I’ve been drooling over the star bread trend, but figured I lacked the patience and artistry to make it… I’m just not very good at making food look pretty. But then I realized that if I could whip up a *super quick* version, then it wouldn’t be so sad if it turned out to be an ugly mess 😉
(PS: If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted in awhile, I talk about it on my Instagram!)
There weren’t any solid-looking quick vegan recipes for star bread out there, so I made my own! I used my go-to cinnamon roll dough, which doesn’t require the typical hours of rising time but still gets super poofy. And it requires hardly any ingredients.
If you have your own favorite cinnamon roll dough, you can definitely use that instead. Just follow the directions, including rising, for your dough. I suggest that you don’t let it rise after assembling the star, though, or the shape could lose definition.
This recipe is also super versatile in terms of fillings! Instead of the vegan nutella (Justin’s, Artisana, and Nocciolata are all great options), you can use things like:
Vegan butter + cinnamon + sugar
Apple or pumpkin butter
Cinnamon sugar, orange zest and cranberry sauce
Pesto or marinara + vegan cheese (just halve the sugar in the dough)
Usually I keep these pre-recipe spiels really short, BUT this recipe is a bit more finicky than my usual chuck-in-a-pot recipes, so here are some tips on the procedure:
When spreading the nutella on the soft dough, it can be a little tricky–I found it helpful to approach it more as lightly scraping the nutella around with the edge of the spoon rather than spreading it per se.
When twisting the star arms together, make sure you REALLY pinch them together at the end, otherwise they can pop apart in the oven.
I found this video really helpful for the shaping method, so I highly recommend watching it or another one before beginning.
Make the dough: Combine all dough ingredients in a stand mixer with a dough hook, and mix it all together. Then, knead in the mixer on low for 7 minutes. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can knead by hand. The dough should be smooth and not too sticky; if it’s wet or very sticky, add a bit more flour. Split the dough into 4 equal balls, approximately 160g each.
Roll out a ball into a circle until it is about 8.5″ in diameter; anywhere 8-9″ is fine. Place the disc on a baking sheet (on either a silicon mat or parchment paper) that is at least 9×9″.
Spread a heaping tablespoon of your filling evenly onto the disc, leaving about .5-1″ clearance around the edges. (See tips above)
Repeat steps 3-4 with two more of the balls of dough, layering one on top of another. (So you’ll have a stack that’s dough disc, then nutella, then dough disc, and so on). For the fourth and final ball of dough, roll it into a disc as before and set it on top of your stack, but do NOT spread nutella on top of this one!
(I strongly recommend watching a video like this one before starting this step.) Use a 2-3″ circular pastry cutter, glass, or jar to lightly mark a circle in the center of the dough; do not cut the dough out. Then slice the surrounding dough like a pizza into 16 equal pieces, leaving the center circle uncut.
To make the star arms, grab two adjacent pieces, and twist them away from each other two and a half times, then join the flat parts on the edge. Pinch them together really well so they don’t come apart! Repeat for the rest of the pieces.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Dust with powdered sugar.
Enjoy, and try to snap a photo of your beautiful bread before inhaling it! That was a tough one for us 😉
Feeling too lazy, sore, or sick to work out? Well there’s something else you can do instead: mental training! In today’s video I go over the highlights from studies showing how just imagining exercising can make you fitter.
And bonus, these findings apply to other motor skills as well, like dancing and playing instruments!
Are your cravings getting in the way of you losing weight (or eating healthier) while eating intuitively? In my latest video I’m giving you 6 pieces of advice for how to figure out when to give into your cravings, and when to go for the healthier option instead.
I often hear people say that exercising (especially cardio) is no better for weight loss than just cutting the equivalent number of calories from your diet. In fact, I’ve even had people tell me that cardio is a waste of time because they just eat all the calories back anyway.
There are a lot of reasons that’s wrong, but today I’m focusing on one: how exercise influences your appetite. Plus, how it influences your hormones, and how much you actually end up eating in the long term.
Stress is a major cause of overeating–especially if you’re an emotional eater. In today’s video, I’m going over studies on how stress affects our hunger hormones, and how your hunger hormones actually act very differently if you’re an emotional eater… and science-based advice for what you can do to help with emotional overeating!
A lot of intuitive eating bloggers, coaches, etc. believe we can’t do anything to influence our “natural weight” that we’ll maintain at with intuitive eating. They tell people who are overweight that they should just accept that that’s their natural weight and not even try to aim for a healthy weight. But based on the research, I disagree.
(I do, however, 100% agree with self-acceptance and self-love at every weight, and that you shouldn’t have to aim for a healthy weight if you don’t want to.)
Today I’m sharing something a little closer to my personal research interests (given that I’m getting my PhD in psychology/neuroscience): how your diet can affect your mood! In the video I quickly cover tryptophan, the amino acid that has antidepressant-like effects, and go over a study directly looking at how people’s symptoms of depression, anxiety, and overall mood are affected by being put on a high vs low tryptophan diet.
And the list of high-tryptophan foods from the study is below!
The media LOVES to talk about how great the Mediterranean diet is for health, weight loss, etc. compared to the standard American diet.
But honestly, pretty much anything is better than the standard American diet (aka the Western diet).
Very few studies have looked at the Mediterranean diet compared to other non-Western diets, but a new study came out recently comparing the Mediterranean diet to a low-ish fat vegan diet for health and weight loss. In this video, I go over the weight loss aspects; specifically, how much people lost in 16 weeks on each diet, without eating less or exercising more.
In today’s video, I cover a new study showing that if you’re on a plant-based diet (vegan or vegetarian), your chances of getting COVID and having symptoms are MUCH lower. The study also looked at how low carb/high protein diets affect COVID severity, with some really interesting results.
Hopefully this data will no longer be relevant as we all get vaccinated, BUT it might be important to know if the vaccines don’t protect well against the new strains. And at the very least, it’s nice to know that our plant-based diets likely gave us some protection!
As life gets busier (between quarantine ending and closing on a house), my BIGGEST cooking goal these days is to come up with super simple recipes that are both healthy and easy to make in bulk. And my latest favorite creation that fits the bill is this super simple tofu & pea curry!
It has all the creamy, comforting goodness of the authentic Indian version (called Matar or Mutter Paneer), but without any of the cheese, cream or oil. The only source of fat in this recipe, in fact, are cashews! (And if you want to get fat free with it, you could omit the cashew cream. But then… it wouldn’t be creamy anymore. 😉 )
And bonus, this version is high in protein!
This recipe is super simple, because the ONLY chopping required is cubing the tofu–everything else is just chucked into the blender.
I also cook this in bulk by doubling the recipe below (cooking times are the same)–it takes me about 30 mins of prep time for 8 meals’ worth of food!
1 – 16oz block super firm tofu, cubed
1.5 cups frozen peas
1 white or yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
1 green chili pepper (can also use ~1 tbsp canned)
3/8 cup water
1 tsp cumin seeds (or sub powder)
Half a 15oz can tomato sauce (or pureed fresh tomato)
1 + 1/4 tsp coriander
Heaping 1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt, more to taste
1 tsp cayenne powder, or to taste*
2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked
1/2 cup water
*This will depend on the chili you use. When I use my spicier homegrown chilis, I omit the cayenne. If you use canned mild chilis, you’ll probably want to keep the cayenne in.
Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili pepper, and 3/8c water to your blender, and blend until smooth. Let sit for a minute or two before opening it, as the chili will be airborne for a moment!
Meanwhile, saute the cumin seeds with a splash of water until they start to turn brown, 1-2 minutes. Add the pureed onion mixture, and boil for 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato sauce, coriander, turmeric, and salt, and boil for another ~5 minutes.
Add the cubed tofu and peas and stir them in gently, just as much as needed to combine everything, so as not to break the tofu.
Set the Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for 2 mins, and let it release naturally for 10-15 minutes. (For stovetop version: simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the peas are tender but not mushy. Stir it occasionally.)
While the curry is cooking, blend the cashew cream ingredients, and set aside. Once the curry is done cooking, gently stir in the cashew cream.