lemon almond loaf + honey rhubarb sauce

a lemon almond flour loaf with a mint and rhubarb sauce - the perfect way to welcome warm weather! (and it's gluten and refined sugar free!)

the makings of a yummy lemon almond loaf

Be honest with me – if someone talks about healthy eating all the time, do you assume that they eat kale and hemp seeds all the time? Would you think that they rarely, if ever, indulge in things like a slice of cake with sprinkles? I believe that for a long time, if someone preached to the high heavens of being a healthy person, an assumption was made that they were missing out on the great foods in the world like a really chewy and doughy piece of sourdough or some hefty scoops of chocolate chunk ice cream. Times are changing though, and I love seeing more and more people sharing a different message of balance.

To be honest, finding the right balance between filling your day with leafy greens and playing TREAT YO SELF when someone walks into the office with a bag of Bruegger’s was a fine line that I didn’t always teeter on well. There were times where everyday of the week was a treat yourself day and then that just becomes a lifestyle. What I’ve discovered over the last year or so is that it is 100% possible to eat everything you want and not deprive yourself of those special treats. I’m one of those firm believers that food brings people together and so many of our major life events revolve around food, so you totally deserve to indulge (I mean come on, what would your birthday be without a whole cake to yourself or Thanksgiving without a second batch of garlicky sour cream potatoes??). So what does that mean for your everyday? I think that depends on you, your life, and how that makes you feel. I think our bodies are really good and actually wired to tell us what we need to be our best selves – and yes, sometimes our brains get in the way of what we should eat versus what we want to eat and that’s fine too. Our bodies kind of guide us to what we need to eat to satisfy what we’re currently missing in our diets (mindbodygreen had an interesting article that covers some of those cravings – like when we are stressed we can face adrenal fatigue and your body starts to crave salt to act as a fortification). At a certain point, you need to really trust your gut (almost literally!) to figure out what makes you feel good, and I think it takes time to be in tune with yourself about those things.

a lemon almond flour loaf with a mint and rhubarb sauce - the perfect way to welcome warm weather! (and it's gluten and refined sugar free!)

a lemon almond flour loaf with a mint and rhubarb sauce - the perfect way to welcome warm weather! (and it's gluten and refined sugar free!)

a lemon almond flour loaf with a mint and rhubarb sauce - the perfect way to welcome warm weather! (and it's gluten and refined sugar free!)

Something that I’ve come to love about Ayurvedic philosophies is how it emphasizes balance and how the main goal when it comes to eating is to adjust those balances within ourselves. So does that mean Ayurveda says to eat dessert everyday because #balance? Well no, not exactly. Instead, it says that if you are going to eat dessert, like ice cream let’s say, you can do certain things to make sure your body digests it properly and that you balance it out. Since most desserts can be exceedingly sweet, try to combine some spices in there to even out the foods, eat dessert earlier in the day so that your body has time to digest before going to sleep at night, make it as easy as possible for your body to adjust to your sugar intake!

So that’s where this loaf comes in – as a reminder that you can treat yourself too. This almond loaf is a gluten and refined sugar free version of my favorite flavor of muffins and cakes (LEMON!!!) and is topped with a jammy rhubarb sauce that is flavored with honey, lemon, and mint. I added a heaping helping of ginger into the loaf to help balance out the sweet and lemon helps to add some acidity in there as well. You could easily add some blueberries in here for an extra fruity punch and you could certainly swap out rhubarb if you don’t like rhubarb or are making this out of season. I’ve been loving a slice of this loaf (cake??) for my mid afternoon snack or as I’m running out the door. Snack on, friends!

lemon almond loaf with honey rhubarb sauce

for the loaf (adapted from Dolly & Oatmeal) ::

1 1/4 cups almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 tsp baking powder
large pinch of salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp ginger powder
1/4 cup and 1/8 cup coconut sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

for the rhubarb sauce ::

3 tablespoons of honey
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/4 cup of water
1 large sprig of mint, in tact
1 cup and an additional 1/4 cup of rhubarb, sliced

  1. preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. in a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, salt, lemon zest, ginger powder, and the 1/4 cup of coconut sugar. combine and then add in the egg yolks – mixture will be thick.
  3. in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they start to get fluffy – add in the vanilla extract and keep beating, little by little start adding in the 1/8 cup of coconut sugar and beat until the egg whites form loose peaks. in four parts, slowly fold the egg white mixture into the flour mixture, being careful not to completely deflate the egg whites. fold mixture together until smooth and then pour into lined loaf pan.
  4. bake for 32 – 35 minutes until the outside is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. let cool.
  5. in a stove top pot add the honey, lemon juice, coconut sugar, water, and mint sprig. stir to combine and bring to a light simmer. add the 1 cup of rhubarb into the mixture and let the mix simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until the rhubarb has started to break down and the sauce is thick. take off the heat and remove the mint spring. if you want additional texture, add the extra 1/4 cup of rhubarb and stir in to the sauce.
  6. serve loaf by the slice, topped with the rhubarb sauce, mint leaves, lemon zest, and powdered sugar if desired. enjoy!

brown rice breakfast bowls

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Hello, friends!

How was your weekend? The weather has FINALLY started warming up here in the mpls – meaning I can walk outside without having to wear a jacket. Seriously something so small as one layer being taken off is so freeing. 

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings  brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Something that I started this past week is what I’m calling #40daysofwellness. I’m 9 days in and with 31 more days to go I’m feeling so good. One of my new year’s resolutions (YES! Did you already forget about your intentions for 2017??) was to prioritize wellness this year, and while there have been some week’s that I’ve been better about it than others, I think I’ve done pretty well so far. Giving myself this challenge was a way to kind of check in with the intention I set – reminding myself to make better food choices – like do you really need to eat a handful of candy that’s sitting out at the office?), exercising more – trying to either get to the gym or go to yoga 3 or 4 times a week, and getting better with my sleep schedule – yup, I’ve been in bed before 10pm almost every night and the mornings have definitely gotten easier as a result. Are you doing anything to prioritize wellness?

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

brown rice breakfast bowls with all of your favorite toppings

Another big focus area of mine has been to be better about breakfast. I’ve packed my breakfast to take to the office every.single.day for the past two months – and for someone who went through years of skipping breakfast entirely I think that’s pretty good. I’ve done everything from granola in a tub, chia pudding with fruits and almond butter, green smoothies in mason jars, and green or peppermint tea. It’s definitely been a wonderful way to start the day. And because I’m also someone who tires of routine easily, I’ve had to experiment with different options. This week, I tried a brown rice breakfast bowl. It’s like oatmeal, just with brown rice which I personally think is texturally better and more filling. Toss it in a pot with some delicious milks and warm spices, and top with all your faves. It’s really one of those non-recipe recipes. Do with it as you please and make it your own! Here’s to another wonderful week and be sure to share your fave on-the-go breakfasts with me (I need all the inspiration I can get!)!

brown rice porridge
  1. 1 cup long grain brown rice
  2. 2 - 2 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 13 oz can coconut milk
  4. 1/2 cup almond milk
  5. 1 heaping tsp vanilla
  6. 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  7. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  8. 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  9. 1/4 tsp salt
  1. rinse the rice and add to a stove top pot. add the water and milks to the pot and turn the heat up to a medium.
  2. stir in the vanilla and spices and bring the rice up to a boil - turn the heat down to a medium low and cover the pot - let cook for 60 - 70 minutes stirring occasionally until it reaches a thick oatmeal-like consistency.
  3. if the rice is thickening too quickly, add an additional 1/4 cup of water. cook until the rice is soft but still holds its shape. turn off the heat.
  4. if storing overnight, let rice cool to room temp before storing in fridge, reheating when needed. if serving now, add the warm rice to a serving bowl and add desired toppings. enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/

jammy nut butter thumb print cookies

These nut butter jammy cookies are gluten free and vegan sweet treats!

Happy week of Valentine’s, y’all!

We celebrated on Friday night with the perfect Galentine’s bash – a night of chocolates, popcorn, so many salty snacks (specifically those rye chips because those are my JAM!), a cheese and cracker spread, many wine bottles, coffee, and night of great conversation to celebrate female friendship. Make sure you tell your lady friends how much you appreciate them this week!

Another way to celebrate Valentine’s? COOKIES. I made so many cookies this last week it was kinda crazy, but I also ate a couple salads so that basically cancels all those cookies out, right? 

Jammy Nut Butter Cookies  jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies

these jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies are the perfect sweet treats

When it comes to cookies I definitely play favorites. Don’t give me anything with nuts or raisins in it, the dough should preferably be chocolate or the cookie should contain chocolate – M&Ms, white chocolate, mini chocolate chips, etc. I also might have a slight obsession with Linzer cookies. I typically think of Linzer cookies as holiday treats, so a simpler rest of the year cookie is a thumbprint cookie with a big dab of jam. When it comes to jam, I have high standards. I really believe that jam should bring out the flavors of the season and that you should be able to taste the fruit. Honestly, you should be able to eat jam straight off of a spoon – that’s how good it should be. Luckily MPLS has great local vendors (can’t wait for the summer farmer’s market to come back!) and the best jam happens to be here in town too.

I used three different flavors from Serious Jam to top off my cookies and you couldn’t go wrong with any of them. The cookie base is nutty and earthy, so slightly sweet and warm jam flavors go best with them. The Salted Strawberry Jam was perfect, the Apple Brandy Butter was divine, but the Orange Curry Cranberry Butter was the bee’s knees. All the ingredients that Heidi uses in her jams are local (like local apples in that apple brandy jam!!) and in season which is why the strawberry jam literally tastes like taking a bite out of a fresh strawberry. Use all the flavors –  you can’t go wrong. Be forewarned, these cookies are NOT super sweet. So if you want a little extra sweetness add a smidge extra of the maple syrup and coconut sugar. I think the jam adds enough sweetness, so just add a little extra jam if you do want something a little sweeter. 

These nut butter cookies are a delicious sweet treat!

jammy nut butter thumbprint cookies
  1. 1/8 cup almond butter
  2. 1/8 cup peanut butter
  3. 1 tbsp ghee
  4. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/4 tsp ginger
  7. 1/8 cup maple syrup
  8. 1/2 tbsp molasses
  9. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  10. 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  11. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  12. 1 tsp coconut sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the nut butters, ghee, vanilla, spices, maple syrup, and molasses to a large bowl and mix together to combine until smooth.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and combine until dough comes together, it should be smooth and come together into small dough balls.
  4. Form little dough balls of about 1 tbsp of dough and place on a lined cookie sheet. Using the end of a wooden spoon, press down on the dough balls to create an indent. Bake in oven for about 6 minutes.
  5. Take cookies out of oven and let cool, add a teaspoon and a half of jam to the cookies. Enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/

kheer – inspired breakfast chia pudding

This kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding is a delicious breakfast scene!

a yummy breakfast chia pudding

Let’s chat about breakfast shall we –

The most important meal of the day? Until recently I wouldn’t have agreed with that statement, but as of late I’ve been all about the breakfast. Most of the time it’s a quick toss together of ingredients I can scrounge up in the fridge that will likely be blended together in a smoothie or tossed into a plastic container that I can munch on while catching up on emails in the first hour of work. Maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person, but breakfast has never been a big hooplah for me. It’s just so much effort in the morning to cook something up especially when I snooze my alarm about five or six times and then realize that I still need to pack my lunch, toss everything in my work bag, and attempt to look somewhat put together for the office. Enter this chia pudding.

this chia breakfast pudding has the flavors of indian kheer and is topped with berries and coconut, yum!  kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding topped with fruit, almonds, and coconut

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding

this breakfast chia pudding is the perfect morning meal topped with fruit

Although I have been attempting to wake up a little earlier each day (sometimes it works better than others) to organize life, the one thing I have been focusing on is making sure I actually eat breakfast. I can’t count the number of times in the last couple of years that I’ve haphazardly just picked up a granola bar or just skipped breakfast entirely as I run out the door. Let’s give a big round of applause to me for not doing this anymore. What makes this endeavor eating something anything seriously absolutely any possible thing easier is the make ahead breakfast. I’ve tried the overnight oats – my roommate is obsessed with them – I personally could live without ever eating them again, I’m a fan of smoothies but that much sugar every single morning can be excessive, and sometimes a breakfast scramble just takes too long. This chia pudding solves all problems. It’s slightly sweet but still nutritious, delicious with lots of yummy toppings, and can easily be packed and made ahead of time should you fall behind on your morning time table and need to eat a hearty breakfast in the car on the way to work. 

The flavors are inspired from another pudding recipe that I’m just obsessed with – kheer. I’m not lying when I say that my mom makes the BEST kheer in the world. It’s so sweet and floral-y and like a big dose of happiness in a bowl. Ugh I love it. But of course what makes it good is all the sugar in it, which I’m trying to be more mindful of consuming. So when developing this recipe I was uber careful of the amount of sugar that was in it – you can even make this without the sugar if you want! I topped my little bowls of pudding off with berries, toasted almonds and coconut, and cacao nibs. You could add pistachios or maple syrup or any fruit of your choice. I’ve been mixing everything up the night before in a container and then adding all the toppings in the morning and taking it to work – easiest breakfast ever! Happy eating!

kheer inspired breakfast chia pudding
  1. 2 cups almond milk
  2. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  3. 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  4. 1/4 tsp rose water
  5. 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  6. 1/3 cup chia seeds
  7. fruits, toasted coconut, toasted almond slices, etc. for topping
  1. in a large sealable container, add the milks, sugar, rose water, and cardamom. stir to combine.
  2. add the chia seeds and stir.
  3. let the chia pudding form overnight - I stir the pudding an hour after combining everything together to keep the chia seeds from sinking to the bottom (this is optional as you can always do this in the morning too.)
  4. top the chia pudding with toppings of your choice and enjoy!
this brown kitchen http://www.thisbrownkitchen.com/