Ooey Gooey Vegan Cinnamon Buns

I don’t think I have ever successfully made any kind of cinnamon buns, so when I found this recipe for vegan sourdough cinnamon buns I was less than confidant in my abilities. Something about sourdough starter culture seems to make everything better (if you know me or follow my instagram you know I’m obsessed with my homemade sourdough bread). These rolls are no exception- they’re fluffy, light, slightly sweet and bursting with ooey gooey cinnamon-sugar goodness in every bite. They also seem to be somewhat fail proof as I did not follow the directions properly (typical) and they still turned out.

 

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If you don’t have a sourdough starter you can buy one or see if anyone you know has one they can share with you (our friends gave us some of theirs- the culture’s name is Suzanne and she’s over 13 years old!!!) This recipe needs to rise overnight so you do need to plan ahead if you need them ready at a certain time. I was in no rush with these and they took me closer to 2 days to finish as I didn’t have time to roll and cut them when it was time. So if you need to let yours rise longer you should be all good. Do not be fooled by the word “sourdough”- your cinnamon buns won’t taste sour- only freaking awesome.

 

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Yep I ate that top corner one before I could even take this picture.

 

VEGAN SOURDOUGH CINNAMON BUNS

(Full recipe at the bottom)

 

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Sourdough starter- it’s alive!

 

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1. Mix together all of the dough ingredients except the flour. Slowly add flour until you achieve a dough that is soft but not sticky.

 

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2. Roll dough in buttered bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.

 

 

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3. Sprinkle your rolling surface with flour and cinnamon.

 

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4. Roll out dough into a 1/4 inch- 1/2 inch rectangle. Spread melted butter on and sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the dough evenly.

 

 

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5/6. Roll up the dough and cut into 2 inch rounds. Place in a baking dish (no mine are not pretty but they tasted amazing okay?) and refrigerate overnight.

 

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7/8. Place the baking dish on top of the stove while you preheat the oven to 400C. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

 

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9/10.  Make the icing; and once cool ice the cinnamon buns.

 

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cup sourdough starter
  • 2/3 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbs melted vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Filling:

  • 2 tbs melted vegan butter
  • 2-3 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar (you’ll have to play around with the ratios)
  • 1 tbs melted vegan butter
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together all of the “dough” ingredients except the four. Slowly add in the flour until the dough is soft but no longer sticky (I needed about 2 1/2 cups).
  2. Rub some vegan butter in a bowl and roll the dough around to coat it. Cover and let rise until doubled- about 3 hours. (I put mine in my oven with the light on- don’t turn the oven on!)
  3. Punch down the dough (you don’t have to wail on it- you can just press it down). Sprinkle your cutting board or counter with lots of flour and even cinnamon and roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch- 1/2 inch thick rectangle (obviously it won’t be a perfect rectangle unless you’re a rolling master in which case please show me your ways).
  4. Brush the melted butter from the “filling” ingredients onto the dough (all the way to the edges) and then evenly sprinkle the mixed cinnamon-sugar all over the surface.
  5. Roll the dough either the long way or the wide way (I am not helpful in this area) and pinch the seam together at the end so it doesn’t unroll (I didn’t find this necessary as the dough was pretty cohesive). The ends of the dough will probably be pretty messy but its okay- it’ll all taste great (just hide those ones and eat them as a sacrifice).
  6. Cut the dough into about 2 inch rounds and place them touching into a well greased baking dish. Refrigerate overnight (this is where I waited almost a full 24 hours- they were fine).
  7. When you are ready to bake them, place them on top of the stove while you preheat your oven to 400C to warm them up (I put them back in my oven with the light on for a while before I preheated the oven as well).
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and firm when you tap them.
  9. Make the icing by combing all the ingredients in a bowl and mixing with a hand mixer. You may need to add more icing sugar or more almond milk to get the consistency you want.
  10. Allow to cool for a bit (I lasted about 5 minutes) then throw on some icing and devour! Make sure you try them fresh out of the oven- next level experience.

 

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I really hope you try and love this recipe! Don’t forget to follow me on instagram @lightlovelifeblog and check back here for future posts! Thanks for reading.

Love & Light,

Kiah

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The Best (and Easiest) Vegan Pancakes

I have been making the same pancakes so often (you can find them all on my instagram page @lightlovelifeblog) that I felt it was time to make a blog post on them. They have become a favourite for breakfast not only for me but for the whole family. I often wake up to the smell of these pancakes cooking that my dad makes for all of us. I’ve never had vegan pancakes that are this light, fluffy, and most importantly- fail proof. If I can make them perfectly every time- anyone can. Plus they don’t have all the nasty stuff thats in most pancakes. You can check out the original recipe here.

 

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Pancakes layered with bananas, topped with fresh blueberries, strawberries & maple syrup.

 

I have now tried and tested a bunch of different additions, toppings, sauces and flavour combinations. I’m going to share with you guys some tips and recipes to take your pancake game to the next level. First things first, here is the basic pancake recipe:

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat works great and is the better option health wise, but if you want something closer to the pancakes you ate growing up, or the ones you might get at a restaurant, white flour will make them taste lighter, fluffier, and lets be honest- just a little bit better. If you’re gluten free I’m sure oat flour would work great.)
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs oil (I use avocado oil, but coconut oil is great too- it just might harden up when you mix it in with the batter)
  • 2 tbs maple syrup (make sure its pure maple syrup- no Aunt Jemima crap- sorry Aunt Jemima you know I loved you as a child but who’s got time for high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) together in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients (milk, oil, syrup, vanilla) together.
  3. Add wet mixture to dry and stir. Fold in additions.
  4. Let batter sit for 5 minutes and heat a pan to medium-low heat (important for even cooking). Batter should get a bit bubbly on the surface- now you know its ready!
  5. Lightly oil pan if needed, and scoop out 1/4 cup portions onto pan (I’ve found that this recipe is so good I can make giant pancakes with it too). Flip once bubbles form and edges start to darken. Repeat until batter is gone.
  6. Top with whatever you’d like! (Keep reading for lots of ideas)

 

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Blueberries & chocolate chips mixed into batter, topped with frozen blueberries, chips & maple syrup.

 

Additions:

Nothing will transform pancakes like adding stuff straight into the batter. The pancakes pictured above have dark chocolate chips and blueberries added to them. Both are delicious on their own, but added together its a dream. The blueberries were frozen, and this also helps the colour from bleeding into the batter when you mix them in. They’ll warm up while they’re cooking. I’ve also added frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), and paired them with a chocolate sauce. Moral of the story- berries and chocolate are always a win.

 

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Mixed berries mixed into batter, topped with warm berries & chocolate sauce.

 

Toppings/Sauces:

Fruit is always a go-to topping- it adds natural sweetness and texture and makes your pancakes look way nicer too (plus you can feel good about eating 8 pancakes because you’re eating them with fruit- right?) Frozen fruit is really nice because you get something cold on top of warm pancakes, but warming up frozen fruit into a kind of puree (like above) is even better. Bananas are always great too and they pair well with almost everything.

The only thing  better than maple syrup on top of pancakes is chocolate sauce. I personally don’t want to spend a lot of time making a chocolate sauce when all I want to do is devour my pancakes, so when I game across this chocolate sauce idea I was intrigued. All you do is mix cocoa powder with maple syrup! At first it seems like they won’t mix together, but after a minute or two they transform into a rich, dark, creamy chocolate sauce that you can bathe your pancakes in.

I’ve also added things like hemp seeds or chia seeds for added nutrients and different textures. Experiment!

 

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Pancakes with warm berries, banana & chocolate sauce. 

 

I hope this gave you all some ideas for how to make delicious, original pancakes. You can create whatever you’re in the mood for, simple or complex,  and then you get to do the best part- eat!

 

Happy pancake frying!

 

Don’t forget to follow me on instagram: @lightlovelifeblog or email me with any questions at lightlovelifeblog@hotmail.com.

Love & Light,

Kiah

Vegan Mac & Cheese

Hey guys! A great way to transition into a vegan lifestyle or to try out vegan recipes is to make vegan version of the foods you love. Now you have to be prepared for some major taste differences- but just be open to them! You may even prefer some of the changes, and discover foods that you’ve never had before. For example, this mac and cheese recipe doesn’t taste like traditional mac and cheese,  but that doesn’t mean its not freaking delicious. Its creamy, comforting, satisfying and just outright amazing. Plus no animals needed to be harmed in order to enjoy it- so you can feel good about every single bite (its not hard when it tastes this good). The best part was it took 20 minutes start to finish- that is major winning in my books. Craving comfort food? Try out this recipe! Let me know if you do- I hope you guys love it!

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces dried pasta (I used 1 package of organic pasta)
  • 1 cup peeled & diced potato
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion (not too small or it will be hard to remove from the water)
  • 3/4 cup water from boiled veggies
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (I used unsweetened almond milk and it was fine)
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I didn’t have any and it was great without too)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 pinch paprikaIMG_1465

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain & set aside.IMG_1467
  2. Bring several cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add chopped potatoes, carrots and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft enough to blend- about 10 minutes depending on how small you chopped them. IMG_1466
  3. Use a slotted spoon to remove the vegetables from the water. Place in a blender along with 3/4 cup of the water they were cooked in and the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth. IMG_1468
  4. Pour sauce over the pasta.IMG_1469
  5. Mix together and add salt to taste.IMG_1470

And voila! Its that easy. Share with vegan and non-vegan friends and family (or hoard it in your fridge and eat it all by yourself- can you tell I find it hard to share?)

(Find the original recipe here)IMG_1471

If you try this recipe out please let me know! Don’t forget to follow my Instagram for more posts like this: @lightlovelifeblog .

Thank you all for reading,

Love & Light!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (Vegan)

Okay you guys- this is the best banana bread ever- period. You would never know it was vegan- its moist, has some crunch on the outside, is super chocolatey and has just the right amount of banana. So make this and share it with your friends and family and don’t tell them its vegan until they say how much they love it (or don’t and eat the whole thing yourself, both are good options).

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Recipe (adapted from food network.ca) for 1 loaf:

  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar or cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tsp sugar for topping
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F
  2. Whisk together flax and water. Let sit for 15 mins in fridge to thicken. (This is your ‘egg’)
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt & cinnamon. 
  4. In a seperate bowl, mash bananas into a purée, then add vanilla, coconut oil, almond milk, sugar & flax mixture. 
  5. Add wet mixture to the dry and gently fold together- don’t over mix! Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  6. Transfer to a lightly oiled baking/loaf pan. Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp of sugar on top. (This added the most delicious sweet crunchiness). 
  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes (if doubling it will be closer to an hour). When a skewer comes out relatively clean its ready. Let cool (for as long as you can manage- its going to smell really good) on a wite rack before cutting. 

Enjoy! I think adding in some walnuts would be amazing in there. Let me know if you try it out!

  
Mmm, look at that crust!

Love & Light,

Kiah

Açaí Bowls

Açaí (a-sigh-ee) berries are known for numerous health benefits, and are a great addition to smoothies/smoothie bowls/banana ice cream- and they taste great too. They are commonly found in the Amazon rainforest and have been used as a healing agent for centuries. Find out all about the various health benenfits of açaí here: http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/benefits-of-acai/

  
 The ‘açaí bowl’ trend is just using açaí powder in thick smoothies, often with frozen bananas- thats where the purple color comes from. You can buy freeze dried açaí powder at most health stores, and even grocery stores are beginning to sell it among other natural supplements. Don’t get duped and spend $12 on a tiny bowl of blended fruit when you can make yourself a huge bowl at home for way cheaper. Below are some basic recipes for different ways of using açaí powder, but it all comes down to whatever you want to add. There is no right or wrong way to make an ‘açaí bowl’…

•Açaí Bowl:

-2 frozen bananas

-1 cup frozen berries

-1 tbs açaí powder

-splash almond milk/coconut water

Blend and add desired toppings (I like granola, hemp seeds, chia seeds, fresh/frozen fruit). To make this a smoothie, just add more liquid. 

•Açaí Nice Cream (Banana Ice Cream = Nice Cream)

-4 frozen bananas

-1 tbs açaí powder

Blend in a food processor or powerful blender (my Vitamix is incredible). Add toppings!

  
I hope you guys try out açaí and reap the benefits. If you like the posts on here please follow my instagram for the same types of things (plus more!) @lightlovelifeblog

 
 Love & Light,

Kiah

Green Smoothies: Not So Scary

Green smoothies are one of those things that once you’re hooked on, you’re never gonna want to go back to life without them. They just make you feel so good- satisfied and energized from all the good sugars and carbs. Wether its for breakfast or an afternoon pick me up, they can be a meal or even a replacement for the caffeine you usually rely on for your energy fix. They’ll fuel your workout or help you recover, give your day an energized start or keep you going at that 2 o’clock lull.  Most people either hate green smoothies or swear by them. Some gawk at their distinguished colour and assume they must taste as healthy as they look- and who wants to drink a blender worth of swampy slush? Newsflash: they ARE as healthy as they look, and they taste fantastic. All you need to know are some basics for creating a perfectly sweet green smoothie every single time.

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  • Greens: Of course the key ingredient in a “green” smoothie are the greens: spinach, kale, or any other dark green vegetable (or a combination of). If you are new to green smoothies, I would recommend starting out with a mild green like spinach, and slowly increasing the amount as your tastebuds adjust. You’ll find that in no time you’ll be adding half a blender of kale and you won’t even notice it.
  • Frozen Bananas: I love a thick smoothie, so whenever I can I use at least 1 frozen banana in my smoothies. It adds sweetness and creates that milkshake texture without the crunchiness or wateriness of ice.
  • Fruit: Other than frozen bananas, the most important piece for creating a smoothie that actually tastes good is to not be afraid to load up the fruit. People are often cautious of the sugars and calories  in fruit, and try to minimize it for that reason. From my own personal experience and the results I’ve seen from others, I would say eat as much fruit as your body and heart desire. As long as you are active and getting the other nutrients your body needs, you should be able to use fruit as fuel. If, however, you need/want to lower your intake, just make a smaller smoothie and follow the same guidelines. If you try to make up for the fruit with water or nut milks it just won’t be the same. In terms of the type of fruit you add, it is entirely up to you. If you add dark fruits like berries, the mixture of greens and fruit will create a dark brown colour that will taste just fine but will not be that vibrant green colour you may be trying to achieve. I almost exclusively make “tropical” green smoothies with frozen mangos and pineapple, and save the berries for smoothie bowls (see previous post for tips/recipe). I always prefer frozen fruit as they thicken the smoothie without a need for ice, they’re often cheaper, and they are available all year.
  • Nut Milk: I use organic unsweetened almond milk to thin out my smoothies enough to blend them. This is where you can experiment with how much milk you’d like. It will determine the texture, and also tone down the sweetness the more you add. Depending on the kind of blender you have, you may have to use a lot more if it is not very powerful. I use a Vitamix and can add pretty much as little as I’d like as it does an amazing job at breaking everything down.
  • Add-Ins: This is where you can add in whatever you’d like to suit your taste and your nutritional needs. Post workout? Add in some hemp hearts. Need more energy? Blend in some oats. Throw in chia seeds, flax seeds, acai powder, maca powder, anything at all! Have fun experimenting with ingredients and do what works for you and your lifestyle. IMG_0827

In summary:

  1. Greens
  2. Frozen (or fresh) fruit
  3. Nut Milk

My approximate recipe:

  1. 1+ frozen bananas
  2. 1+ cup frozen mangos
  3. 1+ cup frozen pineapple
  4. 2 cups almond milk

 

Now go make one!

Smoothie Bowls

Smoothie bowls are probably one of my favorite things- I’ll eat one of these for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are so easy, so delicious, and jam-packed with tons of nutrition. And how beautiful are they?! 

  
You can add whatever you like to them, but the secret is using frozen fruit to create that thick, sorbet texture. I almost always include frozen bananas, and then add whatever other frozen fruit I want with a bit of almond milk to help it blend. You can create whatever flavours you want, and then top it off with whatever you’d like. I’ve recently discovered topping them with granola, and I’ve got to tell you, its changed my life (seriously).  

Here is how I made mine today: all into a vitamix…

  1. Frozen bananas 
  2.  Frozen berries  
  3. Almond milk  
  4. Blend and pour/scoop into bowl  
  5. Top with granola, chia seeds & more frozen berries   
  6. Eat! Preferably with a huge soy latte and while watching Wentworth on Netflix.