Cherry, Cacao, and Basil (and greens!) Smoothie Goodness

IMG_9372Cherry Basil? Yes, Cherries+Basil+Cacao=delicious and I too was surprised that combination worked, but it certainly did. This smoothie is light, refreshing, and kind of complex (in a good way). That said, it’s still dang tasty if you omit the basil and just go with tried and true cherries and chocolate.

What you need:

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about 1 cup of cherries, pitted

2 cups vanilla almond milk (or other non-dairy milk, unsweetened)

2 cups of spinach

1 banana, preferably frozen and chopped

2-3 basil leaves (or no basil leaves if you don’t sway that way)

1 Tbsp chia seeds (totally optional)

1 scoop vanilla protein powder – I use Sunwarrior Vegan protein powder (again, totally optional, but nice)

1 Tbsp cacao nibs (I use Theo)

3-4 ice cubes

IMG_9366Sweet, sweet cherries – I prefer bings, but you could use any cherry. My guess would be that the darker varieties would probably be better, but why not give glorious Rainiers a try in this smoothie? A note on cherry pitting: DO NOT WEAR WHITE CLOTHING, or brand new clothing, or anything that you care deeply about in the event of cherry spatter. No matter how accomplished you are at pitting cherries, it can and will happen. I even watched a video on smooth ways to pit the cherries, and despite my efforts, my friends, it was not smooth.

What to do: Put everything in a blender and blend the heck out of it!

IMG_9374Now drink the lusciousness knowing that you got your fruits, your greens, your chocolate, and some protein. HOORAY!

Summer Rolls! Fresh, tasty, fast, easy, and cheap! YES!

IMG_9085Summer in the PNW is the best. Days are long, luscious fruits and veggies are plentiful, and this has been a particularly sunny one so far. Warm days mean light fresh meals and one of our favorite summer dinners ins also one of the cheapest, easiest, and fastest things we make around here. Even better, it’s full of veggie goodness and can be based around whatever you have on hand for the most part.

IMG_9075Even just looking at the stuff that goes into it is nice!IMG_9081What you need:

Buckwheat noodles (if you’re doing this gluten-free)

Rice paper wrappers, about 3-4 per person

1 red bell peppers, sliced

1 carrot, sliced

1/2 cucumber, sliced

1 avocado, sliced

1 small head of green leave or romaine lettuce

1 package extra-firm tofu (I got mine at Trader Joe’s – the organic sprouted kind is so good!)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Handful of fresh basil

Hot (HOT!) water to soak the rice papers in

Peanut sauce!!!! – San J gluten-free peanut sauce is AMAZING!!!!!!IMG_9077Slice all them veggies just like you see here in this picture. Prepare your noodles per package instructions, normally about 8 minutes in boiling water will get them set.IMG_9083Soak a rice paper in HOT water. Add veggies, noodles, and tofu to taste, wrap it up and dip it in some peanut-y goodness. IMG_9087This one looks a little sad because by the time I remembered to take a picture, I was in a state of blissful unawareness of how badly my roll-making skillz had gotten. They’re just that tasty.

Pom-Berry-a-Gogo Smoothie (gf, raw, vegan, and crazy tasty!)

IMG_9040Spring has finally sprung here in Seattle, and while smoothie season never really ends at my house, it’s definitely back in it’s fully glory. This is a little bit of a smoothie departure for me because it occurs to me that I tend to get an upset stomach and headaches after I eat more than 1 or 2 bananas per week. Does this make me sound a little kooky? Possibly. Does slowing down on the bananas make my head feel better? Absofruitly.

So anyway, this is a mango based smoothie made with the sweet, tart, magical elixir that is pomegranate juice. I’ve also been adding hemp hearts to everything lately, and between a little almond milk for added creaminess and the hemp hearts, there’s a delicious nutty flavor that pops up.IMG_9038What you need: (Makes two little smoothies or 1 Mandy-sized smoothie)

3/4 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

a few frozen dark sweet cherries

1/2 cup of spinach

1-3 Tbsp hemp hearts depending on how hempy your dream smoothie is

1/2 cup of cold Pom juice (more if you like a thinner smoothie consistency)

about 1/2 cup unsweetened organic almond milkIMG_9037Now what?! Don’t worry, just put your goodies in your blender (or magic bullet, which I have linked to because I love this crazy little gadget and it’s an excellent choice when the infamous Vitamix is just a little out of reach price wise).IMG_9039Add the liquids and ready….set……….go! Er, blend!IMG_9042Partake of the sweet, sweet goodness that is your smoothie!IMG_9043IMG_9040

Coconut Cacao Goji Pops (Raw, Vegan, and Gf!) and an Ode to Mamas

IMG_9028It’s been warm, sunny, and gorgeous in the good ol’ PNW this week. Yesterday it was even muggy, which is VERY unusual and kind of uninspiring for most things. Except when it comes to popsicles. Mugginess really does inspire a good popsicle spree, and who doesn’t love popsicles? Especially SUPERFOOD popsicles. OOOOOOHHHH! AAAAHHHH! Buzzwords! Mainly these are just straight up delicious though.IMG_9022Ah, the magical goji berry. I love these little guys. Smoothies, granola, on yogurt, in baked goods…they kind of kick ass anywhere that you think “Oh, a berry might fit nicely there.” And apparently they’re full of all sorts of good-for-you properties too. Let’s get down to the popsicle spree though.

What you need:

1 can light coconut milk

3 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1/4 goji berries

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/4 cup maple syrup

An extremely strong arm for some intense whisking

Popsicle mouldsIMG_9024Directions: Put everything into a bowl and whisk like you’re whisking for your life! Once everything’s combined, pour into popsicle moulds and be sure to leave about an inch of space at the top (freezing expands the liquid a bit).IMG_9027After a few hours or overnight, run the mould under warm water to loosen the popsicle, remove, and devour. 🙂IMG_9032Look at those beautiful goji berries!IMG_9033I loved this pop so much, I felt like it needed a self portrait.IMG_9034Noodles felt like he wanted this pop so much he tried to melt it with his laser beam eyes. (DON’T FEED CHOCOLATE TO DOGS!!! Just FYI)

And now:IMG_9035This is my beautiful momma and me when I was just a wee little thing. She’s the one who’s inspired most of my cooking and for that and so many other much more important reasons, I can’t thank her enough. I’m a lucky duck. Happy Mother’s Day to her and to all my many friends who are mommas or are soon-to-be-mommas! The world wouldn’t go round without you, ladies! Thanks for being you!

🙂

Raw Cacao Ka-pow Secret Green Smoothie Goodness (raw, vegan, and gluten-free). Huzzah!

P1030118It’s a long title for a smoothie with a long list of fine (and most importantly, delicious) attributes. Not only is this one green, full of antioxidants, protein, and some crazy tasty cacao pow, it’s refreshing, not too sweet, and can keep me full through a hard workout or for at least 3-4 hours, which is really something if you’ve met me. I’ve been making it most mornings for the past month or so, and it just makes me happy. But again, this is not the smoothie for you if you’re looking for super sweet and fruity. While it’s many things, it is not those two things and it doesn’t like to front.P1030116What you need: Serves 1 (or two if you just want wee smoothies)

1 banana, preferably frozen and chopped (alternative: frozen mango chunks. WHAT?! Yes, it’s not bad and will do if you’re out of bananas)

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

2 cups baby spinach, kale, or chard

1 Tablespoon raw almond butter

1.5 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1 cup almond (or other non-dairy milk)

1 tsp maple syrup if you’re using homemade almond milk without sweetener (I’ve been making my own nut milk lately and a little sweetness boost is sometimes nice for those not used to green smoothies)

1 Tbsp chia seedsP1030112_2Put it all in a blender (again, magic bullet to the rescue!) and wait for it…..wait for it….BLEND! Add ice if your banana’s not frozen or you want slightly more thickness. Drink it up!!! POW!P1030117P1030115

 

Raw Vegan Carrot Cake. That’s right, I said it, and I meant it! (Also gf!)

P1030080_2I’ve been following this blog for awhile, and some of the things the author comes up with look absolutely amazing! This carrot cake has been taunting me for some time, and I finally decided to try making it. Good news, it’s easy, it’s delicious, and aside from freezing time to let the first couple of layers set, it’s super fast to make (and eat).

P1030083_2A few modifications I made:

Subbed raisins for dates (mainly because I didn’t have any on hand)

Used a mix of almonds and cashews for the frosting

Used a mix of oat and buckwheat flour for the filling.

I also added a bit of maple syrup to the filling (about 2 Tbsp) and did not use the pineapple chunks (my belly decided pineapple is bad news a couple years ago).

What I would change:

Add more carrots! And I might consider shredding them, though it could be that my food processer is not primetime top choice quality, and I don’t have a high speed blender to make the frosting super smooth and creamy. All of that said, this ended up SOOOOO well. I highly recommend it! Here’s a link to the original recipe.

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P1030082_2playing pac-man with my cake…:)

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Nom!

Vanilla Cashew Apricot Bites. Dee. Licious.

P1030077_2This week has been fantastic. A whole week with only work, and no school. Hooray!!!! That said, it’s all ending tomorrow. But, I only have two terms left, and the end is in sight. Again, hooray!!!! Anyway, today was filled with time with friends, fresh air, SUNSHINE (it’s a miracle!), lots of good food, and one killer spin class, and it was a great reminder that unwinding and de-stressing is so incredibly worth it even when it seems like there’s not possibly enough time.

These little bites were inspired by some bites I read about in a magazine, I wish I could remember which, but I’ve been waiting to make them for a long time. They’re dense and flavorful, and a great pre or post workout snack and SUPER easy to make. Seriously and for reals.

P1030076_2To make them you need:

1 cup of soaked cashews (soaked for at least 2-3 hours, up to overnight)

3/4 dried, unsweetened, unsulphured apricots (soaked for at least 15 min, up to an hour)

1/3 cup dried unsweetened shredded coconut (ground into a flour if you prefer)

1.5 tsp vanilla extract

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P1030071_2First, drain apricots and cashews and place in food processor. Process until a thick paste is formed.

P1030073With paste, roll a spoonful at a time into a ball and roll in coconut to coat. If you prefer to grind the coconut into flour (I did a mixture of fine coconut flour and shreds), just place shreds in a food processor to grind to the desired fineness. After coating each bite, place them all in the freezer and freeze for 1-2 hours. Keep in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge. Eat, relax, and enjoy!!!P1030074_2YUM!

 

 

 

 

Mango Coco Kiwi Smoothie. Sunshine In a Cup!

P1030066March in Seattle means gray, windy, rainy, and often unpleasant. So for the past few mornings I’ve been mixing up this little sunshine smoothie not only because it tastes super good, but it makes me feel like I’m in some tropical climate, even if just for a few minutes. Come summer, I guarantee I’ll be posting more about how awesome the PNW is and how I’d never want to leave.

P1030061What you need:

about 3/4 cup of frozen mango chunks

1 sliced kiwi

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp sliced or whole almonds (preferably soaked in H20 overnight)

1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup coconut water

2 Tbsp light coconut milk

P1030060Put all ingredients in your blender (I used my magic bullet). Blend. Seriously, that’s it. 🙂

P1030067Drink and enjoy!!!!

 

 

 

 

The World’s Best Green Juice, Ever. In the world! (did I mention the world?)

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I’d like to start by saying one thing: Green juice is MAGIC. Yes, it looks weird (although I like pretty much anything that looks like it may have come straight from a rainbow), and like it might taste really bad. Once you make the leap to the green, you’ll be so glad you did. This juice is a nice start to the morning, an afternoon pick me up, or a good post workout recharger. And it’s an excellent gateway juice before you start getting all hardcore with green juices that don’t have anything ungreen in them. Also, it’s amazing. 🙂

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Makes about 16 0z of wonderful, beautiful juice.

3 small apples (or 1 large, ignore the 5 pictured)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

about 3-4 cups baby kale (or 5-7 leaves grown up kale)

1-2 inches of fresh ginger

1 pear

(optional: handful of parsley)

Juice apples, pear, kale, ginger. Squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon into juice and stir. Drink it up and feel like a juggernaut of rainbow-colored goodness.

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Ice Cream Cake = Birthday Happiness (Vegan, Raw, Gluten-free!)

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Yesterday was my birthday, and while I may now be 32, some things haven’t changed since I started eating solid food. For example, my undying devotion to ice cream cake. It may be one of the most perfect foods. Somehow, even though I don’t really like cake, when you add ice cream and freeze the whole deal, it’s amazing! This year ice cream cake from the DQ wasn’t going to cut it though. My days of dairy and gluten and buckets of sugar are now days of yore. I took it as a challenge and came up with this insanely, stupidly delicious “cake.”

So, what  do these ingredients have in common? Well, they make a wicked tasty cake. Duh.

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Let’s go layer by layer, shall we? Layer one is a mixture of oats, almonds, dates, and maple syrup, all ground down to a granola bar consistency. Layer two (this one is the real surprise winner) is chocolate avocado mousse. What?! Avocado mousse?! YES. Totally amazing and weird. And finally, layer 3 (this is where I get lazy) is my favorite vegan ice cream from Molly Moon’s here in Seattle, vegan coconut chunk. Oh, I should also mention that between each layer is a very thin layer of coconut shreds. Mmmmmmmm….

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So, to make this baby, let’s also go layer by layer by layer.

Layer 1:

1 cup oats (gluten-free)

1 cup almonds

5 soaked dates, pitted (soaked at least 3 hours)

2-3 Tablespoons of maple syrup

Layer 2:

1 avocado, very ripe

4 Tbsp raw cacao powder

5 soaked dates, pitted (as above)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Layer 3: 

Your favorite vegan ice cream, softened to an easily spreadable texture

To make, find either a cake pan or I just used a parchment-lined pyrex dish. Start by combining all ingredients for layer one in a food processor or magic bullet until you can easily mold the mixture into a ball and have it stick together. Press it into the bottom of the parchment-lined dish. Place in freezer and freeze for 1-2 hours, until hard.

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Sprinkle layer 1 with shredded coconut. Now, in a food processor or magic bullet, combine all ingredients for layer 2. Evenly spread across layer 1, sprinkle with coconut shreds, and freeze for 1-2 hours.

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For layer 3, taken softened ice cream and spread over layer 2 (make sure layer 2 is fully frozen!). Freeze for another 1-3 hours and serve! Keeps well in freezer, but I won’t lie, it nearly didn’t make it past day 2 in our house.  Enjoy! 🙂

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