Christmas Recap

It is so hard to believe that Christmas has already come and gone! I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas (or holidays) filled with family, friends, and lots of delicious vegan food!

With a Christmas tree upstairs, I don’t do a tree in my place, but I did do a bit of decorating for the first time. 

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So glad I remembered where I’d tucked away these snowflakes that my late Grandma made years ago! 🙂

I’m officially done one third of my Natural Nutrition program and enjoying a nice break from my studies. Which gave me time to sneak in a couple days of baking before Christmas Day. The week before, I’d made these Peppermint Bark Raw Brownies to share at work.

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Monday, Jem and I had our annual Christmas Baking Day. We like to turn on some Christmas music and make a few different goodies at once, mostly to share with family and friends over the holidays. Since I made the switch to vegan, Jem is lovely enough to let all our choices be vegan. This year we choose to make Thin Mint Cookies, Pumpkin Blondies,  Chocolate Chai Shortbread, and Coconut Sugar Cookies (from Vegan Food Gifts). (The links will take you to the original recipe, but I did make some changes, which I will share with you in later posts.)

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(Please ignore the non-vegan red sprinkles on Jem’s cookies.)

And Christmas Eve I baked a Cranberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (this one, but with fresh cranberries added), and Christmas morning I baked fresh Herb Drop Biscuits. These were my contribution to my family’s Christmas brunch.

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I’m feeling completely spoiled from Christmas! This is all the vegan/cooking/baking-related stuff I was lucky enough to receive.

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Can you detect any themes? Seems as though my family has figured out that if I get kitchen stuff and Lush stuff, I will be a super happy camper!

Not sure if I’ll have another post for you before the end of 2013, so just in case I miss it: have a very Happy New Year! See you in 2014!

P.S. – I am so excited about my new Crockpot, but have never used one before. Does anyone have any favourite or tried-and-true vegan slow-cooker recipes they’d like to share?

Also, I’d love to hear about your favourite moment or favourite gift from this year’s holidays!

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Green Smoothie Challenge Day 2 & WIAW

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

Yesterday was Day 2 of the our Green Smoothie Challenge it was full of lots of good food! Check out what I ate, including two new smoothie recipes!

For breakfast I made a Blueberry Peach Green Smoothie, which is sort of a combination of the Blueberry Vanilla and the Spotted Peach.

My smoothie was followed by a cup of rooibos tea, and later on by some more vanilla rooibos tea.

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Blueberry Peach Green Smoothie
1/2 cup greens puree (or 2 cups packed greens)
1/2 a banana
1/2 cup frozen peaches
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 tbsp hemp protein powder
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
6 drops liquid vanilla stevia

Just put everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

After being out in the damp foggy air without a proper jacket (my own fault) I was way too cold to have something cold for lunch, so I made a quick stir-fry. It included broccoli, bok choy, orange pepper, edamame, garlic, red pepper flakes, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, and a spoonful of leftover Gomae sauce on top.

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Around 2:30, after Jem got home from school and had finished lunch, we went for a 1 hour walk through some trails by our house. I’m loving the cool & sunny fall weather!

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After our walk I had another little portion of Gomae, and some more vanilla rooibos tea.

For dinner we made Hot & Sour Soup. We were really looking forward to trying this one and it definitely lived up to our expectations. I actually said while we were having it that it was the best thing I had eaten in at least 3 days. I’m looking forward to leftovers today!

We did make a few little changes to the soup.
– We used cremini mushrooms instead of shitake mushrooms.
– We used red pepper flakes instead of cayenne powder.
– We used medium-firm tofu instead of extra-firm. It falls apart a little in soup, but we like the softer texture.
– We also left out the scallions but added one diced carrot and a bunch of bok choy. (We added the stalks in with everything else and added the greens in with 4 minutes remaining.)

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It was also really nice how easy this soup was to make. Just throw everything in a pot, bring to a boil, turn down and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Easy peasy.

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After dinner I made some more Greens Puree, this time with one large package of baby spinach, one huge head of romaine lettuce, and 1 1/2 cups water. All set for another few days of smoothies! I’m finding it really handy having this in the fridge for green smoothies. My blender likes it better than the Frozen Greens Cubes, and it does make for a smoother texture.

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Jem and I were craving some sweet snackage so we came up with this minty chocolate smoothie, based on the Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie, to help us get to bedtime. It definitely did the trick. This makes 4 cups, but is a thicker smoothie (more stuff and less liquid) so we split it between us.

Minty Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie (Yields 2 servings)
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 handful fresh mint leaves
1/2 a banana
2/3 cup greens puree (or 2 cups spinach)
2 tbsp hemp protein powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp carob powder
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup water
Vanilla stevia to taste

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I also had a cup of ginger mint tea to warm me up a bit after the smoothie.

Water Intake Today: 12 cups!

As you can tell from today’s log, Jem ate the same thing as me for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and evening snack. She had her Gomae in the mid-morning, rather than the afternoon, along with some citrus mint tea.

Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3

I’ve also shared this post with What I Ate Wednesday #144.

Smoothies!

I love smoothies & shakes! I make smoothies with Vega One, Vega Energizing Smoothie or hemp protein powder for meals, and simpler smoothies & shakes for snacks. They are quick, easy, and portable: perfect for quick breakfast before a workout or meal before work. And the best thing? Infinite possibilities!

Here are a few smoothies that I’ve made in the past couple of weeks.

Mocha Banana Frappe
Frozen banana slices
4 ice cubes
2 tbsp Starbucks Hot Cocoa Powder Mix
Original Coconut Dream (non-dairy milk)
Cold coffee
Jem and I shared this for an afternoon treat! We didn’t intend it to taste like banana, but it was still really good.

Carob Peppermint Green Smoothie
1 handful frozen baby kale
Frozen banana slices
Frozen pineapple chunks
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp ground flax
1/4 tsp peppermint extract
2 tbsp carob powder (or cocoa)
1 serving (30g) hemp protein powder
Unsweetened almond milk

Hemp Protein Powder

Before milk & blending.

Greens + chocolate never makes a pretty smoothie, but tastes great!

LOVE this cup!

Spiced Tropical Smoothie
1 serving (1 scoop) Tropical Vega Energizing Smoothie
Frozen mango, pineapple, & banana
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch cloves
1 tbsp hemp hearts
Unsweetened coconut milk (I mean the stuff in cartons sold for drinking, not the cans)
I really liked the combination of sweet tropical fruits paired with spices. And I love the pretty yellow colour of this one!

Questions
Do you use any protein or meal replacement powders, and what do you think of the ones you’ve tried?

Have you tried Vega?
You should! In addition to the Vega One, and Vega Energizing Smoothie, I also use Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator.

Do you have a favourite smoothie recipe, ingredient, or flavour combination?