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.

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.

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)

 

 

Lemon Cranberry Coconut Chia Bars

Collage, Lemon Cranberry Coconut Squares

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Let me just say that unless you absolutely hate lemon, cranberries, or coconut then you need to try these Tropical Lemon Cranberry Coconut Chia Bars from Angela at Oh She Glows.

The lemon and cranberry make for a delicious combination of sweet and tart flavours, and the coconut make these fantastically chewy.

These bars are also quite simple to make, and while probably quite high in calories, they don’t contain anything to really feel guilty about.

The only changes I made to the original recipe was to use whole wheat flour in place of the oat flour, mainly because I was too lazy to take that extra step of processing the oats. I also replaced the pistachios with pumpkin seeds, because I didn’t have any pistachios and I figured pumpkin seeds are the same colour and would still give me the crunch-factor.

I love these Tropical Lemon Cranberry Coconut Chia Bars!

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What I Ate Wednesday #109: Salad Love

For today’s What I Ate Wednesday post I’m going to share with you some delicious salads I’ve eaten in January and February 2013. After a very long time without eating any salads, they are back in my life and I am loving them. I’ve basically just been making sure that I have salad greens of some sort on hand, and then I throw in most of what I have on hand to throw in.

For me, a main event salad (as opposed to a side-dish salad) needs a lot more than raw veggies. It needs hearty vegetables (cooked yam, roasted squash, sautéed mushrooms), grains (quinoa, whole wheat couscous), or vegan protein (lentils, nuts, tofu). And for me, the best way to assure that I’ll happily scarf down the whole big bowl of salad is to include something spicy, balanced with a tangy acidic dressing. As you’ll notice from the descriptions below, my favourite dressing lately has been just a combination of lime or lemon juice and Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil Blend (which I’m gonna write as ‘Vega Oil’ for the rest of this post). Also, when in doubt, avocado will make any and every salad better!

I hope this provides you with some salad-making inspiration! Enjoy!

Collage, Salad Love 1

Left to right:
1) Romaine, spinach, red pepper, and cucumber tossed with lime juice & Vega Oil. Mushrooms and Soyganic Smoked Tofu cooked with leftover marinade from Veganomicon’s Hot Sauce Glazed Tempeh. Plus avocado and black pepper. This was seriously the BEST salad ever! I actually made the exact same salad the next day!
2) Romaine, spinach, cucumber, pickled jalapeño, roasted butternut squash, whole wheat couscous, cranberry orange vinaigrette, and black pepper.
3) Romaine, spinach, orange pepper, and cucumber tossed with lime juice and Vega Oil. Soyganic Smoked Tofu sautéed with soy sauce and Sriracha. Avocado. I swear all that other stuff is under all that avocado and tofu!

Collage, Salad Love 2

Left to right:
4) Lentil Taco Salad 1 – Romaine, cucumber, and red pepper tossed with lime juice and Vega Oil. Lentil Taco Filling*. This was so good I took the exact same salad to work 3 days in a row!
5) Lentil Taco Salad 2 – Romaine, cucumber, and red pepper tossed with lime juice and Vega Oil. Lentil Taco Filling and Daiya Jalapeño Garlic Havarti.
6) Cooked quinoa, red pepper, yellow pepper, a cut up Curried Chickpea Quinoa Burger* (a variation on this one), lime juice, Vega Oil, black pepper.

Collage, Salad Love 3

Left to right:
7) Green leaf lettuce, fresh mint, cucumber, red pepper, a kiwi, lime juice, Vega Oil, 2  warm cut-up Gardein Chipotle Lime Crispy Fingers.
8) Cooked quinoa, cucumber, red pepper, fresh mint, 1 cut-up Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tender, lemon juice, Vega Oil, black pepper.
9) Green leaf lettuce, spring mix, red pepper, lemon juice, Vega Oil, avocado, sliced almonds, Black Pepper Mushrooms*.

*Recipes coming soon.

Follow this link to check out the rest of What I Ate Wednesday #109.

This post has been linked up to Healthy Vegan Friday #31. Go check it out!

healthy vegan friday button

What are your favourite salad toppings and/or your favourite salad dressing?

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Collage, 105-2What I Ate Wednesday #105 – I shared 18 recent meals including some other great salads!

IMG_0509Smoothies of 2013: Part 1 – 6 different smoothie recipes!

IMG_0609Back to Basics: No-Mayo Coleslaw

Back to Basics: No-Mayo Coleslaw

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This may look like a boring bowl of shredded cabbage, but please trust me, it is anything but boring. This is my Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw and it boasts a fantastically bright tangy flavour, with just the right hint of sweetness.

I’ve never really been interested in coleslaw before and until a few months ago had never tried making it. All those creamy mayo-based ones have always kind of grossed me out. When I realized a great way to use up that big hunk of cabbage sitting in the fridge (and get a salad out of the deal while I was seriously low on other salad ingredients) would be to try making coleslaw the last thing I was interested in was a creamy vegan-mayo based recipe. After a bit of searching around through recipes I decided on my dressing ingredients. I know that if I cover any salad with a tangy acidic dressing I will have no problem devouring it, so I followed the same rule with this coleslaw.

I’ve made this coleslaw three more times since that last time and I find it seriously addictive. It makes a great side-dish, or an addition to a wrap or taco. I’ve also enjoyed it as is, topped with some spicy saucy lentils. Also, cabbage is usually super cheap, it lasts almost forever, and you probably all the dressing ingredients in your kitchen. So go make coleslaw!

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Basic No-Mayo Coleslaw
4 cups shredded cabbage (red or green or both)
2 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil (or try Vega Antioxidant Omega Oil Blend)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/8 tsp sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Place all dressing ingredients in a large bowl (large enough for the entire recipe) and whisk until combined. Add cabbage to bowl and toss until dressing covers all of the cabbage. You can enjoy this coleslaw immediately but it will be even better if it sits for a few hours. This will keep in the fridge for a few days. Just stir before eating. Enjoy!

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One of the best things about basic recipes like this one is that they are a great starting point for creating more complicated recipes. You can choose either lemon or lime juice, choose your oil, and even substitute agave for the maple syrup. Also, feel free to substitute part of the cabbage for shredded carrot or broccoli stem (or maybe a pre-packaged coleslaw mix if you’re really short on time and energy). Adding some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes would make for a spicy coleslaw, or adding one of your favourite spices or herbs could make for a tasty variation. Whatever you choose, you should end up with a delicious coleslaw!

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This recipe has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #28 and Meatless Mondays A-Z #31 (Create With Cabbage).

the veggie nookBWV-Round2-April_thumb

Smoked Paprika Lentils

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #17

Smoked Paprika Lentils (Yields 3 1/2 cups)
1 cup French (du Puy) lentils, soaked 8-12 hours then drained and rinsed
2 cup vegetable broth or water
1 tbsp olive oil or 1 tbsp water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried minced onion or 1/2 a medium onion, finely diced*
2 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried thyme or 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt**
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

*If you like onions, you’ll probably want to use fresh onion. But I don’t, so I just keep dried minced onion on hand to add in small amounts to recipes such as this.
**If using store-bought vegetable broth that contains salt, don’t add the sea salt.

Heat the oil or water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until softened.

Add the soaked lentils and vegetable broth to the pan. Raise heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, partly covered, for 15 minutes.

Once lentils are cooked, stir in the paprika, thyme, and salt (if using). Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the lentils have thickened.

Turn off heat completely. Stir in the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and parsley (if using).

Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge. Enjoy!

As you can tell from the fact that these Smoked Paprika Lentils have popped up in a variety of posts in the past few weeks, I enjoyed these lentils in a variety of different ways.

As a topping for a baked yam.

On Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Jalapeno Avocado Sauce.

In a wrap.

These were so good I also ate a few little bowls of them all by themselves! Hows that for a snack?!

I’ve also got an idea in the works of turning this into a stew. Stay tuned.

Nutritional Information for a 1/2 cup serving (using water, dried onion, dried thyme, and no parsley or oil): 76 calories, 13g carbs, 0g fat, 6g protein, 2g sugar, 169mg sodium.

I’ve submitted this recipe to Meatless Mondays A-Z for the week of Lentils.
MMAZ Better With Veggies


Kale-Millet Croquettes with Cheezy Tahini Sauce

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #13

These croquettes are made by forming cooked kale and millet into little cushions, and lightly panfrying or baking them. They are tender with some chewiness from the kale. I flavoured them with garlic, smoked paprika, and red pepper flakes. While these are good on their own, they are best when paired with a creamy brightly flavoured sauce, like my Cheezy Tahini Sauce.

The kale-millet mixture must be fully cooled before you form them into croquettes. If you cook the kale-millet mixture a day in advance, then it will only take about 20 minutes to finish preparing the dish.

Kale-Millet Croquettes (Adapted from Veganomicon‘s Broccoli-Millet Croquettes)
1 tsp olive oil, plus extra for panfrying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup millet
2 1/2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 bunch kale

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 30 seconds then add the red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, sea salt, and millet. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes. Add the water or vegetable broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for 17 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the millet is cooking, prepare the kale. Tear the kale leaves off of the thick centre stems and discard these stems (or clean them and save for veggie broth). Thoroughly wash kale and pat or spin off any excess water. Very finely chop the kale leaves. You can do this by hand, in a few batches or by pulsing in a food processor. Try not to leave any larger pieces as they will cause the croquettes to fall apart.

When millet has cooked for the 17 minutes, uncover the pot and stir in the kale. Cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring often. All or most of the water should be absorbed at this point. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and leave for another 10-15 minutes. It is very important that the millet be well cooked otherwise the croquettes could fall apart. It should be mushy and clumping together.

When millet-kale mixture is well cooked, transfer to a sealable container and allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Seal and move to the fridge to cool the rest of the way, about 45 minutes or overnight.

Once cooled, tightly form the millet into golfball-size balls. Press between your hands to slightly flatten and pat the sides in to form tire-shaped croquettes. You should get about 16 croquettes.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry croquettes in batches, 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until they are lightly browned.

These can also be baked in the oven, and I actually enjoyed them better done that way. Just put the croquettes onto a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 425° for 20-25 minutes. You don’t need to flip them. When baked the whole outside of the croquette gets golden brown and crispy, while the inside stays moist.

Enjoy!

I had mine with roasted yams, and smothered in Cheezy Tahini Sauce. The sweet creaminess of the roasted yams was the perfect complement to this dish. I devoured my dinner in about 2 seconds!

Cheezy Tahini Sauce
1/2 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a blender or small bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Sauce will thicken when refrigerated, but you can bring to room temperature or heat before serving.

This post has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #13 and will be submitted to  Meatless Mondays A-Z for Kale.

the veggie nookBetter With Veggies

Avocado Toast with Balsamic Vinegar

I featured this super simple meal on last week’s What I Ate Wednesday post, but I wanted to share some more information and photos with you. The idea for this came from this Avocado Bruschetta with Balsamic Syrup from TasteFood. Basically, I’d been drooling over this for a while, had a ripe avocado to use, and was too lazy (or starving) to make the balsamic syrup. So I used the same basic ingredients of avocado, bread, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice to very quickly make this yummy Avocado Toast with Balsamic Vinegar.

I’ve got to give a big thank you to Lynda over at TasteFood; I never would have thought of putting avocado and balsamic vinegar together, but it is amazing! I’ve eaten this about 5 times in the past month or so, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and thoroughly enjoyed it every time! I use any variety of Silver Hills bread for this because I think a heartier whole grain bread balances out the richness of the avocado well (plus its usually the only bread I buy), but feel free to choose whatever kind of bread you like.

Avocado Toast with Balsamic Vinegar
1 avocado, ripe but still a bit firm is best
2 pieces bread
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Put bread in a toaster to toast. I prefer it quite browned for this.
Combine balsamic vinegar and lemon juice in a small bowl.
Pit and slice the avocado. I like to slice each half of the avocado while still in the skin, and then scoop out the slices with a large spoon.
When bread is finished toasting, brush one side of each slice generously with the balsamic mixture.
Arrange avocado slices on the brushed sides of the toast.
Brush avocado with more balsamic mixture.
Top with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. I prefer a tiny bit of salt and a lot of pepper.

Enjoy!

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