Protein Snacks

I’m not one of those people that is concerned about protein, or the lack thereof in vegan diets.   I’ve read enough nutrition research to feel confident that it is entirely possible meet our protein needs by eating a healthy diet rich in plants.

Green ones.

Crunch, crunch.

If you’re interested in reading an interesting report on protein that dispels some of the “animals only” myth, check out The China Study.  It’s a goodie.

In spite of not being concerned about protein supplementation, I have to admit that I do enjoy a certain protein powder quite immensely.  I’m generally pretty active and have an enormous appetite.  Protein-rich foods really fill me up, and sometimes a gal just wants something other than tempeh or almonds.

Enter Sunwarrior Protein.  It has a great texture (re: is not chalky), and tastes way less processed than other brands.  Besides, whipping up a protein smoothie or snack after a workout makes me feel really tough.

I am woman, hear me slurp.

Or in this case- watch me munch….

…on some homemade protein balls.  These are like protein bars, but are easier to shape and are visually similar to donut holes.  They taste better than donut holes, in my opinion.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.

Protein Snack Balls

  • 1/2 C oats, ground into a flour
  • 3-4 medjool dates
  • 1/4 C almond butter
  • 1/4 C coconut
  • 1/4 C liquid sweetener (I used coconut nectar, but brown rice syrup or other syrups would work as well)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 C Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder

1. Grind your oats in a high speed blender or food processor

2. Process the dates into a paste.  You may need to use a little water to get the dates to break down.

3. Combine the oats, dates and remainder of the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

4. Mix until well combined.  You can also use a food processor instead of a mixing bowl if you want to make it super easy.  When the mixture is well combined, roll into balls and pop them into the fridge or freezer.  They taste great both ways.

I’ve been eating these every day as an after-school snack, and they pack a satisfying punch.

Enjoy!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Papaya Soft Serve

The locavore inside me is about to cringe.

I adore papaya.  I buy 1-2 jumbo’s every week.

I can’t help it- the sweet orange goodness beckons me.

And soon it will beckon you too.

Let me explain.  A little known fact about me is that back in my dairy slinging days, I was obsessed with soft-serve.  Not just any soft-serve, but the kind served at my cousin’s dairy bar on PEI.  I lived without this childhood delight for the past eleven dairy-free years- quite happily.  Dairy tastes gross to me now.  But, I was tickled to discover my first vegan soft-serve last year.  It brought me back to carefree days of melty frozen goodness, only with an added bonus of actually contributing positively to health.  Gena really did change my life when she blogged about making banana soft-serve.

But, recently I’ve taken it to a new level with my beloved papaya.

Papayas have a dense texture, similar to bananas.  I thought there would be no harm in giving them a shot in the old blender to see if they would hold up in true soft-serve form.   Much to my delight, my papaya soft-serve turned out better than I expected.

Dare I say- better than the original banana version?

But, I  couldn’t enjoy this bowl fully until homage was paid to the original vegan soft-serve champ:

Now that’s what I’m talking about.  It rivals the best of ice cream and fro-yo soft-serves out there. Comprised entirely out of frozen and fresh fruit this “dessert” can be eaten anytime.  I chose breakfast.  And it was good.

Here’s whatcha do:

-Put 1-2 cups (I used 2) of frozen papaya in a blender or food processor.  Blend away, until a smooth consistency forms.   You may need to add a splash or two of almond milk.  Serve as is or top with fresh banana slices.

Enjoy, friends!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

I wanted crack- so I made some

Remember these?

Due to new budgetary restraints, I’m trying to avoid them.

But they really are addictive little cracks.

And they do taste so yummy dipped in hummus.

But I simply cannot fund this addiction anymore, at least not on a regular basis.

So I am was trying to avoid them.

And then it dawned on me- when life cuts off the crack supply, it’s not quitting time.  Oh no- it’s time to figure out how to make your own supply!

I turned to an all-powerful source that I knew wouldn’t disappoint- Ricki.  And she hooked me up! Looks like I’m not the only one with this problem.  If you are also suffering from a similar addiction to Mary’s crack, then I encourage you to check out Ricki’s recipe here.  Because it might just be better than the original.

Feast your fiend-like eyes on what just occurred in my kitchen.

I selected the highest quality ingredients.

And blended them up.

I experimented with shapes and sizes to compare.

Thin sticks, thick sticks and squares.

The thin sticks won by a landslide, and were promptly gobbled up by T at a record pace.  In fact, there may have just been a small enormous fight about the sudden disappearance of said sticks.

Word to the wise- never interfere with an addict and her supply.

I digress.

Now that I know how to make Mary’s crack myself, you better believe I’m going to be crunching away on a daily basis.

Want to join me?

Go get your own crack here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

New Blogs and New Friends

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting a fabulous local vegan blogger- Anna from High Heeled Herbivore (HHH).  She writes an entertaining blog related to all things vegan, which includes pics of her dog. I’m already in love, and I’ve only just begun to read.  And, I’ve already bookmarked a load of recipes.  Really, I can’t stop. Go on over and check out the deliciousness for yourself.  I like how you get song selections to compliment each dish.  Brilliant.

Anyway, the lovely HHH was kind enough to purchase and review some ice cream treats from yours truly.  Thanks so much HHH- I can’t wait to read more of your amazing blog!

I’ll leave you with some photos of two other ice cream cakes I made for another customer this weekend:

Chocolate Elvis (Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Banana)

  • Crust= raw chocolate almond brownie
  • Bottom Layer=chocolate icecream
  • Middle= hot fudge with chocolate cookie crumbles
  • Top Layer= peanut butter and banana ice cream, with more cookie crumbs

Vanilla Chai with Caramel

  • Crust=raw vanilla almond chai macaroon
  • Bottom Layer=chai ice cream
  • Top Layer= vanilla ice cream
  • Drizzle= raw vegan caramel

The worst part of making cakes for other people is all those left-over ice cream bits.  Right in time for the Oscars.  Poor me!

I can already predict what I’ll be wearing to the red carpet.  I’ll give you a hint- they’re gray, stretchy and incredibly unflattering in all the wrong ways.

Enjoy the evening everyone. :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Kimchi Fried Rice

I cannot get enough of this:

It’s the best kimchi I’ve ever eaten.  I LOVE kimchi, but it’s hard to find a vegan version since it’s usually/traditionally made with fish paste.  Since I live near Korea Town, my neighbourhood is pretty much an all you can eat kimchi buffet.  The problem- I don’t speak or read Korean at all, so I can never bring myself to indulge since I can’t be confident that I’m buying a fish-free jar.  That is, until I recently discovered the wonderous jar above.  And it’s local!  Gabi, whoever and wherever you are- thank you for realizing that vegans need spicy fermented cabbage too!

God I love this city.

With a jar of Gabi’s in my fridge, I was recently inspired to do something other than plunge my chopsticks in every time I opened the door.  We had two other ingredients that were calling my name- some fresh organic shitake mushrooms from our Food Box and purple rice.  Purple, brown and red- a colour combo dying to be united. So I threw it all together and made some fried rice.  And it was good. Very good. As fried food usually is. Here’s how it went down:

Kimchi Fried Rice (This makes a huge amount)

Ingredients

  • 2 C cooked purple rice
  • 2-3 C mixed chopped veggies of choice (carrot, peppers, snowpeas, zucchini etc…)
  • 1 C green onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 pint fresh shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 3/4 C kimchi
  • 2 C spinach
  • 2 T tamari
  • 1 T sake (or rice wine)
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 T oil (I used coconut oil)

First, chop all your veggies.  Keep the green onion, ginger and garlic separate from the others.  If you don’t already have left-over rice lying around, make sure you fire up the rice cooker at this point.

Um- yes I know that bowl was a little on the snug side.  Don’t judge my bowls.

Look at how cute and adorable the mushrooms were:

Now when everything is chopped, you’ll be tired.  But resist the urge to smother it all in dressing and call it a salad- the end result will be worth all this effort.

Saute the green onion, ginger and garlic in oil until softened.  I kept it steady at a medium heat. Add the remainder of the veggies and tamari, but save the kimchi, rice and sake until later.

Once the veggies have softened, add the kimchi and let the flavours meld for 2 mins or so.  Add the sake at this point to maintain colour and to bring out the flavours.

Finally, add the rice and crank the heat up a few notches.  You want to fry the rice over a higher heat to give this dish a more authentic feel and taste.  Add more tamari if it gets too sticky.  Just before you sense completeness, add the spinach.

When everything looks too good to resist any longer, toss it in a bowl and call it done.

Fried rice is no longer a restaurant-only event. Yum, yum.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

DIY Kale Chips

Kale chips are popping up everywhere these days.  They’re another one of those healthy interpretations of conventional junkfood thingies.  I am not complaining.  I love them!  They are a crunchy, cheesy and satisfying snack.  As an added bonus, they are extremely nutritious.  The two main ingredients are kale and either cashews or sunflower seeds.  It’s literally a salad, in chip form!  If I could turn all food into chips, I would.  Chips rock.

Luckily for me, my extended family has recently taken a liking to them as well.  As such, I thought it was high time I show everyone how to make these goodies at home. Who wants to pay $7.00 for a tiny bag of kale crisps, when you could make 10 times that amount for the same price?  I’ve been promising my mother-in-law this tutorial forever, so here you go Anne!  Enjoy!

DIY Kale Chips

First of all you’ll need a coating for your chips.  I like using either cashews or tahini as a base.  Here is a basic recipe for both:

Cheesy Cashew Base

  • 1 C cashews
  • 1 red pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Tahini Base

  • 1/2 C tahini
  • juice from 1-2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tamari or Braggs
  • pepper to taste
  • water to thin (about 1/4 C)

Change it up by adding different flavour combo’s to the above recipes, like curry powder, jalapeno, fresh herbs, tomato, etc…

Once you’ve got your base, you’re ready to go.

Wash and de-stem about 2 bunches of kale.  I like green curly kale the best. Rip your kale into chip-sized pieces.

Coat your kale in your dressing- the dressing should be thick.  Be sure to massage the dressing onto your kale so that each leaf is smothered.  You want them to be saucy!  I made a cheesy cashew base this time:

Blending away in the best invention of all time- VITAMIX!

Spread your kale chips onto a dehydrator tray, and dehydrate at 115 for as long as it takes to get the chips crispy (usually about 8-12 hours).  If you don’t have a dehydrator,  you’ll need to make friends with a foodie-geek like me and ask them nicely to invite you over for a dehydrator party (they will say yes, because that is a foodie-geeks dream come true).  Alternatively, you could try to dry the chips in an oven.  I have heard it is possible to do this by baking/drying the chips on the lowest temperature possible.  Good luck- it will be worth a risk if it works out.

Check these babies out!

Crispy and guilt-free.  Yum, yum.

Happy kale chip-making!

Posted in Recipes | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lovely Sunday Salad

Lately T and I have decided to keep a more careful eye on our budgeting.  For me this means reducing my impulse food buying and trying to make use of what I already have in the house. I am the queen of giving in to my id- when I have a craving I usually indulge.  We’ve figured out that the random chocolates, protein bars, bottles of kombucha etc… are really adding up.  And we are flat broke, so who do we think we are buying gourmet treats on a daily basis?  Yesterday I spent $3.00 on a bag of apple chips!  And I have apples in the fridge and a dehydrator in the kitchen.  Enough is enough.

In the spirit of working with what is on hand, I decided to piece together a salad for lunch today composed of ingredients I actually had.  In my fridge I found: leftover cooked quinoa, a butternut squash from our food box, oranges and romaine.  Not too shabby.  So I threw it all together- and the result was magnificent!  Here’s what transpired:

First I washed and chopped the romaine, then divided it into 2 bowls:

Next, I sliced 1/2 of a butternut squash into rounds and roasted them in the oven.  I did this without adding herbs and oil, but these would be delicious additions.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

While the squash was roasting, I whipped up an orange sesame dressing- I got the recipe from my newest cookbook obsession, “Appetite for Reduction”.  It was easy-peasy, but a tad too spicy.  I’d reduce the spice next time, by 1/2 tsp.

When the squash was done, I cut it into bite-sized pieces and added it to the quinoa. I poured 1/2 C of the dressing into the bowl and mixed it all up, adding some salt and pepper for seasoning.

Finally, I added a huge scoop of the quinoa and squash mixture  to the bowls of romaine, drizzled a little extra dressing and went looking for a splash of colour for a garnish.  The salad was screaming for some dried cranberries, but I was all out. Instead, I found some pomegranate seeds lurking in the fridge, which really added a nice extra burst of flavour and colour.

It looked gor-ge-ous!  Almost too purdy to eat.  But not quite.  T and I both really loved this.  In fact, T said it was better than our fave Sunday brunch salad from Hibiscus.  I don’t think so T, but it did hold it’s own.

I’m starting to think this whole, using what’s on hand, may end up being much more fun than I originally thought. :)

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment