WIAW | Vegan Lactation Cookies | Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds

WIAW | Vegan Lactation Cookies | Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

It seems that everyone we know is either pregnant for the first time or second time or are just having their babies. Today I am meeting up with an old friend who just had baby boy #2 and since I believe that if you visit with a new mama in the first 4-6 weeks postpartum that you must bring food and/or do something to help around the house. That being said I decided to bake cookies because who doesn’t love cookies and I may have wanted a few for myself. 

WIAW | Vegan Lactation Cookies | Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds While these are lactation cookies you don’t have to worry if you eat them you won’t suddenly start lactating it just means they are filled with ingredients that help mamas milk supply. All it means for you men, kids and non-breastfeeding women is that you’ll be enjoying some nutrient dense cookies that are really good anytime of the day. I actually think they would be the perfect breakfast cookie.

This recipe was inspired by How Sweet Eats Lactation Cookies, which you could always veganize if you wanted (I have and they are insanely amazing). So why didn’t I just make How Sweet Eats? Well they are a little higher in fat and sugar than I was interested in this time around. Although I think she is spot on to add the chocolate chips and if I had any I would have added them as well. Either way I think these are yummy and fingers crossed so does my mama friend. 

WIAW | Vegan Lactation Cookies | Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds Dark Chocolate Almond Lactation Cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unbleached organic all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons brewers yeast
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 super ripe medium bananas
1 cup coconut sugar
14-15 sticky medjool dates (if yours are not soft soak them in warm water for 20 minutes before or sub 1/2 cup coconut sugar)
7 tablespoons Earth Balance
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Dark Chocolate Almonds, chopped
1/3 cup coconut flakes
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl whisk together the oats, flour, brewers yeast, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle beat the bananas and dates together until mashed. Add in the Earth Balance, coconut sugar and vanilla and beat until creamed together.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Then stir in the almonds and coconut flakes.

Scoop out 1-inch balls of dough and place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet.
WIAW | Vegan Lactation Cookies | Featuring Blue Diamond Almonds

My First Floating Experience | Float On Portland

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This past Saturday Neil and I headed to Float On, a sensory deprivation float tank center here in SE Portland, for our very first floating experience. I’ll admit I was pretty excited but I also was feeling pretty anxious as well. The thought of closing myself in a tank, in the dark and just floating there really freaked me out however the benefits which include deep relaxation, stress & pain relief where pretty enticing. 

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Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 8.32.28 PMOnce we arrived I tried to calm my nerves by reading the Beginners Guide to Floating over and over but after the fifth time I was just making myself more anxious. So I put it down, grabbed a cup of herbal tea (caffeine is not recommended 4-6 hours before floating) and just tried to relax until it was time to float.   
FloatOn-5Once it was time to float Neil and I were given a little tour of the float rooms. We had rooms 1 and 2- the ocean float rooms which are taller and have a light as well. Neil was lucky and got room #2 the room with the star lights on the ceiling of the tank (see photo below). 
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Once we were walked through the steps of floating and I realized just how in control of the situation I was I began to feel less anxious. It also helped when I found out the float tank only contained around a foot of water. 
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Now it’s time to actually float. I put in my ear plugs which transported me back to my childhood when I had tubes and had to wear ear plugs to swim. Anyways moving on. 
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I showered (check out the lighted shower) and then it was time to hop into the tank. I chose to bring in the neck noodle just in case I wanted to use it to support my neck (and I did).

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photo credit http://floathq.com/

I climbed into the tank, closed the door, took a deep breath and turned out the light. I instantly felt super relaxed just floating there. Neil and I both agreed that while floating we felt both heavy and weightless at the same time. Being in the dark wasn’t strange at all, I actually found it completely relaxing and it wasn’t until I started feeling a little stuffy that I really noticed that I was closed in; you really just lose all sense of space. When I started to feel a little stuffy I felt around, grabbed the handle and popped open the door just a crack to let in a whoosh of cool air.

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photo credit https://www.facebook.com/floatHQ

So what did I do while I floated? Nothing really. I just floated and I spent some time focusing on my breath. I actually thought that I would spend a lot of time thinking and brainstorming but instead my mind just calmed down and I really didn’t think about much at all. I just completely relaxed. I thought I might fall asleep as well but I didn’t, I just floated there with my eyes wide open until it was time to get out.

As I said above you lose all sense of space (unless you drift towards a wall and touch it) and you also lose all sense of time. I will admit I started to feel a little bit anxious towards the end because my life seems to revolve around the clock. I start my morning trying to help Neil get out of the house in time for work and then the day revolves around nap times and meal times so not knowing how much longer I had made me want to jump out and check my phone -and I almost did. It wasn’t because I wanted to be done but rather because I had no idea how much time had passed. In the end I didn’t jump out to check my phone because seconds later the music came on signaling that my float was over and it was time to get out, shower and be on my way. 

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The above photo is a perfect image of blissed out Neil. Seriously we both left in a positive state of mind. We were relaxed and just felt absolutely amazing. 

Would I float again? YES! I would definitely float again and I think that the next time I will most likely be even more relaxed because all of those (silly) little anxieties I had won’t be there. I think knowing that I could get out of the tank whenever I felt the need (ie. just feeling uneasy, needing to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, ect.) really made me feel in control and okay to do the float. Once I actually started the float I was kicking myself for not trying it sooner, especially when I was pregnant. I mean seriously what could be better than essentially feeling weightless while pregnant. Plus I truly believe water is a magical thing that just makes life better.

After floating I was thinking about how often I turn to water for therapeutic reasons for myself. I take a shower when I am feeling anxious or frustrated or a bath when I am feeling sore or just need to relax. I give the kids a bath or we do some sort of water play when they are cranky. So really floating is just another level of these things and when I think about it that way it makes so much sense to me why people love to do it. 

Have you ever tried floating? Would you like to? 

*Disclaimer: Float On provided Neil and I with free floats. I was not required to write a positive review and I received no compensation for this post. 

WIAW: Rawdacious | Portland, OR

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This week it’s all about the cheesecake; specifically gluten free and vegan cheesecake from Rawdacious here in Portland. 
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Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Rawdacious kitchen to see where all the magic happens. Little did I know until about an hour before going that I had actually tried these delicious cheesecakes before at some of my favorite Portland restaurants. So that being said I was even more excited to try some new flavors. When I arrived Jenn, the owner of Rawdacious, presented me with three mini cheesecakes to sample.  While we chatted away while I stuffed myself silly with the most insanely delicious gluten free and vegan cheesecakes.  

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I sampled the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Northwest berries and cream and a chocolate one that I am forgetting the official name of. Of the three the PB one was my favorite but I already knew this because I have enjoyed it before at Sweet Hereafter and The Bye and Bye. I actually had no idea that cheesecakes at these two places where from Rawdacious but now I do and so do you!. My other absolute favorite from Rawdacious is the seasonal pumpkin cheesecake that I had last Fall at Canteen (see photo here).

Rawdacious PDX -11Anyone want to go in on this Matcha With Coconut Cheesecake? Rawdacious PDX-5

All of the cheesecakes are naturally vegan and gluten-free without a soy base. The raw base of the cheesecakes is made from organic cashews, homemade organic almond milk and organic coconut oil. The cheesecakes filled with quality organic and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. You can read more about the cheesecakes here.

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These beautiful and delicious handcrafted cheesecakes now come in mini sizes as well and can be found at Alberta Co-op, People’s CoopFood Front Cooperative and this summer you can find them at the St. John’s Farmers Market. You can also find them at a few other shops and restaurants around town including two of my favorites Prasad and HarlowRawdacious PDX -2

Not interested in venturing out for cheesecake? You could always have Postmates (if you’re lucky enough to live in the radius) deliver a 4-pack of minis or even a whole cake right to your doorstep. Rawdacious also takes special orders and does catering and would be perfect for a wedding or your next party ; Edith has already requested a few mini’s for her birthday (I don’t know who’s more excited me or her). Until then I’ll just have to find excuses to pick up a slice or mini when we are out and about.

Which flavor of Rawdacious cheesecake would you like to try? The Lemon Fig is at the top of my list and the Coffee With Cream & Fudge and ….well all of them really. 

*Disclaimer: I was invited to visit the kitchen and sample the cheesecakes. I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just simply can’t tell you enough about how insanely good these cheesecakes are. 

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