Thursday, December 19, 2013

'Creamy' Tomato and Almond Soup

This seriously simple weeknight meal was inspired by one of my favourite childhood tomato soups.. but since I don't always have the time to roast tomatoes and they're not always in season and ok- lets face it, I'm a lazy cook, this version came into being.

I love the combination of the rich tomato with creamy almond that elevates it without making it fatty and heavy. This is perfect with a nice slice of crusty bread but since gluten isn't my friend I've enjoyed it with many a brown rice cracker. 

'Creamy' Tomato and Almond Soup
Makes 2 serves
2 cups vegetable stock (make sure you use a good one!)
2 cups almond milk
400 ml passatta/tomato puree (or 1 x 400g can of tomatoes blended)
Freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp asafoetida (or dried onion and garlic if you wish)

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot
  • Heat
  • Enjoy!

So that's my cheats tomato soup. What's your favourite soup? Do you have any yummy tomato soup recipes I should try?

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Coconut Walnut Butter

In the interest of full disclosure I should tell you- this stuff is seriously addictive! I know you're probably all used to seeing nut butters and coconut butter but this combination is amazing!!! Just try it and you'll see. It's awesome. 

It tastes divine with fruit, as a dessert ingredient, on toast, rice cakes, off a spoon/your finger- you name it, it tastes great on it! It's a beautiful thick liquid as you make it but as it cools back down to room temperature it gets thicker, if you're using it as an ingredient for something that requires refrigeration/freezing it will solidify... which can be quite handy for setting desserts.

Coconut Walnut Butter
3 cups desiccated coconut
2 cups walnuts
1 cup coconut sugar (or other granulated/powdered sweetener of choice like natvia, stevia)
  • Process coconut until it forms a smooth liquid butter (approx. 5-10 mins)
  • Add coconut sugar/sweetener and process to combine (approx. 30 secs)
  • Add walnuts and process until a smooth, creamy butter forms (approx. 5 mins)
  • Pour into a jar and enjoy!
  • *do not store in the fridge, it will solidify!

I made this to try out coconut sugar... I quite like the caramely flavour, it reminds me of palm sugar but I'm not sure it's worth the negative health impact, yes it's not as bad for you as cane sugar but it's still not exactly good for you so next time I make this I'll be using natvia/stevia.

Love and Smiles,

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Saturday, December 7, 2013

Interview with Lindsay the Happy Herbivore & {FREE Thai Crunch Salad Recipe!}

I've got a surprise for you today! You're lucky enough to get a free recipe from Lindsay the Happy Herbivore's new book Light and Lean! I know you're going to love this book as much as I did- I'm never disappointed by Lindsay and this book is just what I needed since I'm trying to lose some weight at the moment. The recipes are quick and easy to make and taste great- even the fussy husband likes most of them!

 Lindsay was even kind enough to answer a few of my questions too
1. How do you feel about the scales? friend or foe...
2. Do you have any tips to overcome food addiction?
This depends on a number of factors. For example, is it a food addiction that’s physical in nature (i.e. you’re addicted to dairy because dairy is physically addictive) or is this a more psychological situation in terms of, saying, overeating and being a food addict?
Treatment varies. Here are a few posts to check out:

Here’s my personal story of dealing with food addiction, with several links to books and resources that can help:

3. How do you feel about planning meals for weight loss? I often think if I could stick to a menu plan it would help me but have great trouble actually doing it!
I can’t recommend our meal plans enough for weight-loss ( we have so many *incredible* success stories. Having a plan in place makes a huge difference.

4. Do you think that eating a variety of delicious meals is important in sustainable weight loss? do you find eating your favorites repeatedly detrimental?
It depends on the person. When I was a personal trainer, I had one client who basically ate the same three meals every single day. I had another client who had a meal plan they recycled through each week—so they had the exact same thing every Monday, every Tuesday, and so on. I couldn’t do either of those “diets” nor could any of my other clients who needed a lot of variety. Yet, those people lost weight at the same pace as my clients who ate a more varied diet.

5. Did you enjoy the exercise photo shoot? The shots are great!
It was fun but exhaustive. Jon and I had to hold each post for 10-15 minutes straight.

Now for the scrummy Thai Crunch Salad! This is a wonderful super salad that I'm adding to my rotation, when you've got both edamame and peanuts how can you go wrong?! The dressing is just too good (I always want more) and it makes getting lots of veggies in a breeze!

Thai Crunch
Single serving
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Single Serving

Before I was plant-based, I loved the Thai Crunch salad at California Pizza Kitchen. I finally decided to re-create a lighter vegan version of it for this cookbook. It’s easy, fresh, fast, and satisfying. (I also loved their Original BBQ Chicken Chopped salad, hence my BBQ Salad [in full cookbook] recipe!) By the way, CPK is one of the vegan-friendliest restaurant chains in the US. They have a PDF online indicating which menu items are suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

4 c napa cabbage, red cabbage, or lettuce (or a combination)
1 carrot, julienned
2 green onions, sliced
¼ – ½ c edamame
½ cucumber, sliced or diced
Thai Peanut Dressing
crushed peanuts (optional garnish)
cilantro (optional)
lime wedges (garnish)

Toss cabbage/lettuce, carrot, green onions, edamame, and cucumber together in a salad bowl, then top with Thai Peanut Dressing, crushed peanuts, and cilantro (if using), and garnish with a lime wedge. (I also love squeezing fresh lime juice over the salad.)

Chef’s Note: For a soy-free version, substitute chickpeas for the edamame.

Per Serving
Calories . . . . . . . . .  . 300
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . 11.7g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . 39.4g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . .  13.7g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . 16.3g
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.3g

Thai Peanut Dressing
Makes ¼ cup
Gluten-free, Quick, Budget, Pantry

Creamy, delicious—here’s a lower fat and lower calorie DIY peanut sauce.

1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp warm water
1 tbsp sweet red chili sauce
juice of 1 lime wedge
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
1 ¼ tsp rice vinegar
garlic powder
ground ginger
1–2 drops Asian hot sauce (e.g., Sriracha)
1 tbsp nondairy milk

In a small, microwave-safe bowl, add peanut butter with water, chili sauce, lime juice, soy sauce or
tamari, rice vinegar, a few dashes of garlic powder and ground ginger, plus hot sauce. Microwave for
10–20 seconds (so peanut butter is melty), whisk into a sauce, and then whisk in nondairy milk. Taste, adding more hot sauce as desired.

Chef’s Note: For a richer sauce, substitute coconut milk for the nondairy.

Per Serving
Thai Peanut Dressing (1tbsp)
Calories . . . . . . . . . . .19
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4g
Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g
Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . 0g
Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . 0g
Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . 0.9g

I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did :) and if you're looking for a collection of delicious plant based recipes (whether you need to lose weight or not) Happy Herbivore Light and Lean is a great choice.

Love and Smiles,

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Carrot and Walnut Muffins

I've made many versions of this recipe, I even blogged an earlier version of it a couple of years ago (ah how the blog has changed since then). It's one of my husband's favourites and it always goes down well so I really suggest you give this one a try. If you don't like walnuts just swap them out- it tastes great with almonds and cashews too.

These muffins are just lovely, not too sweet and much more satisfying than the traditional sugar packed muffins plus they smell AMAZING when they're baking and who doesn't love a yummy smelling house? The combination of ginger and cinnamon with the orange and carrot works so well you've just got to try it and see!

Carrot and Walnut Muffins
Makes 6 big muffins or 12 cupcake size (reduce cooking time)1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup (60g) walnuts, chopped
Zest of 1 orange
1 tbsp ground chia or flax seeds + 3 tbsp water (or other egg replacer)
1.25 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 cup sweetener of choice (in the past I've used apple sauce, date paste, brown rice syrup, coconut sugar, nativa or 1 tsp stevia)

1 tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
Dry:1 1/3 cups flour (I've used regular, wholemeal and a gf blends)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • Pre heat the oven to 180 c (350 f)
  • Grate carrots
  • Roughly chop walnuts
  • Zest orange
  • Grind chia seeds
  • Combine wet ingredients: non-dairy milk, vanilla paste, orange zest
  • In another bowl, sieve dry ingredients: ground chia, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, paking soda, flour
  • Mix dry ingredients well
  • Add wet ingredients to the dry
  • Stir to just combine
  • Stir through carrot and nuts
  • Fill muffin cases to the top (this mixture doesn't rise as much as others)
  • Bake for 30-50 mins (depending on size) or until fragrant and a skewer comes out clean
  • Enjoy!
Pictured are the gluten free muffins, I used a store bought gluten free blend and it does alter the texture, making it a little more on the chewy side. If you use regular or wholemeal flour the texture will be different, more on the crumbly side but regardless they taste great and as long as you make them with love and good ingredients you can't go wrong! 

Love and Smiles,

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