Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1

Green Smoothie Challenge: Preparation
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5

Yesterday was the first full day of our Green Smoothie Challenge, and it went surprisingly well. I did have a slight headache throughout the day but other then that I felt good.

I also have two of my own recipes to share with you: Italian White Beans and Gomae. Enjoy!

I think the hardest part for both Jem and I is going to be staying warm. The weather’s pretty cold and damp around here, making the idea of a ice-cold smoothie less than desirable (especially when you have to have it before the sun comes up or the heat comes on) and we sure were looking forward to a big bowl of hot soup for dinner. We have been combatting the cold with lots of hot herbal tea, which does help some. Putting stevia in the tea also helps combat our sweet-tooths’ cravings.

The past couple days I’ve been having one smoothie for breakfast, a salad and soup for lunch and dinner, and then another smoothie in the evening. The evening is when Jem and I both crave snacks and sweets the most, so sipping on a semi-sweet smoothie at this point really helps.

Just a reminder that you can find more info and all the recipes mentioned below (unless I give a different link) here.

What I Ate (Monday October 21)
I started the day with 2 cups of lemon water, then made a Tropical Colada Smoothie. I used 1/2 cup of our Greens Puree in place of the spinach, used only 1/2 of a banana, and left out the coconut. I don’t have a cup big enough for these smoothies, so I put half of it in the freezer for about 45 minutes, while I drank the other half. This made the frozen half like a slushy by the time I  ate it so I used a spoon, and enjoyed it even more than the first.

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Mid-morning I snacked on a little bit of hummus with cucumber and carrots.

Around 1pm, I had a big salad for lunch that included romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, artichoke hearts, Italian White Beans, and Tahini Cream Dressing. I love this simple salad dressing; tahini and lemon is always a winning combination!

Italian White Beans
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through and most of the liquid is gone.

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I actually made this salad too big. I couldn’t even finish the whole thing!IMG_3014

During the afternoon I had 2 cups of rooibos tea with vanilla stevia and another 2 cups of water.

For dinner, Jem and I had about 2 cups of the Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Black Bean Soup, and a small serving of home-made Gomae. This gomae isn’t made from freshly roasted sesame seeds like is traditional, but it is much simpler, and every bit as tasty. No, the challenge doesn’t really allow for sauces like this on the unlimited steamed vegetables, but we decided since we didn’t use our allotted 1/4 cup of salad dressing on our lunch salad, that this would be okay.

I did end up pureeing the soup again to get a smoother texture and I enjoyed it much more than the other day.

Gomae (Serves 4 as a Side)
2 large bunches spinach, rinsed
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp coconut sugar or 5 drops liquid stevia
2-3 tbsp warm water

Note: If I hadn’t made this for the Challenge, I would have also added 1 tsp of sesame oil to the sauce, for a stronger sesame flavour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the spinach to the pot and let cook it cook for 2-3 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander and rinse it with cold water. Over the sink or a bowl, press on the spinach to release excess water, then let it sit while you prepare the sauce.

For the sauce, just mix all the ingredients together in a blender or by hand. Press on the spinach once more to release any more liquid, place some spinach in a small bowl, and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of the sauce. Sprinkle with roasted sesame seeds if desired.

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After dinner I got on the elliptical for the second night in a row! I did a 30 minute program and then 10 minutes of stretching.

Later on, I added the second half of my Apple Pie Smoothie (from Day 0.5) into the blender and blended it up with 1 cup of frozen blueberries and 4 drops of vanilla stevia. Yum!

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Jenn and I ate pretty much the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but she had a different smoothie in the evening: the Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie. She used 1/2 cup Greens Puree in place of the greens, used vanilla stevia, and left out the water and ice to get a thicker texture (which we both feel makes the smoothie feel more like a milkshake/dessert).

P.S. – Between all the herbal tea and water I drank, I made it up to 11 cups of water again! (Not including anything in the smoothies or other food.)

See you tomorrow!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2

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Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5

Have you read about our Green Smoothie Challenge: Preparation?

Rather than fully start the Green Smoothie Challenge yesterday, we used the day to ease into it a bit. When choosing a start day, we didn’t realize that we would both end up with (non-challenge-approved) leftovers from a pre-planned dinner out on Saturday night, and Jem didn’t know that she had an impromptu late Thanksgiving dinner to go to on Sunday night.

So, yesterday, Jem had the Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie for breakfast, and then ate regularly for the rest of the day. She did include 30 minutes of elliptical in her day. I ended up having one and a half smoothies, a serving of soup, and some hummus and raw vegetables, and rounding it out with some non-challenge-approved foods. The photos below show what I ate for the day.

I started the day at 6:30am with a Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie. I choose to start with this one because it is very similar to my favourite smoothie of frozen blueberries, Chocolate Vega One, greens, and almond milk. I used only half a banana (because I really don’t like them), choose 1 tbsp of hemp protein powder for the flax/hemp/chia option, used 1/2 cup of my Greens Puree in place of the spinach, and didn’t add the water. The smoothie turned out the perfect texture for me, and I really enjoyed it, even though I was freezing!

Jem had the same smoothie for breakfast, except she used a full banana as the recipe states.

To help warm me up, I had a hot cup of orange pekoe tea with vanilla creme stevia right after I finished my smoothie. Yes, this tea has caffeine in it, but a lot less than the coffee I usually have every morning. I figured it would be a good stepping stone to the next week without any caffeine. And I didn’t have any coffee for the whole day!

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After a 30 minute walk to work, I had a few almonds and one piece of the fig date bread pictured below.

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At noon I had 1 1/2 cups of the Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup and a piece of toast. I really love the taste of this soup, but just like last time I made it, I’m not really a fan of the texture. Right now it is about half pureed, but I may try fully pureeing it before I have any today.

We did make some changes to the soup, so I’m going to write our version below.

Cheezy-Smokey-Spicy Black Bean Soup 
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo, finely diced and seeds removed
2 carrots, diced
1/2 large zucchini, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cans low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp liquid smoke
4 cups water
2 tbsp tahini
3/4 cup nutritional yeast

In a large pot over medium heat, water sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add the carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, chipotle pepper, and spices and cooking stirring for a couple of minutes. Add black beans, liquid smoke, and water, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Stir in nutritional yeast and tahini. Pulse a few times with a stick blender to desired consistency.

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Around 4pm, I had another small meal of hummus with raw cucumber, carrot, and yellow bell pepper. I also had the other piece of my fig date bread and some green tea.

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At 5pm, I had another 30 minute walk from work.

For dinner, around 6:30pm, I had a small bowl of leftover pasta from the night before.

Around 7:30pm I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes of yoga stretches.

After my workout, I made an Apple Pie Green Smoothie, and drank about half of it. Then I had some lemon ginger herbal tea with stevia to warm me up. I liked the taste of the Apple Pie Smoothie, but didn’t like the texture. My blender probably just isn’t powerful enough to blend the apples smoothly. It was drinkable, once I blended it with ice, but next time I think I’d use applesauce in place of the full apples.

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I was also drinking water throughout the day, and made it to a grand total of 11 cups! This includes herbal tea, but doesn’t include the water in the smoothies and other food I ate.

Looking forward to starting the challenge off for real today!

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1

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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Veganomicon: Blueberry Corn Pancakes

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Vegan Mofo 2013 Post #10 – It only took 17 days, but I’m finally halfway there! Looks like I may just make it to 20 posts!

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I’ve never been a huge fan of pancakes, but recently this recipe in Veganomicon for Blueberry Corn Pancakes caught my eye when I was looking for something a little different to make for breakfast one morning. Isn’t it great that 2 years later and I’m still always discovering new things in Veganomicon?! I’m in love with a recipe for Blueberry Corn Muffins from The Joy of Vegan Baking, so I knew the flavour combination was a winner.

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I loved these pancakes and will be making them again! The combination of blueberries, lemon, and cornmeal gives these a great natural sweetness and the cornmeal makes for an awesome texture. Just as it says in the book, they have a “little crunch and a wonderful mouthfeel”. These just feel like a perfect summer pancake. Light, bright, fruity, with just a touch of lemon.

P.S. – I think I’m starting to realize that I actually do like pancakes when they are thin, I just really dislike big fluffy doughy ones.

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I did make a few minor substitutions like I do:
– I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/4 cup chickpea flour in place of the all purpose flour. The batter also ended up really runny, so I ended up adding another 1/4 cup whole wheat flour.
– Most of the recipes in Veganomicon call for a specific type of nondairy milk. This one called for soy, but I used unsweetened almond milk.
– I replaced the canola oil with melted coconut oil.

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I think the only thing I would change next time is to drop the blueberries into the individual pancakes, instead of mixing them with the batter. The batter is quite runny (which makes for nice thin pancakes), so the blueberries just end up on the bottom and it was difficult to try and get a good amount in each pancake.

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Veggie Burgers Every Which Way: Baked Falafel Burgers

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Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #9

In my quest to stop buying processed veggie burgers (and other faux meats), I’ve been trying a lot of different veggie burger recipes from the web and different cookbooks. I love having a batch, or two, of veggie burgers in the freezer for those times when I am in need of a quick meal. Put them in a bun or wrap along with some fresh vegetables, or crumble on a salad and you’ve got a near-instant meal! If you follow my What I Ate Wednesday posts you’ve probably seen a lot of different veggie burgers popping up in these ways, including these Baked Falafel Burgers from Lukas Volger’s Veggie Burgers Every Which Way.

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I’ve always loved falafel, but this was actually the first time I’ve made them from scratch. And they were really easy! This is probably the simplest veggie burger recipe I’ve tried so far (everything goes right into the food processor) and one of the best. The hardest part of the recipe is remembering to get the chickpeas soaking the night or morning before.

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I did make a few minor changes to the recipe, just based on what I had on hand. Even with these changes, the recipe still worked perfectly.
– I doubled the recipe, but didn’t double the amount of onion or lemon zest.
– I neglected to measure the chickpeas before I set them soaking, so I just used about 2 cups of soaked chickpeas.
– I forgot to add parsley to my grocery list, so I added spinach for some green. Parsley is a pretty essential ingredient in most falafel and I would definitely add it next time, but the burgers still tasted great without it.
– I didn’t need to add the optional water or chickpea flour.

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I noticed in this recipe that the yield says 4 patties, but in the recipe it says to shape it into 6 patties. I doubled the recipe and ended up with 9 patties.

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Fresh from the oven, with some roasted red pepper hummus and cucumber.

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You May Also Enjoy:
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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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Classic Sesame Sauce, Take Two

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Vegan MoFo 2013 – Post #7

Wondering what happened to the leftover Classic Sesame Sauce from the other day?

This did.

IMG_3664And it was amazing! Maybe even better than the sesame noodle dish the night before. Jem and I were raving about it all evening!

IMG_3658Quinoa. Roasted yams. Sautéed kale, with just a bit of rice wine vinegar. Classic sesame sauce. Sriracha. Yum!

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Can you tell I’m ready for fall?

 

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Also, the next day for lunch I turned all the leftovers into a big salad.

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Romaine lettuce, cucumber, and orange pepper. Warmed leftover quinoa, roasted yams, and kale. Sesame sauce thinned with a bit of water. More yums!