Friday, December 12, 2014

overnight matcha muesli

Breakfast is one of those things that you have to have everyday, but usually don't have too much time to think about it. I have to say, breaky is definitely my favorite meal of the day. I always wake up hungry and fantasizing about a hot coffee.... mmmm. So, I have to keep it interesting! Although I have a smoothie 90% of the time (I have a slight obsession with my nutribullet), a hearty alternative is always welcome.

One of the things I do frequently is soak oats or muesli with chia seed and coconut or almond milk for a creamy morning treat that is ready to be topped with fruit. Well, we just happened to have some Matcha green tea (a powdered Japanese ceremonial green tea) that we received as a gift (because I am also slightly obsessed with tea). This recipe made four servings, I separated mine into little jars for quick and easy don't-have-to-think-about-it breakfasts.

  • 2 cups muesli (or just rolled oats, the muesli has some dried fruit and sunflower seeds in it, which give it extra sweetness and texture)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1-2 tsp matcha powder (totally your preference, it's pretty strong!)
  • 2 cups coconut milk (I use Silk Coconut Milk Original because it is extra creamy, but really any kind of milk will do)
  • 1 cup of water (or another cup of milk)

Mix together dry ingredients...

Add coconut milk and water, whisk or stir for a few minutes to allow chia seeds to set without clumping together. Divide into four small jars, cover, and refrigerate until morning!

Matcha shares all of the wonderful health benefits of other green teas, such as high antioxidants and a metabolism booster, but because when you drink matcha you are ingesting the whole leaf and not just the steeped water, you are getting 10 times the amount of those nutritional benefits! 


Sunday, November 9, 2014

im all about da beets, bout da beets and lentils

Feelin da beets. Like many deeply colored veggies, beets are full of cancer-fighting phytonutrients and packed with vitamins and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium, and manganese. Betalin, which gives beets their scarlet hue, helps the body detoxify. And... they taste good! Lots of reasons to eat beets today. And heres how...

Beet braised lentils overflowing out of a crunchy green bell pepper? Yes please! I got the idea for these beautiful lentils (that will stain your napkins but are so good that you don't even care) from Feasting at Home. My version is slightly different; it doesn't call for beet juice or veggie stock, making it a bit simpler. 
  • 1 large beet (or two small)
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 sweet onion, yellow or white
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • two sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 cup of dry lentils, soaked overnight (should be about 2 1/2 cups soaked lentils) (I used french green lentils, but any will do)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2-3 teaspoons balsamic

Roughly chop the beet and carrots and throw them in the food processor, chop until all the big chunks are broken down. Roughly chop the onion and peel the garlic, add to the beets and carrots and process until all are finely chopped, this stage is up to you, if you want bigger chunks of veggies, just process less! Heat olive oil in a pot, add chopped veggies and cook until soft, about 5 to 7 min. 

Now, lets take a step back... If you didn't soak your lentils, you are going to need a lot more water, and a lot more cooking time, so I suggest that you just soak them, at least for the day, or you are just making more work for yourself.

Okay, moving on. Since everyone has soaked their lentils, strain and rinse them and then add them to the pot. I like to add the same amount of water as there are soaked lentils, in this case, about 2 1/2 cups. Throw in rosemary, add some salt and pepper, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes covered, stirring occasionally, and 10 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Liquid should be cooked off and lentils should be tender, don't eat them if they are hard! Just add some more water and cook them until they're done. When they are done, stir in the balsamic vinegar, I would suggest starting with 2 tsp and tasting them to see if you want the third! 

I have had these with grilled veggies, like zucchini and green beans, or with fish! Or, in my husband's case, under a steak. They are an excellent side dish that adds bulk to a vegetarian meal. And the leftovers are outstanding. This was lunch today...

Monday, October 20, 2014

quinoa + spiri balls

These could totally be a halloween treat! Green goblin balls? Well, for anytime that isn't halloween, they'll still be a protein packed energy ball, made with spirulina, quinoa, and peanut butter. But since halloween really is in two weeks, and I haven't done anything pumpkin yet, these will be my festive creation!

quinoa + spiri balls
  • 1 cup soaked medjool dates (10-12 dates)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp spirulina (depends on the brand, I use a hawaiian spirulina that is sweet and mild, some have a stronger taste, so use less)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt 
Process all of the above ingredients in a food processor until a thick green paste is formed.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add: 
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (I find it easiest to add one cup at a time and combine completely)
  • 2-4 Tbsp oat flour (any sort of flour could be used here; buckwheat flour, coconut flour, almond meal... it's just basically to make it less sticky!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
After all is well combined, the mixture will still be sticky, which means green hands and a big mess, but whatever, it's halloween! Form into balls and roll in shredded coconut, refrigerate to set. Happy Halloween!

Spirulina is considered a superfood, it is a blue green algae that is good for your whole body.  Spirulina assists the body's immune system and reduces inflammation. It's loaded with beta-carotene which is good for your eyes, and packed with protein and B vitamins, just what vegans need :)


Nutrex Hawaii 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

berry + ginger + mint smoothie

Simple, refreshing, and oh so good for you. There is nothing better than fresh mint, ginger, and berries! If you are a smoothie addict like me, you'll appreciate this variation to add to your pile of smoothie recipes. With the fresh taste of mint, the tummy soothing zing of ginger, and the powerful antioxidants of berries, this is a great way to start your day... today!

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, whatever!)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh mint
  • 1/2" piece of ginger (peeled)
  • almond milk to cover
  • 1-2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
Add the first four ingredients to your blender, pour almond milk just to the top of the fruit, add chia seeds if desired, blend, and be refreshed!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

zucchini + corn fritters

Holy moly, it's been a long time. Sorry about that! We moved house, twice, went on a trip to the mainland, then I started school, and just started a new job! Not a lot of spare time. But I am still cooking and creating in my kitchen almost every day, there is always time for that :)

There have been many amazing meals since I posted last, just no time to put a post together! I am going to try though to do a post at least every two weeks throughout this semester. I know it's not a lot but with Chemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Geography, two labs, and two jobs, its about all I'm going to get to.

So, zucchini corn fritters, yum. This recipe is adapted from the veg life, only a few adaptations made, and they turned out amazing! Be creative with your toppings: salsa and avocado, pesto, or a creamy tahini dressing, anything goes!

  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal : 2 Tbsp water)
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow zucchini (or another green one)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup flour (I used oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (ideally you would use corn meal, I just didn't have any!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp nondairy milk (I used silk original coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels 
  • coconut oil for "frying"

First prepare your flax "egg" and let set in the fridge, its nice to let it set at least ten minutes. Shred the zucchinis and onion in cuisinart (or with a grater, whatever you've got). Finely chop garlic cloves. Transfer to bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, including the flax egg.

Fold all together until well combined. Batter should be very thick and veggie-full!

Heat a tiny amount of coconut oil in a nonstick frying pan. Plop scoops of batter into pan and flatten or shape with a spoon. Fritters will cook the best if they are 1/2 in. thick.

Cook at least 5 minutes on each side, should be golden brown and getting crispy!

Pile on the toppings, or enjoy as is! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

vegan chai spice cake + cinnamon buttercream frosting

Happy Birthday Tom! For my husband's birthday I attempted my second vegan cake, with much success! This recipe is adapted from Veggie and the Beast blog. I only made a few minor changes based on what I had in my kitchen cabinets :)

Start with the cake...

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tbsp almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 coconut sugar or raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup brewed chai tea
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

First, brew some chai tea. I used a rooibos chai so there was no caffeine, and I double bagged it for extra strength. And preheat the oven to 350.

Measure the 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar into a measuring cup, then top it up to two cups with the almond milk. Whisk together and set aside. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices into a small bowl.

In a large mixing bowl combine the salt, sugar, oil, tea, and vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the almond milk mixture to the sugar mixture, mixing until just combined, no lumps.

Grease two 9" cake pans. Divide batter between the two pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. My cake pans are a little bigger than 9" so they were done just before 30 minutes. Test with a knife or toothpick, inserting into the center of the cake, if it comes out clean, its done!

Allow cakes to cool at least ten minutes in the pans before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Now for the cinnamon buttercream...

  • 1 1/2 cups vegan butter (I used earth balance)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

This is the fun part! Place one cake on a plate and spread a thick layer of frosting on top, then top with the other cake. Now spread all of the remaining frosting on and around the whole cake. Yum. This is definitely my favorite part :). Refrigerate until frosting is set, top with something fun (I chose a honu magnet), and enjoy! Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 11, 2014

eggless salad

Mana Foods has got to be, hands down, the best grocery store in the world. Yep, I said it. And I get to shop there all the time! Not only do they have everything healthy that has ever been discovered, but they have an incredible salad bar with tons of raw and vegan options. It's heaven. This recipe is inspired by Mana Foods eggless salad, which I love. It is packed with flavor, protein, and some sneaky veggies.

  • 1 small sweet maui onion (or a few spring onions)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery, leaves included
  • 10 oz super firm tofu
  • 3/4 cup veganaise
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop onion and celery super fine and grate or shred the carrot.

Crumble the tofu into a medium mixing bowl.

Add veggies, veganaise, and spices. Combine well, making sure everything is coated and yellow from the turmeric!

Now its up to you from here. Dip some crackers in it, throw it on a salad, make a sandwich, or wrap it up!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

wheat berry salad + roasted veggies

Wheat berries are the whole shebang. They contain the germ, endosperm, and bran, as well as all the nutrients wheat has to offer. You can't get much more of a whole grain than a wheat berry. Plus, they are really good! Just simmered in water until tender, they resemble brown rice, but with a sweet nutty flavor and a chewier texture. I recommend cooking the wheat berries ahead of time because they take almost an hour. If you've never cooked with them before, check out this blog on how to cook wheat berries to chewy perfection. And cook extra to keep in the fridge for a quick salad later in the week!

As for the roasted veggies that partake in this recipe, be creative! I used golden beets, green beans, and sweet onions.
  • 3 golden beets
  • 1 cup chopped fresh green beans
  • 1 small sweet onion (maui onion) 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil + drizzle on veggies
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash beets and cut into wedges. Drizzle with olive oil and roast by themselves for 30 minutes, stirring/flipping halfway through.

Add the green beens, onion, garlic and rosemary to the beets and cover with foil. Note: cut the veggies the size and shape that you want them in the salad, this way you don't have to cut them again after they are cooked!

Roast for another 30 minutes, or until all veggies are cooked but crunchy. Combine wheat berries, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt and pepper, toss to combine. When the veggies are done and still hot, add to the wheat berries, toss to combine. This could be a cold salad, a hot salad (if you just made your wheat berries), or a warm salad (my favorite, the wheat berries were cold but the veggies were hot out of the oven!). It's up to you! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

happy birthday!

Today my blog turns one year old! This is my 52nd post, which means I have posted one post for every week of the year! Its a good start to something great, I can feel it. And to celebrate, I baked my first vegan cake! Yes, my first! I am not really a big dessert person, unless its a square of dark chocolate, but this birthday called for a cake :)

Here is the recipe I used to make this vegan carrot cake.

As this was my first attempt at a vegan cake, it didn't turn out quite right, it all ended up tasting delicious but the cake was a little too moist, and the frosting a little too oily, so I am just going to post the link to the recipe I used until I have perfected it.

I am determined now, to make the most perfect vegan carrot cake with creamy coconut frosting, so be expecting a revised and personalized recipe coming at some point! But in the mean time, give this one a try, maybe you'll have better luck than I did, and don't buy creamed coconut for the frosting, apparently its not the same thing as coconut cream.

And happy birthday to Almost Vegan! One year and counting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

hearty homemade protein bars

My husband is one of those guys with an insane metabolism and just about 0% body fat. He has to try and eat as many calories as he can just to keep from wasting away. Lucky. Well, if you have a husband like I do, or you have a metabolism like he does, give these protein bars a try! They are super healthy, hardly processed, and full of good for you protein calories. I don't usually indulge in protein bars, seeing that I have to eat as few calories as possible just to maintain my weight (a women's life story), but Tom loves them. And I love the fact that instead of eating some processed bar full of corn syrup and unpronounceable ingredients, he is eating something that I made!

I buy Garden of Life's Raw Protein powder, but any will do. This time we have chocolate, but I have made these bars with vanilla flavored before, both are good!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • 8 cups rolled oats
  • 8 scoops protein powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil 
  • 2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl comine oats and protein powder. In another bowl, or measuring cup, combine maple, pb, coconut oil, and 1/2 cup of the water. Add liquid mixture to oats and combine, adding the rest of the water gradually until desired consistency is reached. You want the mixture to stick together when you press it, but not be sticky at all.

I added 1/2 cup raisins and 1/2 cup sunflower seeds at this point. You could add any kind of dried fruit or seeds, or chocolate chips if you wanted! Mix to combine. Press mixture into a lined or greased 9x13 baking pan. Make sure you press it in firmly; it will be less likely to crumble when you cut it later. 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until it starts to brown on top. Remove from oven and let stand for at least 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cut into bars, ta-da!