Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mint Chocolatey Shake

I love chocolate.  I love mint.

Put them together and I am in heaven.  This shake actually reminds me of something that I would have ordered at an ice cream store back when I was still eating dairy products.  The beauty of this shake is that it doesn't have any ice cream in it at all(vegan or otherwise).  It's 100% healthy but, it tastes so decadent you feel like you're indulging.  My kind of shake!

I made this shake around St. Patrick's day when my email was flooded with variations on the "Shamrock Shake".  I've never had a Shamrock Shake from McD's but it sounds like something I totally would have ordered.  So I decided to make my own healthier version for breakfast.  Let's just say it was love at first sip... or slurp actually since I ended up eating it with a spoon!  Since then, I've had one of these at least once a week.  I love it so much!

Before I share the recipe, let me just say that this does not necessarily have to be a healthy shake.  You could definitely swap out the almond milk for some yummy coconut milk ice cream.  And I will definitely do that in the summer time as a treat.  But, for now, I like having it as an occasional breakfast choice that happens to be healthy but tastes like I'm being naughty! 
Mint Chocolatey Shake
Serves 1

*2/3 of a cup of Almond Milk (I used unsweetened Vanilla) 
1/4 cup raw oat groats, soaked overnight (steel cut and quick cooking oats would work as well)
1-2 cups Spinach
1 frozen banana, cut into chuncks
1 tbs cacao nibs (plus a little extra for garnish)
1-2 drops peppermint extract
*you can adjust the amount of liquid you add to reach your desired thickness

Begin by adding the oats, spinach and almond milk to the blender and process until smooth.  Next add your frozen banana chunks and, while the blender is still on, drop in the peppermint extract and cacao nibs.  Process for a few more seconds and then serve.  Enjoy with a straw or a spoon!

The spinach gives this shake it's green color and also an added health boost.  If you're not a fan of adding spinach to your smoothie then you could add a bit of Spirulina powder to get the green color.  I don't recommend adding green food coloring to this because I think it's weird and takes away from the goodness of this shake.  But that's just me.   If you're down with that, then by all means, add away!

I like adding oats to my shakes and smoothies once in a while to make them a bit creamier.  Plus, there's the added benefit of a little extra fiber and protein.

If you don't have cacao nibs then you could definitely sub in some cacao powder  Although, the color won't be the same, it will still taste great.  You could even try adding in some dairy-free chocolate chips instead of the cacao powder.  By the way, I talk about some of the health benefits of raw cacao in this post.

Last, but certainly not least (and totally unrelated to the recipe), I wanted to share with you guys that you can catch the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for free on YouTube right now.  And since you're all about as health crazy as I am I know you're heading over there right now to watch, aren't you?  I knew it.  And for those of you still here, check out the trailer (which I've posted for you guys before):

What are you waiting for?

Go. Watch. Now.

Ves xx

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

WIAW #28 The Weekend Edition

Hi friends,

Welcome to another edition of What I Ate Wednesday!  This week I decided to do things a little differently.  Instead of showing you my Tuesday eats like I normally do, I've decided to show you what I ate on Sunday.  To be honest, my weekly eats are slightly boring (not to me, but you're probably sick of looking at the same ol' food) and not very pretty to look at since I use containers and not dishes to bring my food to work.  Plus, it's always fun to shake things up a bit.  So without further ado, I give you my Sunday eats.

   I had originally planned on making pancakes for breakfast but I got an enormous craving for something mint chocolatey.  I made this smoothie which turned out to be so thick I poured it in a bowl and ate it with a spoon.  Loved it!  I'll post the recipe tomorrow. 

   To go along with my smoothie I had one of these raw coconut macaroons that I had made the day before.  They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  And they only get better with age. ;)

Sunday turned out to be a gorgeous day so I took advantage of it and went out for a super long walk.  I love that the weather is warming up and everyone is out!  When I came back in I made this kale salad with chickpeas, tomatoes, and organic edamame (I love edamame!).  I dressed it with lemon and sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top (after the photo was taken, of course).

I made this Epic Sweet Potato Lasagne that I wrote about in yesterday's post, and invited my sister over for dinner.  We had it with a side salad of swiss chard, peppers, apples and my mustard vinaigrette.  Oh so yummy and second's were definitely had by both of us.  I said it yesterday and I'll say it again: You have to make this Lasagne!  You will not be disappointed, I promise.

I ended the day with my fave snack:  Apples with cinnamon and a squirt of lemon.  I'm a little obsessed with this and eat it everyday! 

Throughout the day I also had several glasses of lemon water and a mug or two of tea.  I'm still not drinking coffee (will this cleanse ever end?) but I'm counting down the days until it becomes my daily obsession again.

I absolutely love Sunday food, don't you?  It's so nice to be able to take your time and make every meal with love.  I get that from my mom.  She would spend the entire weekend in the kitchen cooking just because she wanted to and because she loved to feed her family.  We all used to sneak tastes of whatever she was making, not being able to wait for the meal to be ready.  That's one of the things I'm looking forward to when I go and visit my parents this summer... Mom's cooking!  Can't wait.

Ves xx

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Not Your Average Lasagne!

Hi Friends!

I have a really special recipe to share with you today.  But before I do, I just want to say that I have absolutely nothing against pasta.  I swear.  I love pasta, I really do.  I just don't eat it very often.  Like almost never.  When I do have it, I like it to be whole grain, spelt or brown rice.  Anything but white.  Why?  Because it tastes better (IMO) has a nicer texture, and packs a stronger nutritional punch compared to el blanco.  That being said, I LOVE when vegetables replace pasta in traditional dishes.

You've seen my raw pasta and lasagne dishes here, here, and here.  But this is a baked dish that uses sweet potatoes (quite possibly my favorite veg) as the 'noodles'.  How brilliant is that?  You could almost call it a Mousaka except that the flavors most definitely scream Lasagne.  This recipe is by Miriam who has a website called Mouthwatering Vegan Recipes.  And yes, this recipe was absolutely mouthwatering!  It was slightly sweet from the potatoes, creamy from the 'cheese' sauce and savory from the bolognese sauce.  I made it on Sunday and served it to my carnivorous sister who after one bite said that I HAD to make it at our next family gathering.  She also said that I would have to double the recipe because everyone would want seconds and possibly thirds!  Woohoo!  Score another one for vegan food!  We even decided that my brother would love it.  Did you read that, bro?  You.Will.Love.This.  For reals.

I didn't make any huge alterations to the recipe so I will post the link below.  The only change I really made was to switch out olive oil for coconut oil.  I prefer to only cook with coconut oil because it has a higher smoke point than other oils.  This allowis it to stay stable at higher temps and not become damaged.  Plus, it's better for my skin, and if it's better for my skin then it's better for me!

Next time I would also try baking the zucchini instead of frying them.  The result would be similar but would require much less oil.  Translation: less oil = less fat!  I don't care if it's a "good fat", it's still fat.  Everything in moderation, right?  

Also, the recipe calls for two sweet potatoes but I would definitely use three next time.  I think that Miriam was able to slice her sweet potatoes much thinner than I was so that's probably why it worked for her.  Unfortunately, my mandolin does not have a thickness setting like some do.  If you are able to slice them super thin then you may be able to get away with using two as well. I had enough for two full layers and then I had to really spread them out to cover the top layer. 

This dish was beyond delicious and will definitely impress any non-vegan (or anyone, really!).  Promise me that you will make this SOON.  Here is the link to the recipe:
Epic Sweet Potato Lasagne


Ves xx

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

WIAW # 27 and Wacky Weather!

Hi Friends!

Can you believe it's already Wednesday?  I feel like I say that almost every time I write a WIAW post, but seriously, after a holiday Monday I really can't believe it's already the middle of the week!  Trust me, I'm not complaining.  I love when my work week goes by quickly.  What I don't love?  This weather!  What is up with it?  It's sunny and mild out one minute, and snowing the next!  I wore a spring coat all weekend and then had to bundle up in my winter coat complete with hat, mitts, and warm boots.  I am so over winter!

  I'm not here to complain, though, I'm here to talk about food.  Tuesday's food to be exact.  Check it out...

My Morning...

As usual, I started my morning off with some room temp. water with lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.  My Green Smoothie (spinach, mango, banana, oats, flax seed, almond milk) had to be bottled up and taken to-go because I ran out of time in the morning.  Don't worry, I slurped it up as soon as I got to work.  On my way to work I kept warm with some Chai tea.  I'm a little bit obsessed with this tea at the moment and can't seem to get enough of it.  Not too obsessed, though, that I don't secretly wish it were coffee!  I still have a week or so left of my liver detox, but as soon as I'm done I plan on guzzling a barrel of coffee.  On second thought that might just undo all the good I did with the detox... oh well.


For lunch I had a kale salad with tomatoes and avocado dressed with lemon juice and nutritional yeast.  I added a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of a kick.  When I popped home quickly in the middle of the day, I made a Gingerbread tea (another obsession!), and snapped this picture to show just how wacky the weather has been.  Mother nature has a wicked sense of humor.  (I don't find her funny.)

Afternoon snack...

When I have a sweet tooth my favorite thing lately is to cut up apples and sprinkle them with a bit of cinnamon and a touch of lemon juice.  Love it!  And since I eat them so often at work, the children have started asking for cinnamon on their apples.  Too cute.  Whatever makes them eat more fruit is fine by me!  I had the apples around 2:30 and then a green smoothie around 4:30.


I had a meeting after work and didn't get home until 9pm.  The thought of putting any kind of effort into dinner just did not appeal to me.  Instead, I toasted up a couple of slices of Ezekiel Cinnamon Raisin Bread, added some nut butter and a side of sliced apples.  I was so exhausted I devoured this while relaxing in bed!  My little Patchie girl came by to inspect the goodies and seemed very interested in the almond milk.  Too bad I didn't share any with her.

So there you have it, my WIAW goodies from Tuesday.  Thanks as always to the lovely Jenn over at Peas and Crayons for hosting this fab link-up party.

Til next time...
Happy Middle of the Week Day!

Ves xx

Monday, April 01, 2013

April Fools and Reveal Day

Hi Friends!

   I'm not much of an April Fooler but I love to hear April Fool stories.  This morning the interwebs are flooded with them and so is my inbox.  I love starting my day with a good laugh.  Here is a great one from the VegNews website: Kim and Kanye go Vegan for Baby.  Prepare to laugh your face off.  In other news, it's reveal day for Foodie Pen Pals!

   This month I got paired up with Simone from Simone's Edible Adventures.  Simone asked me some fun questions and then sent me a very thoughtful package.  I must say, it never gets old receiving a package in the mail, and I've been participating for almost a year.  I still get super excited and tear the package open as soon as I get into my apartment.  I'm like a child at Christmas!  Here's what I got this month:

My Goodies!

Tea!  I love that Simone sent me tea.  I am currently doing a liver detox which means no coffee *sob* so I've been drinking tea like it's going out of style.  These were gone within a few days.  My favorite was the Gingerbread and the Almond Biscotti.  I still have the Eggnogg'n ones because for whatever reason, I am not feeling adventurous enough to try it.  I will.  Soon.

I love Lara Bar's but I don't ever buy them.  And I've never tried the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip one before so I was excited to dig in.  I brought it along with me during a walk with my sister and we both loved it.

Dried Mangoes!  I love dried mangoes.  I still haven't opened this bag because I know that once I do, they will be gone in 3 seconds!

Almond Butter.  Love it.  I've never had almond butter in a little packet before but I feel like they created these for me.  It's almond butter on the go!  No need to wash the spoon after.  Ha.

Japanese Delight Kombu Seaweed:  I'm excited to try this and I hope it's similar to kelp noodles and less like nori.  Translation: I hope it doesn't taste like seaweed!  Ha.  Even if it does, I'll still eat it.

Omega Mango Superfood Cereal:  This is another first for me as I've never tried this before.  I feel like I'm saving it for a special occasion but I don't know why?  I really want to open the package but then I'm scared that I will love it and it will be gone!  I can be such a nerd sometime.

   Thanks again, Simone, for sending me this amazing package and including things that I've never tried before.  I love it!
   If you want to check out the goodies that I sent to my pen pal, Deborah, you can find it over at her blog Gourmet Mom.

The Lean Green Bean

To find out more about Foodie Pen Pals check out Lindsay's blog The Lean Green Bean.

Til next time,
Happy April Fool's Day!

Ves xx

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