14 April 2014

Green Creamsicle Smoothie

Sorry for the silence over here you guys.  I've been up to my elbows in the book, but now that the manuscript is finally done (that's right, DONE!) I will have a bit more time to get back to life as usual.  I am SO excited for you all to see it.  It is going to be a thing of true beauty as the lovely and talented Jackie from Vegan Yack Attack will be taking all the photographs!  I know, so awesome.  You'll have to wait a little while yet as its publication date is slated for January 2015, but it will be worth the wait, I promise.  One thing I'm excited to share with you now though is its title: Greens 24/7.  The entire book is dedicated to beautiful, healthy, vibrant green vegetables!

So needless to say, things have been a little green around here lately.  However, I'm not actually sick of greens in the slightest.  They have the power to inspire me to make healthier choices, do more in the day, and be kinder to myself and others.  Sounds a bit fanatic, right?  But truly, the more of them I eat, the better I really feel.  Anyone else with me on this one?


I've been trying to switch up the greens we use in our morning smoothies a bit since they all offer different nutritional profiles.  Take Swiss chard for example:  Did you know that Swiss chard is insanely high in vitamins K? As in you can meet your daily requirement of K in less than a 1/4 cup serving!  It's also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, E, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium and iron too.* 


Swiss chard is not a leafy green I've used in the past for smoothies but after this dreamy creation I will definitely use it more going forward.  This smoothie is thick, cold and creamy with a delicately sweet orange flavour.  To me it's perfectly reminiscent of those frozen creamsicle treats of my youth. 


 

Now all I need is some hot summer weather to go with the creamsicle memories... Only a few more months to wait.
 
Green Creamsicle Smoothie
serves 2

1 banana
1 orange, peeled
3-4 leaves Swiss chard
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
1 tsp chia seeds
4 ice cubes

Add all of the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve.


Do you find greens change the way you think, feel or eat?  
I'm sure I'm not alone on this one!



*source

01 April 2014

Tacos with Kale + Pickled Red Onions

Last week I had the chance to make a quick trip to New York City and had a great time as usual.  It was so nice to spend a few days with my mom and explore the city with Woodrow in tow.  (Although if I don't have to lug a stroller around via the subway ever again I'd be a happy camper.)  Our days were focused around things for Woodrow to enjoy so we made stops at Bryant Park for a carousel ride, visited the library to meet the original Winnie the Pooh toys that inspired the stories, ran around F.A.O. Schwarz and explored the Museum of Natural History - all fun for me too! 

I didn't have quite as heavy a food hit-list as in past trips with Mark, but we still enjoyed some great meals.  Most notably an amazing lunch at Franchia, daily smoothies from Treehaus and an al fresco dinner at a popular Mexican joint that didn't have anything vegan on the menu but was happy to get creative with me.  As I shared on Instagram, I had some yummy tacos filled with mushrooms, pinto beans, kale and pickled onions.  The latter inspired me to recreate my tacos back home with delicious results.


They were really easy to make even though there are a few different components to prepare, including the making of my own quick pickled onions!  I used this pickle recipe as a guide.  I think they're kinda pretty too, don't you agree? 



If you're not keen on raw kale you can give it a quick saute with a drizzle of olive oil, but I promise you, with a little massaging you will love it raw!  But if you don't you can send your leftovers this way.  I'll be happy to polish them off for you. 



Tacos with Tangy Kale & Pickled Red Onions

Makes 6 tacos // Serves 2 

6 corn tortillas
refried pinto beans (recipe follows)
3 leaves kale, stems removed
1 tsp fresh lime juice
pinch sea salt
1 ripe avocado, sliced
pickled red onions (see link above)
tofu crema (recipe follows)

Wash and dry the kale.  Stack the leaves, roll them up tightly and slice into thin ribbons.  Place them in a bowl and pour lime juice and a sprinkle of salt over them.  Using your hands, massage the citrus into the kale for a couple minutes, until the leaves have tenderized.

Gently heat the tortillas in a lightly oiled frying pan.  To assemble, spread 2 tablespoons of beans on each tortilla and top with kale, avocado slices, pickled onions and a drizzle of crema.  Eat them and make a big, delicious mess. 

Refried Pinto Beans
(based on my my black bean recipe)
1 14oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 tsp sea salt
2-4 tbsp salsa verde
splash of beer

To make the beans, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion.  Saute for 5 minutes, until onion has softened.  Sprinkle with salt and add the beans and 2 tablespoons of salsa, stirring well.  Simmer for 2-3 minutes, then using the back of a fork, mash the pinto beans.  Add a little beer and more salsa if desired and continue cooking for another 5 minutes over low heat.  If the beans are too thick for your liking, add a little more beer (or water) and if they're too thin keep cooking them until they thicken a little more.

Tofu Crema
1/2 cup sliken tofu
1 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp water + more as needed

Puree all ingredients with a food processor, or what I prefer to use is a hand blender (much easier for a small amount in my opinion).  Add more water a teaspoon at a time until thin enough to suit your taste.


They taste so fresh and light... And dare I say, Spring-like?

24 March 2014

Banana Quinoa Crumb Muffins + A Call for Testers!

Okay party people.  The time has come and I need your help!  I've been scribbling, creating, cooking, revising, eating, revising, cooking, eating (*burp!) and now I need you to do some cooking too.  So if you have a bit of time in the next 6 weeks or so to try out some of my cookbook recipes and provide feedback, holler at your girl.  Actually, don't bother with the hollering - just fill in this form.  It's easier that way and plus you won't lose your voice.

Basically, I'm looking for folks who follow a recipe without straying and who can provide honest feedback (all of it - the good, the bad and the ugly.).  All of the recipes will be vegan, but you needn't be.  Oh, and you'll need to keep the recipes to yourself - sharing the final results is okay (and encouraged!), but we don't want to go blabbing about the recipes before the book is done.  Sound like fun?  Then drop me a line here!  Thanks - you're a peach!


To thank you, I present you with fresh-baked muffins.  They are full of bananas and sweet Canadian maple syrup, they're topped with the most delicious, sugary nutty topping, AND they are packing a little extra protein in their pockets due to the addition of quinoa and chia.


Yes, you heard me.  There's quinoa in these muffins.  Quinoa flakes to be more precise.  Last week I bought a bag of quinoa flakes big enough to feed an army a months worth of hot porridge breakfasts.  The one problem?  I made it as hot porridge and Woodrow crinkled his nose and spat it out.  So I took a bite to show him that it was delicious and totally edible.  And then I crinkled my nose and spat it out too.  It is so far from delicious - it is very bitter and the quinoa flavour is way too powerful for me.  (And this comes from a girl who LOVES quinoa.)  So, I'm going to have to get creative.   It would seem as though I've got lots of baking to do to make use of it!



The good news is that these muffins are super yummy.  They're moist and tender and perfect for snacking.  Or breakfast.  Or if you're like me, for both.  For a version free of all refined sugars, simply omit the crumb topping and instead just press the walnuts right into the tops of the batter.  (That's what I did for Woodrow's muffins.)  Here's how to make them:

Banana Quinoa Crumb Muffins

makes 8

1 tbsp ground chia
3 tbsp water
2 small, ripe bananas
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt

For the topping combine the following ingredients in a bowl and mix with your fingers until "sandy":
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil (solid)
1 tbsp whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350f.  Mix chia meal and water and set it aside to gel while you prepare the rest of the batter.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, quinoa flakes, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In another bowl, mash the bananas.  Mix in the maple syrup, vanilla and chia gel.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed.  Spoon into lined muffin tins and top with crumble.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.


Have you tried quinoa flakes?  What did you think of them?  If you have any great ideas as to how to use them, please share!


20 March 2014

FIND MOMO Review

Wow, thank you all so, so much for your words of support & celebration that you shared with me when I announced my book news earlier this week.  Each and every comment made me smile a giant, goofy smile, so thank you.
You (yes you) are the bomb.

Okay, but now there's another book that I need to gush about.
I have a new favourite book and it's not even a cookbook!  (Side note: This rarely happens.)


My friend Andrew has just released his book and I am so happy to be telling you about it.  The premise is pretty simple: Momo, a charmingly sweet border collie "hides" and Andrew photographs it.  Andrew has been posting photos of Momo hiding in plain sight via Instagram for many moons now and it's taken off like crazy.  Momo is kinda a big deal now and they've gained a worldwide following.  And rightfully so!  Andrew's got such a good eye for the perfect shot and the book is gorgeous with bright, bold photographs and of course each page is a new challenge of finding Momo's ridiculously adorable mug.  Plus it's a sweet little throw back to Where's Waldo too!


We've been enjoying a daily read (or seven) of Find Momo since it landed on our doorstep and it even made the trip to Mexcio with us.  Woodrow is in love with it too and is surprisingly quick at finding Momo in the pictures.  (And if you get stumped, there's even an answer key in the back, which also sites the locations of each shot.)  Many of the photographs were taken in and around Sudbury which makes it extra fun to spot places I know.

It's such a joyful book - really it's hard to not smile when flipping through it.  This is a book for you, it's a book for your kids, it's a big book of happy.




Did you find Momo?  Are you smiling yet?  For more fun you can follow Andrew and Momo's antics on instagram, twitter, tumbler and facebook.

And even better - check out the dates for their North Amerian book tour stops for a chance to meet them and say hello!


17 March 2014

Roasted Broccoli & Hemp "Parmesan" and BIG News

Oven roasted broccoli is on of my favourite ways to enjoy the green veggie, and enjoy this batch I sure did.   I remember the first time I ever tried roasting it, it was about 9 years ago now.  Mark and I were living in Vancouver at the time and I had been invited to a dinner party with a bunch of people I didn't know.  It was a weeknight affair and I had little time to prepare anything with my work schedule, but I had a bunch of broccoli in the fridge.  So I tossed it in a little oil, popped it in the oven and I brought roasted broccoli as my dinner contribution.  It wasn't fancy and it wasn't showy, but it was really delicious!  It was truly a game-changer to find out how good green veggies are once drizzled with just a bit of olive oil, seasoned lightly with sea salt and roasted.  (Kind of like the first time I tried roasted brussel sprouts - talk about an "Ah-ha moment"!)  I am such a veggie nerd.



So for today I thought I'd share this scrumptious green dish with you, since it is St. Patrick's Day after all.  But really and truly, for as much as I love this broccoli, what I really am excited about sharing with you is what went on top.  This nut-free hemp parmesan is out of this world good.  I've been sprinkling it on everything.  Salads, soups, pasta, toast... Seriously, this stuff is good on everything.  The first batch is already gone and we're in need of another pronto.  (I know what I'll be doing as soon as I have 5 spare minutes!) 


Oh right and there was something else I wanted to tell you about too... My BIG news I teased you with in the post title!  I haven't been posting as much as I'd like to here lately, but that's because in addition to all of the wonderful things in my life that keep me busy... I've been working on a cookbook!  Eeeek!

This is something that's been in the works for many months now, but I've kept pretty quiet on it, just in case I woke up at some point and realized I had dreamt it all.  But it's the real thing and I am still giddy to think about it every day.  And I am thrilled to say that my book will be published in North America by The Experiment, the publishers of many a great vegan cookbook (Vedge, Forks Over Knives and even Kristy's upcoming book).   I'll share more about it through the process, but there you have it - My big news!  Isn't that exciting?  I hope you think so too.  I also am going to need some help in the coming months with recipe testing, so stay tuned for a call for participation in the coming weeks. 

Okay, but enough about me - on to the cheese! 



Roasted Broccoli & Hemp "Parmesan"
serves 2-4

1 head of broccoli
1/2-1 tbsp olive oil
sea salt

Wash and cut the broccoli into large pieces, reserving the stems for another time.  Pat the broccoli dry or even spin it in a salad spinner.  (If it's too wet it will steam while roasting and it will end up soggy.)  Toss with the olive oil and spread out onto a baking sheet in a single layer.  Sprinkle with a generous pinch of sea salt.  Cook for 30 -35 minutes, flipping after about 20 minutes of cooking.  Serve with a good sprinkling of hemp parmesan cheese.

Hemp Parmesan
makes 2/3 cup

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp hemp hearts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp sea salt

Combine the hemp, nutritional yeast and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine.  Store in a sealed container in the fridge.  Put it on everything.

Recipe shared via Wellness Weekends. 

I don't often subscribe to the whole, eat something green because of the holiday, but this was so delicious I may just make it again.  Will you be noshing on something festively green today?