As the weather gets chillier here in Chicago, I knew I had to write up this blog post featuring foods from Liechtenstein. We actually had this a while back and I’ve been meaning to share this but… well life gets busy! Regardless I’m so happy to be sharing this night with you all. Liechtenstein is a very small country that’s tucked between Austria and Switzerland and unlike many of the other countries I’ve featured on here so far – I have actually been to Liechtenstein!
It was over ten years ago but I still remember walking down the small streets and coming across what looked like could have been someone’s home but the window had a sign advertising chicken schnitzel sandwiches. It was perfectly crispy and had a delicious sauce on it that made each bite better than the next.
Although my visit there was brief, I do remember the beautiful mountains that surrounded us and the many castles that speckled the countryside.
The menu for the night included pork schnitzel, vegan tofu schnitzel, apple fennel slaw, and kasknopfle, which is the ultimate comfort food – AKA a big bowl of cheesy homemade squiggly noodles with caramelized onions. That dish right there is what we all need as we plan for cozy winter nights! Below is a recap of the our delicious dinner and links to each recipe. I hope you enjoy and try out any of these dishes!
Raise your hand if you are ready for a delicious 5 minute recipe!!! I’m all about being efficient in the mornings and getting the most done with my time BUT that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a delicious breakfast! AND that’s where this mug muffin comes in! I’ve seen many recipes for mug muffins/mug cakes but so many of them are full of ingredients that I know will leave me feeling sluggish and have minimal nutrients.
I set out to make a healthier mug muffin that can be enjoyed as a healthy breakfast but that can also be dressed up to satisfy a sweet tooth craving! I also polled on my Instagram for flavor combination requests and chocolate was a clear winner so that inspired me to make this almond-banana-sea salt-chocolate chip oat muffin!
I loved how quickly this came together and how versatile I know this recipe can be…
This year is all about filling, delicious and nutrient packed breakfasts, which means it has to have a healthy amount of protein, fat and fiber in it! This breakfast is just exactly that and the perfect way to kick-off a Monday and is what I like to call chia pudding but all grown up!
The main ingredients you will need are a protein powder of your choice ( I like using Nutiva plant based, vegan protein powder which also has some veggies in it, I get mine from Thrive Market), hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, and for an extra bonus, pumpkin seeds to use as your topping!
I like to have my porridge warm and topped with blueberries, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and cacao nibs for that extra crunch and flavor that wont put you in a sugar come (hellooo blood sugar balance)! This is definitely a versatile dish and I think coconut chips would be great with the blueberries or even warmed apples sautéed in cinnamon and coconut oil! I’d love to hear what topping combinations you come up with! This can also be prepped in advance to have later in the week. Simply let it cool completely and store in the refrigerator and enjoy cold or warm it back up!
1 1/2 cups almond milk/milk of your choice
1 scoop of high quality protein powder
1.5 tbsp flax meal
1.5 tbsp chia seeds
1.5 tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp cocoa nibs
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
Fresh fruit of choice
In a small sauce pan whisk together your almond milk, protein powder, vanilla and cinnamon.
Whisk until the protein powder has dissolved.
Add in your chia, flax, and hemp seeds.
Whisk together for 5-6 minutes over low-medium heat. The mixture will begin to bubble and thicken up. Continue whisking.
After 6 minutes, turn off the heat and let it cool for a couple of minutes. The porridge will thicken up a bit more.
Whenever I make this double chocolate banana bread I can’t help but think that somehow I have won the day and I’ll get to snack on the most decadent tasting bread ever yet most of the ingredients could also come together to make a tasty health bowl of oatmeal. So yes, when I go back for my second or third slice I do tell myself it’s okay, it’s like I’m eating oatmeal. Except its super delicious moist double chocolate banana bread that has the most delicious gooey chocolate chunks studded throughout the entire loaf.
I first made a variation of this recipe a couple years ago but made a few tweaks and I think it’s perfect now. Lately I’ve been loving adding plain greek yogurt to my recipes. I feel like all the breads I have made with it come out super moist and delicious. Secondly, I have been…
These might be the easiest and most indulgent tasting pancakes you have ever made! They are whipped up using the Birch Benders Paleo Mix which makes these pancakes gluten free yet they are still so fluffy! And I know during these busy holiday times we are all looking for quick recipes that require minimum ingredients and can please everyone! This is definitely one of those recipes.
When you take the delicious pancakes mix and add in baked lemon ricotta, lemon extract, and chia seeds, you get an amazing pancake that can only be made better by topping it with delicious blueberries!! And if you’re feeling fancy add some whipped cream too
I was really amazed by how delicious these came out and I cant wait to experiment with more flavor combinations.
Also I’m pretty sure this lemon ricotta is a limited time item from Trader Joes so stock up if you live near one!
3/4 cup Birch Benders mix
50 grams lemon ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp lemon extract
2/3 cup water
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
Mix the pancake mix, lemon ricotta, lemon extract, water and chia seeds together in a bowl until well combined. Let the batter sit for a couple of minutes and it will thicken up.
As the batter thickens, heat a pan on low-medium heat. If not nonstick spray with nonstick spray or coconut oil or butter.
Dollop the batter onto the pan. I like to use a cookie scooper to ensure my pancakes are all about the same side. You may need to spread out the batter with the scoop since it is a bit thick. Let cook for about a minute or two on each side or until you see bubbles forming on the pancakes and then flip. Repeat with your batter
While the pancakes cook, microwave your blueberries. No need to add any water since they will produce their own liquid as the defrost and burst in the microwave.
In the spirit of the holiday season, here is a delicious banana bread recipe but this one comes with some holiday flavors! I wanted to make a special banana bread that blended in the winter spices and flavors of gingerbread.
The addition of molasses, ginger, allspice, and the Wild Friends gingerbread peanut butter makes this banana bread extra special. If you don’t have that flavor peanut butter feel free to sub in regular peanut butter or almond butter and just add a few extra shakes of the spices. I also made this with oat flour – if you are gluten free make sure to check that your oats are certified gluten free! This bread comes together super easily and makes a delicious breakfast, snack or dessert!
Tip: Oat Flour
Oat flour can be easily be made by whizzing up rolled oats in a blender if you don’t have the flour on hand. Simple run the oats until they are a fine flour.
If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour blend 2 cups of oats.
I love topping it with some extra peanut butter! Feel free to add in your favorites mix-ins into the batter to make it extra special- dark chocolate chips or walnuts would be great in this!
2 cups oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp allspice
1 ½ tablespoon molasses
1 tbsp gingerbread Wild Friends peanut butter
1 tbsp flax meal mixed with 2 tbsp water
⅓ cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
⅓ cup coconut sugar
Preheat your oven to 350 and line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
In a small little bowl/mixing saucer mix your ground flax meal with water, set aside for a few minutes to allow it to thicken.
In a large bowl mix your dry ingredients together : oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice.
In a separate bowl mash your bananas. Then add in flax mixture, egg, molasses, peanut butter, vanilla, and coconut oil (melted). After well combined using a hand mixer, add in the coconut sugar. Mix again.
Then add in your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Using a hand mixer just until well combined, do not over mix.
If you’d like to add in any additional fun ingredients like chocolate chips, walnuts, cranberries- fold them in at this point.
Then add the batter to your lined loaf pan and bake for 45- 50 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing. This bread is pretty moist and I recommend storing in the refrigerator.
Tip: If you only have plain peanut butter that is fine, just increase slightly the spices.
Fall has always been a favorite season of mine for so many reasons – from the weather, fall colors both in nature and in outfits, and of course for all the fall root veggies, abundance of apples, figs, squashes and of course pumpkin! I often find myself whipping up pumpkin baked goods year round – definitely not limiting myself to one season!
With that said I was so bummed when I recently went to TJs and saw most of the pumpkin items were gone – I strongly believe they should be out at least until the end of November! But fear not, I’m here to drop more pumpkin goodness.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to share this Vegan Pumpkin Bread recipe. This is made with whole wheat flour, pure pumpkin puree, flax eggs, and slightly sweetened with maple syrup. I’ve added a yummy oat topping but feel free to leave off or add a simple cinnamon or maple glaze (just mix water, powdered sugar, cinnamon/maple syrup together!).
I love using binder clips to hold my parchment paper in place while I pour my batter in. I always keep a few of these in my kitchen drawer!
I hope you enjoy this bread as much as I did! This is also the perfect consistency for some pumpkin french toast!
I also love topping my bread with almond butter, pumpkin seeds and cinnamon or more pumpkin spice!
These cookies came about due to my love for my favorite cookie – Oatmeal Raisin Cookies– and I think they may be the ultimate FALL COOKIE!
I wanted to play around with my go-to recipe by adding some apples to it because apples, cinnamon and oats are such a great combo. While I was setting up more baking area and prepping my ingredients, I found a can of pumpkin puree in my pantry and I knew I had to add it to the mix. I have never had an apple-pumpkin baked good, but I knew these two classic fall flavors would make a delicious oatmeal cookie and it did not disappoint.
Pumpkin adds some great nutrients to these cookies like vitamin A, antioxidants, and extra fiber! Since I knew adding the pumpkin would add some extra moisture to these cookies, I decided to cut down the amount of butter in these and they turned out perfect!
These come together quickly and also go just as fast. You’ll get about 18 cookies in a batch and I originally only baked 9 of them and they were gone in 24 hrs. I like to only bake half the batch and freeze the rest of the dough to have on hand and easily pop in the oven for fresh baked cookies whenever I’m in the mood.
Freeze and Bake Later
To freeze cookie dough, scoop your cookie dough into your desired sized portions. Line a plate or cookie tray with parchment paper that will fit in your freezer and place the pre-portioned cookie dough scoops on your tray/plate.
Freeze your cookie dough for at least an hour. Once they have set/are frozen, you can transfer them to a freezer safe container!
By following this step your cookie dough won’t stick together and you’ll be able to pull out individual cookie dough balls!
You can bake them straight out the freezer, just add a few minutes to the baking time. You can also let them come to room temperature and bake as directed!
I hope you give these cookies a chance and add them to your fall baking round up! Let me know what you think!
1 egg – room temperature
¼ butter – room temperature
¼ cup pumpkin puree (not sweetened)
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1 ¾ cup rolled oats
¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp pumpkin spice
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 scoop of vanilla/cinnamon protein powder (optional)
½ cup chopped apples
⅓ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel and cut your apple. You want your apple pieces to be about the size of a raisin. If the apple pieces are too big they may release too much liquid/moisture into your cookies.
Cream together your butter, brown sugar and white sugar.
Add in your egg, pumpkin puree, and vanilla and continue mixing until it comes together.
In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients together: oats, flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, and salt. If you are adding in protein powder mix it in as well.
Add in your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until well combined.
Gently fold in your apples, raisins, and walnuts.
Let your dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Scoop your cookie dough onto your prepared baking sheet. I like making scoops about 1 ½- 2 tbsp big. Gently press down on the dough with the back of your scoop/spoon.
These cookies will not spread a lot so you do not need a lot of space in between.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until just golden brown. Since they are a big orange because of the pumpkin, you can check the bottom of the cookies to see if they are a golden brown.
Let cool for 5 – 10 minutes on a cooling rack and enjoy! Store in an air-tight container for up to four days or you can freeze part of your cookie dough for later!
Narrowing down what dishes to make for this international dinner was really a challenge. There were so many options and they all sounded equally as delicious! I also found that so many could easily be plant based which made it even harder. Originally pancit and adobo was on the menu but having made similar dishes for Guam and Samoa dinner night’s I knew I had to branch out.
Regardless this was a super exciting country for me for two reasons:
1) I have loved so many Filipino dishes I had tried before going vegetarian that I was excited to make a vegetarian version one of my favorites – lumpia – that I haven’t had in so long and are like Filipino spring rolls
2) this was the perfect excuse to go to one of my favorite Chicago bakeries, Jennivee’s, that is Filipino owned and has AMAZING Ube Cake.
This night was a true success that consisted of lumpia two ways – pork and vegetarian, tortang talong, tortang giniling,ube cake and a sweet ube stuffed brioche bun to hold us over while we cooked.
Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
Something you absolutely need is dipping sauce for your lumpia. There are many variations of this sweet chili sauce and I’m sure any of them will do but this is the one I got.
Any local Asian market is sure to have it and if not check out the “ethnic” aisles in your grocery store- most will carry at least one variation of this sauce. This one is “Mae Ploy” brand it is very reasonably priced!
At my local Asian market, I was also able to purchase the lumpia wrappers, carrots, eggplants, and the other produce I needed – really a one stop shop!
First prepare your flax egg by adding your flax meal and water in a small bowl, give it a gentle mix, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
2. In a food processor add your filling ingredients: water chestnuts, carrots, nori, garlic, and green onions
3. Pulse until everything is finely chopped
4. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in your “meat crumbles,” coconut aminos/soy sauce, salt and pepper and flax egg. Mix until well combined.
Filling and Rolling your Lumpia
Make sure your wrappers are thawed out and not frozen stuck!
2. Clear a space for you to roll your lumpia. When you take the wrappers out of the package they may be stuck together, so although tedious, go through the process of peeling them apart now.
3. Then take one wrapper and along the edge, add about 2 tbsp of filing and then spread it out along the edge. Tightly roll your lumpia up like a cigar.
4. Once you get to the other end, you may need to wet the edge with water to get the wrapper to “stick” to itself. You can also make a cornstarch “glue” to help with this, which is outlined in the full recipe here. Using water was sufficient when I made them.
4. Cut your lumpia either in half or into thirds. You can simple snip them with kitchen scissors or a pizza cutter.
5. Repeat the process until you have used all your lumpia filling or run out of wrappers.
6. Prepare your oil and heat it until it is about 350F. You should have about 2-3 inches of oil. Gently drop your lumpia in, seam side down. Fry for about 4 minutes on each side. You’ll see them turn a beautiful golden color. As you continue cooking your lumpia, keep an eye out on the oil temperature and make sure to turn the flame down, as it can quickly get too hot and burn the outside of your lumpia while keeping the inside uncooked.
7. Place your cooked lumpia on a paper towel lined plate and enjoy with lumpia dipping sauce!!
You can freeze your lumpia before cooking them for a later day! Simple take your cut lumpia pieces and place on a cookie sheet to freeze for an hour. After that you can transfer to a freezer safe bag and store them in the freezer. You can fry them straight from the freezer, no need to thaw out, they may just take an extra minute or two to cook.
I recommend heating up leftovers in the oven to ensure they are crispy and don’t become “soggy” in the microwave.
Tortang Talong is a filipino dish that can be described as a whole eggplant omelette and works best with Chinese eggplants. I used the recipe from this video however I kept it vegetarian. Instead of using ground pork, I used the Pure Farmland meat crumbles. I also found that one egg was enough to coat each eggplant, so I only needed 2 eggs for the recipe rather than 4 as the recipe lists. This also tasted great with the Sweet Chili dipping sauce!
Step 1: Broil your eggplants (brushed with olive oil) for about 10 minutes on each side, until the skin gets nice and charred.
Step 2: While the eggplant cooks, prepare your “meat” crumbles. In a hot pan, add 2 chopped garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, 1/4 cup chopped onion and 1/2 lb of crumbles, 1 tbsp coconut aminos and cook until the crumbles have cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.
Step 3: Peel the skin off the eggplant once it has cooled down and “mash down” with a fork.
Step 4: In a wide bowl, scramble 1 egg and add a splash of coconut aminos. Place one smashed eggplant and coat thoroughly. Then scoop some of your filling on top of the eggplant and cover with egg. To a preheated oiled pan, you will then slide everything out the bowl to the pan. Let cook for a few minutes until egg on bottom has cooked and then gently flip it. Cook for another few minutes and serve immediately!
Banana bread has been on repeat lately, I love how versatile it can be when it comes to what you mix into it and how it can come together with minimal ingredients and falls into the realm of healthy baking. I was going to do make my classic cinnamon swirl banana bread when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t have a vegan banana bread up on the blog yet. Although I am not vegan ( I do keep a vegetarian diet) I find myself drawn to lots of vegan baked goods and have baked up a lot of vegan treats, I’m just not the best at keeping track of what I do in the kitchen … well until now!
So I decided to do some experimenting and bake up a vegan banana bread and for a fun twist I wanted to add in some cranberries and pecans – perfect for the upcoming season.. F A L L – I see you around the corner. However, this can be enjoyed without the pecans/cranberries or they can be switched out for chocolate chips, walnuts, even some blueberries!
This cup calls for two cups of flour. I made this loaf with both all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. I love the slight nuttiness that comes with using whole wheat flour however sometimes when using just whole wheat flour baked goods can come out too dense so I cut it half all purpose flour. You can also just use all purpose flour if you’d like. I haven’t tested out gluten free flours but will update this post once I have. Whichever flour you use, make sure to measure out your flour correctly, not doing so can drastically change your bread’s texture!
How to Measure Flour
Grab your measuring cup and a spoon.
Gently scoop your flour with a spoon into your measuring cup.
Once filled to the top, level off any excess flour over your flour bag with a flat edge like a knife.
Following these steps, rather than scooping the flour out of the big directly with your measuring cup will ensure you are not over-packing your flour. Over-packing it would result in much more flour than what is needed.
4 medium bananas – super ripe
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
¼ cup plus 1 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp ground flax/flax meal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
¼ cup crushed pecans
¼ cup cranberries
Preheat your oven to 350F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper. I love using this parchment paper for all my baking, Thrive Market has a great deal on it!
In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas well. Then add in the following ingredients: brown sugar, coconut oil, almond milk, and vanilla. After all the ingredients are well incorporated, add in your flax meal and give it a good stir.
In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make sure you measure your flour correctly as outlined above!
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over mix, you just want to make sure the flour is incorporated. Your batter will likely be thicker than other banana bread batters.
Fold in your cranberries and pecans. Feel free to swap them out for other nuts of chocolate chips, but again, don’t over mix!
Pour your batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. After the baking time, check the loaf with a toothpick and if it comes out clean after inserting it is all done.
Let your loaf cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Store in an airtight container. You can also pre-slice your loaf and freeze some slices for another time! Simply defrost and warm it up in your microwave for 30 – 60 seconds.