I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Cookie, Vegan Oatmeal Cookie. 

These are a delicious earthy biscuit of a cookie. This isn’t considered your classic Nabisco knock off. The are still soft, but have a nice chunkiness to them. I made them specifically for nicecream sandwiches!

If you’re interested in taking up a snack, thats more like a breakfast or a meal packed with protein this is your cooking.

Vegan egg here. In this case I had the “Neat Egg” but you can do your single flax egg if you wish. 1:2 Ratio  of Flax and water and set aside.
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In the food processor blend 
2 Cup rolled oats
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I transfer this to a bowl once done and include the following 
1 1/2 C of whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt or less depending on preference
In the food processor blend the dates first until it’s nice and pulpy. 
1 Cup of medjool dates (use more or less depending on your preference)
Then add the following.
1 Cup of vegan butter
1 Tsp of vanilla or more (whose counting)
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With your hands, combining both groups working into a nice “masa” (dough)
Roll them into small golf ball sizes. On a lined sheet place each down, and squash the into thin “pancakes” . I bake one side for 7 mins or until golden brown, then flip them and bake for an additional 7 mins. I do this because I like the crispy both sides.  
No photo, but you get the idea. You’ll be eating “Not Oatmeal Cookies” for days!
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Adapted from: The Viet Vegan, amazing site! Check it out.

Acai Bowls

This breakfast/dessert/diner whatever you want to call it has been on repeat in my house. Look at the pic again, can you blame me?

It’s gotten to the point that when my son Ezra hears the food processor start churning he comes running.  #dinner bell.

Originating from Brazil, these babies are only now getting popular in western culture. #betterlatethannever

The pulp is sold a few different ways. I prefer with no added ingredients. Sometimes they will already have the protein included or something like strawberries mixed in. Nope, I go for the straight up organic pulp. They come in packs of 4 usually. The one below I scored for less than $5.00 locally.

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As most know by now Acai is a superfood packed with antioxidants it’s been linked to several health enriching factors. Weight-loss, memory enhancing, anti-cancer, and anti aging to name a few.

Honestly, I love to load up on berries or most foods of dark rich purples/pinks before and during my periods because they’ve been linked to having anti-inflammatory properties as well. I swear it helps with the bloat. See for yourself. However that’s not the case right now, I swear.

Here is the recipe:

2-4 Tablespoons of oatmeal (optional)

If I include the oatmeal, I’d pulverize it first in the food processor right now. Then add the following ingredients one by one processing. This step makes it easy to incorporate all of the ingredients 

2-4 Bananas depending on the size.

2 Packs of Acai (this recipe is for 2 servings)

1 Scoop of plant based protein

1/2 -1 Cup of plant milk, I’m on the hemp milk tip, been there a while (it’s packed with omega 3’s, especially good for growing baby brain development)

 

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If you want to be basic, then you are done. Being extra means you’d start tossing in the hemp, flax, maca, yeast or whatever other powders you use.

 The last step is to drizzle your milk in. Once you see the blades pick up speed and move the ingredients well you can check to see if you need more. I like the consistency of my bowls dense, so I really watch this step to prevent a runny bowl. 

Serve and top with your favorites. Coconut, mango, diced berries and fruit. Have at it.

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PSA: Panama Bans Plastic Bags, Why This Matters.

In 1977 Mobil Group overturned a patent for the “T-shirt plastic bag“, developed years earlier by Sten Gustaf Thulin, an engineer working at the Sweedish company Celloplast.

This would allow for the open production, and mass distribution of the instantly convenient “carry-all” bags, that we as consumers have come to know.

I’d also like to call this moment in time, the smoking gun.  A move that would propel an era of stupidity for future generations to look back on and shake their heads at in disapproval, for destroying the environment. Paper or Plastic ?

Research says the lifespan of a plastic bag from store to home is 20 mins. But plastic bags are like vampires, they’re immortal.  In 2002, Bangladesh became the world leader in banning plastic bags.

“Bangladesh has an annual rainfall of up to 5 meters and holds the world record for the highest rainfall in a single day. Plastic bags clog drains and waterways, threatening urban environments and creating severe safety hazards. Drainage systems blocked by plastic bags have been identified as a major cause of flooding in Bangladesh during monsoon season.”

Sounds familiar right? Insert Our country here.

You see, plastic doesn’t die. It just goes away to dark places you don’t see. Including our oceans, coastal and water ways. And the waste is literally sucking the lives from our coral.

“Plastic pollution is ‘killing corals’ by increasing risk of disease in reefs, say scientists”

159 coral reefs in the asian pacific region were surveyed and they found billions of plastic items were entangled in the reef. ” Plastic debris stresses coral through light deprivation, toxin release, and anoxia, giving pathogens a foothold for invasion”.

This contributes to hypoxic zones.  Areas in the ocean of such low oxygen concentration that animal life suffocates and dies, and as a result are sometimes called “dead zones”

According to an independent study done by Phoebe Thompson, and findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it is believed that there are numerous dead zones in the tropics that have yet to be identified and studied.

However Bahia Al Mirante, in Bocas Del Toro isn’t one of them, we know it’s a deadzone. We also know coral are affectedRead the findings and see for yourself.

But there is hope!

On Jan 19 of this year, Decree Law 1 was published in the Official Gazette, “which promotes the use of reusable bags in commercial establishments”.  Giving commercial entities 12 – 24  months to get their shit together. Panama Audubon Society (PAS),who played a key role in getting the President to pass the law believes “the plastic bag ban is an important first step that will pave the way for more stringent restrictions on other harmful single use products like straws and styrofoam.

 

So how can you prepare, and do your part in decreasing your plastic footprint now?

  1. Get your family on track and buy reusable “super” bags.  4 years ago my family took major steps to cut back using those pesky plastic bags. Honestly, they can only hold like 5 items anyway.  Locally, Riba Smithhas nice offerings: see above.
  2. Once you finish unloading the bags, place them next to the door. Doing this helps us remember to take them to the car so we have them on hand when we actually need to do “super”.
  3. Penalize yourself.  I’m human and have forgotten bags, often times I’ll use my purse. But if my purchase was too large, I’ll force myself to buy more reusable bags regardless if I have 15 at home.
  4. If you want to get even more active avoid other single use plastics. STOP USING STRAWS. Next time you buy a drink, opt for a straw-less one. Even if it comes with it, politely tell them gracias, but no gracias.
  5. Those coffee pods are the devil. We don’t need to go into it. Just stop. You know who you are.
  6. Bring your water, this is already common. If you don’t have your glass water bottle or Bubba get with the program. Bottled water is a sham.
  7. Get involved. Organizations like the Ocean Clean Up are working towards removing the huge garbage patch in the pacific. Volunteer, donate.

Change doesn’t happen overnight. But this is certainly the hope we need to get moving in the right direction.

Avocado Platano Brownies

I’ve been wanting to try avocado brownies for awhile now, but never had all the ingredients on hand. It’s a pretty simple recipe. But I guess ripe avocados never last a day or two in the house. Well today the stars aligned! Wink wink: I bought extra.

You may have noticed, I have a bit of a sweet tooth. It’s counter- productive to the balance I’m trying to seek in my life.  Having the right kind of sweets for when my cravings hit is essential. I’m known for sneaking cookies, yup diehard cookie fan.

As far as all the hype goes and what science says, I just feel damn better when I’m not consuming gluten so this time, that was a must for this recipe.

Here goes:

1 Ripened avocado

10 Dates (use less or more)

I put those ingredients in the food process or first.  Those dates need to be hammered away at to get them to a  nice smooth pulp. Some people soak them in hot water first, I’ve skipped this step. Once complete I add in the following ingredients. In the order in which I lay them out. I take turns stirring with a spatula, and pulsing in the food processor as to not over do this. 

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1C platano flour (I used Sunny Mills here in PTY)  Flour from Plaintains!

1C of plant based milk (I love hemp) I drizzle this in.

1/2C cacao powder, not dutched processed.

1 Tsp of baking soda

1/2 Tsp of salt

a drizzle of vanilla

Once everything was pulsed, I lined a bread pan with parchment and put those delicious cacao nibs to work, I sprinkled away like salt bae.

I baked for almost an hour at 400, checking every 20 mins, then dropped it down to approx. 375. I didn’t want to screw this up guys. Slow and steady.

The result before I baked it, was a perfect mousse-like batter.

Afterwards it was  perfectly crusty on the outside, fudgey on the inside, overbearingly sweet,  earthy, breadish, and satisfiable, which my family dug!

Miguel has not had these yet. But even the non-chocolate lover that he is, could be won over by this non- refined sugar gift from the gods.

 

Bliss Ball v1.0

Ok, so the lunch ideas are failing. Logan has be coming home at 4pm having survived off peanuts and  crackers.

He refuses to eat cold pasta, or beans and rice. According to the mommy group, there is  an alleged microwave, I lack interest in raising the issue.

I’ll leave the up to all the other super mamas out there.

So we’re back to the drawing board.

1.5 C of rolled oats

7 large Medjool Dates

Pinches of coconut ( let’s not complicate this)

1 Tablespoon or less of cacao ( I did less, have mercy on his teachers)

1 Tablespoon of nut-butter (the nut allergy phenomenon isn’t alive in Panama, so nuts can be brought to school)

I included orange zest  this time- I wanted to be extra.

Pulse these lovelies in the processor now. Roll into balls. Add droplets of water if it’s too dry and balls don’t ball up. Makes approx. 12- depending on size. You could double up the recipe if you want it to last more than a day or two. 

This recipe was a complete failure for my picky eater who brought them back barely untouched. He explained he did eat them, he nibbled on the edges. My 2 year old however devoured them. Can’t win them all.

Nice Cream

This isn’t my recipe. I learned it last year, but it sure is a favorite of my families.  I’m passing it on to you incase you don’t already know. Treasure it, because it can enhance many family nights at home.

3-5 Frozen bananas ( I never can have enough)

1/2 C of you choice plant based milk ( we prefer hemp)

This is your base, everything else is extra

Put your bananas in the food processor and pulse, add little amounts of milk until it loosens up and you have a nice creamy blend going. Be careful not to pour in too much, otherwise you’ll end up with a shake instead of nice-cream.

Being extra -You can include cinnamon, vanilla, cacao powder, or any other types of nutritional powders you use. You can also include other fruits like papaya or strawberries to change the flavor.

I usually serve this right away as soft serve, because it’s so hot in Panama. But if I want to surprise the kids, I store in some tupperware and freeze it for a few hours, so it firms up to scoop out.

 

Mommy vent disguised as a “how to” Veggie Bath

So I haven’t given my blog any love. I’ll be honest this is a de-stress IDGAF write. This is a so not concerned with pleasing readership at this point, because frankly there isn’t any kind of write.

This past week has been hectic. I’ve been all full mommy mode and having been away from my “day job” I’ve erased a bit of my identity. Has that happened to any moms out there? Have you ever got lost in being a mom?  Isn’t it actually more the rule than it is the anomaly?

So rewind a bit: I’ve been on this extended vacation which means all this free time to myself to do the things I’ve always wanted to do,  (AMAZING right) ?! I convinced myself I was going to take up hobbies and past times completely foreign to me.  For example, this here blog. Food styling. Acroyoga  let’s not talk about that yet… the list continues.

The point is, I put myself out there.  I’m doing these things. I’m trying. Insert –> school starting back up, and all the chores associated with that and no time to do the things I want or for myself = wrench thrown into mommy scales of balance = blah

In the past, I would burrow myself into warmth and familiarity of excel spreadsheets or get sucked into the endless loop of people management.  All those little safety nets I strung up like, “I have to work” or “I have no time” could easily provide me a distraction from the “mommy imbalance”. That commodity doesn’t exist on extended fantasy vacation island “in the world of reinvention” to lean on in moments like this.  Everything is foreign, new, uncomfortable.

I can’t turn to that amazing recipe I wrote, or remind myself that my upside down handstands are amazing (cause I don’t know how to do them, yet.) What I do know how to do, is stay forever stuck in the mommy mode abyss, avoiding the subject of imbalance all together until one day I have a melt down because I find a package of broken open crackers in between the sofa cushions (not a real story, don’t worry) but this could happen you know!

What I’m turning to are the things I know and the things I can do and share with you ! One of those things is cleaning veggies. Cleaning veggies is not really a thing of my childhood. My parents didn’t do it. So why do I?

I wash my veggies because I’m aware of the neurological affects pesticides can having on growing children. I’m also aware that synthetic pesticides can damage our brain and nervous system especially in growing children, disrupt our hormones and contribute to cancer.

So here goes:

  1. Take vegetables out of your reusable sustainable (non plasticky bag) it’s ok if your not doing this yet. One day, one day.
  2. Fill up your sink with water.
  3. Wellness mama will tell you 1:4 vinegar to water. She’s great, follow her instructions or do what I do and dump like a bunch in. I eye it.
  4. Go to instagram for 30 mins, or forget them overnight like I do.
  5. Drain water rinse, and eat your cleaner veggies. There is never any guarantee it’s all gone, but at least you know you did what you could.

Although I’m still very much in mommy mode, writing this out for you from my heart and mind  puts me on the path halfway there to restoring some balance to me. It’s still not as great as mastering that upside down handstand thingy, but I don’t know anything about that yet.

Vegan Banana Bread

So I had a craving.  Yummy delicious banana bread, I adapted this recipe from the Baking Fairy!

Really my motive was to have something to pair with the delicious nicecream I made earlier in the day for the kids. So lets turn up.

Start your dry bowl, combine the following ingredients. I sift, if you sift, sift.

1.5 C flour

1 Tsp baking soda

½ Tsp salt

1 Tsp cinnamon

Do your flax egg, and melt the butter now.

Flax egg

¼ C vegan butter

Start your wet bowl here.

3 Ripe bananas, I used several mini ones that we have here in Panama.

½ C of your choice sweetener, adjust based on your preference

2 Tsp pure vanilla extract

If you want to be extra this is where you would do it, (nutmeg, anise, cloves they go here).

Include the flax egg with in that bowl.  

Line your bread mold with parchment paper, no one greases bowls anymore girl it’s just too much work. Easiest method is to measure out how much you need crumble it into a paper ball, unravel and lay it out.

Bake 375/ 50 mins. Don’t forget to set the timer like I did otherwise you will bake it too fast too soon and have to turn down the heat and use a foil tent to prevent further burning. Luckily these guys were smothered in heaps of nicecream so no one knew otherwise.

Millenial Work Flow For Handling Diarrhea

Ok ya’ll* if this topic is TMI, move on. But if you want the low down, on how a millennial handles moments of gastric distress keep reading.

*You can take a girl out of Texas, but you can’t take the Texas out of the girl. Ok, so I only technically lived there 4 years, but can deploy this trait on a whim.

Thursday night, went out. I won’t mention where, because it was probably an anomaly but what I ate was supposedly vegan, in the end who knows. I shared the same plate with Miguel- mysteriously I was affected he was left unscathed.

Fast forward, I ended with diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and reflux all Friday. On a scale form 1-10 it was about a 6, so take that as you will.

Did I load up on pepto bismol, perhaps to feel better? Absolutely not. Did I take something to stop the diarehea- hell no. It’s coming out for a reason.

I did do the following:

  1. Did number 2, upon waking.
  2. Did #2 again, (20 mins later after doing #2 the first time).
  3. Drank some lemon water on an empty stomach, then had a fennel tea.
  4. Ate a light breakfast mainly starch,  I avoid all things complicated.
  5. Felt nauseous and told my family I felt nauseous. This is essential. They need to know my leash is short today, and any unnecessary foolishness is subject to being cussed out. Ok ya’ll I’m just joking here, I wouldn’t cuss out any babies. Miguel is a different story.
  6. Celebrated the fact that I don’t eat animals, because consumption would have only contributed to the inflammation presented. There are no debates here people, remember this is plant lifestyle hybrid site, if you don’t agree, Girl Bye.
  7. Did not eat lunch.
  8. Vomited.
  9. Drank a class of water, and baking soda aka sodium bicarbonate to settle this ish once and for all.
  10. Vomited again, and immediately felt better.
  11. Luckily was home, so I lingered around the house, doing much of nothing.
  12. Ate some crackers, drank plenty of fluids including coconut water, don’t forget the fluids people.
  13. Celebrated the arrival of my male hero with Saccharomyces boulardii packets from the pharmacy, if you ask for Perenterol they will understand you. Locally this is sold without prescription.
  14. Drank more fluids.
  15. Laid in bed pretending I was still feeling bad, dreaming on and off. I will not pass up on the opportunity to let papa lead the night routine. Hats off to papa, who did the nighttime routine whole heartedly.
  16. Got up at 10pm, starving and slathered raw peanut butter on a tortilla and went to bed.
  17. Woke up Saturday, 85% better. I had to fake it a little.

 

Disclaimer- in the event you run into a similar conundrum, and experience symptoms that indicate violent vomiting or dehydration please do not hesitate to contact your primary care physician. I do not have any doctor training. I am however a hippie heart that can remedy up quick results, and oh I’m a mom, a millennial mom.

 

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