Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3

Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2

Today is actually Day 5 of our Challenge, but my full school day (which means I’m gone for almost 12 hours) didn’t leave any time for posting.

Things are going pretty good. I’m feeling less hungry and have more energy than I thought I would. I am enjoying the food once I’m eating it, but am having to talk myself into making it.  Still daydreaming about all the other things I’d like to be eating. Like bread and avocado and Granny Smith Apples and coffee and dark chocolate and peanut butter… Only three more days to go!

All recipes below without a link can be found at the Vedged Out Green Smoothie Challenge page.

Day 3 Eats:

Breakfast was a Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie. As usual, I used ½ cup Greens Puree in place of the greens, only ½ a banana, and left out the ice. I also used ½ of a lemon (segmented and some peel). I’ve had this smoothie before, and I love how different it is. The sour berry lemon flavour sure wakes up the tastebuds!

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Once again, I forgot part of my smoothie in the freezer for a little bit and ended up with some lemonade slush. Yum!

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After my smoothie, I had some warm ginger mint herbal tea.

I put together a big salad plate for lunch. It tasted just as good as it looks! It had romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, Balsamic Vinaigrette, artichoke hearts, cucumber, orange pepper, Italian White Beans, and some Lemon Pepper Coleslaw.

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The Lemon Pepper Coleslaw was something I had just come up with. Basically, I was thinking of making my Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw challenge-worthy, and this is what I ended up with. Without any sugar or oil for balance, it is quite sour, but has made a great addition to salads and other things.

Lemon Pepper Coleslaw
3-4 cups shredded cabbage
Juice and zest of one lemon
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp ground black pepper

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Mid-afternoon Jem and I met for a study date at a coffee shop. It was very difficult to talk ourselves into having herbal tea and nothing else! We both ended up with vanilla rooibos tea with steamed soy milk. The milk isn’t really challenge-approved (though it doesn’t actually say anything about it other than it is in some smoothies), but I’m pretty sure it was the only thing coming between us and a sweet caffeinated drink and/or a treat.

When we got home, we each had a plate of mini lettuce wraps (because we had already torn the lettuce). Our lettuce wraps were just red leaf and romaine lettuce with hummus and Lemon Pepper Coleslaw.

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A couple hours later, dinner was leftover Hot & Sour Soup. Still just as good as the day before!

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I made a Berry Vanilla Smoothie (based on the Blueberry Vanilla Smoothie) for an evening snack with ½ cup Greens Puree, 1 cup mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries), ½ cup blueberries, ½ a banana, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp ground flax, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, and 5 drops of vanilla stevia.

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My water today: 7 cups. 

Jem and I ate the same Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie for breakfast, except that she used a whole banana and hemp protein powder instead of flax. During the morning she had ginger mint tea and some hummus with orange pepper, carrot, and cucumber. She didn’t actually have a salad or a second smoothie on this day, but had the same vanilla rooibos tea, lettuce wraps, and Hot & Sour Soup with me.

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 4

I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #66 and Gluten Free Friday #62.

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Lemon Coconut Energy Bites

These lemony little gems were dreamed up out of necessity. I had three lemons in the fridge that needed to be used before I left for Victoria for five days. I had been meaning to try a raw lemon bar recipe with them, but I never got around to it. As lemon bars aren’t really portable I knew I had to save that recipe for another time. So I decided to use most of the same ingredients that would have gone into the lemon bars (lemon juice, coconut, oats, and dates) to make some energy bites for my trip.

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I have to say that I am very happy with how these turned out! Bright lemon flavour, a hint of coconut and nuttiness, and a natural sweetness from the dates and coconut. These lemony little bites of chewy goodness are perfect for travel and on-the-go snacks. Or you may just want to stand by the fridge and scarf a few down! Don’t worry, that’s okay too.

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Collage, lemon bars 1

Collage, lemon bars 2

Lemon Coconut Energy Bites (Yields 32 small squares)
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced/slivered/chopped almonds (raw or blanched)
Zest of 2 lemons
1 1/2 cups pitted dates (20-25 dates)
Juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 cup)
Optional: 1/4 cup vanilla or berry flavoured protein powder (I like Vega One)

Notes:
If your dates aren’t soft then you should let them sit in a bowl of hot/warm water for at least 15 minutes before using.
I prefer to cut these into small squares because they pack easily into storage containers and I can choose the size of my snack better, however you could also make larger bars, or roll the dough into small balls. Totally up to you.
For gluten-free, just make sure your oats and protein powder are gluten-free.
For nut-free, use sunflower seeds or more oats, in place of the almonds.

Add the oats, coconut, almonds, lemon zest, and protein powder (if using) to a large bowl of a food processor and pulse until it is at your desired consistency: less if you like a chewier bar with larger pieces, or more if you’d like a finer texture.
Add the dates and process until they are in small pieces and mixed up with the other ingredients.
Add the lemon juice and process until everything is thoroughly mixed and clumping together. It may be crumbly, but should stick together when pressed.
Line a baking dish with parchment paper. I use a 11″x7″ pan, but the size doesn’t really matter as long as it is at least 8″x8″. Dump the mixture into the lined pan and press down until the top is relatively flat and even. With a sharp knife, cut into small squares or bars. Place the pan in the fridge for at least an hour, then transfer the squares or bars into an airtight container. Store in the fridge or freezer.
The energy bites will soften a bit when at room temperature, but they shouldn’t fall apart. Enjoy!

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I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (8/27/13), Allergy Free Wednesday (8/28/13)Gluten-Free Wednesdays (8/28/13)Raw Food Thursday (8/29/13), Healthy Vegan Friday, Wellness Weekends (8/29-9/2/13), Gluten Free Friday #55.

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!

Frozen Greens Cubes

Love green smoothies or interested in trying them? You need to try these Frozen Greens Cubes!

I recently came across these Frozen Kale Cubes and knew that I had to make something similar. I love putting greens in my smoothies! It’s an easy way to get your greens, and especially when using flavoured protein powders (I like Vega One and Vega Energizing Smoothie) you really can’t taste it at all. However, I find that without the use of a high-powered blender, a lot of the time the greens just don’t get pureed enough. These Frozen Greens Cubes solve that problem beautifully. The spinach and kale are already pureed, so I end up with a much smoother smoothie. I’ve been enjoying my green smoothies a lot more since I made these cubes, and I will be continuing to make them.

Once you make a batch your smoothies will also be faster and easier to make. No more washing green stuff before every smoothie! And you’ll have greens for your smoothies, even when your fridge is looking scarily devoid of green!

Frozen Greens Cubes (Yields 3 1/2 cups Puree)
1 large bunch kale, washed and thick stems removed
1 142g/5oz pack organic baby spinach
1-1 1/2 cups water

Just fill your blender about three-quarters full with the spinach and/or kale and add 1 cup of water. Puree until there is room to add more greens to the blender. If you don’t have a really high-powered blender you will need to stop a few times to push the contents of the blender back down towards the blade. Keep doing this until all the greens are blended smooth. The greens will release liquid and become easier to blend the more they are blended. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water if needed (this will probably depend on your blender).

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Now marvel at the gorgeous green. Pour the greens puree into ice-cube trays and place in the freezer. As you can see, my little ice-cube trays were full so I also filled some silicone muffin liners. Once frozen, you can pop out the cubes and store in a sealed bag in the freezer.

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Add these cubes to all your smoothies! I’ve also added them to a soup and a pasta sauce, both with great results. And, obviously these are pretty customizable so feel free to try your favourite combination of greens. I haven’t tried it yet but I think it could be interesting to use coconut water instead of water.

Enjoy!
As always, I’d love to hear about it if you give these a try!

I’ve shared this post with Wellness Weekends (May2-6), Gluten Free Fridays #38, and Healthy Vegan Fridays #41.

Need any smoothie ideas to add your Frozen Greens Cubes to? Check these out.
Smoothies!
Smoothies of 2013: Part One
Or check out the Smoothies/Drinks category on My Recipe Page.

Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread

Yesterday when I started hearing things about it being National Grilled Cheese Day (in the U.S. I’m assuming) I knew exactly why I’d been craving a grilled cheese for two days, and exactly what I should have for lunch! The only problem: I didn’t have any Daiya on hand. Or hummus. Or avocado. Nothing creamy, rich, and even remotely cheesy! Major problem! Until I realized how quick I could make a cheesy hummus with canned beans and nutritional yeast!

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This Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread is what I came up with. Spread thickly between 2 slices of whole grain bread this made for a great grilled ‘cheese’. Totally satisfied my craving! Plus, it is super quick to throw together, uses ingredients you most likely already have on hand, and unlike any store-bought vegan cheese, is oil free (tahini doesn’t count). This spread is also soy free, and gluten free (as long as your mustard is).

Nacho Cheez White Bean Spread (Yields 2 cups)
1 19 oz can white kidney beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp prepared Dijon mustard
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
Salt & pepper to taste

Just blend together all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or with a hand/stick blender. You may need to add a little more water for it to blend smoothly, but you want the result to be a thick spreadable consistency.

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This spread is nice and cheesy with some smokiness and spiciness. You could definitely add some more spices to round out the ‘nacho’ flavour, but the two spices do the trick if you want to get a quick cheesy fix. And if you don’t have smoked paprika (though you really should) just use regular paprika. You won’t get the smoky flavour, but it should still taste great.

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Obviously you don’t just have to use this spread for grilled cheese. I made a quesadilla with it for lunch today, with just some parsley and pickled jalapeños, and I’ll be using it as a veggie dip for the next couple days.

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I’ve shared this post with Healthy Vegan Friday #38, Gluten Free Fridays #35, and Wellness Weekends (Apr11-15).

You May Also Enjoy:

Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos

Butternut Squash Black Bean Burritos

Smoked Paprika Lentils

Smoked Paprika Lentils

Cheezy Tahini Sauce (On Kale Millet Croquettes)

Cheezy Tahini Sauce (On Kale Millet Croquettes)

 

 

Orange Avocado Scones: MMAZ #28

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MMAZ stands for Meatless Mondays from A-Z. This is a weekly link up hosted by Better With Veggies where everyone links up a recipe featuring the ingredient of the week (it begins with an ingredient starting with the letter A and works through the alphabet).  The first round of MMAZ finished a while ago, and I didn’t end up contributing as much as I’d planned on.

Now, Round 2 has started and I am super excited about the new changes. This time around, each ingredient will be around for 2 weeks. The first week is CREATE week, where we are encouraged to create and share a recipe using the featured ingredient, and the second is COOK week, where you can cook someone else’s recipe using the featured ingredient (maybe one from the Create week) and share your experience. I really think the new Cook week will help a lot more people, including myself to participate more often.

The first ingredient for MMAZ is Avocado. Sadly, I missed the Create link up and just missed the Cook link up, but I did try one of the recipes submitted and wanted to share it with you anyway. Hopefully I can get myself in gear for next week!

These Blood Orange Avocado Scones from Sprint 2 the Table looked delicious and the thought of baking with avocado (probably the only way I’ve never used it) was very intriguing so I decided to give them a try.

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The only minor changes I made to the recipe, just based on what I had on hand, were to sub brown rice flour for half of the almond meal, and to use a regular orange in place of a blood orange.

This is the first time I’ve made gluten-free scones and I really enjoyed the texture and taste that the chickpea, almond, and brown rice flours give. The avocado really does make them “buttery” without affecting the taste at all and there is just enough orange flavour. I also really love the beautiful yellow colour of these scones. I’m pretty sure I will be making these again!

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I’ve shared this post with Gluten Free Fridays #35.

A Vegan Sushi Feast!

Jem and I tried our hands at making sushi for the first time ever, and we ended up with a sushi feast (and a lot of photos)!

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Can you tell Jem’s excited to make some vegan sushi!?

Apparently I was so excited about making vegan sushi that I forgot to record any amounts for our ingredients. Luckily, this wasn’t really intended to be a recipe, so I’ll just share with you what I do know. I cooked 2 cups of short grain brown rice, then added coconut sugar and rice wine vinegar according to someone’s directions.

For our fillings we used avocado, cucumber, asparagus, spicy smoked tofu, and portobello mushrooms. The avocado and cucumber were simply sliced into strips. The asparagus was steamed. For the tofu, we sliced up half a block of Soyganic Smoked Tofu into thin strips and quickly sautéed it with sesame oil, soy sauce, and Sriracha. The mushroom was actually a remainder from my portobello burger dinner the night before. It was grilled on the barbeque with just a little oil and black pepper, then thinly sliced for our sushi.

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How To Roll Sushi
I’m no expert, but I did find it to be surprisingly easy and quick once we got the hang of it. The process is difficult to explain, so I took some step-by-step photos for you. (Big thanks to my lovely hand-model/super-sister Jem!) As you can see, we used plastic wrap in between our sushi mat and the nori, but it probably isn’t necessary unless you want to make inside out rolls.

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Also, it really doesn’t hurt if you stop and take a photo like this. 🙂

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And don’t forget to have a little bowl of water and rice vinegar on hand to wet your fingers, otherwise they’ll look like this. 🙂

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As you can tell from the photos, we ended up with a tonne of sushi! (I ate it for lunch for the next two days.) Basically, we were quite unsure of how much rice or fillings we needed, so we made a lot, and kept making rolls until the rice was all gone. This was actually really nice, because it gave us a chance to do some experimenting with different filling combinations and different amounts of rice. Our package of nori said to use 1 cup of rice for each sheet so this is what we did for the first couple rolls, but they turned out larger than we like. We’ll be using 2/3 to 1/2 cup of rice from now on.

Here’s some of our combinations.

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Avocado/cucumber/asparagus. Tofu/mushroom/cucumber.

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Tofu/avocado/cucumber. Tofu/avocado/cucumber/mushroom/asparagus.

Last step: sit down and enjoy your delicious home-made vegan sushi!

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Making sushi at home can be really fun, and a lot easier than you may think. Also, because you choose the ingredients, it can be a lot healthier than restaurant sushi (especially if you use brown rice and no refined sugar). Plus, you can easily customize it to suit your specific dietary needs.
Gluten-free? Make sure your rice is gluten-free (I love Lundberg and it is) and use gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce.
Soy-free? Just skip the tofu and soy sauce.
Oil-free? Just omit the sesame oil when sautéing the tofu

Enjoy!

I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday (4/9/13), and Allergy Free Wednesdays #62, Healthy Vegan Friday #38, and Gluten Free Fridays #35.