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Carob powder was on sale last week, and I have come to the conclusion that I am infatuated with it. A few years ago, when I first tried carob, I wrote it off as being cocoa’s sad cousin that tasted a bit like dirty socks. Luckily, I’ve reformed my opinion! This drink is really delicious, and a nice alternative to hot cocoa. I think it would be even better with melted carob, though I’ve yet to get my hands on carob chips.

Hot Carob Drink for One (I feel like you should be able to call this a hot carob, like hot cocoa, but that just sounds strange….)

-1 1/4 c. non-dairy milk

-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

-1 1/2 – 2 tbsp. carob powder

-1/2 – 1 tbsp. maple syrup

-pinch/sprinkle of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender (this gets all the lumps out, and makes it frothy!), and then heat and serve! Yum! 🙂

-Eve

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I don’t know about you, but I am quite the chocoholic! Thus when I came across both of these products I knew I had to give them a shot. First up, Silk’s Dark Chocolate Almond Milk:

What I love about this product is that it still has all of the nutritional additives that the plain almond milk (and soymilk) has. I always like it when I can tell myself good reasons to have a delicious treat (50% of your B12, go ahead, have another glass ;)). The fact that it is the almond milk is also really appealing; while I don’t have any real problems with soy, I would rather get my soy from products like tofu, edamame, and tempeh than from soymilk so I love that Silk has made that possible (a lot of the other almond milks don’t have the add-ins that Silk does – that may not be a deal breaker for you but I don’t take supplements so I like knowing that my morning milk substitute provides a good amount of calcium, B12, and vitamin D) and hey, I would never complain about having the additional choice of chocolate! 😀

As for the actual product, it is sweetened, but I didn’t find it overpoweringly so, and that along with the chocolate, brings up the calorie count to over double that of the original TrueAlmond (60kcals in the TrueAlmond and 130kcals in a cup of the Chocolate) so that is something to consider, if you are a calorie minding individual. That being said, they aren’t lying when they call it dark chocolate, so much so that I was happy to mix it half and half with the plain and still have a yummy chocolatey drink. I also took to heating it up and adding a drop of mint extract for a yummy mint hot chocolate experience. Mmmm!

So five gold stars, two thumbs up etc. from me for the Dark Chocolate Silk TrueAlmond. I definitely suggest picking some up if you see it in your store.

Next up, Vega Shake & Go Chocolate Smoothie mix.

This is actually not the kind of product I normally purchase, mostly because of the prohibitive cost. A bag of this is usually betwen $20-$25 around here and it contains ten servings, not exactly the most budget friendly product out there. I purchased this while I was out travelling, unsure of what kind of food I would find, so I figured having something like this that you can just add to water was a nice safeguard against living off of side salads, er iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots for 10 days.

Compared to the other flavours offered (Vanilla, Berry, and Tropical), the chocolate has more calories, but it also has more iron and calcium, two things I am generally concerned about how much I am consuming, and hey, it’s chocolate, so I really need any other reasons to choose it! 😉 The other thing I love about it, and all Vega products, is the impressive ingredients list:

Organic green pea protein, natural flavours, organic coconut palm nectar, flaxseed, hemp protein, organic sprouted brown rice protein, organic green food blend (alfalfa grass, organic kale leaf, organic spinach leaf, organic broccoli sprout, spirulina), xanthan gum, digestive enzyme blend, and dairy-free probiotic blend (L. acidophilus, B. bifidum).

By itself, the mix does have a bit of a ‘healthy’ taste, but nothing too strong (I still though it was yummy mixed into almond milk). I would definitely suggest using it as an add-in to a regular smoothie rather than having it on it’s own, I thought it was quite a tasty addition to a frozen fruit and spinach smoothie.Aside from that, I also found it to be quite sweet, and initially thought it was sweetened with Stevia (which I find sometimes has a bit of an aftertaste) but the ingredients indicate otherwise. I also used it as a chocolate flavouring for the waffles I made in the hotel, stirred it into oatmeal with pears (mmm, chocolate pear oats), and mixed it into almond milk for a healthy hot chocolate; all tasty uses of the product.  

Overall, I would say it is a good product, although perhaps best used as suggested by individuals who aren’t epecting their ‘smoothie’ to taste like Nesquick. Mixed into a full fledged smoothie, I think it would be happily consumed by most and for the ingredients, I would say a good way to sneak greens into the smoothie of an otherwise reluctant greens drinker. 🙂 Really the big negative is the cost. For 10 servings, it doesn’t go far if you are using it regularly, and while the ingredient list is impressive for a packaged product, you can eat your greens fresh for much less than that.

-K

I can’t believe that March is almost over! Spring is here! In celebration of all of that, here is a bunch of green for you! 🙂

First up, a really thick green monster. I made this with frozen spinach so it was nice and thick; I ate it like ice cream, which was a nice change from my usual mode of ingestion. I found this new spinach product that I really like:

 The spinach is segmented into one cup chunks which is really convenient, and I’ve found it’s way cheaper to buy it this way than using up half a $3 bag of fresh spinach in one green smoothie. 

Secondly, zucchini muffins! I have been wanting to try making a completely naturally sweetened muffin. I actually made these for St. Patrick’s day, but the first version didn’t work out quite as nicely as I had hoped. This version turned out better (i.e. cooked all the way through) although there are still some things I would like to tweak I think it didn’t turn out half bad for a sugar-free, fat-free, wheat-free muffin. 

Date Sweetened Zucchini Oat Muffins

1/2 cup dates (I use baking dates, no need to use fancy medjool or anything for this recipe, save those for snacking!)

1/2 cup boiling water

3 tablespoons ground flax seeds

1/2 cup applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon vinegar

15-20 drops stevia (I used vanilla creme flavoured)

1 cup oat flour (I just ground up some oats in the blender to make this)

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups grated zucchini

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease muffin tins, if using.

Combine dates and water in a small bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes or until water has begun to cool and dates are softened (I usually just put them together the night before). Combine dates and water, flax, applesauce, vanilla, vinegar and stevia in food processor and process until smooth. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients (all remaining except zucchini) in a medium-sized bowl. Add in food processor contents and zucchini and stir to combine. Spoon into muffin cups, filling them right up to the top of the muffin cup. Doing that gave me about 11 muffins (lame number I know!).

Place in oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a knife, or toothpick, inserted in the centre of one comes out clean. Be warned that the dates make these muffins bake up quite dark, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are cooked through. Check the middle!!

Enjoy! 🙂

And lastly some pretty green mossy waterfalls for you.

Hopefully it is nice enough where you live for you to get out over the weekend and enjoy the early spring weather! 🙂

-K

Ever since I’ve had a vita mix in my kitchen, virtually every morning has started with big green smoothie. Otherwise, besides grinding my own chickpea and rice flour I haven’t really pushed the vita mix to do anything regular blenders can’t do – which isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate how fast and easy it is to blend things like nut based sauces so perfectly! I definitely wanted to try juicing, and I finally got my hands on some nut milk bags, so I thought I’d record my first attempt!

First, here is what I used:

IMG_2003All chopped up and ready to go – I added 1/2 c. of water to get things moving, but I think I could have used less:

IMG_2006Super pulpy post blending:

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After squeezing it through the nut milk bag, I was left with a bit of pulp:

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…And a big glass of juice!

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Delicious! With a bit of warmth from the ginger, this was a little more pleasant to drink on a fall morning than a cold smoothie. As an aside, a juice this size (2 cups, or 16 oz), costs $6 from one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants, which makes my nut milk bags worthwhile in just a single use! 🙂

-Eve

Vegan Mofo

Again with the Pure Market Express copycatting. This time it was one of their smoothies; chocolate and mint are such an irresistable combination and this was perfect to use up the last of my mint bunch.

Sorry the picture isn’t much of anything special, but I promise you, it really was a tasty drink.

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1 frozen banana

2 cups soymilk (they used brazil nut milk which I imagine would make this even creamier and more decadent, and raw)

1/3-1/2 cup packed mint leaves

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 tablespoon mesquite flour (this was not part of their recipe, but I love the undertones mesquite gives, don’t worry if you don’t have any)

Put all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

-K

Vegan Mofo

Mango mint smoothie

I got some fresh mint for a recipe a bit ago and was met with a bit of sticker shock so after using what I needed for the recipe, I set about making sure I used up every last bit of the pricey green leaves! This was one such creation. A nice thick minty smoothie that I enjoyed for several days in leiu of my usual morning green smoothie.

So, to set about making your own bowl of minty freshness:

1 cup frozen mango chunks

2 cups soymilk

handful of fresh mint leaves (about 10 sprigs)

1 tablespoon hemp seeds (entirely optional, but ups the nutrition and satiety factors significantly)

Dump all ingredients in blender and blend away! I don’t have a super fancy blender so mine still had some small mint bits, you can see them in the picture, but I didn’t find them particularly bothersome. If you want a smoother consistency, up the liquid or cut back on the mango a bit.

Hope you are having a great start to October and enjoying the fruits of Vegan Mofo! I can hardly keep my head above all the fantastic posts!

-K

Hello, blogging world! I’ve taken a looong break from posting – but not from reading! Fortunately, lazy summer blogging seems to be a popular trend, so I don’t feel too guilty!

I know most people are probably in the middle of some hot weather right now, and whether you love it or hate it (me, I’m fine as long as I don’t have to move. Ever. Cold showers are good too.) you’re probably thinking about drinking plenty of fluids. My new favourite thing is to drink iced tea. It’s a great alternative to water – and if you drink it unsweetened, it’s a flavourful drink without all the sugar in juice! I brew up a big pitcher, which usually lasts me a couple of days. Here’s a nice big glass of chilled sencha green tea:
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My current favourite tea to ice is the Taza Passion Tea – buy a box and save yourself the $$ by making a Starbucks drink at home – but with no sugar! Just be sure not to steep it too long, as it gets bitter quite quickly. It reminds me of fruit punch!

If you do dare to get near the oven, make sure you bake yourself something delicious! I admit, I can’t seem to avoid the lure of the stovetop, even on the hottest of days – I’ve certainly made my fair share of curries and roasted vegetables this summer – not great warm weather fare. Call me crazy, but all I can think about is fall temperatures, when I can drink hot chocolate and eat stews and wear sweaters to my heart’s content!

My latest take on the aforementioned baked deliciousness is these Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They are based off of this tasty recipe from the awesome Diet, Dessert, and Dogs blog – but made even healthier by using almond butter and nixing the refined sugar. They’re even gluten free!
IMG_1456Preheat oven to 350F

Combine wet:
-1/4 c. almond butter
-1 tbsp. neutral oil, like grapeseed
-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
-1/4 c. + 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup

Combine dry:
-1/4 c. buckwheat flour
-1/2 tbsp. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
-1/2 tsp. baking soda
-1/2 tsp. baking powder
-pinch salt

-1/4 c. non-dairy chocolate chips

Stir together, add chocolate chips, and plop spoonfuls onto a nonstick or lightly greased cookie sheet. Use the back of the spoon to flatten down the tops a bit, more into thick discs. These spread quite a bit, so space accordingly! Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are firm and browning – the centre should still feel a bit soft, as they firm up as they cool. Makes 5 crispy-crunchy (with slightly chewy centres!) delectable cookies. These are remarkably similar to peanut butter cookies – certainly they do not have an overwhelmingly ‘almond’ flavour like plain almond butter does (to my mind). Wonderful!

I want to use this post to give a shout out to all the other ethical vegans that are out there in the blogging world. Certainly the health and environmental benefits of a plant based diet are swell, but even if that weren’t the case, I would still be a vegan – it’s the right thing to do! As long as I blog, my posts will be full of vegan thoughts, recipes, and tips, and completely devoid of non-vegan food pictures, excuses for omnivores, and statements like ‘diets are such a personal choice’. Sure, I’m not going to force it down your throat, and I go out of my way every day to make sure I am the super friendly ‘surprise’ vegan – the one that breaks every silly stereotype, and then some. But, I am SO into being vegan that I cannot fathom pandering to non-veg family and friends. I know I can’t be alone in feeling like vegan blogs that have pro-omnivore posts (implied or otherwise) are  disappointing and somewhat perplexing. Holla, vegans!

-Eve

Can you tell the weather is heating up? No more slaving over a hot stove/oven (okay, thats a lie, the temperature needs to go up a lot more before I stop using the oven!) to get a meal on the table. This was a nice cool and simple supper, perfect for a leasurely weekend evening.

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Peach Almond Mango Smoothie

This smoothie was concocted after I found out my impulse almond milk purchase was far too sweet for my taste. Perfect for baking and sweet smoothies though! No additional sweeteners required. If your almond milk isn’t that sweet feel free to sweeten to your liking.

2 cups frozen peaches and mango

1 – 1 1/2 cups almond milk

Place in blender and blend. My blender is a little 2 cup machine so this pretty much filled it up and required some stirring in between to ensure everything got blended up smoothly.

 

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Spinach sun-dried tomato Salad

This salad is delicious! Sun-dried tomatoes are a work of culinary genius I tell you. The ones I used for this are packed in a delicious herb oil that really makes the salad. I am strictly a non salad dressing type of person so the oil in this is minimal. Feel free to up the amount if you prefer. This has been on the rotation for a few days now and the first time I forgot the basil leaves, still tasted great so feel free to skip the basil as long as you have a well spiced oil.

2 large handfuls of spinach, washed and torn

2 heaping tablespoons blanced and sliced almonds

1 Tbsp pine nuts

4 sun dried tomatoes, (oil-packed) drained and thinly sliced

4 basil leaves, thinly sliced

1/2- 1 Tbsp reserved oil from sun-dried tomatoes

Place spinach in bowl. Top with almonds, pine nuts, sliced tomatoes and basil leaves. Toss and drizzle with oil.

-K

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

This has been my morning drink for the past few days, nice and warm and seasonally appropriate. I had pumpkin puree needing to be used up and had already made the usuals; pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins, so wanted to try something a little bit different.

The recipe makes approximately 4 cups of nog, enough for two large mugs. I will also warn you that I like my food lightly spiced and not too sweet, so I have included a range of measurements.

Warm Spiced Pumpkin Nog

8 heaping Tablespoons of pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon each of allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom

pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon each of vanilla extract and agave nectar (or to taste)

3 cups soymilk

Heat milk. Thoroughly mix spices, extract and sweetener with pumpkin puree. Add hot milk and stir.

Enjoy!

K