Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 5

Green Smoothie Challenge: Prep
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 0.5
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 1
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 2
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 3
Green Smoothie Challenge: Day 4

My Day 5 Eats:
For breakfast I made a Blueberry Peach Smoothie. I drank about half of it right away, followed by a cup of hot herbal chai tea with vanilla stevia.

After a 30 minute walk to work I had the other half of my smoothie.

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At 11:30 I had a salad of Lemon Pepper Coleslaw, romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and Balsamic Vinaigrette, alongside some warm Lentil Taco Filling. I also had a cup of herbal tea.

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Around 3pm I had some hummus with cucumber and orange pepper, as well as some steamed green beans with Bragg’s and black pepper.

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At 5pm I walked for another 30 minutes.

Once I was home, I enjoyed a big bowl of Butternut Squash Lentil Soup.

Around 9pm I tried my hand at making a pumpkin pie smoothie. I didn’t quite get it right, but I drank it anyway.

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My water intake for the day: 9 cups.

Jem’s Day 5 Eats:
For breakfast Jem had a smoothie made of 1 cup frozen mixed berries, ½ cup greens puree, ½ cup frozen peaches, ½ a banana, 1 tbsp hemp protein powder, 4 drops vanilla stevia, 1 ¼ cups unsweetened almond milk, and ½ cup water.
At 12 she had 1 cup of Lentil Taco Filling.
At 2 she had some Butternut Squash Lentil Soup.
For dinner she had a stir fry of cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, mushrooms, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.
In the evening she had a Chocolate Covered Blues Smoothie.

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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.

Smoothies of 2013: Part 1

Thanks to my new (to me) KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender that I bought off a friend right around Christmas, and some awesome inspiration in the form of Somer’s Green Smoothie Challenge I’ve managed to restart my smoothie habit after many cold months of going without.

While I haven’t been having a smoothie every day, like I originally planned to do, I think I’ve been doing quite well. Having all of the following smoothies in roughly the past two weeks, is a huge improvement over not having any at all for months! At the moment, mostly due to the cold weather, I haven’t had any interest in having smoothies for breakfast (I simply don’t want anything cold to make my morning colder) but I have found ways of fitting them in during the rest of my day. Smoothies make a great meal when I start work at odd times, and would be starving on my first break if I don’t eat quite close to my start time. On these occasions I like to make my smoothie right before I leave the house and take it with me on my way to work. I’ve also had them a couple of times for lunch while I’m at home, sipping on it while I continue to get things done around the house.

The following smoothies all either yield 2 or 4 cups. For me, 2 cups seems to be the perfect meal size, no matter what kind of smoothie it is (keep in mind I almost always have Vega or hemp protein powder in mine). The 4 cup smoothies can be shared with someone (as I did for the Blueberry Vanilla Almond Smoothie) or can be split between two meals/snacks (as I did for the Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie and the Pumpkin Pie Smoothie). And of course, if you want to drink all 4 cups at once, go ahead!

1) Razzleberry Lemonade Smoothie (Yields 4 cups) [from the Green Smoothie Challenge]
I basically followed the recipe, but switched spinach for kale and used 1 scoop of hemp protein powder in place of the choice of flax, hemp, or chia seeds. I used mostly raspberries, with some blueberries for the frozen berries. Despite my blender having some trouble with the lemon (I think next time I would use the lemon zest and pulp, without the rind) this smoothie was awesome! The addition of lemon made this very different from any of my usual smoothies, and I mean different in a good way.
Collage, Raz Lemon Smoothie

2) Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (Yields 4 cups) [Recipe from Oh She Glows]
I followed Angela’s recipe, except replaced the almond milk with soy milk (just because that’s what I had) and reduced down to 1/2 a frozen banana. I also added 1/2 a serving (1 scoop) of Vega Vanilla Chai Whole Food Health Optimizer for some extra nutrients because I knew the flavours would fit perfectly in with the pumpkin pie flavours.
This smoothie tastes great and is super rich and creamy. It does not taste like it could be a meal, though it easily could be (especially with the addition of Vega), and half of it was a filling meal for me.
This was the first time I’ve tried putting oats in a smoothie, and I’m not so sure whether or not I like the result. I’m sure they contributed to the thick creamy texture, but the smoothie felt a bit too heavy for me (at least compared to my usual smoothies). I don’t think that adding oats to my smoothies is going to become a regular thing.
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3) Blueberry Matcha Green Smoothie (Yields 2 cups)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen banana slices
1/2 cup packed spinach
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp matcha powder
1/3 serving Natural Vega One
1/2 cup unsweetened dairy milk (I used soy)
1.5 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)
1 1/4 cups cold water
If you like matcha than you will like this one! Tastes mostly like matcha, though its not overpowering: you can still taste the blueberries and the vanilla.

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4) Blueberry Vanilla Almond Smoothie (Yields 4 cups)
2 cups frozen blueberries
1/2 cup spinach
1 scoop (1 serving Vega Vanilla Almondilla Energizing Smoothie)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used soy)
2 cups cold water
This one is definitely a keeper! If you like vanilla and almonds (does any one not?) then you will love this! I actually meant to put some banana (maybe 1/2 of one) in this as well, but I forgot.
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5) Vanilla Almond Matcha Smoothie (Yields 2 cups)
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/3 cup frozen mango
1 scoop Vega Vanilla Almondilla Energizing Smoothie
1/2 tsp matcha powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups cold water
(optional) Sweetener to taste
This one is a mix between the previous two. This one tastes more like the vanilla and almond than the matcha, but it is still detectable (and delicious).

6) Tropical Colada Vega Smoothie (Yields 2 cups) [based on the Tropical Colada recipe from the Green Smoothie Challenge]
1 cup packed spinach
Zest and flesh from 1/2 orange
1/2 banana
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 scoop (1 serving) Vega Tropical Tango Energizing Smoothie
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup crushed ice
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
This is similar to smoothies I’ve made in the past using the Vega Tropical Tango Energizing Smoothie, but this one just seems to be on a whole different level. So good! I also love the beautiful green colour of this smoothie! I love green smoothies, but as soon as you add something like berries or chocolate (or berry or chocolate Vega) they can turn some pretty strange and not so pleasant colours. This one is just a pure vibrant green!
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You might have noticed I’ve mentioned Vedged Out‘s Green Smoothie Challenge a lot in this post. I did because I think it is pretty darn awesome! While I haven’t yet followed the actual challenge, I have tried two of the smoothie recipes and one of the salad dressing recipes, and following Somer’s daily posts throughout her week of the challenge provided some serious inspiration to do some healthier eating. The basic recipes and all the information can be found by clicking the 2013 Green Smoothie Challenge link on this page. There are also other recipes and lots of photos in Somer’s 7 daily posts about the challenge.

healthy vegan friday button This post has been submitted to Healthy Vegan Friday #31. If you haven’t checked out Healthy Vegan Friday yet, you really should!

Questions
Like smoothies? What is in your favourite one? 

Are you trying to make any positive changes to your eating habits this year?

Gorilla Food Review

Vegan MoFo 2012 Post #4

A couple of days ago Jem and I ventured into downtown Vancouver for some wandering and a bit of shopping. I knew we would be having lunch out so before we left home I wrote down the addresses of a few vegan and vegan friendly places in the area I’ve been wanting to try (I may have a bookmark category on my computer for keeping track of such places). Except for Japanese food, I don’t eat out often, so it isn’t really a big deal going somewhere that only has a couple of choices for me. However, it is awesome having a sister/friend who while an omnivore, is very open to trying new things and perfectly willing to eat vegan while she’s with me.

We ended up going to Gorilla Food for lunch, and I loved everything about it. Everything there is organic, vegan, and raw, and I was really impressed by the size of their menu. The large menu includes lots of wraps, sandwiches, salads, veggie burgers, pizza, a couple zucchini noodle dishes, and lots of sides. They also have a big selection of fresh juices, smoothies, milkshakes, and desserts. You can find the full menu here. It would take a lot of trips to work through everything I’d like to try.

It is a cozy little place on Richards Street, between West Hastings Street and West Pender Street; right in between Vancouver’s downtown shopping district, Gastown, SFU Harbour Centre, and the Vancouver Convention Centre. The decor was a great mix of bricks, stone, and different woods and I really like the open concept kitchen where you could see everything being put together. The space felt a little small and awkward when there was a line up, but you can take everything to go, and I think that’s how they probably do a lot of their business. Jem and I took our lunch down to the waterfront.

So, what did we eat?

I chose the Main St. Monkey Sandwich on veggie-flax bread. It was stuffed full of olive tapenade, avocado mash-up, zucchini hummus, cucumbers, and sprouts (and is also supposed to have tomatoes on it). And I had the Choco-Berry Gorilla Mylk Shake, which has blueberries, almonds, cacao, bananas, hemp seeds, date, and coconut oil.

I swear there is other stuff under all those sprouts!

This was the first time I’ve ever had raw bread, and it was really good! Totally satisfied my carb craving at the time! This was a really tasty sandwich and I would absolutely order it again. The smoothie was also really good; chocolate, nut, and blueberry goodness!

Jem got a slice of the Pesto Pizza, which had sun-dried tomato sauce, hempseed basil pesto, walnut ‘cheez’ crumble, and a fresh tomato slice. She also got the same smoothie as I did, only hers had strawberries instead of blueberries (you can choose).

Loved the recycled and recyclable containers that everything came in!

We both really enjoyed our lunch, and will definitely be keeping Gorilla Food in mind for when we are in the area and in need of a meal, smoothie, or vegan treat!

I should also mention that Gorilla Food sells a bunch of different raw crackers, granola, and flavoured nuts and seeds, as well as brown paper packages of raw food staples like raw nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I may have picked up a couple of things to send in the next couple Vegan Food Swaps! I also bought the Gorilla Food cookbook, which should come in handy, as in a couple of days I will have a dehydrator for the first time. I haven’t tried anything from the book yet but it looks really great and I’ve noticed that it includes recipes for a tonne of items on their menu.