Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Vegan Mofo 2013 – Post #11

What could be better than combining all your favourite cookies into one? When they are also super easy to make and pretty darn healthy as far as treats go! And they taste amazing!

Sound good? Check out these Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies from Oatmeal With A Fork!

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I actually used the last bits of my almond butter and peanut butter up to make these, so it ended up about half and half. Also, I just realized that I never added the stevia, but I really didn’t feel like I was missing any sweetness, so I’ll probably just leave it out next time.

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Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread

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Vegan Mofo 2013 – Post #8 – Now only 2 posts behind, and almost halfway through. I may actually make it!

I don’t know if you remember, but awhile back I posted about the amazing Lower-fat Banana Bread recipe from Veganomicon. Well, I recently stumbled upon this variation on that recipe, and it was a definite must-try! I usually add chocolate chips to my banana bread, but Herbivore Triathlete had the genius thought of also adding raspberries!

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Banana bread + dark chocolate + tart berry goodness = love!

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When making this Dark Chocolate Raspberry Banana Bread, I made the same minor changes that I mentioned in my previous post, except that this time I replaced the all purpose flour with 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup brown rice flour, and 1/4 cup chickpea flour.

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You should give this a try!

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What I Ate Wednesday #136: Vegan In Victoria

I’ve got something a little different for this week’s What I Ate Wednesday post: I’m going to share with you all the awesome vegan eats from my trip to Victoria last week. And their really was A LOT!

Victoria is not far from where I live (just a ferry-ride away), very pedestrian friendly (I don’t drive so this is important), I hadn’t been since a school trip to the Parliament Buildings in like Grade 5, and I’d been hearing rumours of lots of great vegan food. So when I was trying to think of somewhere to go for a quick last-minute getaway before school starts, Victoria was on the top of my list.

I did some research before I went and made a list to take with me of all the vegan and vegan-friendly places in the downtown area that I was interested in. I was surprised at how big the list got, and was even more surprised when I discovered a few more places in my exploring of the city!

I found these sites very helpful in my research:
The Victoria Vegan: Vegan News and Resources
Vegan Mischief’s A Vegan Traveler’s Guide to Victoria
Sarah’s Guide to Downtown Victoria
The Real Meal’s Vegan Food in Victoria, BC

Now on to the food! I’ll just say here, so I don’t repeat myself a zillion times in the following descriptions, that everything I ate ranged from great to amazing and I would eat it all again, no problem. 🙂

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I was starving when I arrived, so I headed straight to Green Cuisine after checking in to my accommodations. Green Cuisine is a buffet, so I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long to eat. It is also 100% vegan and has lots of different options. Almost everything is paid for by weight, except for some items such as soup, bread, and desserts that are priced per each. Results of walking straight into line without looking at what was available first: a meal of things that don’t go together but all taste great: Thai noodles in sweet chili sauce, shredded carrots, cucumbers, steamed kale with sweet chill sauce I took from a tofu dish, tempeh in brown sauce, falafel, and lemon cheezecake. The standout here was that lemon cheezecake. It was so light and creamy and lemony!

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Dinner was the Carmanah Bowl from Cafe Bliss, an almost 100% raw (a few cooked things) vegan (except for honey used in multiple items) restaurant and juice bar that is pretty much the cutest place ever. Cooked brown rice, steamed broccoli, raw chard, cabbage, carrots, red pepper, avocado, sugar peas and red onion in a sesame garlic sauce and topped with sesame seeds and dulse flakes, plus a multi-seed cracker. I’ll just say that the combination of warm chewy brown rice and cool seasoned veggies was blissful! 🙂 I didn’t take photos, but on a different day we also tried the Hummingbird Juice (orange, watermelon, raspberry, lime) and the Protein Berry Burst Smoothie (banana, blueberry, rice protein, hemp hearts, acai, mylk). I thought it was pretty cool that if you get any of their smoothies or juices to go, you get it in a mason jar. You have to pay a deposit for the mason jar which you get back if you bring it back to the cafe. Or you can just keep them like I did.

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Breakfast from the downtown location of Shine Cafe, a bright little place with quick friendly service, that suited the name just fine. I stumbled upon this place because it was one block from where I was staying. This is the only marked vegan breakfast: it’s called Karin’s Brunch and you get to pick four items out of nine options. I choose the hashbrowns, multigrain toast, homemade bean and rice patty, and sauteed spinach,  mushrooms, and roasted garlic. Also included in your options are pecan cranberry granola with soy milk, sweet chill sesame tofu, refried beans, grilled tomato, and a fresh fruit salad. Whichever options you choose, its a tonne of food for the price tag! Perfect way to start a full day of exploring. I don’t normally have such big breakfasts, but as you’ll see, Victoria has lots of fantastic vegan breakfast/brunch options, so I had to try some out. Shine Cafe also has a vegan burger patty, a hearty vegan salad, and a few other items on the menu that could easily be veganized by removing cheese and/or mayo.

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The Creamy Almond Veggie Sandwich from the Hot & Cold Cafe (Cook Street location). This was an amazing and amazingly messy sandwich! Creamy almond spread, grainy Dijon mustard, cucumber, tomato, red onion, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, pea shoots, and red pepper on super soft house-made organic focaccia bread. This little cafe also had other marked vegan items on the menu, including a Red Curry Tofu Rice Bowl, Yellow Coconut Curry Soup, salads, and fresh-fruit popsicles.

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Almond milk latte and a fruit/seed/coconut ball (I can’t remember what they called it but it was tasty) from Solstice Cafe. Honestly, I would have preferred the latte to taste more like coffee and less like almond milk, but I’d still go here again. The place is huge and beautiful; definitely the kind of coffee shop you’d want to hang out in for hours. I was here in the early morning, but they have more vegan light meal and snack options later in the day.

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Brunch at Mo:Lé for me was tofu scramble, avocado, and pesto hash browns from the list of separate items. So good! That tofu scramble looks plain but it had great flavour and I’m still swooning over those pesto hash browns. Love this place!

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Jem’s vegetarian brunch was the Mo:Lé Benny with avocado and grilled tomato.

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A soy latte and a vegetable samosa from the BC Royal Museum Cafe. I was surprised how great both of these were! And I was happy to notice the soy milk was even organic!

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Personal pizza from The Joint, with vegan sundried tomato pesto, artichoke hearts, spinach, black olives, jalapenos, and Daiya mozza shreds. The pizzas were amazing, but the place was so warm that we couldn’t stand to stay and eat there. Like it felt like walking into a pizza oven warm. So we sat and watched the lights in the inner harbour as we scarfed down our pizzas. Oh well. 🙂 The Joint is very vegan (and gluten-free friendly). When we were there I was surprised to see that half of the flavours of pre-made cold pizza by the slice was vegan, and all of their made-to-order pizzas, calzones etc can be made vegan! Plus, they had vegan brownies!

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Another amazing breakfast, this time from Lady Marmalade. This Organic Tofu Scramble had scallions, spinach, bok choy, and shitake mushrooms, in a sesame soy sauce. Plus toast, potatoes and salad (or you can choose barley or brown rice). This was the only vegan breakfast option but it was packed with delicious flavour! Love seeing a different spin on a tofu scramble!

This was dinner (and lunch the next day) from Lotus Pond, a 100% vegan Chinese restaurant. The place was packed, with a line out the door and its easy to see why. There are a ridiculous number of dishes and they all sound great. It was so hard to choose what to get, but we finally narrowed it down to three. This was some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had, and my sister Jem (who isn’t vegetarian or vegan) commented that it was better than most Chinese food she’d ever had!
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#47 Diced vegetables and mushrooms with cashew nuts. It also had some sort of faux-meat in there that tasted good, but we weren’t huge fans of the texture.

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#56 MaPo Tofu (soft tofu in spicy sauce)

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#80 Shredded vegetable and bean sprouts chow fun.

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Evening almond milk lattes from Wild Coffee, and a shared vegan gluten-free cinnamon roll. At least half of the treats and stuff in the showcase was gluten-free, and this was the sole vegan option. But it was a great treat!

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Last but not least, another Karina’s Brunch from Shine Cafe. This time I choose fruit instead of toast. Just as good as the first time.

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Pineapple Mango Creamsicles and Mixed Berry Ice Pops

It is definitely summer around here and while I’m loving the sunshine, I’m not a huge fan of the heat. What better way to beat the heat than with an icy totally guilt-free treat?! (Really didn’t intend for all the rhyming there!)

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Store-bought popsicles may be fruit-flavoured, but they are usually just frozen sugar-water, without any actual fruit in sight. These home-made popsicles taste even better than store-bought, are almost completely all fruit, and therefore completely guilt-free! They are also super quick and easy to make. If you know how to turn on a blender, than you can make these in about five minutes. The hardest part is waiting for them to freeze!

Pineapple Mango Creamsicles
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup mango chunks
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (or more coconut milk, for an even creamier creamsicle)
1/2 tsp orange extract
Optional – sweetener to taste

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Mixed Berry Ice Pops
1 cup blueberries
1 cup other berries (raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries…) – You can choose one kind, or a mixture.
2 cups water or non-dairy milk
Optional – sweetener to taste

For both kinds, just throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide into whatever ice pop molds you have and place them in a freezer to freeze. Wait impatiently. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– For both recipes, you can use either fresh or frozen fruit, or a combination of both. 

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I’ve shared this post with Raw Food Thursday (7/18/13), Allergy-Free Wednesday, Gluten Free Wednesdays (7/17/13), Healthy Vegan Friday #52, Gluten Free Friday #49, and Wellness Weekend (July 18-22).

Questions
Ice cream or popsicles?

What is your favourite popsicle flavour? Or the craziest flavour you’ve tried?
Feel free to share or link to the recipe!

What I Ate Wednesday #130

It’s time for What I Ate Wednesday #130! Its a very green one this time and I’ve finally worked my way through the backlog of random meals I had photographed and not shared! Enjoy!

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Pizza – Whole wheat pita bread, lemon dill hummus, spinach, sliced Field Roast Italian Sausage, yellow and green pepper, and Daiya Pepperjack shreds.
Bagelwich – A toasted Silver Hills Squirelly Bagel with spicy chilli pepper hummus, cucumber, and romaine.

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Mint Chocolate Chip Vega Smoothie – We followed the recipe, except used greens cubes in place of the spinach and the ice. I love the idea of using peppermint tea to make minty smoothies! I could have done without the chocolate chunks, as most of them sank to the bottom, and chocolate doesn’t have much flavour when its so cold anyway, but this was a great healthy treat!
Field Roast Frankfurter – On a whole wheat bun with Vegenaise, spicy chili pepper hummus, and romaine. With dill pickles.

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Salad – Romaine lettuce, black olives, pickled jalapeño peppers, sliced almonds, cucumber, avocado, lime juice, Vega Antioxidant Oil.
Frankfurter Wrap – Avocado, chilli pepper hummus, Field Roast Frankfurter, Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles, and romaine lettuce on a whole wheat wrap.

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Falafel Salad – Green leaf lettuce, broccoli sprouts (grown with the help of my handy Sprouts app), red pepper, cucumber, balsamic vinaigrette, baked Casbah Falafel, and  Sriracha.
Mediterranean Chickpea Burger, with spicy chilli pepper hummus, romaine lettuce, and cucumber.

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Salad – Green leaf lettuce, broccoli sprouts, black olives, avocado, red pepper, carrot and cucumber Hot & Sour Refrigerator Pickles, balsamic vinaigrette, and black pepper. Toasted Silver Hills bread with red pepper hummus.
Basic Chickpea Taco Bowl – red quinoa, lime juice, taco spiced chickpeas, and avocado.

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Trail Mix – A mix of a bunch of nuts, seeds, and stuff I have in my cupboards. I kept this in my locker at work for a couple of weeks for quick nibbles. I always have stuff like this in my cupboards, mostly for baking, so I never buy trail mix, just make my own little mixes that are always different. Almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried currants, raisins, peanuts, and raw cacao nibs.
Taco Chickpea Bowl Take 2 – With cabbage and Daiya Jack Wedge added this time.

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Pasta – Whole wheat penne with spinach, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, chill flakes, and italian seasoning. Garlic bread is french bread spread with Earth Balance and minced garlic, then browned in a pan.
Crazy Saute – Barley, sprouted red lentils, parsley, cooked yam, red pepper, and zucchini, all sautéed in a pan with Bragg’s and Sriracha.

Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies

I just got home yesterday from a lovely week of camping with the family. It’s really amazing what a road trip, a change of scenery (forest!), and some campfire time can do! Even with the lack of sleep over the past week and a few too many treats, I’ve come back feeling really energized and eager to get some things done I’ve been putting off.

Anyway, all those nights sitting around the campfire watching my family enjoying s’mores (while I happily sipped my tea and munched on Oreos or dark chocolate), reminded me of this recipe for Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies that I made a few months ago. I’ve never really liked marshmallows or s’mores but when I received a bag of Dandies in a package from the Canadian Vegan Food Swap, I was curious to try out some recipes with them, and this is one of the things I came up with.

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With a few tweaks, I used this Dark Chocolate Brownie recipe as the base for my brownies. I knew the addition of chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cookies would mean a lot of sugar, so I wanted to start with a brownie base that was on the healthier side. These ones are quite low in sugar for a brownie, use whole grain flour, and are oil free. Even if you don’t wish to make S’mores Brownies (though really, why wouldn’t you?) I’d still recommend trying this brownie recipe.

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Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies
1 tbsp ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup Sucanat (or organic brown sugar)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies)
1/2 cup crushed vegan graham crackers or ginger snaps

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9’x13′ pan.
In a small dish combine the ground chia with the warm water and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, applesauce, milk, vanilla, and vinegar.
In a separate bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt.
Whisk the chia mixture into the wet ingredients.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour about 3/4 of the batter into your prepared pan.
Spread the marshmallows out over the top of the batter, then sprinkle on the crushed cookies.
Drop the remaining batter on top of the cookies and marshmallows, one teaspoon at a time.
Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Cut the brownies into squares before they are fully cool, otherwise it will be difficult to cut through the marshmallow. I cut mine into 18 pieces.

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These brownies are best enjoyed warm, so that the chocolate chips and the marshmallows are a bit gooey. Enjoy!

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These Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies were a huge hit. The brownies are super chocolatey, dense, and moist, without being too sweet and the toppings sent them over the top. I had a hard time not eating the whole tray in about 2 days, and when I shared with Jem (just so I wouldn’t eat them all) she loved them. Apparently she had “a brownie experience”!

I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (6/11/13).

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Frosted Blueberry Cake: MMAZ #30

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For this week’s Meatless Monday from A-Z the mission is to cook a recipe that features blueberries. I haven’t made any of the recipes yet from last week’s Create with Blueberries linkup, but I did make this gorgeous Frosted Blueberry Cake from Healthy Happy Life.

For the past couple of years I’ve volunteered to make the birthday cakes (one for each sister) for my sisters’ birthday. Birthdays are a great excuse to try out a sweeter-than-usual dessert that I’ve been eyeing, and doing the baking, guarantees I’ll actually be able to eat something come dessert time. This year I couldn’t pass up Jem’s request for this Frosted Blueberry Cake.

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What I really love about this cake is that the actual cake is not too sweet, and pretty darn healthy. The flax, oats, applesauce, blueberries, and walnuts do the double duty of making the cake taste great, and providing some actual nutrients, instead of just empty calories. Without the frosting, this cake is more like a snack-cake than a true dessert, but as soon as you add the amazing coconut frosting, it is elevated to a beautiful dessert, perfect for any occasion. And the frosting really is amazing!

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I did make a couple of minor changes to the original recipe:
– I used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. I rarely even buy all purpose flour anymore, and I’m always pleased with the results I get using whole wheat flour. As usual, when substituting whole wheat flour, I just had to add an extra little splash of nondairy milk when mixing the wet and dry together.
– I used ground flaxseeds.
– I choose to use coconut sugar.
– I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk in place of the soy milk.
– I couldn’t find any fresh blueberries, so I used frozen blueberries in the cake, and fresh raspberries for decorating.

In regards to the options listed in the original recipe, I used almond extract, I didn’t use any cinnamon, and I used walnuts.

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We really enjoyed this cake, and I will absolutely be using both the cake recipe and the frosting recipe again!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 4/23/13.

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