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mighty grain salad + a guest post at happyolks

Just a little quickie today. I have a guest post over at the gorgeous, gracious and brilliant Happyolks today. Kelsey’s blog is one of my favourites and I was completely flattered when she asked me to pay a little visit over there for a recipe, a little tale and some pictures (secret time: when that little “similar to you” tab on twitter pops up and her handle is listed there, I feel pretty cool). If you haven’t already, I encourage you to subscribe to her blog. Her observations are profound, but very real and relatable. Plus she totally high vibes on the plant-based, whole grain, real food ideology with killer, but approachable and deeply satisfying recipes. How could you go wrong?

You can check out the guest post here.

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Natalie13/01/2012 - 1:20 pm

Hi Laura! I’m so glad I found your blog. It looks like we’ll both be working on projects for Clean Eating – Congrats!! This salad looks so fresh and hearty… Off I go to snatch the recipe.

Nice to “meet” you :)

Laura13/01/2012 - 6:24 pm

Congratulations to you too Natalie. Should be some exciting work!

David from SaladPride15/01/2012 - 1:54 pm

lovely salad and lovely blog!

carrot cake pancakes, lime cashew cream + breakfast stories

So in my last post I was talking about how the whole juice fast experience really put me in tune with my body and what it needs food-wise and whatnot. Guess what? My body needed pancakes. On a weekend winter morning, something a bit heartier than a kale, ginger and cucumber juice is… let’s just say it’s ideal. Plus, now that I’ve transitioned out of the juice fast and into solid foods, a healthy indulgence was surely deserved on my part. These little golden beauties did not disappoint.

The batter is crazy stiff and looks kind of weird because of the chia gel, but once you lay it into the hot pan with some coconut oil, it starts to smell awfully familiar in the kitchen. These are like thin, little carrot muffins with a bit of an orange aroma and slightly crisped edges. Slather some tangy, lime-y and rich cashew cream on there with a drizzle of maple syrup and you get full-on breakfast indulgence not unlike the ubiquitous cake slice of choice. I wouldn’t say that cashew cream is low fat by any stretch, but it’s reasonable to say that it’s a more nutritionally virtuous option than sugared up cream cheese icing.

In general, I’m pretty crazy for breakfast. It’s easily my favourite meal and one that I never, ever skip. There’s a whole ritual with the tea and that first piece of fruit and the effort to make the meal balanced in the early hours. Everyone has their routines and preferences. When you work as a server or cook for a brunch shift at any restaurant, you see and experience this so strongly: the infinite styles of eggs, sweet or savory dishes, sauces on top or on the side, ketchup on everything!, light or dark toasted white, wheat or rye bread, just toast and butter!, fruit, potatoes, milk, cream and sugar, smoked fish, preserves, yogurt and granola, sausage or bacon?, salads, beans and rice, scones, croissants, doughnuts, indulgence!, but then.. sensibility! It’s very individual and all of the personality and life tied up in it is pretty interesting to me. I feel like I’m learning something about the person as I listen to their precise order. If someone makes these pancakes for your breakfast, you yourself will learn that a) they are the coolest person ever and b) they probably really like you. Another reason to not skip breakfast, am I right?

carrot cake pancakes with tangy lime cashew cream
serves: 4
special equipment: a blender or food processor
notes: Grate the carrots on the fine side of the grater for a more refined textured pancake. Oh, and if you don’t have cashews, you can always make almond cream!

cashew cream:
1 cup raw cashews soaked for at least 4 hours
scant 1/2 cup water
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour
zest of 1 orange (or clementine is delicious)
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tbsp maple syrup + more for serving
1 tbsp melted coconut oil + more for cooking pancakes
2 cups finely grated, loosely packed carrots
handful of toasted walnuts, chopped

Make the cashew cream: Combine the cashews, water, lime juice, vanilla and lime juice in a blender or food processor and blend/process on high until smooth. Scrape cream into a container and refrigerate until ready to serve (it will firm up a bit).

Stir the ground chia seeds and 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water together until combined. Set aside for 5 minutes or until the mixture gels.

Stir the apple cider vinegar into the non-dairy milk and allow it to curdle for a few minutes.

Make the pancakes: Combine the whole spelt flour, white spelt flour, orange zest, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Form a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, chia gel and curdled milk mixture. Stir until just combined. Fold in grated carrots gently.

Cook pancakes: Heat a large saute pan to medium-low. Pour in about a tablespoon of coconut oil to get started. Once it’s heated up, place 1/4 cup portions of batter into the pan (not too many at a time!). Cook until bubbles start appearing on the surface and bottom edge looks slightly browned. Flip it over and repeat cooking process. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping cooked pancakes warm in a foil covered plate or in a low oven on a parchment lined sheet.

Serve hot with cashew cream, maple syrup and chopped walnuts.

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Rida11/01/2012 - 6:53 pm

Can you substitute flax seeds for chia seeds?

Laura11/01/2012 - 8:12 pm

Hi Rida,
You can definitely substitute ground flax for the chia in equal amount, but (as I’m sure you know) the flavour of the flax may be a bit stronger.

art and lemons12/01/2012 - 2:20 pm

Hi, Laura. I just discovered your blog over at So Good and Tasty. Your recipes are absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to try these pancakes!

art and lemons12/01/2012 - 2:26 pm

oops, I meant to say I found you over at Happyolks—had So Good & Tasty’s lemon tart with rosemary crust on my mind…

Laura12/01/2012 - 2:40 pm

Oh gosh I’ve had that tart on my mind too! LOVE your photography. So gorgeous in all of its life moments. Thanks for visiting :)

Courtney16/01/2012 - 3:35 pm

My mouth is watering just looking at these pictures! I’ll have to try these this coming weekend!

Jeanine17/01/2012 - 4:41 pm

Yum, I love the idea of the cashew cream with these!

[...] food blog, it is a wonderful mix of nutrient rich ingredients and unique ideas. When I saw her Carrot cake pancakes with tangy lime cashew cream, I fell in love! It is vegan, nutrient rich and fraking [...]

Nimi09/06/2012 - 2:31 pm

Super yummy, loved these pancakes. Was looking for something special for my b’day and this was perfect. Thanks for another great recipe.

Sol07/09/2013 - 12:36 pm

OMG! Just having this for breakfast and is zoo good!

April Chapman18/06/2014 - 7:28 am

I was wondering if I coukd use Kamut flour or just organic whole wheat flour. What are your thoughts? My kids will love this recipe.

Laura Wright18/06/2014 - 7:49 am

Hey April, Either of those would work just fine :)

[…] toppin’s: coconut flakes puffed quinoa hemp seeds bee pollen extra mint sesame seeds extra cacao nibs chopped almonds coconut whipped cream/cashew cream etc.! […]

yummy, vegan + totally empowering DIY protein mix

I’m not one to count nutrients, calories, fat grams etc. I’ve talked about this on here before. I cook and eat based on the season, the colours, the market and where my body/mood is at. It’s a very simple and totally gratifying way to live. Having said that, I just finished a juice fast/feast and I’m starting to look at things a bit differently. Rather, I’m feeling things differently.

I did the juice feast because a) I am adventurous and love challenging myself and b)  I totally needed a little recharge/refocus kind of thing in terms of eating. I wouldn’t call it a cleanse but more of a body and mind reset. It makes you look at your eating habits differently and helps you get in tune with your bodily needs a bit. I’m only speaking from personal experience here. I’m sure this kind of thing is so incredibly varied from person to person.

Anyway, I feel good. Like crazy good. I have tons of energy right from the moment I wake up in the morning, amazing stuff. I’ve been slowly working the solid (mostly raw) food back into my routine. A huge role in that whole transition period? Smoothies. Protein shakes. Energy shakes. Whatever you wanna call them, they’re awesome in this kind of situation.  There’s a lot of high quality, plant-based protein mixes out there and I have my own personal favourites (Vega, Amazing Meal and Manitoba Harvest are all great). After a run or in the middle of a busy service when you can’t actually stop and eat, it’s a pretty satisfying substitute.

Taking a look at some of the ingredients, I knew I could make a homespun version on the cheap that might just taste a little better. Sometimes the plant-based protein mixes are decidedly… green tasting. So just for the fun of it, I give you a whole food-based, vegan, homemade protein mix that tastes pretty awesome. It’s got hemp, ground almonds, sesame seeds, chia, raw cacao, cinnamon, vanilla powder; all kinds of good things. And! According to my not exactly scientific, but still totally decent calculations, there’s 2.8 grams of protein in one measly tablespoon of the stuff. Not shabby at all if you end up using 3-4 spoonfuls per smoothie like me (up to 10 grams of protein!). Or if you use a dab of natural peanut butter and some almond milk in your little drink concoction, that number’s going even higher. Shall we get pumped? I think so.

tasty, whole & vegan protein mix
note: Just use the cinnamon and vanilla powder in appropriate amounts. Like if you do 1/4 cup measurements of everything, use a tbsp of each or so.

1 part raw sesame seeds
1 part raw, hulled hemp seeds
1 part chlorella powder (or spirulina if it’s easier to find)
1 part ground chia seeds
1 part raw, ground almonds
1 part raw cacao powder (or regular cocoa, although the nutritional/mineral content will be quite different)
an appropriate amount of ground cinnamon  (optional)
ditto for vanilla powder (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and place into a container. Store in the fridge.

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Kate23/01/2012 - 1:40 pm

This mix sounds great and I’m looking forward to trying it in my morning smoothies. I was just wondering what juice fast/feast regimen you used that made you feel so incredible. I’ve been thinking of doing the same, but I’m really unsure about where to start. Any helpful hints will be much appreciated!! Thanks!

Laura23/01/2012 - 1:57 pm

Hi Kate, I just literally feasted on fresh juice, water and herbal tea all day for 4 days. My morning juices were more fruit-based and then I progressed to veggie-based ones throughout the day to mirror my normal eating habits. Leading in and out of the fast, I ate primarily raw fruit and veggies. This blog post from My New Roots is really informative on the subject:

Hope that helps!

Kate23/01/2012 - 3:30 pm

Great! Thank you so much, Laura. I will definitely check out the website. What wonderful colors veggies have, whole and juiced :)

Christina Lockwood29/01/2012 - 12:19 pm

Thank you for your inspiration! I was so excited to try this mix and beyond delighted by the results! The taste is superb mixed with almond milk, the green color once mixed is a fun escape from the muted browns and grey of other drinkable proteins and I love that the ingredients were all whole without preservatives found in commercial drinks. Thank you again!

Laura29/01/2012 - 2:25 pm

So glad you liked it Christina! You rock :)

Keelin29/01/2013 - 9:38 pm

I just made this and I’m super happy with how it turned out. I used spirulina, and used flax meal instead of hemp seeds because it’s what I had on hand. I just tried it mixed with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and a dash of agave…. it was so good! Thanks for the empowerment!

Brittany25/02/2013 - 10:35 am

This is such a great idea. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

gluttonforlife25/02/2013 - 10:40 am

Thanks for this excellent idea. I would be interested to know what the protein content is in a mix like this – any thoughts on how it might compare to whey-based powders?

Laura Wright25/02/2013 - 10:47 am

I think I mentioned in the post that I did a really rough calculation of the protein content and it hit around 3 grams per tablespoon. So it definitely cannot compare to whey based mixes (I know they have really high protein counts in general). I mostly made this up as a little protein boost of sorts for my smoothies. Again though, my calculation is probably rather crude compared to the more scientific conclusions of actual for-purchase mixes.

FRANCES25/02/2013 - 1:43 pm

I work for a company that routinely randomly drug test the employees. I cannot injest HEMP. Do you have a suggestion for a subsitute and still use the protein mixture.

Laura Wright26/02/2013 - 4:11 pm

Hi Frances,
I would replace the hemp seed portion with either ground flax seeds or more chia (or both if you like). Nutritionally and taste wise, hemp is rather unique, so the mix will be quite different. Hope that helps you!

Erik28/02/2013 - 9:15 pm

Would adding brewers yeast to this mix be good or bad?

Laura Wright03/03/2013 - 9:52 am

Hi Erik,
I assume if you enjoy the taste of brewer’s yeast, it would be fine. Although I do think it will alter the taste significantly. This mix has a bit of a nutty/spicy/chocolate-y vibe going on, so I can’t imagine the brewer’s yeast contributing much to that. Hope that helps.

Anna22/09/2013 - 4:43 pm

My little brother is in Afghanistan and has sent me this link on FB wanting me to make this for him to take back with him next time he’s home. I’m familiar with everything except for the vanilla powder… What is this?

Laura Wright23/09/2013 - 8:42 pm

Hi Anna,
Vanilla powder is a dried version of vanilla extract/beans that’s been ground into a powder, without the use of alcohol as a preservative. I’ve only ever seen in it in health food stores, but you can buy it on Amazon pretty easily. It isn’t completely necessary–you could certainly go without it and still have plenty of flavour in the mix. Hope this helps!

Paula24/11/2013 - 11:51 am

I’ve been looking for a way to make my own protein powder. It seems there are always ingredients in the commercial products that I’m sensitive to eating. I did find one, but it’s incredibly expensive. I’ll be making my own now. Thanks!

[…] Make your own vegan protein mix  […]

michelle20/02/2014 - 4:56 pm

hello! i just saw your blog post as i was doing a search online to make my own protein powder. after all is said and done, how much powder mix do you put with a liquid (almond milk, milk, water, etc?)? 2 tbsp? thanks so much!

Laura Wright21/02/2014 - 9:52 am

Hi Michelle, I usually use 2-3 tablespoons!

Sophie Beraud03/04/2014 - 1:35 pm

Thanks for this recipe Laura!

It inspired me to make my own, slightly different version using organic hemp protein powder rather than seeds (to “up” the protein content) and adding home-grown stevia leaves “powder” to satisfy my sweet tooth.

PS: for those wondering where to get vanilla powder — just make it!! Dry out vanilla pods (air-dry, oven, or dehydrator), grind up using a spice/coffee grinder, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. Awesomesauce!

– S

Laura Wright03/04/2014 - 2:25 pm

Love that vanilla powder tip, Sophie! Thanks so much for that. xoxo

Yanneke Josephus Jitta12/05/2014 - 12:51 am

Any idea how long one could keep the ground mixture? Thanx

Laura Wright12/05/2014 - 7:25 am

Hi Yanneke, As long as you store this in a closed container in the fridge, you could have it for a few months.