Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep

My sister Jem and I are planning on starting this Green Smoothie Challenge tomorrow and continuing it for at least one week. If you don’t know about this challenge, Somer of the blog Vedged Out created it and shared it earlier this year, then posted about her experience of it every day for a week. The timing didn’t work for me at that point, but I did try some of the recipes, and thought of the challenge earlier this week when Jem suggested to some type of cleanse.

What’s great about this challenge is that, while it focuses on nutrient-dense whole foods, with no grains, nuts, added sugars or oils, animal products, caffeine, or starchy vegetables, it is absolutely not about deprivation. Each day you can have two 4-cup green smoothies, a huge salad, two cups of soup, and up to one cup of hummus with as much raw or steamed vegetables as you like. I haven’t started yet, but I feel like I may not even be able to finish all four meals each day!

You can get the complete details and recipes for the Green Smoothie Challenge here.

Preparation:
On Thursday we went through all the recipes and made a rough grocery list, making sure to include ingredients for the recipes we absolutely have to make. Most of the list was estimates, so we will probably have to do a small shop for some more produce later on.

Today (Saturday), we took a few hours and did a bunch of prep so that we are ready to start first thing tomorrow morning (Sunday). I’ll be going to work early on Sunday, so being prepared ahead of time was key to starting off right.

What We Made Today:

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Cheezy-Smoky-Spicy Vegan Black Bean Soup – I’ve made this soup before and it is great, so we thought it would be a good one to start with.

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Hummus – This is the oil-free recipe from the challenge, and it tastes great!

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Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Tahini Cream Dressing

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We also made a big batch of Greens Puree, to help our non-power blender along with the green smoothies, and ensure we get a smoother textured smoothie. This is essentially the same as what I make for my Frozen Greens Cubes, but we won’t be freezing it because it will all be used up in a few days.

We also prepped a couple bunches of lettuce like this, so we are all ready for salad making.

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All this delicious food is actually making me really excited to start the challenge! Which is good, because it means I’m not fretting too much about all the things I won’t be having for the next week (like coffee, chocolate, and my beloved Silver Hills bread).

Stay tuned! I’ll be posting throughout the week to show and talk to you about the food we are eating, and update you on our progress.

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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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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.

What I Ate Wednesday #129

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a WIAW post actually chronicling my eats over the course of an entire day, but I got smart and took (some) photos yesterday. Here’s what I ate yesterday!

Good thing I had a pretty good supply of leftovers in the fridge, because as a result of recovering from some very recent dental work, not only was I in pain all day (and trying not to move around too much and make the pain worse), super tired, and not up for doing any actual cooking, I was also starving ALL DAY! Fun, fun

Breakfast:
2 pieces Silver Hills Little Big Bread, toasted with Crofter’s Superfruit Spread and Daiya Jack Wedge. Organic red grapes. Coffee with unsweetened almond milk.
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Snack:
An un-pictured home-made Tropical Creamsicle.

Lunch:
A whole wheat wrap with 1/2 an avocado, chickpeas mashed (with balsamic vinegar, italian seasoning, and black pepper), romaine lettuce, and Sriracha.
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Dinner #1
Jem and I were heading to a bridal show (first one!) at 4pm where I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat anything so I had a really early dinner right before we left.
Quinoa, falafel burger patty, cucumber, Sriracha, and lemon tahini sauce (just tahini, lemon juice, and water).
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Dinner #2
I normally try to only have bread once a day, but I was really hungry again when we got home from the bridal show, and this was the quickest and easiest thing I could think of.
2 pieces of Silver Hills Little Big Bread, toasted with almond butter, Crofter’s Superfruit Spread, and 1/2 an apple.
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Snack
Cinnamon Heart tea with unsweetened almond milk and a couple squares of Green & Black’s 70% Dark Chocolate.

I also drank a tonne of water and cold herbal iced tea throughout the day!

You can check out everyone else’s What I Ate Wednesday #129 eats here.

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Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers

Let me just start off by saying that these Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers are my new favourite veggie burgers! I’ve been trying a lot of different recipes lately for vegan burgers, as I really like having some in the freezer for quick meals, and I’m trying not to buy any processed ones full of junk (even though they taste really good). These are absolutely the best ones so far. My sister Jem and her fiancé (both omnivores) have also just finished a batch! We all love that these burgers aren’t trying to taste like meat, they just have a really awesome flavour of their own.

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On a whole wheat bun with roasted garlic hummus, romaine lettuce, and Sriracha.

They are also very simple to make. You basically just mix everything in a bowl, make patties, and bake them. No pre-cooking of individual ingredients or food processor required.

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On a whole wheat wrap with melted Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Wedge, red pepper hummus, green leaf lettuce, and cucumber.

I should also mention that this recipe is based on The Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe for Double Batch Chickpea Cutlets, which are really great as is. A version of the Chickpea Cutlets also appears in Veganomicon.

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Cut up in a salad, with romaine lettuce, cucumber, red pepper, black pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette.

And now, if those photos made you hungry for some Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (they sure did for me), here’s the recipe. Go make some burgers!

Baked Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers (Yields 8 Large Patties)
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
¼ cup hot water
1 16oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup ground flax seeds
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp paprika
¼ cup black olives, roughly chopped
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup water or vegetable broth
¼ cup soy sauce

Notes:
– I buy sun-dried tomatoes in a dry package. Obviously if you have oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes you won’t need to rehydrate them
– Instead of mashing the chickpeas and olive oil in a bowl, you can choose to pulse them in a food processor. I prefer not to dirty the food processor just for this. Just don’t process them for too long, otherwise you’ll end up with hummus.

– For some extra flavour, you can include the water you soaked the tomatoes in, in the 1 cup of water or vegetable broth.
– If you’re not sure what the ‘strings of gluten’ should look like, this photo should help. 

Place the chopped up sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl with the hot water and set aside for at least 10 minutes before using them.
Place the chickpeas and olive oil in a large bowl and mash with a fork or masher just until there are no whole chickpeas left.
Add all of the other ingredients into the bowl with the mashed chickpeas, including the now rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes. Knead everything together for about 3 minutes, or until strings of gluten appear.
Separate the dough into 4 equal(ish) pieces, then divide each piece into 2. You should now have 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a patty. This can easily be done by rolling it into a ball, then flattening and shaping it into a disc between your hands. They should be roughly half an inch thick.
Place the patties on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, flip, and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Enjoy these Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers right away, or let cool and freeze them for later. I usually make veggie burgers specifically for the freezer, because they are awesome for making quick filling meals. The patties can be reheated any way you choose: in a microwave, in a pan, or on the barbecue.

I’ve shared this post with Allergy-Free Wednesdays Week 67, Healthy Vegan Friday #43, and Wellness Weekends.

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Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread, Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw, Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos

Sprouts! – An App Review

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it or not, but way back in November 2012 I won a giveaway on The Rebel Grrrl Kitchen for a lovely little iPhone app called Sprouts. This app was created by Shae (The Vedge) to help all us sprouting novices grow delicious, healthy sprouts all on our own (kind of).

While I’ve known about sprouting for quite awhile, I never actually tried it until I had this app. I’d read instructions, and heard that it was easy, but the whole process seemed daunting, so I never got around to trying it. Now I wish I’d started doing it sooner!

So how does it work?
You just choose a sprout from the list of 31 options, click ‘Start Sprouting’, follow the instructions for soaking, and Sprouts will remind you when it is time to drain and rinse, rinse twice a day, and harvest. You can then view all of your current sprouts in the ‘My Sprouts’ section.

There is also a very helpful ‘Walkthrough’ available in the ‘Settings’ section to show you how to begin using the app.

My Experience
So far I’ve sprouted chickpeas once, mung beans three times, and red lentils twice. The red lentils are my favourite so far! All these sprouts have been a great addition to salads, wraps, quesadillas, and stir-frys. I also ate a lot of the lentil sprouts all on their own, with just a bit of seasoning. Yum!

Collage, Sprouts Chickpea

Collage, Sprouts Mung

Collage, Sprouts Lentil

My Thoughts
On the whole, I found Sprouts to be a great basic guide and helper for sprouting. It has successfully guided me through the sprouting process multiple times. It is very easy to use. I also absolutely love the look of the app. The greens and browns combined with a wood-look background seem just perfect. I will definitely continue to use this Sprouts.

I do have some suggestions though, on some small changes that could make the app even better than it already is.

It would be very helpful if Sprouts included a list of the supplies needed to sprout. When I started using the app, I already knew, from other sources that you could use a mason jar with cheesecloth over the top, so that is what I used. However, not everyone knows this, and it would be very helpful for beginners if this information was provided within the app.

Another small change that would be helpful is to make the yield (amount of sprouts you end up with) more easily available within the app. It does say in the walkthrough that the amounts given are for a 2 cup yield, but it doesn’t say this anywhere else in the app, so I actually forgot it was even given. Without the yield amount I was a little confused when starting, as to how much I actually wanted to sprout, and what size jar I would need. This would also be very helpful if you are planning to use your sprouts in a recipe and need a specific amount. It would be really nice if the yield was included in the sprout pages, rather than just in the walkthrough.

The last thing that I feel could really improve the app is the ability to check off or confirm when you have completed the action (rinsing, etc) that the app reminds you to do. While the reminders are very helpful, I found that it was not always possible to rinse my sprouts exactly when it reminded my too. There were a couple of times when I was at work when I was reminded to rinse my sprouts, and then by the time I got home a couple hours later, I completely forgot to do it. If it was possible to confirm that you’ve done the action, then the app could possibly remind you more than once, until you confirm.

Bottom Line
On the whole, I really like Sprouts and it will definitely be staying on my phone for future use! If you are a beginner, interested in trying sprouting for the first time, or a sprouting pro who needs help keeping track of multiple sprouts this app will be very useful to you.

Sprouts is available in the iTunes store for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad for $2.99.

Spicy Peanut Vegetable Soup

I’ve seen a lot of recipes, both online and in cookbooks, for various types of peanut soups and stews but I could never decide which one to make. So I made my own. This is my version. This soup has a mild curry flavour, and is super creamy from the peanut butter and coconut milk, without feeling too heavy. This was a spur of the moment soup and I used whatever vegetables I had on hand. I really love the textures of the eggplant and zucchini in this, but please feel free to substitute other vegetables for the bell pepper. Some carrots and peas might be really good. Also, if you would like a spicier soup, just up the curry powder and/or the ground cayenne.

Did I mention I absolutely love the golden yellow colour of this? I really do!

Creamy Peanut Vegetable Soup
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp salt
A 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup finely diced onion
1 tbsp peanut or olive oil
2 small zucchini, diced into 1/2 inch pieces (2 cups)
2 med bell peppers, diced into 1/4 inch pieces (2 cups)
1 398ml can chickpeas
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cayenne
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1 400ml can coconut milk
1/4 cup split red lentils, rinsed and picked through
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Cut up eggplant before prepping the other ingredients. Put it in a colander over a bowl or sink, mixed with 1 tsp of salt. Let this sit while you are prepping the other ingredients (about 20 minutes).

Heat a large pot with oil on medium heat. Add in ginger, garlic, and onion and sauté a few minutes, until onions are softened. Add in all of the spices (coriander, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, curry powder, paprika) and sauté for another minute, stirring frequently. Now add in the zucchini, peppers, and chickpeas. Rinse eggplant thoroughly with water and add to pot. Give everything a good stir.

Now add the broth or water, coconut milk, and lentils. Stir everything together, cover, and increase heat to bring to a boil. Let boil gently for 3 minutes, then reduce to med-low heat.

In a separate bowl, mix until smooth, the peanut butter and a ladle of the hot liquid from the soup. Stir peanut butter mixture back into pot. Cover pot and let simmer on med-low heat for 35-45 minutes, until lentils have disappeared and eggplant is tender. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

I have to tell you, I had absolutely no problem eating this soup 4 days in a row!

This post has been entered Healthy Vegan Fridays hosted by Shelby at Everyday Vegan Girl, Gabby at Veggie Nook, and Carrie at Carrie On Vegan.

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