Lemony Coconut Fried Brussels Sprouts

Before joining the SF Women’s march yesterday and taking part in a historic outpouring of support in the name of equal rights, inclusivity, kindness, decency, healthcare access and more, I made some vegan comfort food to nourish body & soul both given the somber political environment as well as the continued cold, wet, rainy SF weather.  Specifically, I tried frying brussels sprouts in coconut oil (vs. my usual method of baking in olive oil), and I also made some twice baked sweet potatoes topped w/ Dang coconut chips and walnuts (that recipe coming soon!).  Here I share both the quick & easy recipe for Lemony Coconut Brussels Sprouts, inspired from this NYT recipe that I adapted, and some photos from yesterday’s inspiring and important Women’s march.

Ingredients:
1. Brussels sprouts, sliced in half – 1 cup
2. Organic coconut oil – 1/4 cup
3. Lemon, 1 slice
4. Sea salt

Directions:
1. In a medium to large skillet, heat coconut oil on medium to high heat for a couple of minutes.  Once piping hot, place the brussels sprouts face down on medium heat and allow them to get brown.
2. Skirt lemon slice directly into the skillet if you’d like to impart a lemony flavor (otherwise okay to keep simple with just coco oil and salt). 
3. Once browned and starting to get tender (~4-5 min), flip over and allow to cook through on other side.  Sprinkle w/ sea salt.
4. Taste one and see if it’s got that melt-in-your-mouth tender, deliciously coconut oily texture.  If still too hard, cook longer on lower heat setting to tenderize.

So let’s continue to be extra aware of the need for self care right now and care for others.  Love, tolerance, decency, and fundamental kindness is the answer. And I’ll leave with you one of my favorite Rumi quotes, which I rediscovered this weekend, and prompts us to think about in our individual and collective ‘tailor shops’ what are we sewing / building towards?  

“Spend the spark of iron on the stone. Sit at the head of the table; dip your spoon in the bowl. Seat yourself next to your joy and have your awakened soul pour wine…You’re the tailor, settled among his shop goods, quietly sewing.”- Rumi

Almond butter protein bites

These delicious nut butter bites are great as a pre or post workout snack or are fun to serve as a sweet vegan treat at a party too.  They are really easy to make – the only thing you will need is chocolate molds (I got these on Amazon and love the variety of shapes, particularly the hearts and the circles and rectangles embedded with swirly designs).  They should take no longer than 10 minutes to make and will set in the freezer and be ready to eat in about 1 hour.  Note you do need to keep them in the freezer and serve immediately when taking out since the coco oil and nut butter combo make these prone to melting, especially in high heat.  You’ll get protein from the nut butter, healthy fat from the coco oil, and an energy boost and aphrodisiac kick from the maca 🙂

Ingredients:
1. 1 cup of nut butter of your choice (I did 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup almond butter)
2. 1/2 cup coconut oil 
3. 1/4 cup maple syrup (you can probably substitute agave syrup as well)
4. 1 tbsp maca powder 
5. 1 tbsp cinnamon
6. Generous sprinklings of sea salt for that great sweet & salty balance 
Optional: If you like extra crunch, consider using crunchy nut butters and/or stirring in some cacao nibs.
Directions:
Put all ingredients in a small saucepan and mix over low heat for about 2 minutes.  Taste it (it’s absolutely delicious warm too), and if you’ve reached the right balance of sweet, salty, nutty and creamy, turn off heat and pour into chocolate molds.  Note you might need to first pour into something with a spout to get more precise pours into chocolate molds so it doesn’t spill beyond mold shapes.  Once molds are fill, set in freezer and they will be ready after about one hour.  Store in freezer in airtight container.  Serve immediately after removing from freezer to prevent melting.  Enjoy!!!

Choco-coco granola

There is no hiding that I have a sweet tooth.  It probably developed when I was a little girl and I was spoiled by my paternal grandparents who owned a bakery in Inglewood called Mr. Pastry.  They would always bring over tasty, sugary desserts in pink boxes and some of their famous treats included apple strudle, cheese danishes, and cookies the size of my face.  Anyways, I try to put a healthy twist on sweets, and I think this vegan chocolate granola delivers an indulgent breakfast treat or snack packed with lots of nutritious ingredients including coconut oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and cacao nibs.

Ingredients:
1. 2 cups of rolled oats
2. 1/2 cups of walnuts – I have a lot of fun cracking fresh ones, but use whatever you have around
3. 1/4 cup chocolate chips or chocolate pieces from a bar (I use vegan, but use whatever you like)
4. 1/4 cup chia seeds
5. 1/2 cup maple syrup
6. 2 tbsp coconut oil
7. 1.5 tbsp cacao powder
8. sea salt
9. vanilla extract – a couple drops
10. cinnamon
11. 1/4 cup of cacao nibs (usually found in raw food section of health food stores)

Directions:
1. Preheat over to 300 degrees.
2. Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil
3. In a bowl, mix the following dry ingredients: rolled oat + walnuts + chocolate chips or pieces
4. In a small saucepan,heat coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla extra, sea salt until melted.
5. Pour hot mixture over dry ingredients and mix until well coated.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and a little more sea salt.
6. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes
7. Once done, add chia seeds and cacao nibs
8. Store in airtight container or eat it immediately after it cools