Healthy Chocolate Banana Smoothies

Healthy Chocolate Banana Smoothies | Kneading Home

During the year I normally alternate between green smoothies, overnight oats, and green juices for breakfast but this summer I've started switching things up with these chocolate banana smoothies. They are sweetened with dates and filled, literally filled, with plant-based protein. 

In an attempt to clean up my diet a bit while I'm off of school this summer I reached out to my brilliant nutritionist friend/guru, Colleen, of Colleen's Nutrition {seriously guys she is the smartest and most helpful person I know when it comes to all things health/food/fitness}. She recommended I start tracking everything I eat through an app. Instead of counting calories she recommended tracking macronutrients in attempt to reduce the amount of carbs {and sugar, damn you sugar} I eat and increase healthy fats and plant-based proteins. It's been challenging, especially give my homemade bread addiction. And trust me, I'm still enjoying bread regularly and eating things like beans, lentils, and quinoa on a daily basis. 

When you're a vegetarian A LOT of people will have opinions about your protein intake. It's SO easy to not have to worry about protein when you eat meat, but as a vegetarian it feels more effortful. I normally roll my eyes at these types of comments, quietly worrying if I actually am getting enough protein. Then you hear leaders of vegan/vegetarian movements talking about how most Americans actually get more than twice the amount of protein they need. So whose right?! Since I've started tracking the results have been quite shocking. I haven't even come close to my recommended daily protein intake, I've been consistently and daily over it! Most women need about 45 grams per day and men need about 55 grams. On some days I've gotten up to 70g! And on my lowest protein days I've still come in at around 50g. 

This smoothie has 25g, that's more than half the protein I need in a day in one meal. I don't know about you but that makes me feel excited and empowered and reinforces the idea that our bodies can be well-served on a plant-based diet. I've got this! Also this smoothie is delicious and leaves me full for hours thanks to the hemp seeds, oats, and almond butter. 

Healthy Chocolate Banana Smoothies | Kneading Home
Healthy Chocolate Banana Smoothies
Makes 1 serving

1 frozen banana
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 pitted date
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cocoa nibs (optional)
large handful of spinach
1 - 1.5 cups almond milk

Add all the ingredients in a blender. Top with 2-3 ice cubes and blend until smooth, adjusting the amount of almond milk until desired thickness is achieved. Feel free to sprinkle cocoa nibs, hemp or chia seeds on top. 

Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan}

Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home

Being off of school and practicum for several weeks this summer has been soul-nourishing to say the least. This past year has been one of the most rigorous and challenging of my life and the lack of sleep, stress, and the dairy-free ben and jerry's addiction I developed while writing papers has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. So this summer I'm attempting to eat a little healthier and be a bit more active than I have time for while in school.

I've actually made it to yoga or class or gone for a run nearly everyday since practicum wrapped up two weeks ago. It makes me FEEL strong until I remember that I AM strong. I've also noticed that I'm not always the nicest to my body. I call it names and pick it apart for being bigger and thicker than I'd like. Then I find my way onto my yoga mat and I'm reminded of all my body does do for me. It functions miraculously well on 5 hours of sleep, it demos poses as a yoga teacher and teaches others how to be present in their bodies, it can hold plank for a solid two minutes, ride a bike everyday to get me to and from work and school, it can run 4 miles without stopping to rest, and it allows me to stay present with the suffering of others in my work as a psychologist in training. My body is the instrument through which I live my dharma.

I plan to write my dissertation on the relationship between mindfulness, self-compassion and empathy. I believe the deeper ones self-compassion the deeper their capacity for empathy. And I'm starting to think that my yoga practice, or any self-care practice for that matter, is self-compassion in action. The deeper I grow and strengthen my own roots the further my branches can extend. I'm feeling especially grateful for this time to re-connect and ground. 

Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home
Fresh Red Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {gf + vegan} | Kneading Home

And now onto these scones! I had never cooked or baked or eaten fresh currants until I saw them at the farmer's market a couple weeks ago and was overtaken by their beauty. Seriously, they look fake they're so beautiful. Chocolate and berries are probably my favorite flavor combo ever so I through them in some scones. I guess you could call these healthy because they have a fairly small about of sugar and are made entirely with oat flour (hello protein) so all your gluten-free friends can enjoy, and they come together with coconut oil so they're vegan! The rich dark chocolate balances out that bright tartness from the currants beautifully.

Notes: I encourage you to make a trip to your local farmer's market, support small farms, and try to find some currants but if you can't raspberries (or any berry for that matter) would work great too! 

Fresh Currant & Dark Chocolate Scones {vegan + gf}
Makes 8 scones
Adapted from: Love and Lemons

For the scones:
2.5 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut (or cane) sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons chilled coconut oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond milk, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
1 cup fresh red currants (see notes above)
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

For the glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon fresh currants

In a blender/food processor, blend the oats until they've reached the consistency of flour. Measure out 2 cups and reserve the remaining oat "flour" for dusting later on. In a medium bowl whisk to combine the oat flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Spoon clumps of very cold, solid coconut oil into the flour mixture then use your fingers or a pastry blender to cut the coconut oil into the flour until it looks like crumbly sand with pea-sized clumps of coconut oil. In a liquid measuring cup combine 1 cup of cold almond milk and vanilla bean paste. Pour the almond milk mixture into the dough and stir to combine. 

Sprinkle a work surface with reserved oat "flour" then transfer the dough onto it. Roll the dough out into a large circle and sprinkle with chocolate. Fold the dough in half and press flat so the chocolate chunks get pressed inside the scones. Flatten again and top with the currants, fold the dough in half pressing the currants inside, it's okay if some of them get smashed. Shape the dough into a flat circular disc (about 1.5 inches thick). Slice the dough into 8 pieces. Place the pieces on a parchment lined baking sheet and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Just before baking, brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 2 tablespoons of almond milk. Bake for 15-17 minutes until golden brown. 

To make the glaze, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Let the scones cool slightly then drizzle with glaze if using. 

Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Dressing, Pistachios, & Dates

This is a straight up re-creation from a cauliflower dish I had a couple weeks ago at the new True Food Kitchen in Chicago. It was by far the best thing we ordered that night, and it reminded me so much of the flavors of Morocco. 

Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Pistachios, and Dates | Kneading Home
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Dressing, Pistachios & Dates | Kneading Home
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Dressing, Pistachios & Dates | Kneading Home
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Pistachios, and Dates | Kneading Home
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Pistachios, and Dates | Kneading Home

It's pretty simple. Just dry roast a head of cauliflower. While it's cooking you whip up a simple tahini dressing (I used the most treasured sweet paprika I bought in Morocco last summer, but any kind will do). Toast some pistachios in a frying pan until fragrant, chop up some dates, fresh mint and dill and toss everything together. It's technically a side, but we've eaten it for dinner at least twice now, and we're not complaining. 

I love the crunch the toasted pistachios bring to the dish and the tanginess from the dressing is cut beautifully by chunks of sweet dates. The fresh mint and dill lend themselves perfectly to pretending it's not the dead of winter and really lighten everything up. 

Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini, Pistachios, and Dates | Kneading Home
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower with Tahini Dressing, Pistachios & Dates
Serves 4 as a side

1 large head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons tahini
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon agave (or honey)
3/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 tablespoons warm water
scant 1/4 cup shelled pistachios
4-5 pitted dates
small handful of fresh dill
small handful of fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper then coat the bottom of the sheet with a light layer of oil (I used grape seed). 

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets, season with salt, then place on the bake sheet and cook for 25-35 minutes until lightly browned around the edges. 

While the cauliflower is cooking prepare the dressing. In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, agave, paprika, and water. Season with salt and adjust to taste. Heat a small frying pan over medium head and toast the pistachios, tossing frequently, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Dice the dates, and chop the fresh dill and mint.

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and start by tossing with about half the dressing. Then toss with dates, pistachios, and herbs. Season liberally (seriously, that cauliflower can handle it) with salt. Drizzle with the remaining dressing on top and serve.