Whether you need an afternoon snack, post-workout treat, scrumptious dessert, or just-a-lil-something-to-nibble-on; energy balls are a delicious way to nourish yourself and satisfy your sweet cravings.
Because they’re packed with satiating fats, protein and fiber; these balls support steady blood sugar, and load you up with brain-healthy nutrients. And because they’re bite-size, you can take them wherever you go!
They’re also super versatile, require minimal ingredients (and no cooking!) and come together quickly. So let’s make this happen.
This recipe is:
Simple: All you need is a food processor and a little patience.
Minimal: Just 5 ingredients!!
Versatile: Your pantry is your playground. Use whatever nuts/seeds you have; swap out the blueberries for dried cherries (a friend used the Trader Joe’s Powerberries which was GENIUS), cacao nibs, dried mango; add spices or lemon zest – you can’t go wrong.
Delicious: I won’t lie, I do love to brag about my own recipes. But when I shared these at a hike last year, the levels of enthusiasm and gushing I received from my fellow hikers was unexpected and frankly a little alarming.
So yes – these are worth making.
Try them, let me know if you love them, and share! xo
These tasty morsels are a variation on the "Raw Brownie Bites" from my Reset Cookbook. They come together with minimal effort, are rich in satiating fats - almonds and coconut; stacked with fiber; and are tinged with the sweet tang of blueberries. They're also the perfect hiking companion!
Prep Time5 minutesmins
Cook Time15 minutesmins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Keyword: balanced snack, blood-sugar balanced, dairy-free, dessert, energy ball, energy bite, gluten-free, plant-based, snack, sweet treat, vegan, vegetarian
Food processor (a hand-chopper might work too but will take longer)
1cupfreeze-dried blueberriessee note
1cupshredded coconutdried and unsweetened
Throw the freeze-dried blueberries, almonds, coconut, pitted dates and sea salt into a food processor.
Pulse until the ingredients crumble, then process until the mixture starts sticking together - for roughly 10 minutes. The mixture should stick when you press a little quantity between your fingers.
Once it's sticky enough, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Using a tablespoon-size measuring spoon or a melon baller, scoop a small quantity of the mixture onto your hands, then roll into balls. This will make approximately 18 tablespoon-size balls.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge, and enjoy within 10 days.
NOTE: You can get freeze-dried blueberries online or from Trader Joe's/any health food store. Swap out with other dried/freeze-dried fruit like mango, strawberries or apple for a yummy variation.
Mindful eating is the practice of becoming fully present while eating…with curiosity, loving kindness, and zero judgement.
The benefits are infinite: improved digestion/gut-health, lower stress levels, decreased overeating, a deeper connection with your food and body and more!
It’s the gift that keeps on giving; the more you practice.
But don’t take my word for it, sign up – and practice with me!
During this course, you’ll practice:
slowing down and using all your senses to connect with your food;
becoming present and eating with curiosity and no judgement;
tapping into your internal hunger and fullness cues; and
offering your body gratitude, compassion and loving kindness.
We’ll practice virtually, as a group – once a week.
For 5 weeks, we’ll meet for 1 hour on Zoom (see dates below).
I’ll guide you through a brief eating meditation, introduce a new concept (for example, “rest-and-digest,” types of hunger, tapping into your internal hunger and fullness cues, gratitude & self-compassion) – and we’ll reflect on new learnings.
And every week, you’ll receive prompts and exercises to support and reinforce your personal mindful eating practice.
The classes will be offered at 6pm Pacific Time on the following Thursdays:
Thurs, October 27, 2022 | 6-7pm PT
Thurs, November 3, 2022 | 6-7pm PT
Thurs, November 10, 2022 | 6-7pm PT
Thurs, November 17, 2022 | 6-7pm PT
Thurs, December 1, 2022 | 6-7pm PT(We’ll skip the week of Thanksgiving)
The sessions will be recorded and available for replay.
Early bird: $150 if you register by October 23, 2022
(Recipe adapted from the “Oyster Mushroom Taco” recipe in the 2021 Flavor cookbook by Ottolengi, Belfrage & Wigley).
This recipe is tasty AF.
My husband’s words, not mine. He’s not wrong though.
This Mushroom Tempeh “Chorizo” recipe came into our lives in 2020 – the year we began our steamy love-affair with homemade corn tortillas.
[Side note: if you’ve never made corn tortillas at home, do it.
It’ll change your life.
Or, at the very least – it will take your taco obsession to the next level. That’s what happened to us.]
And amidst our renewed taco obsession, I discovered an “Oyster Mushroom Taco” recipe in Ottolenghi’s Flavor cookbook that I knew I had to recreate with tempeh for added protein.
Turns out, the texture of crumbled mushrooms and tempeh come pretty close to the look and feel of chorizo. And after a few tiny tweaks, this recipe was born.
But does it taste like chorizo?
If you’re looking for a veganized Mexican chorizo, this isn’t it (TBH there are delicious vegan Mexican chorizo recipes out there already).
The flavor of this particular dish is so unique – spicy, smoky, salty and slightly sweet – that it’s almost a different dish altogether.
Infused with allspice, dried chipotle chilies, tamari and garlic – and sweetened with maple syrup – this “chorizo” is intoxicating, satisfying and so addicting, you’ll wish you’d made more.
So, lets get right to it.
Here are my tips before you dive in:
This recipe is somewhat involved: It consists of multiple steps and can feel intimidating and time-consuming the first 2-3 times you make it. So, save this dish for a weekend taco night.
Texture is key: Chopped mushrooms + crumbled/chopped temeph are a match made in texture heaven. For this dish, I took it a step further and shredded the mushroom stems with my fingers. This is optional. You can use a food processor for both, mushrooms and tempeh, to speed things along – but don’t go overboard! You want texture, not mush.
Use any mushrooms: I most often use cremini (baby Bella) mushrooms they’re easily available and affordable. Oyster mushrooms, which tend to be pricey, will give you the most texture in this recipe (especially if you shred them – they look like chicken!).
Don’t forget the spicy drizzle: At the very beginning, you’ll make a dry spice-blend with cumin, allspice and dried chipotle chilies (found online or your local Mexican grocery store). You’ll mix 2 teaspoons of that dry spice-blend with olive oil for a spicy drizzle at the end. Don’t forget the drizzle (I always do)!
Add a vegan “crema”: This “chorizo” is quite intense. While I love it as-is with plain mashed avocado, you may prefer something creamier to soften it. Consider adding a dollop of vegan “crema” using this recipe by Brown Sugar & Vanilla or these Cashew Crema instructions by Todo Verde. If not vegan, you can use sour cream or a dollop of Greek yogurt.
That’s all for now. I hope you try this recipe – and love it too.
Corn or flour tortillas, avocado, radish, cilantro & squeeze of lime.
Preheat oven to 425 F
First make a dry spice-blend by grinding the cumin seeds, dried chilies and allspice berries (if using whole) together using a spice-grinder (ideal) or mortar & pestle.
Make your spicy drizzle: In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of the dry spice-blend with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and set aside. You will use this as a final drizzle once the "chorizo" is cooked.
In a larger bowl, make the sauce by mixing the remaining dry spice blend with the remaining 5 tablespoons of olive oil, maple syrup, tamari, minced garlic and sea salt.
Crumble the tempeh: First, remove the tempeh from its plastic wrapping. There are multiple ways to crumble tempeh (see notes). My preferred way is to chop it into small uneven pieces (crumbles) as follows:On a chopping board, cut the tempeh block into half widthwise. Then chop each half roughly into thin strips - then rotate it and chop into smaller pieces. You want the crumbles to have texture, so don't worry about making them evenly shaped or sized. You can break up anything that's too big with your fingers.
Spread the tempeh out into a large baking dish.
Prep your mushrooms: It isn't necessary to wash mushrooms, but you can if they're dirty. Otherwise, brush them off gently with a cloth or your hands. Do not throw away the stems! You can slice off the very bottom of the stem if it's dirty. Shredded or torn mushrooms give maximum texture to this dish. Use your fingers to tear the stems lengthwise. You can finely mince the mushroom caps, or tear them up too into small pieces.
Combine tempeh, mushrooms and spices: Add the shredded mushrooms to the tempeh in the baking dish, pour in the sauce (oil-maple-tamari-garlic-spices) and mix well using a spoon. Spread the mixture out evenly in the dish.
Bake! Place the baking dish into the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Then, carefully take the dish out of the oven, give the mixture a stir, spread it out again and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
Assemble tacos! Spoon the "chorizo" onto tortillas with mashed avocado, sliced radish, chopped cilantro, a drizzle of the reserved spice-blend oil, and a big squeeze of lime. Enjoy!
How to crumble tempeh:
Chop small: My preferred way is to chop the tempeh up into small pieces and break it up with my fingers (described above).
Food processor: You can crumble your tempeh in a food processor or hand-chopper by pulsing a few times. Do not over-process it - you want to maintain the texture of the tempeh. If using a food processor for this recipe, you can crumble the tempeh & mushrooms together to save time!
Use your fingers: Of course, you can just use your fingers to crumble the tempeh!
If the "chorizo" flavors are too intense:
Add something creamy: vegan crema, sour-cream, a dollop of Greek yogurt or mashed avocado are my go-tos.
Combine with plain steamed/roasted potatoes: I especially love using my "chorizo" leftovers in breakfast burritos along with steamed potatoes and salsa.
Tofu’s got a reputation for being “hit-or-miss” at the best of times.
And for good reason.
It’s bland by itself, requires extra time, effort and TLC to inject flavor into it – and EVEN THEN it often falls flat.
In fact, I’ve found only a few recipes that make tofu taste good.
And this is one of them.
Simply dusted with sea salt and black pepper; drizzled with tamari (or soy sauce) and vinegar – then baked in an oven for 30-40 minutes; this is the perfect recipe for when you want a head-start on dinner. It’s also one of the most straightforward ways to make yummy tofu.
This recipe is:
Simple: No techniques or faff required – just press, slice, season and bake.
Minimal: Uses 6 ingredients including the tofu!
Versatile: You can change up the seasoning as you please. Soy sauce or shoyu instead of tamari? Sure. Rice vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar? Definitely. Spice it up with garlic powder or hot sauce? Yes!
Hands-off: My favorite part! This recipe requires minimal supervision which makes for a relatively stress-free protein option for dinner.
Top this tofu on salads or bowls; tuck it into sandwiches or wraps; throw it into noodles – or just enjoy it plain and hot, right out of the oven.
This recipe’s a favorite in my home and I hope it becomes one in yours too.
A simple, hands-off recipe to make tasty tofu. Use in grain-bowls, salads, wraps and sandwiches!
Prep Time10 minutesmins
Cook Time40 minutesmins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: baked, dinner, plant-based, tofu, vegan
1/4tspblack pepper freshly ground
1-2tbsptamari (I used low-sodium)or soy sauce
1tbspapple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1/2lemon or lime, squeezed
First, drain and press the tofu. If your tofu is vacuum-sealed, you can skip this step. Press the tofu for 10 minutes using a "tofu-press" or simply place it on a plate or tray and "press" it using something heavy. I use a wooden chopping block and 1-2 cans to add extra weight, as shown in the photo.Discard any remaining liquid that runs off the tofu.
Preheat your oven to 380F (190C) and prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper.
Now, on a chopping block, using a sharp knife, cut the tofu into 12 thin slabs as shown in the image. I did this by first slicing the block into half widthwise, then into thin slabs lengthwise 6 times. It doesn't matter how they look as long as you have 12 pieces of the same thickness.
Lay the tofu slabs out on the prepared baking tray.
Lightly sprinkle the slabs with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then flip them over and do the same.
Drizzle the tamari and vinegar on one side of the slabs (no need to flip over). Note: soy sauce and shoyu tend to be saltier than tamari. If you're not using low-sodium tamari, start with 1 tablespoon instead of 2.If easier, mix the tamari and vinegar in a small bowl and brush it onto the tofu slabs.
Now place the baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the tray from the oven and carefully flip each piece over with tongs. Then put it back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. Note: the tofu will not crisp up in this recipe, but will become golden brown.
Remove the tray from the oven and squeeze lemon or lime juice all over the tofu pieces. Optional: If you want to slice the tofu into strips, let it cool for 2 minutes once out of the oven, then slice each piece into strips lengthwise. Then squeeze the lemon/lime juice all over.
Tamari is gluten-free soy sauce. I use a low-sodium variety here. If you are using soy-sauce, shoyu or regular tamari, use 1 tablespoon in the recipe (it's easier to add more salt/soy later!)
Squeezing lemon/lime juice at the end is optional, but recommended to cut through and balance out the saltiness. It also brightens up the entire dish.
This recipe does not make tofu crispy. To get crispiness, you'd need to use cornstarch or arrowroot powder. There are loads of recipes out there if you do a quick search.
During my 20s and early 30s, I thought stress was in my head.
“Stress is for wimps,” I thought. “I’ll deal with it.”
So, I did. I threw on my blinders and charged for the finish line. I plowed through all-nighters, relationship drama, job uncertainty, immigration issues, unexpected cross-country (and trans-Atlantic) moves and corporate overwhelm. ‘Cause there was nothing a yoga class, a glass of wine or a good night’s rest couldn’t fix.
Meanwhile, during phone-calls, my mom would offer out-of-the-blue, “I think your problem is stress.”
“Mom. I’m not stressed!” Of course, I was. Moms just know.
The truth is, while I looked calm on the outside, I was building up like a pressure-cooker inside. In reality, because my body was in stress overload for years, my adrenals had taken a beating. And this led to issues like weight gain, PCOS, low blood pressure, low thyroid and major “hanger” outbursts.
Turns out, by ignoring my stress, I had created a monster. I was on the fast-track to burnout, but just didn’t know it yet.
Acute versus Chronic Stress
Let’s be clear: stress is a crucial survival instinct – your body’s way of protecting you. And after your initial fight-or-flight response, your body is wired to bounce back and restore balance. This is called acute stress.
Chronic stress, on the other hand, is sneaky – lingering long after the original stressor passes, and sometimes involving multiple stressors. For example, receiving a health scare right after you’ve spent months planning for your big wedding. Or, navigating a marital challenge, loss or grief during a global pandemic.
This persistent and prolonged stress is destructive and can mess with everything from your digestion to blood sugar to mood to immunity. Chronic stress throws off your body’s balance and can show up in the form of belly fat, high cholesterol, hormone imbalance, acid reflux, infections, joint pain and more.
So, when Is stress A problem?
When does stress become chronic? When should you pay attention to your stress levels and learn strategies to buffer it? When should you ask for help?
Only you can answer this. Reflect on these prompts, and be honest with yourself. Awareness is the first step to understanding and buffering your stress response.
1. When it’s prolonged.
Chronic stress is described as stress that occurs for “several weeks or longer.” Consider how long you’ve felt stress or overwhelm. Maybe a big event triggered your stress response, and your body didn’t have a chance to fully recover from it. Meanwhile other daily stressors took over, keeping your body in a constant state of fight-or-flight.
2. When it makes you sick.
When your stress response is consistently activated, your body will send you notifications, much like your trusted smartphone.
“Your phone battery is low.”
“Your phone is overheating.”
“Restart phone now for updates.”
Your body sends you similar signals to unplug, recharge, take a break, stretch, eat and hydrate. And if you keep ignoring them (no judgement here; I do it too), the signs get bigger and louder until you pay attention.
I created the picture below to illustrate the many ways chronic stress can show up in your body (not an exhaustive list).
As you can see, stress is linked to several health conditions. In some cases, it’s the root cause; in others, a catalyst.
Don’t ignore these signs. Your body is throwing you red flags and wants you to pay attention! It’s time to slow down, take stock of your stress levels and adopt daily habits that nurture and support you.
Which brings me to #3.
3. When you have insufficient resources to navigate it.
Stress and coping researchers, Lazarus and Folkman describe stress as when, “the demands of a situation exceed our resources to cope.”
Resources can include external ones like a reliable support system; or internal ones, like nutritional mineral reserves (more on that in a later post).
During my toughest months of chronic stress, I thought I had ample support. A loving family and friends, a regular yoga practice and healthy diet…all checked out. Turns out, I still had major gaps in my resource tool-kit.
For one, I didn’t know how to say ‘no,’ or create boundaries where it mattered. Next, I didn’t know how to support my nervous system when my stress-response kicked in. Finally, I didn’t know how to ask for help, or who to turn to.
If this sounds like you, please know that a) you’re not alone, and b) you’re in the right place.
Stress doesn’t go away. But learning tools to navigate stress and support your nervous system can change how you respond to it, and ease your body back into balance over time.
While my chronic stress journey was one of the scariest times of my life; I’m thankful it gave me a newfound appreciation for my body’s nervous system as well as the skills to soothe and support it going forward. I hope it’ll do the same for you.
I’d love to hear if you learned something new in this post. Let me know in the comments below!