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Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Most are not aware of this but, May 15th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day J So today is the day you can finally have that cheat meal. Or is it? I have found a vegan recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is SURE to knock the socks off of your entire family (even the meat eaters), and make sure you’re not taking steps backwards in your healthy eating. This particular recipe comes from Detoxinista.com and is a pretty awesome vegan treat!

Ingredients: (16 Servings)

1 ½ cups chickpeas (cooked, or 1, 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
½ cup gluten-free oat flour
¾ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
¾ cup dark chocolate chips

*You can substitute Baking Soda (1 tsp. for 4 tspn. Baking Powder or 1 tspn. Potassium bicarbonate. Also you can make your own flour by simply grinding gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or coffee grinder until a fine flour is created. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Process the chickpeas, coconut oil and vanilla in a large processor until relatively smooth. Add in the coconut sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and vinegar and blend until a smooth batter is formed.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and pulse briefly until incorporated. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined baking sheet and use wet fingers to gently flatten each mound (they won’t spread a lot on their own.) Bake until the tops begin to crack and the edges are dry to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

“Egg-free and gluten-free baked goods tend to be on the softer side, especially if you leave them in an airtight container at room temperature. For best shelf life and texture, I recommend storing and serving these cookies directly from the freezer. If you don’t like cold cookies, they thaw relatively quickly (in about 30 minutes) and can be enjoyed at room temperature, too.”

Eye hope these are a great alternative to enjoying some of the best goodies known to man. And have a great CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY!!!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Muff it up Vegan Style

Eye’ve been saying time and time again that just because you decide to jump on the “health bandwagon”, doesn’t mean you get to lose out on eating some of your favorite foods. It also help for those parents that are looking to transitions their picky little eaters into eating less processed foods, and healthier alternatives. We like to include everything from ribs and barbecue sauce, to vegan spaghetti from Sicily, for all kinds of different eaters. This particular snack recipe came from the beautiful Queen Camilla Denise when she decided to find a vegan alternative to crave that sweet tooth.

   Here is her take on some great vegan muffins that the whole family is sure to love!

VEGAN WALNUT  STRAWBERRY  BANANA  MUFFINS

Ingredients:

3 Burro Bananas

1 cup Agave (if you like sweeter add another ½ cup)

3 tbsp. of Grapeseed oil

1 cup of ½ garbanzo bean flower

2 tbsp. Seamoss gel

¼ tsp. Sea salt

¾ cup walnuts

About 2 cut up strawberries (or however many you prefer)

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup Hemp milk

Instructions:

Bake on 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read over these recipes, and we hope that you and your family enjoy the goodness. It is important for us here at Empire of Gems to do our part in spreading healthy tips and suggestions for those looking for assistance. Not every change comes easy to everyone, so making small changes in your diet, like vegan muffins, can have a drastic effect on the overall progress of your self-evolution. So here’s to you and your health, because our health is our wealth.

 LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Sicily’s Vegan

Eye am always on the lookout for alternative recipes so that my family doesn’t have to miss out on some of their favorite foods.  Eye pulled this particular recipe out of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, written by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, after they took a visit down the cobblestone streets of Sicily and stumbled upon this Italian masterpiece.

   FOR THE PASTA: 

Pinch Sea Salt  –  1 (16oz) package spaghetti or bucatini  –  2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

   FOR THE SAUCE:

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil  –  1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped  –  ½ cup raw almonds, chopped

½ tsp. sea salt  –  ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 (16oz) can tomato paste  –  1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice  –  ¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup evaporated can sugar  –  1 tbsp. fresh thyme, stemmed and coarsely chopped

   FOR THE GARLIC OIL:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil  –  3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

   TIP: Bucatini, a thicker, hollow relative of spaghetti, works beautifully in this recipe so if you can find it, give it a try!

TO PREPARE THE PASTA:   In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add sea salt, and cook pasta as directed according to package. Drain pasta and coat with olive oil. Set aside.

TO PREPARE THE SAUCE1) Heat a high-walled pan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, and garlic and cook about 8 minutes, or until caramelized. Add almonds, sea salt, and red pepper flakes and cook 4 more minutes, or until almonds are toasted. 2) Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme.

TO PREPARE THE GARLIC OIL:  In a small saucepan over low-heat, cook oil and slices garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fragrant. To serve, spoon garlic oil into base of pasta serving dish. Add desired amount of pasta over oil and scoop generous helping of thick sauce over pasta. Serve warm.

TIP: To further enhance the flavor of the sauce, cook it over a flame for up to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The purpose of pulling these vegan recipes from various cookbooks, is my way of helping those out that may not have the option to purchase literature, currently awaiting the delivery of one, or those simply looking for a quick fix for tonight’s dinner.

LOVE + LIGHT | RISHI OMKARA

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Dallas Stand Up! This Queen is Representing!

Eye want to take the time to honor one of our very own Texas native woman, who is taking the term “giving back to your communities” to heart. Chelsia Renee, a 26 year old mother and day hairstylist with an entrepreneurial spirit, is putting in endless hours to create change for young ladies in the Dallas, Fort-Worth area. Although she was born here in Ft. Worth, her mother decided to move to Marlin, Texas to begin a new life, where she met Chelsia’s father. After growing up a bit she noticed that father was always on the lookout for ways and opportunities for betterment, and because of this, her family moved around a lot. DFW is where she has been stationed the longest, and she’s making some serious strides in her communities that we can’t help but to honor.

  During the day you can find her at the Chelsia Renee Hair Studio at Good Hair Day Salon, located in Duncanville on the south side of Cedar Ridge, in suite 259. Because Chelsia prides herself on women empowerment and self-love, she considers herself a Natural Hair Stylist. Meaning, she has the ability to transform your natural hair into a style all its own, that you are bound to love! She does however, provide protective styles for those interested. When not at the salon, Chelsia is putting in real work in her local community. She is the founder of Dallas’ own, Girls That Reach & Teach, where they support, educate, assist and empower young ladies and women to continue the legacy in making a difference in our communities. Girls That Reach & Teach (GTRT) speaks on the importance of mental health and creating healthy opportunities for progression and perseverance.

      We reached out to Chelsia to sit down with her for a one on one, just to pick her brain a bit and get more information on the wonderful things she’s accomplishing within the community. Here are some Q&A’s from her interview with us.

Empire of Gems (EOG): “Do you think you got your entrepreneurial spirit from your folks?”

Chelsia Renee (CR):  “So here’s the thing… until I met another part of my family that I never knew growing up and then realized ‘ahhhh, that’s where it came from’. … Plus I know it’s some ancestral isshh too.”

EOG:  “Eye see you spend your days doing hair, so what makes you different than any other hairstylist out here doing it?”

CR:  “There are times I feel extremely centered and connected, so I use those moments to still operate in purpose. Many of my clients leave and text saying how something I said has touched them, or they are now aware of something that they weren’t before they came in. I don’t try to be like any other stylist. I know my lane and I stay in it.”

EOG: “Eye noticed you have a non-profit organization here in DFW, what made you venture towards nonprofit?”

CR: “So many things. … The things I experienced growing up. I had great parents who instilled great things in me but, I didn’t always do what I was told and ended up in some unfortunate situations. As I grew older I paid close attention to the women in my family and I felt a responsibility to change some things. .. I sat on the vision for years and when I birthed my daughter Ayla Irie – Girls That Reach & Teach became a PRIORITY!”

EOG: “What inspired the name ‘Girls That Reach & Teach’?”

CR: “Well first, I WAS THAT! I was the girl who wanted more. It reflected my life, who I was, who I AM, and my purpose here in this life. The ‘Reach’ part represents learning, growing, evolving, and overcoming; while the ‘Teach’ part represents passing the baton to others”

EOG: “What do you hope to achieve with GTRT?”

CR: “I hope that through GTRT people are reminded of their purpose, I hope they know that they were created in divine order and with an assignment that only THEY can carry out. I hope that GTRT can serve as a reminder to people that they are more than what this world says they are and once they know it… they too will become a reminder to someone else who may need to be reminded.”

EOG: “Does GTRT offer any programs or extra-curricular activities to help keep young women on the right path?”

CR: “As of now we offer after school programs to provide ‘outreach’ INSIDE the school walls. We also host community events for the girls.”

EOG:  “If someone wants to get involved with Girls That Reach & Teach, where do they start?”

CR: “Don’t hesitate to reach out. The easiest way to get in touch with a GTRT team member is through email at gtrtoutreach@gmail.com you can also reach us at GTRTOutreach on Instagram and Facebook.”

EOG: “Before we go, earlier you stated that your ‘after school programs provide “outreach” INSIDE the schools’, how exactly does GTRT achieve this?”

CR: “Often times people associate “outreach” with community work… Outreach is an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have access to those services. So we take it INSIDE the schools. There were things I wished I could’ve learned about life while in school, those vital moments that mold us ‘in life’, we provide a space for the kids to talk about.”

EOG: “And if you could say one thing about the after school program, what would it be?”

CB: “Authentic. Raw. Necessary. If I could offer it to every child around the world I would.”

There you have it ladies and gentlemen (and everyone else in between J ) , one of Dallas’ very own making big changes in her community. Girls That Reach & Teach is headquartered in Mesquite, and the team is working diligently towards purchasing a building to provide even more opportunities. Being from the DFW myself, it is an honor to present and bring light to a Texas Girl. Especially one working towards breaking generational curses, and building generational wealth. Eye encourage everyone to go follow this Queen and her movement on social media. For those wanting to help or looking for a way to be a PART of change, you can help these young girls by donating to the Girls That Reach & Teach Outreach Programs, at the following resources.

Cash App @ $gtrtoutreach

PayPal @ gtrtoutreach@gmail.com

Checks can be made out to Girls That Reach & Teach.

Girls That Reach & Teach is also in search of a company/business to partner with where GTRT can host their events more consistently. If this is a way you can give back, please don’t hesitate to contact Chelsia Renee.

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Vegan Meats?

Many people have this misconception that if you decide to go vegan you’re giving up your favorite foods, but that’s not necessarily the case. Now, the health benefits of eliminating meat, dairy, processed foods and sugar are almost unlimited, not to mention the mental clarity that comes with changing your diet. Did you know there are numerous substitutes to the foods that toxify our bodies and bring us illnesses? Eye always tell people that going vegan doesn’t mean you lose the joy of eating foods you like, it just means you have to prepare it a little differently. So here are a few options Eye found in a vegan cookbook by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, for substituting meats for a healthier beginning.

Chicken

Gardein Chick’n Scallopini: Cook and slice onto salad, shred for tacos, or serve beside a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Maitake Mushrooms: Also called “Hen of the Woods”, these ‘shrooms lend a chicken-like texture to enchiladas and veggie stir-fries.

Ground Beef

Beyond Meat Crumbles: Browning these chewy crumbles with onion and Mexican spices makes the perfect base for tacos.

Lentils: The humble lentil, when cooked, is a dead ringer for ground beef in Bolognese sauce or Sloppy Joes.

Sausage

Tofurky Italian Sausage: Sliced thinly, it’s pepperoni for your pizza. Straight of the grill and onto a bun, they trump any meat based burger.

Nuts & ‘Shrooms: For a heart sausage flavor and toothsome texture, you can try the combination of mushrooms and walnuts.

Bacon

Lightlife Tempeh Bacon: Sizzle a few slices and sandwich between layers of juice tomato and crisp lettuce and you’ve got an even better BTL!

Carrots: Yup! Carrots! A great alternative for breakfast when throwing some long, thin strips of seasoned carrots in a sizzling pan for pig-free bacon!

Pork

Field Roast Celebration Loaf: This stuffed when-gluten loaf will remind you of Sunday mornings at your Grandma’s house.

Jackfruit: Season canned young jackfruit with a tomato-y barbecue sauce, and you’ve got pulled-pork sandwiches!

Fish

Gardein Fish Filet: Wouldn’t you love to get the fish-stick flavor without the fins and the scales? Now you can, and it taste even better than the frozen fish fingers from childhood.

Tempeh: A bit of mayo and chopped up onions transforms steamed tempeh into a tuna salad facsimile that is amazing heaped on toasted bread.

These are just a few different recipes and alternatives for those wanting to change their diets but not sure they can go without the taste of meat, and Eye hope they help those just embarking on their health journey. Also make sure to check out the vegan cookbook by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, Eye Am grateful to share their recipes with you!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Let’s Roll Avocado!

Avocado Hand Roll with Ginger – Tamari Sauce

This hand roll has all the flavors of a veggie sushi roll, but it takes half the time to prepare. It can be loads of fun forming the sushi, as if it’s edible art. Plus, there are so many different fillings you can add to your hand roll, making a great alternative for dinner parties. The best part is, these hand rolls pear perfectly with a cold Japanese beer, or a hot sake depending on the day’s weather.

THIS RECIPE IS GLUTEN FREE AND NUT FREE | MAKES 6 – 8 HAND ROLLS

FOR THE RICE:

-I cup sushi rice (or brown rice) – 2 tbsp. rice vinegar – 1 tbsp. evaporated cane sugar – 1/2 tsp. sea salt

FOR THE FILLING:

1 (6oz) block gluten free baked Tofu, cut into thin matchsticks – 1/2 ripe avocado, pealed and cut into thin segments – 1/2 red or orange bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks – 1 carrot, cut into long strips – 1 Persian (or 1/4 English) cucumber, halved and cut into thin strips – 4 toasted nori sheets (sea moss), halved – 2 tbsp. wasabi powder mixed with 1 tbsp. water (optional) – 1/2 cup pickled ginger

NOTE: Not all wasabi powder and paste is vegan. Search the label carefully for any added dairy.

To Prepare the Rice: Cook rice according to package directions. When cooked, transfer to large bowl. With wooden paddle, incorporate vinegar, sugar, and sea salt into rice until slightly sticky. Set aside to cool.

To Prepare the Filling: Arrange tofu, avocado, bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber on a plate within easy reach.

To Form the Hand Rolls:

  1. Place 1 nori (shiny-side down) in one hand. With dampened other hand, spread about 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice evenly over half the nori in a square.
  2. Place small amount of desired fillings in a diagonal line across rice, pointing toward thumb.
  3. Gently roll into a cone shape and seal edge with a few grains of sushi rice or with prepared wasabi (if using). Serve with ginger.

Eye got this recipe out of a vegan book written by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, and Eye hope you enjoy making it as much as Eye did. Let’s Get to Rolling!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA