

For the nice cream - Wash and dry your processor or blender so you can use it for your nice cream! Throw your frozen bananas in there and blend em up, occasionally stopping to scrape down the chunks of the sides of the processor or blender until smooth. Add beet powder (or not!) and blend until pink.

Initial assembly - Scoop the nice cream into a piping bag with a round tip in it (or Ziploc bag, trimming one corner to create a circular hole once filled and zipped) Removing your cookies from the freezer, carefully pipe a layer of nice cream on half of your cookies, and return them to the freezer for about five minutes. After five minutes have passed, remove the cookies from the freezer and carefully place the remaining cookies on top of the nice cream ones, creating sandwiches. You can give them a gentle tap to make sure the nice cream fully meets the cookie, but be super gentle! Return the cookie sandwiches to the freezer once more.

For the chocolate drizzle - Melt your chocolate chips in a non-stick pot over medium heat stirring constantly until completely smooth. (alternatively you can melt them in the microwave in a safe dish, stopping every 20 seconds to stir). Remove from the heat, pull cookie sandwiches from the freezer, and drizzle chocolate with the edge of a spatula or fork onto them. Be as fancy and neat or messy and generous as you'd like, but watch out for melty nice cream! Work as quickly as possible, and pop em in the freezer for as long as possible. Anywhere from an hour to overnight will make them ready to enjoy! (And you will definitely enjoy them...you may not even want to share!!!)

Find Mary on her YouTube channel or on her Instagram page: VeganLoveAdventure

Find Mary on her YouTube channel or on her Instagram page: VeganLoveAdventure

Mary is a friendly, Harry Potter obsessed, yoga practicing human who also happens to be a vegan and a wife and a lover of daily trips to the ocean. She is in love with being alive and free, adventuring as often as possible, attempting to live in a state of near-constant optimism and is convinced that we hold the power to manifest our own wonderful happenings. Follow along on her adventures, and find more vegan recipes too, on her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/veganloveadventure

On why others should eat plant based:

Everyone should eat plant based for three reasons – the animals, their own health and the health of our planet. When you eat a plant based diet, no one has to suffer or die for your meal. The animal thank us; our bodies thank us; and the planet thanks us. If you find yourself wanting to know more about how animals are treated at organic and “free range” farms, please check out PETA’s article (http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/free-range-organic-meat-myths/) entitled, “The Organic and ‘Free Range’ Myths”. If you want to learn more about how consuming animal products affects our health, check out any of Dr. Michael Greger’s videos on http://nutritionfacts.org/ or the pages of his novel, How Not to Die. And if you’re looking to learn more about how eating vegan can save the planet, look no further than Cowspiracy, an eyeopening documentary that you can watch for free on Netflix.

Acai Maqui Bowl

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Who doesn't love a creamy cold smoothie bowl? A perfect way to kick start the spring season! Spoiler alert: I never had an acai bowl before. I tried out the Sunfood Acai Maqui Bowl Mix and it was heavenly!

What are the benefits? ALLLL the vitamins! It's basically like a superfood vitamin in icecream form. WAY better than Flintstone's vitamins, and that is a tall order!

  • Vitamin A which may contribute to healthy immunity, vision, bone health and cell integrity
  • Vitamin C which may function as an antioxidant as well as contribute to healthy immunity and bone health
  • Vitamin B1 which may contribute to mental function and metabolism
  • Vitamin B3 which may help regulate metabolism and support normal cell growth
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids which may contribute to mental function and hearth health
  • Calcium which may assist in supporting strong bones
  • Potassium which may help maintain healthy blood pressure in combination with a low sodium diet
  • Magnesium which may contribute to normal bone health and immunity
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Acai Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Sunfood Acai Maqui Bowl Mix
  • 1.5 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk

Method:

Combine in the blender or food processor until creamy. Toppings are the best part, go crazy! Delicious and nutritious, just how I like it.

Overnight Oats

Chocolate Oaties

Chocolate Oaties

If you have followed me for any length of time on Instagram, you know that my faaavorite food is oatmeal. I have oatmeal every single day, in some way. Usually in the form of overnight oats. It's so versatile and easy to change up the flavors. Below you will find my base recipe for the infamous oaties that stole my heart.

Overnight Oatmeal Base Recipe:

1/3 cup rolled oatmeal

2 tablespoon chia seeds (I use Salba brand)

1 teaspoon hemp seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric

dash black pepper (to help the body absorb turmeric)

1 serving protein powder (this can be one or two scoops depending on the brand you use)

Stir and cover with non-dairy milk of choice. Keep in mind that it will thicken up, so add enough milk so that it is a little more liquid than you would typically enjoy. Once stirred, refrigerate overnight (up to 5 days)

It really is that simple! You can do MANY variations such as adding cinnamon or cacao powder. You can add in shredded zucchini or pumpkin puree for more volume and more nutritional value.

Topping choices are endless. I usually top with fresh fruit of some kind, nuts and/or nut butter and raw pumpkin seeds. Don't add your toppings until the morning of or they will get soggy!

Apple Cinnamon Oaties

Apple Cinnamon Oaties

Kale Banana Smoothie Bowl

Topped with Good Mix Superfoods Blend 11, Dang Foods coconut chips, One Degree sprouted granola and fresh blackberries

Topped with Good Mix Superfoods Blend 11, Dang Foods coconut chips, One Degree sprouted granola and fresh blackberries

It has been unseasonably warm this winter so far (NO complaints here) and i woke up this morning craving a smoothie bowl (sorry oatmeal, we aren't breaking up, I just needed some space). 

Ingredients:

2 frozen bananas *

A few cubes of ice

Hand full of kale or other dark green

1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk of choice

! tablespoon blackstrap molasses 

Dash of turmeric

Dash of black pepper

Toppings: I listed the toppings that I used under the photo but you can use anything that you think is delicious. Go crazy!

I always blend my greens with my nondairy milk FIRST and get it to a green milk consistency, otherwise you will have pieces of kale that don't get blended up. I use my Magic Bullet for this.

The reason I use black pepper is because your body better absorbs turmeric this way. Just trust me, you can't taste it. Put all of your ingredients into a high-speed blender or food processor, blend, scrape down and blend again. It will come out to be a really nice thick icecream-like texture which is how i prefer my smoothie bowls. Throw your toppings on and ENJOY.

**you totally do not have to use frozen bananas, it just makes for a more icecream texture which is what i prefer. 

 

Healthy Black Bean Brownies

Ingredients:

1 15 oz can black beans

1/4 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup quick oats

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 ripe banana

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1-2 servings chocolate protein powder**

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Get your brownie pan ready and spray with oil if needed. Add all of your ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix well. Scrape down the sides and mix again. Pour batter into pan and smooth evenly out. If you want to add mix-ins such as nuts or chocolate chips, do so now. Bake for ~20 minutes. Let cool before cutting. Best stored in the refrigerator. I like to eat mine cold! 

**If you don't like or use protein powder, feel free to omit this entirely along with the applesauce!

***This recipe is adapted from one that I found on The Vegan Solution's YouTube channel

K8's Go-To Oaties

Vegan oatmeal for the win!

Vegan oatmeal for the win!

Oatmeal is arguably my favorite food. Versatile, healthy, cheap, nutritious, cozy. It is probably the only food that I could (and do) eat every day and not grow tired of it. Below you will find my favorite recipe, it’s easy, quick and many of the ingredients are able to be eliminated or swapped out based on preference and what you have on hand.


Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oatmeal

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/3 cup pumpkin puree

1/3 cup shredded zucchini

1 serving vanilla protein powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Splash of non-dairy milk of choice

1 tablespoon black strap molasses

½ banana

¼ cup fresh berries

½ tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon nut butter

 

I always just cook my oatmeal in water according to the directions on the package. It’s usually 1:1 so if you do 1/3 cup of oatmeal you will also do 1/3 cup of water.

Bring the water to a boil, pour in your oatmeal and your chia seeds and stir.

Continue to cook covered on low while you shred your zucchini and get your pumpkin puree ready. I squeeze my shredded zucchini a few times to get out the excess water. Stir those into your oatmeal along with the cinnamon and the protein powder. I typically use Sprout Living or Garden of Life but whatever you like will work just fine. This will thicken up the oatmeal a lot so I usually stir in a little unsweetened cashew milk or almond milk, whatever I happen to have in the fridge at the time. This will make it creamier, but feel free to use water.

I also stir in a tablespoon of black strap molasses, more for nutritional value than for taste. I let this cook a little longer on low as I prepare my toppings. This is where you can get creative. I like to have fun in the kitchen so this is the best part for me. Cut your banana up in a fun way, use a fruit you wouldn’t normally think of, try new nut butters. Put your oaties in a bowl and top with any nuts, fruit, seeds or granola that you wish. The zucchini and pumpkin will have added SO much volume to your oatmeal. These oats are so satisfying yet so easy to make.

Hope you enjoy as much as I do.

This is by far my favorite bowl and it was a gift from a wonderful friend.

This is by far my favorite bowl and it was a gift from a wonderful friend.

Chocolate Vegan Protein Mug Cake

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If you follow me on Snapchat (fitgirlk8) then you KNOW I am alllll about some mug cake. And by all about I mean I have it every. single. night. This is a recipe that I kind of compiled from trying many mug cakes and eventually finding what I liked and what worked best for me (I encourage you to do the same!)

 

Ingredients:

Olive oil or coconut oil (so it won’t stick to the mug like crazy)

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon coconut flour

1 serving chocolate protein powder

1 tablespoon cacao powder

¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

~ ¼ cup nondairy milk of choice

 

Toppings:

PB2, pecans, dark chocolate chips, coconut chips

 

Start by spraying your mug so that the cake won’t stick. Then add in your baking powder, coconut flour, protein powder and cacao powder. Stir, stir, stir! Then pour in your applesauce and stir. This is where you need to use your judgment. Start by pouring a little nondairy milk in at a time. You want it to be the consistency of cake batter…not super dry but also not too wet. Make sure you stir really well to get the dry ingredients at the bottom incorporated into your mixing. When it is at the desired consistency, level off with your spoon. Throw it in the microwave for ONE minute. If you know you have a strong microwave, start with just 30 seconds. It’s way better to have it a little uncooked than rubbery. I like to top mine with a little bit of dark chocolate to get it all melty, then a few nuts and some PB2.

ENJOY

*I have a vanilla pumpkin mug cake that I really love but I will post that recipe at a later time!