Favourite Muesli Breakfast Bars (100% Plant Based)

Muesli is gaining popularity in the western world and is known as a healthier version of granola, that doesn’t contain sugar or oil.  But did you know that muesli was actually invented in the 1900s?  A doctor in Switzerland named Maximilian Bircher-Benner actually invented the now famous Muesli at his health clinic.  He originally called it “the Apple Diet Dish” as the main ingredient was chopped up apples (including the skin and seeds) and only a small amount of oats, mixed with a splash of water, lemon juice, condensed milk, honey and chopped nuts.  Instead of strictly being a breakfast food, this muesli dish was served before every meal at the clinic as he believed it to have tremendous health benefits.

In 1959 the Bicher family gave permission to a company called Somalon to alter and manufacture Birchermüesli which quickly spread to many countries in Europe and to the USA.  Muesli has only climbed in popularity since then, especially when Somalon invented a “crunchy toasted muesli” in the 1970s similar to the Americans favourite granola.

Today’s muesli is mainly made up of uncooked rolled oats, wheat flakes, rye flakes or cornflakes, dried fruits (sometimes sweetened), nuts, and seeds.  It is very popular in the western world’s rising health movement as it usually does not contain sugar and replaces our favourite “junk food” cereals.  It can be eaten on yogurt, with fruit, with milk (preferably plant milks) and on top of smoothie bowls.  It is healthy, filled with good carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and is absolutely delicious.

I hope you enjoy this delicious muesli breakfast bar recipe and leave a comment below if you give them a try!

Enjoy!

Breakfast Bars 3

Favourite Muesli Breakfast Bars (100% Plant Based)

  • Servings: 6-9
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 banana (½ cup)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¾ cup rolled oats (it is important to use this type of oats)
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3-4 tbsps chocolate chips
  • 3-4 tbsps of dried cherries (sub raisins or another dried fruit)

Optional Additions:

  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almonds (chunked or sliced)

*** I do not use any sugar in this recipe as I like it to be more of a natural trail mix taste to keep me satisfied through till lunch but if you want more of a granola bar taste you can add sweetened dried fruit, sweetened nut butter, or even mix a bit of brown sugar in with the wet ingredients to satisfy your sweet craving***

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mash banana in small bowl.
  3. Add in the almond butter (or peanut butter if you prefer), maple syrup, and vanilla in with the banana and stir until a smooth consistency is formed.
  4. Pour in rolled oats, chocolate chips, and dried cherries into the wet ingredients and mix well until a chunky texture is formed.
  5. Put parchment paper into a 9″ x 9″ pan and scoop mixture onto paper.  Use your hands (wet them before so the oat mixture doesn’t stick) or a spatula and press the oat mixture down so it is hard packed and even.
  6. Put it into the oven for 15 minutes until cooked and lightly browned.
  7. Cool on a cooling rack and then cut into 6 large bars or 9 medium sized squares.
  8. Enjoy in the morning with a smoothie or green juice or in the evening before a workout!  Cheers and Happy New Year!

 

Exploring Galle, Sri Lanka In One Day, Plant Based!

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Galle is a beautiful coastal city, 130 km south of Colombo.  It is definitely high on my list when visiting southern Sri Lanka, as it is the perfect mixture of history, beach, and culture.  There are some amazing things to do in Galle, even if you are just there for one day, like we were. I hope this guide helps you experience Galle for the charming seafront city it is.  Here is a list of our top things to see when you are in Galle:

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1. Take a Walk: In the 17th century Galle was controlled by Dutch merchants who built it up for the purpose of running the East India Company out of it.  During that time, Galle was a walled city surrounded by thick ramparts that were so large people could walk along them. The city was heavily guarded, you will still be able to see some of the old canons propped along the wall.  

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When in Galle make sure to take a walk along these ramparts and throughout the Fort.  You will be able to see the lighthouse, an old prison, the clock tower, and will even get to watch school children practicing cricket.

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2. Experience the Dutch Architecture: When walking through Galle you will notice how the city feels very european.  The extremely impressive Dutch buildings are still used today giving Galle a very charming and unique feel.  Make sure to walk along the Dutch Hospital, the Groote Kerk, and the Amangalla hotel.  

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If you are into museums, the Maritime Archaeology Museum also is quite fascinating and has lovely Dutch Architecture as it used to be a Dutch warehouse.

3. Have lunch at Coconut Sambol:  This all you can eat Sri Lankan curry & rice buffet is definitely worth a try.  It is extremely delicious and authentic. They have 7 different Sri Lankan curries, rice, and coconut sambol that they make fresh everyday.  It is quite a cozy restaurant with only 3 tables available but that is almost better, as it allows you to connect with the cook and the locals who run Coconut Sambol.  All the vegetarian curries in this restaurant are vegan by default so no worries my plant based buddies!

Other honourable mentions for lunch using the Happy Cow App:

4. Go Shopping: Galle has amazing shopping!  The city is full of charming boutiques where you can buy souvenirs and goods.  Galle is also known for its gems, jewelry, and handmade sarongs.

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Stores I recommend:

  • Stick No Bills:  This store specializes in beautiful Ceylon posters (Rs 3000) and postcards (Rs 350).  If you are looking for memorable souvenirs, take a peek in this local shop and pick up a postcard to send home to your family.
  • Barefoot: Beautiful boutique selling colourful handmade local clothes, linen, jewelry, crafts, rugs, gifts, children’s toys, and books.  If you are looking for the most beautiful handmade children’s toys, you hit the jackpot!

Galle is incredibly close to Unawatuna, the beach town in Galle known for its swimming and surfing!  After spending the morning walking around Galle, soaking up the history and having a lunch of endless rice and curry, you may want to kick back and spend the rest of your day in Galle on the beach in Unawatuna.

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5. Go surfing: On the beach in Unawatuna you can rent a surfboard for cheap or take lessons with Surf South Sri Lanka if you would like to learn the basics from local surfers.

6. Go Swimming: Kick back and play in the waves, Unawatuna’s kid-friendly beach is the perfect place to spend an afternoon!  Along the beach there are plenty of relaxing spots and delicious restaurants to enjoy!

7. Coffee at Kat’s:  Kat’s Coffee is a highly recommended cafe in Unawatuna open from 9am-6pm.  It has delicious cake, coffee, and fantastic internet! After a long day touring around Galle, get yourself a “pick me up” coffee and sweet treat while checking uploading your gorgeous photographs of Galle online to share with your friends and family.

8. Grab Dinner: Unawatuna has a few tasty restaurants with vegan options for you and your friends to grab dinner at.  Here are our favourite places:

  • Koha Surf Cafe & Lounge: Serving western food and juices.  Many dishes can be prepared vegan.
  • Sri Dhara Restaurant: Serving traditional Sri Lankan dishes, many which are traditionally vegan.  They also offer a cooking class if you are interested in learning how to make Sri Lankan Curries! 
  • Love Gelato – a gelato restaurant which prides itself on having over 60% of their flavours being vegan! 

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I hope you enjoyed my list of how to explore Galle in just one day while plant based.  If you have any questions or thoughts please share in the comments below!

Coconut Dessert Chia Pudding with Raspberry Compote

Everyone loves chia pudding, especially delicious, decadent, dessert chia pudding!  I know you have been told since you were little that you couldn’t have pudding for breakfast but I am here to tell you that with this recipe it just isn’t true!

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Chia seeds are such an amazing food!  They loaded with nutrients while staying calorically low, making them one of the world’s greatest superfoods.  They have enormous health benefits which is kind of ironic because they are so tiny in size.

To show you just how much of a superfood they are here are some fun facts about just one ounce (28g/2 tbsps) of chia seeds:

  • 137 calories
  • 11g of fiber
  • 4g of protein
  • 9g of fat (5 of which are omega 3s)
  • 1g digestible carbohydrate
  • While also having heavy amounts of calcium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • And decent amount of zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants making them a great food to help fight against the production of free radicals in the body which leads to diseases like cancer.

They are high in fiber and expand in your stomach, helping to keep you full and your digestion on point.  The fiber in our favourite little seeds feeds the friendly bacteria in our gut which is incredibly important for our stomach and intestine health.

Did you know that chia seeds also have a decent amount of protein?  While also having the essential amino acids to help your body actually use the protein within the tiny seeds.  The protein content also lowers your appetite which make chia seeds great for weight loss!

Chia seeds are also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, especially if you are plant based and looking to keep a healthy body and mind.  Although be careful that chia seeds aren’t your only source of Omega-3’s as they do not supply any DHA which is the most important omega-3 fat.  So along with enjoying your delicious chia pudding, make sure to take a regular DHA supplement.

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Now if anyone asks why you are eating “dessert” for breakfast, you can tell them how your delicious, creamy pudding is actually a nutrient dense superfood powerhouse, helping you stay full for long while keeping your body and mind at it’s best.

Coconut Dessert Chia Pudding with Raspberry Compote

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

CHIA PUDDING

  • 1.5 cups of full fat canned coconut milk (for a lighter pudding use lite canned coconut milk)
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla

RASPBERRY COMPOTE

  • 1 bag (350g) of frozen raspberries
  • 1-2 tbsps or the juice of medium lemon (to taste)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsps cornstarch
  • 3 tbsps cold water (to mix with the corn starch)

Directions

  1. Add the can of full fat coconut to a blender cup with the maple syrup, sea salt, and vanilla.  Blend on high for 30 seconds until it is a milky, creamy consistency with no chunks.
  2. Pour the liquid into a tupperware container and mix in the chia seeds slowly and evenly on the top of the liquid mixture.
  3. Whisk the chia seeds into the coconut mixture avoiding the chia seeds forming large clumps as they tend to do.  Make sure to thoroughly whisk the chia seeds so they are nicely mixed throughout.
  4. Place the lid tightly on the mixture and refrigerate overnight (for around 12 hours) so the chia seeds form into a pudding, they will absorb the liquid getting nice and fluffy creating a cross between a pudding and jello like consistency.
  5. For the raspberry compote, put the frozen raspberries in a pot and place on medium high heat.  Add in the lemon juice, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of water and gently stir the mixture as it starts to boil, making sure to nicely mix all the ingredients.
  6. Allow the mixture to boil for 3-5 minutes while you prepare the cornstarch mixture.  In a small bowl or cup, measure out the cornstarch and cold water, stir until it forms a cloudy liquid with no lumps.
  7. Take the raspberry mixture off the hot element and gently stir in the cornstarch mixture.  The mixture will begin to thicken up and stick to the back of your spoon (I recommend a wooden spoon), once it is this thick you can put it in a container and refrigerate it for a few hours, it will continue to thicken during these next few hours.
  8. In the morning you may serve yourself some chia pudding and raspberry compote for a decadent omega-3 rich breakfast treat or for dessert in the evening with your family and friends!

    Top the pudding with granola, banana slices, some berries and enjoy!

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The Ultimate Guide to Eating Plant Based in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Brunchroom Food

When my partner and I decided to go to Amsterdam for a long weekend earlier this year, I had not even begun to think about the challenges going to the Netherlands would pose for a vegan such as myself.  However, we took a leap of faith and off we went to experience this unique Dutch city.

Waking up on our first morning in Amsterdam was wonderful, the sun streaming through the windows, my handsome partner laying beside me and all of a sudden my stomach growled and like every vegan out there, I was immediately struck with the realization that I would have to begin the hunt for vegan restaurants.  I was hungry and being the one who is plant based, I knew it was my job to find a restaurant or cafe that would satisfy us both.

Luckily within minutes I found out that Amsterdam has a plethora of vegan options.  If you are plant based and looking to travel anywhere you must download the happy cow app for your mobile or use their website, it will save you so much time on trying to find suitable restaurants, bars, and pubs as well as provide you with reviews, pictures, store hours, directions, connect you to the website and even sometimes the full menu.  This has been a lifesaver for me when I travel.

During my long weekend in Amsterdam these are some of the restaurant’s my partner and I experienced.  They were all incredible.

1. By far our favourite restaurant was De Hummus House – Sint Antoniesbreestraat, it had the most tender, fluffy, warm, and fresh pitta’s we have ever eaten.  I didn’t know a pitta could melt in your mouth until I tasted them from De Hummus House in Amsterdam.  It was too bad that we found this place near the end of our trip or I believe we would of ate there for every meal.  They were so considerate of my food restrictions and most of their menu was naturally vegan. My favourite type of food by far is israeli cuisine, I could eat falafel, couscous salads, fattoush, and hummus for every meal.  One day I hope to visit Israel and learn to cook real Israeli cuisine but until then I will keep hunting for restaurants like these. Plant based or not, this restaurant should be on the top everybody’s list while travelling through Amsterdam.

2. Second on the list is the Brunchroom which we were such fans of that we came back to it every morning and seriously considered coming during lunch as well.  Here you can order regular or plant based versions of your favourite meals such as yogurt parfaits, waffles, smoothies, sandwiches, and soups.  We felt very welcomed coming here for breakfast by the owner who by day two knew us by name. Do not miss out on such a cozy and friendly cafe during your stay.

3. Coming in third place is Mr. & Mrs. Watson, an outstanding restaurant and would be perfect for a plant based date night out in Amsterdam.  They are famous for their plant based cheeses and decadent desserts. When we arrived at Mr. & Mrs. Watson we were delighted by their charming lunch menu.  I went for the nutritionally dense salad with quinoa, marinated mushrooms, tempeh, roasted fennel and seasoned seasonal veggies, while my partner opted for the sloppy cheese steak bun which I must say smelt incredible with the vegan cheese and sweet mustard sauce.  This place brings their A game and will not disappoint.

4. In fourth place is Spirit, which is not so much of a restaurant but more of a food hall.  It has long buffet style tables where each dish is labeled with various food allergies and diets so you know exactly what is plant based and there is no guessing.  After choosing all the food you’d like, you weigh your plate and pay. At the till there is a large glass chiller full of delicious mostly plant based desserts – cakes, pies, squares, cookies, and puddings – it’s like I died and went to vegan heaven.  Whether you are just trying to grab a quick “serve yourself” type of lunch or want some take out, make sure to give this food hall a try.

5. In fifth place is the delicious Beter en Leuk.  This place is really tasty and uses such fresh and healthy ingredients which is something I always look for when eating out.  Although because we were walking/biking a lot and touring around we found the breakfast that we enjoyed here to be quite small and not as filling as we hoped.  I still highly recommend Beter en Leuk if you are more of a grazer throughout the day or are having a more of a relaxed day out in Amsterdam. Make sure to try the vegan buckwheat pancakes topped with real Canadian maple syrup and chia seeds to start your morning off right.

As a plant based traveller you will feel at ease (as I did) while exploring Amsterdam and it’s rapidly growing foodie culture.  Hope you enjoyed how I toured Amsterdam plant based, stay tuned for more places to explore as a vegan.

In the comments below please share if you have ever been to Amsterdam plant based and what your favourite restaurant was.

 

Best,

Kennedy

Cashew Sour Cream Breakfast Burrito

Cashews are delicious and known for their buttery, salty, and sweet taste.  They are absolute chameleons and can be used to make a ton of different recipes including granola bars, sour cream, vegan “cheese”, plant based “milk”, yogurt, cheesecake, caramel and more.

In addition to cashews tasting like dessert, they actually have tons of added health benefits and should be added into everyone’s regular diet.  Here is the nutrient profile of one-ounce (28g) of raw cashews:

  • 155 calories
  • 8.5g carbohydrates
  • 5.1g protein
  • 12.43g fat
  • Vitamin E, K, and B6
  • As well as minerals such as copper, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, magnesium, and iron

Cashews have a lot of benefits for your body and your overall health.  It is important to know that not only do they have a lower fat content then most other nuts, they also have a good portion of their fats being heart-healthy monounsaturated fats which aid in the prevention of heart disease.

Cashews are also wonderful for your blood!  Your body utilizes the copper and iron within the cashew to help the body form functional red blood cells.  These minerals help your bodies immune system, blood vessels, bone health, and energy production.

Interestingly enough, magnesium is calciums sidekick when it comes to healthy bones and cashews are riddled with magnesium.  Did you know that 2/3 of all the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones?  Magnesium give your bones their physical structure while it also helps regulate nerve and muscle tone.  To keep your body at optimal health, it is incredibly important to understand what magnesium does for your body and how it interacts with calcium.

“…Magnesium serves as Nature’s own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve.  By blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they innervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become overactivated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction.” (whfoods.org)

But don’t nuts like cashews make you gain weight?

It is actually quite the opposite, in studies published in the journals Obesity and  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it showed that women who consumed nuts a few times a week were less likely to gain weight and actually had an easier time with weight management.  It is actually recommended that you add nuts into your regular routine as a cardioprotective component of your diet and to maintain a healthier weight.  Nuts help keep people satiated and contribute to heat production within the body (thermogenesis), which boosts metabolism.

Cashews are delicious, nutritious, and add a plethora of benefits to your diet.  Try eating them a few times a week to keep your bones strong, heart healthy, and aid in weight management.  Try this creamy cashew burrito for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, either vegetarian or vegan-style!

Cashew Sour Cream Breakfast Burrito

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup cashews (boiled or soaked)
  • 1/4 cup of water from boiling cashews or regular water
  • 1/2 juice of a medium lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

Burrito

  • 1/2 purple onion diced (although any type will do)
  • 4 medium sized white mushrooms diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado mashed (1/4 per burrito)
  • 6 eggs (or sub the cheesy tofu scramble recipe for vegan burritos)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp olive oil (not necessary – you can water fry***)
  • Franks buffalo sauce (or any other hot sauce you prefer – Valentina hot sauce also works well)
  • 4-8 slices of aged cheddar (optional) sub for vegan cheese or skip the cheese all together
  • 4 multigrain burrito wraps (original, spinach, or any other style of wrap will do)

Directions

  1. You can prepare the sour cream the night before or the morning of.
    • IF starting the sour cream the night before you can soak the cashews in hot water in a bowl overnight so that the cashews are fully covered by the water and a plate sits on top of the bowl keeping the heat in.
    • OR the morning of you can place the cashews in a pot covering them with water and bring them to a boil.  Once boiling turn off the heat and let them sit on the hot element to keep soaking for another 10 minutes or so to make sure they are extremely soft.
  2. Then take the boiled cashews, and 1/4 cup of the water that the cashews were boiled in and add them to a blender cup (personal sized smoothie cup works best), you can use a larger blender or food processor as well.  Add the rest of the sour cream ingredients to the blender cup and blend on medium to high for 1.5 minutes or more until blended into a cream (no chunks remaining).  You may need to feed 1-2 tbsps of water into the mixture at a time if it does not have enough liquid to blend.
  3. Once the sour cream is made, set aside and prepare the burritos.
    • Side note:  IF making these burritos vegan, make the cheesy tofu scramble recipe before you begin frying up the veggies.
  4. Bring the frying pan to medium heat and place the 2 minced cloves of garlic into the pan with 1-2 tbsp of oil or add 1/4 – 1/3 cup of water to fry them in (waterfrying).
    • Side Note: I like to add 1/2 cup of water to the frying pan with the veggies and garlic to that they cook through more thoroughly and become soft, it’s almost like frying and steaming at the same time!
  5. Place the diced onion, and bell peppers into the pan as well.  Begin to fry everything together so that the garlic and onion starts to become fragrant.
  6. Add in the diced mushrooms and 1 tsp paprika into the veggie mixture.
  7. Once everything is cooked thoroughly and there is no water left in the pan you can turn the pan down to a low-medium heat and place the 6 eggs, and 1/2 cup of chopped spinach into the veggie mixture.  Start mixing the eggs thoroughly into the veggies to make a sort of scrambled eggs (or add in your already scrambled tofu and mix for 1-2 minutes).  You want more of a scrambled texture not an omelette texture.  Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix them up.
  8.  The egg scramble will only take a few minutes to cook until the eggs are fluffy, this is when you want to remove them from the heat, do not let them dry out as you want the creaminess of scrambled eggs.
  9.  It is okay to leave the egg mixture in the pan off the hot element while you prepare the next steps.  Lay out 2 of the burrito wraps, mash 1/4 of the avocado into each of the wraps, next take a tbsp of sour cream and spread it on each of the wraps.  Pour a tbsp or more of hot sauce onto the middle of each of the wraps then add 1/4 of the veggie egg mixture to each wrap, place a slice or two of aged cheddar on top and roll up the burritos.
  10. Place the burritos (seam side down) in a new pan on medium heat with a spray of oil for cooking if needed and cover with a lid, check in a few minutes and once golden brown, flip the burritos to toast the other side.  It is important to have them covered with a lid so the cheese can melt into the inside of the burrito when browning the outside.
    • When cooking the burritos prepare the last 2 burritos so they are ready to grill when the other burritos are done.
  11. Serve the burritos with some fruit, hashbrowns, or a smoothie for a delicious, nutritious breakfast full of veggies, protein, and healthy fats to keep you full!
  12. Enjoy!