strawberry banana green tea smoothie

Isn’t it strange how you can be wandering through life, totally secure with who you are and where you’re at, then in a single moment it can all come crashing down? Suddenly you are not who you thought you are and the things that you thought, aren’t true. How is it that the world can shift so suddenly and completely?


strawberry banana green tea smoothie #vegan #glutenfree #paleo

Spring has sprung and that means more smoothies. I am such a fan of this blended meal, but in the winter I just can’t stomach the cold, rawness of them. But I’ve missed their convenience, fruity creaminess and all the different superfoods and flavours you can toss in.

So when I was asked to try out Kiss Me Organics matcha, I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it. Smoothies, smoothie and more smoothies. I was pleasantly surprised by this matcha- usually the less expensive ones are bitter and lack the real green tea flavour I love. I can’t say this was the best matcha I ever had. But was it a killer balance of quality and price? Hells yes. My friends, if you are looking for a matcha that is readily available online (on Amazon, in Canada too!) and won’t cost you an arm and a leg, I’ve solved all your problems. Continue reading

raw thin mint green tea ice cream cake

thin mint green tea ice cream cake #raw #paleo #vegan

ice cream cake was always my birthday cake of choice when i was younger. specifically dairy queen ice cream cakes with the vanilla and chocolate layers and in between those there was this fudge cookie layer that was heaven. and even though i hated most icings (at most birthdays i would eat around the sickly sweet, rock hard icings, unlike every other kid who loved it), the icing on those cakes was delicious. i got one for all of my birthdays and it was basically my favourite thing about having a birthday party. 

so with st. patrick’s day coming up, i felt it was finally time to revamp this old favourite into a new healthy treat.

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banana, ab & j cups

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Life is full of tough decisions.

saving or spending? buy or rent?

school or work? exercise or sleep in?

superman or batman?

healthy or indulgent? PB & J or PB & banana?

Good news is, I can help with those last 2. Because I have a treat for you that is not only healthy AND indulgent, but it also combines the 2 greatest sandwiches ever created!

I firmly believe that when it comes to nutrition and taste, one should never have to sacrifice either. The trick is simply knowing how to marry both worlds. Being healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore or depriving. It should be fun and exciting!

Enter in some of my absolutely favourite ingredients that help bridge the gap between health and taste. Natural nut butters and coconut oil.

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Both are packed full of healthy fats so they are nourishing to your body (better skin, higher metabolism, balanced hormones) but also taste rich and decadent. Almond butter is packed with fat soluble vitamins and minerals like calcium, and coconut oil has incredible antimicrobial properties. So you are doing both your body and taste buds a favour by eating them!

I’m really excited about these treats too because they combine 2 sandwiches that whenever I would eat them, make me feel like a kid again. Peanut butter and jam and peanut butter and banana. Both extremely delicious and soul-satisfying. And that’s why I always want them both! So why not combine them? I opted to use almond butter since its a more nutritious option.

These are adapted from my recipe for frozen tahini banana cups which are another awesome variation on this idea. Check them out if you haven’t yet!

Raw, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Paleo, SCD-Friendly and of course Vegan, these are an easy choice. So make them and save your brain power for debating the more important issues in life.

To be or not to be…Oh screw it, I have treats ;)

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Banana, AB & J Cups (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Feel free to use any nut butter you want, or try sunflower seed butter for a nut-free option!

Ingredients (14 mini cups)

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp liquid sweetener
  • pinch salt
  • 1 banana, sliced thinly
  • ~12 or so raspberries, mashed

Instructions

Over low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the almond butter to it so it softens and mix well. Add your sweetener of choice and the pinch of salt and mix.

Line up your muffin cups. Put a spoonful of the almond butter and coconut oil mixture into the bottom of the cups. Put in the fridge to harden.

Once hard, remove and place one small scoop of mashed raspberries and on top, one thin slice of banana. Try and make this as flat as possible. Put another scoop of the almond butter mixture over top so it covers the banana and spreads all the way to the sides of the cups. Put back in the fridge to harden.

Store in the fridge or freezer and take out only right before you're going to eat them. I liked these ones in the fridge, but if you freeze them the banana takes on an almost ice cream-like texture which is delicious too!

I'm sharing this on Allergy-Free Wednesdays

Enjoy and I’ll be back tomorrow with a guest post! Have a great Tuesday :)

 

 

products i love: natural vitality

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There are a lot of supplement companies out there these days. Some great, some not so great. So when a really good product comes my way, I feel the need to tell everyone I know about it. But for some reason, these recommendations never quite make it onto my blog. Which is silly really and I apologize for my negligence in this matter.

Recently I was contacted by Natural Vitality to try out some of their products and I was definitely intrigued. I am not a stranger to the company having used their product Natural Calm before. Not only did I find improved sleep when I used Natural Calm, I actually noticed a reduced frequency and severity in migraines. What I didn’t realize is that they actually have a range of supplements and I get to share some of those with you all today!

Natural Vitality stands out to me as a great supplement company for the following reasons:

  • high quality, organic supplements, proven with research
  • use liquid and water-soluble powder forms to enhance absorption
  • a portion of all earning goes into their Natural Revitalization environmental action initiative, a program that supports organic farming and environmental stewardship
  • a focus on obtaining quality ingredients, from quality production and growing methods

With so many companies out there these days using cheap fillers and difficult to absorb formulations, Natural Vitality is a breath of fresh air!

Now here are the products I got to try:

natural energy

Energy 28 is a natural energy supplement that uses golden chlorella, maca, superfruits and  24 organic fruits and vegetables. It provides energy without using refined sugar and caffeine.

This was a little sweet and a little sour and while they say you can eat it straight from the pack, I found it difficult to get down. BUT when mixed with water to make a “juice” or slipped into a pre-workout smoothie it tasted better and provided quite the boost! I took a pack right before heading to a birthday party and although I was completely exhausted before going, I managed to stay awake until 5 in the morning. Totally unlike me but I was sooo energized! Beware taking at night ;)


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Organic Life Vitamins: This is a liquid vitamin supplement that can be taken as is, or mixed in water or a smoothie. It was named 2013’s Best Multivitamin in Delicious Living magazine which is pretty cool. I liked the flavour of this one better than the Energy 28 and loved the colour- I felt like I was drinking orange juice! It contains aloe, different fruits and veggies and ionized minerals to make a multi-vitamin that delivers a ton of nutrition and surpasses many Daily Recommended Values (which, please, are too low anyway). It’s a great way to kick start the day and I really enjoyed taking it!

While I liked these products, one thing I didn't love is that the Energy 28 and Organic Life Vitamin both contain organic agave nectar as a sweetener. I don’t use a lot of agave as a sweetener these days as I believe there are better options.  However, I don't think a little of it is the worst thing and it wouldn't stop me from using these products. Just keep that in mind when using these!

minerals

Plant-Sourced Minerals in green apple flavour: This supplement provides chelated minerals sourced from a prehistoric plant deposit called Senonian Vegetate, formed approximately 70 million years ago. This vegetate is mineral-rich organic soil derived from plants and naturally protected from mineral depletion. This supplement delivers 70+ trace minerals! While it doesn’t actually tell you what minerals you were getting and what quantity (can you imagine the label on that??) I did notice an improvement in my energy when I took it. The flavour was nice and mild, not too sweet and good mixed in water or added to a smoothie where it was barely noticeable. This one is sweetened with stevia which I liked. 

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Natural Calm in Raspberry-Lemon flavour: a magnesium supplement which is mixed in water. This particular flavour was Raspberry-Lemon but it also comes in Natural. 

Why would we want a magnesium supplement? Magnesium is an mineral critical for so many reactions and processes in the body. One of it’s most famous purposes though, is as the anti-stress mineral! But it can only do this when it is properly balanced with calcium. Too much calcium and magnesium is depleted and relaxation is difficult to do. Natural Calm gives you an ionized (and therefore very absorbable) form of calcium to help balance the ratio helping to reduce things like stress, anxiety, fatigue and headaches. I myself have experienced reduction in these things with regular use. The raspberry-lemon flavour is nice, not too sweet and delicious hot and cold. This one is also sweetened with stevia, while the natural flavour isn't sweetened at all.

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I decided to create my own little “slushie” with this product and I fell in love! This product fizzes when you add it to water, giving my blended drink that token slishie feel. Drank a couple hours before sleep and you will be sleeping like a baby, I promise you. 

I added a banana to the mix for a good dose of potassium, another mineral that promotes relaxation and improves sleep by reducing the number of times you wake up and reduces muscle tension. Water and ice is all that’s left to create this delicious anti-stress and sleep-promoting drink!

“Sweet Dreams” Slushie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Paleo, SCD)

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp Natural Calm (Lemon Raspberry or Natural Flavour)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • a few cubes of ice

Instructions

Put the water in the blender and add the Natural Calm. It will fizz for a bit and let it do so until most of the fizzing is done. Add in the banana and ice and blend. Serve as is or chill in the freezer a little longer to help it get even more slushie! You could always add more ice but that would dilute the flavour.

 

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Overall, this company brings stellar quality supplements that you know are providing significant health benefit. You can feel good about spending your money on these because they not only nourish you, but they also give back in support of sustainable farming practices. I noticed an improvement in my energy levels and overall health while taking them and would definitely recommend them!

Note: While I was provided these product free of charge, I was in no way onbligated to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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Oh and for a quick little shameless self-promotion: if you could all head over to Ethical Ocean and vote for my Raw Chocolate-Coated Key Lime Pie, in the Eat What’s Good Vegan Recipe Contest, that would be swell. You can vote everyday so even if you voted once I would sure appreciate a second (or third, or tenth!). Thanks!

the second virtual vegan potluck- almond butter and quinoa fruit salad

i’m so excited it’s finally here! the second virtual vegan potluck! i had so much time participating last time so of course i jumped at the opportunity to join in again. for those of you who don’t know, the virtual vegan potluck is a twice-yearly, plant-based food party for vegan and vegan-friendly food bloggers. bringing 105 vegan food bloggers together to share a virtual potluck, linked by a blog circle – and our love of cooking, eating and sharing. participating bloggers will post recipes – from appetizers to desserts – and photos on the day of the event. non-vegans welcome as long as they prepare a cruelty- and animal-free dish.  this time around it was organized by the lovely annie, somer and jason so thanks so much guys for putting so much hard work and dedication into this event!

this potluck acts as a sort of chain where there is a beginning and an end, starting with appetizers and finishing with desserts. if this is your first stop make sure to scroll to the end of the post to find links to the post before mine and the one that follows! if you want to go to the beginning and follow it on through, go to vegan blogger’s unite, the host site!

now, when i was trying to figure out what to bring, my initial thoughts were a dessert. i mean, they are my absolute favourite thing to make. but i brought a dessert last time- come on gabby branch out a bit! so i opted to sign up for a salad, with no real idea what it was going to be. slowly the potluck started creeping closer and closer and i still had no idea what i was doing. i eat salads everyday and yet putting together a well-composed and thought out salad was just not happening. then i got an idea, and while it’s a bit of a cheat, i hope my fellow potluckers and visitors don’t mind ;)

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you see, ever since i made my quinoa pilaf with flax citrus dressing and chocolate chunks, i’ve been obsessed with adding sweet components to salads. then i got an idea for an almond butter dressing and from there the whole idea morphed into what i like to think of as a more substantial fruit salad. or more specifically a “gluten-free nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad”. i know it’s a mouthful but it’s so delicious i swear you won’t mind! it tastes just like those sandwiches we had as kids with gooey nut butter, sweet jam and sliced banana, maybe even a little honey drizzled on top. epic yes? there’s no honey here, but it tastes like there is thanks to a lovely little product called bee free honee!

this would be a great salad to bring to a potluck for a few reasons:

  1. it can be made ahead of time
  2. it is delicious cold and room-temperature
  3. it makes a lovely sweet side dish to other main meal components
  4. it is more substantial than a regular fruit salad
  5. leftovers can double as dessert or breakfast
  6. it’s delicious!

so i hope you don’t mind my little cheat! not your typical salad, but still delicious. and without further ado here’s the recipe for my nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad

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nut butter, jam and banana sandwich quinoa salad (vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free)

ingredients (6 servings)

dressing

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (I used raw)
  • 1 tbsp honee
  • pinch sea salt

salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 1/2 bananas, sliced thin
  • squeeze lemon juice

instructions

first you'll want to cook your quinoa. heat a saucepan over medium low heat. rinse your quinoa, then add it to the saucepan to dry toast it. this will give it a lovely nutty taste. stir it continuously while it toasts until it starts to smell nutty and most of the water from the rinsing has evaporated. when it's all toasty, add your 1 3/4 cup water. bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. when it's done, set it aside to cool.

next chop all your fruit and place in a large bowl. squeeze some lemon juice over top, about 1/2 a small lemon and set aside.

next make the dressing. blend all dressing ingredients in a blender until combined.

when the quinoa is cooled add it to the bowl with the fruit, then toss with the dressing. serve cold or at room temperature.

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thanks for stopping by everyone and i hope you enjoyed my dish!

in case you’re interested, here was my last virtual vegan potluck dish: raw strawberry cream cake!

now to go to the dish after mine in the chain over at keepin’ it kind click here:

Go Forward

to go to the one before mine at cadry’s kitchen click here:

Go Back

or to go back to the beginning head over to vegan bloggers unite!

and be sure to come back here tomorrow for healthy vegan friday!