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.

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.

Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies

I just got home yesterday from a lovely week of camping with the family. It’s really amazing what a road trip, a change of scenery (forest!), and some campfire time can do! Even with the lack of sleep over the past week and a few too many treats, I’ve come back feeling really energized and eager to get some things done I’ve been putting off.

Anyway, all those nights sitting around the campfire watching my family enjoying s’mores (while I happily sipped my tea and munched on Oreos or dark chocolate), reminded me of this recipe for Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies that I made a few months ago. I’ve never really liked marshmallows or s’mores but when I received a bag of Dandies in a package from the Canadian Vegan Food Swap, I was curious to try out some recipes with them, and this is one of the things I came up with.

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With a few tweaks, I used this Dark Chocolate Brownie recipe as the base for my brownies. I knew the addition of chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cookies would mean a lot of sugar, so I wanted to start with a brownie base that was on the healthier side. These ones are quite low in sugar for a brownie, use whole grain flour, and are oil free. Even if you don’t wish to make S’mores Brownies (though really, why wouldn’t you?) I’d still recommend trying this brownie recipe.

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Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies
1 tbsp ground chia seeds (or ground flax)
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup Sucanat (or organic brown sugar)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened nondairy milk
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 cup vegan marshmallows (I used Dandies)
1/2 cup crushed vegan graham crackers or ginger snaps

Preheat your oven to 375°F and lightly grease a 9’x13′ pan.
In a small dish combine the ground chia with the warm water and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, applesauce, milk, vanilla, and vinegar.
In a separate bowl stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and sea salt.
Whisk the chia mixture into the wet ingredients.
Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet, then stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour about 3/4 of the batter into your prepared pan.
Spread the marshmallows out over the top of the batter, then sprinkle on the crushed cookies.
Drop the remaining batter on top of the cookies and marshmallows, one teaspoon at a time.
Place in oven and bake for 16-20 minutes. Cut the brownies into squares before they are fully cool, otherwise it will be difficult to cut through the marshmallow. I cut mine into 18 pieces.

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These brownies are best enjoyed warm, so that the chocolate chips and the marshmallows are a bit gooey. Enjoy!

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These Dark Chocolate S’mores Brownies were a huge hit. The brownies are super chocolatey, dense, and moist, without being too sweet and the toppings sent them over the top. I had a hard time not eating the whole tray in about 2 days, and when I shared with Jem (just so I wouldn’t eat them all) she loved them. Apparently she had “a brownie experience”!

I’ve shared this post with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (6/11/13).

You May Also Enjoy:
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Frosted Blueberry Cake, Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Almond Chia Pudding

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.

Blueberry Blackberry Chia Jam

In case you haven’t noticed yet, I really like using frozen berries and chia seeds to make quick sauces for oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, and desserts.

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Instant Cranberry Sauce, Sugar-Free Blueberry Sauce, Dark Chocolate Cranberry Tart

Once I realized that I could make delicious healthy sauces like this, I knew that it would also be possible to make jam in the same way. It would just have to be a little thicker. I’ve also started seeing some recipes for chia jams spreading through the web.

The other day I was making soup and biscuits for dinner and was upset to find that I was all out of jam (an absolute must for me with home-made biscuits), until I realized it would be the perfect opportunity to try making some of my own. Now I only wish I’d tried it sooner!

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Now this is healthy home-made vegan comfort food! I’ll be posting about the soup (it’s kind of like minestrone) and the biscuits (from The Joy of Vegan Baking) soon.

This jam is super simple to make, as the chia seeds to most of the work for you, and has only a few ingredients. The results won’t taste exactly like store-bought jam, mainly because it will taste a lot more like fruit and a whole lot less like sugar. I don’t know about you, but jam that actually tastes like fruit, sounds like a great idea to me. Your home-made chia jam will also be free of additives, preservatives, and processed sugars and full of antioxidants, omega 3’s, calcium, iron, protein, and lots of fibre. This is guilt-free jam!

Title, Berry Chia Jam

I’ve been devouring this jam all week on biscuits, toast, oatmeal, and even vanilla ice cream. This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of jam, and I had no problem using it up in about four days.

When deciding how much to make, keep in mind that because this jam has no preservatives, additives, or massive amounts of sugar, it will not keep forever like store-bought jam. I don’t know for sure, but I wouldn’t want to leave it any more than one week.

Blueberry Blackberry Chia Jam (Yields 1 cup)
2/3 cup blueberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
2/3 cup blackberries, fresh or defrosted from frozen
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or to taste)

1) Using a blender, food processor, or hand blender, process the blueberries, blackberries, and vanilla just until there are no whole berries left. This took me about 2 seconds with my hand blender, which I’d recommend using if you have one, as it will leave  you with a lot less clean up than a blender or food processor.
2) Stir the chia seeds and sugar into the berry mixture. If you used a food processor or blender you’ll need to transfer the berry mixture into a different container first. You can use the sealable jar or container you’ll be storing your jam in.
3) Make sure the jam is in a sealed container (a mason jar works perfect) and place in the fridge overnight, or at least for a couple of hours. The chia seeds will soak up the liquid, gelatinize, and turn this into a jam-like consistency for you.
4) Keep your chia jam in a sealed container in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Notes:
– I prefer the texture of ground chia seeds in my jam, but whole chia seeds will work as well. As I also prefer the texture of ground chia in things such as smoothies and puddings, I buy whole chia seeds, grind some with my coffee/spice grinder, and keep a small jar of this in my fridge. 
– While I’m sure that other berries or fruit could be substituted for the blueberries and blackberries, keep in mind that different fruits have different levels of moisture, which means you might need a different amount of chia to achieve a jam-like consistency.

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Silver Hills toast with almond butter and Blueberry Blackberry Chia Jam. Yum!

I’ve shared this recipe with Healthy Vegan Friday #37Raw Food Thursdays (4/4/13),  Gluten Free Friday #34Wellness Weekends (Apr4-8/2013), and Meatless Monday A-Z #29 (Create w/ Blueberries.

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