Vegan Banana Bread

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Banana bread is something I really love! And there are probably a gazillion recipes out there already. But I like to substitute ingredients and alter different recipes until I have what I call the ultimate banana bread recipe ever! 🙂

So if you like your banana bread moist (you can actually keep this for almost a week), this recipe is for you!

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas

1 vegan yogurt (I usually use a vanilla coconut milk yogurt – about 1 cup)

1/4 cup coconut oil – melted

1/2 – 1 cup of  brown sugar (I usually use 1/2 cup )

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Now lets get to the fun part! There are several things you can throw in. I most of the time throw in all of the ingredients below- so pick your poison! 🙂

Optional:

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp cocoa powder

3/4 cup of chocolate chips

1 tbsp of any nut butter

This time (see photo) I put in cinnamon (lots of it) and cocoa powder as well as a bit of vanilla extract and some peanut butter. I didn’t put it a lot of the extract since I already used a vanilla yogurt.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees celsius). I don’t have a microwave so I put the coconut oil in the oven to melt it while it is preheating (lifehack :-)). Use some extra coconut oil to grease your pan.
  2. Mash the bananas. I put them in my Nutri Bullet with the yogurt and mix it in there but you can also use a fork or something else.
  3. Mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and sugar.
  4. I put the vanilla extract in my Nutri Bullet with the bananas and the yogurt and the cinnamon and cocoa powder into the dry ingredients. If you want to add chocolate chips, I suggest putting them into the batter at the very end.
  5. Once the coconut oil is melted, combine all the wet and dry ingredients together. Whisk until you get a smooth batter (not too long, though).
  6. Pour the batter into your pan (I used a regular loaf pan (measures 8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 inch)) and put it into the oven.
  7. Bake for about 60 minutes in the lower part of the oven. I like to set my timer a little earlier to make sure the bread doesn’t get burnt.
  8. You can check if your banana bread is ready by putting a sharp knife into the bread. Take it out. If there’s no dough on the knife, it’s good to be taken out.
  9. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  10. Enjoy!

I usually keep my banana bread covered in the fridge. It should stay moist and edible for several days.

 

That’s about it! I hope you enjoy this banana bread as much as I do!

 

xxx

Natalia

 

 

Journaling

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As a kid I used to write in my diary. I remember that I wrote about who’s my current best friend just to erase it the next day and write down a new name. Silly. I stopped writing in my diary when I was about 12 years old. It took me about 15 years to start writing again.

I read the book The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan and decided to start my own gratitude diary, too. I did that every now and then and found myself writing about other things, too. There was a time where I dealt with sadness a lot and at some point I didn’t know what to do anymore except for writing it all out. I felt so much better afterwards. From that moment on, whenever I was sad, I started writing out all the feelings. After about a half a year, I started reading my entries and was shocked. Seeing the pain I was dealing with written down made me realize that I have to change something. So writing down my thoughts actually helped me change my life. I don’t know about you, but I’m that kind of person who tends to forget the bad moments after a while. I sugarcoat memories and tell myself it wasn’t that bad after all. Reading my journal helped putting everything back into perspective. I knew I had to change something. I wanted to change something. That was the start of my spiritual growth. I moved in a new apartment and learned everything about smudging, crystals and other rituals. But that’s another story. My point is that during this dark time in my life, writing really helped.

As I learned more about intentions setting and manifestation, I wanted to get myself a journal, too. Now this is actually the first (and most fun) step if you ask me. You get to choose a journal. Boy, there are so many beautiful journals out there. I want them all. I started with one and now I have a bunch.

Below you see only a tiny selection of my journals.

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Once I got my journal I felt kind of lost. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to write about. I started with baby steps such as writing down what I’m grateful for.

When I started working with a manifestation coach, I began to journal a lot more. I was writing down things I wanted to manifest, positive affirmations and little prayers for the Universe.

I also got myself the “Five Minute Journal” where you answer a couple of questions every morning and every evening. This is actually a great way to start your journal journey. I got mine at amazon.com.

I still use my “Five Minute Journal” every morning and every evening. I love it a lot and haven’t missed a day ever since I started. I also have a journal that I use to work with my coach. I write down things I want to do or achieve, take notes from our conversations or brainstorm some ideas. Besides those two journals, I do have another one. It’s my “personal” one where I write down intentions and thoughts or things that I work on. I also do free writing every now and then. I like to meditate, draw a card and then journal about it for a bit. Something that helped me, too is to write down things that lighten me up or that I enjoy. I can check this entry whenever I feel down or don’t know what to do.

I now journal everyday and must say that it really helps me. It’s fun to look back and see what has changed. It’s basically a creative outlet for me. I always have a crystal with me. There are crystals that support manifestations or help you with your writing. Personally, I just like to pick one that I feel called to and hold it in my hand while writing and / or meditating.

Here are some ideas what you could journal about. There’s no right or wrong. It took me a while to start journaling. It’s a progress for sure. Pick the ideas that you like below and start journaling!

  • journal about a card you drew
  • journal after meditation
  • do some free writing
  • write down what your grateful for
  • write down things you want to manifest
  • write down things you love about yourself (aim for 100 things!)
  • write out your prayer to God / the Universe
  • write down your intentions for the month
  • write about how you are feeling
  • write about something you achieved today
  • brainstorm ideas
  • take notes about things you hear, see or read
  • create a to do list
  • write down things that light you up / that you like to do.
  • make a list of books you want to read
  • write down the goals you have in your life and break them down into little baby steps
  • describe challenges or struggles you’ve encountered that day
  • write down your dreams
  • track the food you eat if you deal with allergies
  • keep a travel journal

 

Now it’s your turn! Grab your journal and put it in your Instagram Story. Tag me so I can see you’re on board with me. I can’t wait to see YOUR beautiful journals!

 

xxx

Natalia

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

Hi friends!

Today I want to share some tips that help me fall asleep. A good night’s sleep is really important to me. There are times in my life where I have trouble falling asleep and I found some rituals that help me fall asleep faster. And why shouldn’t I share them with you!?

Phone

I highly suggest to avoid screen time one hour before sleep. However, I sometimes like to use my phone to read something or watch something on Youtube. That’s why I activated Night Shift on my phone from 8pm until 6 am. This has been a huge game changer. I really can’t stand this bright shining light before I go to sleep.

Bedroom

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If you’re into Feng Shui, there are a couple of things you can do or avoid for a good night’s sleep. I’m not a Feng Shui expert but there are a few things I live by. No TV, computer or mirrors in my bedroom. If you’re interested in more information, just google Feng Shui bedroom. That’s what I did. I also don’t like to have a huge closet in my bedroom. I like to keep it simple. A bed, a nightstand and maybe a little commode or shelf. Basically, I just don’t like any distractions. This also includes keeping my bedroom tidy. During the day I leave a window open so my bedroom smells fresh and is nice and cool. There’s a certain temperature that’s best for your bedroom. I somewhere read that it should be somewhere between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. I also like to do my bed every morning. I sage it whenever I find the time, too. Just to get rid of stuck or bad energy. Sometimes I’m busy and forget but it’s a practice I want to incorporate into my life.

During the day

I sleep better if I exercised during the day and spent a decent amount (about an hour) outside. For me, exercising is every form of movement. Go for a walk, practice yoga, go to the gym, whatever works best with you. Going out for a walk before bed time really makes me feel better.

Before Bed

I am often too awake for bed when I watch a lot of TV or spend a long time on my phone. Chances are high that I read something that bother or excite me too much to go to bed. That’s why I love reading before going to sleep. Even if it’s just a chapter. I started meditating before sleep and this has been a huge life changer so far. I light a candle, take my favorite crystal and just sit for a while. Sometimes I listen to a guided evening meditation. After the meditation I often journal and get some things out of my bed. This is actually the most important tip I have to share. Writing about everything that’s in your head really helps me. Otherwise I often find myself lying in bed, thinking about everything that has happened during the day. Keeping the room dark, the soothing light of a candle, a couple of deep breaths- that works wonders for me. I sometimes like to add a couple of yin yoga poses and just relax a little. If you do have an eye pillow, put it in the microwave for a bit or in the oven to heat it up a little. I have a lavender eye pillow which I love. The calming smell of lavender really helps me relax.

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Beverage

I developed this ritual where I like to make myself a goodnight beverage. I love Four Sigmatic and their Reishi Mushroom Elixir. It’s really calming. I also like to make myself a little lavender tea latte. I brew myself a tea and add some lavender extract for those extra soothing vibes. Sometimes I add some Reishi extract, too. I drink it about 30 minutes before going to sleep.

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Crystals

There are several crystals that can help you with your sleep. Selenite, Amethyst, Rose Quartz and Blue Lace Agate are the most famous “bedroom crystals”. However, I wouldn’t randomly choose a crystal just because it’s meant to help with sleep. How do you feel? Do you feel anxious? Depressed? You might love a crystal with a loving, soothing energy like a Rose Quartz, Apophyllite or Celestine. If you feel overwhelmed and very airy you might want grounding energies and probably choose a Black Tourmaline or Hematite. I always keep a Selenite and a Rose Quartz in my bed and also a Blue Lace Agate and an Amethyst on my night stand. I also love my Himalayan salt lamp. I wrote about it’s benefits on another blog post (check out: Yoga Space).

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Fall Asleep

Once I’m in bed, I like to listen to a Youtube video. I either listen to some positive affirmations with Louise Hay, or to a guided evening gratitude meditation. I usually search for “before bed”, “evening meditation” or “bedtime affirmations”. Something like that. Maybe you prefer some white noise or nature sound with piano music. Whatever it is you like, there are a gazillion videos on Youtube. There’s also a timer on your podcast app that you can set.

 

I think those are basically the things that help me for a really good night’s sleep. They really helped me and can for sure help you.

As always, I hope this was helpful. Leave a comment, send me an email to natalia.schwarz25@gmail.com or send me a DM on Instagram @nataliasyoga. I love hearing from you!

 

xxx

Natalia

Vegan Apple Cinnamon Tea Latte

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If you love fall as much as I do, this is your new favorite beverage for sure!!!

It’s perfect after a long walk outside or to cuddle on your couch, watching Gilmore Girls. You know what I’m saying?

So without any further ado let me share this life changing recipe…

Ingredients:

1 tea bag (chai or a black tea)

1 apple (sliced)

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 cardamom

a pinch of cinnamon

any milk substitute (I used oat milk)

water (about 1 cup)

Directions:

Cut the apple in little pieces. Put it in a pan with some water (about 1 cup), the cinnamon stick, the cardamom and your tea bag.

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Let it boil for about 10 – 15 minutes. Drain the tea into your mug, add milk and about a pinch of cinnamon.

That’s about it! Super simple and yet so delicious.

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What about the leftover apples you wonder? Don’t worry, I got you!

I put the apples and the cinnamon stick into a little container and filled it with oat milk, oats, chia seeds and some coconut shreds. Place it in the fridge and let it soak over night.

Et voila, you already took care of breakfast for the next day! How convenient is that!?

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Enjoy!

 

As always, please tag me in your insta stories, send me a dm or an email or comment below! I’d love to hear how you like this recipe!

xxx

Natalia

 

Vegan Fall Plate

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I just love fall season and everything it brings with it. All the colorful leaves, pumpkins and the food- oh my gosh the food is just the best.

I went on a walk today and it was so nice and sunny outside. The light was absolutely beautiful and when I got home I was in the mood for a typical fall pan.

I just took what I had around, so definitely feel free to change ingredients.

Ingredients

1 bag of brussel sprouts (about 3 cups)

1 sweet potato

2 blue potatoes

1 cup of pre cooked chestnuts

1/2 of a pumpkin (about 3 cups)

1 onion

1 garlic clove

vegan sausages (I used one big sausage)

optional: Cranberry sauce

Spices

Turmeric

Cumin

dried rosemary

salt

garlic powder

chili powder

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 430 degrees (220 celsius). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prepare the veggies. Cut the brussel sprouts in half, peel and cut the pumpkin and potatoes and put everything on the baking sheet. Add the chestnuts and season everything well. I just sprinkled the spices and the garlic clove (cut it first) over everything. I guess about 1 tsp of everything. You can change spices and use whatever you like.

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Put everything into the oven and bake it for about 30 minutes. I baked it in the lower part of the oven for a while and put it up higher for the last 10 minutes to roast it.

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While the veggies are roasting, I cut the onion and roasted it for quite a while in a pan. Cook it on a low heat so you don’t burn it. After 15-20 minutes I added the sausage pieces.

Once the veggies are ready, place a portion of it on your plate and top it with the sausages. I used about half of the veggies and sausage pieces and saved the rest for lunch the next day.

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I didn’t have any cranberry sauce but that would have been the perfect match. I used some ketchup instead but you can easily skip it- I would much rather have cranberry sauce with it. 🙂

Enjoy your meal!

 

As always share our fall plate with me on your insta story, leave a comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear how you like it! Also, give it a try with the cranberry sauce and let me know how you like it. I think it’s bomb! 🙂

 

xxx

Natalia

Morning Routine

morning routine

Hi friends!

Today I’m sharing my morning routine with you. It changed over the past few months but I found some basic rituals I like to do everyday. I first want to describe my daily morning routine and then also my weekend morning routine. I don’t really have a fix weekend morning routine. But since I have more time in the weekend, there are a few things I like doing on weekends only.

Daily Morning Routine

I usually get up at 6am. I recently switched my alarm to the iPhone bed time alarm. It has some pretty nice sound options. I like the Birdsong but there are plenty other sounds to choose from. As soon as I wake up I have to go to the bathroom first. At the same time I brush my teeth and heat up some water and squeeze a lemon. After brushing my teeth I scrape my tongue. I don’t drink before that, just because I don’t want to swallow all the toxins my body got rid of during the night. Once I brushed my teeth, I make myself a warm lemon water with a pinch of Himalayan salt. I take my mug back to the bed and journal in my “five minutes journal” which I got from Amazon. I basically just write down what I’m grateful for and what I’m looking forward to. And I also choose a mantra for the day (I am…). Afterwards I sit for about 5-10 minutes and mediate and then stretch out a bit before getting up. Before getting dressed, I dry brush my body and listen to some daily affirmations or a Abraham Hicks rampage.

This takes me about 20 minutes and sets the tone for the day. I don’t check my phone during this time. Getting dressed, doing my bed and eating breakfast usually takes me another 30 minutes. I usually leave the house around 7am.

Weekend Morning Routine

On the weekend I usually like to take things slower. My morning routine is pretty much my “Everyday Morning Routine” but I like to add some fun things such as a face mask and magnesium oil. Also, I enjoy practicing yoga before having breakfast. After my practice, I sometimes add Breath Work or Nauli (which is hard with a full stomach) and meditate a little longer than on a weekday. If I want to treat myself, I take a bath with epsom salt after that and feel absolutely amazing and ready to start the day. This is also a great way to get rid of the magnesium oil on your body.

I don’t want to do a whole lot everyday that consumes a bunch of time. Although this works perfectly for me, you might have different things you enjoy doing. Hopefully this inspires you to rethink your daily morning routine and maybe add something to it.

Let me list the things I do every single day again:

What I do everyday:

–  tongue scraping

– lemon water

– quick meditation

– journaling (daily mantra and expressing gratitude)

– dry brushing

– doing my bed

– “bulletproof” non-coffee (which I will share in another post)

 

As always, I hope this was helpful! Leave me a comment or send me a DM @nataliasyoga. I love hearing from you!

xxx

Natalia

How to: cleanse and program your crystals

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I love using my crystals and I can’t wait to share everything about how I use my crystals.

But before we dive into this, I would like to share how I cleanse my crystals before using them. It is important to cleanse and charge your crystals not only if you would like to use them for making your own crystal water but also to cleanse them from old or negative energies and recharge again.

I usually clean my crystal with either water or sage and palo santo. Every full moon I put them outside to cleanse and recharge them. But there are many other ways to cleanse them.

  • Salt Water: Soak your crystals in a salt bath (there are a few exceptions that aren’t supposed to be put into water such as selenite for example)
  • Running water: Hold your crystal in the flow of running water
  • Sound: Use sound healing to cleanse your crystals. You could clap, play a singing bowl near them, ring a bell, or play a repeating om sound (e.g. youtube or spotify)
  • Incense: Cleanse your crystals in the smoke of sage
  • Sunshine: Place your crystals outside in the direct sunlight
  • Moonlight: Place your crystals outside during the full moon
  • Earth: Put your crystals in the soil for about 24 hours
  • Clear Quartz: Place your crystal on a cluster or geode of clear quartz

Once you cleansed your crystals you’re ready to program them.

Programming your crystals is important if you want to work with them (e.g. for meditation or manifestation). If you bring a new crystal into your home you want to make sure to give it a job. You don’t need to program all of your crystals, they already hold their specific energy. However, if you want to work on certain purposes programming your crystals is a helpful tool and it’s also pretty simple. Your intention should follow the natural energy of the crystal. For example, if you’re manifesting self love, I suggest choosing a rose quartz. Some crystals are multipurpose and can be programmed for basically everything.

Now let’s talk about how to program your crystal.

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  1. Cleanse your crystal. I usually sage my crystal before programming it.
  2. Find a quiet place, take your crystal and just sit with it. Watch it, feel it and take a few deep and intentionally breaths.
  3. Get clear about your intention.
  4. Hold your crystal in your hands and tell it your intention. You could use phrases like: I program you for… I charge you with my intention to…                                           I also like to thank it. Thank you for bringing me… Thank you for helping me with….
  5. Sit with your crystal for a bit and take a couple of deep breaths.

That’s already it, it’s that simple.

Last but not least, programming your crystals is my personal choice. If you don’t feel called to it, don’t do it. Whenever I want to manifest something, it helps me to program a crystal and carry it with me. It’s like a friendly reminder of what I want to manifest into my life. I also feel more connected to the crystal once I programmed it.

 

Hope this helps! Share your experiences with me! Tag me in your Instastory (@nataliasyoga), send me a DM or leave me a comment! I love hearing from you!

xxx

Natalia

 

 

 

Yoga Space

How to set up your own yoga space

I recently moved to a new apartment with an extra room just for Yoga. So exciting!

Before that I just rolled up my mat wherever I found a free spot. That was totally fine, but I’m so glad that I now have a room just to do yoga.

Today I want to tell you what I like to have in this very special room.

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I like having plants in my room, just because I feel like it gives a better atmosphere. My mat is always rolled out. So whenever I feel like it, I can step on my mat and move my body for a bit. My mat is a Manduka mat (I think it’s a pro) and I love it because it’s extra large, quite thick and has the best grip ever. Not recommended for traveling though since it’s really heavy.

I also have a little altar for my moon ceremonies in this room. I also keep my favorite crystals, my yoga props and some candles in this room.

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I keep a little sideboard in my yoga room where I store my yoga clothes, my favorite card decks and some extra candles and smudges. I use the top of it for my tumbled stones, my smudges and card deck I’m currently using and for my moon circle set up.

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I also keep my probs in my sideboard. I have 2 yoga blocks (Manduka), a bolster (Manduka), a foam roller and a strap. I do have some more rollers but those are the things I use most of the time.

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I highly recommend getting a salt lamp. I heard of so many health benefits of salt lamps such as:

– increases blood flow

– improves sleeping (I keep one in my bedroom, too)

-boosts Serotonin level (yay)

-reduces Asthma symptoms

-increases energy level

-reduces stress (uhm yes please)

-improves breathing

-improves your mood

Besides of all those amazing benefits, I really love the gentle lighting. In addition to the salt lamp, I also use simple white candles and also this clarity candle I got from House of Intuition. They have a bunch of different candles and I’ve tried quite a few so far. I like to pick one for my current mood and already feel so much better whenever I’m lighting one. I also love their purify candle. They smell really good and there’s a little crystal surprise once the candle’s burnt down.

I love lighting candles during my practice. They’re giving my room this special vibe.

Speaking of vibes, I also love having a tons of crystals close to my mat.

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I don’t really have a concept. I just pick whatever I feel called to. However, I like to keep some crystals in this room 24/7. Selenite, Amethyst, Rose Quartz, and Clear Quartz are the crystals that are always with me when I practice. Depending on my mood I add some other crystals, too. I sometimes choose one or several crystals for Savasana afterwards. I recently read that Amethyst is a great crystal to have with you during Savasana.

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Last but not least, I absolutely love this lavender eye pillow. I bought it from www.etsy.com. It smells like Lavender (obviously) and what I like doing is to heat it up during my practice. Once I get to Savasana it is nice and warm and smells so so good. Go get it and thank me later!

 

Alright, I think that’s it. You don’t need a Yoga room to practice. But you might want to add something I mentioned above to your practice. I truly love those additional props and accessories. They give me this extra vibes I’m loving.

I hope this was helpful! Let me know how you liked this post by leaving a comment or reach out on Instagram (@nataliasyoga). I’m always happy to connect with you!

xxx

Natalia

Vegan Blueberry Scones

 

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Vegan Blueberry Scones

Every Sunday I feel like baking. Somehow Sunday is just the perfect day for going for a walk, taking a bath and, like I said, bake some comfort food. Today I was in the mood for some delicious blueberry scones. They turned out so good that I just have to share the recipe with you guys!
I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did.

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Vegan Blueberry Scones

Serves: 4 blueberry scones

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (you could also use 1 cup all purpose or oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup (or less) brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (the canned milk, not the milk drink)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly dust it with flour
  3. Whisk together all dry ingredients
  4. Add the frozen blueberries to the dry ingredients (break up any clumps)
  5. Drizzle in the coconut milk and vanilla, mix everything gently together
  6. Put the dough onto the parchment paper and pat it into a circle (about 1 inch). Cut it into 4 wedges and pull them apart about 1 inch to give them a little space.
  7. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar, if desired.
  8. Bake for about 15 minutes until lightly brown.
  9. Let cool for about 5 minutes.

 

You can always double or triple the amount to get more scones.

I really hope you love them just as much as I did.

I love seeing your blueberry scones. Put them in your Instastories and tag me! Can’t wait to see all the goodness!

Happy Sunday Loves!

xxx

Natalia