maca energy bars

These are really Maca Energy Balls– but that title just might get my site shut down. This recipe was featured in a long-ago cooking class, but it’s one I make for other events, too, and folks always ask about the recipe. These are great snacks to keep in the car, or in your desk for a quick pick-me-up.

Dates are great sources of natural sugars, perfect for after a workout (or just a long day at work!). Maca- if you don’t know- is a teeny turnip-looking root native to South America. It is a delicious supplement that can help with energy, libido, and adrenal function. Most importantly, though, it tastes like caramel malty yumminess. If you are not interested in maca, substitute cacao/cocoa, or just leave it out entirely; nutty cinnamon date balls will still be delish.

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Maca Energy Balls

½ cup almonds
½ cup walnuts
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons maca powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ cup Medjool dates, pitted
1-2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1-2 Tablespoons water

  1. Add nuts and salt into food processor.  Blend until very fine- much like the texture of sand.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients, starting with just one Tablespoon of the oil. Blend again, until mixture begins to thicken and stick together inside the processor.
  3. Check the texture by pinching a bit between your fingers; if it is slightly sticky and keeps its shape, it is ready! Add 1 Tbsp more liquid if mixture is too dry.
  4. Pour into a bowl and then shape with your hands into balls (or press into a pan to flatten). Place 1 almond in the center, and store in the fridge.

Yield: About 15, one inch energy balls

Vibrant Wellness Supper Club

A few weeks ago I hosted a supper club for ten friends. A supper club, or underground restaurant, is a way for aspiring chefs (or home cooks) to cook up a semi-professional meal while making a bit of money- like a dinner party with an entrance fee. Cooking for a crowd is a daunting task, and my friends generously paid to be my test subjects. But they were all happy with the meal, and I think the night went wonderfully: good food, fun drinks, great people, gorgeous food photos, and only a few mishaps- sorry about the salted truffles, friends! Many of the photos you see here on ManisKitchenworks were taken that great evening, captured by my talented friend Tyler of The Intire Project.

Find the recipes for Black Rice with Mushrooms and Cilantro and Coconut Ginger Tempeh here on Vibrant Wellness Journal.

Black Rice, braised greens, Coconut Ginger Tempeh (topped with some cabbage slaw!)

Black Rice  with cilantro, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Delicious, but stunning too!

Enough tempeh for 10 hungry friends. Coconut Ginger Tempeh!

get ready for cozy: cauliflower & sweet potato soup

Today is the first day of the Vegan MoFo. Are you as excited as me? The first recipe I am sharing this month is a Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup, my favorite recipe from a recent cooking class focused on the humble and underrated cauliflower. The main ingredient of the soup is cauliflower, but it’s paired with sweet potatoes and lots of roasted onions and garlic for a nice layering of flavor.

Generally white foods are not too healthy (think white sugar, white bread) but cauliflower is actually quite powerful nutritionally. It’s crazy high in vitamin B5, B6, C, K, and folate, and it’s host to trace minerals like manganese and molybdenum (which is easier written than said aloud in class!). It’s great for aiding in the daily detoxification processes of our bodies, and cauliflower contains high amounts of glucosinolates, which aid in cancer prevention. All good stuff from this wholesome and versatile vegetable!

lots of cauliflower

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Soup

4 cups chopped cauliflower
2 cups chopped, peeled sweet potatoes
¼ cup olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup roughly chopped onions
4-6 cloves roughly chopped garlic
2-3 cups vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon each dried sage, dried basil, and dried rosemary
½ -1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large stockpot boil 6 cups water to a boil. Boil cauliflower and sweet potatoes until very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in another stockpot, warm oil over medium low heat. Add onions and garlic and stir to coat. Cook until very brown, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add cooked cauliflower, sweet potatoes, onion mixture, and two cups broth to food processor and blend. Add herbs and coconut milk and continue blending until desired texture is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add more broth or coconut milk as needed.
  4. Divide evenly between four bowls and garnish with a dollop of coconut milk. Enjoy!

Notes: This soup is a filling meal as is, but I liked it dressed up with some cooked grains (brown rice & quinoa), grilled veggies, and some mung beans for some added protein. You could also serve this as a creamy sauce for noodles.

Yield: approximately 6 cups soup, or four servings

creamy soups are not entirely photogenic, unfortunately.

getting ready for the MoFo!

hey everyone! I hope you are as excited as I am about the VeganMoFo. Join Vibrant Wellness Journal and hundreds of others starting October 1 2012. We are going to be celebrating a whole month of vegan food love!

these little guys are SO good!

I might have eaten this whole plate.

Today I am excited about these gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free cookies from Nicole at A Dash of Compassion. An adapted version of these little treats can be found here on Vibrant Wellness Journal.