chocolate chip coconut cookies (vegan)

Ok, sharing my FAVORITE chocolate chip cookie recipe that just so happens to be vegan. When baked perfectly, they are slightly hard on the outside but super soft when you bite into it with a hint of cinnamon.  I remember making these for a birthday party and getting lots of people saying, “no way these are vegan!” I’ve tweaked the recipe a few times since finding it online from the Vegan Housewives blog.

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Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies (V)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c coconut oil (soft, not melted!)
  • 1 c brown sugar (you can do 1/2 c dark brown, 1/2 c light brown)
  • 1/4 c homemade hemp milk (or other non-dairy milk…rice milk works really well here!)
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c + 2 Tbs cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 c chocolate chips (mixture of mini and regular chips work the best!)
  • 1/3 c unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

Directions

  1. Cream oil and sugar very well in a mixer (or by hand.  If by hand, make sure coconut oil is softened first.)  Add in milk and vanilla, combine well.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.  Slowly add dry into the wet sugar/oil mixture until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips and coconut flakes if using.
  3. Set dough in the fridge for 30 min to 24 hours (longer is better.) When ready, preheat oven to 350° and line a couple cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop dough using a 2 Tbs scoop and roll into balls, flatten slightly on baking sheet.
  4. When oven is properly preheated, bake 7-10 min until edges slightly brown and puff up a bit.  Remove from oven and let cool.  The cookies will continue to cook when out of the oven, so be patient!

Notes

  • Measure the coconut oil as a solid, if you measure it as a liquid, the cookies will turn out very oily.
  • Mix dark and light brown sugar!
  • You may also use only all-purpose flour instead of the mix of cake and AP.  Instead, use 2 cups all-purpose.

 

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Oatmeal Raisin Protein Bites

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This past weekend, I went on a 8 mile hike just right outside of town and brought these lovely little protein bites along.  Lately instead of making granola bars, I’ve been making protein balls.  I have started a recipe I found online and made small changes each time until it evolved into this one, now completely different from the original.

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Oatmeal Raisin Protein Bites (makes about 25 bites)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 21 brazil nuts
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • 1/8 tsp himalayan pink sea salt
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 scoop Vega Vanilla Protein & Greens (or your favorite protein powder/additional 1/4c oats or almond flour)
  • 1 pitted date, cut in half
  • 2 TBS coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup water, add more if needed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 cups rolled oats

Directions:

  1. Soak brazil nuts and walnuts in fresh water overnight (or at least a couple hours).  Drain.
  2. Add brazil nuts, walnuts, mama, salt, cinnamon, almond flour, protein powder, date, and coconut oil in blender or food processor (I use my nutribullet). Add some of the water.  Blend.  Add more water if it is not combining, scrape down the sides, and blend again!
  3. When the ingredients are well blended and are sticky, add rolled oats and raisins.  Stir to combine.
  4. Place the mixture in the fridge for a little bit to set up and so it is easier to handle.
  5. Using a small 2TBS scoop, scoop out into small balls, roll (I recommend wetting your hands a little so the mixture doesn’t stick to everything), and place in the freezer to set!  You can store in the freezer or in the fridge.

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AFPA Holistic Nutrition Consultant

Last month I finally put down the money and decided to start AFPA’s holistic nutrition program. When looking at different nutrition consultant certifications, it was difficult to find good reviews.  I’m hoping this will help others in my same position!

The program consists of five different books and many DVDs.  There are three different assignments; one being questions to the books and DVDs, one for the consultant portion, and the last a final exam.

Since starting in March, I have finished the first book, Holistic Anatomy by Pip Waller and related homework questions.  I thought it was an interesting read—while human anatomy can sometimes be dry, she did a good job at keeping me interested.  For someone like me with a biology and chemistry background, this was a nice refresher.  If you do not have a background in science, I feel like you might want to do some more research (or read an actual textbook).

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I am now onto book two, Whole.  So far, so good.  My goal right now is to finish the certification by the end of May, which means I need to get reading (the course can take up to 6 months depending on how you pace yourself).

I hope to review more of the program throughout my journey and let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

 

 

trail food: vegan breakfast

Every time I look up vegan backpacking food, it is a compiled list of store-bought lightweight meals.  Or nut-heavy trail mixes. Or straight up candy.  Don’t get me wrong, nuts are a great source of energy and candy tastes EVEN BETTER in the backcountry, but sometimes, too many almonds and peanuts give me stomach issues and candy is not the best recovery food for hours of hiking and/or working.

There are so many options for healthy and satisfying food that you can take in your pack for up to 9 days (and that I myself have packed around while working on trails).  Some are a little heavier (those luxury items…but so good to bite into on day 6!), but all are backpacking friendly.

And those pre-packaged meals—they are so much cheaper if you just make them yourself!  Buy some rice and dehydrated beans, a pepper, onion, maybe even zucchini…add some hot sauce, a little spice, and avocado, wrap in a burrito.  Might be a little more effort than just warming up a packet, but it is REAL food.

I am starting a series to show easy meals that you can carry in the backcountry, taking minimal time or only one pot, and that are nutritious!  When hiking around, carrying a pack 20+ lbs (or closer to 60lbs…yikes) you work up an appetite and need serious calories that also are full of nutrients to replenish what you just burned off.

Let’s start out with the first meal of the day—breakfast!

Oatmeal

Ingredients (for one serving):

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal (instant or rolled oats, I prefer rolled oats)
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, chewy banana bites, coconut flakes…whatever I’m feeling that week)
  • 1/4 cup granola of choice
  • 1 TBS peanut butter

Directions:

  1. AT HOME: Multiply the ingredients by the number of days on the trail.  Combine oatmeal, chia seeds, cinnamon, sea salt, and dried fruit, and granola in a bag. Mix to combine.
  2. ON THE TRAIL: Measure out ~1 cup of the oatmeal mixture in a bowl, add hot water and let sit for a few minutes.  Add peanut butter on top!

Homemade Protein Granola Bar

I prepare some granola bars before heading out, wrap them individually in plastic wrap or in a baggie, and top with peanut butter in the morning! My favorite is to make Running With Spoons’ soft & chewy protein granola bars, with a few modifications.  My modified recipe coming soon 🙂

Peanut Butter Breakfast Wrap

Ingredients:

  • Multigrain tortilla wrap
  • 2 Tbs peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup granola of choice
  • Handful of dried fruit or freshly picked berries, sliced apple, or random banana you may have thrown in your pack thinking just maybe it won’t get smashed

Directions:

  1. Take tortilla, spread with peanut butter, sprinkle granola in the middle with other dried and/or fresh fruit, and wrap!

 

And last but not least,

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COFFEE!

The most important part of the morning day.  To make my coffee on the trail, I bring a bag filled with ground coffee, a mug, and a MSR coffee filter. Boil some water, fill the coffee filter with coffee grounds (I add quite a bit to make extra strong coffee), place filled filter in mug, and pour hot water over grounds!  Let sit for a few minutes, remove filter, and drink up!

Pro-tip: for used coffee grounds, I bring a sturdy sealed plastic baggie that I can throw the grounds in after they have dried a bit.  Sometimes if we have a fire, I will burn the grounds so I don’t have to carry them.  Remember—pack it in, pack it out!

 

 

life lately

Recently got back home after a vacation in Oregon full of family time, hills, and sunshine 🙂 Here are some pictures on my phone from the last few weeks.

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From a hike 4th of July weekend in the Bitterroots.

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In Oregon—the view of Mt Hood from Timberline Lodge.  Great day with the family 🙂

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Pro-tip: To get to know a new town, go running! Or walking! Or climb all the stairs they have!

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Blue.

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Visiting my great-grandparents old orchard for a wedding photo shoot.

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Beautiful night for a wedding.

 

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Beautiful details from the wedding. Cinnamon rolls from Bette’s—they were considered the “small” rolls. The regular sized cinnamon rolls are gigantic!

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Visiting some rocks and tide pools on the ocean.

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Right outside our hotel room.

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Dreaming of getting paid to live in the Wilderness again on my flight home.

vegan cinnamon coffee cake

One of my favorite memories I have of baking was when I was 26 miles into the woods at Moose Creek Ranger Station in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. My crew and I were stationed there for the summer (June until the beginning of October) while we worked on trails in and around the area.  Our days off consisted of hanging out around the ranger station and at least one of the days we would turn on the propane-run oven and bake.  We would make loaves of bread and usually a few different types of sweets—either cookies (recipe coming soon) or brownies (Ghiradelli…had to use up that Costco-sized box of brownie mix!) and I would rotate between my favorite vegan recipes, one being this coffee cake!

When I made these, everyone agreed that they were amazing.  Now, I’m sure they aren’t that amazing…we were in the woods for 3 months eating oreos, lentils, and tortillas…but they are pretty good!  I adapted the recipe from a blog that I can no longer find—used to be trans-planted.com.  The time that I made them at Moose Creek I added frozen raspberries that the camp host picked and froze for us to have. Seriously, took the recipe to a whole new level.

The picture is of when I first made them for my mom’s birthday…over 3 years ago?!

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Ingredients

  • 3/4 c milk (rice, almond, etc.)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 c granulated white sugar
  • 1/2 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c flour (combo of spelt and oat flour or use all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 1/2 c fresh or frozen berries

Topping

  • 1  c oats (rolled oats or quick-cooking oats)
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 c coconut oil (melted, may not need it all)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease or line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers, set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix milk and vinegar.  Set aside to curdle.
  3. Make the topping: mix oats, sugar, and spices well.  Drizzle oil by the tablespoon until mixture clumps together.
  4. Make the cake: mix milk mixture, sugar, vanilla, and oil in a large bowl.  Sift in flour, baking powder, and salt until smooth.
  5. Pour half of cake batter in prepped pan.  Sprinkle berries on top (if using) and then pour remaining batter.  Sprinkle topping on top and pat gently so it sits into the batter. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing!

Notes:

  • I have made these in an 8×8 pan, muffin tins, and donut pans.  All turn out great!
  • Adding berries are awesome.  Preferably freshly picked huckleberries or raspberries 🙂

coffee talk: road to becoming a holistic nutrition consultant

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My dream: talking about nutrition and holistic health practices with others, sharing my passion and learning as much as possible to improve my own health and those that want the help.  I want to be able to work on my own hours, make enough money to get be comfortable enough and enjoy the world around me…everyone’s dream, right? I just want to be able to do something that I LOVE and don’t get burnt out on so easily.

So…how do I get there?  There are so many nutrition options out there.  Professional degrees, certifications, quick online programs.  It is overwhelming and depends on where you are.  Personally, I knew that I wanted to do an online program.  There aren’t any schools nearby that teach holsitic nutrition nor a university that offers a dietetics program.  Plus, I already did the full time college thing and don’t really want to do it again.  After doing a long search (read: 2 years of researching, deciding, pondering, then looking again), I finally found an online program that I feel that could be worth the money.  With a background in biology and chemistry, I am drawn to the biological aspects of food and how it can heal (or hurt) the body.  After almost going through with applying for a masters degree program in holistic nutrition and realizing it still didn’t offer exactly what I wanted, I found Bauman College.

They offer a holistic nutrition consutant certification with a distance program option that seems heavily scientific-based.  It can take up to 30 months to complete and even offers business classes! Although I can’t practice as I’d like in Montana without a Registered Dietitan license, I can still educate others!  I will be learning about all the things I love and still be living in the place I love.

I can be super hesitant with making up my mind.  As my friends and family know, its hard for me to make a decision some most of the time!  Although it can appear that I am wishy-washy about things, I just want to make sure it is the best option for me and is worth all of the time and effort.  Just like choosing a movie–it has to be worth the 1.5+ hours of my day 😉

The next steps? Work, save up (around $10k for the program in total), and apply.