Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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I practice the refreshing tradition of afternoon tea. Typically, sweet treats, finger sandwiches and scones accompany hot cups of herbal tea. Embracing a plant based lifestyle necessitated a change in my customary tea time. No more sweets or finger sandwiches. Gluten free, dairy free scones serve as yummy treats occasionally. Or simple fresh fruits and veggies make a great mid afternoon snack.

I love, however, coming across healthy alternatives to replace the sweet treats. Author Anthony William offers a wide range of recipes, along with an abundance of life changing health info and tips. Recently he posted an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe that I’ve been excited to try.

I was not disappointed!

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This easy to prepare recipe features gluten free oat flour and rolled oats. Check the packages, to make sure the oats are not processed in a plant along with wheat flour. Oats are naturally gluten free but can become contaminated if wheat is processed in the same facility.

The recipe is gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar free.

I purchase oat flour, rolled oats, coconut sugar and organic raisins in bulk, finding that’s better, cost wise. Any health-minded grocery store carries such items in bulk.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

This delicious treat is gluten, dairy, egg and refined sugar free.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Servings: 24 cookies
Author: Anthony William

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp ground golden flax seeds
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder aluminum free
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut or avocado oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup organic raisins

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Mix together ground flax seeds and water and set aside for 15 minutes, creating a flax egg.
  • Combine oats, oat flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt in a bow. Mix well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together coconut or avocado oil, maple syrup, vanilla and flax egg. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until uniform dough forms. Add raisins.
  • Using spoon or cookie scoop, drop dough by spoonful onto parchment paper. Flatten into circles with a fork. Bake for 8 -10 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. Makes approximately 24 cookies.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Mixing up this batch of cookies transported me back to my childhood. Standing beside my mom or grandmother, I’d help make cookies. One whiff of the fragrant cinnamon and I became that child again.

Of course, I sampled a bite of dough. Since it’s egg free, the dough can be eaten without concern. It tasted so good!

My kitchen filled with the scent of baking cookies as I cleaned up. Waiting for those cookies to cool required an exit from the room!

It was worth the wait. I settled into my favorite chair, with a cup of hot peppermint tea, and a small plate of vegan oatmeal raisin cookies.

The cookies are marvelous…soft, chewy, rich in flavor and not too sweet. They are, indeed, perfect oatmeal raisin cookies, and a wonderful addition to afternoon tea time. I keep all the ingredients on hand, making this a quick and easy recipe to prepare.

I look forward to making these delightfully healthy cookies a couple of times a month.

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Other Afternoon Tea Time Treats

Looking for other tea time treats or healthy after dinner desserts? Try these:

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Gluten Free Wild Blueberry Scones

Wild Blueberry Banana Bread

 

Check out my Amazon Storefront to purchase Anthony’s books and to pre-order his new book, Medical Medium Celery Juice: The Most Powerful Medicine of Our Time Healing Millions Worldwide.

 

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

These vegan snickerdoodle cookies are full of flavor and healthy ingredients. And they make an excellent snack or simple dessert. I so appreciate Anthony William, who creates and offers a steady stream of delicious, easy to follow recipes. The cookies came together quickly, just in time for afternoon tea.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

This recipe is dairy, refined sugar, gluten and egg free. Walnuts can be left out, for a nut free bread.

Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

This easy to prepare cookie recipe is full of flavor and healthy ingredients.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Dessert
Keyword: Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies
Servings: 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder aluminum free
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil melted
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Coating

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine sugar and cinnamon for coating and set aside.
  • Combine almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt and cinnamon in a bowl. Add lemon juice, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla and stir well, to form a dough. If mixture is too wet, add more flour.
  • Form dough into walnut sized balls and roll in sugar/cinnamon mixture. Place on parchment paper. Flatten balls of dough with palm of hand or bottom of a glass.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, or until slightly brown on bottom. 

Notes

Arrowroot starch may be substituted for coconut flour. Gluten free oat flour may be substituted for almond flour.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Tea Time

Savoring a couple of warm snickerdoodle cookies, with a steaming cup of hot herbal tea, the treat reminded me of shortbread cookies. Crisp with a softer center, and not too sweet, this cookie provides the perfect excuse to take a break and enjoy the moment.

I like that the recipe makes a small batch of cookies. It can easily be doubled. However, twelve cookies seems just right. I’m not tempted to overdo. Instead, two cookies with tea satisfies my desire for a snack.

Serve these vegan snickerdoodle cookies for an afternoon break, pack into a lunchbox or finish an evening meal with a hint of sweetness. They are perfect.

Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookies

Try out these rustic shortbread cookies as well.

And for a variety of herbal tea blends, check out my Amazon Storefront.

Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program is designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.

8 Plant Based Milks

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As promised, after sharing about how milk can make us feel bad, tonight I offer healthy alternatives to cow’s milk. For baking, for pouring over gluten free oatmeal, for drinking, these plant based milks deliver flavor and nutrients without the hormones, antibiotics and lactose.

And, as a bonus, I’ve included a simple to make DIY almond milk recipe.

8 Plant Based Milks

Almond Milk

This is the most popular plant based milk on the market and the easiest to find. Almond milk is made from almonds and water. It has a light, sweet, subtly nutty flavor and among plant based milks, has the lowest calorie count. Almonds contain healthy fats, important minerals and vitamins, including E. Purchase unsweetened almond milk and check labels for carrageenan. This additive causes an inflammatory response in some people.

Drink almond milk or use in coffee and tea, over cereal or oatmeal, in smoothies and for baking.

Almond milk is incredibly easy to make at home. See the DIY recipe at the end of the post.

Cashew Milk

Similar to almond milk, cashew milk is made from cashews and water. It has a rich, creamy texture and a sweet, slightly nutty taste. Cashews contain healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, including zinc. Purchase unsweetened cashew milk, or make your own at home. Unlike almond milk, it doesn’t even need to be strained after blending,

Use in smoothies, for baking or in coffee and tea.

Coconut Milk

In contrast to full fat coconut milk purchased in a can, and used in many Thai and curry recipes, this coconut milk is a diluted version. It’s made from the flesh of coconuts and water. The milk is very creamy with a sweet, subtle coconut flavor. Coconut milk contains healthy fats, minerals such as calcium and iron, and it’s rich with B vitamins. Look for unsweetened coconut milk.

This milk is great for drinking, using in coffee, tea and smoothies, and for baking.

Hemp Milk

Made from hemp seeds and water, hemp milk contains more protein than the nut milks and contains healthy omega-3s. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor with a very thin watery texture. Many compare the texture to skim milk, and some don’t care for the unique flavor.

Like almond milk, packaged hemp milk can contain carrageenan, so check labels. This product is not as readily available as other milks.

Use in place of skim milk in coffee and tea.

8 Plant Based Milks

Oat Milk

Relatively new to the market, oat milk is higher in calories and carbohydrates than the other plant based milks. It’s made from oats and water and has a mild, sweet flavor. Oat milk contains more protein than nut milks, and fiber along with important minerals and the B vitamins.

Look for unsweetened varieties, to cut down on calories.

Use oat milk in coffee, tea and smoothies, for baking and to top cereal and oatmeal. This newcomer is currently a very popular option in coffee shops.

Rice Milk

This milk, made from milled brown or white rice and water, has been around for a long time. Compared to plant based milks available now, rice milk doesn’t have the nutritional value that they do. However, rice milk is the least allergenic of all the milks. It is also very mild, taste wise, with a thin, watery texture.

Purchase rice milk unsweetened.

Use this milk in smoothies and for baking.

Quinoa Milk

Another newcomer, quinoa milk is made from this small, gluten free grain and water. Quinoa milk is high in protein and contains all nine of the essential amino acids. The milk has a slightly sweet taste with a distinctive quinoa flavor. However, it mixes well with coffee and tea.

This product can be difficult to find in grocery stores and it is more expensive than the other plant based milks.

Soy Milk

I hesitated in adding this milk. It has long been available, being one of the first plant based milk products on the market. Soy milk is made from soy beans (or soy protein isolate) and water and has a creamy texture and a mild flavor. It is high in proteins and can be substituted for cow’s milk in coffee and tea, for baking or for drinking.

The problem with soy milk is that most of the soy grown in the US is genetically modified so that it can be sprayed with the pesticide Round Up. Genetically modified foods, also called GMO foods, can cause inflammation and health issues. And the pesticide used on soy is passed on to those who drink the milk, creating many more health problems.

If using soy milk, look for an unsweetened, non GMO product.

8 Plant Based Milks

DIY Almond Milk

Almond milk can be made easily at home. I say that, and yet I have never made it before, until tonight. I found the process to be super simple.

Making almond milk actually starts a day or two before blending the ingredients, so keep that in mind. Find a strainer and cheesecloth by clicking these links.

DIY Almond Milk
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Almond Milk

Make your own almond milk easily, at home. 
Prep Time15 mins
Chill1 hr
Total Time15 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Author: journeywithhealthyme

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 3 cups water bottled or filtered
  • 2 dates pitted
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  • Cover raw almonds with cool water and soak for 24 - 48 hours. Drain and rinse.
  • Combine almonds, 3 cups of water, dates and vanilla in blender. Pulse 5 or 6 times, to break up almonds.
  • Blend on high speed for two minutes, until mixture becomes white and creamy.
  • Line strainer with cheesecloth and place in a bowl. Pour blended almond mixture into strainer and allow milk to drain through cheesecloth, into bowl. Gently squeeze cheesecloth, to extract all the liquid. Store for up to 2 days in refrigerator.

Notes

Vary amount of water, for thicker or thinner milk. Omit dates and vanilla if desired.

Other than remembering to start the soaking process one to two days beforehand, this recipe was so simple. I found it fascinating, actually, to see almonds transformed into a creamy, frothy drink.

I am not a milk drinker, although I occasionally use it for baking. However, I like trying new things. I sampled my freshly made almond milk, and I liked it. I did include the dates and vanilla, for a slightly sweeter taste. Tomorrow, after my almond milk as chilled overnight, I’ll try a small glassful.

Because it contains no preservatives, make small batches of almond milk and use up within two days. Cost wise, making plant based milks at home is not a savings over purchasing ready made milks at the store. For quality assurance, it can’t be beat. I know exactly what’s in this milk…and what’s not in it. I’m looking forward to baking with my homemade milk or adding a splash to a cup of hot herbal tea.

If you have a favorite plant based milk, or DIY milk recipe, I’d love to see it!

DIY Almond Milk

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Guide to Gluten Free Flours

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Avoiding gluten doesn’t mean I don’t ever bake or cook with flour. It means I use gluten free flours, and fortunately, there is a wide variety to choose from. They don’t all have the same properties, and most are not interchangeable with wheat flour, one on one. Knowing what flours to use, for which purposes, and how much to use, prevents baking flops and catastrophes. And trust me, I’ve had a few of those.

Check out 8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance, to see why some people avoid gluten.

One thing I learned early in my plant based journey is that it’s best to use a combination of gluten free flours, for the best end results.


Below are great gluten free options, and the best ways to use them.

Guide to Gluten Free Flours

Gluten Free Flours

The flours can be divided into three categories: starches, medium density flours and heavy density flours. It’s best to use a combination of the three, and to experiment occasionally to see which blend suits your baking needs the best.

Starches

Arrowroot Flour

Arrowroot flour is a very fine flour that is derived from the arrowroot plant. It is also called arrowroot starch or arrowroot powder. The flour resembles corn or potato starch.

Best used as a thickener, in place of corn starch, it can be substituted 1:1 for other starches. Arrowroot flour is helpful when combined with other gluten free flours as it helps the dough and finished product to hold together.

Use up to 25% of arrowroot flour in a mix of gluten free flours.

Potato Starch

Different from potato flour, this starch adds wonderful moisture to baked goods.

Best used for all types of baked goods.

Use up to 25% of potato starch in a mix of gluten free flours.

Tapioca Flour

Also known as cassava flour, this product is made from the dried roots of the cassava plant. It is also known as tapioca starch, and should be used in combination with other gluten free flours.

Best used for mixing in gluten free flour blends and thickening soups, sauces and fillings.

Tapioca flour can be substituted for corn or potato starch. Use no more than 25% when combining with other gluten free flours.

 

Medium Density Gluten Free Flours

Sorghum Flour

This flour is closest in texture and taste to traditional wheat flour. It is high in antioxidants and in many instances, can be used as a 1:1 substitution for regular flour.

Best used for muffins, breads, pancakes, cookies and cakes.

Swap sorghum flour 1:1 for wheat flour or use up to 50% in gluten free mix.

Quinoa Flour

This grain has a nutty flavor. However, as a flour it can be slightly bitter. Use sparingly in a mixture of other gluten free flours, to add protein.

Best used for biscuits, flatbreads, herbed breads or muffins.

Only use 25%, or less, in a mix of gluten free flours.

Oat Flour

This flour is made by grinding oats. You can grind your own gluten free oats, in a blender or food processor. Otherwise, make sure the package states that this is a gluten free product. Oats are naturally gluten free, however, they are often cultivated and processed with wheat products, leading to cross contamination.

Best used for breads, muffins, cookies, cakes, crusts, fruit crisps and scones.

Use up to 50% of oat flour in a gluten free mix.

Millet Flour

This mild adaptable grain is rich in magnesium and also completely gluten free. Millet flour adds a crumbly texture to breads and muffins.

Best for breads, muffins, cookies, cakes and crusts.

Use up to 25% of millet flour in a gluten free mix.

Bean Flours

Beans can be ground into flour, just as grains can. All are naturally rich in protein and fiber. Available varieties include chickpea, or garbanzo, black bean, white bean, lentil and fava. Bean flours have a robust flavor and can leave an aftertaste, so experiment with these. I use garbanzo flour most often, of the bean flours.

Use bean flours in sweet treats such as pancakes, muffins or zucchini bread.

Up to 25% of a gluten free mix can be comprised of bean flours.

 

Wild Blueberry Scones

Heavy Density Gluten Free Flours

Almond Flour

This product is made from raw, blanched almonds that have been ground to a fine flour. Almond flour, and other nut based flours such as hazelnut, walnut or seed flours, add a punch of protein and a slightly nutty taste to baked goods.

Almond flour is best used for cookies, cakes, muffins, pancakes and crumbles.

Use up to 25% almond flour in a mix of gluten free flours.

Buckwheat Flour

This flour, made from ground buckwheat, is 100% gluten free, and has a rich nutty flavor.

Best used for muffins, cookies, pancakes, waffles and breads.

Use up to 50% of this flour, in a gluten free mix.

Coconut Flour

This very dense flour is created from dried coconut. It is the most fibrous of all gluten free flours, which means it soaks up liquids. Plan to use at least 1/4 cup of extra liquid in recipes, when using coconut flour, or use a different flour. My mother had several failed recipes, before figuring out that coconut flour absorbed too much of the liquids, resulting in a dry and crumbly baked good.

Coconut flour is best used for pancakes, cookies, waffles and crusts.

You can use 1/4 cup of coconut flour, in place of 1 cup of other gluten free flours. You’ll still need to add at least ¼ cup of extra liquids.

Brown Rice Flour

This flour is made from rice that still contains the germ and bran from the rice grain. It is an excellent gluten free flour, suitable for a multitude of uses. White rice flour is available as well. It qualifies as a medium density flour.

Best used for all gluten free baking and cooking, thickener for soups, sauces and fillings.

Use up to 50% in gluten free mixes.

Creating a Gluten Free Flour Blend

When creating a blend of gluten free flours, to bake with, use a mix of starches, medium textured flour and heavy textured flours, for great texture and flavor.

I typically use a blend of oat flour, almond or brown rice flour, and arrowroot or tapioca starch. In a recipe that calls for 2 1/2 cups of flour, I use 1 cup of oat flour, 1 cup of almond or brown rice flour, and 1/2 cup of arrowroot or tapioca starch. Some gluten free bakers use a 2:1 mix of flours to starches. For every cup of flour, they mix in 1/2 cup of starch.


Create this blend of gluten free flours, to have on hand, ready for use:

3 cups sorghum flour

3 cups brown rice flour

1 1/2 cups potato starch

1 1/2 cups arrowroot powder


Combine all ingredients well and store in the fridge. Makes 9 cups.


Or try out Bob’s Red Mill packaged flours. They have a 1:1 gluten free flour blend that can be used in place of wheat flour, without having to mix your own. I’ve used Bob’s several times, with excellent results. This company also packages many of the above mentioned flours individually.

Most grocery stores carry gluten free flours. Natural Grocers carries a large assortment of bulk packaged flours under their own brand, plus the Bob’s Red Mill brand.


Guide to Gluten Free Flours

Creating Healthy Treats

I don’t bake nearly as often as I used to. After eliminating dairy products, eggs, sugar and gluten from my diet, I at first thought baked goods were a thing of the past. Occasionally, however, I prepare a special treat, such as the wild blueberry scones, or wonderful chocolate wacky cupcakes, all prepared without dairy, eggs, refined sugar…I use organic coconut sugar or 100% pure maple syrup…and with gluten free flours.

These goodies are special treats, indeed.

Guide to Gluten Free Flours
Gluten Free Flours that I frequently use.

 

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Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Post holidays, the Liver Rescue book club, consisting of my mom, sister and me, picked up again with Chapter 3. We are learning much about our overworked, underappreciated livers. It truly is amazing, how hard our livers work, to keep us healthy for as long as possible. More about what I am learning in a future blog post.

Tonight it was good to get together and chat about the book over a simple, plant based meal, a cup of hot tea, and a healthy treat. I supplied dinner…Lentil Shepherd Pie…and a healthy dessert…Rustic Shortbread Cookies. The recipe came from my favorite health conscious grocery store…Natural Grocers.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

This easy and healthy recipe arrived via my email. Tonight felt like the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy free butter (I used olive oil butter), at room temperature, divided into 8 pieces/spoonfuls
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. In mixing bowl, combine flour, arrowroot starch, coconut sugar and sea salt. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut in butter, a few pieces at a time. Repeat until all eight pieces are incorporated. Add vanilla. Stir and then using hands, knead dough until all ingredients are well combined.

Form dough into walnut sized balls, place on baking sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool completely, on cookie sheet. The arrowroot starch acts as a binder, as the cookies cool, holding them together.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Perfect with Tea

We rushed the cookies, not allowing them to cool completely before sampling with hot tea. They were excellent though, especially with the herbal tea. Not too sweet, these rustic shortbread cookies make a light, occasional treat to enjoy.

I appreciate Natural Grocers, for sending me recipes. Of course, I purchased all my ingredients there. Visit their website link, in the sentence above. In Joplin, they are located on the corner of 7th and Range Line.

And pick up some herbal tea while you are there! My favorite is the Yogi Detox blend, with echinacea.

Rustic Shortbread Cookies

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

The kiwi fruit, fuzzy on the outside and bright green and sweet on the inside, is known for being extremely high in vitamin C. However did you know that kiwis are incredibly nutritious and packed with health benefits?

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwi Nutrition

This fruit originated in China. When it was first exported from China, the Europeans called it the Chinese Gooseberry. The fruit trees were introduced to New Zealand at the turn of the 20th century and cultivated there. As the fruit began to be exported from New Zealand the name was changed to kiwi, after the the kiwi bird which is also small, brown and fuzzy.

Kiwi grows on a shrubby tree that reaches a height of 30 feet. Italy is the top producer of the fruit, followed by New Zealand.

High in vitamins C, E and K, kiwi also supplies potassium, copper, folate, protein and fiber.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Kiwis are an excellent source of nourishment and nutrients and provide the following health benefits:

  1. High antioxidant food that fights free radical damage and helps to repair and maintain body tissues and systems. They are rich in polyphenols, which stimulate the immune system. The tiny seeds also possess strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  2. Regulates blood sugar while lowering fat in the bloodstream. Kiwi’s high quality glucose is bioavailable and feeds the neurons in the brain.
  3. Aids digestion and serves as a treatment for bowel and digestive disorders. Kiwi’s amino acids raise hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach, providing relief for acid reflux, Barrett’s esophagus, gas, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and bloating.
  4. One kiwi a day can lower the risk of stroke, blood clots and cardiovascular disease. The potassium in kiwi helps lower blood pressure, counteracts sodium and relaxes blood vessels throughout the body.
  5. The kiwi tree has been used as a medicinal plant in China for many years, treating ailments such as joint pain, bladder stones, and cancers of the liver and esophagus. Both the fruit and roots inhibit liver, lung and colon cancer cell growth.
  6. Kiwi contains serotonin, increasing sleep time and quality. Serotonin may also boost memory and mood and help with depression.
  7. Improves skin and respiratory health, and also prevents degenerative eye diseases. Kiwi contains an antioxidant called lutein that offers protection for these systems and the eyes, and helps to slow the effects of aging on the body.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

How to Use Kiwi

Kiwi is readily available in the produce section at the grocery store or in the frozen foods section. Although the skin can be eaten, just like a peach skin, most people peel the fruit first.

The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to cut off each end, loosen the skin with a spoon and slide out the fruit. Enjoy kiwi raw in salads, smoothies, desserts and fruit bowls. Because kiwi has a tenderizing effect on other foods, add it last to salads and fruit bowls.

Kiwis can also be enjoyed by simply slicing one in two and scooping out the fruit. For the adventurous, wash the skin and experience eating kiwi like a peach. I have not tried this although I’ve seen others bite right into an unpeeled fruit. I’m willing to go for it, the next time I purchase this health boosting fruit!

Top 7 Health Benefits of Kiwi

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

With Christmas on Tuesday, I chose to share recipes for healthy treats tonight rather than info about a supplement. Being plant based doesn’t mean we can’t occasionally enjoy snacks or treats. I’ve discovered there are healthy, and delicious, alternatives to sugar or dairy laden snacks.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

I tried out three new holiday suitable treats this evening, and a wonderful chai hot chocolate.

Healthy Rice Krispy Treats

This quick and easy recipe comes from Anthony William.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup raw honey

2/3 cup raw cashew butter

2 teaspoons alcohol-free vanilla

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

4 cups organic brown puffed rice cereal

Directions:

In large bowl combine honey, cashew butter, vanilla and sea salt. Add cereal, stirring well to coat. Line 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. Spread cereal mixture in pan, pressing firmly. Chill in refrigerator at least one hour. Cut into bars. Makes 9-12 bars. Store in refrigerator.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Chai Hot Chocolate

I have missed hot chocolate during the winter months, since going plant based and eliminating sugar and dairy products from my diet. The delicious hot drink combines the goodness of chai with a sugar free, dairy free hot chocolate.

This wonderful drink is adapted from a recipe by Taking Route.

Ingredients:

For the chai spice – mix together in a small bowl

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

For hot chocolate –

2 cups dairy free milk (I used almond coconut)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Directions:

In a saucepan mix together milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of the chai spice mix. Bring just to boiling point, whisking occasionally. Lower heat and simmer a few minutes. Pour into mugs. Makes two serving.

I topped the chai hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped coconut cream (available at health conscious grocery stores) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

I carried out steaming mugs of chai hot chocolate and a small plate of the rice krispy treats to share with Greg around a crackling fire in the backyard fire pit. What a perfect winter evening!

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This great recipe comes from an Instagram friend, Leah’s Health.

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten free flour (I used a combination of almond and oat flour)

2 tablespoons Arrowroot Starch

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

3 tablespoons water

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 – 1 cup dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia. (I used 1 cup of dark mini chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine flour, arrowroot starch, baking soda and sea salt. Add maple syrup, water, coconut oil and vanilla, stirring just until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Form into large balls of dough, 2 – 3 tablespoons each, and flatten on cookie sheet. Makes 7 – 9 large cookies. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Don’t over bake.

Healthy Christmas Eve Treats

Gingerbread Bars

Finally, I adapted a recipe my grandson and I used a couple of nights ago. He made gingerbread cookies to give as gifts. I decided to try gingerbread bars, as his creations smelled so wonderful!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of olive oil spread (rather than butter)

3/4 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup molasses

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. Let set for 5 minutes.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 1/2 cups gluten free flour (I used oat and almond)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl whisk together olive oil spread, coconut sugar and molasses. Stir in flax egg. Add salt, spices, baking powder and baking soda. Using a wooden spoon add flour, half a cup at a time. If baking as bars, don’t allow dough to form into a ball. Chill mixture for 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Press into baking sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean and edges are slightly browned. Cool completely. Cut into bars.

Or for cookies, add enough flour so that dough forms into a ball. Chill. Then roll dough out, between two sheets of parchment paper, to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes and bake 8 – 10 minutes.

I’m ready for Christmas Eve, with holiday songs to listen to, plant based meals to prep for the next day and healthy versions of traditional treats to snack on. I’ll enjoy some quiet, cozy moments late tomorrow night, appreciating the glow of Christmas tree lights and tea light candles…and a cup of chai hot chocolate and one of my healthy Christmas Eve treats.

 

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

I’ve always loved aromatic cloves. As a child I was most familiar with cloves as decorations on oranges and baked ham. And indeed, cloves have been used in cooking for hundreds of years.

Sweet and spicy cloves do more than flavor foods and drinks. They are full of healing benefits as well.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Origins of Cloves

Cloves are the dried flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree, an evergreen that reaches a height of 30 feet. Its name originates from the Latin word “clavus,” which means “nail”. Clove trees typically grow in warm, humid climates such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Brazil. Tanzania leads the market, producing about 80 percent of the world’s clove supply.

Cloves are a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and K. They also provide minerals such as potassium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Healing Benefits of Spicy Cloves

Cloves can be used in the culinary arts and they are beneficial for the following health conditions:

• Heals infections and inflammation due to high anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

• Soothes coughs and colds with expectorant properties.

• Boosts the immune system with powerful antioxidants that fight off oxidative damage and free radicals.

• Promotes the production of gastric acids, which creates better digestion of food. Cloves ease indigestion and dyspepsia, as well as reduce gas pressure in the gut, lessening discomfort.

• Freshens breath and treats oral conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis. The antibacterial property of cloves minimizes the growth of bacteria inside the mouth.

Clove oil can be used as a natural painkiller for toothaches. Its anesthetic property alleviates pain and discomfort that arises from cavities and other dental and gum problems.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

How to Use Cloves

Cloves are readily available in grocery stores, whole or ground. Ground cloves may be used in a variety of recipes. Add dried cloves to hot apple cider or brew as a tea.

Try this healthy and flavorful hot drink:

Combine 1 whole clove, 1 stick of cinnamon (or 1/4 teaspoon of ground) with 2 cups water. Simmer on stove for two minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey if desired and 2 teaspoons non dairy milk such as almond or coconut.

Clove oil is also available.

Spicy Cloves Deliver Healing Benefits

Vegan Hot Chocolate

This time of year, as Christmas approaches and the night air becomes cold, I miss hot chocolate. I grew up drinking my mother’s made from scratch hot cocoa. Many holiday traditions included the warming drink.

Later in life I’d tear open a packet of hot chocolate mix, add hot water and instantly have this favorite winter drink. Since adopting a plant based lifestyle I have not enjoyed hot chocolate. Typically, the commercial varieties are full of processed sugar and dried milk.

Thankfully, I successfully adapted a recipe to create a healthy hot chocolate that is dairy and sugar free.

 Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

Ingredients

1 can coconut milk, full fat

1 cup non dairy milk (I used almond coconut)

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Directions

In a small saucepan, whisk together canned coconut milk, non dairy milk, cocoa powder and maple syrup. Continue to stir over medium-low heat, until hot chocolate is heated through and well combined. Makes 2 servings.

Top with whipped coconut cream, tiny dark chocolate chips, sweetened with stevia, or peppermint leaves.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Hot Chocolate is Back!

Oh my, this hot chocolate is delicious. I savored it, sipping on the steaming liquid as I edited photos for tonight’s blogs.

The recipe is easy to adapt. One half a teaspoon of peppermint or pure vanilla extract could be added to change up the flavor. Leave off the whipped coconut topping if desired. Or, leaving it on, switch out the dark chocolate chips for unsweetened shredded coconut.

I’m so glad to have hot chocolate back in my life. This rich chocolate drink won’t be a nightly treat. However it’s good to know that if I am missing hot chocolate I now have a healthy option.

It will be perfect for Christmas Eve, with a Rustic Apple Galette!

Vegan Hot Chocolate

Schisandra Berry

Have you heard of schisandra berry? I had not. I learned about this medicinal berry, used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, in Liver Rescue, by Anthony William. Anthony included schisandra berry in his most recent book because its powerful antioxidants protect the liver.

There are other amazing benefits as well.

Schisandra Berry

What is Schisandra Berry?

Schisandra…Schisandra chinensis…has been used for thousands of years along with other ancient herbs like ginseng, goji berry and reishi. In the 1960s it was recognized as an “adaptogen agent”, following the discovery that the berry helps fight adrenal fatigue, heart disease and the negative effects of stress.

Schisandra’s name comes from the fact that the berries have a unique taste. They contain five distinct flavors: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and hot. That’s why schisdanra is often called “the five-flavored berry.” In traditional Chinese medicine, the flavors are important for understanding the way schisandra works. It’s said that the five flavors represent five elements that work in multiple meridians within the body to restore health.

This complex herb is high in vitamins C and E, and a host of phytochemicals.

Schisandra Berry

Schisandra Berry

Health Benefits of Schisandra Berry

The powerful antioxidants in schisandra berry promotes health in the following ways.

• Increases the liver’s adaptogenic abilities and protects liver cells from excess adrenaline damage and toxin overload. Helps increase oxygen to the liver and reduces toxic liver heat.

• Fights free radical damage and lowers inflammation. Lowering inflammation reduces the risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. It halts hardening of the arteries, balances blood sugar and brings the body into balance.

• Supports the adrenals, which helps the body deal with the effects of stress.

• Eases stomach disorders and ulcers. Helps to heal a fatty liver.

• Protects the skin from the damaging effects of wind, sun exposure, allergic reactions, dermatitis, environmental stress and toxin accumulation.

• Improves mental clarity and function. Protects against neurological and psychiatric disorders, including neurosis, depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, alcoholism and Alzheimer’s.

Schisandra Berry

How to Use Schisandra Berry

Schisandra is available in a variety of forms. It can be purchased as a tincture, powder or capsule. Dried berries can be brewed to make a healing tea.

Add 2 – 3 teaspoons of dried schisandra berries to a cup of very hot water. Steep 15 – 30 minutes. Add other health boosters such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon or licorice root.

You can order schisandra berry products below.

Schisandra Berry

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Cindy’s Amazon Storefront

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