PROJECT LIGHT & LEAN: Breakfast Chapter (Oatmeals)

Today kick-starts the first project I’ve ever done on this blog. I’m pretty excited and mildly terrified. I tend to start a lot of things and not finish them so this will be a challenge for me, a good challenge. Hopefully the start of a new habit of finishing things 🙂 In case you missed my introduction to the project, you can check it out here. If you’re not familiar with the cookbook I’m cooking my way through, you can find the book here

Project Light & Lean

 As I said before, I will be reviewing recipes by chapter. With breakfast being the first chapter to review, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to those who know me, that oatmeal recipes would be the first recipes I would make and review. Happy Herbivore Light & Lean has 10 different ways to make your morning oatmeal exciting. My partner and I tried each and every flavour and although we each had our favourite recipe, there was not one oatmeal recipe that we would not make again. The thing I liked most about the oatmeals was that they were filling and full of flavour without any addition of nut butters (obviously the peanut butter oatmeal is an exception). I’m known to make a big bowl of oatmeal and top it with a glob of almond butter. Although I love doing this and do not see myself stopping doing this in the near future, it’s good to know that oatmeal can be delicious and satisfying without decadent, high calorie toppings.

For those who have the book all of the oatmeal recipes I’m talking about are on page 28 and on page 27 you’re find instructions for how to cook your oatmeal. I like to cook my oatmeal with a 1:1 ratio of oats to water but my partner prefers a thicker oatmeal, which is what the instructions on page 27 will generate. 

Apple Pie, Blueberry Muffin, Orange Scented

Apple Pie Oatmeal– This was my partners favourite oatmeal, without question. The texture of the crunchy apple chunks complemented the cinnamon scented oats well.

Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal– This oatmeal was okay. I probably would have loved it with a glob of almond butter though. For me this oatmeal was missing a certain level of denseness that makes the oatmeal feel like a hearty meal.

Orange Scented Oatmeal– This oatmeal was also okay. I liked the flavour but it was the texture of the oranges that threw me off. It would have been better if the oranges had been segmented, but who has time to segment oranges in the morning?

Peanut Butter, Chocolate, Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Oatmeal– Yes! Yes, yes yes! This oatmeal was creamy and decedent and oh so delicious. It wasn’t my absolute favourite, but it was pretty high up there. The sliced strawberries made this oatmeal feel like a grown-up version of the classic peanut butter and jam sandwich…if oatmeal is ever considered “grown-up”???

Chocolate Chocolate Oatmeal– Chocolate anything in the morning is usually a good idea. This oatmeal is definitely a good idea. It was my second favourite. It tasted like dessert and is perfect for those mornings when you wake up on the “wrong” side of the bed.

Banana Bread Oatmeal– I love bananas and I love this oatmeal. It was very filling and kept me full for a surprisingly long time. You really can’t go wrong with sweet bananas crunchy nuts!

Cinnamon Raisin, Raspberry Creme, Pumpkin Pie

Cinnamon Raisin Oatmeal– A classic flavour combination that I always enjoy, and this oatmeal was no different. I love the chewy texture that the raisins add and maple syrup made it feel like a dessert to me!

Raspberry Creme Oatmeal– This was my favourite oatmeal and that completely surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did but the non-dairy yogurt added a delightfully creamy texture that paired very well with the tart raspberries.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal– This oatmeal is perfect for the fall when you have random amounts of pumpkin left over. This is another recipe where I love the texture that the chewy raisins create. Also, adding a vegetable to a bowl of oatmeal and making it taste like a treat is never a bad thing.

Cherry Vanilla Oatmeal– Soooo, I either forgot to take a picture of this oatmeal or I lost the photo. Either way, I don’t have a photo to show you. I can tell you though that this oatmeal was good. I think the title is a little misleading because you really can’t taste any vanilla in the oatmeal but my oh my can you ever taste the cherries! And I love cherries, a lot, so I also loved this oatmeal, a lot.

There you have it, my thoughts on the oatmeal recipes in the breakfast chapter of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. Next I’ll be talking pancakes and granola. Breakfast really is the best meal of the day!

xoxo Erin

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Pumpkin Pear Oatmeal

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Introducing PROJECT LIGHT & LEAN

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope everyone rung in the new year as they pleased. I had a pretty relaxed new years eve this year. I visited my partner’s family and shared a delicious meal with them and then I snuggled under some blankets and watched movies while my partner searched his wardrobe for the warmest clothes he could find. He’s off at the Winter Classic today and I’m sure he’s biting his frozen nails off because as we speak the game is tied. Go Leafs Go 🙂 …update, the Leafs won in overtime, woohoo!!!

As with every new year, I hear a lot about setting resolutions. I like to make goals constantly and have therefore never actually made a new years resolution. The second an idea for a goal pops into my head I start working towards it immediately. Sometimes I forget about it halfway through and I never finish it, but such is life and I’m okay with that. Some goals that I’ve made recently (and will try to pawn off as new years resolutions) are:

1.) Stop using canned tomato products (thanks to Eat To Live Cookbook I’ve recently learned that the acidity of the tomatoes can leach the BPA from the can into the tomatoes, yuck!).

2.) Read for pleasure at least three times per week before going to sleep.

3.) Go through each room in the house by April and donate items that I have not used in the last year (aka spring clean before the spring!).

4.) Stretch for 10 minutes every single day.

And last but not least…

5.) Cook my way through Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, which brings me to the real purpose of this post:

Project Light & Lean

I own a lot of cookbooks and I rarely cook from them. I want to change this partially because I want to enjoy recipes others have created and partially because I don’t want to say goodbye to my cookbooks because of goal #3. The idea to cook my way entirely through a cookbook and post about it came from Healthy Girl’s Kitchen who is currently cooking her way through the Eat To Live Cookbook. I have been LOVING her posts about the recipes and it inspired me to try something different. And dedicating a significant amount of time to cook my way entirely through a cookbook and post about my experience is definitely something I never thought I’d be doing. I’ve even decided to label it as a “project” so I’m more likely to actually finish it and not forget about it once I’m half done 🙂

Therefore, today I introduce you to Sift, Stir and Savour’s first project: PROJECT LIGHT & LEAN. Between January 2014 and April 2014 I will be cooking each and every recipe from Lindsay Nixon’s Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. In case you’re not familiar with Lindsay Nixon’s work, she cooks 100% plant-based with no added oils or refined sugars. Find out more about her by visiting her website. I will be posting my experiences and reviews according to each chapter, so during the first week, which will be next week, I will be reviewing the Breakfast chapter. The following week I will review the Muffins & Breads chapter and so on. The plan is that each week I will review a chapter so the project will take 13-14 weeks. Some weeks I may not get through a whole chapter and some weeks I might get through more than a chapter. It will depend on how many recipes there are. In case you’re curious, here are all of the chapters in the order that I will review them:

  • Breakfast
  • Muffin & Breads
  • Sandwiches, Tacos & More
  • Hearty Burgers
  • Bowls & Wraps
  • Soups, Stews & Savory Pies
  • Salads & Dressings
  • Pasta, Stir-Fries & Noodles
  • Satisfying Sides
  • Dips, Snacks & Appetizers
  • Desserts
  • Do-It-Yourself
  • Fitness Workouts

I should also mention that I will only be reviewing the recipes that are naturally gluten-free or can easily be made gluten-free. I’ll be letting you know how I converted the recipe to gluten-free (if it wasn’t already) and how it turned out. There are actually only a handful of recipes that I don’t think I’ll be able to make gluten-free (I don’t know how to substitute for vital wheat gluten) so that’s pretty exciting!

I also plan to post about my partners opinions of the recipes. Although he eats most of what I cook, he does prefer to add meat to his meal. I’m curious about what recipes he will like, what recipes he won’t like and what recipes he’ll only eat if he adds some meat. I can’t promise that I’ll have his review for each recipe because some recipes I’ve already tried and he hasn’t been interested in trying and some recipes I made when I was away visiting my family over Christmas.

So, that’s the projects. I hope you enjoy it. I will still be posting original recipes when I have the time AND 5-Ingredient Mondays will still be running…however, I’m making a slight change to it. Check back in on Sunday for those updates 🙂

xoxo Erin

APPLE CRISP- Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Refined Sugar-Free

I don’t know about you, but the days following a big holiday dinner by body craves lots of salad and fruit. Sometimes my fruit craving is a bit more complicated than just biting into a fresh apple though. Sometimes I want that fresh apple to be slightly cooked, covered in spices and sprinkled in granola…aka apple crisp…aka dessert…aka what I ate too much of during the holidays.

Apple Crisp

Luckily, this apple crisp is healthy enough to enjoy anytime. Fresh apples, oats, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, almond milk and coconut sugar, oh my! Heck you could even enjoy this for breakfast 🙂

Apple Crisp

Healthy Apple Crisp

Soft apples, fragrant cinnamon and a cookie-like oat topping make this a dessert worthy of any occasion!

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 4 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (any granulated sugar will work)
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and set aside a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Add apples to the baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and toss until all the apple chunks are coated.
  3. In a small bowl cream together almond butter, non-dairy milk and maple syrup. Add the oats, oat flour and coconut sugar and mix until combined.
  4. Drop the oat mixture on top of the apples and gently press it down.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the apples have released some juice and that juice is bubbling. The oat topping should also be slightly browned and crispy to the touch.
  6. Let cool for a few minutes, or serve immediately. Top with a dollop of non-dairy ice cream or yogurt and enjoy!

Apple Crisp

In other news, I was recently made aware of THIS great article that has a bunch of homemade treats for dogs. I haven’t tried any since Wayne is allergic to turkey, beef and dairy but the Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins with Sweet Potato Icing looks interesting. Maybe when he’s a bit older I’ll give it a try. Do you have a dog? Do you make homemade treats? Leave a comment about your pups favourite homemade treat!

xoxo Erin

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NUTTY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES- Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

If you celebrate Christmas and if Santa is visiting your house tonight than I hope you’ve make some cookies for him! When I was a kid we always left cookies out for Santa and carrots out for the reindeer. This recipe is my new favourite cookie recipe and definitely worthy of leaving out for Santa (so long as he doesn’t have any nut allergies!).

Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Macadamia butter is the secret to the decadent texture of these cookies. It’s oilier in texture than other nut butters so it creates a more traditional texture to the cookies. The macadamia butter is mixed with some almond butter and then some chunks of pecans are thrown into the mix to create an extra special chocolate chip cookie that is perfect for those who go nuts for nuts!

Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies that are spotted with sweet pecans and made with nut butters to create a cookie with the perfect texture. 

Makes 12 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp macadamia butter
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (any granulated sugar will work)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium sized bowl mix together sorghum flour, tapioca starch, baking soda and xanthan gum.
  3. In a second bowl cream together nut butters, non-dairy milk, extracts and coconut sugar until smooth texture is accomplished.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and pecan pieces.
  5. Portion the cookie dough on the lined cookie sheet, pat down to desired thickness and bake for 12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.
  6. Enjoy 🙂

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekend.

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean GIVEAWAY

I’m very excited to be hosting a giveaway for a copy of Lindsay Nixon’s newest cookbook- Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. I got my copy of this book a few weeks ago and I am in LOVE with it. I am so in love with it that I have been cooking my way through it and will be posting about my experience starting in January.

HappyHerbivoreLight&Lean_FrontCover

This book is filled with easy and delicious recipes that are incredibly healthy. There is even a section about exercise that proves you don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to get a good sweat going. If you’re looking for an example of a recipe you’ll find in the book, check out my pre-release blog tour post here.

Now, back to the giveaway…Lindsay has generously offered to give one lucky reader a copy of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean. I should note though that this giveaway is only open to residents in Canada and the United States. The giveaway is also only open for three days, so enter now by following the link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck 🙂

xoxo Erin

SPICED ORANGE COOKIES- Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

The last time I visited my parents we started talking about cookie flavours. I was searching for inspiration to feed my cookie cravings with. One of the first cookie flavours my dad thought of was licorice. I told him to try again, haha. Then he said spiced orange. Hmmm, now he was talking my language!

Spiced Orange CookiesAnd that’s how these beauties were born.

Spiced Orange Cookies

These cookies make a perfect holiday treat. They’re bursting with the traditional holiday flavours of orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, but they’re not overly sweet so you can feel good about indulging in them. I like them as is, but if you’re looking to jazz them up a bit feel free to drizzle some dark chocolate over them or top them with an orange glaze (1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar mixed with 1 tbsp orange juice and 1/2 tsp orange zest).

Spiced Orange Cookies
Soft and fragrant orange holiday cookies made with 100% wholesome and healthy ingredients!
Makes 18 cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch + extra for fork dusting
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 5 tbsp macadamia nut butter
  • 5 tbsp coconut syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp orange extract

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl mix together brown rice flour, tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking soda sea salt and spices.
  3. In a separate bowl cream together the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the contents of the first bowl into the second bowl and mix until just combined.
  5. Place spoonfuls of batter onto the lined baking sheet and press batter down with a fork dusted in tapioca starch (to prevent sticking).
  6. Bake the cookies for 6-8 minutes and let cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving cookies to a cooling rack.
  7. Enjoy as is or drizzle with dark chocolate or top with an orange glaze, if desired.

xoxo Erin

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UPDATE! This recipe has been shared at Allergy Free Wednesdays and Gluten-Free Fridays.

APPLE CRANBERRY OATMEAL- Vegan, Gluten-Free & Refined Sugar-Free

In addition to craving cookies recently, I’ve also been craving apples. Luckily I still have plenty of apples from when I went apple picking in October. I’ve discovered that cooking chopped apple slightly before adding them to oatmeal makes it taste less like breakfast and more like dessert. Add some chewy dried cranberries for texture and my morning is made 100% better!

Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

If I’m making myself a breakfast that I think my partner will eat I will usually make him some as well. I quickly learned though that he likes his oatmeal thick and I like my oatmeal thin. Initially this was pretty annoying for me because I was making one big pot of oatmeal and then splitting it into two bowls- I didn’t want to have to make two batches of oatmeal to get two different consistencies. And then I realized all I had to do was pour almond milk overtop of my oatmeal and not overtop of my partners. Voila! One batch of oatmeal, two different consistencies. Here is my Apple Cranberry Oatmeal swimming in unsweetened almond milk, yum YUM!

Drowning Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

Apple Cranberry Oatmeal

A healthy and flavourful breakfast that is quick to make and satisfies a sweet tooth!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 small apples, chopped
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Add chopped apples and a splash of water to a small pot and cook over medium-low heat for about a minute.
  2. Add rolled oats, water and cinnamon and continue to cook until the oatmeal reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Stir in ground flax seed and almond butter, top with dried cranberries and dig in. Feel free to add a splash of unsweetened almond milk too!

xoxo Erin

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PEANUT BUTTER APPLE HEMP COOKIES- Vegan, Grain-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

I’ve become quite the cookie monster lately. All I want to eat is cookies and most days this week every meal has ended with a cookie. With such severe cookie cravings I decided to create a cookie that is healthy enough to be part of a regular meal. And what makes a healthier cookie than hemp seeds, sesame seeds, peanut butter, apple butter and flax seeds.

Cookies

Mmmm cookies!

Cookies

Healthy cookies!!!

Cookies

Healthy Peanut Butter Apple Hemp Cookies

Super healthy peanut butter cookies with a hint of sweet apple and nutrient packed seeds. 

Serves 12

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup apple butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed mixed with 1 tbsp water

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add hemp seeds and sesame seeds to a blender and blend for a few seconds until about half of the seeds are broken up. I used my magic bullet.
  3. Mix the blended seeds with the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Drop the cookies onto the lined baking sheet and leave room for them to expand.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes and let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheet. If you try to remove them when they’re not fully cooled, some of the bottom of the cookie will stick.

Cookies

xoxo Erin

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BUTTER TART SQUARES- Vegan, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free & Oil-Free

My absolute favourite treat in the entire world is butter tarts. Yes, it is those sickly sweet and gooey treats that make me go insane. I would actually eat a traditional gluten and dairy filled butter tart in a second even though it would cause me pain. I love them that much! Sure an hour after I indulged I would regret my decision, but that moment that my teeth sink into the flaky crust and the gooey centre is released…it’s like nothing else in this world! I really want to agree with the statement “nothing tastes better than health feels” but it’s butter tarts that stop me from 100% believing it. If the statement excluded butter tarts though, I’d be all over it.

Clearly I’m a tad obsessed with butter tarts, mmm butter tarts. But it’s because of my obsession with them that they are one of the things I never had on my radar to try to create a healthier version of. After all, NOTHING compares to a traditional butter tart, so why even try?

Butter Tart Squares

And then I realized that a healthy and delicious version probably could be created but I was simply terrified to try to recreate my favourite treat. After all, what would happen if I failed? What would it mean if I couldn’t create a butter tart that does to me what a traditional butter tart does? I felt comforted by the hope that can exist in my absence of trying. So I held onto my hope and did the next best thing…I created a healthy butter tart inspired recipe. Not a butter tart, but a butter tart inspired square.

Butter Tart Squares

Butter Tart Squares

Decadent almond crust topped with chewy raisins and a buttery sweet custard top. 

Serves 16

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup firm silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 2 tbsp brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup raisins

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl mix together almond flour, almond butter, 1/4 cup maple syrup and baking powder. Stir until it is a wet, thick dough. It may not appear that there is enough liquid, just keep stirring, the almond flour will release more oil as it’s stirred.
  3. Press the dough into the 9 x 9 baking pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While the crust is baking, add the rest of the ingredients (except for the raisins) to a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Once the crust has baked, sprinkle the raisins overtop as evenly as possible.
  6. Pour the blender mixture on top of the raisins.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes and let cool for at least 2-3 hours before cutting. For best cutting results, let the bars set in the fridge for the 2-3 hours or better yet, overnight.

Butter Tart Squares

xoxo Erin

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HANGOVER HEADACHE CURE- Vegan, Grain-Free & Refined Sugar-Free

I don’t drink alcohol very often, but when I do it’s either gin or red wine…both of which are fantastic at giving me massive headaches the next morning. Years ago I would indulge on some overly greasy Chinese food to “cure” my headache, but I’ve come to learn that this only provided immediate gratification and undoubtedly caused more pain (hello stomach cramps!) than it cured. When I awoke the other weekend after a night reuniting with my dear friend Mr. Red Wine, I decided it was time for a new headache cure.

And yes, veggies have EVERYTHING to do with this cure 🙂

Veggies for Juicing

In the midst of my painful hangover headache I had a brilliant realization- hangover headaches are generally caused by dehydration. And from my experience dehydration headaches go away almost immediately once the body is hydrated again. Drinking water though would take too long to fix the headache I had, so I headed straight for my juicer to give myself a boost of water AND nutrients. After juicing everything I could find I realized I also wanted a nice hit of potassium to really knock my headache to the curb quickly. Welcome banana and avocado, aka the easiest way to make a sweet and creamy smoothie. I quickly mixed it all together and gulped the drink down like it was my job. I also nibbled on some medjool dates on the side. And yes, my friends, my headache went away and went away rather quickly. Even though I thought that this is what would happen, I was still surprised when it actually did happen. Could curing a painful hangover headache actually be that easy? It definitely was this time and I’ll definitely be trying this again when I reunite with Mr. Red Wine or Mrs. Gin again!

Nutrient Packed Hangover Headache Cure

A sweet and satisfying way to cure a dehydration related headache!

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled if not organic
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 6 stalks of organic celery
  • 1 medium beet, peeled
  • 1 apple, peeled if not organic
  • 1 organic green bell pepper
  • 1 piece of ginger (as large as you can handle)
  • 1 small head of romaine lettuce
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 avocado

Instructions:

  1. Juice everything except for the bananas and avocado
  2. Pour the juice into a blender and blend with the bananas and avocado
  3. Divide into glasses and enjoy with some medjool dates on the side

Headache Juice

xoxo Erin

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