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. 

Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread

Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home

I've been a long time reader of Alexandra Stafford's blog. In fact, we probably cook from it at least once a week. So when her book, Bread Toast Crumbs came out last month, it arrived in my mailbox with not a minute to spare. I've been wanting to be the type of person who bakes my own bread for a while now but unfortunately this whole grad school thing was not allowing that to happen. This cookbook has showed me otherwise. The recipes are simple and fairly quick and make me wonder why it's taken me so long to make homemade bread on a weekly basis because fresh out of the oven it's just such a game changer. 

This bread is adapted from one in her book and it teeters on the line of being borderline too decadent. Creamy chocolate ganache with bursting juicy berries swirled together in a barely sweetened loaf that's all too unassuming until you cut it open and BAM -  what dreams are made of. My dreams, at least. And somehow it's dairy and egg free. I seriously don't know how that happened but it wasn't hard at all. 

Of course you could go ahead and use whole milk in the dough and butter in the ganache, but I've replaced them both with coconut milk to keep that fat content and creaminess factor high. Honestly, you'd never know the difference, plus that subtle coconut smell as you're mixing up the ganache is quite intoxicating. 

So maybe make this for your mother on Sunday, maybe make it for yourself and eat the whole thing in 24 hours, maybe bring it to brunch. Either way, food is love, and everyone will love you. 

Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan} | Kneading Home
Dark Chocolate Berry Swirl Bread {vegan}
Makes 1 loaf
Adapted from: Bread Toast Crumbs

For the Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour (384 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup boiling water + 1/4 cup room temp water
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
a knob of vegan butter* for greasing the pan

For the Filling:
3.5 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespooons powdered sugar
1 scant cup of berries (I used strawberries + raspberries)

Make the dough. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Whisk to combine. In a small bowl, combine the coconut milk and water (both boiling & room temp). Pour the wet ingredients into the dry followed by the coconut oil. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything until it forms a cohesive dough. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. 

While the dough is rising make the ganache. Place the chocolate and coconut milk in a double boiler over simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate begins to milk, then stir in the powdered sugar. Keep stirring until the chocolate has melted completely. Remove form heat and set aside to cool completely. 

Grease a standard 8.5 x 4.5 inch loaf pan generously with vegan butter. Once the dough has risen de-flat it with a fork and transfer it to a heavily floured work surface. With floured hands shape the dough into a ball (it should be very covered in flour at this point) and let sit for 20 minutes uncovered. Gentle shape the dough into a 10 x 15 inch rectangle (using either your hands or a rolling pin). Make sure you have plenty of flour underneath your rectangle so it doesn't stick to the surface. Spread the ganache all over the top of the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin on all sides. Top with berries. Roll the bread from short end to short end into a thick 10 inch log, seam side down. Take a deep breath (you've got this!) and transfer it your buttered loaf pan. 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F, while you let the dough rise for about 10 minutes until it just begins to crown the rim of the pan. Cook the bread for 40 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and firm. Remove from the pan and turn onto its side to cool (I let it rest on 1 side for 10 minutes then the other side for 10 minutes) before cutting into it!