strawberry avocado breakfast “ice cream”

13744860155_c3bd294915_b

now i’m going to continue being the canadian i am today by talking about the weather. spring has come finally!! baseball games have been attended, skirts with no tights have been worn, the parka has been put away and fresh strawberries have been eaten! all that’s left is to eat a meal on a patio and it’s official.

to celebrate the arrival of warm temperatures i’m sharing an “ice cream” recipe over at the north coast naturals blog that’s actually a breakfast. that means it’s high in protein, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, quick and easy to make but also completely delicious.

psssst, i’ll let you in on a little secret: this is actually little more than a super thick smoothie, but it’s way more fun to call it ice cream isn’t it??

head on over to the ncn blog for the recipe!

I’m sharing this recipe on Raw Foods Thursdays and Healthy Vegan Friday!

no-bake chocolate cream pie

no-bake chocolate cream pie #vegan #glutenfree #paleo

i couldn’t get this pie out of my head for days. it was pie day (march 14) and the blogosphere was overflowing with various pie recipes. i am not one to usually make pie, but i got it into my head that i needed to make a pie asap. and not some standard apple. no i wanted a decadent chocolate cream pie. no-bake because i couldn’t be bothered to make a pie crust. this cream pie would be creamy, rich and would put all other pies to shame.

the only reason i didn’t make this sooner was because i was afraid of how good it would be. if such a thing existed in the world, would i ever be able to stop eating it? or would my taste buds compel my fork to move bite after bite of chocolate heaven into my mouth until the whole pie was gone?

Continue reading

apple avocado smoothie with Vega

   IMG_1014

Best ornament ever? Possibly.

Wow, how did it get to be Christmas eve already? I still haven’t wrapped a single present (but at least they are all purchased!) and the holiday baking has only just begun. I only just arrived home for the holidays late last night and as a result, all things holiday have been put on hold a little.

Which means, I have not tested A SINGLE recipe I am making for Christmas. So sadly have no holiday recipes to share with you- they will all be shared after holiday is over. Let’s just hope they all work out or I will have no food to eat, and you will have to recipes to drool over. Not an ideal situation for any of us ;)

IMG_3080

Despite the fact that I am horribly behind on all things festive, I have a delicious and grinchy green smoothie for you all. It is grinchy only in colour I swear! I figure with all the sweets and decadent food we are all eating these days, a clean and nourishing smoothie might be just the thing to share. Not exactly the route most bloggers take right now, but hey, I’m not holistic nutritionist for nothing right?

Continue reading

coconut lime layered bars

Yay, I’m so excited to be blogging today, because it’s one of my most favourite events! The Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Hello to new readers and loyal followers alike! Welcome to the veggie nook. This is my little corner of the world where I talk about all things food, nutrition and health while pursuing an education in Holistic Nutrition. I believe healthy eating can be delicious and fun and it is the goal of my blog to show you all just how true that is!

For those of you who don’t know, The Virtual Vegan Potluck is the brain child of Annie over at An Unrefined Vegan. A HUUUUGE shout out to her and of course to Somer and Jason who have helped organize the last two! The VVP is an event where food bloggers from all over the world sign up to bring a vegan dish and then we all share it and post it at the exact same time! You can follow all the dishes like a big chain too, kind of like walking down a buffet line. At the bottom of my post you’ll see links to go to the previous blogger in line and the one after. Definitely visit all the blogs if you can!

IMG_2835

For this potluck, I’m sharing a dessert, my favourite thing to make. I don’t know why I like making desserts so much, maybe it’s because they just feel so special!

The inspiration for this dish came from the Nanaimo bar. A treat usually made around christmas that features chocolate layers with a cream filling, sometimes mint too. But I wanted to “summer-ize” this treat and maybe even take away the chocolate. I know, I know, why on earth would I want to do that??? Well my friends, the result is amazing I assure you!

In this treat I used almonds, coconut flake and coconut oil to form the base, with avocado, coconut oil, banana and lime to form the “cream” filling. The lime tastes so bright next to all the coconut! And the final layer, which would normally be pure chocolate, I decided to go with coconut in it’s finest decadent form- coconut butter. The creaminess is offset by the freshness of the flavours and the colours are just perfect for spring!

Nutrition-wise, this dessert is a powerhouse as well! Tons of fiber, healthy fats and not too much sweetener. This is a satisfying, decadent yet healthful treat that I know you’ll all love!

IMG_2834

Coconut Lime Layered Bars (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

 

 

Ingredients (12 bars)

Base

  • 1 cup coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp sweetener
  • pinch sea salt

Filling

  • 2 small avocados, peeled and pitted
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup raw coconut nectar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 banana, divided- 1/2 of it sliced thinly

Top

  • 1/3 cup coconut butter
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil

Instructions

Add all of the crust ingredients to your food processor, and process until a "dough" forms. Press this into a plastic wrap-lined loaf pan (I used 9×5) and put in the fridge while you make the filling.

Next, add all the filling ingredients except the melted coconut oil and 1/2 the banana to your processor and process until smooth. Next, with the processor running, pour in the melted coconut oil until incorporated. Pour this on top of your base and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the remaining sliced banana on top of this layer, pressing them into the filling to create a flat surface. Put this in the fridge while you prepare the final layer.

Over very low heat, in a small dish melt together the coconut butter and coconut oil until runny then pour over the filling. Put in the fridge to harden for about an hour. It is helpful at this point to take it out and cut it in the pan, then put it back in to continue hardening for a couple hours. When ready to serve use the plastic wrap to remove from the pan.

Store in the fridge or freezer.

IMG_2828

Now make sure you continue on in the potluck!

To visit the dish after mine at The Little Green House, click below.

Go Forward

To visit the dish before mine at Sift, Stir & Savour, click below.

Go Back

Or, go to the BEGINNING :)

Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the potluck!

I'm also sharing these at Raw Foods Thursdays and Wellness Weekends!

miso, sea veggies and an avocado banana nori wrap

Hello chickpeas!

IMG_2315

So sorry I didn’t get a chance to post over the weekend! I ended up being pretty busy and the time I actually had to write the post was spent struggling with my laptop and photo editing software. Things seems to be working all right now, fingers crossed!

Speaking of the weekend, I hope you all had a great one! Mine was spent doing school work, working, but also some much needed relaxing and spending time with some awesome people, you know who you are :)

Did you all see my post Thursday on maple miso tahini spread? If you didn’t head over here to check it out!

Today’s recipe uses that spread to make a delicious and unique wrap that would be great for breakfast, lunch or even a snack! It’s salty, sweet and all kinds of healthy.

But wait, you’re thinking. How can this be salty, sweet and healthy? Well, it’s all thanks to some help from my once of my favourite ingredients, miso and some sea veggies.

Miso is one of the forms of soy no one should be hesitant to include as a part of their diet. As a fermented form of soy, it provides your digestive system with loads of beneficial bacteria, is a complete protein and a good source of vitamin B12, and it helps with digestion by helping your small intestine synthesize and absorb nutrients. It’s packed with antioxidants, and despite it’s high sodium content, research suggests this sodium doesn’t negatively impact your cardiovascular system the way highly processed refined salt does. It’s a whole, unprocessed form of sodium, something our bodies need to function properly!

When choosing a miso remember these things:

    • miso soup in a restaurant can be great, but they often used a highly processed powder to make it, taking away the health benefits. Sad day right?
    • choose organic, non-GMO miso paste. This ensures the soybeans are high quality, free of pesticides and free from the potentially harmful effects of genetically modified foods
    • choose unpasteurized miso- this retains all the living enzymes!
    • there are 2 main varieties- red and white, sweet and more savoury so try them out and see what you like best!

Sea veggies are another very beneficial source of healthy, whole sodium in the diet. They are extremely anti-inflammatory through a substance called fucoidans, are very high in anti-oxidants, are an important source of iodine and other minerals, are a concentrated iron source, can help prevent estrogen-related cancers like breast cancer, as well as being anticoagulant and antiviral! And since they do contain a good source of sodium, they can be used to add a salty flavour to foods without actually adding refined salt.

Some things to think about when purchasing sea veggies:

  • there are so many varieties! Nori, arame, wakame, kombu, dulse, kelp, spirulina, chlorella….try them all! They all have unique flavours and uses
  • some are sold as tiny flakes, making them great condiments- try looking for kelp and dulse granules
  • look for raw, organic sea vegetables, especially nori which is more commonly found roasted. When served sushi in restaurants, unless specified raw, they use roasted which while good, doesn’t retain the complete nutritional profile and thus you don`t reap all the benefits! Upaya Naturals sells great raw nori sheets.

Now I bet you want that recipe don’t you?

The banana and maple in the spread plays off the saltiness of the nori and miso. The avocado adds a great creaminess and I used some Thai purple sticky rice to increase the staying power of this wrap, but feel free to use any grain you like, or none at all! I liked the colour the purple rice added.

IMG_2315 compressed

Banana, Avocado and Rice Nori Miso Roll (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Ingredients (1 roll)

  • 1 raw nori wrap
  • 1 tbsp maple miso tahini spread
  • 1/4 of an avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 a banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup purple rice, cooked, or grain of choice

Instructions

Lay the nori sheet so the lines are parallel to the edge of your counter. About 1 inch from the edge spread the maple miso tahini spread in a line parallel to your counter. Add the rest of the ingredients along that same line. Roll it up, slice and eat!

I'm sharing this recipe on Allergy-Free Wednesdays and Wellness Weekends!!

I hope you all try this wrap out- or really any wrap in nori- it’s such a great alternative to grain based wraps- nothing refined about it, gluten-free and so mineral-rich!

Have a great Monday everyone, hope the week starts out on the right foot!

 

 

raw coconut avocado fries with sweet chilli sauce

IMG_2096

Hello friends!

Wow this week is flying by, I can hardly believe it’s Thursday! This past week has been so full of new things, I feel like I’m stumbling through it, barely aware of what I’m doing!

School has started and I have to say I love it so far! My classes are so interesting and totally right up my alley. And while they’re awesome, they move so fast and cover so much, my head is reeling and I have no idea where I’m going to find the time to study and learn it all! I already have two tests next week, gah! Needless to say between school, work, catching up with old friends and exploring the city, I haven’t been cooking very much, at least nothing interesting. Luckily I have a couple recipes on reserve to share with you all.

This recipe is one I’ve been trying to get right for a while and I’m so pleased I finally got it just right. Not that I minded endless trials of it. Because let’s face it, anything with avocado in it is sure to be good.

IMG_2093

Today I’m going to share with you my raw coconut avocado fries with sweet chilli dipping sauce!

If you’ve never had avocado fries before, you’re in for a treat. They get all crispy on the outside and stay rich and creamy on the inside. These are coated with a coconut-flax “breading” that brings a bit of tropical sweetness to them and dipping them in the sweet chilli sauce adds some heat. These fries with their sweet and heat really pack a flavour punch!

The sauce on it’s own is amazing too. I found myself putting this sauce on everything! Raw zucchini noodles, pasta, rice, raw veggies, steamed veggies, in wraps, you name it! It’s a great alternative to your store bought chilli sauce being unprocessed and completely sugar-free not to mention it’s raw, meaning all those precious food enzymes are preserved.

IMG_2109

this sauce is amazing with sweet potato wedges!

I used a coconut-flax breading on these, which is a great way to get lots of healthy fats in your diet. Omega-3s from the flax, medium-chain triglycerides form the coconut and mono-unsaturated fats from the avocado! Lots of anti-inflammatory bases covered here!

If you don’t have a dehydrator you can definitely try these in your oven on it’s lowest setting, but I wouldn’t recommend using the breading if you are going to bake them at a higher heat. The omega-3s in the flax are very susceptible to high heat, so if you bake them you increase the risk of free radicals forming. Free radicals are nasty little things that act on cancer cells and not in the way we want! So lets all be safe and keep these raw yes?

These would be great as an appetizer or side dish, or you could go really crazy and make them your main meal, I won’t tell anyone ;)

IMG_2093

Raw Coconut Avocado Fries with Sweet Chilli Sauce (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Ingredients (Serves 4)

Avocado Fries

  • 3 small avocados or 2 medium
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • almond milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed

Raw Sweet Chilli Sauce (adapted from this recipe)

  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped sundried tomato
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 a red chilli pepper, with seeds
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15-20 drops stevia (or to taste)

Instructions

Avocado Fries

First slice each avocado into wedges. I got about 4 wedges per each half of a small avocado.

Set up you dipping stations! You want to mix the flax seed and coconut flakes and pour onto a plate, a bowl of almond milk (I didn't measure this but a small one is fine) and a small plate with the coconut flour on top.

Now comes the messy part! It's really helpful here to have a "wet" hand and a "dry hand. First coat each wedge in the coconut flour, the dip into the almond milk, then coat in the flax and coconut mixture until the surface is completely covered. Place on a teflex-lined dehydrator tray and repeat for all remaining wedges.

Dehydrate at 105 F for 5-6 hours, until the outsides are crispy. Serve warm, straight from the dehydrator with the sweet chilli sauce. 

Raw Sweet Chilli Sauce

Blend all ingredients together. Keeps well refrigerated for about a week.

Serve with the avocado fries and enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy this recipe! I’ll see you all tomorrow for Healthy Vegan Friday!

 

I'm sharing this recipe on Slightly-Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy-Free Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Keepin' it Real Thursday, Raw Foods ThursdaysFoodie Friends Friday, Gluten-Free Friday and Wellness Weekend!

 

 

raw chocolate-coated key lime pie and giveaway winner

IMG_1841

Hello chickpeas!

If you are Canadian, I hope you enjoyed the long weekend! I myself was working the whole time, but that’s ok! It was a pretty easy few days at work and I got to make some extra money. Plus we finally got some weather I like! It has been so hot and muggy here that a thunderstorm was more than welcome and then we got a day that was just hot enough with no humidity. Amazing :)

Before I divulge the recipe for my decadent raw dessert I have an announcement to make! The winner of my Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil giveaway! I am happy to announce the winner is…

troptrad giveaway winner

image

loislane1111!!

I will email you soon about the details of receiving your prize! Thanks everyone for entering!

Okay, now we move into the decadent, delicious portion of this post…

IMG_1815

This Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie, was inspired by Ann at An Unrefined Vegan’s Chocolate-Coated Key Lime-Coconut Creme Pie. As soon as I saw her recipe, I bookmarked it and promptly left a comment saying how amazing a recipe it was. That’s when she issued a challenge. Her challenge was for me to come up with a raw version. I accepted that challenge and a few months later, I present the result!

Ann deserves complete credit for the make-up of this recipe. I never would have thought to pair chocolate and key lime, but the pairing is delicious. The crust is a cacao-nut-date crust which is topped by a hard raw chocolate coating. The final layer is an avocado, banana, and coconut oil key lime filling, that is so good, you could just eat it as a pudding and be completely satisfied. But I urge you to make the whole thing. It’s seriously so GOOD.

IMG_1838

What I love about raw desserts is all the healthy fats. Walnuts, avocado and coconut oil all play a starring role in this dessert. You can read all about why I love walnuts and coconut oil here and here. Also, since none of the ingredients are exposed to heat, all the healthy fats, vitamins and enzymes are maintained! The addition of avocado is pretty great too- gives the pie a lovely green colour!

This pie also uses all-natural sweeteners. The crust uses dates, the chocolate coating uses stevia and the filling uses banana and stevia to create a dessert you can feel good about eating. Not to mention that key limes are amazing as well! Citrus fruits, while being acidic, have an alkalizing effect on your body which acts to reduce inflammation. Topped with some coconut flakes and cacao nibs, not a bad dessert eh? ;)

IMG_1840

Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-Free, Raw)

This fancy dessert is so easy to make! Raw nuts and dates form the base of the crust and avocados, bananas and coconut oil create a creamy filling. The flavours of lime and chocolate create a fun spin on this tropical dessert that will have you going back for more!

Makes one 8-inch pie. Adapted from An Unrefined Vegan

Crust

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup dates
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt

Chocolate Coating

Filling

  • 1 1/2 large avocados, peeled, cored
  • 1 1/2 small bananas, peeled
  • 1/4 cup key lime juice
  • 1 tbsp key lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 drops vanilla stevia, or to taste (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

Process the nuts in a food processor until finely ground. Then add the dates, cacao powder and salt until the dates are broken down and the mixture sticks together. Press the mixture into a greased 8-inch spring-form pan and put into the fridge while you make the chocolate coating.

Mix your ingredients together for the raw chocolate then spread onto the crust, getting right to the edges and getting it as even as possible. Put in the fridge to harden while you make the filling.

Add all the filling ingredients except the coconut oil into a food processor and process until smooth. Melt the coconut oil and while the food processor is running, pour it in and process until well incorporated. Pour into the pan and spread evenly over top.  Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours until firm (I did it overnight). If you are garnishing it with coconut flakes (I highly suggest it- makes it look fancy!), take the pie out after about an hour and sprinkle them on, then place back in the fridge to continue firming.

When ready to serve, garnish with cacao nibs if desired. Get ready to be transported to tropical bliss :)

I am submitting this recipe to Fat Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent TuesdaysAllergy-Free WednesdaysWellness Weekends, Foodie Friday, Foodie Friends Friday, Gluten Free Friday, Allergy Fiendly FridayKeepin' it Real Thursday and Best Recipes of 2012!

Now before I go, I have a quick announcement from a fellow blogger Heather at Sweetly Raw. Heather is hosting a Vegan Ice Cream Sundae Challenge. She is offering 2 amazing prize packages for the winners who create a stellar vegan sundae. You don’t need to make it raw, nor does it need to use an ice cream maker! For full information visit her page and get your entry in! Contest is open until next Monday, August 13 at midnight so you still have plenty of time to get creative.

How you all have a great day!

avocado, lime and jalapeno dressing & potato salad

IMG_1117

Sometimes the best recipes just happen accidentally. A random stroke of inspiration takes you somewhere you weren’t expecting. That is how I was lead down the road to recreating one of my favourite vegan dishes of all time.

IMG_2578

When I lived in Dublin, I worked both around the corner and then across the street from the most popular vegetarian restaurant in the city. Cornucopia. This was one of the first restaurants I ate at upon arriving to the city having read fantastic reviews. At first, I ordered the biggest, fanciest dishes and desserts on the menu- I wasn’t worried about my spending at first and thought I could afford to be lavish. But then after a couple weeks with hostel fees, security deposits and immigration payments- I was feeling the strain. I started venturing to other areas of Cornucopia’s menu. They had a fantastic lunch deal where for only 7 euro you could get a bowl of soup, 2 salads, bread and hummus- a huuuuge feast to say the least. And the salads they served up were absolutely gorgeous. They rotated through them each day but one they had consistently was a vegan potato salad. And OH MY GOD it was amazing- so creamy with whole hazelnuts scattered throughout. It was rich and sinful tasting and I loved it. I would end up gorging on that salad more times than I could count! When I moved back home I missed that salad and regretted not eating it more ;)

Fast forward to today! On my last grocery shopping venture I happened upon a new salad dressing – an avocado, lime, jalapeno dressing. It sounded perfect for summer, but was loaded with artificial flavourings and soy bean oil (GMOs!) so I snapped a picture of it with my phone so I wouldn’t forget.

When I ended up whipping up was, I can only assume, better than the store-bought dressing ;) It was thick, creamy and tangy thanks to the lime and jalapeno. I scoured the fridge looking for something to pile this on- and I found leftover roasted potatoes in the fridge.

The combination was love at first bite.

It transported me back to Cornucopia, the live music, the cozy atmosphere, their killer mixed berry oat bars and warming soups. I knew that with just a few tweaks I could enjoy my favourite salad once again. And here is this salad for you to all enjoy :)

The sauce recipe makes a little more than you need for the salad, so use the rest in a wrap or sandwich. It goes really well with tempeh!

IMG_1122

Potato Salad with Avocado Lime & Jalapeno Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

This salad is a lovely tangy potato salad with lots of texture from the hazelnuts. The peppery arugula and crunch of the hazelnuts contrast lovely with the tangy and creamy avocado dressing. Great for a picnic or potluck, or just for a summer’s lunch.

Serves 4.

  • ~1lb baby potatoes, halved
  • 1/2 a red onion, cut into 4 wedges and separated
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • heaping 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 recipe of Avocado, Lime & Jalapeno Dressing (recipe below)

Preheat your oven to 425F. Combine the first 7 ingredients in a large bowl so all the potatoes and onions are completely coated in the mixture. Transfer for a greased roasting pan (I used coconut oil) and roast the potatoes, uncovered, for 30 min or until easily pierced with a fork. When they’re done, set them aside to cool while you assemble the other ingredients.

Toss all ingredients in a bowl with the Avocado, Lime and Jalapeno Dressing and chill in the fridge for at least 30 min before serving. Serve cold for the best flavour!

IMG_1107

Avocado, Lime & Jalapeno Dressing (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Slightly spicy, tangy and creamy this dressing would be lovely served with a grain and veggies, spread on a wrap or tossed into a salad.

Makes ~ 3/4 cup.

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 a jalapeno, seeded
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp of water, for blending

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add more water if needed to help it blend. Store in the fridge.

Hope you all enjoy the salad recipe and are having a lovely weekend!

 

I’m sharing this recipe at the Chillin’ & Grillin Backyard BBQ Event!

strawberry basil smoothie and strawberry avocado salad

Could anything be more summery than strawberries? And I’m not talking those sad strawberries that are languishing in the supermarket over winter….I’m talking about the juicy, red and incredibly sweet strawberries that start hitting the shelves in May/June that are so tasty, it’s like eating candy- juicy, fresh, healthy candy! I swear I could eat an entire pint of strawberries everyday and never get sick of them- make that 2 pints a day- I would put them in/on everything if I could!

Strawberry

And lately I feel like I have. Most of my breakfasts, snack and desserts have featured this lovely fruit and even a couple lunches! Probably one of the greatest things about strawberries is that they pair incredibly well with both sweet and savoury flavours- they go just as well with arugula, herbs, vinegar and pepper as they do with chocolate, cream and banana. And that was my mission with this post- to celebrate the strawberry for all it’s strengths!

Not only are strawberries super tasty, they also boast some serious nutritional power!

image

Source: WH Foods

Check out all those vitamins and nutrients in only 46 calories!

In addition to all those vitamins, strawberries are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that play a role in the prevention of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, even other inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease and arthritis. Inflammation plays a role in pretty much every illness and malady that plagues us, so eating more anti-inflammatory foods can only be a good thing!

Now that you know why you should eat strawberries, here’s a few recipes that let this wonderful berry shine!

First up: Strawberry Basil Smoothie!

IMG_0990

This smoothie was inspired by Farmers Market Vegan’s Blueberry Basil Smoothie. As soon as she posted it I knew I had to test out some herbs in my smoothies. However, I had strawberries on the brain so I adapted her version and it worked out perfectly!

Strawberry Basil Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

This smoothie tastes so fancy and complex! The sweetness of the strawberry is complimented beautifully by the creaminess in the avocado, the freshness of the cucumber and the subtle pepper taste of the basil. As soon as I finished it I wanted to make another! Not really needed though- this smoothie is packed with fibre and healthy fats so it will keep you going till lunch! Then you can make another one ;)

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced before freezing
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/3 of a large cucumber
  • 1/4 of an avocado
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

Blend until smooth!

IMG_0994

Doesn’t that strawberry look like a heart? So fitting!

Next: Strawberry Avocado Salad

I had always known that strawberries, balsamic vinegar and pepper went well together, but I didn’t know just how good the combination could be. Peppery arugula, creamy avocado, crunchy pecans and an almost wine-like flavour from the balsamic vinegar bring out the sweetness and subtle tartness from the strawberries to create a show-stopping salad!

IMG_0976

Strawberry Avocado Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette (Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free, Raw)

Serves 2.

Salad:

  • 1 large handful spinach
  • 1 large handful arugula
  • 1/2 cup heaping sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 an avocado, peeled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below) and serve immediately.

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

The key with dressings like this is to blend them! This helps them emulsify and STAY emulsified. I find that if you simply whisk the ingredients they will separate after being stored. So for this dressing I like to pop all the ingredients into a small blender and blend for a few seconds. An immersion blender would work as well! You can just whisk them all together if you prefer. It would be just as delicious.

This dressing makes more than is needed for the salad. Drizzle some over the salad and store the rest in a glass jar in the fridge. It goes well with just about any salad ingredient!

IMG_0977

Need even more strawberry goodness in your life? Try these recipes!

Raw Strawberry Banana Buckwheat Porridge

IMG_0561 gluten free feed

Raw Strawberry Cream Cake

IMG_0739

Or whip up some raw vegan chocolate and dip those strawberries in :)

IMG_35912

I don’t know about you, but now I’m craving strawberries. Excuse me as I go snag one (or 10) from the fridge! See you all tomorrow for What I Ate Wednesday!

I am submitting the smoothie recipe to Allergy Free Wednesday.

post-cleanse wrap-up and an uninspired wiaw

Peas and Crayons

Good Wednesday morning everyone!

Firstly, just want to say a huuuuge THANK YOU to Annie at An Unrefined Vegan and all the other wonderful blogger participants for the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I discovered new blogs and have so man recipes I want to try I just don’t know where I’ll find the time! I’m so glad it was such a success and I already can’t wait until the next one. If you missed the action, check it out here (for my post) or here (for the beginning of the chain).

I have to admit I have been feeling less than stellar the last few days- I feel completely worn out as if I hadn’t slept in days. But I have, so I don’t know what’s happening. In truth it’s been lingering for a couple weeks and exercise has completely fallen to the wayside. I’ve had a couple days where I feel energized, and I took advantage and had a good sweat, but other than that, it’s been low energy and time spent on the couch. I hope this lifts soon because I miss exercising! I also miss feeling inspired, which I haven’t lately. So my eats unfortunately haven’t been super interesting.

Don’t worry though, I have lots of tasty recipes coming up! They were all just created pre-lethargy ;)

I feel I should insert here- I do not think this is the result of my cleanse at all! In fact post-cleanse there is a part of me that feels fantastic…

Post-Cleanse Thoughts

It was such a rewarding, positive and fun experience that left me feeling ready for the warmer months! I don’t feel as weighed down anymore and feel like my digestive system has been given lots of rest resulting in a little less tummy-trouble than usual! And as I discussed before the experiments with other detoxing practices such as dry skin brushing, yoga, getting a full 8 hours sleep, meditation, positive affirmations, deep breathing etc. were all very rewarding and I plan on incorporating those more fully into my daily life. There are quite a few items there that I never mentioned on the blog, but that’s because I want to wait until I have a more solid practice and understanding of them before I share my thoughts! I truly do feel I have come out of the cleanse healthier, detoxified and more positive!

Some changes I noticed:

  • Softer skin– I think this is the result of both the dry skin brushing and an emphasis on healthy fats
  • Stronger nails– I used to have very brittle nails that peeled and that barely grew! Now they are strong I can actually grow them past the slightest little white line :)
  • Fewer breakouts– I tend to have pretty good skin, but I noticed that after the initial outpouring of toxins from my body I got fewer breakouts and those I got healed faster!
  • Increased regularity– I’m sure I don’t been to get too into detail with this, you all get it!
  • A more positive outlook: I worked hard on self-love and gratitude throughout the cleanse and I have definitely noticed increased kindness towards myself and others.
  • Fewer afternoon slumps– since giving up coffee and drastically reducing my intake of caffeine I notice I don’t get that loss of energy in the afternoons
  • Cravings for raw foods– I genuinely crave raw fruits and vegetables now, anything with high water content. While I still crave sweets (didn’t cure myself of that!), I find fruits and much less-sweetened treats satisfy that craving. I relied primarily on stevia and dates throughout my cleanse and I think this is something I’ll continue

Stay tuned for more on my cleanse- I have a post coming up that I think will really show you all just how much I gained!

Jumping back to the last few days, I think my exhaustion is sprouting from somewhere else. And those iron tablets I’ve been taking just aren’t the little energy bullets they once were. Ah well. I will continue to listen to my body, get lots of rest and hopefully emerge from this soon!

And of course, now that my cleanse is over, I am reintroducing foods such as soy and sweeteners. I am trying to eat mostly according to the cleanse principles though because I loved the way I felt eating that way! Still lots of raw foods, not nearly as much soy or sugar and lots of psuedograins, nuts and seeds.  I think I’ve found a way of eating that my body really loves!

So here is this week’s WIAW!

Breakfast

IMG_0670

A blueberry-pomegranate smoothie which followed lemon water!

Snack

IMG_0925

An apple with a raw nut butter I concocted. It’s delish let me tell you…. ;)

Lunch

IMG_0920

This is actually a picture of when I made this up for dinner the night before. I packaged half of it up for leftovers but this photo was nicer. It’s tons of steamed and raw vegetables with an avocado “sauce/spread” that I make up all the time. I spread it on toast, put in on pasta, dip veggies into it. It’s fantastic. I finally got around to measuring the basic ingredients so I could share it with you. Scroll to the bottom to find it!

Snacks

IMG_0924

A terrible looking, but delicious green smoothie! This one has 1/2 a frozen banana, an orange, spinach, raspberries, spirulina, hemp seeds, coconut water, walnut milk, vanilla and ice. Topped with a little blueberry swirl and puffed millet.

IMG_0926

A couple of these coconut butter-covered goji-berry bites. They are pretty good, but not quite blog-worthy.

Dinner

IMG_0927

A snack plate type thing. Chopper red pepper, pickles, sauerkraut, more of the avocado dip and a teff flour tortilla. I bought the tortillas ages ago in Quebec but hadn’t tried them yet. I like them a lot more than brown rice flour ones. These are actually pliable and don’t break when you try and roll them! This was followed by another goji-bite and some tea!

IMG_0910

Avocado “Everything” Spread (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Raw)

I call this an “everything” spread because it’s good on everything! In it’s most basic version (*starred ingredients only) I love it spread on toast (my mom says it reminds her of eggs on toast), but it’s also great as a dip, on veggies, on pasta, etc. Sometimes I like to jazz it up a little by adding the rest of the ingredients. It’s so easy to throw together too and there are so many ways you could vary it!

  • 1 avocado, mashed*
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast*
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice/lime juice/apple cider vinegar, etc.
  • couple pinched red pepper flakes*
  • salt and pepper to taste*

Mix it all up in a bowl and serve! It’s great with fresh herbs tossed in it as well. Feel free to mix up the seasonings to your taste. This is just the most basic way I do it!

**UPDATED to include variations based on my own and others’ ideas!

Possible variations:

  • mustard (dijon, honey, etc.)
  • add a sweetener like dates or agave
  • fresh herbs like dill, parsley or coriander
  • add water or non dairy milk to make a dressing
  • let your imagination run wild! Coconut? Sundried tomatoes?  Go for it!

And that concludes this WIAW. Thanks for Jenn at Peas and Crayons again for hosting!

I’ll just apologize in advance if I blog a little less often while I try and sort out this energy thing. Even writing this post took a huge amount of effort. I’m hoping to keep writing because I love it but I also recognize that I need rest. Thanks in advance for being understanding :)

Have a good rest of the week everyone!