Fluffy Pancakes // Vegan

Welcome back! I know I haven’t posted in a while and I am sorry for that. I had finals and I had to move, so I have been very preoccupied. In my absence, I have been working on new recipes. I normally wouldn’t be comfortable making something like vegan pancakes, but I stepped outside of my comfort zone. Here is my recipe, please enjoy.

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INGREDIENTS…

  • 1 Cup of rolled oats.
  • ½ Non-dairy milk.
  • 1 Teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar or any sweetener.
  • 1 mashed banana.
  • 1 Teaspoon of vanilla.
  • 2 Tablespoons of vegetable or coconut oil (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of baking powder.
  • 1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • Toppings
    • Fruit
    • Maple Syrup
    • Almond butter or peanut butter (optional).

PROCESS…

  • In a blender or food processor, blitz the rolled oats until a powder forms.
  • To make the batter: mix together the oat flour, cinnamon, flax seed, baking powder, salt, sugar, oil, vanilla, banana, and non-dairy milk. The batter should be slightly runny. If the batter is too thick, add in a small amount of water.
  • Heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Pour a spoonful of batter onto the skillet and flip once when bubbles form. Each pancake should be a golden brown color and fluffy on the inside.

NOTES…

  • When I made this, I didn’t have baking powder. I used a flax egg to make the pancakes rise instead. To do this, mix one tablespoon of flax seed with 3 tablespoons of water.
  • Cinnamon, ground flax seed, and vanilla are optional.
  • The toppings can be whatever you want. Healthier toppings are fruit and jams. Butter and syrups are more indulgent toppings.
  • You don’t have to use oat flour, you can use all-purpose or any other type.

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Thanks for reading! Tell me your favorite junk food in the comments.

~ All photos taken by me.

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A Vegan in Kansas

I basically live in the middle of nowhere. I am not exaggerating. I could drive 10 minutes and end up in a field. I don’t consider veganism “hard” or “unrealistic”. However, it can be a challenge sometimes when you live in Kansas (or any Midwestern state). I see a lot of “eat beef” license plates and finding options at restaurants can be difficult. This post is based on my experiences and I hope it gives you some useful tips, especially if you live in a not so vegan friendly area.

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Basic diary free oatmeal with fruit on top

Asking for substitutions is super important. Just set aside your anxiety and ask the server if it’s okay to make substitutions. Main dishes might not be able to be made vegan, but most restaurants have vegan friendly sides. I’ve noticed that cafes, brunch restaurants, Chinese restaurants, and Indian restaurants typically have good options.

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Raspberry vegan cheesecake.

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Tortilla chips with cashew cheese and veggies.

Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes you find great restaurants in the most unexpected places. I was in Wichita a few weekends ago and I went to a great restaurant called, “Lotus Leaf Cafe”. It was mostly plant-based and it has some options for your omnivore friends. My sister doesn’t usually like “healthy” food and she really liked this place. I had an appetizer, a main dish, and a dessert and everything was great!

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Raspberry nice cream bowl.

Learning how to cook is important no matter where you live and no matter what your lifestyle is. Learning how to cook will make you self-sufficient and you will take pride in yourself. If you live in a town with few vegan options, it is imperative that you learn how to cook.

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Chickpea Wrap

If you can find a restaurant that has wraps, more than likely they will have one you can easily make vegan. Wraps are also very easy to make on your own, even if you are on a trip.

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Tofu with veggies and rice.

Chinese or other Asian restaurants usually have more options. I would just ask your server if they use fish products in their sauces. Most Chinese restaurants have tofu dishes, curries, and vegetable stir-fry dishes.

I’ve been vegan for a while and I sometimes forget that people might feel anxiety at restaurants. I hope some of these tips help. I kept it pretty general. If I can survive being a vegan in Kansas, then you can definitely try this lifestyle as well. If you have more questions or you have more to contribute, please post in the comments. Thanks for reading!

~ Sorry for the quality of some of these photos. I don’t bring my camera with me everywhere so sometimes I use my phone. Nonetheless, all photos were taken by me. If you want to use one, please credit me. This post was NOT sponsored.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies // Vegan

“Do you only eat salads?”. I laugh every time someone asks this. Eating vegan doesn’t have to be boring. I have proved this time and time again. Before making this recipe, I didn’t really eat cookies. That’s changed for sure. These cookies are easy to make, really tasty, and somewhat healthy.

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Oven: 350 degrees

Bake Time: 7-8 minutes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4-8 servings (makes 1 dozen)

WHAT YOU’LL NEED…

  • ½ cup chunky peanut butter.
  • ½ cup brown sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup.  
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed.
  • 3 tablespoons water.
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats.
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda.

DIRECTIONS…

  • Mix together water and flax seed and set aside for at least 5 minutes. This makes a flax egg and will act as a binding agent. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  •  Stir together the dry ingredients. Mix the rolled oats, cinnamon, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.
  • Next, mix together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, maple syrup, and peanut butter.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until everything is well incorporated.
  • Form into balls. Place on parchment paper and gently press down on the cookie so that the cookie is slightly flat.
  • Place on middle rack and bake for 7 minutes. Cookies should be golden on the outside. If cookies are still mushy, place back in the oven and bake for 1-2 more minutes.

~ The photo was taken by me and it shows the oatmeal peanut butter cookies, but also shows vegan chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chip cookies were not homemade, so that’s why I am not sharing the recipe. Please tell me if you end up making this! Share your favorite dessert in the comments.

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Vegan on a Budget

I constantly hear people say that they don’t have enough money to eat healthier. They “can’t afford to be vegan”.  It’s actually a myth that healthy food is more expensive than junk food (unless you live in a food desert, which is a completely different issue). In the long run, whole plant foods are more affordable and way better for your health and the environment. It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to eat plant-based. With the tips I provide you and a little planning, you will realize how easy it can be to adopt this lifestyle.

  1. Buy in season. If you prefer fresh produce (who doesn’t), buy fruits and veggies in season. Avoid buying summer fruits and vegetables in the winter and vice versa. Squash is more affordable in autumn and winter. Avocados and tropical fruits are less expensive in the summer. Potatoes and starchy vegetables are typically affordable year round. In my area, spinach and kale is around the same price all year as well. If it’s more expensive to buy fresh, go for the frozen option.
  2. Buy frozen. Fruits and vegetables are actually frozen at peak freshness, so buying the frozen option allows your food to stay fresh for longer and it is also more affordable. I prefer to buy broccoli and most of my fruit frozen. Corn is also good to buy frozen. You don’t have to worry about using your fruit or vegetables before they go bad because you can store them in the freezer for an extended period of time.
  3. Avoid name brand. If you are buying packaged food, you don’t need to get the name brand version. Just get the generic version (if it’s vegan friendly) because it is most likely exactly the same. Some generic products are even manufactured by the same company that produces the name brand version.
  4. Minimize the “organic” products. Occasionally, I do buy organic products. However, it is common for products to be labeled organic in order to justify the higher price. If eating organic is super important to you-that’s great, but you might have to adjust your budget. Buying organic potatoes, bananas, and dark leafy greens won’t leave you broke and they might be better. You do not need organic packaged food because it’s essentially the same.
  5. Buy rice, legumes, some pastas, potatoes, etc. Stick to whole plant foods, rice, beans, and pastas. You don’t need to buy various meat alternatives or vegan junk food items. Buy the most affordable plant-based options at your grocery store and buy those each week.
  6. Shop at different places. Where I live, there are two main grocery stores. One has more affordable packaged goods and the other has more quality fresh vegetables and fruit. I shop at both to get the most out of my money. This can be time-consuming, so I do this on days I don’t have work or school. Additionally in some states, there are programs where you can have discarded produce sent to you. This is also a good option if you want to save money.
  7. Make a list. This seems obvious, but a lot of people don’t do this. Write down your plan and follow it. This will help keep you on track and help you avoid impulse purchases.
  8. Do your best. Don’t over think buying groceries. It isn’t supposed to be a stressful situation. You don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle overnight. Slowly add more plant-based foods into your grocery shopping. Do some research and shop around. Also, cruelty free makeup and hair care should come second to what you eat (especially on a budget). I have been vegan for a year and not all of my cleaning products, hair products, skin care, and makeup products are 100% cruelty free. My goal is to get nearly all cruelty free and vegan products, but I don’t use these products very often and I don’t want to waste the products I have. Putting so much pressure on yourself, will turn you off from the vegan lifestyle. Trying your best is all you can really do. Start with food and then go from there.

It can be overwhelming to change your diet and lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. The vegan lifestyle is so amazing and money shouldn’t be a deterrent. On average, I spend $40 for 10 days worth of groceries. I don’t spend money at restaurants, so I save money in that aspect. In the summer, my groceries can be as cheap as $20 for a week. If you live on the coast, your groceries will probably be even less expensive. I hope this helps you in your vegan journey. If you have tips or advice, leave them in the comments!

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3 Simple Breakfast Ideas // Vegan

I’m not a morning person at all, but I never miss breakfast. I basically stick to 3 meals that I have on rotation. They each take less than 10 minutes and will truly brighten your morning.

My favorite breakfast right now is vegan yogurt with various toppings. You can basically add whatever you want on top. I typically add fruit, granola, and some seeds for healthy fat. If you don’t want to use soy yogurt or coconut yogurt, you can just have cereal and fruit with nuts/seeds.

Another favorite of mine is oatmeal. I don’t eat plain oatmeal, because honestly it’s gross. I like to add peanut butter and cocoa powder to oatmeal along with fruit. Here is a specific recipe: Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal

I saved the best for last. My favorite breakfast is a smoothie bowl. I especially love this in the warmer months. I don’t always follow a recipe. I just add my favorite fruits. When it comes to smoothies, I don’t limit myself. If I am extra hungry I will add multiple bananas and more toppings. When you eat whole plant foods you do not need to restrict.

Here are two recipes: How To Make Instagram Worthy Smoothie Bowls + Update | Breakfast Smoothie + 200 Follows

The most important thing about breakfast is eating enough. Most people don’t eat enough early in the day and they end up binge eating later on. I hope this post gave you breakfast inspiration. Let me know what your favorite breakfast is in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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Fall Inspired Meals (Vegan)

Chocolate Raspberry Oatmeal

When you think of Valentine’s Day, you don’t necessarily think of oatmeal. Hear me out though. This is probably the best oatmeal recipe I have created. It is chocolaty and sweet. The colors of this recipe represent love, in my opinion. I think if you’re vegan, then you would enjoy this for breakfast on Valentine’s Day. Maybe even drop a “subtle” hint to your significant other.

This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to make and the ingredients are fairly simple.

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WHAT YOU WILL NEED…

  • ½ cup rolled or quick cook oats.
  • 1 cup of cashew/almond milk.
  •  ¼- ½ zucchini (optional).
  • 1 cup + of frozen raspberries.
  • 2 bananas.
  • 1-2 Tbsp. of cocoa powder.
  • 1 Tbsp. of flax seed.
  • 1 Tbsp. of maple syrup.
  • 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter.

DIRECTIONS…

  • Shred the zucchini and mash 1 banana. Add these into a saucepan. Then, add in the almond milk. Use medium-high heat. Once the almond milk is boiling add in the oats and cook according to the container instructions (5-10 minutes).
  • Add in half of the frozen raspberries into the mixture and stir frequently.
  • Once the oats are soft, add in flax seed and cocoa powder (turn the heat to low). Stir until everything is incorporated.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl. Top with peanut butter, maple syrup, the remaining raspberries, and a sliced banana.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS…

  • If you don’t have a plant-based milk, you can also use water.
  • If you are avoiding fat, you can substitute the peanut butter for PB2 or PBFit powder.
  • To make it extra sweet, you can add in coconut sugar and dairy free chocolate chips.
  • You don’t have to use the same toppings as me, feel free to add your favorites

If you aren’t a fan of oatmeal, but you still want a chocolaty Valentine’s Day breakfast then I suggest making chocolate banana nice cream. You would just blend together a few frozen bananas with a couple of tablespoons of cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. Then, add similar toppings. Thanks for reading! Let me know what your favorite breakfast is in the comments.

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Healing Hair and Skin With a Vegan Lifestyle

People come to the vegan lifestyle for many different reasons. I came to this lifestyle for ethical reasons. However, I cannot deny the healing benefits of a plant-based diet. Adopting a vegan lifestyle can aid in the prevention of various diseases, including cancer. I am not saying that it is a “cure-all”. To put it frankly, if you eat crap, you are going to feel like crap. Here is an article about meat consumption and risk of cancer.

Anyway, I have noticed that a lot of people are interested in eating more whole plant foods because of the skin and hair care benefits. I can say from personal experience, that a vegan lifestyle helps a great amount. Again, you’re not going to get perfect skin all of a sudden because it is not a quick fix. But changing my lifestyle has gradually helped with my hair and skin. I didn’t have pimples very often when I was in high school. Apparently, I was a late bloomer because I starting getting acne in college. As for my hair, it has always been really healthy and thick; but it was never very shiny or smooth. I see a lot of misinformation going around regarding skin care/hair care and I wanted to share my perspective on the subject (consult a dermatologist/physician for serious concerns).

Healthy fats are so important! Healthy fats have essential fatty acids. They have Omega-3 and Omega-6, which are vital for skin and hair production as well as hormone regulation and just general health. A complaint I hear from people trying a plant-based diet is that their skin is very dry. This is probably because they are not eating enough fats. It could also just be a transitional period. Any time you change your diet, your skin and hair might be affected for a few weeks. Don’t let this deter you. In the long run, your hair will be healthier looking and your skin will start to clear up. Chia seeds, flax seeds, avocados, hemp seeds, nuts, and nut butters are good vegan sources of healthy fats. Looking past the cruelty of fish and fish oil, I don’t think these are good sources of healthy fats even for those not following a vegan/plant based diet. I think this because the research is inconclusive regarding fish oil. Fish also contain high levels of heavy metals (not just mercury) and fecal matter. Here is a scholarly article explaining essential fatty acids.

Ditch the products! Some people think that all acne is food related and others believe it has nothing to do with food. I fall somewhere in the middle. Skin related issues can be caused by hereditary, hormonal, lifestyle, and environmental factors. In my opinion, you do not need so many products on your face or your hair. If you are a beauty guru, then I understand that you need products at times. But your hair and skin also needs a break. When I stopped putting so many layers of products on my face, my skin got significantly better. My pores weren’t so large and I didn’t get breakouts of small bumps. I am not just referring to makeup. Heavy moisturizers with fragrance will irritate your skin and constantly using dry shampoos and harsh shampoos can irritate your scalp. I usually use a simple cleanser and moisturizer on my face. I don’t use eye creams, serums, or tons of benzoyl peroxide. For my hair, I only use shampoo and I put a leave-in conditioner on when my hair is damp. I don’t use a conditioner in the shower because it is irritating to my skin and just weighs down my hair. I had seborrheic dermatitis briefly, which caused red patches on my scalp and it got significantly better when I used fewer products.

Nature’s Gate Products and Beauty Without Cruelty are good vegan options. I wouldn’t go overboard with these products though because they have essential oils and some people have sensitivities to those.

Strive for balance! I try to do this in all aspects of my life (not always successfully). Don’t stress too much, drink water, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, and stay active semi-regularly. Take the stairs and eat your vegetables. Maintaining balance and a healthy lifestyle will surely improve your hair/skin.

I hope this post was useful. Small changes can improve your hair and skin health. Veganism isn’t a “fix-all”, but it has many benefits. I included reliable articles in this post, however, you should consult a medical professional before making big lifestyle changes.

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~This post was NOT sponsored.

Colorful Winter Chili (Vegan)

In the warmer months, my diet is made up of tons of fruit. However, now that it is absolutely freezing; I crave warm foods like pasta, chili, and baked potatoes. I have posted a vegan chili recipe before, but this one is a little different. As the title suggests, it is colorful. It also has spices that are better in the colder months. This recipe is packed with protein and with spices that promote immune functioning.

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes (at the least) | Servings: 4-6

INGREDIENTS…

  • 1 cup of black beans.
  • 1 cup of garbanzo beans.
  • 1/2 cup of corn.
  • 1 cup of lima beans.
  • 1/4 cup of tomatoes (quartered).
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion.
  • 1 can of tomato sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.
  • 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder.
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin.
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder.
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder.
  • Cilantro (optional).

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DIRECTIONS…

  • Saute onions and minced garlic. When onions are translucent, add in beans and tomatoes. Heat this up for about 5 minutes. Add in the tomato sauce and spices. Cook on low with the lid on for around 30 minutes. Store in containers when done cooking.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS…

You don’t have to follow this recipe exactly. Season this chili tailored to your specific preferences. If you want to make it a little spicier, add in 1/2 cup of salsa. Vegan friendly and I believe it is gluten free. In my opinion, it tastes better when you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. I eat this dish with potatoes and roasted veggies. You could also put it in a baked potato or on top of a carrot dog/vegan hot dog.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. The last post I made was my 100th post! I can’t believe it and I am so happy that I started blogging! If you have a favorite winter dish, tell me about it in the comments.
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Banana Pecan Granola

I love granola, but I don’t always love random ingredients in store-bought granola. I was always intimidated by homemade granola, but hated how most granola contained honey, corn syrup, or refined sugar. I took the plunge and starting making my own. It is so simple to make and the ingredients can be found in most pantries.

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Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Bake Time: 25 Minutes

Temperature: 350°F | Serves: 7

INGREDIENTS…

  • 1 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tsp. Salt
  • ½ Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Agave or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Flaxseed
  • 1 Whole Mashed Banana
  • ¼ Cup Dairy Free Chocolate Chips or Cacao Nibs (optional)

Processed with VSCO with m5 preset

DIRECTIONS…

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, pecans, flaxseed, spices, and coconut sugar. In a sauce pan over medium/low heat, warm coconut oil, agave, and the mashed banana. Pour the liquid over the oat mixture and stir. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, checking half-way through. Let cool and transfer to an air tight container.

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ADDITIONAL COMMENTS…

I like to add in the chocolate chips halfway through, but it is up to you. If you don’t want them melted, then add them at the very end. Watch the oven, because it can easily burn. It might not be crunchy right away, it takes a few minutes and you might need to break up the large pieces. If you are avoiding sugar, then you can take away the agave and coconut sugar and just add in another mashed banana.

I was inspired by the Minimalist Baker, here is her recipe: Pumpkin Maple Pecan Granola

I hope you like this recipe. Tell me what you think in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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